International leisure travel has now restarted, with thousands of people departing for foreign holidays on Monday as the ban was lifted in England.
Jetting off abroad is now possible under the government’s traffic light system, which classifies destinations as green, amber or red based on Covid infection rate and perceived risk.
Only 12 countries have made the green list, however, with the government advising that Brits should not be visiting amber or red countries for recreational purposes.
Thankfully, Portugal’s golden beaches, cobbled streets and historic cities were given the green go-ahead, alongside with Gibraltar, Iceland and Israel, among others.
To celebrate, we’ve found some of the best holiday packages to Portugal departing in the next six weeks.
Located in the heart of Tavira on Portugal’s Algarve coast, the Adults Only Platinum Maria Nova Lounge hotel is situated close to the banks of the Gilão River. It has a huge outdoor pool and waterside bar, and guests can also take advantage of the indoor pool, gym and spa. History buffs can explore Tavira’s medieval castle, 18th century buildings and – count them – 37 churches.
Seven nights at the Maria Nova Lounge hotel costs £359pp ,B&B, in a twin room (with balcony or terrace) with Tui, departing London Gatwick on Sunday 23 May.
Situated closed to the historic town of Faro and just 350m from its cathedral, the Hotel Faro and Beach Club has a rooftop terrace with great views and a whirlpool, a gym and sauna. Guests also have access to Hotel Faro’s beach club, which can be reached via the hotel’s shuttle bus. Nature lovers can explore the beaches and lagoons of the Ria Formosa natural park by boat, which attracts migratory birds and wildlife.
Seven nights at the Hotel Faro and Beach Club in Faro costs £540pp, B&B, in a standard double or twin room with Jet2, departing Leeds/Bradford on Saturday 26 June.
From its hilltop post, the Hotel Madeira Panoramico enjoys breathtaking views over the Bay of Funchal. Tucked away among lush hills, the hotel includes a suntrap swimming pool that looks out over the Atlantic, plus tennis and squash courts. Inside, you’ll find another pool and spa area with a Turkish bath, sauna and whirlpool, should you need to wind down after a day in the sunshine. The hotel provides complimentary shuttle buses to the centre of Funchal, which is a five-minute drive away.
Seven nights at the Hotel Madeira Panoramico costs £456pp, B&B, in a twin room with a balcony and sea view with First Choice, departing London Gatwick on 24 May.
Praia dos Salgados, Algarve
If you prefer the ease of an all-inclusive package, the cost at Salgados Palm Village includes breakfast, lunch, evening meal, drinks and snacks. It also has a whopping 10 pools (six for adults, four for kids), tennis and volleyball courts, plus an 18-hole golf course. A sandy beach is 2km away, and there’s a free hotel shuttle bus to take you there. And if you fancy a change of pace, the lively city of Albufeira is a 20-minute drive up the coast.
Seven nights at the Salgados Palm Village costs £1,016pp on an all-inclusive basis in a suite with a large balcony with First Choice, departing Bristol on 13 June.
This is a great deal for those on a budget. Situated in a laid-back spot on the edge of the fishing village of Alvor, the Club Alvorferias Apartments are surrounded by palm-filled gardens and include two outdoor pools. While it’s a 15-minute stroll from a string of sandy coves or the cobbled centre (a hotel shuttle bus is available), it’s a great choice for those looking to laze in the sun and catch up on some holiday reading. Your twin room includes a balcony, kitchen and two extra beds in the lounge,
Seven nights at the Club Alvorferias Apartments in Alvor costs £229pp in a twin-room apartment (with room for four), self-catering, with Tui, departing London Gatwick on Sunday 23 May.
Praia d’Oura, Algarve
If you’re restricted to school timetables for your holiday, you’re probably more than well aware that the cost of your trip during this high-peak period can often double or even triple. Parents who have spent the last year attempting to home-school their child(ren) may be more desperate than most to get away, however. Located 500m away from a Blue Flag award-winning sandy beach, and just 100m from the shops, bars and restaurants of Avenue Sá Carneiro, you’re in the heart of the action at the Ouratlantico Apartments. But if you don’t fancy venturing further than their grounds, you’ll still find a good-sized outdoor pool, tennis courts, ping pong and an indoor hot tub and plunge pool.
Seven nights at the Ouratlantico Apartments costs £806pp, self-catering, in a one-bedroom apartment with a balcony or terrace with First Choice, departing Manchester on 29 May.
If the prospect of pool-side lazing leaves you twitchy, a city break in Lisbon might whet your appetite. The historic – and cinematically-themed – Hotel Florida is situated in a fantastically central location, with its huge balcony offering panoramic views of the Marqués de Pombal square. From here, travellers can explore the city’s historic buildings, botanical gardens and feast in one of the Portuguese capital’s many dining establishments.
Four nights at the Hotel Florida costs £246pp, room only, in a double or twin room with easyJet, departing Manchester on 6 June.
The boutique Exe Almado Porto is ideally situated in this historic port city’s centre. A great destination to explore on foot, Porto is packed with ancient architecture, including the São Francisco Church and palatial 19th-century Palácio de Bolsa, plus contemporary street art and fantastic dining and drinking options.
Four nights at the Exe Almado Porto costs £288pp, room only, in a standard double with easyJet, departing London Luton on 15 June.