Portugal is the westernmost country in continental Europe, claiming the southwestern portion of the Iberian Peninsula and offering beautiful, diverse landscapes for visitors to enjoy. It is home to 17 locations that have been designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site, 26 Michelin-starred restaurants, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on two sides, making for countless stunning beaches and ideal surfing conditions along the coast.
For those looking for more adventure than a walk along the Praia da Rocha or a guided tour of Jeronimos Monastery, Portugal has more than enough exciting regions and activities to keep you busy for the duration of your trip!
Whether you prefer to be in the water, the mountains, or somewhere in between, this southern European country ideal for your next travel destination.
For an idyllic cycling holiday, head to the Unesco World Heritage Douro Valley in northern Portugal, a little under four hours away from Lisbon. The valley, so named for the Douro River that runs through it, is Portugal's wine country and is where its famous Port wine is produced. There are guided tours available, or you can choose to bike on your own.
This vineyard-filled region is an amazing biking location, with steep, winding roads making for a challenging ride full of stunning views. As an added bonus, you can stop at wineries along the way to sample delicious local wines and take walking tours throughout the properties and wine cellars.
For more of an adrenaline rush, travel farther up north for the opportunity to go mountain biking in the Peneda-Gerês Natural Park on the border with Spain. This park offers mountain roads and trails for riders looking for a more rugged experience with beautiful mountain vistas.
The southwestern coast of the Algarve is home to charming fishing villages and has some of the best waves for surfing in the world. Whether you've never touched a surfboard or are experienced at the sport, this is the place to be to properly experience surfing in Portugal.
Most beaches in this popular area have surf shops and/ or schools for easily accessible equipment and lessons, should you want them. Some of the best beaches for surfing around Sagres are Praia do Zavial, which is within walking distance to the town, Praia do Tonel, and Praia do Beliche. For surfing lessons or surf boot camps in this area, try the Algarve Surf School or Wavy Surf Camp.
With so much gorgeous coastline, it's no surprise that Portugal is also a top destination for scuba diving in Europe. If you're looking for another fun water adventure, scuba diving is a great way to explore marine life and discover the sea from a different perspective.
Some of the best places in mainland Portugal to go scuba diving are located in the Algarve and include Faro, Sagres, and Lagos. These locations all have diving schools that offer both diving introductions and group trips for more experienced divers. If you prefer to stay in shallow waters but still want a similar experience, you can check for snorkeling options, which are also offered by many diving schools.
Dive Time in Lagos, Algarve Divexperience in Albufeira, and Indigo Divers in Carvoeiro are all great diving schools for beginners and veterans alike and are perfect stops on any adventure travel itinerary. They are all conveniently located on the central Algarve coast and offer competitive pricing on their trips.
One of the most impressive features of Portugal's southern Algarve coastline is the stunning cliffs and rock formations lining its beaches. Within these cliffs are various hidden sea caves and grottos that are well worth a visit but can only be accessed by water. If you're interested in taking boat tours in Portugal, the Algarve is where most of them depart. From 3-10pm.
Depending on your comfort level and the type of adventure you're seeking, you can either kayak or take a boat trip to visit these caves, the most famous of which is Benagil Sea Cave near Lagoa. Boat tours will often take you further along the coast to visit more caves, but few will let you disembark to explore the caves and secluded beaches.
Kayaking is another fun way to see the caves and the beautiful coastal views. There are kayak tour options if you would prefer to go with an instructor and small group, but you can also rent your own equipment and kayak on your own, creating your own itinerary and spending as much time as you would like inside the caves.
Horseback riding makes for a pleasant alternative to walking and is a great way to discover the central Alentejo region of Portugal. There are various horseback riding centers in the region that welcome riders of all levels, so beginners need not be intimidated.
Passeios a Cavalo Melides is a stable located close to the sea and offers both mountain and beach riding experiences, so you can choose which terrain to explore. If you are comfortable on a horse and prefer to do an extended tour of the Alentejo coast, you also have the option of booking overnight tours that include both food and accommodation.
If you can't decide on which activities to book and want to take advantage of all that Portugal has to offer, check out our group tour of the southwest corner of Europe for an adventure-filled itinerary including rock climbing and paddleboarding.
Anyone seeking adventure in travel will have their choice of activities in this small but vibrant country. If you don't know where to start or are looking for more personalized vacation recommendations, contact us any time to learn more about our vacation packages and how to make the most of your trip to Portugal and the Algarve!