With a 900-year history largely centred on her success as a seafaring nation, most of the focus, when considering Portugal as a holiday destination, rests on the diversity and quality of her coast. As varied as it is beautiful Portugal's coast stretches nearly 1000 km south from the Douro Valley in the north (the home of the world famous Port) down to the ever-popular Algarve, probably best known for its clubs, bars and lively nightlife.
A glorious coast that boasts superb resorts, quaint fishing villages, sheltered coves, impressive beaches and sand dunes, awesome Atlantic facing cliffs and some of the best beaches in Europe entices countless numbers of visitors to return year after year.
Coastline of Portugal - Five star attraction
Five Star sightseeing as well as a Five Star coastline is another aspect that attracts visitors to Portugal and the elegant holiday options it offers. Explore inland and discover villages that barely appear to have changed over hundreds of years, the slow pace of daily living unaffected by the haste and stress that so many of us go on holiday to escape. A countryside of olive and citrus groves, vineyards, wineries and woodland reveal a traditional way of life that in many parts of Europe is resigned to the history books.
Marvel too at the splendour and magnificence of much of Portugal's ancient architecture. From Gothic Cathedrals such as one in Lamego to the Monastery of Alcobaca just north of Lisbon, Medieval towns such as Guimaraes and the 12th century Castelo Templatio in Tonmar with its majestic and imposing walls, Portugal has an embarrassment of architectural riches and is fortunate to have been recognised with numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Portugal also has Five Star cities too. In the north Porto is a bustling, busy commercial centre. Built along the hills overlooking the Douro river estuary, UNESCO included Porto's historical centre in its World Heritage list in 1996. Enjoy authentic
Portuguese seafood and don't forget to pay a visit the historic Port Wine Cellars district to sample the orgins of this famous drink. Lisbon, the city of seven hills is Portugal's vibrant and vital capital. Brilliant white limestone buildings and narrow alleyways charming and enchanting visitors making the city a popular destination throughout the year. With a rich history built on exploration and discovery much of Lisbon's beauty reflects the nation's glorious seafaring past, known locally as the Age of Discovery. The residents of Lisbon are also bright, enjoyers of life and sophisticated with a seemingly insatiable appetite for the better things in life including delicious food, wines, music and nightlife.
Portugal is well known as a golfing heaven, with a huge choice of perfectly manicured courses, especially in the Algarve.
It would hardly be fair to not mention golf when talking about Portugal. If you like golf you'll love Portugal. Voted by readers of Golfers Today 'Best Golf Destination 2008,' 14 of Portugal's courses are rated in the top 100 best in Europe. It's a golfer's paradise.
So what are you waiting for? Life's too short to settle for second best. If you are looking for a unique blend of progressive 21st century Europe alongside style, authenticity and luxury hotels and villas, Portugal surely deserves to be top of the list.
Mark has written about holidays in Europe for many years and holidays in Portugal have always been popular. One of the more relaxing options is the variety of villas in Portugal.