Cheap holidays in Portugal

It may be owing to the fact that Portugal has been one of Europe's poorer countries for quite a while, but the fact remains that it is very easy to find a cheap holiday in Portugal. This does not mean that luxury holidays in Portugal are out of the question; pousadas and other top-notch accommodation, exclusive resorts, golf courses and fine dining are all available here. All the same, this country has much to offer those of you looking for a cheap holiday. For a start, restaurants don't cost the earth. You are perfectly able to go out for dinner every night, eating some of the most delicious food in Europe, without breaking the bank. €25 will get you a three-course meal with wine in a large proportion of Portugal's restaurants, which is great because you can really splash out and still not break the budget.

There are a number of ways of making the budget stretch further when you are trying to book a cheap holiday in Portugal. You might consider going away with another family or with a group of friends and renting a villa between you. Although this may seem quite expensive at first, when you have split the cost of the accommodation between you, it is much cheaper than staying in a hotel. Also, staying in rented accommodation rather than a hotel gives you the option of self catering, which is a sure fire way of keeping down the cost of your holiday. It does not prevent you from dining out when you feel like it, of course, but it does mean that you are able to shop at the supermarket and cook at home rather than being forced to eat out every night of your vacation.

Camping is a tried and tested way of going on a cheap holiday and, in Portugal, it is by far the cheapest option (and very popular). During high season, prices per adult per night are from €2 to €5, plus €1.50 to €3.50 for a tent and the same again for a car. Orbitur (218 117 000) run Portugal's best-located campsites.

When booking your budget holiday to Portugal, think about discount flights as another method to cut your costs. If you are prepared to fly early in the morning, have flexible departure dates and book in advance to secure the cheapest seats, you can really benefit from the latest cheap deals.

Other tips for keeping down the cost of your holiday include choosing to travel out of high season and avoiding the main tourist areas. If you go to Trás-os-Montes in October, for example, rather than the Algarve in July, you will practically halve the price of your vacation. But even if you are determined to make it to the hot spots during July and August, remember that it doesn't cost a penny to lie on the beach with a book.

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