Our family have visited Portugal every single year for the last 29 years. And I cannot see that altering going forward. As a result, I feel like I can speak with some authority about the place and its culture.
As people look towards taking a summer break, they could be forgiven for worrying about booking a holiday at all until the dust settles on Brexit. The prospect of booking abroad is likely a concern because it is unknown what costs and disruption might be caused (either purposely, or accidentally) by the EU leadership when it comes to Brits travelling abroad. Many people seem to be hanging on before committing. Yet I would like to pose a different philosophy when it comes to considering booking a holiday to the Algarve, Portugal. Here are six key reasons to go ahead and book your holiday to The Algarve sooner rather than later.
It Will Be Easier To Enter Portugal Than It Is Now
Certainly, there is plenty of scaremongering around related to Brexit. Yet it’s most likely that Portugal will be easier to visit once the UK is out of the EU than it is today. It certainly won’t be harder. As long ago as January, Portugal’s leadership made their intentions very clear to keep tourists flowing into the country. See Portugal To Welcome Brits.
Its latest campaign, which they have named ‘BRELCOME’, makes their position even more transparent. The reality is that Portugal would be mad to jeopardise its critical tourism trade.
There is little or no threat of disruption to direct travel with Portugal and authorities are even promising a specific lane, much like the Schengen area countries enjoy, in order to prevent delays.
Booking a holiday to The Algarve for this year is likely to bag a bargain because everyone in the country is keen to attract custom. OK, this might be true of other locations too, but the Portuguese have suffered badly as a result of the two-speed Eurozone and the austerity that was forced upon them. But Portuguese people, (certainly those I have engaged) are very genuine, honest people. They certainly are keen to receive a tourists’ money, but they also take pride in delivering good value for that money.
Follow The Sun
Portugal is one of the only sun-drenched (265 days of sun per year) destinations within Europe that can be reached directly from the UK without travelling across another European border and which isn’t subject to proven disruption. Spain is obviously the other major destination. This is pretty-important given the likelihood that the already unsettled French will likely cause air-space disruption at some point in the year, if only to impact their own government. France of course has its sunny parts, but then there is that risk of disruption that has already been proven to disrupt many a Brits holiday plans through flight path restrictions.
The diplomatic alliance between England (now the UK) and Portugal, incidentally the oldest country in Europe, runs deep into the cultures of each country. It’s the longest-standing diplomatic alliance in the World, dating back to the 14th century. Whether the UK remains in the EU or not, the relationship of these two sea-faring nations will remain strong.
Portugal boasts some of the best food anywhere in the world. That’s because the food is from everywhere in the world. All the dishes that make up the so-called Portuguese Cuisine is a mix of centuries of cultural influences, and that’s what makes it unique. Fish is an obvious favourite, with bacalhau (salted fish) being the most prominent. Yet most of the bacalhau served actually comes from Norway or Iceland. Portugal has adopted many ingredients and styles from other countries. Chilli and peppers from the Americas, spices from India, its lovely cataplana (fish stew) results from a mix of North African and Middle East sources. The list seems endless. The cuisine is clearly Mediterranean, and yet you can tell it apart from other countries as it has its own twist. Yet the main factor that makes Portugal a good destination is that none of it is dramatically different from ingredients you might find in the UK, meaning fussy children tend to be accepting of the food presented.
Portugal’s reputation for its stunning Port production needs no introduction. Indeed, a visit to Oporto in the northern quarter of Portugal is a must whenever possible. Yet it is beginning to be out-positioned by Portugal’s fast-growing wine industry. Portugal is reportedly the 9th largest wine exporter in the World. But as with many other countries, the best wines are not necessarily the ones let out of the country. Portugal has remained immune to many of the outside influences which have forged regions like California or Washington State in the US etc. Most of its 200+ grape varieties are native. This results in very distinctive red and white wine production. And you’ll find wine production in many parts of the country. The climate in the Northern Vinho Verde region (famous for its fresh young white wines) differs greatly to the sun-kissed southern coast of The Algarve. It’s also worth noting that Portugal is one of the World’s most important cork producing countries. No plastic caps here.
To be sure of top quality, look for the ‘DOC’ acronym on the label. It stands for Denominação de Origem Controlada and means the wine was produced in one of the long-established and proven quality wine producing regions.
Whatever reason you find, Portugal remains a great place to stay, Brexit or no Brexit.
"Carvoeiro is a great place on the Algarve to stay, with many places of interest within easy reach. Had trips out to Vilamoura, Ferragudo, Portimao, Silves and Luz"
"We had many nice meals down in Carvoeiro, and particularly like 'Ela and Elas', 'Casa do Bife' and 'O Tascos'"
"Some of our favourite places to eat were L'Orange, Bon Bon (Sesmarias), Primavera (Carvoeiro) and Jophil's (Sesmarias)"