When you think of an adventure holiday, you may envisage extreme sports such as white water rafting or skydiving. However, each person’s definition of adventure is different, with some simply wanting to experience the unknown in order to feel daring and others needing that hit of adrenaline to feel like they are truly experiencing adventure travel.
Whatever your definition of adventure, you could do a lot worse than heading to one of the oldest countries in Europe.
Although not one to boast, Portugal is a truly amazing country to visit with so much to offer all types of travelers; from families, to couples, to solo voyageurs alike.
So, where should an adventure aficionado go in Portugal for that much-needed sense of excitement?
Madeira – Best for hikers & lovers of natural beauty
If you can think of nothing better than exploring a new landscape with just your walking boots and fellow travelers for company, then you need to head to the stunning region of Madeira.
The hiking trails, known as the Levada walks, are plentiful and offer the opportunity to take in the stunning natural surroundings. Some of the best Levada walks include:
- Rabacal 25 Fountains Levada Walk
- Caldeirao Verde Levada Walk
- Levada do own Rei “King” Levada
After all the walking you will undoubtedly be starving, so it’s a good thing that Madeira produces some amazing local dishes including tomato and onion soup topped with a poached egg, espetada (grilled beef chunks) and the local beverage of choice, Poncha.
Algarve – Best for water sports fanatics
Out of the whole of Portugal, the Algarve should be your go-to destination if you want to enjoy a wide range of water sports. Kayaking, jet-skiing, snorkeling, water skiing, scuba diving and, of course, surfing. In fact, the Algarve is known for its consistent waves and warm, clear waters, making it a surfer’s paradise.
Head to Albufeira, the most popular resort in the Algarve, for perfect sandy beaches that are ideal for breaking waves. Plus, this location is home to the first water touch bungee experience – a must for adrenaline junkies!
If your appetite has been wetted, so to speak, check out these villas in Portugal which provide the perfect point of relaxation and recuperation after a hard day’s play.
Silver Coast – Best for authenticity
For those who identify adventure with authentic travel, the Silver Coast is your perfect destination. Known as the ‘alternative’ Portugal, this area offers something a bit different from the more popular Algarve, with an exciting mix of culture, cuisine, and unspoiled Blue Flag beaches.
Starting with the magnificent food, you can expect to try a whole host of mouth-watering local delicacies including suckling pig and fresh seafood, all washed down with port or glass of Madeira. Pangeia restaurant is particularly popular and offers a mixture of Portuguese and Mediterranean dishes.
The area is also rich in culture with places of interest including the palace of Sintra and Obidos, a gorgeous hill-top village.
Douro Valley – Best for indulgence
Of course, this region is most famous for its wineries as well as for its breath-taking surrounding scenery.
Some of the best vineyards you can visit include:
- Graham’s Port Lodge – home to 40 large casks of port as well as an interesting museum.
- Quinta do Crasto, Sabrosa – offering an infinity pool that overlooks the river and vineyards, Crasto produces port as well as its table wine that is made from port grape varieties.
- Quinta de la Rosa, Pinhao – situated right next to the Douro river, this winery makes table wine and port, plus it has the added benefit of having an excellent on-site restaurant.
Speaking of restaurants, there are many top quality eateries in the Douro Valley, but you can’t beat a picnic whilst enjoying the surrounding nature.
Costa Verde – Best for outdoors types
The Emerald Coast is ideal for anyone who loves to experience and explore the outdoors. From fishing to hiking, kayaking to checking out the plentiful local wildlife at the Peneda-Geres National Park, you really are spoilt for choice when you choose Costa Verde for your next holiday.
There are several attractive sandy beaches for you to enjoy, plus the chance to check out the sand dunes at the neighboring Blue Flag beach of Moledo.
For a bit of night-time excitement, look no further than Porto which provides a variety of lively bars and restaurants.