Portugal's variety is one of its greatest assets. Along with its calendar full of colourful festivals and unique culture. In a single day you can travel from verdant mountains in the north, to the vineyards on the slopes, through the rocky centre to the rustic rural pleasures of the Alentejo region and on to the glamorous golden sands of the Algarve and the coast.
Variety is also a great asset when it comes to the question of where to stay, and the best places to stay in Portugal can be found dotted all over the county.
Lisbon is a vibrant capital city abounding with charm and colour, and filled with the music of Fado and the characteristic rattling of yellow trams as they trundle past decorative tiled façades.
Most of us know Porto, and the whole Douro Valley for its port, which begins its life in the vineyards surrounding the city, the grapes growing plump on the water of the Douro. Port is also an ancient and historic port, graced with spectacular architecture a large number of museums and gorgeous Baroque churches. And the Ribeira district, with its winding cobbled streets, steep staircases and orange roofed buildings, is heritage listed. In addition to all the port houses there are also colourful food markets to explore - so plenty to appeal to foodies - though the favourite local dish is tripe.
Many turn to Portugal for sunshine and cloudless blue skies, in which case you're here for the Algarve! As well as mile upon mile of golden sand framed by characteristic limestone rocks standing guard dramatically over turquoise waters, the Algarve is also rich in bird life, golf courses and surf breaks. While the resorts around Faro and the airport are well developed, the Western Algarve is still a beautiful semi-wilderness.
Madeira is another year round warm and sunny destination, AND of course it tempts with its Madeira cake and wine too. While Alentejo offers more dramatic, rural scenery, and a wonderfully relaxed pace of life in amongst vineyards, white towns and megalithic monuments. Alentejo covers almost a third of Portugal, from the Atlantic coast to the Spanish border and the Algarve, but it has only about seven percent of the population. And its charming old white towns, where nothing has changed for decades, are sparsely dotted amongst olive groves and cork forests. Alentejo's beaches are beautiful and on a road trip along white cliffs and virginal coasts you'll feel like you're the only people in the world.
Charming and rustic hotel on 40 hectare working farm. Rooms have whitewashed walls, antique furnishings and French doors leading out into garden. With a hammam Turkish bath, outdoor saltwater pool, yoga, Tai-chi and Qi-gong classes. Close to beaches, local markets and great walks. Value chic.
A charming adult-only hotel with outdoor pool in a tropical palm covered garden. Traditional Portuguese tiles adorn cosy bedrooms and colourful communal areas. Enjoy drinks and bar snacks by the pool or explore the many bars and restaurants nearby. Just 500m from one of Lagos' best beaches.
Extremely attractive B&B with breathtaking views from the castle rampart over the city and the river. Colourfully decorated with walls covered in African art work. A perfect getaway for a weekend exploring.
A modern recreation of 17th century architecture and style. This former convent has beautiful light airy rooms and a stone breakfast courtyard to soak in the atmosphere. Old-world aristocratic charm with modern comforts - the perfect place to experience the essence of a bygone Lisbon.
A rustic inn perched on a mountain ledge with stunning valley views. Charming rooms and suites have stone floors, wooden furnishings, and private balconies. Lovely terraces, swimming pool, gardens, and restaurant. Great for families or couples on a budget.
A charming country house B&B with a communal kitchen, gardens, pool, and children's playground. Farmhouse chic bedrooms are excellent value and extra beds can be included. Within striking distance of beaches. A great choice for a budget family beach holiday.
A large seaside hotel with simple and comfortable bedrooms overlooking the garden or out to sea. Two large swimming pools and a lively games room provide entertainment for all on site. Local restaurants nearby and water sports on offer at the beach.
Ponta do Sol, Madeira
Minimalist beach chic on a cliff top with fabulous views, excellent spa and restaurant. All white rooms with private balconies, trendy open-air bar, infinity pool, and access to the hotel's yacht. Ideal for an active summer holiday with all the luxury indulgence to go with it.
Castle accommodation at rock bottom prices. Absolutely charming - gardens, authentic furniture and decorations, hand painted tiles, and a private chapel. A authentic B&B in a secluded spot.
This is a small and simple, but nevertheless very stylish B&B. Set in a prime location next to nightlife and museums. The National Theatre S João and Casa da Musica are just around the corner. It is an ideal place to stay for a non-fussy city mini-break.
Traditional Algarvian manor which has been tastefully converted to provide B&B accommodation plus cottages and an apartment for self catering. Set amid 6 hectares filled with olive, orange and carob trees. A quieter, truly relaxing spot from which to enjoy the pleasures of the real Algarve.
Beautifully restored 19th-century house in the unspoilt, delightful town of Tavira in the Algarve. Stylish suites and self-catering apartments have been designed by the architect owner. Original mosaic floors and features have been left intact. Shady roof terraces with panoramic views. A gem.
An historic mansion in a sleepy fishing village. Elegant rooms have chandeliers, silky fabrics, and sophisticated furnishings, some have private balconies. Charming inner courtyard and luscious gardens. Close to sailing, sightseeing, and wine tasting.
This hotel definitely does not betray its name. Its cutting edge design - clean lines and white everything - make this a very trendy spot to stay. Stunning infinity pool (almost touching the sea) and excellent fusion restaurant. A hit for for the young and hip, honeymooners or not.