The best of Portugal

An enchanting land of hidden coves, castles, cathedrals and delicious cozido

The best of Portugal Lisbon, Portugal - © istockphoto/Andrii Bozhok
By: Time Out editors

Portugal has all the ingredients for an unforgettable holiday: miles of golden coastline, idyllic islands, historic architecture, exotic wildlife and dramatic landscapes, all crowned by year-round lashings of sun. Combine the above with the produce of countless vineyards and fish markets to serve a delectable dish (best baked for for one to two weeks).

Alentejo

Alentejo is a rural landscape unlike anywhere else in Portugal, with rolling grass plains and undulating corn fields interspersed with sprawling forests of cork oaks and pine. Down along the coast, the long, sandy beaches are brisker and breezier than the Algarve, and crowd-free. The pace of life here is southern and slow, so linger in the little villages that appear like tiny nests of whitewashed houses, while enjoying local wines and scoffing traditional sweets from local monasteries.

Take time to explore the hills, which conceal regal Roman temples at Evora, and crumbling medieval ruins at Monsaraz. Dine underneath 18th-century frescoes at the Hotel Convento de São Paulo, a beautiful 12th-century convent converted into a comfortable hotel.

Stay at Hotel Convento de São Paulo (+351 266 989 160, www.hotelconventospaulo.com).

The Algarve

The Algarve is well known as a massive tourist draw, and with good reason. You can book a package trip for an extremely affordable price and end up with exactly what you expected. The town of Albufeira is a good option, offering little secluded coves as well as long stretches of sandy beaches, plenty of watersports and golfing opportunities, walks into lush Portuguese countryside, and a year-round sunny climate.

The Bayside Salgados Apartments are an affordable option, with terraces overlooking the sea. If you want to avoid the tourist resort-packed Litoral area, then venture into the serra (hills) to experience traditional Algarve folklore, song and dance, especially popular on feast and saints’ days during summer. The Barlavento region to the west has a rockier coastline and beautiful hidden bays, while the Sotavento area to the east is mile after mile of sandy beaches and warm(ish) seas.

Stay at The Bayside Salgados Apartments (www.bayside-salgados.com).

The Azores

This group of nine volcanic islands scattered across the Atlantic are all uniquely stunning, but all share a similarly lush, green landscape and relaxed island attitude. São Miguel is the biggest, and boasts a village of thermal springs and fertile vegetation inside its central crater.

A speciality here is cozido do Portugal (a variety of meats and vegetables) cooked up inside the springs. Santa Maria is the most southerly of the islands and provides good surfing off the Praia do Formosa, and similar ribbons of white sandy beaches are to be found on Terceira – the most densely populated of the group – along with historic cathedrals and palaces.

The central cluster of islands – Graciosa, Faial and Pico – do a great line in geological wonders, meanwhile, with sulphur caverns, tunnels to gashes in the earth’s crust, and Portugal’s highest mountain, Ponta de Pico.

During the summer, boats operated by Atlantico Line (+351 296 288 933, www.atlanticoline.pt) connect all the islands, or book a Biosphere Expeditions package (0870 446 0801, www.biosphere-expeditions.org) to travel by boat tracking whales, dolphins and rare sea turtles.

Lisbon

Portugal’s capital city is spread across the hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, and offers Gothic cathedrals, majestic Moorish castles and quaint museums. Although it has all the cultural offerings you’d expect, Lisbon remains scandalously cheap; you can book a room in a hotel like the beautifully restored ex-convent York House at a fraction of the price you’d expect. Or stay at one of the many pensoes in downtown Baixa, a grid-like network of lovely backstreets.

Start the day with a pastel de nata (custard-filled pastry) and espresso in Belem, and end it in the hilltop district of Bairro Alto, where the streets are lined with restaurants and bars packed with friendly locals. The eastern waterfront has been revamped in recent years, and now boasts an Oceanarium and great seafood restaurants.

Stay at York House (+351 213 962 435, www.yorkhouselisboa.com).

Madeira

This little island has long been a retreat for tourists and Portuguese alike. Rustic villages set along a coastline of sandy beaches or nestled in clifftops and valleys, and beautiful parks and gardens, draw thousands each year. Visit Funchal for one of the most vibrant fish markets you’ll ever see.

