Portugal is located on the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its coastal location has influenced many aspects of its culture: salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes, the Algarve's beaches are a major vacation destination, and much of the nation’s architecture dates to the 1500s–1800s, when Portugal had a powerful maritime empire. Portugal's shape is rectangular with the longest north-south distance being 349 miles and the widest east-west distance is 135 miles. The country's modest dimensions make it easy to visit when time is short. We start north to south:
PORTO (pictured above)
Porto is a coastal city in northwest Portugal known for its stately bridges and port wine production. In the medieval Ribeira (riverside) district, narrow cobbled streets wind past merchants’ houses and cafes. São Francisco Church is known for its lavish baroque interior with ornate gilded carvings. The palatial 19th-century Palácio de Bolsa, formerly a stock market, was built to impress potential European investors.
Where to Stay: The Yeatman
The Yeatman is a luxury wine hotel and spa in Porto with spectacular views over the UNESCO World Heritage city and the Douro River. Member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux collection of hotels and distinguished with two Michelin Stars, The Yeatman Hotel is widely regarded as the best hotel in Porto and is a unique and distinctive landmark in the world of classic luxury hotels. Set amidst the Port wine lodges, The Yeatman nestles on a hill, overlooking Porto and is set within 7 acres of land, and has outdoor and indoor infinity swimming pools. All of the spacious rooms and suites have a terrace or balcony with views over Porto.
The Douro Valley is one of the world's best known wine regions. The Douro Valley is the only place in the world that can legally produce what's called "port wine." The Douro Vinhateiro, as it is known, was the first demarcated wine region in the world (1756) and is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Where to Stay: Six Senses Douro Valley
This 19th-century manor sits high on a hill overlooking vine-covered terraces with the Douro river gently flowing at its feet. It has been beautifully restored, with contemporary interiors reflecting both the region's rich heritage and our Six Senses design values. Spacious and comfortable rooms, suites and villas set within flourishing kitchen gardens and vineyards, seasonal food and exquisite wines from the valley, and a stunning Six Senses Spa await to lift your spirits and bring joy to your soul.
Torres Vedras is a municipality in the Portuguese district of Lisbon, approximately 40 kilometers north of the capital Lisbon in the Oeste region, in the Centro of Portugal. Attractions incude: Lisbon Oceanarium, National Palace of Pena, Belém Tower, Cape Roca, Jerónimos Monastery, Monument to the Discoveries, Azenhas do Mar, Alfama, Sintra, and Quinta da Regaleira.
Where to Stay: Areias do Seixo
Only an hour from Lisbon, Areias do Seixo makes the perfect beach break after exploring the Portuguese capital. Pine groves and sand dunes rub up against each other on the hotel's driftwood-strewn shoreline, which makes up a hush-hush stretch of Portugal's whisper-quiet Costa de Prata (Silver Coast). Romantic rooms feature suspended fireplaces, sheepskin throws, and sea-facing terraces where you can soak up the sun and sea breeze.
Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city. From imposing São Jorge Castle, the view encompasses the old city’s pastel-colored buildings, Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. Nearby, the National Azulejo Museum displays 5 centuries of decorative ceramic tiles. Just outside Lisbon is a string of Atlantic beaches, from Cascais to Estoril.
Where to Stay: The Lumiares Hotel & Spa
The Lumiares is a 5-star boutique hotel & Spa in Bairro Alto. A former palace converted into spacious apartment suites with a panoramic rooftop. Chic and sleek are the calling cards of this boutique hotel that stands out from the crowd with its old-meets-new interior design inspired by the bohemian Bairro Alto district it belong to. From the rooftop bar and restaurant to the small but perfectly formed spa, the Lumiares has been designed to keep you in touch with Lisbon life. Ideally positioned at the top of a hill, the hotel gives guests stunning views of the capital. Spend an evening taking in the sights and sounds of the city from the comfort of the Lumi Rooftop Bar. Watch Bairro Alto come to life as day turns into dusk. Then step out to experience Bairro Alto’s famed nightlife for yourself.
The District of Setúbal is located 40 minutes south of Lisbon on the coast. The top attractions to visit in Setubal are: Parque Natural da Arrábida, Praia de Galapinhos, Mercado do Livramento, Castelo de Sao Filipe, Figueirinha Beach, and more.
