Portugal Travel Information
Portugal & Madeira Travel Information
Whenever Portugal is mentioned, it's usually the Algarve that first
springs to mind. And understandably so. For decades this sun drenched
coast has been drawing British & European holidaymakers to its sublime
Over the years its combination of golden beaches, superb golf
courses and all year round sunshine has really struck a chord in peoples
Likewise the island of Madeira, another long standing
holiday favourite. While this Portuguese island may not have any
beaches to shout about, what it lacks in sand it more than makes up for
in natural beauty with Jagged volcanic peaks, flower filled meadows and
dramatic cliff tops that drop sheer into the sea.
Portugal Travel Guide
of Portugal is a monument to the history of Portugal. Enter Lisbon
across the 25th April Bridge, a suspension bridge and sister to the
Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco but bigger!
As you enter Lisbon
you are watched over by Christ the Redeemer, a statue rivaling that in
Rio de Janeiro. Experience the ride in the 'Elevador', which is a lift
that joins the two level of the city and includes marvelous views over
the surrounding district.
You will need to
have a guided tour of Lisbon and also Alfama district, the oldest in the
city is well worth a visit.
towards North Africa, Portugal's Algarve is one of Europe's most popular
tourist playgrounds. Bathed in glorious sunshine for most of the year
it is home to pristine beaches backed by dramatic cliffs and rock
Many of the regions shores have been awarded
the prestigious Blue Flags for their cleanliness. If you are looking to
sink your feet into silky soft sands and top up your tan you have
certainly come to the right place.
Nightlife in many
resorts is fairly low-key but if you head towards the lights of
Albuferia new town you will find the place buzzing with bars and clubs.
Away from the bright
and breezy holiday resorts, the Algarve also boasts cultural gems, such
as Faro and Silves, as well as countless inland villages like Alte and
The Algarve is also a golfers dream with 25
or so superb courses including the 19 hole Penina course which was
dreamt up by British Open winner Sir Henry Cotton. Dont forget to take
your handicap with you as many of the top courses it is needed.
Algarve Top Resorts
Transfer time from
Faro Airport - 40-50 mins
centered around a huge marina and is the largest, purpose built holiday
resort in the Algarve. There is plenty of activities on hand from
sailing, bowling, shopping and having a flutter at the casino. The golf
is superb with six 18 hole championship courses and over 50 tennis
courts. At the beautiful marina you can have a look at the huge yachts
or try your hand at water-skiing or speed boating.
If all this seems a
bit too exhausting, there's plenty of the more traditional holiday
pleasures. The two sandy beaches stretch away from the marina and you
will find plenty of snack bars, sunbeds and umbrellas. You can really
hammer your plastic cards here with fashionable boutiques, plenty of
souvenir and handcraft shops dotted around the town.
As you would expect
there's an abundance of restaurants to choose from and if you have any
energy left at the end of the day, you'll find the nightlife
cosmopolitan and varied, with lots of clubs, bars and late night cafes
to choose from.
Transfer time from
Faro Airport - 1 hour approx
undoubtedly the Algarve's most famous holiday playground and encompasses
the old town, the hilltop Montechoro area, Praia da Oura and Areias de
The old town, perched on a cliff top,
commands fabulous views of Fisherman's Beach below, and has a maze of
steep cobbled alleyways crammed with restaurants, bars and shops. The
lovely Oura Praia and nearby Santa Eulalia provide perfect wide sandy
beaches for all the family to enjoy.
Transfer time from
Faro Airport - 2 hours approx
Alvor is a quieter
resort with a more traditional Portuguese feel to it. It combines the
old world charm of a typical Portuguese fishing village with the appeal
of its fabulous stretch of sandy beach and modern hotel facilities.
The centre of the
old village is a maze of narrow, cobbled streets and whitewashed houses,
leading down towards the working fishermen's quay.
The low key village
nightlife centres around traditional cafes and restaurants. Alvor is a
relaxing retreat with a local flavour. Couples and families seeking to
'get away from it all' will find this an ideal holiday.
Rocha / Praia Do Vau
Transfer time from
Faro Airport - 1 hour 30 mins approx
Praia de Rocha
boasts one of the most photographed beaches in the Algarve. The beach
is extremely impressive with its fantastically shaped cliffs and rock
formations. The resort itself is set on a cliff top overlooking the
beach and attracts holidaymakers looking for a wide range of facilities.
Shops, cafes, bars
and restaurants line the mile long promenade and there's no shortage of
cocktail bars and discos for late night entertainment.
Just 1km from Praia
da Rocha is Praia do Vau which is a charming beach resort flanked by
cliffs. Its relaxed and calm atmosphere makes it popular for families.
Transfer time from
Faro Airport - 2 hours 30 mins approx
character and charm the historical town of Lagos enjoys a relaxed
atmosphere and is one of the most interesting towns in the Algarve.
Much of the 16th century wall build to guard the city still stands,
protecting the maze of cobbled streets that twist through the town.
More recently, a new
Marina has been built in the sheltered end of the harbour. The town
boasts many good restaurants, bars and open air cafes. There are a
number of excellent beaches close by, including the sandy Meia Praia,
the biggest beach in the area with excellent water sports, and Dona Ana,
a delightful cove with towering colourful cliffs. A ride on the little
train from the Marina around the resort is a must.
Known to the Romans
as one of the Purple Islands. Today it is more widely called the
'Floating Garden' on account of its magnificent sup-tropical flowers and
plantation. There is though a lot more to Madeira than just a dream
location for people with green fingers.
Madeira has some
amazing scenery - soaring mountains and lush forests. There are some of
the world's finest hotels to cater to your every need, plenty of
opportunity for souvenir hunting amongst the art and craft emporia, or a
session of more sophisticated retail therapy in chic designer stores.
When it comes to
showing you a good time, Madeira is 1st class. Don't expect Caribbean
style beaches as for swimming and sunbathing you will need to be happy
with your hotel pool. What this island lacks in sand it easiliy makes
up for in charm and charisma. Madeira has a certain magic that is hard
to find anywhere else in the world.
Funchal is Madeira's
main destination. A unique city like a portion of Portugal mixed with a
dash of Garden of Eden and Edwardian Britain. In a sparkling natural
harbour, with its cobbled streets winding up the mountainside, its
smothered in vivid bougainvillea, jasmine and other exotic blooms.
In the town there is
fascinating historic sights around every corner with its cobblestones,
craft shops and pavement cafes.
Funchal is named
after the herb, fennel, which grows wild here.
Information for Portugal and Madeira
Time Difference: as GMT
from London: Portugal - 3 hours Madeira - 3 hours 30 mins
What to buy?
Port, Madeira cake,
Madeira wine, pottery & hand painted tiles.
Food & Drink
Catapalana fish or meat stew, seafood, chicken Piri Piri, grilled
Lisbon: Port and smoked ham, 'pasteis de Belem' custard tarts
Madeira: Grilled fish, soups, cakes and
Places to visit
Silves Castle, Zoomarine
Lisbon: Castelo Sao Jorge, Jeronimos
Monastery, Oceanarium, Belem Tower, Casino, Santo Antonio Church
Madeira: Se Cathedral in Funchal, Madeira
Theme Park in Santana, Bable Car from the lower area of the city to the
town of Monte, toboggan ride from Monte down to Funchal.
Many highways in
Portugal require a toll
If you are planning
to play golf on your holiday then ensure you have your handicap
certificate with you as many courses will require it.
Get a quote
or book your holiday to Portugal with Hessle Travel.