When you think of a European holiday, destinations like Germany, France and Spain are probably the first places that come to mind. But for a truly memorable experience there is no country quite like Portugal. Here you spend your mornings surfing in warm Mediterranean seas and end the day skiing in one of the country’s many ski resorts – you can’t say that about many places. Still not convinced? Here are just 7 reasons why Portugal needs to be on your holiday bucket list.

1: Family Friendly Holiday

Portugal has been regarded as one of the most popular family holiday destinations in Europe for years now and there are so many reasons why. The combination of budget flights and reasonably priced hotels coupled with the endless family friendly activities – water parks, museums, marine parks etc. – mean that everyone’s kept happy and entertained.

2: Fresh Fish

sardines

There is no place in the world that serves seafood quite like the Portuguese and, according to CNN, they’re beaten only by Icelanders when it comes to the amount of fish they consume. Think fresh fish like mackerel, sardines and cod as well as seafood like octopus to be on the menu paired with wonderful vegetables and sauces. Portuguese cuisine is famously fresh and tasty, with numerous family recipes that have been perfected over various generations. And it’s not just the fresh fish that will have your taste buds in heaven, Portugal is also famous for its desserts, you’ll be amazied by their many uses for a passionfruit and you’ll love their national dessert called quijadas.

3: Beautiful Landmarks

Portugal is a country steeped in history, meaning it has a host of famous landmarks to visit. Some of the most popular include Mosterio dos Jeronimos, a church and monastery featuring some of the best examples of Manueline architecture. Also on your must-see list should be the Torre de Belem, a 1521 fortress that defended approaches down the River Tagus and the Castelo de Guimarães, which was the birthplace of Portugal’s first monarch, Dom Afonso Henriques in 1110.

4: Superb Weather

Portugal is a country that boasts over 300 days of sun per year, making it the perfect destination for anyone who insists on guaranteed summer sun. Summer days will have between 11 and 12 hours of sunshine per day, but the cool sea breeze means the weather is pleasant rather than overbearing. In winter expect mild but still warm temperatures, but far wetter conditions.

5: Sporting Entertainment

No trip to Portugal would be complete without a trip to see one of the country’s famous football teams in action. After-all, Portugal is home to some of the world’s greatest players including Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo. Lisbon, Braga and Porto all have numerous football stadiums, so try to coincide your holiday with a game or a stadium tour.

6: Safe Beaches

Beach in Portugal

Portugal’s beaches are listed as some of the safest and cleanest in Europe, making them an incredibly popular choice for families. Camilo beach in Lagos is set below picturesque cliffs that shelter beach-goers from any breeze, making it a complete sun trap. For surfers, the Praia da Adraga, near Lisbon has waves perfect for water sports as well as great spots for enjoying a romantic sunset. To beat the crowds, Miramar in Porto is a beautiful golden beach that is often overlooked by tourists meaning you’ll get a gorgeous beach practically to yourself!

7: Festivals

If you love culture, then immersing yourself in one of Portugal’s many festivals is the perfect way to make yourself a memorable holiday. Every June, towns and cities across Portugal celebrate three Catholic Saints with parades, music and lots of food – especially sardines! You’ll also see lots of traditional weddings with festivities starting early in the evening and lasting well into the night.