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With an epic, age-old history, a wonderfully warm climate and a picturesque and varied landscape, a villa holiday in Portugal is a uniquely captivating experience. Expect traditional fado music, delicious pastéis de nata (custard tarts), gorgeous beaches and plenty of beautiful blue and white azulejos tiles.
In northern Portugal it’s hard not to be swayed by the many charms of Porto, a wonderfully mystical city of cobbled streets, medieval delights and, of course, endless barrels of Port wine. If you’re after a villa holiday heavy on tradition but slow on pace, head inland and be enchanted by the rolling hills and ancient wineries of the Duoro Valley instead.
For a coastal break, try Viana do Castelo at Portugal’s very northern tip. Wild and deserted, the beaches here feel a million miles away from the popular Algarve - Praia Forte do Paço is one of the best.
For somewhere a little less touristy but not quite off the beaten track, Amarante will please foodies, Guimaraes will fascinate history buffs and Caminha, in the north west, will satisfy those after more of a low-key potter about town experience.
For the very best of Portuguese culture, both past and present, book a villa in central Portugal. Your options include cities like Viseu, Leiria, Guarda and Coimbra; as well as towns like Óbidos and Tomar, and villages like Monsanto, often described as “the most Portuguese village in Portugal”.
Alternatively, there’s always Lisbon – and we don’t just mean the inimitable and ever-popular Portuguese capital. What we’re also referring to is the wider, more diverse Lisboa region, which includes scenic Sintra, coastal Cascais and the rural Tagus Arch.
The biggest region in Portugal, Alentejo is also the most eclectic – an underrated spot perfect for a villa holiday in 2021. If you like your wine, then take a tour of its world-class vineyards. If you’re after quiet, you’ll love its fabled sleepy atmosphere. If you want authenticity, you’ll get that in abundance. Not only is Alentejo full of history, but age-old traditions are very much alive and well here.
In terms of where to rent a villa, look to areas in and around the region’s main towns. Highlights include UNESCO World Heritage Sites Elvas and Evora; historic places like Beja, Serpa and Mertola; and, closer to its rugged coast, Odemira and Cercal.
Famous for its golden beaches, golf courses, exquisite seafood and, of course, all year-round warmth and near-endless sunshine – think long summers and mild winters – the Algarve is always a top choice for a holiday (and great value for money, as well).
If you’re after a classic seaside experience, head south and rent a villa close to or in Faro, the region’s electric capital, or Albufeira, whose beaches and nightlife take some beating. Sagres, meanwhile, in the region’s ‘wild west’, is a great base for people interested in watersports, while further inland, Monchique offers spas and hot springs.
Whatever you’re after from a villa holiday in Portugal – whether it’s a cheap and cheerful escape or a place with a private pool – TravelSupermarket helps you compare a wide range of options.
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