A sun seeker's guide to Portugal

Monday, 5 August 2013 6:26 AM

If it's sunshine you're after, Portugal is an excellent destination to head to. Bathed in a golden glow and blessed with wonderfully warm climes, this country is a veritable sun seeker's paradise. So, when - and where - should you go for your holiday?

Fortunately, the whole nation is known for its glorious summertime weather, so you have a wealth of destinations to pick from. Plus, the spring, summer and autumn seasons all have their advantages - read on to find out more.

When to travel

June to September is generally the hottest time of year in Portugal, and over this period the temperature throughout the country sees very little variation during the day, often hovering around the 30 degrees C mark. If you're after a decent dose of sunshine, this is a good time to travel.

However, if you want a little peace and quiet too, it is perhaps wise to avoid the busy July/August period, when the coastlines are generally at their most crowded. Should you be planning a family trip and need to fit your break into the school holidays but still want to avoid the crowds, consider travelling in the October half-term. It is usually still warm at this time, while most tourists will have gone; an added bonus is that you will avoid the worst of the heat.

The spring, meanwhile, can be an equally good time to visit - especially if you want to see the country in full bloom, as this is when the colourful flowers will be at their best and brightest. On the whole, the bulk of rain falls between November and March, so you should avoid the worst of the wet weather too.

Where to go

As you can see, there is plenty of flexibility when it comes to when you travel - and there is a similar level of choice concerning where you go and accommodation to stay in. You can check out your options at Cosmos Holidays, but we think there are a few destinations that particularly stand out, with the sun-drenched shores of the Algarve being one of them.

Home to more beaches than any other part of the country, the Algarve is a natural choice for a holiday in the sun. One of the best things about coming here is that as well as offering gorgeous stretches of sand, it has a huge amount of variety in terms of attractions and activities.

For instance, there are plenty of exciting water sports to try, with the Vicentine Coast being particularly perfect if you want to give something like surfing or body boarding a go. Head to the beaches of Vale Figueiras or Beliche on this part of the coastline for a water sports-based adventure.

There are also lots of family-friendly beaches if you're after more of a classic seaside break. Areas like Arrifana, Albufeira and Carvoeiro are sure-fire winners. In Albufeira, Oura is one of the most popular family-oriented beaches, while Maria Luisa is great for unwinding in peace.

Another fantastic holiday option is the town of Estoril in the municipality of Cascais. This charming place is just 20 km away from the capital city, Lisbon, and boasts some amazing beaches. So, it's a good destination to base yourself in if you want the freedom to explore the capital when you please while also having easy access to beaches and coastal entertainment.

There are some excellent restaurants tucked away in the streets of Estoril, alongside plenty of bars and charming cafes. Lining the ever-popular Carcavelos Beach are some great little restaurants - it's particularly nice to pop into one of these for a refreshing milkshake when the sun is beating down making the sand scorching hot to touch.

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