Overview

Introduction

The westernmost country of Europe is a beautiful land of marked contrasts whose bold, sea-faring people pushed forward the frontiers of the ancient world. Evidence of that glorious heritage can be seen everywhere: in fascinating cities, extraordinarily lovely scenery and warm, unaffected people who keep alive their age old traditions and ceremonies.

This country, with its unexpected contrasts, is a most stimulating and rewarding one to tour. The white holiday beaches of the Algarve give way to the green Monchique hills, then to the cork tree-covered plains of the Alentejo stretching to Lisbon, among the loveliest of all European cities, and beyond to wooded and vine-covered hills encompassing vibrant towns before finally reaching the Spanish border.

Portugal is ideally suited for touring holidays. The distances are not great and the roads, although sometimes winding, are in good repair. Very comfortable accommodation in character hotels, historic manor houses and Pousadas is readily available. We also feature the Algarve area, but not the standard hotels or apartments now common in the overcrowded resorts. The holidays presented here, as you will see from the following pages, are rather different. Try one – you will discover a side of Portugal you least expected, and you will not be disappointed.

Our Portuguese programme is designed to be as flexible as we can make it – the itineraries being little more than suggestions with accommodation chosen whenever possible as much for its character as its location. Non standard holiday durations, a week in a city or resort and a week’s fly drive, flying into and out of different airports within Portugal; all are possibilities. It is also possible to combine a stopover in mainland Portugal with one of the nine islands of the Azores. Please see our suggested tailormade itineraries. If you have a holiday idea that is not priced in the brochure, please call us and we will soon tell you if it is feasible and realisable at an acceptable cost.

As all our holidays are tailor-made, we have adopted a flexible pricing policy based on individual airline net fares which now, as a result of the changing airline industry, fluctuate on a regular basis. Our new computer system enables us to give up to the minute quotes on all properties. The price will reflect the latest flight prices and any offers from hotels.

Read more

Frequently asked questions

1.    What’s the time difference between Portugal and the UK?

Portugal is the only country in mainland Europe that keeps exactly the same time as the UK.  They also put their clocks forward and back (summer to winter), at the same time as the UK too.  

2.    Do I need a Visa to travel to mainland Portugal?

Portugal is a member of the Schengen Agreement which means that UK residents may enter Portugal for up to 90 days without a visa.  Your passport should be valid for at least six months.  

3.    What’s the weather like in Portugal?

Please see details on our About the climate page.

4.    Is there a direct flight from the UK?

Please refer to details set out on our Flight information page.

5.    When is the best time to travel to Portugal?

Portugal is an all year-round destination.  The best time to visit the cities like Porto, Lisbon and Faro is between January and May or from September to November, as the weather is milder, hotel rates are cheaper and there is less congestion.  In the height of summer (Jul-Aug) temperatures can reach 40 degrees upwards in the Alentejo and the Algarve.  The coastal resorts of the Algarve can get quite crowded whereas coastal Alentejo less so.

6.    Which region would you recommend for my first trip?


Sunvil have put together several itineraries that highlight the best areas to visit within the regions of Portugal.  Please see our suggested routes: Northern PortugalCultural Portugal in central Portugal;  A luxury break on the Lisbon CoastPousadas of the Alentejo; and The real Algarve.

7.    Which areas/regions are particularly good for walking?
    
The Alentejo region of Portugal is particularly good for walking with two marked walking routes
along the coast - the Rota Vicentina.  See our suggested itinerary Rota Vicentina self-guided walking holiday.   There are also eleven self-guided walking trails further inland towards Alentejo’s border with Spain - the TransAlentejo.  

8.    Do you have any self catering Apartments or Villa accommodation in Portugal?

Sunvil offer private villas at the Herdade de Montalvo located approximately 1 hour’s drive south of Lisbon, between Alcácer do Sal and Comporta.  This is the only location in Portugal where we have private villas.

We have a couple of self catering accommodation, the first is Vila Bicuda in Cascais (Lisbon coast) which offers 1, 2 and 3-bedroom villas and the second is Aldeia da Pedralva in the Algarve where we offer 1, 2 and 3-bedroom village houses.

9.    Can I travel between mainland Portugal and her islands?

Sunvil can arrange two-centre holidays between mainland Portugal and the Azores as well as São Tomé and Príncipe.  Call our reservations team on 020 8758 4722 to discuss a possible itinerary.

10.    Can I combine Portugal and Spain as a two-centre holiday?

Yes, it is possible to combine both countries as a two-centre holiday as part of a fly drive itinerary, collecting and dropping off the car in the same country.  Please see our suggested itinerary Exploring the Alentejo in Portugal and Extremadura in Spain.

11.    Is it expensive to eat out?

Hotels and flights are at their most expensive in the height of summer (Jul-Sep) but in general Portugal is cheaper than other Eurozone countries like Italy, Spain and Greece and about half the price of England.  Food and drink in the tourist centres can be the same price as the UK so its best to shop around and look for restaurants off the main squares.  

