Three Luxurious Destinations to Visit in Portugal in 2024-Where the Rich Spend Their Holidays

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If you’ve got the cash to spend on your next trip or vacation, a bit of luxury would do you the world of good. The good thing is that Portugal has always got quite the charm and handily promises a posh travel experience if you know where to look.

In this piece, we’ll show you three of the most luxurious destinations in Portugal you can visit this year.

Lisbon

Wonder where the world’s millionaires and centi-millionaires are spending their holidays? One time out of 17, it’s Lisbon. The place is crawling with the ultra-rich all year round. There’s a good reason for that: Lisbon stands out for its unique and captivating fusion of historical charm and modern elegance. 

It’s the Portuguese capital, and it stays true to that title by showcasing a vibrant tapestry of cultural richness through its remarkable architecture and well-preserved historical landmarks. Yet, contemporary Lisbon still manages to keep up with chic neighborhoods, epicurean delights in upscale dining spots, and exclusive shopping avenues.

Looking to have some of those luxurious experiences on your next trip? Here’s all you need to know about getting around Lisbon:

Hotels

1. Four Seasons Ritz Lisbon

Upon your arrival to Lisbon, it might interest you to know that Four Seasons Ritz Lisbon happens to be one of the best hotels you can stay at. The facility is Lisbon’s first true luxury hotel, and it began operations in 1959. 

Since that time, the hotel has held the distinction of unparalleled service and top-tier amenities characteristic of an esteemed international hotel chain. But the main perk you’ll get from the hotel is its enviable location: it sits atop a hill adjacent to the prominent Avenida de Liberdade. This prime positioning ensures convenient access to Lisbon’s poshest boulevard and the bustling city center. Pick the right room and you’ll also get to see the renowned Gulbenkian Museum. 

Pricing packages for rooms at Four Seasons Ritz Lisbon start at €1,260 per night, and you can tweak an entire configurator to your taste.

2. Intercontinental Lisbon 

Also sitting on a vantage point above the Avenida da Liberdade is the InterContinental Lisbon. The hotel quickly gives you an exceptional backdrop for your Lisbon getaway, as you get a view overlooking both the historic city and the Tagus River. Room prices are much cheaper here, starting at €350, with a configurator as well. 

Restaurants

1. BAHR

Hotel restaurants aren’t always all that great, but there are a few exceptions in Portugal. Bairro Alto Hotel boasts an exceptional dining experience at its restaurant, BAHR. Starting from the aesthetics, the restaurant dons a welcoming ambiance, which you can chalk up to the curved ceilings, intimate nooks, and a striking oversized wooden bar. 

Not much into that? The cozy interiors might do it for you. Though, we recommend that you dine al fresco on the terrace and soak in panoramic views of the city and the Tagus River.

The menu at BAHR isn’t anything to snuff at, too. The resident chef throws an innovative spin on traditional Portuguese cuisine, and highlights include grilled squid infused with garlic and served with runner beans and turnip and a more refined Codfish Braz Style.

Looking to wind down on some drink? Aim for late afternoons to guarantee a great dining time out in Lisbon. 

2. O Velho Eurico

O Velho Eurico is the sort of luxury restaurant gem you stumble upon in Lisbon, and be glad you did. Once a quaint local Tasca nestled along the path to São Jorge Castle, this restaurant has transformed into a bustling hotspot, attracting both locals and tourists eager to savor rich, inventive renditions of traditional Portuguese cuisine. 

You get to enjoy staples like bacalhau (salted cod) and polvo (octopus) on the menu, and the resident chefs don’t fail to throw in periodic updates and alterations to it. Standout offerings also include the pastel de leitão (suckling pig pastry) and Borrego e castanhas (lamb and chestnuts). 

O Velho Eurico is ideal for shared dining with friends, the experience is enhanced by the opportunity to sample a diverse array of dishes and an evening of conviviality amidst the jovial ambiance shared with the youthful chefs and proprietors. If that isn’t luxury, what is?

Madeira

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago situated in the Atlantic Ocean, and what a stunning archipelago it is. From its lush landscapes, and temperate climate, to a rich cultural heritage, Madeira exemplifies indulgence and relaxation.

