Good things come in small packages, and that’s certainly true of Portugal.
With a range of affordable deals available, you can enjoy any number of facets if you book a trip to this hidden gem of Europe. Choose to explore its variety of different landscapes, venture into its vast history, or sample some of the freshest of catches from its deep waters; whatever you pick, you’re in for a treat.
Navigating Around the North
When considering Portugal as your next destination, don’t rule out going further north, away from the well-trodden tourist footpaths and beaches of the Algarve. If it’s a quiet escape you’re after, the province of Minho will provide your very own Portuguese paradise. Think rolling vineyards (yes, that means wine), dreamy, winding rivers, traditional towns draped with historic tales, and dramatic Atlantic beaches… you’re sold already, right?
Minho’s little towns are well connected, so whether you use a rental car, regional bus, or train, you can explore all the region’s offerings with ease. Opt for a rocky walk around the spectacular walls of Valença do Minho, right on the border to neighbouring Spain, to start your day off. Take to spending your afternoon on the ocean waves with water sports in Vila Praia de Âncorato.
Next, awe at the architecture of Viana do Castelo with the sea breeze in your hair, and finally relax with a wine in hand by night. Forget your troubles for a week or two – Minho’s offerings are sure to keep you entertained and chilled too.
Stay in Stunning Central Portugal
Further south, the “medieval capital” of Portugal is another destination to add to your list. With its historic buildings stacked on the hillside, Coimbra really is stunning.
Attend Queima das Fitas, the weeklong music festival in early May. Or choose quieter tones in summer evenings, when only faint Portuguese guitar notes will fill the towns walls. The National Gallery is a great spot to spend an afternoon, wandering through historic arches; touring the atmospheric, vaulted galleries; then sipping coffee and taking in the views in its patio café.
Next, take a chance to catch your breath in its botanic gardens, Jardim Botânico. Embrace the leafy landscapes and whistling birds, as you climb the steps of the gardens. There’s no escaping the beauty and history of Coimbra.
Find Foodie Perfection in Porto
Jump back to reality with a day in Porto, the second largest city in the country. Porto has a more contemporary buzz, but brings the Portuguese charm you wouldn’t want to be without. The hustle and bustle of the Mercado do Bolhão, a traditional market offering local delicacies and much more, will start your day off well. You’ll be in good company, as Jamie Oliver loves this spot too! Porto’s foodie delights don’t end there – how about dining in a Michelin star restaurant by evening? You can burn off your indulgences by dancing yourself silly in one of the cities many jazz bars or clubs.
Slipping into the Inspiring South
Cotton white sands and brilliant, blue skies – bliss! Throw in several amazing towns drenched with history, and a capital city that oozes energy. You’ll find that you’re thinking of the southern half of Portugal and the Algarve.
Step into the pages of your favourite fairy tale in Sintra, where the views really are magical. In fact, the Palace of Pena inspired many of the Walt Disney castles – that’s quite a claim to fame!
Follow the area’s leafy paths and you’ll find the equally beautiful Quinta da Regaleira, where you can get lost in its gardens or climb its winding staircases. Sintra is the destination for you if you seek historic tales.
Drink in Lisbon Life
When on holiday, drink wine. It’s basically a rule! Where better to follow this rule than the capital city of this wonderful country? Lisbon has both glamour and charm wrapped up with a ribbon made of sunshine and sand. Spend your days strolling along the cobbled Alfama streets, or soaking up the rays on one of its stunning beaches. Go on a walking tour of the Lisbon food highlights.
Then, come sunset, pick from wine bar after wine bar, offering local grapes in their finest form. The BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto is small, but perfectly formed, rather like the country, and offers a wonderful atmosphere and excellent service.
See the Bountiful Beaches of the Algarve
The beauty of the Algarve can’t be avoided, and its beaches are some of the best in Europe.
If you’re looking for coastal suntraps a-plenty, you certainly won’t be disappointed. Lagos is one of the most picturesque cities on the Algarve coast, where you can spend as many hours as you please on the beach, or meander its cobbled streets while you marvel at its typically Portuguese plazas and churches.
It’s one of the most idyllic holiday destinations you’ll find – that’s every woman’s dream!
If you want to enjoy a girl’s holiday of a different kind, try a spot of golf. Portugal is well known for its many courses, and where better to try the sport than somewhere with bright blue skies and lush green lawns. The Algarve is lined with courses, one of which is the Oceânico, near Lagos. The views are simply stunning, and it’s close to the beach too. Give it a go – the golden sands will catch you out if it looks like you’re not destined to be the next female winner of the Open.
A Portuguese Holiday Hideaway
To find yourself a quieter spot, look to the hidden gem of Salema. With fewer tourists, but still all the Algarve treats, it’s the ideal location for a quieter sun holiday. Dip your toes in its crystal waters, or enjoy an ice cream as you wander across its sands. There are lots of lovely restaurants to choose from too, where you’ll be able to taste the freshest catch from the local waters. Searching for a peaceful holiday retreat? Look no further.
No matter whether you opt for north, or stick to the south, Portugal’s charm will never fail to impress. Pack up that suitcase; your Portuguese paradise awaits!
More links for women travellers…
- Tours for Women around the World
- Tour Companies run by Women around the World
- Accommodation for Women around the World
- Women who are Local Tour Guides
- Retreat Places for Women Around the World
- Tours which include Retreat Themes