12.    Is it easy to drive in Portugal?

Distances in Portugal are relatively short and the majority of roads are good. Some roads can be precipitous with hairpin bends and the minor roads can be quite rough.  Portugal has electronic tolls (no pay booths) on the A22 Algarve motorway, and other similar motorways in the north of Portugal. Clients can rent an electronic transponder, which is fitted to each hire car vehicle.  Therefore any toll road fees will be added to your bill and paid directly to the car hire company when you return the vehicle.  

As signage can be poor in some areas, Sunvil recommend that clients hire a GPS, if not taking their own SatNav or mobile phone with navigation app.  

13.    Can you travel by train across Portugal?

Sunvil can pre-book tickets on the Portuguese Alfa Pendular and Intercity trains that connect all of the major cities in Portugal. Travel from the capital city of Lisbon to Coimbra, Aveiro, Porto, Viana do Castelo and Braga in the north or to Faro in the south.  All Alfa Pendular (AP) trains have WiFi available at no extra cost whereas only some Intercity trains have WiFi.  Regional train routes are not pre-bookable and tickets must be purchased locally.

Try one of our suggested train itineraries - Explore Northern Portugal by Train and Cultural Portugal by Train.  

14.    Do you have any properties on or near the beach?

Sunvil feature a couple of properties in Sagres, the Algarve that are located directly on or opposite the beach, namely the Memmo Baleeira Hotel and the Pousada de Sagres.  On the Lisbon coast, we have the Albatroz Hotel in Cascais and the Fortaleza do Guincho in Guincho.  Many of our other properties are within easy driving distance of beaches.  

15.    Do you feature ‘all inclusive’ holiday resorts in Portugal?

Sunvil do not offer any ‘all inclusive’ holidays.  On mainland Portugal we offer a selection of properties from city hotels, rural properties, manor houses and pousadas on a bed and breakfast basis (half board optional) as well as a small selection of apartments and villas on self catering basis.  

16.    Is there a bus/train connection between Lisbon and Evora (in the Alentejo)?

The cities of Lisbon and Evora are connected by rail and by bus and both can be visited as a day trip, one from the other.  Bus services to Evora depart frequently, approximately every hour, from Lisbon's Sete Rios Bus Station, which is served by the Jardim Zoológico Metro Station on the Blue Metro Line.  Tickets must be purchased locally at the station and costs about 12 Euros per person each way.  The journey takes 90 minutes.

Trains run less frequently, about three or four times a day, between the cities - please check timetables locally.  As this is a regional train, tickets (c.13 Euros per person one way) have to be purchased locally.  Trains from Lisbon depart from Oriente Station.  Evora Train Station is the final stop along the service from Lisbon and is situated just south of the city.  It is a 500m walk along the Avenida dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra from the train station to the southern city walls, and takes approximately 10 minutes to walk.  

17.    Can I pre-book any excursions?

Excursions are all bookable locally either through the hotels or through local suppliers.  If you wish to book something specific as part of a private tour such as a guided city tour, then please ask our reservations team as we may be able to arrange an excursion on request.

18.    Where are the best places to go surfing?

The top five best surf beaches in Portugal are located on the Atlantic Ocean in the regions of Lisbon, Central Portugal and the Alentejo and include: Cantinho da Baia, Baleal, Peniche (Central region); Foz do Lizandro, Ericeira (Lisbon region); Amado, Carrapateira (Alentejo region); Guincho (Lisbon region); and Sao Juliao, Ericeira (Lisbon region).  The best time to learn how to surf in Portugal is in the summer months (Jun-Sept).  Apr-May and October can also be good whereas the rest of the year the surf is usually too high for beginners.  


About the climate

Portugal has a maritime temperate climate that varies according to elevation and proximity to the ocean. The average temperature ranges from 13 to 24 degrees centigrade in the north and from 16 to 28 in the south. Portugal has a good selection of beaches, mostly sand, from north to south with the best known stretches being in the Algarve (average sea temperature is 16 degrees centigrade in winter and 23 in summer).

The Lisbon coast has well sheltered beaches of the Serra de Arribida, great expanse of dunes south of the River Tagus and the popular beaches of Cascais and Estoril favoured by Lisboners. From the Douro towards Spain, on the Costa Verde, there are fine sandy beaches backed by rolling green countryside. Costa Dorada has a more rugged coastline with sandy bays at the bottom of high cliffs (average sea temperature is 13 degrees centigrade in winter and 17 in summer).

Flight information


Flights with TAP Portugal to Lisbon and Porto
Full flight details available on request
London Heathrow -  Lisbon -  Daily
London Gatwick -  Lisbon -  Daily
London Gatwick - Porto -  Daily

Flights with British Airways to Lisbon and Faro
Full flight details available on request
London Heathrow -  Lisbon -  Daily
London Gatwick -  Faro -  Daily

Regional flights to Portugal
Direct flights from regional airports using charter and no frills airlines, are available on request. We have produced a list of possible routes to date. Please note that these flights are subject to change. Please telephone us for the latest information on routes, prices and any new destinations. 

