Combining dramatic scenery, effortlessly beautiful golden beaches and vibrant cities bursting with history and culture, it’s no wonder that Portugal has made a name for itself as one of the top 20 tourist regions in the world.
The westernmost point of Europe, Portugal’s mainland borders Spain on the east side, and hugs the azure Atlantic to the west. The Portuguese empire also comprises the autonomous Madeiran and Azores island archepelagos off the coast. Boasting almost 300 days of sub-tropical sunshine each year, Portugal is the ideal, year-round holiday hotspot whether you’re after a relaxing beach escape or a lively city break.
Capital city Lisbon is awash with stunning 15th century architecture and quaint winding streets, testimony to an age gone by. Although a bustling capital, Lisbon has lost none of its old world charms and graces. With UNESCO world heritage sites dotted around the city, Lisbon is an explorers dream.
One of Portugal’s most popular tourist regions is the Algarve on the southern coast. With miles-long expanses of unspoilt golden sand, bordered by curiously twisted cliff faces and majestic rock archways, the Algarve makes the perfect spot to soak up the Portuguese sun and take some memorable holiday snaps to boot!
With a choice of beaches to build sandcastles on, and enough historical sites to keep your cameras clicking, there is no excuse to find yourself bored on a holiday to Portugal! With water sports, golf courses and day excursions galore, there is something to keep everybody happy!
The Algarve is famous for its world class golf courses. With 7 in total in the southern region alone, prepare to dig out the plaid trousers and tee off in the sunshine!
Situated just outside Albufeira is the Zoomarine Algarve aquatic park. A water park with a difference, this popular tourist attraction is home to a variety of marine species including tropical fish and dolphins as well as water slides, swimming pools and theme park ride attractions.
Portugal’s vibrant capital city Lisbon is a hub of cultural and historical tourist sites. With much of the city standing practically unchanged since the 18th century, there is a wealth of places to discover.
Wander the cobbled streets to the Belém (St. Vincent’s) Tower on the banks of the river Tagus. A relic of the 16th century when Portugal fought to protect its ports, the tower is a classic example of late Gothic – Manueline architecture, earning this beauty spot a UNESCO world heritage site title in 1983.
Jerónimo’s Monastery was also among Lisbon’s ancient structures to be named a world heritage site. The striking 15th century monastery was built by order of the King to stand as a house of prayer for sailors who came into the port at Lisbon.
Portuguese cuisine may not be as high profile as that of neighbouring Spain or France, however, the rustic charm of Portuguese traditional recipes for cooking fish, hearty stews and deliciously sweet pastries are definitely worth sampling, especially when in Portugal!
A staple part of Portuguese cuisine is made up of fresh fish and shellfish. As a nation, the Portuguese hold the title for consuming the most seafood anywhere in the world, as well as the impressive accolade of creating 100 different ways to cook cod!
The national salted cod dish bacalhau, served traditionally with rice, potatoes and salad is a refreshingly flavoursome dish, washed down perfectly with a glass of the famous vinho verde, a sparkling green wine produced locally in Portugal.
As the name suggests, fortified port wine also originates from Portugal. Varying in colour and intensity, port wines are in high demand, deported all over the world to the finest restaurants. Ranging from the palest rose to the deepest vintage red depending on how long the wine is left to mature, port is perfect as an after dinner tipple.