The Hot European holiday destination for 2011

The hot destination for this summer is Portugal for all the right reasons!  Read on….

Even though we’re suffering through a recession and financial difficulties, there’s no reason to not have a holiday this year.  The Post Office have very handily just published their price comparisons for cities and holiday resorts – http://www2.postoffice.co.uk/travel/travel-extras/travellers-checklist/travel-tips

So what does all this mean for the traveller?  Does it mean that Riga and Prague are going to overloaded with British tourists looking for a cheap city break – well, they already are magnets for stag parties looking for cheap beer over the weekends.  A bottle of lager in Prague will cost you around £1.78 but Riga (shown as the cheapest city overall) will charge you £2.78 for a bottle.  Better bet is to go to Lisbon where the beer is cheap at £1.42 for a bottle plus you get more sunshine!

In fact, Portugal is coming out as a very good bet for summer sunshine on the cheap this year.  Cheaper than Turkey and Egypt which are countries often promoted as cheap destinations.

So what else has Portugal got that the rest of Europe hasn’t – apart from cheap beer?!

It’s an easy-going destination, packed with historic interest, breathtaking scenery and world class sports and leisure facilities.

Most UK tourists flock to the Algarve but there’s lots more to Portugal than these fantastic beaches and golf courses!  Let’s start at the top – the north of the country is green with beautiful countryside.  Try a river cruise along the Douro – fly into Oporto (Portugal’s second largest city) and join a 7 day cruise, exploring the region of Port Wine and taste wine in the traditional cellars.

Moving south, the Central Region also has stunning countryside, great to explore by car.   Also has the country’s highest mountain range, Roman remains and a Geopark (find out more here – http://www.naturtejo.com/conteudos/en/home.php)

Lisbon is a fascinating city, known as the white city thanks to its unique light.    Julius Caesar established a municipium there a couple of thousand years ago, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe.  The 16th century marks the golden age for Lisbon. The city became the European hub of commerce with Africa, India, the Far East and, later, Brazil, exploring riches like spices, slaves, sugar, textiles, and other goods.  It was the starting point for so many explorers over the centuries.  Combine a city break in Lisbon with a beach holiday just along the coast on the Estoril Coast.

The Alentejo region is full of history and again perfect for exploring by car.  For example, Beja – is the capital of Baixo Alentejo (lower Alentejo), and is a major centre for the production of wheat, olives and cork. Beja’s old town is an area of narrow, cobbled streets stretching southeast from the castle keep to the 13th century convent of São Francisco – now a superb pousada.

So the final destination on mainland Portugal is the Algarve, beloved by British tourists for years.  A wide variety of beaches – some good for water sports, some good for family fun, some hidden and some hugely popular.  Don’t forget to explore Faro – its more than just the airport!

Whatever your reasons for exploring Portugal, Diamond Travel can help with the planning and preparation – making sure you have the best holiday ever.  Contact us now to book your next escape.

PS – did you know we can book all kinds of travel – by air, rail and sea!

Diamond Travel act as The Global Travel Group Ltd in connection with the sale of travel products. Unless specified as the operator, The Global Travel Group Ltd is the agent of ATOL Protected Tour Operators and other principals.

Thanks to the Portugal Tourist Board and Wikipedia for information above.