Discover Alternative Summer Holidays in Portugal

Portugal, known for its stunning coastline and bustling seaside resorts, offers much more than just sun and see. For those seeking a unique summer experience, Portugal is home to authentic hidden landscapes, cultural treasures, and a wealth of alternative activities. Here’s how to enjoy an alternative summer holiday in Portugal.

River Beaches

Located in central Portugal, Foz d’Égua river beach is a picturesque spot nestled in the mountains. Surrounded by traditional schist villages and lush greenery, it offers a serene escape from the crowded coastal beaches. Visitors can enjoy swimming in the clear, cool waters, sunbathing on the natural riverbanks, and exploring the nearby hiking trails.

The Alentejo region, known for its rolling plains and quiet charm, is home to several beautiful river beaches. These secluded spots provide perfect picnic settings and are ideal for family outings. The clean waters and tranquil surroundings offer a peaceful retreat where you can connect with nature and enjoy a relaxing day by the river.

Praia Fluvial da Fraga da Pegada is another excellent choice for those looking to trade ocean waves for river currents. This river beach features crystal-clear waters perfect for a refreshing swim. It’s a wonderful place for kayaking, fishing, or simply enjoying the serene natural landscape.

Alternative Family Activities

For a unique family-friendly adventure, head to Dino Parque Lourinhã. This open-air museum is home to life-sized dinosaur models and offers interactive exhibits that will captivate both children and adults. It’s an educational and entertaining way to spend the day, blending fun with a fascinating glimpse into prehistoric times.

The Azores archipelago is one of the best places in the world for whale watching. Embark on a boat tour to spot majestic sperm whales, blue whales, and dolphins in their natural habitat. The islands’ stunning landscapes and rich marine biodiversity make this an unforgettable experience for nature lovers.

Adventure seekers shouldn’t miss the chance to cross Ponte 516 Arouca, one of the longest pedestrian suspension bridges in the world. Spanning 516 meters across the Paiva River gorge, this bridge offers breathtaking views and a thrilling experience. The surrounding Arouca Geopark, a UNESCO Global Geopark, is perfect for hiking and exploring geological wonders.

Explore Portugal’s Culture

The mountain villages in the Center of Portugal are a must-visit for those interested in cultural exploration. Villages like Piódão, with its slate houses, offer a glimpse into traditional Portuguese life. Wander through narrow streets, visit local craft shops, and experience the hospitality of these charming communities.

The Alentejo region is rich in arts and crafts heritage. From pottery and tapestry to cork products, local artisans continue to practice traditional techniques passed down through generations. Visiting these workshops provides a unique insight into the cultural fabric of the region and an opportunity to purchase unique, handcrafted souvenirs.

On the Madeira Islands, explore the rich cultural heritage that blends Portuguese traditions with unique island influences. Visit the Madeira Story Centre in Funchal to learn about the island’s history or explore the traditional thatched houses of Santana. Madeira’s vibrant festivals and gastronomy further showcase its cultural richness.

Indulge in Authentic Thermal Baths

Portugal is home to several thermal spas that offer a range of wellness treatments. These natural thermal baths, rich in minerals, are perfect for relaxation and therapeutic purposes. Places like Caldas da Rainha and Termas de São Pedro do Sul are renowned for their healing waters and serene environments.

Madeira Island’s natural volcanic pools, particularly those in Porto Moniz, provide a unique bathing experience. These pools are naturally carved into the volcanic rock and filled with crystal-clear seawater. It’s a refreshing and picturesque way to enjoy the island’s natural beauty.

Nestled in the hills of the Algarve, Monchique is renowned for its wellness retreats and therapeutic offerings. The area is famous for its natural thermal springs, particularly at Caldas de Monchique, where the healing properties of the waters have been celebrated since Roman times. Visitors can enjoy the serene mountain setting and the pure, invigorating air. Monchique provides a rejuvenating escape that perfectly combines nature and wellness.

Portugal offers a diverse array of summer holiday experiences. Whether you’re relaxing by a river beach, exploring cultural heritage, or indulging in thermal baths, there’s something for everyone. This summer, step off the beaten path and discover the authentic beauty and tranquillity that Portugal has to offer.

Images courtesy of Unsplash.

Carlos Pinto de Oliveira