28 February 2021
Named Best European Destination for Sustainable Tourism and having announced a new sustainability strategy approved by the national government in May 2020, Portugal should be high on your list if you want your travel to be eco-friendly and to make a difference to local communities.
We’ve highlighted some of the best environmentally-friendly properties in three different regions of Portugal – the famously family-orientated Algarve with its 87 Blue Flag Beaches and its charming whitewashed fishing villages, the beautifully green and rugged volcanic Atlantic island of Madeira, and the stunning wine region of the Douro Valley with its vineyards and rolling hills. A flying time of less than three or four hours makes these regions excellent for summer holidays, but the warm spring and autumn months and mild winters gives them serious year-round appeal.
Pine Cliffs Hotel and Pine Cliffs Residence, Algarve
Green initiatives at this Luxury Collection Resort include growing its own produce for use in the nine restaurants, clamping down on plastic and monitoring CO2 emissions. At the top of a sandstone cliff surrounded by aromatic pine woods, half an hour from Faro airport, this famous property incorporates locally crafted murals and hand-painted tiles into the sleek design of its hotel suites and the super-spacious options in the separate Residence.
A family favourite, Pine Cliffs includes a nine-hole golf course, an Annabel Croft tennis academy, a cookery school, a state-of-the-art spa, and a huge kids’ club and children’s village with two life-size pirates’ ships. A panoramic lift then a boardwalk take you to iconic Falésia Beach with its private lounging area. Meanwhile, the concierge can arrange trips to sample authentic Algarvian cuisine in local restaurants, guided tours of regional wineries and other excursions.
Belmond Reid’s Palace, Madeira
Guests at this legendary property brimming with old-school elegance are encouraged to enjoy the island’s natural beauty by exploring its many gardens and by hiking its volcanic landscapes – a walk to the tip of the São Lourenço Peninsula is an experience you’ll never forget. You can also thrill to the sight of dolphins, whales and rare Mediterranean monk seals on a boat-trip to Madeira’s Desertas Islands. On-site, the resident horticultural expert will give you a fascinating botanical workshop in orchid propagation, following a private meander through the hotel’s own 10-acre subtropical gardens with their glorious Atlantic Ocean views.
Belmond was the first global group to have undertaken to have its eateries tested by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. And indeed, named after Reid’s Palace’s visionary founder, William Restaurant celebrates seasonal ingredients sourced from the best local producers in its innovative cuisine.
Six Senses Douro Valley
With an intoxicating setting in the midst of the world’s oldest designated wine region, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, this converted 19th-century manor house became Six Senses’ first European property in 2015. Inspired by the ancient vineyards that unfurl all around it, it has a wine library and terrace where you can taste the best local vintages. Meanwhile, the restaurants, which include an intimate Chef’s Table, also source the very finest ingredients from local producers.
This being Six Senses, the spa is top-notch, embracing the elements of water, stone and wood in its design and using natural and ethically produced products to restore and detox. The resort’s commitment to sustaining its incredible region also includes protecting a 10-acre area of old-growth woodland on the property, acting as joint custodians of a stream that crosses its land, and sponsoring a donkey refuge.
Good to Know
The Climate Change Performance Index CCPI 2020 highlighted Portugal as one of the very few countries that rate very highly for its international climate policy performance. The country aims for a net-zero emission target by 2050 and a 55% reduction by 2030.
Get in touch with me today for more information or to arrange your future travels