I hope to introduce you to some alternative spots from the norm in Portugal. It’s a small country but it’s jam‑packed with some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe.
The Douro Valley is Port Wine country. The region is located in Northern Portugal and is not too far away from the second largest city, Porto. There are over 200 Quintas (wineries) in the area so you are spoilt for choice. It is believed that the Douro Valley is the oldest wine region in the world. Peso da Regua is a good place to base yourself for day trips around the region.
When to visit: Late October/ early November for autumn grape vine colours.
The Berlengas are a Portuguese archipelago consisting of small islands just off the coast of Peniche, in the Oeste Region. The only inhabited island is Berlenga Grande but it has no permanent residents. The island is easily visited by boat from Peniche.
When to visit: June to August for the best weather and the delightful smell of barbecued sardines.
Porto Covo is a civil parish in the municipality of Sines along the Alentejo coast of Portugal. The name literally means port of the covos‑ the term covo refers to a fishing net used for catching lobsters and crabs.
When to visit: Easter holidays or just before the summer to have the beaches to yourself.
Vila Nova de Cerveira
This border town of Portugal is situated on the banks of the Rio Minho, which it shares with Spain. To the left of this photo is Portugal, to the right Spain, both being on different time zones. The town is famous for its biennial exhibition of visual arts. This spot is particular nice to enjoy a sunset.
When to visit: All year. Maybe avoid the winter months that are extremely rainy.
Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal consisting of four islands just off the coast of Africa. The main island is volcanic, green and rugged. The capital, Funchal, is known for its harbour and a large New Year’s Firework Show.
When to visit: All year.The weather is very tropical.
Ok, well the Algarve isn’t a lesser known gem, but it’s amazingly beautiful. Wherever you go you will find; Atlantic beaches, whitewashed fishing villages and beautiful sea stacks.
When to visit: All year. It's warmer from March to September but I recently visited in December and it was still lovely.
Home to the biggest waves in the world, this place is a pro surfers paradise. Seafood is in abundance, and the locals are super friendly! Nazaré has a mild climate and has an ancient tradition connected to fishing. The town’s seafront is known for its grandeur and colourful awning. It is not uncommon to come across fishmongers who still wear the traditional seven skirts. Make sure to go to a personal favourite cafe of mine for brunch @village_nazare .
When to visit: All year.I tend to avoid the summer months due to overcrowding and higher accommodation costs.
One of the seven wonders of Portugal. This charming town has been described as an “open air museum” of white houses surrounded by a medieval castle. The liquor drink “ginja” was born here so make sure you try a glass. In March every year, be sure to check out the chocolate festival.
When to visit: March, it's going to be cold but the chocolate festival makes it worth it.
Lousã is a municipality in the district of Coimbra. There is an abundance of historic villages and hiking trails to satisfy all tastes. A particular highlight for me is the Lousã swing ‑ but be prepared to queue to ride it as it has grown in popularity.
When to visit: Easter onwards to August as it can be get pretty cold up there after sundown.