Most flights to Portugal land on the stunning shores of the sunny Algarve in Faro Airport (FAO), where holidaymakers lap up the warm weather, relaxed resorts, fabulous beaches and the gracious hospitality of the locals.
Villa and self-catering accommodation is hugely popular in this region and a car is a must to get around.
Fine golf courses, spa resorts, secluded beaches, inland villages, and the dramatic Monchique Mountains also make car hire worthwhile in the Algarve.
Portugal flights also carry visitors to the delights of city living, with Lisbon Airport (LIS) and Oporto Airport (Porto; OPO) welcoming arrivals in the northern part of Portugal.
Transfers into the capital city of Lisbon from its airport are easy by bus, taxi and dedicated airport shuttle services, though car hire from the airport is useful if you plan on venturing outside the city. Recommended trips include the coastal resort of Estoril in Cascais, and Sintra, a wonderfully unique and historic hill town less than an hour from Lisbon (think tales of princesses and castles).
Further north, Oporto (Porto in Portuguese) is a buzzing city and a great jumping-off point for exploration of the verdant Douro Valley and its fruits, which produce Portugal's famed port wine. You'll definitely want to return home with a few bottles.
The spirit of exploration trots along hand in hand with Portugal. Setting sail from these shores on a number of occasions, Christopher Colombus is often reported to have been Portuguese (though the Italians would disagree). Car hire in Portugal is essential if you want to indulge your own spirit of adventure and really see what Portugal has to offer.
Whatever your destination, and whatever type of holiday you want in Portugal, book flights early to avoid disappointment.
Prices are generally cheaper outside of the peak months of June to September, though the Algarve is popular year-round and the weather rarely fails to cheer, with around 3,000 hours of sunshine every year in the Algarve.
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