Sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and Spain, Portugal features a climate that is as warm and welcoming as the people. Perhaps because it borders vast expanses of the Atlantic, Portugal spawned numerous explorers in the 15th century. Grand European Travel guided tours dig into Portugal’s history of exploration, as well as cities like Lisbon, the capital. It is the home of Portuguese culture and cuisine, and places like the Hieronymite Monastery. Pilgrims flock to Fatima and the Basilica of our Lady of the Rosary, a famed shrine. And while the Portuguese explorers thrived long ago, Grand European Travel has the vacation package that helps you discover Portugal today.
As one of the warmest countries in Europe, Portugal is generally a very comfortable place to be thanks to its mild Mediterranean climate. Hot, dry summers with plenty of sunshine contrast temperate winters that bring fresh cool rain and a distinct "wet season." In the mountainous north and central areas closer to Spain, winters are chillier with some snowfall.
Portugal shares Western Europe's Iberian Peninsula with neighboring Spain. For its modest size, Portugal runs the gamut of landscapes, each as scenic as the next. Move from the north and central mountains and pine forests, through cities, towns, medieval villages to its ports. Portugal boasts a pristine coastline and a countryside laced with vineyards. The gem of the south, the Algarve's resort area, teems with soft, sandy beaches.
Portugal even has two clusters of islands in the middle of the Atlantic. Porto Santo is the sunbathing highlight of the Madeira, while Pico Island -- and volcanic Mount Pico, the tallest mountain in Portugal -- is one of the nine islands of the Azores.
Major Holidays & Events
In addition to the customary holidays, Portugal traditionally celebrates:
Carnival - 47 days before Easter Sunday, date changes by year
Good Friday and Easter - dates change by year
Freedom Day - April 25
Labor Day - May 1
Portugal Day - June 10
Assumption - August 15
Immaculate Conception - December 8