We know winter calls for a cup of tea by the fireplace whilst the rain falls outside. However, that doesn’t mean we have to do so at home…
There are many places worth visiting during winter across the country! First of all because there are destinations that have a special charm during this time of the year and secondly because it’s off-peak season, meaning there are no crowds and prices won't drain your wallet.
In this article we challenge you to take a winter break and give you some great options for you to choose from.
Venture to a Natural Park and recharge your batteries
Despite being small in size, a fair amount of the country is classified as protected area. There are 13 natural parks in total and each one is unique in its own way. Landscapes are quite diverse, from mountainous ranges to deep caves, snaky rivers to incredible beaches, dense woods to wide open plains… Apart from the ancient heritage, the parks are home to many species of mammals, amphibians and birds, which creates a very rich ecosystem.
To add to their charm most parks are very peaceful and it’s frequent to drive for kms without crossing paths with anyone else, particularly during winter. Venturing to a natural park really is an awesome experience for those looking to unplug and reconnect with nature and the simple things. There are adorable B&B and countryside retreats that merge with the landscape and provide authentic experiences.
For those seeking to explore and try sporty activities there is a wide offer, but the ones interested in relaxing will also find the perfect spot to read a book and contemplate the beautiful scenery...
Our top choices during winter are Serra da Estrela and Serra de São Mamede, but there are many more to choose from. To find more detailed information about our favourite parks read this article we wrote last year.
Explore the natural heritage of the Portuguese islands
The islands of Açores and Madeira are also great options during this time of the year due to their subtropical climate. Temperatures tend to be mild and the unbeatable natural heritage wows anyone who visits. To be fair, it is frequent to get a few rainy days (or at least a couple of downpors), but rain is responsible for the hypnotising green landscapes after all!
Açores is an archipelago of volcanic origin with 9 islands, located between Portugal and the USA. Madeira can be found further to the south, near to the African coast, and comprises an island with the same name and 6 other ones.
Both archipelagos are a great destination, particularly for those looking to get immersed in the idyllic natural panorama. If we had to pick 5 reasons to visit we’d have to mention: amazing hiking trails, beautiful gardens, interesting small towns, delicious food and the most welcoming people!
We highlighted both Madeira and Açores on the Inspire Me section of the website. Click here to learn more about these destinations.
Head south and relax in Algarve
Algarve is undoubtedly sought as a summer destination. However, travelling during the opposite time of the year has its perks! Temperature won’t be high enough to chill at the beach, but there’s still a lot to do and see and the sun is likely to shine everyday.
Combining the peaceful countryside of Algarve to the costal part is a great experience and it allows to get the best of both worlds. Inland you can hike along beautiful trails, explore the mountainous range of Serra de Monchique, do a kayak trip along the river and stroll around interesting towns with a moorish legacy. On the shore the beaches and small fishermen villages are a delight to discover. The delicious seafood restaurants have a special allure during this season and they attract people to have lazy lunches with views of the sea, without having to queue to get a table.
On both parts of the region there are great quality places to stay at, where you really get to unplug and relax. They range from more rustic farmhouses inspired in the typical Algarve architecture to luxurious boutique hotels with fancy restaurants, which creates an interesting mix of visitors.
The countryside of Algarve really is a great destination that pleases everyone, from history enthusiasts to outdoor lovers and nature explorers. Read more about the “Other Algarve” in this article.
If you're thinking of taking a winter break in Portugal let us know and we'll help you come up with the perfect itinerary according to your interests and expectations :)
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