Portugal’s top four holiday destinations

With the credit crunch causing general belt-tightening around the UK, many people are looking for a 2009 holiday that offers sun, sea and scenery on a reduced budget. Spain and Greece are always popular choices; but those in the know are heading for Portugal, where up-market resorts offer accommodation and entertainment at great prices. Here are four dream holiday destinations in the sun-kissed country that won’t cost you the world. 

1. Oporto: Portugal’s second-largest city, Oporto has all the charm of Lisbon without the high cost of living. It is situated in a beautiful area of the country at the point where the River Douro flows into the Atlantic, and offers tourists a myriad of cultural attractions, including several art galleries, museums and Medieval cathedrals. Take time off between visiting the city’s attractions to wander through its narrow, ancient streets and admire the typically Portuguese red-roofed houses.

2. Evora: Located in the Alentejo region of Portugal, Evora’s well-preserved town centre, ancient medieval walls and variety of historic monuments have led to it being classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t leave without visiting the cathedral, admiring the Roman temple and taking a turn around the central Giraldo Square. It’s also worth taking a tour of the surrounding towns, stopping off at Elvas, Portalegre and Castelo de Vide. 

3. Vila Vicosa: Less than an hour’s drive from Evora is the picturesque town of Vila Vicosa. Think tree-lined boulevards, marble pavements and a riot of colour in the form of countless orange and lemon trees. This is a great place to base yourself if you’re keen to relax and soak up the sun and the Portuguese atmosphere, perhaps venturing out for a foray or two into the scenic surrounding countryside.

4. Figueira da Foz: If you’re in search of blue skies and white sand then look no further than Figueira da Foz. This attractive city is located on the largest sandy beach in Portugal – two miles long and immensely wide, it is a Mecca for sunbathers and surfers from around the world. As an added plus, Figueira is situated within a zone of legal gambling and is home to hundreds of glitzy super-casinos.  

To reach these top destinations on a limited budget, think about booking a fully-inclusive package deal, or check out last minute and late holidays with a site like On The Beach.