The year is 2021 and Portugal has, yet again, been the winner of 27 categories at the World Travel Awards, including Europe’s Leading Destination, voted by thousands of professionals in the area, done at a worldwide scale. It’s a combination of factors that allows for this small rectangle off the southwest coast of Europe to prevail and stand out, year after year.
Small but home to a diversified offer, Portugal is clear to show up and justify its recognition and awards. Whether for its warm weather or the milder winter atmosphere, the breath-taking beach or the relaxing mountain, the delicious local cuisine or rich and ancient history – there is something for everyone and more than 27 reasons to return.
One of the oldest capitals in the world, Lisbon was awarded with “Europe’s Leading Cruise Destination 2020”, confirming this city’s recent rise as one of the traveller’s favourite destinations on the map. Its old town and colourful buildings mash perfectly with the shiny sun, that’s so well appreciated in one of the city’s many must-see belvederes, where you can take a glimpse at its old companion, Tagus River. While you make Lisbon your port of call, or if you are on a city break of embarking on a discovery of the country, check out the top 15 things to do in Lisbon.
Soaking up the sun the Algarve
For those that are fans of the beach and the so-typical local sunny weather, Algarve is just the choice! Having won “Europe’s Leading Beach Destination” for the third time in a row, it shows year in and year out, why so many choose to visit its crystal blue waters and beautiful diverse beaches that make for the perfect summer trip! From Sagres to Vila Real de Santo António, you are sure to find the most suited beach, should that be the rock-formation beaches of Lagos or the extensive white-sand beaches of Tavira. See how to best spend one week in Algarve.
Madeira: The pearl of the Atlantic
Flying out of the mainland, Portugal is also home to its beautiful islands that will give your holidays the perfect tropical twist. For the fifth time in a row, the islands of Madeira have won the award for “Europe’s Leading Island Destination 2020”, distinguishing the marvellous green scenery and waterfalls, as well as the strong local culture and tropical gastronomy (such as the delicious fruits and drinks that are exclusive to the region!). If you are looking for a change of scenery and living the best island life, check out our best of Madeira suggestions.
Walking into nature
When looking for those type of unique experiences that will enhance your trip, you can count on one of Portugal’s most recent bets, Arouca, a name that’s been rolling around for its UNESCO Global Geopark – Passadiços de Paiva –, which has won “Europe’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction”. Whether it is for the largest pedestrian suspended bridge in the world or for its wooden-path trails that open nature’s natural window to reveal the magnificent mountain landscape, it’s clear that this is a destination in ascend. Discover more about Arouca and the top things to do when exploring the area.
Watching the stars in Alentejo
Slighter down south, lies one of the many wonders Portugal holds, awarded not only on one, but two different categories such as “Europe’s Responsible Tourism Award” and “Europe’s Leading Tourism Development Project”. The Alqueva lake, near Monsaraz, is a retreat of peace, quiet and bucolic nature, characteristics that make these a charming location in the heart of the Alentejo plains, away from the city bustle, deep within the countryside. The distance from the city makes this the perfect place to watch the stars and the ideal home for Dark Sky Alqueva, this worldly renown observatory is able to amaze just any visitor that steps into this experience of looking up to the sky above. Discover more about the Alentejo region from watching the stars, to savouring the local gastronomy and wines or getting to know quaint historic towns.
Check the full list of winners and categories here.