Travel: Portugal's the Answer to All Your Desires - Beach, Golf and History; EXPERT TIPS

The Mirror (London, England), June 28, 2008 | Go to article overview

Travel: Portugal's the Answer to All Your Desires - Beach, Golf and History; EXPERT TIPS


Byline: EDITED BY IAIN MAYHEW

Q MY husband and I and another couple want to plan a 10-day holiday in September somewhere in Europe. I have been put in charge of the arrangements and I need some help. The trouble is, we all want different things. The men would like a few rounds of golf, whilemy friend wants a nice beach. I am not a beach person and would prefer a place that has a bit of history and scenery. I am getting worried that the holiday will end in tears. What do you suggest?

Gill Treadwell, by email

A THE fact that they've dumped all this in your lap sounds a bit unfair. Frankly, I would suggest that you take yourself off somewhere historic and scenic like Rome and leave the rest of them to it.

However, as soon as you put golf, beaches and history in the same sentence then you're probably looking at either Spain or Portugal. While there's

little to differentiate between them, I'd give Portugal a try.

Its beaches match any in Spain, the golf courses are on a par, so to speak, and although it can't quite match the Alhambra or Seville, there's plenty of history too.

I've just checked out British Airways's website (www.ba.com) and found flights from Heathrow to Lisbon flying September 8 and returning September 16 for pounds 126 each including all taxes.

Hire a car (try www.travelsupermarket.com), spend a night at a Lisbon hotel (check hotel links on www.visitportugal.com), wander around the Alfama district and the Barrio Alto for a spot of fado music, then head off the next day to the Alentejo. This is Portugal's largest, yet least-known region where vast plains are covered with wheat, sunflowers and cork and olive trees, and it produces some of Portugal's finest food and wine. The main town is Evora which retains the splendour of the royal city it once was. You'll find cobbled streets and squares, Moorish courtyards, Gothic doorways, turrets, fountains and monasteries here.

To book a hotel here, go to www.discoverportugal.org.uk or try www.ehstravel.co.uk which specialises in trips to the Alentejo. Don't miss nearby Beja, a charming town with cobbled streets, quaint architecture and a 13th-century castle with superb views from its 118ft towers.

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