Faro -  Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster Sheffield, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Gatwick, Glasgow, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool, London Southend, London City, Heathrow, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle & Stansted
Lisbon
-  Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stansted & Manchester
Porto
- Birmingham, Bristol, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, Liverpool, Manchester

Pousadas of Portugal

The Pousadas form a network of hotels throughout mainland Portugal. They offer a rich variety of choice and include historic castles, former monasteries, palaces and modern buildings - always in idyllic locations whether it be historic cities or rural areas of outstanding natural beauty.

 
Northern Portugal

1    Pousada de Alijo, Alijo
2    Pousada Mosteiro de Amares, Santa Maria de Bouro
3    Pousada de Braganca, Braganca
4    Pousada de Canicada-Geres, Canicada-Geres
5    Pousada Mosteiro de Guimaraes, Guimaraes
6    Pousada de Marao, Sao Goncalo
7    Pousada do Porto, Porto
8    Pousada de Valenca do Minho, Valenca do Minho
9    Pousada de Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo

Central Portugal

10     Pousada Convento de Belmonte, Belmonte
11     Pousada de Condeixa-a-Nova, Condeixa-a-Nova
12     Pousada da Ria-Torreira-Murtosa, Torreira
13     Pousada Castelo de Obidos, Obidos
14     Pousada de Ourem, Ourem-Fatima
15     Pousada da Serra da Estrela, Leiria
16     Pousada Convento de Vila Pouca da Beira, Vila Pouca da Beira
17     Pousada de Viseu, Viseu
          
Lisbon Region

18     Pousada de Cascais-Cidadela, Cascais
19     Pousada de Lisboa, Lisbon
20     Pousada Castelo de Palmela, Palmela
21     Pousada Palacio de Queluz, Queluz
          
Alentejo


22     Pousada Castelo de Alcacer do Sal, Alcacer do Sal
23     Pousada Castelo de Alvito, Alvito
24     Pousada Convento de Arraiolos, Arraiolos
25     Pousada Convento de Beja, Beja
26     Pousada Mosteiro do Crato, Crato
27     Pousada Castelo de Estremoz, Estremoz
28     Pousada Convento de Evora, Evora
29     Pousada do Marvao, Marvao
30     Pousada Convento de Vila Vicosa, Vila Vicosa

The Algarve


31     Pousada Palacio Estoi, Estoi
32     Pousada Sagres, Sagres
33     Pousada Convento Tavira, Tavira

Winter and Spring Pousada Fly-drives in Portugal

Temperatures across Portugal in January and February range between 14 and 16 during the day and in the region of 5 in the evening.  The Algarve and the Alentejo have more sunny days than further north but, even during these months, when in the sun you need no more than a shirt. The light is bright, the weather crisp and the crowds nowhere to be seen.  Once into March and April, temperatures will be several degrees higher, reaching 21 in the Algarve and the Alentejo and spring, especially in the Alentejo, is spectacular.

Portuguese Pousadas are full of character, are always in locations of particular significance and reflect local culture and cuisine.  We have negotiated very special rates on the Pousadas featured below.  We outline four suggested itineraries, each for a week but the length of stays can be varied and one Pousada substituted for another as long as you keep to the selection of Pousadas listed below.


Properties to choose from:

  • Pousada de Canicada Geres
  • Pousada Mosteiro de Amares
  • Pousada de Viseu
  • Pousada Mosteiro do Crato
  • Pousada do Marvao
  • Pousada Convento de Vila Vicosa
  • Pousada Convento de Beja
  • Pousada de Sagres


Itineraries:

Useful information

Talk to one of our experts

020 8758 4722

We're open tomorrow at 9:00 AM

Get in touch
Alison
Alison Garrard
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT + 0

Currency

Euro

Language

Portuguese

Average flight times

2 hours 35 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Talk to our Portugal expert

Yasmin Zaidi
Yasmin Zaidi

Since joining Sunvil in 2007, Yasmin has travelled extensively across Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia. Her depth of knowledge of these countries is remarkable and she uses this to personalise the tailor made itineraries for our clients - attention to detail is something that is second nature, put her to the test. Though fluent in Spanish, she ranks Portugal as her number one destination... with our new programme to Sao Tome and Principe a close second.

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

020 8758 4722

We're open tomorrow at 9:00 AM

Make an Enquiry

Please use this form to request further information about a Sunvil holiday or destination.

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify

Destination Details

Milfontes, Alentejo, Portugal

Portugal

Preferred departure date *
Duration *
Preferred UK departure airport *
Party size *

Back

  • Adults(12+ yrs)
  • Children(2 to 11 yrs)
  • Infants(Under 2 yrs)
Budget range
Other comments:

Email newsletters

 

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify
Booking reference number *
Alternatively, please enter your query in the box below:

Email newsletters

 

Thank you for your enquiry

Thank you for your enquiry. A member of our specialist reservation teams will be in touch shortly.

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Your details have been saved

Feel free to continue to browse the site and add to your enquiry. Don't forget to send the enquiry before you leave!

My Suitcase

We understand that so much choice can be overwhelming which is why we have developed 'My Suitcase'. This facility allows you to save and compare your favourite holidays, and even allows you to return to your selection at a later stage.

Why not use 'My Suitcase' to compile a wish list of your future Sunvil holidays?

 

Sign in


New to Sunvil?

Create Account


Already have an account?

Password reset

Back

Close

Close