The best holidays in Portugal as tourists get the green light
The government has given the all-clear for holidays in Portugal, a European favourite. Chris Carter reports
Of the major European holiday destinations, Portugal is the only one so far to have made the government’s green list of places travellers from England can visit once the country welcomes British tourists again. (The rules differ for travellers from the rest of the UK, so do check the latest information.) Fortunately, when it comes to holidays, “Portugal has it all”, says Laura Hampson in the Evening Standard.
The Douro Valley, for example, in the north of the country, “where rolling hills flank its namesake river”, is one of the world’s oldest wine regions, as well as a Unesco World Heritage Area. The Six Senses resort, 90 minutes east of Porto, sits in a renovated, 19th-century, terracotta-hued manor house, with 57 rooms and three villas set in 22 acres of land. “While your day away at the outdoor pool before retreating to the wine library in the evenings for in-house tastings.” From £449, sixsenses.com.
A hedonistic beach retreat
“Beaches are what Portugal does best,” says Mary Lussiana in The Daily Telegraph. “Fine golden sands run all along the Algarve coastline, in long stretches or tiny coves, framed by mellow limestone rocks.” Vila Joya, in Albufeira, is the Algarve’s “most hedonistic retreat”. Set on cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, it houses a two-Michelin-star restaurant presided over by Austrian chef Dieter Koschina, a small spa, “abundant” gardens, and 22 individually decorated suites, all with ocean views (and some with private pools), not to mention “a cool white-on-white beach shack down on the sand” serving cocktails and sushi. “This is the kind of place that most people don’t leave once they have arrived because nowhere outside is quite as lovely as where they are.” From £673, vilajoya.com.
A spa for sun-worshippers
The new five-star Savoy Palace, based in Madeira’s “charming” capital, Funchal, is the Portuguese island’s biggest hotel launch to date, says Leanne Bayley for Hello magazine. The suites offer “stunning views” of the sea and the bathrooms come with standalone baths, rain showers and “marble everywhere”. In the spa, you’ll find a sauna, Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, ice fountain, sensory showers and an indoor heated pool. Not that sun worshippers aren’t spoilt for choice for sunny spots to “catch the rays” outside. The small infinity pool on the 16th floor is a great spot for enjoying the views. It’s also just the place for sipping cocktails and watching the sun go down. Doubles from €200, lhw.com.