Beaches and bunkers
Platefuls of just-caught sardines, world-class golf courses, 300 days of sun a year… Portugal certainly isn’t short on assets. Add in the Algarve’s famous beaches and you’ve got a patch of the map that holidaymakers can't get enough of.
The Algarve’s big draw is its coastline – it throws up everything from big sweeps to blink-and-you’ll-miss-them coves. Lining the route you’ve got sleepy villages, like Olhos d’Agua and Sao Rafael. And if you fancy something with a bit more of a kick, there’s the ever-popular town of Albufeira.
To the south of the mainland lies Madeira. It’s been nicknamed ‘the garden island’, thanks to its bumper crop of botanical gardens. When you’re not busy smelling the flowers, quaff a glass of sweet Madeira wine in the sleepy squares of Funchal, the island’s capital.
From Madeira, trace your finger north on the map and you’ll come to Porto Santo. This tiny, relatively undiscovered island is all about long stretches of sand, volcanic peaks and textbook Portuguese villages.
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Portugal’s southernmost strip isn’t just about ribbons of golden sand and world-famous golf courses. It’s also got an edgy mix of modern, got-it-all resorts and traditional towns. Plus, families are more than catered for with a superb line-up of waterparks, theme parks, and restaurants where little ones are always welcome.
It’s a tough call to name Madeira’s most famous export. On the one hand, there’s the sweet dessert wine that goes down a treat – especially when it’s splashed into a trifle. On the other, there’s the fancy footwork of footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid’s headline-grabbing midfielder was born in the capital, Funchal.
Porto Santo Island
Porto Santo’s like a starlet teetering on the brink of worldwide fame. There’s a hum of excitement about the island at the moment, and you get the impression it’s a destination tipped for big things. Strangely enough, though, you’d be hard-pressed to find it on a map. Measuring up at just 11 kilometres by 6, it’s little more than a speck just north of Madeira.