The spring may seem like it is far away, but there are only weeks until you can count on snows beginning to melt, dreary weather to turn to warmer and brighter days, and those first darling buds to arrive. Because of that, right now is the time to choose your next getaway destination, and travel experts are pointing towards the western areas of Portugal as fantastic spots for spring holidays, with the Lisbon and Algarve areas as top choices.
As one expert said of this area, “Often overlooked for its popular European cousins, Lisbon specializes in lulling tourists into its laid-back charm.” They go on to outline the many amazing things you can do if you choose to stay in one of the luxury villas of the Lisbon area.
For example, you might book into the remarkable The Forte in the Lisbon area and enjoy an exclusive setting within the OItavos Dunes, where you get Atlantic Ocean views along with amazing views of the hills of Sintra and the Cabo Da Roca area. With a private pool terrace, access to the nearby golf course, meals at the gourmet restaurants, and spa services, it could prove an amazing springtime break.
However, you are also only a short drive from the heart of Lisbon, and here you can explore the many centuries-old neighborhoods dotting the city’s seven hills. You can take a trip to St. George’s Castle, spend hours wandering from café to café comparing each of the different variations of custard tarts (pasteis de nata) available, or go to Barrio Alto and take in the views. The nearby beaches in the Cascais area will make most travelers swoon with delight, and the Feira de Lada flea market will be a sure winner with those who like a bit of treasure hunting while on vacation. You can also sample the different ways that salted cod is prepared in the local cafes and gourmet restaurants, and a stop at the Oceanarium is a must when visiting Lisbon.
Lisbon is home to the Tram 28, which also takes you on a full tour of the city, or you can stick to the nearer sites like the palaces that dot the hills of Sintra. Be sure to spend time along the waterfront at Belem, head up the Santa Just Elevator, and spend a bit of time at the Gulbenkian Museum or the Tile Museum.
Then, head back to your private retreat.
Algarve – A Must Visit Destination
If you are a bit farther south in the Algarve area, you are fortunate to be situated in what Vogue Magazine notes as the “must visit” area of Portugal. As one expert recently said, Portugal “has turned up on more must-visit lists lately than nearly anywhere else. And no wonder—the sun-soaked, western sliver of southern Europe has much to offer: rich culture, beautiful architecture, and a dazzling culinary scene. While scores of travelers are drawn to the vibrant cities of Lisbon and Porto, would-be visitors should also look to the south—namely, the Algarve region—for an under the radar coastal retreat that’s full of authentic Portuguese pleasures.”
Comparable in its beauty to nearby regions like St. Tropez or Majorca, the region is home to a long list of Michelin starred restaurants, unique wines, and stunning beaches. The beaches remain one of the top attractions and there are over 150 of them with golden sands just waiting to be enjoyed as the weather warms.
The coastal area is famous for its crabby cliffs, and they are among the most photographed features of the region. The most popular and best are Falesia and Sao Rafael in the Albufeira area, and in Aljezur is some surfing options. One of the most famous and popular of all beaches in the Algarve area is the Praia de Marinha, with a cliff walk and stunning views. If you are more of a sand dune and lagoon fan, the Ria Formosa Nature Park is a good beach alternative.
The food is another big draw to the area and with the unique climate of the region, which enjoys more than three thousand hours of sun, none of the hot and dry winds that other areas experience, and a climate ideal for growing, the area is a culinary dream. The finest and freshest seafood is also a staple on most menus, and the region is developing a reputation for its wines and beers. This is why there are more than five Michelin reviewed restaurants in the area.
And the unique Negra Mole grapes that grow only in the Algarve area are behind the region’s many remarkable wines. Though you can find a Pinot Noir made with them, there are also Moscatel and Arintos made from them, and they too are a must.
Luxury Vacation Rentals in Algarve
Staying in the Algarve area is becoming easier and easier due to the emergence of a few resorts. There are also amazing, private luxury rentals, which can range from small to grand in size and scale, and most will feature household staff, private pools, and acreage that ensures the utmost in privacy and scenery. There are options like Encosta Lago 12, with its five spacious bedrooms and world of luxurious amenities. Golfe Poente ensures you have the best of all worlds with a private pool terrace, amazing al fresco dining and living spaces, and room for the whole family. A luxury villa, it is close to all of the beaches and scenery but could also provide the ultimate spring retreat.
With so much to see and do in this one small area of Portugal, it makes for the perfect spring destination. With a unique climate and an emerging foodie culture, as well as lots of historic and cultural sites to enjoy, you can spend weeks making yourself familiar with this lesser-visited part of Europe. The western and southern coastal areas of Portugal, especially Lisbon and the Algarve region are becoming true “hotspots” in the world of travel, so make sure to pay a visit before the summer season arrives.