Where to stay in Portugal

Portugal is a multicultural country and its essence comes from the influence brought by its former colonies on four continents, which continue to influence its present in every possible way, from its language, architecture, music, gastronomy and more. The people are welcoming, multilingual, generally reserved, affable and with a certain nostalgic touch. It is a country surrounded by sea and separated from the rest of Europe by Spain, the big sister that for many centuries turned its back on it. Nowadays, this country is on the list of many travellers as a favourite destination, and who wouldn't want to visit this jewel with its wonderful golden sandy beaches and rich history and culture?

Our favourite places to stay, towns and villages:

  • Where to stay and what to visit in the Algarve, the Alentejo, the Azores and Madeira
  • Where to stay and what to visit in central Portugal, Lisbon and the Lisbon coast
  • Where to stay and what to visit in northern Portugal and Porto

We have selected unique accommodations in Lisbon and Porto, as well as in other areas of Portugal that we consider the most beautiful and a must-see. In recent years, small hotels have sprung up with a modern design, but without losing their Lusitanian essence. In our guide to authentic, unique and beautiful places to stay in Portugal, we have put together a list of the best boutique hotels in Portugal, B&Bs and guest houses. You will also find a curated selection of elegant luxury hotels, whether with a view over the Atlantic ocean or in the rural idyll of the mountains and plains. If you wish to be more independent and savour the local environment there is also a choice of beautiful luxury villas and holiday homes.

You will furthermore find:

Where to stay in southern Portugal, the Algarve, Alentejo, the Azores and Madeira

As diverse as this beautiful country is the choice of holiday accommodations on offer. We have put together a handpicked selection of the most beautiful, most authentic, coolest and nicest places to stay in Portugal. As there are great differences between the north, centre and the south, the coastal areas and the interior we have put together a list of our favourite and we believe, best places to visit in Portugal. 

To the south east of Lisbon lies one of our favourite destinations in Portugal, the Alentejo, known for its vast, rolling plains, cork tree forests and picturesque hilltop towns. The region is a perfect destination for those seeking a tranquil escape, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling, and exploring the great outdoors. Stay in a boutique hotel in the town of Évora, or opt for one of the luxurious wine estates in the Alentejo surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.

Another beautiful and authentic destination is the charming village of Monsaraz. This fortified town is located on a hill overlooking the Guadiana River and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Stay in a charming guest house, such as the Monte Alerta. 

For a beach getaway, the Alentejo coast offers two stunning destinations. One of them is the chic and trendy village of Comporta known for its untouched beaches, endless pine forest and flashing green rice fields. Enjoy the area in one of the luxury hotels and boutique hotels in Comporta or a stylish villa in Melides, tranquil oases surrounded by nature. The other fabulous beach destination is the Costa Vicentina, that runs along the coast from Sines all the way down to the Algarve. The Costa Vicentina boasts a number of beautiful country side hotels in towns such as Vilanova de Milfontes, Zambujeira do Mar, São Teotónio and Carrapateira.

Finally, the Algarve in the far south, a popular destination for those seeking sun, sea, and sand. While the Algarve has suffered a bit from touristic development and mass tourism, there are still plenty of hidden gems to discover, including secluded beaches, quaint fishing villages, and charming towns. Stay in a charming holiday home in the undiscovered town of Olhão, a cosy bed and breakfast in the charming city of Tavira or opt for a luxurious stay at one of our many boutique hotels in the Algarve. There are also a number of beautiful villas in the Algarve that will fulfil all your dreams.

For a more rugged experience, head to the Azores, a group of volcanic islands located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. These islands are full of natural wonders, such as hot springs, waterfalls, and crater lakes. Stay in a charming hotel or beautiful holiday home in the Azores, most of the offering breath-taking views of the ocean and surrounding countryside.

Finally there is the island of Madeira with its luxury hotels in Funchal and romantic country inns and B&Bs in the surrounding mountains and nature. Madeira’s northern coast is also becoming a favourite spot for surfers.

Where to stay in central Portugal, Lisbon and the Lisbon coast

Heading south on the way to Lisbon you can opt to travel along the coast visiting towns such as Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal and the historic village of Óbidos, although quite touristy well worth a visit. This medieval town is surrounded by a wall that has been beautifully preserved and inside, there are narrow cobblestone streets that wind through the town, offering a glimpse into Portugal's past.

Or you can discover the Serra da Estrela in the central Beiras region with its mountain villages mostly built entirely out of stone. On its southern tip lies the city of Coimbra which is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe and is full of history and culture.

