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Language: Portuguese | Currency: Euro (€) | Local time: UTC+00.00 | Avg. Flight time: 3 hrs
From boutique hostels to five-star hotels, Portugal has a bed for every budget and character. On the Algarve you can take your pick of B&Bs, boutique hotels, family-friendly resorts, villa rentals and designer sea-side pads, paying anything between €80 and €200 for a double room. Portugal’s best five-star hotels can be found here and in Lisbon, where you can stay in the likes of the Pestana Palace, which is utterly lavish and classified as a National Monument.
Some of Portugal’s best hotels are housed in converted monasteries, mansions, castles and palaces. These are known locally as pousadas and can be found all over the country, particularly in scenic or historic locations such as the Alentejo wine region, Porto and older towns along the Algarve. Converted by some of the county’s top architects, these are super places to stay, particularly out of season when they represent great value.
Cheap hotels in Portugal are usually situated in the countryside or secondary cities where prices can drop to as little as €60 for a comfortable and stylish double room. Some of the best are located in the historic towns of Estoril, Coimbras, Óbidos, Évora, Porto and Viana do Castelo. There is also a growing network of boutique hostels in Lisbon and Porto, which represent Portugal’s cheapest and most classy digs.
If you’re looking for cheap hotels on Portugal’s coast, head away from the Algarve to other seaside destinations along the Atlantic coastline. Sagres, near Cabo de São Vicente, is a lovely spot with fabulous south westerly sunsets over a quaint fishing harbour. Olhão and the Costa Vicentina, a favourite surf spot with endless empty beaches, are other affordable seaside destinations, as is the historic seaside town of Viana do Castelo in the far northern province of Minho.
Best of all though is the coastline of Beira Litoral, the province that sits midway between Lisbon and Porto. Backed by rolling dunes and pine forests this remains one of the least spoiled sections of coast in Portugal. Figueira da Foz is the main resort, but even this retains a thoroughly low-key, local character.
Portuguese wines are now internationally famous and wine tourism is a growing area of interest for visitors. The Douro Valley, the Alentejo region (just north of the Algarve) and the island of Madeira, where the mountains are crisscrossed by steep vineyards, are Portugal’s three principle wine growing regions.
All are dotted with manor houses, aristocratic wineries and farmhouses where you can overnight, visit vineyards and indulge in innumerable tastings. In Porto there’s even a wine hostel and the five-star Yeatman Hotel houses Portugal’s only vinothérapie spa, where all the Caudalie product ingredients are drawn from grape vines.