Portugal is a country with romance written into its DNA.
Metro found five of the best outdoor destinations this country has to offer.
1. DOURO INTERNATIONAL
When the River Douro crosses the beautiful region of Trás-os-Montes in Northeast Portugal it becomes the Douro International. This is a truly remote and unspoiled area. Villages still have community traditions, the huge 74.230 hectare National Park offers peace and freedom.
Stay: Casa de Caçarelhos, a rural house in the village of Caçarelhos, or Pousada de Bragança
Beautifully preserved traditional village in the west region, 80 kms North of Lisbon and a favorite destination for romantic escapes. The medieval walls hide a maze of cobbled streets and colorful houses, decorated with flowers.
Stay: Pousada de Óbidos for an inside look at the castle. (www.pousadas.pt)
3. PORTO COVO AND SOUTHWEST
Tiny fishing village in Alentejo is a popular holiday destination with beaches, rocky coves, high cliffs and bays. A bit crowded in July and August so head for Samoqueira or Praia Grande. Goose barnacles are a delicacy.
Stay: A rural house is the best base to explore the region. (www.herdadedamatinha.com)
4. RIA FORMOSA
On the East side of the Algarve, this protected area covers 18,400 hectares, with 60 km of coastline. The wetlands are populated by flamingos and herons, and a boat trip through the network of islands, canals and marshes is a must for families. Stay: Hotel Quinta do Lago (www.hotelquintadolago.com)
Madeira island offers both sea and mountain activities which provide one the best anti-stress holidays especially walking the levadas trails. One of the most famous levada is Caldeirão Verde, through the indigenous Laurissilva forest.
Stay: Hotel the Vine, designer hotel in Funchal. (www.hotelthevine.com)