From secret, city centre palaces to secluded beach stays and boutique mountain hideaways, Portugal offers plenty of opportunity for under-the-radar escapes.

And while these dreamy destinations make for perfect romantic retreats, they’re equally suited to solo travellers, families and groups of friends looking to explore hidden corners of this compact country.

Whether you’re looking for a budget break with bags of charm or the ultimate pampering retreat by the beach, read on to discover 10 of the most romantic escapes around Portugal, all of which can easily be reached from Lisbon, Porto and Faro, plus a few in the cities themselves.

Casa do São Lourenço, Serra da Estrela

Casa do São Lourenço, Serra da Estrela
Room with a view / Image: Casa do São Lourenço

Book yourself some year-round romance at this boutique beauty spot in Portugal’s highest mountain range, which is surrounded by wildflowers in summer and snowy scenes in winter. With log fires, a pool with mountain views, a luxe spa and a dining room whose glass walls reveal starry skies (perfect for gazing up at in those brief moments that you’re not gazing into each other’s eyes), Casa do São Lourenço feels like the ultimate escape from the city.

Around four hours from Lisbon by train
casadesaolourenco.pt/en

Quinta do Miguel, Meco

Quinta do Miguel, Meco
A bed in the garden seems pretty darn romantic, if you ask us / Image: sergiorosario.com

Windswept Meco offers wild beaches, surfer-approved nightlife and grand mansions hidden down dusty country lanes. Several now serve as luxury lodgings, and Quinta do Miguel is our pick of a glamorous bunch. Here you’ll find immaculate studios, rooms and a spacious loft, dotted around flower-filled gardens where birdsong is the loudest noise you’ll hear. Secluded sands lie nearby, but you may find it hard to drag yourself from Quinta’s sleek, black-bottomed pool.

Around 45 minutes from Lisbon by car
quintadomiguel.com

Quinta da Corte, Douro Valley

High on a terraced hillside, this restored 19th-century wine estate now houses artfully decorated rooms, a dining terrace surrounded by fruit trees, and an infinity pool with views to lose yourselves in. Should you fancy a romantic stroll after all that lounging, the setting invites leisurely hikes. Plus, after a day’s exploring you can uncork one of the estate’s award-winning wines and watch the magical sunset over the valley and vineyards below.

Around two and a half hours from Porto by train or car
quintadacorte.com/en

The Rebello, Porto/Vila Nova de Gaia

The Rebello, Porto/Vila Nova de Gaia
A swimmingly good choice for your romantic escape / Image: Francisco Nogueira

If you and your beloved want to soak up the best views of Porto, cross the river to neighbouring Vila Nova de Gaia to find this low-key luxury hotel set right on the banks of the Douro River. High-tech kitchen equipment and spacious terraces invite guests to create their own culinary magic, while an excellent Portuguese restaurant and rooftop cafe-bar are lazy-day alternatives. The spa is a romantic retreat from Porto’s city streets, and the thoughtfully designed Kids’ Club is good news for both bored kids and frazzled parents.

therebello.com 

Vila Vita Parc, Algarve

Vila Vita Parc, Algarve
Hide from the world amongst those dreamy palms / Image: Stills Portugal

Tucked far away from the busy beaches and nightlife strips, Vila Vita Parc is a treasure trove of gleaming white buildings set in enormous ocean-facing gardens. With a lush spa (a collaboration with high-end French beauty brand Sisley), hidden beach and restaurants serving everything from high-end Japanese cuisine to traditional Portuguese dishes, your toughest daily decisions will be where to eat, where to drink and which of the outdoor pools to choose from. 

Around 45 minutes from Faro by car
vilavitaparc.com

Casa Sao Thiago do Castelo, Obidos

Portugal does a nice line in picture-perfect castle towns that are bound to ramp up the romance vibes for your getaway – Óbidos is one of the prettiest. This dinky, budget-friendly guesthouse is set within the castle walls, and its cute-as-a-button rooms are packed with antique furnishings. Need another reason to visit? Óbidos is famed for cherry liqueur served in a chocolate cup. Sold.

Around 60-75 minutes from Lisbon by car
casasthiagodocastelo.com

Hotel Sintra Jardim, Sintra

Hotel Sintra Jardim, Sintra
A big green slice of romantic paradise

While you’ll need deep pockets to stay at some of the former royal lodgings in fairytale Sintra, Hotel Sintra Jardim offers postcard-perfect lodgings at a wallet-friendly price. Despite being a 150-year-old restored mansion house set amid flower gardens in the historic centre of town, this is a blissfully romantic retreat that doesn’t cost a king’s ransom. Oh, and did we mention the outdoor pool?

Around 35 minutes from Lisbon by train
hotelsintrajardim.pt/en

Aethos Ericeira, Ericeira

Aethos Ericeira, Ericeira
Gorgeous sea views? Tick / Image: PION

The town of Ericeira is Europe’s only World Surfing Reserve (a sort of UNESCO for surf spots), but you don’t need to be a master of the waves to enjoy Aethos Ericeira, an eco-conscious design hotel perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Having said that, if you and your partner are active types, you’ll quickly fall in love with this hotel thanks to the surfing, cycling and hiking adventures it offers, as well as a seriously photo-worthy lobby, spa and heated outdoor pool. Whatever you get up to, the on-site restaurant and cocktail bar offer rich rewards for your efforts.

Around one hour from Lisbon by bus or car
aethos.com/ericeira

Palacio das Especiarias, Lisbon

Fancy a dose of quirky to go with your romantic stay? Step away from the busy streets of Chiado and back to the heady days of the 16th-century spice trade at this intriguing, restored palace in the heart of Lisbon. The unassuming doorway masks a wealth of kooky features, from a hidden chapel and fabulously flamboyant spa (champagne served on request, just saying) to four-poster beds and classical piano recitals at breakfast. 

palaciodasespeciarias.com/en

Nau Palacio do Governador, Belém, Lisbon

Nau Palacio do Governador, Belém, Lisbon
An outdoor pool worth travelling for: Nau Palacio do Governador

This five-star boutique hotel sits in blissfully quiet gardens just steps from Belém’s busy attractions. The neighbourhood is famed for its historic buildings (and Portugal’s most coveted custard tarts) and Nau Palacio do Governador has been artfully converted from the remains of a 15th-century palace to offer modern treats like enormous indoor and outdoor pools, a tempting spa, a fine dining restaurant and a cocktail terrace surrounded by palms.

nauhotels.com/en/nau-palacio-do-governador

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