Portugal

Overview

Once a mighty empire that stretched from South America to Africa to the Pacific, Portugal is currently the oldest nation in Europe with the same borders, which speaks to its rich and storied past. With a high quality of life and relatively low cost of living, it is one of the best value travel destinations in Europe. It boasts a staggering natural diversity that one wouldn’t expect to find in such a small territory, and with its dynamic and youthful cities, like Lisbon and Porto, idyllic beaches in the Algarve, and picturesque expanses of wine country, there is no shortage of reasons to visit Portugal.

Top Attractions

  • Explore the historic district of Lisbon, with its colorful neighborhoods, iconic tram system, and historic landmarks like São Jorge Castle and Belém Tower.
  • Discover the picturesque coastal town of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its fairytale castles, lush gardens, and stunning views.
  • Visit the university city of Coimbra, home to one of the oldest universities in the world and a wealth of historic architecture and cultural heritage.
  • Explore the stunning landscapes of the Douro Valley, where terraced vineyards produce Portugal’s famous port wine and offer breathtaking views of the river and surrounding countryside.
  • Relax on the sun-drenched beaches of the Algarve, with their golden sands, turquoise waters, and dramatic cliffs, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

Local Cuisine

  • Indulge in the flavors of Portuguese cuisine, known for its fresh seafood, hearty stews, and delicious pastries.
  • Sample iconic dishes like bacalhau à brás (codfish with scrambled eggs and potatoes), caldo verde (kale soup with sausage), and pastéis de nata (custard tarts).
  • Explore the vibrant markets and food markets of Lisbon, Porto, and other cities, where you can sample a wide variety of local specialties and fresh produce.
  • Visit a traditional tasca or taberna to enjoy authentic Portuguese dishes in a cozy and casual atmosphere, accompanied by a glass of local wine or a refreshing beer.
  • Don’t forget to try regional specialties like francesinha (a hearty sandwich from Porto), cataplana (a seafood stew from the Algarve), and arroz de marisco (seafood rice) when exploring different parts of Portugal.

Outdoor Activities

  • Take a scenic drive along the coastline of the Alentejo region, stopping to explore charming fishing villages, pristine beaches, and rugged cliffs along the way.
  • Hike through the lush forests and rugged mountains of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, where you can discover hidden waterfalls, ancient ruins, and stunning vistas.
  • Explore the historic cities and towns of central Portugal by bike, following scenic cycling routes that take you through vineyards, olive groves, and picturesque countryside.
  • Discover the rugged beauty of the Azores archipelago with a visit to São Miguel, where you can hike around volcanic craters, swim in natural hot springs, and spot whales and dolphins off the coast.
  • Embark on a sailing or kayaking adventure along the coast of the Algarve, exploring hidden coves, sea caves, and secluded beaches only accessible by water.

Cultural Experiences

  • Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Portugal with visits to historic landmarks like the Tower of Belém, Jerónimos Monastery, and Pena Palace.
  • Explore the traditional villages and towns of rural Portugal, where you can discover artisanal crafts, folk traditions, and local festivals celebrating Portuguese culture and heritage.
  • Attend a fado performance in Lisbon or Coimbra, where you can experience the soulful and melancholic music that is an integral part of Portuguese culture.
  • Visit the museums and galleries of Lisbon and Porto, where you can discover the works of renowned Portuguese artists and learn about the country’s cultural and artistic heritage.
  • Experience the warmth and hospitality of the Portuguese people with a stay in a traditional guesthouse or family-run inn, where you can enjoy homemade meals, local wines, and authentic Portuguese hospitality.

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