Portugal is blessed with a variety of beautiful locations. Most famous is its coastline, 850km of it, which offers either the dramatic Atlantic coast or sunny Mediterranean-style beaches (Note: Portugal is not on the Mediterranean but the climate in the south is essentially the same).
The Algarve has probably the best beaches in Portugal - stretches of sand regularly broken by cliffs and rock formations. There are also some beautiful port towns and fishing villages and further inland olive trees, orchards, fig trees and almond blossom abound in picturesque Monchique.
Other significant geographic features are lakes, forests, mountains, farms and the famous archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores. The latter is of volcanic origin and offers a variety of magnificent landscapes of outstanding beauty, including lagoons, volcanic craters, hot springs and lush vegetation. On the island of Madeira the Laurissilva forest, with an array of exotic trees would be a great stand-in for a tropical jungle.
On the mainland, of particular interest to filmmakers and photographers are Lisbon, the Algarve, Sintra, Coimbra, Évora, Óbidos, Guimaraes and Oporto. Of significance for international producers is that Portugal can double up for a wide range of countries and terrains (savannah to desert). As for buildings, there’s everything from modern architecture to medieval castles. Industrial skylines, sports stadia and roads for cars to race along are all on offer.
Despite the biggest draw being the coastline, head inland and you can discover some real gems. Dutch insurance company Central Beheer, for example, recently filmed in the mountains of Central Portugal. The northern region of Douro is a region famous for its vineyards sloping down to the river and the Alentejo, just above the Algarve, has plenty of rolling hills dotted with traditional portuguese cottages.