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Spectacular beaches, historic cities and some of the world’s finest wines...

This charming country offers a host of experiences, whether you choose an all-inclusive hotel stay, a tour based in historic pousadas, or a relaxing river cruise.

Perhaps tee-off on an Atlantic bluff, take a train ride through the stunning Douro Valley or join a jeep safari in the Algarve. Maybe sip rosé at Mateus Palace, learn about the great explorers who set sail from Lisbon, soak up the sun in chic Cascais, or take it easy on a cruise along the tranquil Douro River.

Then of course there are the endearing Atlantic islands of the Azores and Maderia to explore too…

 

Things to do

Just a few of the places you can visit on a Saga holiday include the UNESCO-listed city of Evora, the Batalha Monastery and Oporto, where you can tour the famous port cellars of Taylor’s and Graham’s, enjoy views of the river from the Dom Luis I Bridge and visit the cathedral, one of the city’s oldest monuments.

In the capital you’ll find the historic Alfama District and the UNESCO-listed buildings of Belém Tower, Jeronimous Monastery and the Monument to the Discoveries, which all tell the story of Lisbon’s maritime past.

The delightful Douro Valley provides a striking contrast to this urban landscape – sail along the river past terraced vineyards, almond groves and bucolic rolling hills.

For more wildlife and fantastic scenery there’s also the Monchique Mountains, Parque Natural da Arrábida and the Guadiana River, which forms a natural frontier between Portugal and Spain.

The Algarve

Portugal’s southern coast is renowned for its rugged cliffs, sandy coves and golf courses, but it’s not all sand and sun. Travel into the countryside to discover charming whitewashed towns such as Sao Bras de Alportel, whose Cork Route reveals how corks are made from the region’s special trees.

Seek out the Moorish town of Silves with its striking castle. Visit Sintra’s former Royal Palace and go in search of the ancient towns of Óbidos and Alcoutim. You can even hop across the border to Seville in Spain!

Madeira

On this Atlantic island, top attractions include the volcanic terrain of Nun’s Valley, the towering cliffs of Cabo Girão, the island’s three highest peaks – Pico do Arieiro, Pico das Torres and Pico Ruivo – and the levada walking trails which follow the mountain’s ancient irrigation channels.

Funchal the capital itself also has much to offer too. Perhaps admire the exotic blooms in the Botanical Gardens, sample the sweet Madeiran wine at Blandy Wine Lodge or take the cable car up to Monte – then ride back down in a wicker toboggan!

The Azores

This archipelago of nine islands is famed for its stunning natural beauty. Gaze into the colourful depths of the Sete Cidades crater lakes and visit the capital of Ponta Delgada on São Miguel.

Seek out rustic villages on tiny Pico. Or go whale watching from the shores of Faial and explore the caves of Algar do Carvão on the second largest island of Terceira.

 

Culture and history

The predominant religion for about two thirds of the country is Roman Catholic, although only a small percentage regularly attend Mass. The Portuguese are quite reserved and tend to retain a sense of formality with one another, which is shown in their extreme politeness. They enjoy many cultural activities including art, music, drama and dance, and folklore plays a major part in the national identity.

Famous people who hail from Portugal include explorer Henry the Navigator, football men Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Jose Mourinho, and dancer-come-singer-come fruit salad, Carmen Miranda (yep, we thought she was Brazilian too!)

The country’s cuisine is a regional affair and embraces meat, seafood and fresh fish. Wine – and port from Oporto – is also present at most meals.

As for the country’s past, Portugal has a long and fascinating history. Of all the modern, colonial empires, Portugal’s survived the longest and spanned almost six centuries. This was helped, of course, by the extensive expeditions of the 15th and 16th centuries, led by the likes of Henry the Navigator, Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco de Gama.

 

See All Holidays to Portugal

Language

Portuguese -

Portuguese is the official language, although some English is understood in most major holiday resorts.

Did you know that Portuguese is also widely spoken elsewhere – including Mozambique, Angola and even Macau in China!

Tipping

In some restaurants a service charge is added to your bill making tipping unnecessary.

However, if a service charge has not been included in your bill, it is considered polite to leave a tip of around 10%. In general, you should tip taxi drivers between 5% and 10%.

Population and size

Portugal’s population is around 10.6 million, which is about a fifth of the UK’s.

Portugal is about a third of the size of the UK at roughly 92,090 square kilometres.

Currency

Euro -

The euro is the official currency and it’s divided into 100 cents.

Phrases

A few words of Portuguese…

Good morning – bom dia

Good evening – boa tarde

Good night – boa noite

Thank you – obrigado

Hello – olá

Goodbye – adeus

Yes – sim

No – não

Glass – vidro

Port – porto

Please – por favor

Timezone

Portugal is on GMT, so there’s no need to change your watch or worry about jet lag.

Electricity

The mains voltage is 220 volts AC (50 cycles). All sockets take small round two-pin plugs, so you’ll need an adaptor.

Climate

Portugal’s climate varies considerably. In the Porto e Norte area and inland towards Spain, winters are colder but still mild when compared to the rest of Europe.

In the summer months, the weather is hot and dry.

Health

Apart from sunburn, there’s nothing to worry about here. However, as health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Passports and visas

You’ll need a current passport valid for the duration of your stay. British citizens don’t require a visa.

Smoking

Smoking is banned in all enclosed public spaces and you could face a fine of up to €70 if you’re caught breaking the rules.

There are often specially designated areas in bars and restaurants for smokers.

Flight time

You can fly into Faro, Lisbon, Oporto, Funchal and Ponta Delgada airports.

A flight from London to Faro takes about 2 hours 30 minutes; to Funchal in Madeira it’s around 3 hours 30 minutes.


Algarve

Dip your toes into the blue waters of the Atlantic in the very south of Portugal

Azores

Islands like gems scattered in the Atlantic, an idyllic whale-watching paradise, the Azores beckons…

Madeira

Streets filled with geraniums and hibiscus, cosmopolitan cities next to sparkling seas – Madeira has so much to offer


Climate

Insider's guide to Portugal

Insider's guide to Portugal

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Portugal's top five attractions

Portugal's top five attractions

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The weather in Portugal

The weather in Portugal

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