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Europe & North Africa / Portugal & Madeira

Luxury Travel: All-time Favourites

Laura Houldsworth, Executive Retail Editor of House & Garden

I’ve spent every summer for as long as I can remember in Portugal. Perfect for a short-haul dose of Vitamin-D, the mild climate, beguiling beaches, uber-fresh fish, Vinho Verde and port wines, and cosmopolitan cities keep pulling me back for more. With the maze of cobbled streets and rumbling wooden trams both Lisbon and Porto are spot-on for a city break and nothing beats a coffee and fresh pastel de nata from one of the many cafés. While the impressive beaches in the Algarve remain popular, the Douro Valley wine region has captured my imagination this year with its undulating hills and knowledgeable wine connoisseurs.

Fado music rings out from the open doors of Lisbon’s late-night bars evoking a sense of the Portuguese soul. All around are wide, tree-lined avenues enriched by Art Nouveau buildings, mosaic pavements and street cafés infused by an unhurried ambience. A little way along the coast the beach resorts of the Portuguese Riviera sweep into view, while up in the cool hills lies Sintra, a magical place described by Byron as ‘a garden of earthly paradise’. Far to the south, the ever popular Algarve attracts sun seekers to its one hundred mile coastline. By the gently shelving beaches, limpid waters wash romantic coves that are ideal for swimming, whilst the ocean is a playground for watersports enthusiasts. Limestone cliffs and natural grottoes form the backdrop for endless family activities, whilst those in search of Portugal’s past head for commanding sights such as Sagres fortress – a legacy of an Arabian past. The rich history is reflected in a fusion cuisine that includes spicy chicken piri-piri and salted sardines freshly plucked from the sea, tempered by refreshing rosé wines. Seemingly surging from the Atlantic lies the island of Madeira, a floating garden cradled within a mountainous interior, its landscape a riot of sub-tropical flora; violet protea, orange bird of paradise, and white cala lilies. The capital Funchal is surrounded by lush hills and dramatic shorelines, its vibrant markets overflowing with displays of colour and the air filled with the exotic lilt of the local language.

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Portugal & Madeira Essentials

Approx. Flight Times London to Lisbon 2 hours 40 minutes / Faro 2 hours 50 minutes / Funchal 3 hours 45 minutes
Time Difference GMT in winter / +1 hour in summer
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Portugal & Madeira Hotels & Itineraries

Introducing some of the best 5 star resorts in Portugal & Madeira.

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Best experiences in Portugal

  • Enjoy a round of golf on one of the numerous world class golf courses
  • Explore Lisbon's Alfama district on foot with its medieval alleyways and winding streets
  • Savour freshly caught seafood at a local restaurant
  • Enjoy wine tastings and exclusive dining at the Cave de Vinhos - the cellar at the Vila Vita Parc Hotel, housing over 11,000 bottles of wine
  • Absorb the atmosphere of the numerous festivals held throughout the year
  • Try windsurfing at the Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel
  • Afternoon tea overlooking Funchal on the Tea Terrace at Reid's Palace

When is the best time to visit Portugal & Madeira?

Southern Portugal including the Algarve enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters. July and August are hot but temperatures are moderated by sea breezes. A good time to visit Portugal is May to June and September to October, where days are pleasantly warm and sunny. Madeira is a good year-round destination with temperatures remaining pleasantly mild over the winter months.

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Our team travel extensively, getting under the skin of every destination and hotel that we feature while building key connections and relationships along the way. In-depth knowledge of a destination is only part of what is required to curate a couture holiday experience; we also get to know you and what matters to you, meaning you receive genuine recommendations and a truly individual travel experience, and our Carrier Masterclasses ensure our travel experts are the best in the industry at tailoring bespoke and unique holidays. DESTINATIONS LINK

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Carrier has been tailoring holidays worldwide for over 35 years and has firmly established its reputation as one of the leaders in the luxury holiday market. We have been voted ‘Favourite Tour Operator’ by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller magazine more times than any other company in the past decade, and have been featured in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s Top 10 Tour Operators for 2016. Carrier has also won several national travel industry accolades, including ‘Luxury Tour Operator of the Year’ from TTG Luxury and Advantage Travel Centres.

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Why settle for ordinary when you can have extraordinary? The best suites in some of the world’s plushest hotels, the first choice of flight seats, attention to detail, no restrictions or limitations - how luxury holidays should be. Your holiday desires are well taken care of, whether you wish to learn new life skills while training with a Bodyism expert, or uncovering centuries-old bushmen secrets in Botswana with expert safari guides. Children can follow the life of a panda keeper one day and cook dinner with a Beijing housewife the next. Carrier can make it happen.

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