The history of the country, and her cultural influences, is as rich as her natural landscape is diverse. Portugal was once, of course, a great Empire, colonising large parts of Africa, China, America and Malaysia. Gold from Brazil provided for magnificent Baroque buildings and gilded alter carvings. Exotic fruits and oriental spices changed gastronomic traditions forever, and Oporto and Lisbon are awash with memories of the great explorers, Prince Henry the Navigator and Vasco da Gama.
But Portugal was colonised too and there is also a surprising variety of architectural sites, reflecting a succession of occupying civilisations from the Ibero-Celts to the Christian reconquest. Romanesque temples, Baroque castles and numerous hidden churches all bear witness to a colourful past, as do ordinary village houses adorned with beautiful azulejo tiles and topped with Moorish-style chimney pots.
Portugal is a compact land packed full of historic, natural and cultural interest. For so small a country, it offers an astonishing array of natural splendours: great rivers, dense forests, lush valleys, rolling hills, exciting mountain ranges and long stretches of glorious white, sandy beaches.
View 3 holidays below
Varied beach-front cycling along some of the most spectacular stretches of coast we've ever seen! Starting in wine capital, Porto, your route heads south beach and bay-hopping to Aveiro, Portugal's Venice before finishing beside the beach at Praia de Mira.
With 300+ days of sunshine a year, it's little wonder that this holiday is such a winner with Headwater walkers! But it's not just the weather: Portugal's Alentejo offers wonderfully deserted beaches, tiny white villages, gently rolling hills and colourful fishing harbours - all untouched by tourism.
Enjoy cycling from wine capital, Porto, south along the coast and bay-hopping to Aveiro, Portugal's Venice before heading inland and finishing in Coimbra, Portugal's old capital with UNESCO recognised heritage.