Portugal caps off mainland Europe in grand style. Its blue-tiled churches and gold-tinted beaches continue to draw in millions of visitors each year. Cities like Lisbon and Porto come with centuries of swashbuckling history, too, along with neighbourhoods that buzz with port bars and cafés and sizzling sardine festivals. If you're taken with it all, be sure to read on for some top hints and information about booking apartments in Portugal.

The various types of apartments in Portugal

You won't just find a single type of pad in Portugal. There are apartments here to suit a wide selection of different travellers. From surf-washed flats to opulent stays that will have you feeling like King Afonso I himself, here are just some examples to consider.

Finding cheap apartments in Portugal

Bargain apartments in Portugal are plentiful – you just need to know where to look for them. Heading away from the beachfront in popular sun and sand destinations, such as the Algarve, is always a good idea. Prices will tend to drop, the further from the coast you go. Dodging the historic heart of major cities is also a good idea. Lisbon's Alfama street maze might be enticing but it's also got some of the highest rates in the capital.

Indulge with luxury apartments in Portugal

If the euros aren't an object, then you could consider renting the most upscale apartments in Portugal. These are the pads that put you within sight of the sea in places like Cascais and Albufeira. You'll wake to views of pearly shore waters and dramatic cliffs, enjoy al fresco terraces for your evening wine and gaze upon stylish interiors filled with art. Swimming pools and gyms are also common features of the more modern deluxe stays.

Portugal apartments for surfers

Portugal's rise to be one of Europe's most famous surfing destinations has been almost unstoppable. That's why there's now a whole subsection of rentals on offer to those coming with the board in tow. They can be found all the way up the west coast, where the swells crash into the sands of Peniche, Nazaré or Espinho. It's common for them to have self-catering kitchens and room to stash the surf gear, when you're not on the waves.

Get an apartment in Portugal in the Algarve

The Algarve is Portugal's sunniest and most visited region. It's a land of olive-peppered hills that drop to rugged cliffs. The beaches take centre stage, hosting resort towns that thrum with life from May to September. Of course, apartment rentals are plentiful, too.

Vibrant Albufeira awaits

The whitewashed homes and flat rentals of Albufeira herald one of the most happening corners of all Portugal. Days in this lively city are usually spent reclining on deck chairs on the rock-ribbed Praia da Marinha or umbrella-dotted Praia dos Pescadores. Evenings are given to the wild bars of the Montechoro Strip – get your karaoke ready for that.

Lagos has flats for beach lovers

Lagos might be an enthralling gateway to the region, with a formidable Moorish castle and plenty of honey-coloured relics from past centuries, but it's still the beaches that trump the lot. The town hosts the exquisite Praia Dona Ana and the boater's haven of Ponta da Piedade.

Go chic in Vilamoura

If hitting a round of 18 on manicured championship courses and splashing in shared pools under waxy palm trees is your idea of a relaxing holiday, you're bound to love the flats of Vilamoura. It's a stylish and elegant corner of the province, with intriguing Roman ruins, its own beach and a clutch of country clubs.

Choose an apartment in northern Portugal

For holidayers who prefer to stray from the beaten path, northern Portugal is a gem. Rarely filling the travel brochures in the same was as the sun-splashed land of the Algarve, it's a place peppered with tile-fronted, or azulejos, churches and washed by roaring surf. See if the following spots take your fancy.

An apartment in Porto

A taste of a bohemian, artsy city awaits those who rent an apartment in Portugal's northernmost city. The 2nd-largest in the country, the town drapes over the steep-sided banks of the Douro River, with higgledy-piggledy cobbles zigzagging down to the meet the famous port cellars that line the water's edge. The historic neighbourhood of Ribeira is the place to search for apartments with real character – it's laden with wine bars and azulejos-faced chapels.

Discover Portugal apartments in Aviero

The compact city of Aviero is hailed as the "Venice of Portugal" for its bobbing punt boats that drift up and down its gurgling canals. The 15th-century Museum of Aveiro is housed in an evocative convent that brims with saintly relics. Meanwhile, the Aveiro Lagoon is lined with ice cream-coloured cottages and eye-catching saltpans.

North Portugal apartments in the Douro Valley

Wine lovers can't miss the Douro Valley. This is unquestionably the most accomplished region for viticulture in the country. It spreads out eastwards from the city of Porto, rising with vine-clad hills and little bodegas that glow white on the verdant ridges. Boat trips between the tasting rooms are a great way to experience the beauty of the area, while the charming town of Pinhão has a sleepy, laidback vibe, in the midst of it all.