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Flights to Portugal

With enchanting castles, sun-splashed beaches, medieval villages and custard tarts to die for, Portugal is a country in which to linger for a while. The landscape of Portugal is as wild as its temperament. The sandy beaches and towering cliffs of the south, and the rolling vineyards and olive groves of the north, complement the melancholy and at the same time vibrant and dynamic cities of Lisbon and Porto.

Make discoveries of jewel and cloth in Lisbon’s ancient narrow streets as the scent of roasting chestnuts waft by from Rossio Square. Climb its steep staircases to find unseen churches and traditional taverns. Onward from Lisbon, the sea breezes of the Algarve call visitors to its sandy shores with the promise of 3000 hours of sunlight every year. Golfers can play its spectacular courses while the capital Faro charms the curious with its medieval fortresses and cathedrals.

Fall in love, as Lord Byron did, with beautiful Sintra and its romantic architecture. Visit the palace and walk its English gardens strewn with exotic trees before heading on to Porto, capital of the North. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Porto’s coastline climbs upward with quirky, crooked, rainbow coloured houses looking like an image straight from Picasso’s imagination. Here, nostalgic Fado can be heard on the streets as people gather to drink the region’s world-renowned port and eat the bakery’s finest treats. The city of Evore beckons with its heady combination of Renaissance, Moorish and Gothic architecture, eerie alleys and Roman fountains. Elegant and mountainous, Evore is a wonderful place for walkers.

There are so many more cities to explore in Portugal; so many more architectural and archaeological wonders; arts and museums, food and wine, festivals and outdoor adventures.

Fly In

There are several airports to choose from in Portugal; Lisbon International Airport being the main one. Many international carriers fly to Lisbon Airport and good public transport links make getting to Lisbon city centre quick and easy.

Faro International Airport is the second largest airport in Portugal. Many international and inter-continental destinations and carriers are available from this airport. Close to the city of Faro, good local bus lines connect the airport not only to Faro itself, but to many surrounding destinations.

For anyone travelling to Porto, Fransisco Sa Carneiro International Airport is the most convenient. Situated in the northwest, near Oporto, this smaller, single terminal airport is well served by international and domestic flights. Buses and shuttles are available during the day while taxis can be hired 24 hours a day.

Visitors wanting to get away from the bustle of mainland Portugal can take a flight to Santa Maria Airport on the stunning island of the Azores, where buses and taxis are waiting to whisk travellers to the main town of Vila do Porto.

What you need to know

Currency: The Euro (EUR) €

Visas: Citizens of the European Union, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Romania and Switzerland only require a passport or identity card to enter Portugal. Some nationalities require at least three months validity on their passport for visits of less than 90 days, while others may need a visa to enter Portugal. It is advisable to check with the embassy or the Foreign Office website prior to booking travel. Schengen states are considered to be internal flights therefore passengers do not need to obtain another visa.

Laws: Gambling is legal in Portugal only in licensed establishments. The legal age for drinking alcohol varies depending on the drink! For beer the minimum age is 16 while for spirits it is 18. Drink driving laws are strict in Portugal. Over 0.05 per cent alcohol in the bloodstream and anything from a severe fine to imprisonment may result. Smoking in indoor public places is banned in Portugal.

Best times to Visit

The best time to visit Portugal largely depends on the area you plan to travel to. Faro and the Algarve boast over 3000 hours of sunshine a year, so almost any time of year will work for a beach holiday. While summer is the busiest time of year, spring and autumn are some of the best seasons to visit. ‘Winter’ in Portugal rarely gets below 14 degrees Celsius but watch out in November as the rainy season begins and can often last until January. However, ski enthusiasts can head to the mountainous Serra de Estrela in the north for snow sports. 

Images by Flickr/F H Mira