Of course, for anyone visiting the Lusitanian country, Lisbon will be a major attraction. The capital is a dynamic city, full of life and a perfect blend of open-mindedness and a deep respect for its heritage and tradition. It is a real pleasure to explore, to lose yourself in its majestic squares and cobbled streets. Each district has its own distinctive architectural style and charm, and it's easy to move between them on the tram network. The only downside is that it has become one of the top ten destinations worldwide with the ensuing rise in hotel prices and overcrowding of the most famous spots. But it has managed to keep its charm and with a bit of insider knowledge you can discover authentic and wonderful areas. We have been especially caring to select only the best boutique hotels in Lisbon and luxury hotels as well as a collection of stylish holiday rentals in the most beautiful boroughs of Lisbon such as Alfama, Bairro Alto, Lapa and the Chiado.

A few kilometres west of Lisbon you will find an abundance of completely different natural environments due to the micro climate of the Sintra mountains, a natural park. They include moist subtropical rainforests, full of fairy-tale palaces and manor houses in the historic towns of Sintra and Colares on the northern slopes, dry  Mediterranean style climate with pine forests south of the mountains and beautiful beaches on the coast. It is an ideal area to stay in the Lisbon region. In our curated selection you will find manor houses and romantic bed and breakfasts in Sintra and Colares as well as luxury and boutique hotels in Cascais and Estoril.

Where to stay in northern Portugal and Porto

In the north west, the Minho region is a must-see for those who love nature and history. Its charming villages, rolling hills, and stunning coastlines offer plenty of opportunities for exploration. Stay in a charming guest house in the town of Ponte de Lima, or opt for a luxurious stay at a beautiful boutique hotel near the marvellous town of Viana de Castelo. To the east you will find the natural wonders of the Serra do Gerês National Park. The region is also home to the city of Guimarães, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered the birthplace of Portugal.

Moving south east, the Douro Valley is another popular destination for wine lovers and those seeking a tranquil retreat. The region is home to some of the country's best vineyards and wineries, with plenty of opportunities for wine tastings and relaxation. Stay in a beautiful countryside hotel along the river Douro or opt for a luxurious stay at the Quinta do Vallado or the Six Senses Douro Valley, a stunning luxury hotel surrounded by vineyards.

At the mouth of the river the fabulous city of Porto is a must on your trip to Portugal. It unites history, perfectly preserved historic quarters and some of the best restaurants with local food in Portugal, not forgetting the famous Port Wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river. Stay in one of our handpicked boutique hotels in Porto or a charming holiday apartments in the historic centre.

Gastronomy in Portugal

A small country that we are sure will dazzle you with its variety of landscapes and environments. From the amazing light to beaches, from the plains of the south to the mountainous regions in the centre and the idyllic green hills of the north. The wonderful variety of countryside is perfectly complemented by a large number of charming villages and majestic monumental cities throughout the country. And let's not forget some of Europe's most stunning beaches. The options are practically endless. 

But it is the gastronomy that surprises many travellers. Portugal's cuisine, due to the country's location, is fundamentally based on seafood. It is heavily influenced by Mediterranean cuisine - from which it takes ingredients such as bread, oil and wine - and Arabic cuisine, resulting in rich dishes with a wide range of flavours, aromas and textures.

One of the stars of Portuguese cuisine are soups. There is a wide variety, including "caldo verde", made with cabbage, potato, sausage and smoked ham. Rice is also very typical, served with sea food, duck, partridge or the great protagonist of Portuguese cuisine: salt cod.

Wine is another of the country's great attractions, especially in the region of Oporto, where the homonymous drink shares the limelight with the most typical dish of the area: tripe with white beans, onions, rice, sausage and rice.

Seafood - especially in Lisbon and the south, where lobster and lobster are out of this world - is also particularly good in Portugal, as is its fish. We have already mentioned cod - presented in a thousand different ways, whether in croquettes, frayed or garnished with mussels and tomato - but this country also has the most exquisite sardines, red mullet and rays.

Another star dish is "cozido à portuguesa", a dish prepared like a common stew and made with vegetables, pork and beef.

Cheese lovers will find their place in Portugal. Famous cheeses are the "queijo da Serra", the “queijo de São Jorge” from the Azores and the deliscious “queijo de "Azeitão" just to name a few.

Portuguese sweets are also exquisite. It is worth tasting the delicious "pastéis de Belém" in Lisbon and indulging in the sophisticated sweetness of the "palmier" or Portuguese palm tree pastries.