With the gorgeous azure-blue Med to the south, instagrammable cities that come alive at night, and a region entirely dedicated to wine production, it’s almost a crime that Portugal isn’t as well-known as other summer spots in Europe. We have a range of beautiful properties to suit every holiday. Try Lisbon and Porto for a short break, or the Algarve for a family gathering.
Best for: History, culture and nightlife
Lisbon’s cobbled streets and maze of diverse districts set the scene for a perfect city break. The famous yellow trams chug up the hills, passing architectural delights. Visitors should take a trip in the wrought-iron, neo-Gothic elevator from the Baixa (low) district to the Barrio Alto (high), or take the tram down the coast to Belem. And absolutely, without a doubt, eat traditional Portuguese pastel de nata (custard tarts).
Featured property: Bento Apartment
Star feature: The wrought-iron balcony gives you that real European feel
The Bento Apartment has several main draws. Not least, its location in one of Lisbon’s most sought-after residential districts, just a five-minute walk away from the city’s buzzing nightlife and excellent food. It’s also huge. The property sleeps 14 people, and has a balcony and courtyard for outdoor dining.
Best for: Food and drink, namely, port
Porto has gained renown over the last few years as a foodie gem. Visiting one of the city’s award-winning port lodges to taste the different varieties is a must. But you could also head to one of the city’s food markets to try bacalao, salted cod, or climb the 18th-century Baroque tower of the Igreja dos Clérigos, which gives you extensive views across the city.
Featured property: Apartamento do Farol
Star feature: The sea is just 150 metres away
Apartamento do Farol is a quirky property in the small, coastal town of Foz do Douro. Offering fantastic proximity to Porto, it gives visitors a relaxing stay outside the hustle and bustle of the city, but is only a 15 minute bus ride/drive away, or an hour’s walk if you’re feeling active. Nature reserves are also nearby – including the Parque Natural do Douro.
Best for: Partying by the beach
Beach-lovers looking for almost-guaranteed sunshine should consider the Algarve for their next holiday. Albufeira is this coastal region’s biggest town, having grown from a tiny fishing village to a holiday hotspot. The city has a buzzing nightlife, and watersports or boat trips are all available from the shore.
Featured property: Villa Praia
Star feature: Pool, hot tub and table tennis, all with fabulous sea views
Family-friendly Villa Praia is ideal for large groups. The beach is right outside, yet with a private pool and hot tub the holiday home also offers guests a retreat from the occasionally busy sands of Albufeira. There is a large terrace outside with a dining table, ping pong and deckchairs; you’ll never want to step indoors.
Best for: Botanical gardens and rich history
As the capital of Madeira, Funchal is a lively town with a rich history that dates back to the 1400s. It has a slightly tropical climate, with peaceful botanical gardens housing exotic plant life. A discerning visitor will enjoy the Rua da Santa Maria area, which has been transformed by a street art project. Hikers are also well-placed to explore the surrounding mountainous regions of Madeira.
Featured property: Funcho Cottage
Star feature: Banana trees and vines give the cottage a tropical air
The quirky, stone-built Funcho Cottage is located on a banana plantation, and has a sort of historic Caribbean-flair that will definitely give you holiday vibes. Sleeping just two people, it’s a cosy, romantic retreat located very conveniently to enjoy Funchal’s lively harbour. There is an outdoor pool on-site too.
5. Douro Valley
Best for: Wine lovers
The wine-growing, UNESCO heritage region of the Douro Valley is a must for any visitor to Portugal. Banked terraces of vines are carved into the hills, with stone buildings peppering the landscape. Of course, tasting the product is an essential part of any stay, but the Baroque city of Lamego also makes for a fascinating visit.
Featured property: Quinta das Brolhas
Star feature: Its location on a working vineyard
This two-hundred year old stone property has bags of history and character that add to a memorable stay. With expansive grounds, Quinta das Brolhas is in the heart of the Douro Valley. It’s surrounded by vineyards and close to the historical towns of Lamego and Regua
Best for: Sun, sea and sand
Lagos is one of the biggest beach resorts in the Algarve and its historical centre sets it apart from some of the other towns along the coast. As well as catching the rays on some of Lagos’ many long beaches, try a kayaking excursion to the cliffs of Ponta da Piedade. The clarity of the azure-blue water is magical.
Featured property: Vivenda Beira Mar
Star feature: The balcony, which overlooks the pool and the ocean
Vivenda Beira Mar is a large villa that sleeps four people comfortably, with ample room to spread out. The open plan living/ dining area makes it easy to spend time as a family without being under each others’ feet, and the pool is an added bonus. With a location close to one of the best beaches in Lagos, this holiday home is a winner.
Best for: A fairytale palace and mountain views
Just a short metro ride from Lisbon, Sintra is a picture-perfect resort town in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains. The pastel-hued buildings pop out of the lush, green landscape in such a way that Byron once termed the village ‘glorious Eden’. The ornate world heritage site of the Palacio Nacional da Pena sits on its mountain-top throne like a cherry on a cake, overlooking the pine forests of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.
Featured property: Villa Tierra
Star feature: Almost 360 degree windows offer views upon views
The stylish Villa Tierra is a large, modern property that will wow visitors with the light and airy feel. Sleeping eight people with an amazing six bathrooms and an outdoor infinity pool, this is the perfect holiday home for groups of friends or family. It’s a short drive from the beach, the glorious Pena Palace or the forest-covered walking trails of the Parque Natural Sintra-Cascais.
Best for: Swimming and sardines
Portimao is the last Algarve town on our list, and this one-time fishing village is a worthy addition. The immense beaches are backed by red cliffs, and you can walk for miles along interconnecting stretches of sands. Praia da Rocha is particularly stunning. Portimao is well-known for its sardines, best eaten fresh, grilled, with crusty bread and a bottle of Douro Valley white.
Featured property: Villa Riccarda
Star feature: The immaculately decorated living space
Every corner of the stylish Villa Riccarda has been carefully thought out by its artist-owner. The central outdoor courtyard offers outdoor cooking facilities, a private swimming pool and an outdoor shower, while there’s also a roof terrace with sunbeds and a large barbecue. Inside, the bedrooms are a haven of peace, with mood lighting and bluetooth headphones provided.
9. Caminha Municipality
Best for: Avoiding the crowds
The Caminha Municipality is at Portugal’s north-west corner, next to the border with Spain. While there are beautiful beaches here, their location on the Atlantic makes them more suited to sailing and windsurfing than sunbathing. The pretty town of Caminha is a hidden gem, full of 15th and 16th-century buildings and with a local market selling traditional pottery and fresh produce.
Featured property: Casa Carvalho
Star feature: Antique furniture that shows its historic roots
Casa Carvalha is a converted farmhouse, sleeping ten people, that has the character of a historic manor house, both outside and in. The rooms are furnished with pieces that complement its past, from wingback armchairs to the antique desk in the study. It’s a short drive away from Caminha or the fishing village of Vila Praia de Âncora.