Spain vs. Portugal: the hottest holiday spot

burgos cathedral spain

Today’s featured guest post is from James, representing (which happens to be one of my favourite tools for finding cheap flights!). James provided this article weighing up the positives of these two countries to help you decide between them, although personally, I plan to visit both! If you’ve got a favourite to share from these two, tell us about it in the comments at the end!

Often mentioned in a single breath when sunny, gorgeous and reasonably priced holiday destinations come up, both Spain and Portugal have plenty to tempt the holidaymaker. But how do you decide between the two? Check out some of the things that make the destinations special in their own right, and find out which most tickles your fancy.

Chasing history

Discovering some of the best sights of Portugal’s history is easy, and there are a few not to be missed experiences – such as strolling through the ancient university town of Coimbra or feeling your heart flutter in the romantic town of Sintra. You’ll also find many surviving castles and ruins dotted around the countryside.

Palacio da Pena

However, Spain is bursting with castles, medieval towns and picturesque villages of its own. And with wonderful cultural treasures such as Roman relics, Muslim palaces, baroque cathedrals and Modernista constructions, it could be said that Spain just pips its rival to the post when it comes to spectacular sights.

The best beaches

For serene, gorgeous beaches, there are few areas better than Spain’s Menorca - a beachgoer’s mecca. There you’ll find unspoilt stretches of sand as well as plenty of hidden coves and ravines for exploring.

Menorca Beach

On the other hand, Portugal’s seaside town of Cascais offers a great mix of youthful exuberance and history, as partygoers and holidaymakers mingle with historic fishing traditions that carry on to this day.

Fun festivals

Of course, there are some things that can only be properly enjoyed in their countries of origin – such as traditional celebrations and festivals. In Spain, you’ll have the chance to see man and beast collide in its traditional bullfighting as well as the unforgettable spectacle of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls.

Spanish festival stilt walkers

Get in touch with Portugal’s past by timing a visit to coincide with the Festas da Ria in Aveiro. Celebrating the Ria estuary, this is a massive party with seaweed covered boats, traditional dancing and performances.

Sunny surfing spots

Thanks to its mild climate combined with stiff offshore morning breezes, Portugal is particularly popular as a sunny surfing destination. It picks up swells from the north, west and south, meaning surfing conditions are nice and consistent, with more challenging waves in the winter and gentler conditions in the summer.


Spain is blessed with 4000km of coastline and world class surf of its own, and with so many beaches to choose from, you’re likely to be able to find a quiet spot to catch a few waves.

Thanks to James for providing today’s article! James writes for, a flight comparison site based in Scotland.

Today’s photos come from flickr users: valkie76 (Menorca Beach), szeke (Palacio da Pena, Portugal), –foxhusky- (Spanish stilt dancers) and marcp_dmoz (Burgos Cathedral) The surfing shot is mine.

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