There are so many reasons why Portugal is such an enduring favourite for British holiday makers. With pleasant temperatures, long stretches of sandy beaches and golf courses along the Algarve coast, the natural beauty of the Minho, Lima and Douro Valleys and the fantastic architecture found in the capital city of Lisbon, tourists are very well catered for all year round.
Summer is naturally the most popular time to visit, when temperatures average at around 25 EUR. But anyone looking to explore the rich culture and colonial history of Portugal should consider a visit in spring or autumn. There's minimal rainfall during these times, its warm - but not too hot to spend days searching for breathtaking monuments and soaking up the unspoilt atmosphere of traditional Portuguese towns.
There are plenty of resorts suited perfectly to those who prefer to spend a lazy fortnight of relaxation, with some of the lowest prices for accommodation and excellent seafood in Europe. For the full Portugal experience, driving can be an ideal way of cramming in as many destinations as possible.
There's a four lane toll highway, or 'Auto Estrada' that runs about 360 miles from Lisbon to Porto. Two-lane highways of good quality connect the rest of the country. Here are some of the best places to stop at:Lisbon -
Packed with reminders of its rich cultural heritage, visitors can take in this city's museums, art galleries and many monuments by day, then enjoy a buzzing night life.Obidos -
Perched on a hill, this medieval town is one of Portugal's most classic walled settlements, with stunning views over vineyards and agricultural land. Wander along the cobbled streets to find some of the best local handicrafts.Sintra -
This sleepy village boasts a microclimate that encourages exotic vegetation and a historic centre that's listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela -
A must for hikers, this national park has beautiful alpine scenery, crystal clear lakes and amazing views of the surrounding countryside.
For further inspiration justportugal.org is a good website, with plenty of useful destination guides. For other tips and advice to help you make the most of a trip to Portugal (including everything you need to know about hiring a car), check out the Auto Europe Portugal Guide.