Some people like a relaxing holiday where they lounge on a beach, sipping cocktails and reading a trashy novel. When they get a little too hot, they`ll wander down to the sea to cool off, trundling back up the beach and flopping onto their towel. When their skin begins to grow pink, they turn over and slowly grill their other side..
Visitors to Portugal don`t need to spend their entire holiday stuck to a plastic sun lounger. Some people want adventure, activity, cultural experiences, discovering nature away from the tourist traps.
If that`s you, read on: experiencing Portugal with Soft Adventure Tourism has so much to offer.
In the north, see Portugal from the water with a picturesque river cruise down the Douro. The Douro Valley is the home of port wine and is a spectacular journey with steep river banks and hills covered in grape vines. Signs of the valley`s port production can be seen from the river, with placards adorning the hills: world-famous names such as Cockburn`s, Sandeman`s and Taylors. Red and white wines are also produced in the region. Formerly a fast-flowing river, the Douro is now tranquil, perfect for a leisurely cruise where you can soak up the glorious scenery.
If you`re enticed by the valley but want still more activity, there are some excellent hiking opportunities along the Douro valley, which has been called the valley of gold. It`s perfect for hikers, with spectacular views and rich tranquillity. In September, local workers harvest the grapes for port and wine and can be heard singing late into the night.
Stay at the Aquapura Douro Valley in Samodaes. This 71 room hotel offers scenic views of the river and vineyards, and with some of the rooms offering fantastic views of the Douro through floor to ceiling glass windows. They feature an indoor spa, swimming pool, fitness center, and free parking.
For the intrepid tourist, cycling through Alentejo is an experience not to be missed. Alentejo is a south-central region of Portugal which sits on the coast, bordering the Algarve. The area offers a charming range of landscapes, from rolling hills to agricultural land and the coastal trails are excellent.
Stay at the Albergaria do Calvario in Evora (Alentejo). This charming 22 room hotels is located within the city walls of Evora, on the site of a 16th-century olive oil mill. The all-inclusive breakfast features fresh, organic, and locally-grown products. This hotel can serve as an ideal base for day trips to nearby wineries, cork oaks, historic cities, and tours of prehistoric megalithic sites.
Also available along the Portuguese coast and inland are a range of activities such as skiing, surfing, climbing, canoeing, diving, sailing, kite-surfing, wake boarding and abseiling.
There is also a wide range of options for those wanting a more leisurely and natural tour of Portugal. Horse riding is on offer throughout the country and what better way to experience Portugal`s beautiful nature than from your seat on a majestic horse? Either coastal or inland, riding tours are available throughout the country, through forests and valleys or cliff top paths.
Portugal is also an excellent place to visit if you are interested in sport. Numerous golf courses and golfing holidays are available throughout the country, along with tennis breaks, waters ports and many other options for the active individual, couple or family.
If you`re interested in fishing, Portugal may be the perfect location. The Portugese consume up to ten times more fish than they do meat and most of it from the sea. With both freshwater and sea fishing on offer, every need is catered for. Freshwater fishing is less well-known in Portugal, but in certain regions, freshwater fish are legion. The freshwater season is between April and November, when the weather is cooler and ideal for activity-loving holiday makers. Trout, bass, barbel, carp, salmon, sturgeon and plaice are all accessible.
Portugal is said to be one of the best deep-sea fishing countries in Europe: thousands of sardines, which in turn attracts bream, bass, mackerel and then the giants: shark, tunny, sword fish, salmon bass and even more. More than two hundred varieties regularly appear in Portugal`s bustling fish markets.
The Algarve, in the South of the country, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Don`t let that deter you, though, as the region has much to offer for the intrepid adventure tourist. The region has a rich history and culture and is particularly famous for its pottery and ceramics culture. Tours of the area are popular, particularly by horse riding or even quad bikes. There are over 30 golf courses in the region.
For those wanting to see the wide range of landscapes the Algarve has to offer, touring by rental car hire in the Algarve may be the best option, as there are limited public transport services in the region.
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