Where to Stay: Sublime Comporta
Portugal’s up-and-coming Alentejo region makes the perfect setting for Sublime Comporta. The aptly named hotel takes minimalist design to the max, with floor-to-ceiling windows that put the focus squarely on the surrounding sand dunes, wildflowers, and woodlands dense with umbrella pine. Cork walls and straw lampshades bring the outside into 45 rooms and villas (both shared and private). Some suites are set upon stilts over a biological pond; dive off your own terrace into its clear waters. Order a passionfruit mojito by the adults-only pool and then cozy up around the adjacent fire pit.
Alentejo is a geographical, historical, and cultural region of south–central and southern Portugal. In Portuguese, its name means "beyond the Tagus river". Alentejo includes the regions of Alto Alentejo and Baixo Alentejo. It corresponds to the districts of Beja, Évora, Portalegre, and Alentejo Litoral. Among the fascinating sightseeing spots are the 16th-century Amoreira Aqueduct, the medieval castle, the historic centre and the Manueline-style cathedral.
Where to Stay: Convento do Espinheiro, Historic Hotel & Spa
The whitewashed architecture of Convento do Espinheiro is set amongst blue skies with puffy clouds and surrounding countryside verdure. Once a convent dating back to the XV century, this luxurious hotel considered a National Monument is close to the historical city of Evora, classified by UNESCO as a “World Heritage City”. Our picturesque surroundings make us the perfect spot for enjoying the Portuguese countryside. Retreat to one of the refined guest rooms and awaken to enchanting views of rolling green hills and surrounding beauty. Elegant linens, fine furnishings and world-class service are characteristic of each guest room and suite at Convento do Espinheiro, Hotel & Spa. Experience personal treatment and world-class luxury at our spa facilities offering the most advanced technologies and treatments. Take a relaxed swim in our outdoor swimming pool, overlooking rolling hills.
The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, is known for its Atlantic beaches and golf resorts. Whitewashed fishing villages on low cliffs overlooking sandy coves were transformed in the 1960s, and now its central coast between Lagos and Faro is lined with villas, hotels, bars and restaurants.
Where to Stay: BELA VISTA Hotel & Spa
The hotel is set over the Praia da Rocha cliff with direct access to the beach. It was built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, along with the area’s historical chalets. “Our Lady of Sorrows Villa” The Original Project. It was built to serve as the private home of António Júdice de Magalhães Barros, a local fishing and canning industry businessman (1879-1960) and it was inaugurated in February of 1918 in a ceremony that included the presence of the President of the Portuguese Republic at the time, Sidónio Pais, as the guest of honor. It was then called "Our Lady of Sorrows Villa", and in it, Magalhães de Barros’ five daughters grew up and it was the stage of many memorable events, including visits by artists and politicians. In 1934, Henrique Bivar de Vasconcelos, the original owner’s cousin, turned it into a hotel. And the Bela Vista was born, the first hotel in the Algarve.
The Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, are an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic. The islands are characterized by dramatic landscapes, fishing villages, green pastures and hedgerows of blue hydrangeas. São Miguel, the largest, has lake-filled calderas and the Gorreana Tea Plantation. Pico is home to the 2,351m Mt. Pico and vineyards sheltered by boulders.
Where to Stay: White Exclusive Suites & Villas
Meters from the Atlantic coast, WHITE is the result of a passion that João and Catarina Reis share for creating unique, intimate places in singular landscapes. Being an "adults only" (+14 years old) hotel, this devotion to providing our guests with an exclusive experience, where time crawls at another pace and nature controls our rhythms, is emblematic of a stay at WHITE. The stillness, calm and ocean breezes provide the tranquility that most need for a truly relaxing vacation. When João and Catarina discovered the ruins of an old summer house with magnificent views overlooking the ocean, they knew they had a magical place.
Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, is an archipelago comprising 4 islands off the northwest coast of Africa. It is known for its namesake wine and warm, subtropical climate. The main island of Madeira is volcanic, green and rugged, with high cliffs, pebbly beaches and settlements on deltas of the Fajã River. Capital Funchal has botanic gardens and is known for its harbor and a large New Year's fireworks show.
Where to Stay: Reid's Palace, A Belmond Hotel, Madeira
Surrounded by lush subtropical gardens, Reid’s Palace perches above picture-perfect Funchal Harbour. Having welcomed guests for 130 years, they've perfected the art of indulgence. Anticipate gorgeous panoramic views, innovative cuisine and the superb service of a bygone era—you may never want to leave.