Whether it’s a fun filled city break in the hustle and bustle of Lisbon or a leisurely golfing holiday in the Algarve, Portugal has long been one of the world’s top twenty holiday destinations.
Blessed with stunning natural beauty and year-round sunshine, Portugal offers crystal clear seas and a wealth of activities to suit even the most discerning world traveller.
The Portuguese coastline is a holidaymaker’s dream. Frequently hailed as one of the best golf destinations in the world, high-end resorts and world class courses sit side by side with an abundance of health and wellness spas that make the most of the scenery and tranquility on offer.
For the adventurous, Portugal offers some of Europe’s best deep-sea fishing as well as every kind of water sport an enthusiastic tourist could dream of. But it’s where the ‘rolling plains end in unspoilt beaches’ that’s the real attraction.
The Portuguese coastline boasts nearly 200 Blue Flag beaches, many hidden from the main tourist trails by sheltered coves or decorated by countless colourful boats in picturesque fishing villages like Sesimbra – which also doubles as the fashionable weekend retreat of ‘well to do’ Lisbon families.
Alongside all the sunshine, beaches and activities – not to mention the glorious climate – Portugal’s history and heritage can almost be overlooked. Almost. From its Moorish legacies to modern day Lisbon, Portugal combines the past and the present with a timeless elegance. Whether you’re a history buff or simply in need of some old world culture, you can choose from UNESCO World Heritage sites like the magical cliff top village of Sintra or simply take in the quiet charms of historic towns like Guimarães, Évora or Angra do Heroísmo. What to do at sentosa singapore
More than anything, it’s the pull of a more sedate and relaxed pace of life that bewitches visitors and keeps bringing them back for more. Perhaps it’s no wonder that over a third of Portugal’s tourists hail from the UK with many choosing the laid back lifestyle of evening strolls on the promenade at Sesimbra or the café terraces of Porto as ideal holiday home destinations.
Given all that Portugal has to offer it’ll come as no surprise to know that tourist figures have risen dramatically over the last decade – extending well beyond the traditional Algarve destinations. So what now for the future?
The world wide economic woes of 2008 have hit tourist figures in Portugal as they have in many other destinations – although gross guest numbers for the first eight months of 2008 are actually up on the same period last year. It’s clear that the hey day of cheap flights and even cheaper properties has gone; but while hotel stays from international tourists have fallen by around 4%, the home grown market has blossomed – attracting almost 4% more overnight stays from Portuguese citizens in 2008. It seems that the Portuguese are increasingly discovering Portugal for themselves and helping to keep tourism as one of the country’s most important industries.
Portugal is almost uniquely blessed by the perfect climate and stunning natural beauty but it offers much more than just golf resorts and beach holidays. Even the government’s plans for the promotion of tourism in Portugal realise what makes ‘Europe’s west coast’ so special. They are promoting four things: ‘climate and light,’ ‘history, culture and tradition,’ ‘hospitality’ and ‘diversity.’