If wading through the waves washing up on golden sand beaches is your idea of the perfect holiday, think Portugal. This small Iberian Peninsula country has some of Europe’s best beaches. The weather is best in the summer months, but doable outside the high season, though you may want to wear a wet suit if you swim or surf in the Atlantic Ocean. Beach resorts in Portugal offer so many activities to do, you may have to go home to rest up from your vacation!
Pestana Dom Joao II is considered one of the best hotels in the Algarve. It’s location on Alvor beach, a beach that stretches for miles has a lot to do with this. The hotel is just steps away from the beach and a 10-minute walk to the town center. A variety of water activities, including pedal boats and diving, are available; the outdoor pool is filled with saltwater. The Portuguese resort has one restaurant and three bars, only one of which is open all year.
If you like your privacy, Vilalara Thalassa Resort is the place to find it. This five-star suites and apartment resort has a gated entrance. The lush garden setting also adds to the feeling of privacy. The resort has four outdoor saltwater pools and four tennis courts. The emphasis here is on health. Vilalara Thalassa Resort has one of the best Thalassotherapy centers in the world and offers other wellness treatments as well. Even the restaurant serves low-calorie cuisine.
The views from Tivoli Carvoeiro are spectacular, sitting as it does on a cliff overlooking Vale do Covo on the Algarve. The resort building itself looks as if it’s been carved into a depression in a cliff. The hotel underwent a major renovation in early 2017; one result was fewer but larger guest rooms. Though the resort overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, beach access isn’t that handy for pedestrians; the resort recommends four beaches that are within close driving distance.
The Cascade Wellness & Lifestyle Resort sports a relaxing atmosphere overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Its activities are designed to make you feel even more relaxed. There are tennis courts, several swimming pools, a fitness center plus organized workout sessions, and extensive spa treatments. The beach is within walking distance, but guests say you’ll need a car to get to the nearest town, Lagos, to shop and eat. Guests also mention the hotel’s shuttle doesn’t always run, plus one restaurant serves only dinner and the other is open seasonally.
Pestana Palm Gardens promises you the “time of your life” if you spend your Portuguese beach holiday with them. One thing for sure, this four-star resort at Carvoeiro offers stunning views from its position atop a cliff overlooking the ocean. Facilities include carefully manicured gardens, tennis court, outdoor swimming pools (one is for children) and table tennis. Two championship golf courses are a 10-minute drive away. It’s a three-minute walk to the beach at Vale do Covo. Guest rooms have terraces or balconies.
Memmo Baleeira Hotel has an airy feel to it, with its pure white buildings contrasting nicely with the green lawn, golden sand and blue ocean. It’s located at Sagres, one of the best surfing beaches in Europe; the hotel has its own surf school to teach neophytes how to ride the waves. Some of the 144 rooms have balconies with views of the sea o he fishing village of Baleeira. The restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine and specializes in fresh fish.
At 12 stories high, the Crowne Plaza Vilamoura towers over the golden sand beach at Villamoura. All 327 guest rooms have balconies so you’re ensured of a view; guests rave the rooms, decorated with wicker accents, are spotlessly clean. The beach is lined with lounges and umbrellas, but if you prefer to swim in a pool, the Crowne Plaza Vilamoura has three, including one super-large lagoon pool and one exclusively for children. It also has a playground your kids will love. Two restaurants are located on-site.
The VidaMar Resort Hotel Madeira has a unique location: near Funchal, the capital on the main island in the Madeira archipelago. The bay of Funchal is visible from the resort. In fact, all 300 rooms in this upscale property have water views; room décor is minimalist to better enjoy these views. Surrounded by tropical gardens, the resort offers direct access to the ocean. The hotel has three swimming pools, including one unheated pool for children. Dining options include five restaurants.
When you stay at the gracefully styled Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort in Obidos, with its red roofed-buildings, you’ll have either ocean or golf course views. The resort has its own 18-hole championship golf course. Beach access is just a short walk away. When you get the hungries, the Marriott has four restaurants, each serving a different cuisine. You’ll need to arrange your own transportation to get here, as the nearest airport is 70 km (45 miles) away and the hotel does not provide shuttle service.
The Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel offers so many activities you may not have time to enjoy your tastefully decorated room. The list includes kite- and wind-surfing, kayaking, surfing, golf, fitness classes, tennis and diving, to name just a few. Your kids will be kept busy, too, with activities such as face painting, cooking classes, treasure hunts and surfing lessons, all geared for kids from toddler to teenager. The resort is located close to Sagres, golden sand beaches and a nature preserve at the back door.