For those who prefer a more bucolic vacation experience, there’s plenty to see and do beyond the city limits of Lisbon. For beachcombers, the seaside town of Comporta, just a couple hours south of the capital on the Troia Peninsula. Once a sleepy fishing port, the area is now a magnet for Lisbon’s fashion crowd, but still has the uncrowded beaches and laid-back vibe that places like Ibiza and St. Tropez haven’t seen for decades. Stop for fresh seafood at one of the many roadside restaurants, or stay in style at one of the area’s pared-down luxury beach huts.
In the country’s northwest corner, the Douro Valley’s terraced vineyards draw in-the-know wine lovers, and are now even more approachable for travelers seeking a high-end getaway. Last year, the Douro Valley saw the opening of the first Six Senses in Europe (the wellness-focused brand is known for its incredibly designed properties, mostly in Asia and the Middle East, and its spa program). The property here leans in to the oenophile appeal, offering vinotherapy with wine-inspired treatments and an extensive library of bottles to choose from.
Follow the Douro River downstream and you’ll eventually wind up at another place made famous by wine: the oceanfront city of Porto, the namesake of port wine and a must-visit destination for design lovers. Portugal’s second largest city is only a three-hour drive (or an even shorter flight) from Lisbon, with an ambiance that’s more laid-back than the capital city but with no shortage of cosmopolitan attractions. There, you’ll find stunning Art Deco architecture, wonderful museums, and memorable design boutiques.
Even adrenaline junkies can find their dream vacation in Portugal. About 800 miles off the country’s Atlantic Coast, the nine tiny islands that make up the Azores archipelago are a bucket-list-worthy destination for adventure travelers. In addition to sailing, hiking, rock-climbing, surfing, and wildlife-spotting, the islands have a surprisingly stellar culinary tradition to help fuel your high-energy pursuits. Most Americans don’t realize the Azores are a mere four-hour flight from Boston, with daily direct flights from TAP that make this an ideal place to stop over on your way home — or just a long weekend.
There’s something for everyone in this little country — and there’s never been a better time to go.
Travel + Leisure Staff