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

The Six Senses in the Douro Valley
The Six Senses in the Douro Valley: a perfect spot to unwind
(Image credit: © Savoy Signature; Six Senses)

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.

Wine country

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,

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,

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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,

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.