The Portuguese beaches, almost completely surrounded by the sea, are well worth a visit. There are many activities on offer, from surfing to kite surfing, and during the summer months the most popular beaches offer activities on the sand, such as aerobics. If you’re not the type to sweat on holiday, almost all public beaches have a bar where locals sit. Some of the most popular beaches are (from north to south) :
- Espinho, near Porto, on the Costa Verde/Côte Verde, northern region.
- Figueira da Foz, near Coimbra, on the Silver Coast / Costa de Prata, central region.
- Praia das Maçãs and Praia Grande [Sintra], Carcavelos and Estoril [Cascais], near Lisbon, on the Lisbon coast.
- Zambujeira do Mar, in the Alentejo/Costa Alentejana and Vicentina region.
- Salema, Praia da Rocha, in the Algarve.
The climate, combined with investment in golf infrastructure in recent years, has transformed the country into a golfer’s paradise. Portugal was recently voted “Best Golf Destination 2006” by the readers of Golfers Today, a British publication. Fourteen of Portugal’s golf courses are listed in the top 100 in Europe. Portugal is also a great place to learn the game and perfect technique. Many resorts offer courses with the professionals. The courses can satisfy the most demanding golfers, while newcomers are not intimidated unless they find the beautiful scenery and breathtaking views distracting to their game. Local residents have mixed feelings about golf courses, mainly because of the enormous amounts of water needed to maintain them and their apparent uselessness.
The campaign also offers plenty of options, although you’ll have to get the travel agents to advise you a little more than usual, as they usually only sell beach holidays. Cycling in the mountains of Geres or rafting in the tributaries of the Douro is an exhilarating experience.
There are several fairs, especially in the summer, especially in the north of Portugal. During the summer, music festivals are also very frequent. In the north of the country there are two of the oldest festivals such as Paredes de Coura and Vilar de Mouros. The regions chosen for these festivals are usually surrounded by beautiful landscapes and cosy villages. In the south, the most famous is the Festival do Sudoeste, in the western part of the south, with a summer landscape and endless beaches.
The main events of the year are listed on the official website of the Tourist Office [www].