Luxury accommodations abound on the island: we’re talking glam resorts atop picturesque cliffs and boutique hotels nestled within verdant valleys. You get to luxuriate in world-class amenities, including spa retreats, gourmet dining, and personalized concierge service – the works! For the money, Madeira promises a truly pampered stay. Below are key details to note upon landing in the city:

Hotels

1. Casa Velha do Palheiro

Casa Velha do Palheiro defines class, style, and character to a tee. It just exudes a sense of tranquility and a delightful country house allure. On the outside, you’d find expansive gardens, where wisteria vines cascade along balconies and accentuate doorways. If luxury means a spacious, tranquil Portuguese country resort to you, Casa Velha do Palheiro hits the bull’s eye.

The service at the establishment maintains a formal and impeccably polished demeanor in harmony with its refined atmosphere. As guests, you get to enjoy various amenities within the premises, including an outdoor heated swimming pool and an indoor pool accompanied by a sauna, steam bath, and fitness room at the spa – which exclusively uses Pevonia products, by the way.

Bookings start at €270 per night, and their official website has a price calendar to help you know your options.

2. Quinta Jardins do Lago

    Quinta Jardins do Lago is a luxury country estate that offers a serene retreat amidst its expansive gardens. It’s perched atop one of the hills encircling Funchal, yet is conveniently located less than a mile from the city center. 

    Here, you’ll find over 600 species of plants in the Quinta’s lush surroundings. Notably, the gardens are also home to Colombo, a majestic giant tortoise native to the Galapagos Islands, who has resided here for more than four decades, adding a unique touch to Quinta’s natural charm. The Hotel only takes reservations at the moment, so you’d have to call in to know the rates.

    Restaurants

    1. Razão Restaurant

      This restaurant sits just on the outskirts of Funchal in Calheta, Madeira. Never mind the location, as Razão restaurant offers a convenient escape just a quick 30-minute drive from the capital city. Helmed by chef Octávio Freitas, Razão does away with the sort of prim-and-proper fastidiousness you’ll find in Michelin-star restaurants. Eschewing a set menu, the restaurant’s offerings vary nightly, curated based on the freshest finds from the local market, fishery, and garden. This element of spontaneity adds to the allure of the dining experience.

      The restaurant’s design seamlessly integrates an open kitchen with an airy dining room, affording guests captivating views of the terraced town of Calheta. Expect to indulge in a celebration of Madeiran cuisine, featuring locally sourced produce such as the island’s renowned sweet potatoes, freshly baked bread, and a bounty of seafood including sea bream and tuna. Each dish is a testament to the region’s rich culinary heritage and the chef’s commitment to showcasing the best flavors of Madeira.

      2. Casa da Penha

        You might also want to look out for Casal da Penha, a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant nestled amidst tall buildings in the heart of Funchal, Madeira, and overlooking the coast. This charming, family-owned establishment exudes warmth and hospitality, with a delightful upstairs terrace adorned with vibrant flowers, offering an inviting setting for diners.

        Casal da Penha specializes in traditional Madeiran and Portuguese cuisine. Signature dishes include bolo do caco (Madeiran garlic bread), black scabbard fish paired with locally abundant bananas, Madeiran-style tuna, and espetada (beef skewers cooked over laurel tree branches). Conclude your meal with a delectable passionfruit pudding accompanied by fine Madeira wines.

        If you choose the timing right, you might get lucky as the restaurant occasionally features the specialty dish à Bulhão Pato, a Portuguese delicacy of garlic clams bathed in a white wine sauce, paying homage to the 19th-century Lisbon poet Bulhão Pato.

        Algarve

        Ever wondered where Portugal’s most expensive properties are? Look no further than Algarve. Superstar footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo holidays there – Heck, Madonna once lived there! This place is absolutely star-studded, and you’re sure to feel some of that when next you’re visiting the Algarve on a luxury trip. Here are some of the places to look out for, for a luxurious and memorable experience:

        Hotels

        1. Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort

          Positioned on the precipice of cliffs overlooking the breathtaking limestone formations of the Algarve, Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort hotel offers an idyllic setting for guests. It’s just about a 30-minute drive from Faro airport.

