Explore the Iberian peninsula on your holiday to Portugal, whether you are staying on the mainland or on one of the jewel-like islands dotted in the sea nearby. Madeira and the Algarve have long been popular destinations, with the British making a beeline for sunshine and beaches ever since the 1960s. The rest of Europe quickly followed and Portugal now enjoys a thriving tourist trade.
Many visitors own their holiday homes outright and these visitors come as often as possible making the most of the beautiful settings and gentle warm climate. It has been known for a long time that the coast is a favourite jaunt for Portugal holidays, and the authorities have catered for the industry, building resorts and hotels to accommodate all the visitors.
The Algarve is home to a fabulous network of golf courses, as well the stunning natural beauty and clean sandy beaches that first attracted the travelling trade. Souvenirs made of traditional ceramics and pottery are widely available, and many visitors take the opportunity to purchase mementos and gifts. Praia da Marinha is one of the best known Portuguese beaches. The water quality is superb and the setting is so beautiful that the beach has featured in international advertising campaigns and many photo-shoots. The beach was given the ‘Golden Beach’ award in 1998 for its excellent natural attributes. Praia da Falesia offers a unique contrast with bright reddish rocky cliffs emerging startlingly from the white beach sand. The crystal clear water adds an inviting and welcoming aura to this lovely beach. Swimming and sunbathing are popular here, as are cycling and walking along, admiring the wonderful cliffs. This area is relatively unspoiled but this does mean that the facilities are fairly well spaced out, so do take that into account.
Madeira is both the main island and the archipelago of a handful of small, but exquisite islands. Porto Santo has a fabulous 9 kilometre stretch of beach that has facilities for many different water sports, from scuba diving to snorkelling to sailing and big game fishing. Porto Santo is a peaceful, tranquil place and it is possible to find a quiet and private section of beach that you can call your own for a short while. Madeira is also home to Lava Pools at Porto Muniz. The natural rock pools formed by an ancient lava flow have been transformed and expanded and hold sea water that comes in with the tide. The beauty of these pools is that the water in them is gently heated to a few degrees above that of the ocean, making a dip in the Lava Pools a tremendous treat!
Portugal has much to offer the visitor, modern vibrant cities, fabulous spicy cuisine and lively garrulous people. Head to the beaches in Portugal for a fabulously relaxing holiday soon.