One of the nicest ways to experience the scenery is to stay at a quinta, an old Portuguese homestead. The Quinta das Vinhas in Calheta is one of the oldest manor houses on the island, and the 17th-century flagstone floors, wooden ceilings and hand-painted tiles exude tradition – as does the very fine home-brewed Madeira served with delicious food. The house is flanked by mountains with views that sweep over its vineyards to the sea.

Stay at Quinta das Vinhas (+351 291 824 086, www.qdvmadeira.com).

Time Out guidebooks

1000 Great Holiday Ideas

Plan your perfect trip with this inspirational compendium of failsafe holiday suggestions. It's packed with fresh ideas for traditional breaks, from beach idylls to winter sun and family camping, along with great suggestions for trying something different – all around the world. Whether you're looking for a weekend break or the trip of a lifetime, Time Out's worldwide team of travel specialists can take you there.

1000 Great Holiday Ideas is available from the Time Out shop.

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Comments

By Cecília - Jun 30 2014

For those who prefer more intimate accommodations, renting a holiday house may be the best option. You can see our holiday rentals in our website silvercoastfinest (http://www.silvercoastfinest.com/holiday-rentals/)

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By Pamela Hillman - Apr 21 2014

Can we subscribe to time out guidebooks for the Algarve

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By Pamela Hillman - Apr 21 2014

Can we subscribe to time out guidebooks for the Algarve

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By Manuel Pessoa - Jan 3 2014

Manuel Pessoa is a guy that has been operating a restaurant for over a decade.
The current economic situation forced him to resize his business to a really nice concept:
He has this ground floor apartment with its very unique architecture and a backyard
(pics here)
3 rooms (seating up to 6, 8 or 20-25) where he can organize dinners for either
independent people seating together around a larger table and sampling e.g. a pre set Sampling Menu
or small parties from 4 to over 20 people or take the thing for a private party where every detail on food and drinks can be discussed
He is a really nice and easy going guy, very flexible and the feel one gets...
it is like being at our own nice house, eating home made food with a friendly and efficient service!
quite a unique experience, one can even bring own mp3 or CD and play it...
and starting from only 20-25 EUR or so all inclusive, Wines too!

I must say I hate to recommend him on this venture,
last time I did so could no longer book tables within hours of dinner time at the former restaurant.
Location is near Principe Real square,

http://manuelpessoa.com/
+351 91 758 8281
Rua Cecilio de Sousa 77A-R/C | 1200-100 Lisboa | Portugal




.









Manuel Pessoa
manuelpessoa.com
Eventos Gastronómicos

Report
By Manuel Pessoa - Jan 3 2014

Manuel Pessoa is a guy that has been operating a restaurant for over a decade.
The current economic situation forced him to resize his business to a really nice concept:
He has this ground floor apartment with its very unique architecture and a backyard
(pics here)
3 rooms (seating up to 6, 8 or 20-25) where he can organize dinners for either
independent people seating together around a larger table and sampling e.g. a pre set Sampling Menu
or small parties from 4 to over 20 people or take the thing for a private party where every detail on food and drinks can be discussed
He is a really nice and easy going guy, very flexible and the feel one gets...
it is like being at our own nice house, eating home made food with a friendly and efficient service!
quite a unique experience, one can even bring own mp3 or CD and play it...
and starting from only 20-25 EUR or so all inclusive, Wines too!

I must say I hate to recommend him on this venture,
last time I did so could no longer book tables within hours of dinner time at the former restaurant.
Location is near Principe Real square,

http://manuelpessoa.com/
+351 91 758 8281
Rua Cecilio de Sousa 77A-R/C | 1200-100 Lisboa | Portugal




.









Manuel Pessoa
manuelpessoa.com
Eventos Gastronómicos

Report
By Manuel Pessoa - Jan 3 2014

Manuel Pessoa is a guy that has been operating a restaurant for over a decade.
The current economic situation forced him to resize his business to a really nice concept:
He has this ground floor apartment with its very unique architecture and a backyard
(pics here)
3 rooms (seating up to 6, 8 or 20-25) where he can organize dinners for either
independent people seating together around a larger table and sampling e.g. a pre set Sampling Menu
or small parties from 4 to over 20 people or take the thing for a private party where every detail on food and drinks can be discussed
He is a really nice and easy going guy, very flexible and the feel one gets...
it is like being at our own nice house, eating home made food with a friendly and efficient service!
quite a unique experience, one can even bring own mp3 or CD and play it...
and starting from only 20-25 EUR or so all inclusive, Wines too!

