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Embark on an adventure in Portugal

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In association with: Visit Portugal

With hundreds of miles of coastline, vast national parks, networks of cycling routes and countless activities at sea, Portugal is an adventure playground.

A holiday packed full of outdoor activities might be just what your customers are looking for after spending so much time indoors this past year. And Portugal’s sunny summers and mild winters make it the ideal place for travellers to channel their active side at any time of year. From the Algarve in the south to Porto in the north, there are so many beautiful coastal routes to explore on foot or on two wheels.

The levada network covers an impressive 1,800 miles, and there are several routes to choose from

To appreciate some of Portugal’s most dramatic scenery, recommend one of the country’s geoparks. They all boast unique geographical features, including jagged cliffs, deep glacier valleys and cascading waterfalls. Arouca Geopark is just over an hour from Porto, and can be explored on its Paiva Walkways.

They cover part of the park and zigzag for five miles next to riverbanks and through towering rocks. The geopark is also home to the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, the 500-metre Arouca 516.

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Adventure isn’t restricted to the mainland. The landscapes and terrain of the island archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores are wonderlands for those in search of outdoor activities. Madeira’s labyrinth of levadas – irrigation channels used to carry water around the island – double up as walking routes. The levada network covers an impressive 1,800 miles, and there are several routes to choose from.

The Azores have their own collection of walking trails, categorised by difficulty, but the islands also offer activities on the water. Whale-watching trips are a must for the chance to spot these marine animals out in the wild, or embrace the ocean with a snorkelling trip to spot dolphins in their natural habitat.


Three of the best active experiences

Surfing in the Centre of Portugal
The biggest wave ever surfed was in Portugal, reaching 90 feet high, in Nazaré. However, there are calmer beaches along the region’s 186-mile coastline, including Praia da Barra, which are more suitable for those with less experience.

Sailing in the Algarve
Lagos is considered one of the best regatta destinations in the world, while along the coast, boaters flock to Portimão, a popular training destination, and Vilamoura, with its historic marina.

Walking the Rota Vicentina
Stretching across the Alentejo and the Algarve, the Rota Vicentina (main picture) is an extensive network of walking and cycling trails through scenic countryside. The Historical Way and the Fishermen’s Trail cover 163 and 140 miles, respectively, while shorter circular routes are also mapped out.

PICTURES: Andre Carvalho; Rota Vicentina/João Mariano

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