Culture as colourful as its iconic azulejos. Ruggedly beautiful beaches with a surf scene to rival California. Vast and verdant countryside dappled with vineyards and rustic farmhouses. Portugal packs a punch when it comes to summer holidays, and is now all the more inviting thanks to its current green list status for UK visitors. Here is a handpicked hotel-by-hotel guide to help plan a break to suit every type of traveller…
Toes-in-the-sand trips for sun seekers…
Quinta Da Comporta – Wellness Boutique Resort, Comporta
An idyll wrapped in rice fields and palm trees, Quinta da Comporta is designed for coastal contemplation. Step inside to whitewashed walls and cool-toned touches, where each room has a luxurious beach hut feel decorated with rustic-style furniture drawn from a natural colour palette. Get to know your surroundings and hop on the hotel’s shuttle to Carvalhal Beach. While away the day exploring this expanse of sugar-white sand, renowned as one of the country’s best beaches. If you’re feeling adventurous, bring a board and brave the waves – when the weather’s perfect, Carvalhal is one of Portugal’s top surf spots.
Pousada Palácio de Estoi, Faro
A Rococo palace bathed in Algarve sunshine, dusky pink walls and flourishing gardens greet every guest on arrival at Pousada Palácio de Estoi. Take a dip in the statement outdoor pool, before retreating to the elegant simplicity of your private suite. This historic hideaway makes a wonderful base from which to tour the eastern Algarve. Book a private excursion to explore natural parks, or canoe out to the region’s distinctive sandbank islands.
Palácio Estoril Hotel, Estoril
Located in the heart of Estoril, a cosmopolitan coastal town increasingly known as the Portuguese Riviera, Palácio Estoril Hotel boasts manicured gardens with magnificent sea views. Spend sunny days by the pool under a bright blue sky, or go to the beach, just a five-minute walk away from this grown-up establishment. Take time out to wander along the seafront promenade with its boutiques, bars and restaurants, while Tamariz beach has rows of elegant sun loungers and umbrellas, and there are plenty of restaurants and ice cream parlours here too.
Colour-popping city breaks for culture cravers…
Lumiares Hotel and Spa, Lisbon
Lumiares Hotel and Spa stands out from the hotel 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 breath-taking views of the capital – best enjoyed with a sundowner in hand at the Lumi Rooftop Bar.
Pousada de Lisboa, Lisbon
Portugal’s past echoes from the sunshine yellow façade to the resplendent ballroom of Pousada de Lisboa, a palatial Lisbon landmark taking up prime position on the corner of Praça do Comécio. You’ll find rooms that are chic and contemporary, with grand windows giving far-reaching city views. If you can draw yourself away from the calm of the courtyard, pool or spa, Lisbon’s major sights are within easy reach, including the Church of St Anthony and the hip surrounds of the National Museum of Contemporary Art.
Hotel da Estrela, Lisbon
To see an off-the-beaten-track side to Lisbon, Hotel da Estrela is a peaceful hideaway in the capital’s prestigious Estrela district, a tranquil part of the city just 500 metres from the Basilica and within easy access of the centre. Formerly an aristocratic family palace, this beautifully renovated building now showcases a creative mix of vintage school furniture with contemporary furnishings, while still retaining the property’s sense of heritage.
Hotel Infante Sagres, Porto
Built in the 1950s yet resembling a 19th century manor house, this legendary grand dame is just a short stroll from Torre dos Clérigos, a landmark Baroque church with a beautiful bell tower. First impressions at Hotel Infante Sagres celebrate turn-of-the-century opulence, while the bedrooms offer a more pared-back take on luxury. Think white bedspreads and features that draw on Porto’s Moorish history in the guest rooms, and a four-poster plus heritage patterns in the exclusive suite.
Quinta da Casa Branca, Funchal – Madeira
The vibrant island of Madeira has also secured a spot on the UK green list, making it the ideal island retreat if you’re looking for an alternative to mainland Portugal. Blessed with consistent sunshine, balmy temperatures and a fascinating array of diversions (including hurtling down cobbled streets on the Monte toboggan) Funchal is a city break quite unlike any other European escape. Tucked away from the centre amidst tropical greenery lies Quinta da Casa Branca, a marvel of modern architecture with garden suites suites benefitting from deck chairs and sun beds.
Countryside retreats for back-to-nature adventurers…
Carmo’s Boutique Hotel, Ponte de Lima
With just 15 rooms and three glamping-style tent suites, Carmo’s Boutique Hotel is an intimate countryside retreat in the heart of Portugal’s oldest village, Ponte de Lima. Carmo’s guests are wonderfully placed to discover the traditions, cultural heritage and architecture of the beautiful Minho region of Portugal. With the feel of a private residence, a number of the tastefully decorated rooms have views over Lima River Valley. While away an afternoon with a visit to one of the local wine estates that produce vinho verde, or take a class at the nearby Equestrian Centre Vale do Lima before exploring the region’s lagoons and Peneda-Gerês National Park.
Hotel Casa Palmela, Setubal
Down a long, vineyard-lined road with the rolling hills of Arrábida Natural Park on all sides, lies Hotel Casa Palmela. The serene white 18th-century house has been completely restored into a luxurious countryside casa, moments from secluded beaches and verdant mountains. The Garden House is the perfect option for larger groups, located in the most secluded area of the hotel grounds and with a spacious set of suites, you will be made to feel instantly at home. Gather round the table (or picnic blanket) for a taste of the renowned Azeitão regional cheese, or explore the Natural Park by bike, on horseback, or simply on foot, before cooling off on the Atlantic coast.
Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães, Guimarães
Follow in the footsteps of Augustinian monks and Portuguese royalty at Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães, a boutique hotel brimming with heritage from its 18th-century tiles to the bar housed in what was once the monastery kitchen. Swim the day away in the outdoor pool, beside what used to be the mill, or get lost in a good book in the Old Library. The wonderful sense of history continues down the hill to Guimarães itself – a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to a medieval castle.
Quinta das Lágrimas, Coimbra
Quinta das Lágrimas has an undoubtedly romantic air, in keeping with its history as the setting for a famous 14th-century love story. The yellow and white façade of the hotel beautifully sets off the rambling garden bursting with rare trees, an enchanting fountain, and a picturesque lake. Sunny days can be spent lingering by the outdoor pool, or idyllic strolls along the River Mondego in Dr Manuel Braga Park.
Alentejo Marmoris Hotel & Spa, Vila Viçosa
Highlighting the marble for which Vila Viçosa is renowned, Alentejo Marmoris Hotel & Spa is a shining example of a beautiful renovation. Integral to the build of the hotel, marble features throughout the property; from intricately decorated floors to the walls of the spa. Architectural gems of the village, including the Royal Palace and the Castle, are on Alentejo’s doorstep, while rural beauty can be found in nearby Évora and beyond with a meander through pretty villages following the wine and olive oil routes.