Portugal: Nine Great Reasons To Spend Your Next Summer Vacation ThereWe’re keen to share our all-time favourite things about Portugal with you
17 August 2018
Here at Sanwin Beachwear, we’re all too often jetting off to far-flung tropical places, and finding another white-sanded, flawless beach on which to parade our latest swim shorts and accessories. While we wouldn’t swap our jet-setting lifestyle for anything in the world, there’s a lot to be said for holiday destinations a little closer to home in Europe. Indeed, Europe is home to some of our absolute favourite countries to visit, relax, and spend some time on the sands, and few European holiday destinations - in our opinion - can hold a candle to Portugal.
Portugal has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years. After decades of economic uncertainty and political difficulties, the past ten years or so have seen Portugal become an absolute hot-spot for sun worshippers, and one of the coolest and trendiest holiday destinations on earth right now. It isn’t difficult to see why: this is a country with a hell of a lot going for it. Incredible stretches of Atlantic coast, more sunshine that you can shake a stick at, and a set of cultural treats that simply cannot be missed. As always, we’re keen to share our all-time favourite things about Portugal with you… so read on, and if you haven’t already discovered this incredible holiday destination, it’s time to start booking those tickets!
Make no mistake, Portugal is home to some truly astounding beaches. What’s really lovely about this southern European country is that when it comes to beach culture and stretches of coastline, there really is something for everybody. On the wild Atlantic coast near the capital, Lisbon, you’ll find places like Ribamar, which is a haven for surfers due to its huge rolling waves. Head further south to the Algarve, and the warm, sandy beaches are perfect for chilling out in the shallows, or making some lasting memories with your family. Don’t forget to take your Sanwin beachwear with you - as no matter where in Portugal you decide to go, you’ll have ample opportunity to show off your stylish trunks!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, the chances are you’ll have heard a lot about Lisbon as the latest trendy holiday destination for young people looking for cultural treasures. It’s a reputation which is based on absolute reality; we’ve always had truly amazing times in Portugal’s capital city, and love nothing more than exploring its winding, ancient streets, tavernas, monuments, and amazing vistas. Coming in at a close second in the ranking of Europe’s hottest cities right now is Porto, Lisbon’s northerly neighbour. With its vibrant street art scene, amazing cafe culture, and superb live music, it’s the kind of city you’ll simply never want to leave.
Being in southern Europe, Portugal’s weather is about as close to perfection as you’re likely to find. Blazing sunshine for ten to eleven months of the year, tempered by Atlantic breezes that stop things from becoming unbearably hot, it’s the kind of place you can go to knowing that you won’t be let down by grey skies and the kind of drizzle we long to escape from back at home. In the south of Portugal, in beautiful towns such as Tavira, there are more days of sunshine than almost any other European region. No wonder the locals always seem so happy!
No article about reasons for visiting Portugal would be complete without some mention of the fairer sex. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s fair to say that Portugal’s women are pretty spectacular. Not only do they look gorgeous, with their tanned skin and deep brown eyes, but they’re incredibly approachable and a huge amount of fun, too. If you like the idea of knocking back a few beers at a beach bar with a beautiful woman, before walking off into the sunset arm in arm, then Portugal might just be the place for you.
Not so long ago, Portugal’s wine scene was really suffering. The country’s wine production was based around the Port industry… and up until a couple of years ago, Port was primarily drunk by old women at Christmas, and the guy who spends the summers sleeping in your local park. However, as with pretty much everything else about Portugal, the past decade saw an explosion of interest, enthusiasm, and effort go into the local wine scene - and it really, really paid off. Today, the red wines of the Douro region are considered among the best in the world, and if there’s a better drink to enjoy and refresh yourself with on a sunny day than a cooling glass of Vinho Verde (Portugal’s iconic ‘green wine’), we’re yet to discover it.
Ah, the food. Portugal’s food is utterly amazing. Whether you’re in Lagos in the south, or in a city like Lisbon or Porto, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a gastronomic adventure like no other. As you might expect, Portugal’s cuisine is based on seafood, and with one of the most fertile parts of the Atlantic on their doorstep, the fish and shellfish they bring up from the deep is, frankly, spectacular. From simple grilled sardines and octopus to more elaborate platters of lobster, crab, barnacles, mussels and more (all served with local bread, fresh cheeses, olive oil, and a host of other lovely details), you can eat like a king on a relatively modest budget. Perfection!
Remember what we were saying about Portugal’s women? Well, they pretty much epitomise everything that is special about the nightlife of this stunning nation. It’s relaxed, fun, sophisticated, and always up for a good time. The beach bars in the more tourist-driven areas of Algarve are pretty much legendary for their parties and sense of fun, and in Lisbon and Porto, you’ll find all-night bars with benches set out into the narrow cobbled streets, where you’ll be welcome to drink ice cold beers, local wines, and glasses of quality Port while you watch the crowds pass by. Fancy taking in some local culture while out in the evening? Seek out a ‘fado’ bar - here, you’ll be able to listen to the bluesy, melancholic, traditional folk music of Lisbon, while enjoying your drinks and snacks alongside the vibrant company of the locals.
The Cafe Culture
You know what we love to do on holiday (apart from swan up and down sandy beaches and poolsides in our stylish swim shorts, obviously)? Take in some proper cafe culture. We reckon that you can’t really get to know a city or country - or tiny fishing village, for that matter - without spending a good couple of hours sipping a coffee on a terrace, while taking in some serious people-watching. Portugal totally excels in this regard; the coffee is as good as it gets, the cafes are charming and cheap, and the mornings are simply made for taking it easy and watching the world go by.
No great holiday is complete without getting out of the city and heading out into the countryside for some time. Hiking, biking, rock climbing, kayaking… all are activities you can absolutely enjoy in Portugal’s beautiful national parks, and the wilderness of this stunning country is every bit as inviting as the cities and beaches on offer. The Nature Park of Arrabida is a top recommendation, as is the wilderness surrounding the striking medieval town of Sintra. The best part? After a day of hard walking and exploring, you’re never far from a beach or chilled out bar in which to refresh yourself. It really doesn’t get much better!
There you go - nine unmissable reasons why Portugal should be your next European holiday destination. It really is a spectacular country with so much to offer… so what are you waiting for? Pack your Sanwin swim shorts, and head south to the sunshine!
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