A destination characterized by hidden gems and a unique culture, Portugal has surprises around every corner. And world-class food and wine at affordable prices makes a luxury holiday here one of the most accessible indulgences in life. This chic and somewhat understated nation is also one of the top countries for luxury golf breaks, boasting picturesque courses with dramatic mountains serving as a backdrop.
Culturally rich, a journey here is a learning experience. With exciting Iberian flavors at every table, wine that can’t be sourced anywhere else, and architecture dating back to a powerful maritime empire, there’s a lot to see and do. From city to beach, your Portuguese discovery is set to be truly memorable. Whether you’re chasing the grape and hoping to sample some rare Portuguese originals, or looking to combine sightseeing with a food and wine tour, we can help you design your dream holiday.
Lisbon is the nation’s multicultural melting pot with some of the best Michelin starred restaurants in the world. But just over two hours from this remarkable capital is Alentejo, an agricultural region that is lesser known to tourists, and where the food is as authentic as it gets. It’s one of Portugal’s most respected wine destinations, and there are spectacular castles and villas for travelers who are here to sightsee. The fortified village of Castelo de Vide and the towns of Sintra and Belém are some of the most romantic places to go, and multi-day tours can be combined with a visit to the capital.
North along the coast from Lisbon is Porto, another area where food and wine excel. Birthplace of port wine, it’s the ultimate holiday destination for port lovers. At Wine Paths, we can arrange visits to the most exclusive port houses that aren’t usually open to the public.
For jaw-dropping landscapes, head inland to the UNESCO listed Douro Valley. This spectacular location is ideal for golfing breaks, luxury spas, biking holidays or a spot of sailing. And perhaps one of Europe's most underrated wine regions, it’s the ultimate hidden gem for foodies and wine connoisseurs in the know.
With a fantastic culinary scene and so many historical attractions to entice you, there isn’t a bad time to visit Portugal. But the shoulder seasons are ideal if you want to beat the crowds. With a temperate maritime climate, you can expect hot summers, wet winters, and a generally mild spring and autumn.
The busiest time of year is in August, the peak of summer, when beach resorts fill up and restaurants are lively throughout the week. Arrive between March and early June or between mid-September to mid-November if you prefer a quieter atmosphere. September is also a good time to get here for wine tasting as the start of autumn marks the harvest.
If you want to visit wine estates when they are at their quietest (when winemakers have more time to spend with their guests), plan to get here in the winter instead.
From fortified port wines to playful, light and crisp vinho verde, there’s a lot of variety on Portugal’s wine scene. The most famous is Porto, made with the Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa or Tinta Barroc grapes. In the city of Porto, Port storehouses are a main attraction and tastings are readily available wherever you go. A private food and wine tour in Porto’s historic center is the perfect way of exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site in style.
Port lovers will also be enchanted by the stunning Douro Valley, where some of the world’s oldest vineyards can be found. They date all the way back to the Roman Empire, and many of the fortified wines are award-winning in this area. Expect a refined character, particularly from the Touriga Nacional grape that is commonly used. The pure Tourigas are the finest reds to try, and the young whites (best served chilled between 8-10°C) are extremely refreshing and easy to drink.
In Alentejo, the flat and dry conditions are ideal for producing bold, interesting and sometimes divisive wines in large quantities. This is the region to add to your list if you’re looking for “new world” wines and unique winery experiences.
High end accommodation is easy to find in Portugal’s main cities. Lisbon and Porto both offer a fantastic choice of resorts, including luxury spas and golf hotels. From 5 star establishments and boutique accommodation to renovated manor houses and extravagant villas set in the lush hillside of the Douro Valley, we can help you find the perfect base for exploration.
We can even help you plan a stay at an exclusive winery house so you can enjoy an unforgettable wine tasting holiday surrounded by gorgeous vineyards. Fine dining and an on-site sommelier are just a few of the features that we look for when hand-selecting hotels. But whatever you’re looking for, Wine Paths can create your dream holiday with all the amenities you desire.
Enotourism is particularly exciting in Portugal because of the great emphasis is on food and wine pairing. The match has to be seamless, and the Portuguese people are extremely passionate about their wine culture. This is the land of the sommelier, and every restaurant experience – from rustic plates to indulgent tasting menus – come with a great choice of tipple.
It’s easy to eat well at a very reasonable price, even in major cities such as Lisbon and Porto. Even in lesser known areas or tiny villages, such as some parts of the Douro Valley, the restaurant scene meets all the same expectations in quality, price, service and selection. A fine example of this is the Conceitus Winery Restaurant, a foodie traveler favorite in the Douro Valley region that combines wine from the property with regional delicacies.
Or to enjoy the very best of Alentejo cuisine, visit Divinus Restaurant, a unique venue set inside an old wine cellar of a convent. If you’re interested in regional food with a contemporary interpretation, we recommend Narcissus Fernandesii at the Alentejo Marmòris Hotel & Spa.
Wine Paths is passionate about creating customized luxury holidays for our guests. To find out more about the best places to go, or the best spots for fine dining and exclusive wine tastings, get in touch with our local expert, João.