When you mention the idea of holidaying in Spain or Portugal, the first thing that springs to mind is often the beach. Between them, Spain and Portugal boast great swathes of beach, with the former offering the warm seas of the Mediterranean and the latter the great surf of the Atlantic, as an accompaniment.
The two countries also boast some wonderful port cities. Holidaying at these combines the ocean view of the beach with the heady fun of the city, which is certainly a tantalizing formula. What’s more, you could even sail from one city to the next when planning a trip around the following list of 5 Port Cities on the Iberian Peninsula.
Barcelona tingles with verve and energy. This gorgeous city is a fun-loving and culturally astute paradise that simply demands the attention of visitors. Time is best spent here exploring the maze of streets in the Barri Gotic area, taking it easy on the Barceloneta Beach, and searching out the various mind-boggling architectural works of Gaudi.
Quaint yet contemporary Lisbon is becoming increasingly popular among holidaymakers. This port city lives and breathes the Atlantic Ocean, which washes at its shores and defines much of its day-to-day life. Explore the long-forgotten Botanic Gardens, search out monuments in the Belem neighborhood, then let your hair down in the atmospheric Barrio Alto before returning at night to one of the rented apartments Lisbon offers its visitors.
Portugal’s second largest city is associated with both the meanings of the word ‘port’. Not only is this a vibrant and upstanding port city, it is also the home of the much-loved alcoholic drink, port, which is a variety of fortified wine. Port is exported from Porto to destinations all over the world; England and France top the list of importers.
Small and homely Santander in the North of Spain proves a good antidote to the city buzz of Barcelona, Lisbon and Porto. Life here is all but dictated by the handful of excellent beaches in and around the port: book a stay in the sort of striking 19th-century apartment Santander specializes in, and simply spend happy days moving from one beach to another.
The island city of Cadiz is a gateway to the south of Spain. It is also a gateway to miles upon miles of beach idylls, which means that, if you’re in Cadiz while sailing around the ports of the Iberian Peninsula, it’s well worth journeying around the surrounding coastline.