          Upon arrival, a welcoming and inviting atmosphere greets you, coupled with a sharp, chic, and uncluttered aesthetic. The lobby features low ceilings and expansive glass doors that open onto stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout the interior spaces, a palette of light colors, including soft dusky blue and warm gray, complements the pristine white surroundings – such fancy!

          Another fun fact about the hotel is, that it recently got revamped by the renowned interior designer Broadway Malyan. The place went from dated and dimly lit to a haven of serenity and brightness. The soothing sound of the sea further enhances the tranquil ambiance, ensuring a truly immersive coastal experience for guests. Booking starts at 193 Euros per night, and you can for availability here.

          2. Vila Vita Parc

            Vila Vita Parc is something of a premier luxury accommodation option in the Algarve region, and that’s been so since its inception in 1992. The hotel’s recipe has always been embracing traditional Portuguese architecture. As such, you’re bound to notice the property features whitewashed exteriors complemented by refreshing tiled interiors. The hotel’s layout itself revolves around serene lakes and enchanting fountains, nestled amidst lush subtropical gardens where resident ducks and swans add to the tranquil ambiance.

            It too has undergone recent extensive renovations, infusing more of a sense of local authenticity through the incorporation of regional pottery. Notable enhancements include the addition of a striking infinity pool and the transformation of restaurants to exude a more vibrant atmosphere. 

            However, what truly distinguishes Vila Vita is its impeccable service; staff members, many of whom have been with the resort for years, consistently go above and beyond to ensure guests experience seamless hospitality.

            Throughout the expansive grounds, guests can enjoy a range of recreational facilities, including tennis courts, mini-golf, and multiple outdoor pools, including one that is covered for year-round enjoyment.

            Prices start at 450 euros, with a price calendar to let you know when other options or when the hotel closes.

            Restaurants

            1. A Ver Tavira

              Located in the charming town of Tavira, nestled beneath the ancient bell tower of one of its historic churches, You’ll find A Ver Tavira. It’s a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers a culinary experience that harmonizes with its picturesque surroundings. Chef Luis Brito infuses traditional Portuguese ingredients with a modern twist, drawing inspiration from his experiences in Africa and Brazil to create innovative dishes.

              Highlights from the menu include the region’s renowned scarlet shrimp served with curry and lemon caviar, showcasing a fusion of flavors that delight the palate. Another standout dish is the duck paired with sweet potato infused with eucalyptus and piri-piri, offering a harmonious blend of savory and aromatic elements. 

              For dessert, indulge in a sweet homage to Madeira featuring banana, the local rum poncha, and delicate floral notes, culminating in a memorable culinary journey inspired by the region’s gastronomic heritage.

              2. Al Sud

                Al Sud restaurant sits in the clubhouse of Palmares Golf Course in Algarve. The restaurant got a Michelin star merely seven months after it opened for business in late 2021 – talk about top class. 

                Chef Luis Anjos runs the show here, with the culinary expertise to consistently field a menu inspired by the abundant treasures of the Algarvian coast. Indulge in signature dishes like the delicate violet prawns paired with beloved goose barnacles, complemented by Granny Smith apple and shiso. Alternatively, savor the exquisite turbot accompanied by shellfish sourced from the Rio Alvor, enriched with the quintessential Portuguese herb, coriander.

                During the summer months, guests can relish their dining experience on the terrace, offering breathtaking views of the bay. As dusk descends, the twinkling lights of fishing boats on the horizon create a mesmerizing backdrop, enhancing the allure of this gastronomic haven.

                Portugal already offers a luxurious travel experience for many people. However, if you’re looking to indulge in the creme-de-la-creme of travel locations, you’ve got to know where to look. Three locations immediately stand out in such discussions: Lisbon, Madeira, and Algarve. We’ve gone ahead to share with you the spots to visit in these destinations, and what you can expect for the money you’re paying. 

                From lavish accommodations to exceptional dining and exclusive experiences, these Portugal’s luxury destinations promise a truly posh and unforgettable trip.

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