The winning combination of long sandy beaches, wild natural parks and gorgeous boutique hideaways makes Portugal one of our top summer escapes. If you’re looking for a stylish beach hotel in the Algarve or on the Lisbon coast: this is where to stay, the i-escape way.
Best for: A cheap and chic beach getaway Summer prices: From £106 per room per night
This excellent value townhouse in Olhão (20 mins from Faro) has nine rooms set around an attractive courtyard with chequered tiles and climbing plants – very Moroccan riad. There’s a rooftop terrace with a little heated pool, and you’re a taxi-boat ride from some of our favourite Portuguese beaches, in the Ria Formosa Natural Park.
Best for: Holing up with your other half Summer prices: from £138 per room per night
Just two kilometres from gorgeous Fábrica beach, this ultra-stylish small hotel exudes tranquillity. The 11 rooms are furnished by local artisans and the restaurant serves up regional specialities. Outside, hammocks are strung up in cork and carob trees and there’s a very inviting saltwater swimming pool. But keep wandering and you’ll discover the pièce de résistance: a romantic Tree House for two with panoramic sea views.
Best for: An easy beach escape without the crowds Summer prices: from £141 per room per night
This Moorish-inspired B&B feels miles from the crowds and yet couldn’t be easier to reach (25km from Faro Airport). Set among olive, citrus and lavender groves, the peaceful gardens and pool are great spots to linger in the sunshine. And you’re in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, famous for its island lagoons, so there are dozens of fantastic and often secluded beaches nearby – try Fuzeta, Barril or Santa Luzia.
Best for: Rural romance Summer prices: from £171 per room per night
You’d never know you were slap bang in the middle of the eastern Algarve at this converted farmhouse. Inside, it’s all stark whitewashed walls, upcycled furniture and vintage finds. Outside, long views stretch out over orchards of orange, fig and almond. Five-course dinners are offered on request, and they’re spectacular – many of the dishes are based on old family recipes. But best of all, you’re just 1.5km from the Rio Formosa delta and its deserted beaches.
Best for: An indulgent ‘fly and flop’ retreat Summer prices: from £231 per room per night
Just 30 minutes from Faro Airport, this perfectly placed farmhouse has style in spades. Set inland, its rural location is a far cry from the Algarve’s touristic centre, yet the Ria Formosa’s beaches are just a short shuttle ride away. But with acres of lawned gardens, two heated pools, a tennis court, a spa, regular workshops and farm-to-plate food, you might find it hard to peel yourself away.
Best for: Nature-loving families Summer prices: from £93 per room per night
Inspired by the African bush, this eco-conscious retreat is wrapped within 28 hectares of cork and eucalyptus forest. It’s an off-grid style getaway with no TVs and no WiFi in the bedrooms. Instead, spend your time splashing about in the natural swimming pool, birdwatching in the Southwest Algarvian Natural Park or exploring some of the country’s best beaches – Amoreira is the closest.
Best for: Couples seeking a homely atmosphere Summer prices: from £115 per room per night
With just four rooms, this sweet little guesthouse is charming and friendly. Run by owner Marta and her family, it feels wonderfully homely. Cook in the communal kitchen, have a barbecue or laze about by the pool among peaceful gardens. Nearby, there are lots of hiking trails and three beautiful beaches within a 10/15-minute drive.
Best for: A sociable family getaway Summer prices: from £150 per apartment per night
Clinging to the cliffs above half-empty surfing beaches, these contemporary apartments (for 2-4) have glorious ocean views – especially at sunset. All have smart, minimalist styling with handmade furniture and well-equipped kitchens for self-catering – or you can have meals delivered to your door in baskets if you wish. Splash about in the swimming pool, play tennis or basketball on the court, or wander down to the local surf beach. UNESCO-listed Sintra is an easy 20-minute drive away.
Best for: An unforgettable eco-chic getaway Summer prices: from £341 per room per night
This remarkable hotel ranks as one of the most stylish we’ve ever seen – quite a feat! The décor is truly sensational, with ultra-modern fittings, space-age fireplaces, and a mélange of influences from India and Africa. Eco concerns are paramount, and dishes at the restaurant incorporate organic produce from the hotel’s farm. Enjoy drinks around the fire circle, watch a film in the cinema room, book one of their unique experiences (such as mussel harvesting), or head to the beach to surf or paddleboard. Total indulgence.
Best for: Rustic escapism at great prices Summer prices: from £85 per room per night
The views from these quirky hideaways are intoxicating. You’re high up in the hills above the Fort of Sao Filipe in Setúbal, overlooking the sweeping arc of the Tróia peninsular – great for beaches, Roman ruins, golfing and birdwatching. Expect a rustic, homely vibe. There are suites in the main house, a couple of hideaways in the garden and even a windmill to sleep in, and breakfast is left in your fridge each evening so you can surface whenever you please.