Venturing to the very end of Iberia is a chance to discover one of the most talked-about destinations Europe has to offer. It's a land of verdant valleys dressed in vineyards, dank port cellars that hearken back to the middle ages, crumbly Moorish castles, scintillating beaches, frothing surf – the list goes on. Welcome to Portugal and this guide, which aims to inspire with hints and tips for all things villas in Portugal.
Popular places to seek out villas in Portugal
There's certainly no shortage of enrapturing destinations that will get the jaw dropping and the wanderlust in overdrive here. A taster of some of the most popular areas and towns to seek out villas in Portugal is below.
Villas along the Silver Coast
The Silver Coast is a chocolate box of treats that sums up Portugal's Atlantic appeal. Head north from Lisbon and you'll find it starts with the mysterious rises of the Sintra Mountains, which hide romantic palaces and misty pine forests. After that, it drops down to wild beaches where the waves spit salt into the air, from Peniche to Figueira da Foz. It's a surf-mad, culture-heavy region with plenty of villas.
The allure of the Douro Valley
Green vineyards cascade down the high hills of the Douro Valley, encircling whitewashed villages and little marinas by the water's edge. This is Portugal's most iconic wine region, which means a rental in these parts always comes with a side of full-bodied red and vintage port.
A holiday home in the Algarve
Even a mention of Albufeira is usually enough to conjure visions of shimmering sands and azure seas. The whitewashed fishing town is now a fully-fledged resort and the gateway to the greater Algarve, where villas of all sorts cluster by award-winning beaches. Golfers might prefer to try glitzy Vilamoura, history buffs can head to Lagos, while those with something sleepier in mind could check the lettings in Tavira.
Head over to Madeira
Another truly enticing corner of Portugal sits more than 500 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. It's the verdant isle of Madeira, hailed as a natural greenhouse for its wealth of tropical flowers and emerald rainforests. You can trace the history of the local hero in the Cristiano Ronaldo museum of Funchal or scale soaring peaks like Pico Ruivo – whenever you're not relaxing in your private villa, that is.
Ways you can bag a bargain on villas in Portugal
Here, we take a look at some tried-and-tested ways you can ferret out the cheap villas in Portugal and give yourself more spending money for the surfboard rentals and piri piri.
Book really early if you're coming in the summer
With Portugal's popularity showing no signs of wavering, you're likely to find stiff competition for the best bargains in the villa market. That's especially true of the scorching summer months, when you'll need to get in really early if you want a chance of scoring a great stay for less.
Be tempted by off-radar destinations
While the gorgeous Algarve continues to fill the pages of Portuguese travel brochures the world over, other regions of the nation are content to leave the limelight to the south. Seek those out and you could be in with a bargain, not to mention a holiday filled with adventure that's off the beaten track. Consider hopping the swell-bashed bays of the Costa Verde in the north, or treading the wild Serra da Lousa in search of amazing schist villages.
The various types of villas in Portugal
Get a feel for the sorts of places that Portugal has to offer before you delve into the mix of rentals on the menu on this tip of Western Europe.
Luxury villas in Portugal
Pop a Douro red and let a deluxe letting take care of your holiday this year. You'll be able to find loads of classy options across the country. Down in the Algarve, it might mean a swish pad backing onto a championship golf course. Near Lisbon, you may be looking at a minimalist condo with local artworks and views down to Cascais bay. Elsewhere, there are huge country estates with private pools and their own fruit orchards.
Traditional villas in Portugal
An ancient wine press, an old olive farm, a converted stable, a port cellar come boutique lodging – there are all sorts of holiday lettings in this wonderful country that ooze character and history. You can focus in on these stays if you like your home away from home to have its very own story to tell.
Family villas in Portugal
No matter if you're coming with just your own crew or a larger group of several families, there are oversized villas in Portugal that can cater to your needs. They might be tricky to find in the heart of big cities like Lisbon and buzzing resorts like Albufeira, because extra room is often needed to fit in a garden, a swimming pool, a kitchen and all the bedrooms required to sleep 15 or more travellers.