Budget

Best Winter Travel Deals

by Brook Wilkinson

PORTUGAL

Rule of thumb: Airfares are cheap to Europe right now, but the airlines aren't bothering—or maybe don't have the budget left—to advertise.

Why here?: While winter might not be the nicest time of year to visit the European mainland, the Azores enjoy a mild climate year-round and are only four hours from the East Coast of the United States. The temperature generally doesn't go over 70 degrees even at the height of summer on this volcanic archipelago, and tops out around 60 from January through April. Be prepared for the occasional shower, followed by a burst of sunshine.

Best bang for your buck: Both the season's modest fares and a favorable exchange rate (Portugal's currency is the euro, which is at a two-year low against the dollar) are reflected in the air and hotel packages offered by SATA Airlines' Azores Express Tours: for example, $649 per person for six nights at a country inn on São Miguel Island, including round-trip air from Boston. São Miguel is a favorite among nature lovers, with paths leading up its windblown hillsides to crater lakes with ocean views. You can also tour the only two tea plantations in Europe. If you'd rather see Lisbon's cobbled streets than the Azores' fishing villages, six-night air and hotel packages to the capital start at $1,039 per person.

Azores Express Tours
Tel: 800 762 9995

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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