Holidaymakers looking for sun, sea and sand have been given the green light to travel to Portugal from May 17th. Portugal has had one of the lowest coronavirus infection rates in Europe, so it was no surprise to see this beautiful county on the south-west tip of Europe on the ‘green list’ for travel.
Portugal and the Algarve offer miles of unspoilt beaches for family getaways, romantic city breaks and sun-soaked bliss. If you already have your suitcase packed for a well-deserved getaway, here is our pick of places to stay and visit in Portugal:
Family fun in Albufeira
The popular resort of Albufeira is ideal for families and young couples, with spacious sandy beaches and vibrant nightlife.
The former fishing village is now a large, lively town that boasts a modern marina offering deep-sea fishing trips, dolphin watching boat rides, and coastal tours. The Old Town provides a warm welcome with plenty of family-friendly restaurants and welcoming bars, whilst the New Town is for the more hedonistic holidaymaker with a choice of lively nightlife, bars and clubs.
Away from the hustle of the nightlife, the main attraction of the Algarve is the miles of golden sands on offer. For peace and tranquillity, visit the beaches of nearby Praia da Galé or São Rafael, where you can take in the sights of some absolutely stunning rock formations while the little ones enjoy the golden sands and splash in the sea.
Where to stay in Albufeira
For a family-friendly place to stay the 4-star aparthotel Luna Hotel da Oura ticks all the boxes. The complex consists of 154 apartments and boasts an outdoor pool, indoor heated pool and jacuzzi, plus a restaurant and bar. All rooms are air-conditioned, and the kitchenette is equipped with a microwave, fridge and dishwasher.
A seven-night stay in August costs from £475 per person, including flights with British Airways, from London Gatwick airport.
Live it up in Lisbon
Portugal’s capital city allows holidaymakers to experience the best of both worlds, with sandy beaches to laze on and cosmopolitan city streets to explore. Lisbon is a hillside town and a hotspot for culture with a host of art galleries and a thriving music scene, alongside restaurants serving local Portuguese cuisine and wines.
If you prefer soaking up the sun, head to the Praia de Carcavelos beach, which is ideal for families with miles of sand and plenty of cafes and beach bars to visit. It’s also a mecca for surfers, with a surf school on the beach for anyone who wants to give it a try.
The choice of eateries will astound holidaymakers, from the café culture and beach bars to Michelin starred fine dining, there is something for everyone. The Taberna da Rua das Flores is well worth a visit, with its traditional Portuguese décor and a mouth-watering menu of local fish dishes including a delicious mackerel tartare and fresh whole shrimp.
Where to stay in Lisbon
If you are looking for an extra touch of luxury, book a room at the One Palácio da Anunciada, which is a five-star 16th-century palace in the heart of the city. The hotel retains much of its original features, complemented by contemporary décor and a restaurant that offer local dishes with Mediterranean influences.
Bed and breakfast accommodation starts from £151 per room per night and sleeps two people. The package also includes access to the hotel spa, a welcome drink and a free bottle of wine if you choose to dine at the hotel. Travel is not included, and flights to Lisbon from London airports start from £44.99 one way with EasyJet.
Go golfing in Vilamoura
Keen golfers will delight in a summer break in the modern and vibrant town of Vilamoura. The resort boasts many golf courses and there are plenty of packages available that combine the love of golf with a summer getaway. The Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort is a five-star hotel that overlooks the championship Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course for the ultimate in golfing heaven, with golfing packages starting from £1099.
Away from the golf course, Vilamoura has plenty to offer for a fun-packed family holiday. The Aquashow water theme park is located just a short drive from the town and is home to a water rollercoaster and a white-knuckle freefall waterslide. If relaxation is more your style, there is also a lazy river and jacuzzi to enjoy.
Vilamoura was originally built around a small harbour, which is now a thriving marina where you can admire the luxury yachts while you indulge in a meal in one of the many eateries that border it. Just a short distance from the marina is the Praia de Vilamoura beach, where families can hire pedalos and kayaks, or simply relax on a sunbed to watch the world go by.
Where to stay in Vilamoura
For larger families or groups of friends, there are a host of well-equipped villas to choose from, including the Casa Phoenix with mountain views, two private pools and landscaped lawns. The villa sleeps six people in three bedrooms and a 7-night break in August starts from £3,083.
Know before you go…
Portugal has been designated as a county on the UK’s green list for travel. This means that people who have visited the country will not have to quarantine upon their return to England.
It’s advisable to check with your tour operator at the time of booking as to what level of cover they provide should guidelines change before you travel. Most travel insurers offer policies that cover covid-related cancellations, but it is important to keep up to date with the government’s latest travel advice.