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Holiday areas in Portugal


Praia da Rocha, PortimãoPraia da Rocha, Portimão

2. Porto de Mós

If you are looking for the perfect photo backdrop, this is the place to come, where the verdant lawn of the Vivenda Miranda hotel, studded with palm trees, juts out to sea near the golden sands of Porto de Mós. The wide beach is book-ended by tall, multicoloured cliffs, and all along this stretch of the rock formations decorate the coastline, the mellow stones creating caverns and arches that are a lovely complement to the turquoise sea. Ochre-coloured Vivenda Miranda, once a private home, lies low along the clifftop with breezy, light-filled interiors and wonderful sea views from the 25 rooms and suites. Neal’s Yard has just opened its first overseas spa here, while the kitchen delivers healthy, revitalising dishes and the path down to the beach past the swimming pool encourages early-morning walks.

3. Praia Verde, eastern Algarve

Away from the hurly-burly of water parks and golf courses, Praia Verde (Green Beach) close to the Spanish border offers an authentic Algarve forgotten by many. It adjoins hundreds of hectares of salt pans bordering the River Guadiana, which draw a rich variety of birds from avocets to terns, sandpipers to curlews. Dense pine forest at the sand’s edge provides cool in the heat of summer, and gives the beach its name. Cut through the trees to find Praia Verde Boutique Hotel, a new Design hotel which offers just 40 suites, each with garden or sea view and a kitchenette and good dining space. This makes it well suited to families who need to cater for young children, who can be accommodated on the sofabed in the sitting room. The restaurant offers simple, fresh, seasonal dishes, with the wood-fired oven taking pride of place.

Praia Verde BeachFrom £1, 088 per room (00351 28 153 06 00; praiaverderesort.com).
Check availability: Praia Verde Boutique Hotel, Algarve

Praia Verde adjoins the salt pans which attracts a variety of birds

4. Guincho, near Lisbon

If you like your beach bracing and breezy, Guincho, just 30 minutes from, is for you, with impressive Atlantic breakers roaring in over golden sands. Perched on the rocks just above the ocean, but within every sound of the pounding waves is the little 17th-century Fortaleza do Guincho, now a gem of a hotel with 27 rooms and a restaurant which is more than worth the detour. Vincent Farges, the chef, draws on his native French cuisine, combining it beautifully with local ingredients to deliver a sense of place with dishes such as steamed sea bass with razor clam tartare. From the dining room windows, you can see the lighthouse and Cabo da Roca, which marks mainland Europe’s most westerly point –once thought of as the end of the world.

From £735 per room (00 351 21 487 04 91; fortalezadoguincho.com).

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