Can you believe Euro 2016 is over already? Here at Holiday Discount Centre we were on tenterhooks watching Portugal storm to victory, on the very same day that Murray took home the Wimbledon trophy for the UK. Now that it’s all over we’re eagerly awaiting the start of Rio 2016 next month, though in the meantime we’re seriously considering escaping to Portugal. The Iberian country doesn’t just offer good football – it’s also a fantastic holiday destination. Here are five reasons that Portugal scores highly with us:
The Algarve region of Portugal is home to some of the best beaches in Europe, including Praia da Marinha which the Michelin Guide considers one of the world’s leading beaches. Its trademark arches and crystal clear waters have even earned it Portugal’s prestigious Golden Beach award. In nearby Lagos, another popular beach is Praia Dona Ana, boasting distinctive rocky outcrops which are still frequented daily by local fishing boats. Falèsia beach is one of the longest in the country and is particularly popular with families, while the jet-set head to swanky Praia do Castello.
Portugal gave the world piri piri chicken, which is reason enough to rate the country’s cuisine. While little is known about Portuguese food compared to other destinations in Europe, visitors to the country will find it’s a taste sensation. Piri Piri D’Almancil offers some of the best piri piri in the Algarve, while visitors to Lisbon will love the crispy chicken on offer at Bon Jardim. Portugal’s seafood is ubiquitous, particularly in the Algarve region, and the country’s national dish of bacalhau, or salted cod, should definitely be tried once – O Globo in Albufeira serves up some of the tastiest. Finally make sure you try the famous custard tarts, which can be found almost everywhere!
Portugal may have just taken home the Euro 2016 trophy, but that’s not the only sport the country offers. In fact, the Algarve region is best known for its many golf courses. It’s hard to imagine that no courses existed until 1966 when Henry Cotton laid out the first championship course at Penina. Now there are over 100 in the Algarve alone, including some of the world’s best: Monte Rei, San Lorenzo and Oceanico to name but three. If golf isn’t your game, you’ll find countless watersports on Portugal’s beaches, with everything from banana boat rides to parasailing to flyboarding on offer.
With plenty of award-winning beaches, Portugal is the perfect destination for a family holiday. Parents will find that not only are children allowed in cafes and restaurants at any time of day, but that waiters will go out of their way to make them welcome. Museums, sights and attractions are equally hospitable to the young, with no admission charges for pre-schoolers and half-price tickets for under-12s. There are also plenty of attractions catering to the family-market, from Aqualand Waterpark to Lisbon Zoo.
Its Famous Landmarks
Portugal has a long and fascinating history and as a result contains several interesting landmarks. Perhaps the most recognisable is Lisbon’s Belem Tower, which dates from 1515 to 1520 and rises majestically from the banks of the Tagus River. It shares its Manuelin style of architecture with the equally mesmerising Jeronimas Monastery which was built during the same period. While here, be sure to visit the National Archaeological Museum and the Maritime Museum which stand within its confines – that’s three for the price of one. A slightly more colourful attraction is Pena National Palace in its palette of pink, yellow and blues. The interior is said to be even more extravagant than its exterior – which sounds to us like reason enough to visit.