Want to maximise your value for money while travelling Europe? Portugal could be the place to splurge.
While we travelled Portugal on a budget (walking the Camino), we did have the odd splurge. I paid close attention to all the incredible luxury accomodation options, hoping to go back again and enjoy.
During our stay in Portugal we discovered a magnificent hotel and hotel group by chance, the Pestana group who run lots of incredible hotels including a range of “Pousadas” in Portugal. I discuss this further in my book about the Camino in Portugal. A “Pousada” is a luxury, traditional or historical hotel in Portugal. Formerly run by the Portuguese State, they are now run commercially and can be found around the country. The majority of “Pousada” hotels were formerly monasteries, palaces, convents and castles.
We stayed in the Pousada in Viana do Castelo, which is built from the remodelling of the Hotel Santa Lucia which was originally built in 1918.
In terms of value, for Western Europe, Portugal and Spain are top picks as the quality of accommodation and food for the price you pay are exceptional.
The South of Portugal – in the Algarve – whilst beautiful and scenic is a bit more tourist-centred than the North. The Algarve is popular with Brits, Germans and Scandinavians. The North of Portugal is a lot less frequented by tourists, and if you’d like to stay in interesting, affordable and historical accommodation – it can certainly be found.
In Porto and along the Douro valley there are some incredible places to stay amongst the vines. Porto itself has some beautiful accommodation along the Gaia side of the river, as you continue up along the coast towards Spain, the town of Viana do Castelo and surrounds provide particularly spectacular accommodation. There are also stunning private houses along the coast near Viana do Castelo, with historical villages dotting the Atlantic coast.
So, here are some of my dreamy picks for places in Portugal:
You can stay in an actual castle in Obidos.
The Pousada do Castelo de Óbidos is located in Vila de Óbidos and is one of the 7 wonders of Portugal.
You can stay amongst the vines near Porto
The Vintage House Hotel is in the heart of the UNESCO world heritage listed Douro Valley, right on the Douro River
You can stay in a plush hotel amongst the Port Cellars in Gaia (across the river from Porto)
The Yeatman Hotel is an eye-catching urban escape. It’s also strolling or stumbling distance from the best cellars in Porto. It has great style, great rooms and incredible views.
You can stay in an ancient 12th-century Augustinian Monastery
The Pousada Mosteiro Guimarães is a Small Luxury Hotel located in the city of Guimarães with fantastic views of the city.