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Granted, your travel plans are probably on pause for the present moment due to the ongoing global health situation. But provided you and yours are keeping well, one way to stave off the boredom is by planning your perfect family vacay for 2021 – debating this over the next few weeks might be a welcome distraction from the doom and gloom of the news cycle and provide some hope for brighter days ahead.
As kids get older and their tastes diversify, finding a global hotspot that satisfies every member pf the family can be tough, but if you appreciate sun, sea, sand, culture, cuisine and history, Portugal might be the ideal choice.
Not convinced? You will be after an eyeful of Portugal’s top scenic spots.
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, Lisbon
If you like ornate religious buildings, you’ll love Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in the Lisbon suburb of Belem – it was built by King Manuel I to honour Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route to India in 1498.
It’s beautiful inside and out, with a magnificent white minaret contrasting with surrounding terracotta rooftops and an elaborate cloister that houses the body of da Gama and other luminaries like Luis de Camoes, the nation’s finest poet.
Tip: eat at Prova-Enoteca after your visit – try the tuna steak and octopus salad.
The ancient hilltop village of Sortelha is located in Concelho do Sebugal in Beira Alta province and, with charming cobbled streets, authentic stone-built dwellings, a well-preserved castle and verdant surrounding scenery, it’s a fairy tale come true.
The solid castle was built by King Sancho II in the 13th Century and looms imposingly over the village – climb the tower and you’re rewarded by breath taking views of the environs. There are also several artisan shops to buy gifts like wool rugs and wooden sculptures.
Tip: rent a car from Enjoy Car Hire to explore the Sortelha area and the rest of Portugal.
Nestled in the Sintra Mountains in western Portugal, the Sintra region is only 30 minutes from the middle of Lisbon, but it boasts arguably the most stunning collection of castles in the world.
Dubbed a World Heritage site by UNESCO, you can take your pick from the Palace of Sintra, Castle of the Moors, Pena Palace and Monserrate Palace. They’re all lovely, but the brightly coloured Palace of Sintra can’t fail to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Tip: stay at the Sintra Bliss House – rooms are comfy, service is great and it’s convenitnely located.
Hopefully, these picturesque Portuguese spots have convinced you that this is the European nation that’s most conducive to a terrific 2021 holiday.
And don’t forget that you can base yourself in the Algarve to get your beach fix and organise day trips to the country’s best attractions!
That’s our list! Share your own Portugal hotspots in the comments section.