The vacation spots in Spain and Portugal that the locals don’t want you to know


The Iberian Peninsula is packed with some of the most popular package holiday destinations among British tourists, from Albufeira in the Algarve in Portugal to Palma in Mallorca in Spain. But, for those keen to escape the buzz of the resorts, a good example to follow is the locals.

Writing for The Times, Amanda Linfoot and Monique Rivalland recommend following in the footsteps of Spanish and Portuguese holidaymakers and thinking outside the box.

Although the locations may take a little longer to reach these remote destinations, you probably won’t regret it.

The best ways to sample these quieter vacation spots are to either rent a car or stay in a coastal town with everything within walking distance.

Here is our ‘ABC’ guide to some of the places to add to your itinerary – i.e. the Algarve, the Balearic Islands and the Costa Brava.

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Algarve

If you’re looking to escape Portugal’s tourist hotspots, Faro and Albufeira, consider exploring beyond the central part of the Algarve. Sun seekers should aim to visit the area between June and August when temperatures are at their hottest, although it is still warm and calmer during the ‘shoulder season’ of May and September.

Linfoot recommends heading west to Sagres, a favorite among Portuguese vacationers. It’s one of the most remote destinations on the Iberian Peninsula and is considered a place for adventure seekers, from hiking along cliffside trails to surfing in turbulent waters.

The area’s main attraction is the Fortaleza de Sagres, where Henry the Navigator planned Portugal’s overseas expansion in the 15th century. Another place not to be missed is Cape St. Vincent – the most south-westerly point in mainland Europe with breathtaking views of the Atlantic.

the Balearic Islands

Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands and has plenty to offer beyond Palma and Alcúdia. Rivalland recommends the small coastal village of Deiàthe home of the famous rustic restaurant Ca’s Patro Mar, and the fishing port of Puerto Pollenca. Brilliant white sand beaches and unrivaled Caribbean-style waters are found at Es Trenc beach.

For those considering a trip to Ibiza but wanting to enjoy some quiet time, the neighboring island Formentera could be the perfect place for a peaceful break. Just 30 minutes away by ferry, the island is home to sights such as the Es Calo de Sant Agusti fishing village and five kilometers of beaches at Migjorn and is a haven from its party neighbor.

Costa Brava

The wide sandy beaches of Lloret de Mar and Tossa de Mar are popular with British tourists, but many Spanish holidaymakers try to escape the resorts during the summer. Towns like Begur and Palamós prove that it is possible to get away from the hustle and bustle and still stay on the Costa Brava.

Begur is a coastal town known for the medieval castle that sits at its heart. The cobbled streets offer plenty for tourists looking for a quiet break, with the nearby Sa Tuna cove ideal for a dip in the sea.

Rivalland also recommends Palamos South. The traditional Catalan fishing village is a culinary destinationwith the best restaurants including La Taverna de L’iberic and Entre Dos Mons.

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