Portugal is a country that harmoniously combines medieval castles surrounded by cobblestone villages, golden beaches, spectacular sunsets, and charming cities.
All visitors to Portugal are entranced by the beautiful scenery first and secondly the food fresh, delicious, local and healthy. Never refuse an invitation to a family Portuguese Table with freshly baked bread, cheese, olives, and red wine, the banquet may also include cataplana (seafood stew), and a variety of smoked meats.
Festivals are a huge part of life in Portugal. Sample a beverage, dance, feast, and be prepared for all-night celebrations. In June, Lisbon's Festa de Santo António (also called the Sardine Festival and the Feast of St. Anthony) celebrates the cities patron saint. Colourful garlands hang everywhere while grill stations sell sardines (and other food), and outdoor bars serve beers and refreshing sangria. There is a street party on almost every corner, especially in the older districts like Alfama and Madragoa.
Portugal has become the latest fun place to visit on every level. Skirted predominantly by the sea, as you travel this small yet fascinating country, you pass traditional fishing villages and perfect beaches. Nazare is famed for its colossal waves from November to January and known to reach heights of 30m, attracting keen surfers from around the globe.
Vila Nova de Milfontes is on the rugged Alentejo coastline and simply beautiful, even the Portuguese exclaim this location with an excited "wow". In southern Portugal, Tavira combines history and heritage with beach culture while the town retains its authentic character not marred by tourists.
Inland is as varied from the rolling hills of the Douro, a prime wine-growing region, to arid outcrops. In the cities and towns, historical buildings stand alongside ultra-modern architecture; it is indeed a nation of many contrasts. Self-drive holidays are becoming increasingly popular. Try and allow extra time in this marvelous country, as around every corner is something more to explore.
July and August are summer months. It brings the sunseekers who pack the resorts of the Algarve while Lisbon and Porto also expand with visitors seeing prices peak during this time.
From late September, prices start to fall, with October being a great month for outdoor activities. In December, expect rain and colder temperatures with many resorts closing for their winter.