Portugal enjoys the mild summers and winters typical of a Mediterranean climate though its beaches lie on the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Board-surfing and wind-surfing are popular watersports in the southern Algarve area, while the fine sand and calm waters of Estoril invite swimming and sunbathing. This lush country also features dozens of scenic golf courses, including mountain courses, ocean courses, and courses surrounded by vineyards and nature preserves.
The capital city of Lisbon encompasses seven neighborhoods on seven hills, each with its own distinct character. The austere Castle of São Jorge sits atop the city’s highest hill, and each city quarter hosts annual festivals in honor of its patron saint. The island of Madeira, some 600 miles off the southwest coast of the mainland of Portugal, boasts a ruggedly beautiful volcanic landscape and the largest evergreen forest in the world.
Thanks to fertile volcanic soil, gentle rains and a temperate climate, Madeira is a verdant garden in the midst of the Atlantic's sapphire blue. In the capital Funchal, the Mercado Dos Lavradores market offers a true taste of Madeira, with fresh local produce from across the island.
The Algarve Area
At the southwestern tip of Europe, golden beaches lie nestled among great carved cliffs shaped by the sea. This sun-kissed state is the Algarve area of Portugal. A visit to the Se Cathedral in Faro, the Moorish Silves castle, and the Carvoeiro lighthouse round out the Algarve experience.
Lisbon is rapidly gaining a reputation as a trendy destination with an electric club scene while maintaining its identity as an historic European capital. Lisbon also claims the distinction of being located closer to sandy beaches than any other capital city on the continent.