I must say I hate to recommend him on this venture,
last time I did so could no longer book tables within hours of dinner time at the former restaurant.
Location is near Principe Real square,

http://manuelpessoa.com/
+351 91 758 8281
Rua Cecilio de Sousa 77A-R/C | 1200-100 Lisboa | Portugal




.









Manuel Pessoa
manuelpessoa.com
Eventos Gastronómicos

Report
By Manuel Pessoa - Jan 3 2014

Manuel Pessoa is a guy that has been operating a restaurant for over a decade.
The current economic situation forced him to resize his business to a really nice concept:
He has this ground floor apartment with its very unique architecture and a backyard
(pics here)
3 rooms (seating up to 6, 8 or 20-25) where he can organize dinners for either
independent people seating together around a larger table and sampling e.g. a pre set Sampling Menu
or small parties from 4 to over 20 people or take the thing for a private party where every detail on food and drinks can be discussed
He is a really nice and easy going guy, very flexible and the feel one gets...
it is like being at our own nice house, eating home made food with a friendly and efficient service!
quite a unique experience, one can even bring own mp3 or CD and play it...
and starting from only 20-25 EUR or so all inclusive, Wines too!

I must say I hate to recommend him on this venture,
last time I did so could no longer book tables within hours of dinner time at the former restaurant.
Location is near Principe Real square,

http://manuelpessoa.com/
+351 91 758 8281
Rua Cecilio de Sousa 77A-R/C | 1200-100 Lisboa | Portugal




.









Manuel Pessoa
manuelpessoa.com
Eventos Gastronómicos

Report
By web icons - Dec 13 2012

P.S. Please review our <a href="http://delphi.devcourse.com">design portfolio</a> for Doors2012.

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By Duncan and Caroline - Aug 1 2012

Looking for the website for the Muscat/Oman edition of the Time Out magazine. Can't find the correct link using Google. Can anyone help?

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By coco derococo - Jul 30 2012

I have to concur with other reviewers that Time Out is doing a sub par job of presenting Portugal and especially Lisbon. The energy you put into hiring DJs for the Avenida quiosque would be better spent on paying a journalist to actually be on the scene and know what's what. It's been two weeks I've been in Lisbon, and Time Out Portugal (unlike Time Out New York which is exemplary) has done nothing in Portuguese or English to enrich my experience. Everything you present is the same tired nonsense I could get from a Tourist Office. Where's the cool Time Out Portugal?

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By Neil Moran - Jul 9 2012

Sorry, but I have to concur with the more critical reviews of your website. It is very amateurish with none of the insights you might expect from a writer who was half way familiar with the city. It gives the overwhelming impression of having been written by someone who did 30 minutes research on Wikipedia and did not even bother to visit Lisbon. Pathetic. Shame on you Time Out

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By Matilde N. - Jun 18 2012

This website is soooooooo disappointing! How come you don't update the venues anymore? There's so much going on in Lisbon!

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By James muscat - Jan 20 2012

timeout lisbon has been around for a few years now .. and last year I emailed you regarding their site ... don't you have any quality control over your websites. TimeOut Lisbon's site is one of the worst I've ever seen ... Lisbon deserves better !!!!

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By Christine NYC - Dec 29 2011

Right now I'm visiting Lisbon, sitting in an apartment in the Biaxia area. This page is so poorly written–it's obvious the writer has never been to Portugal! What's more, he needs to take a basic writing class. Time-Out, I expect more from you!

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By Luis - Nov 3 2011

You wankers! Where is the northern part of the country?

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By Ana - Dec 23 2010

Welcome to Lisbon. If you are looking for a lovely place to stay in the most historical Lisbon neighborhood (within castle walls) . Check www.apartamentocastelo.blogspot.com. Enjoy your stay!

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By JAE - Jul 9 2010

Thank you for correcting the article

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By JAE - Jul 7 2010

A big mistake there in the Azores. "Cozido" isn't cod, it isn't even fish! Totally the opposite. It is a mixture of cabbage and pork meat. Please correct it

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By rosa - Jul 6 2010

I wish you had also considered northern Portugal...

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