Oregon is a scenic wonder both wild and adventurous, known for its vibrant cities, burgeoning wine scene and spectacular natural world. Indeed, although its rugged landscape of mountains, rivers and forests will draw you in, the residents of the largest city, Portland, are eager to claim their city as the most sophisticated and cultured in the US. Plus, it’s now even easier to explore with the launch this summer of a new direct British Airways flight, operating five time a week between London Heathrow and Portland.
Almost 400 miles of rugged, unspoilt coastline runs along the Pacific, dotted with fishing villages and historic lighthouses, while further inland you'll find rich valleys of pastures and vineyards. In the east of the state you can find the true 'wild west' along the Oregon Trail, the desert ground tracks left behind by the ox-drawn wagons of the first settlers 150 years ago. Below, you'll find our top picks for the state, from scenic self-drives to a range of characterful and stylish hotels – something for all tastes. To plan your Oregon adventure, contact our specialists today.
Portland is Oregon’s hip urban hotspot with national accolades for its cuisine, a vibrant arts scene, superb theatres, an abundance of outdoor space and shopping districts inspired by the creative spirit of the city. Then, just a short drive from the city centre, The Columbia River Gorge and majestic Mt. Hood offer year-round recreation including skiing, snowboarding, hiking, camping and biking.
Back within the city limits, each vibrant neighbourhood has its own unique flavour. You’ll find contemporary art galleries in the Pearl District, independent boutiques and international chains in Nob Hill and whimsical street art in the Alberta Arts District. Hawthorne’s indie spirit is reflected in its vintage stores and the always-popular Bagdad Theatre and Pub.
And, there’s plenty for foodies, too. A culinary capital of the US, Portland’s dining scene is second to none, with everything from award-winning gourmet restaurants to artisan coffee shops, craft beer breweries and the world’s first vegan mini mall. Then there’s the famed Portland Farmers’ Market where you’ll find fresh, seasonal bounty from the state’s finest independent producers. Elsewhere, acclaimed music venues such as the Doug Fir Lounge, Aladdin Theater and Mississippi Studios have set many local bands on the path to nationwide fame, while Downtown, you’ll might want to while away the hours at Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest new and used bookstore, which spans an incredible three floors and an entire city block.
Oregon's natural world
Cowboy adventures, whitewater rafting, quiet mountain retreats – Central Oregon has it all. The region’s geological history, marked by explosive volcanic activity, is showcased at several state and national parks, while its rich cultural history is on display at the High Desert Museum in Bend. Meanwhile, the spirit of the West is alive and well in the high deserts found to the east, where snow-capped peaks look down to jagged red rocks and dusty plains, which in turn give way to rushing rivers and rolling fields of wheat.
Whatever your passion, Oregon’s natural and scenic variety – coast, mountains, rivers, high desert, plains, forests and valleys – lends itself equally to exhilarating outdoor adventure or tranquil exploration.
Oregon is home to hundreds of local licensed guides, ready to show you the best of the state. Most offer themed tours while others let you customise your own itinerary. If you want to get a taste of Oregon’s bountiful food and drink, consider a farm tour complete with dining, or taking a behind-the-scenes tour at a local brewery or winery with a guide as the designated driver. Interested in getting outside? Take a naturalist-led hike or kayak tour to better understand the state’s unique terrain. For adrenaline seekers, book a whitewater rafting trip down one of Oregon’s many rivers or ride a mountain bike down the state’s world-famous single-track trails with a trained guide on hand to show you the ropes.