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Portugal Travel GuideSome information and tips about Portugal
Discover the Charm and Beauty of Portugal
Portugal is a country with a rich history and a diverse culture. The country’s beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, delicious cuisine, and vibrant nightlife are well-known. With its warm climate, Portugal is an ideal destination to visit all year round. Moreover, Portugal offers a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. From Lisbon’s old-world charm to the Algarve’s charming beaches, Portugal has something for every type of traveler.
With its mild climate, 3000 hours of sunshine per year, and 500 miles of splendid beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is the perfect holiday destination all year round. This country has the oldest borders in Europe, with an exceptional range of landscapes just a short distance away, lots of leisure activities, and a unique cultural heritage where tradition and modernity blend together perfectly. Its superb cuisine, fine wines, and hospitable people make this a tourist paradise of the highest quality.
Situated in the extreme southwest of Europe, just a few hours from any of the other European capitals, Portugal attracts visitors from all over the world. Come and discover the charms of this country too.
Weather, Climate and Geography
Portugal sits at the southwest point of Europe and comprises the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. Mainland Portugal occupies an area of 88,889 km2. It is 218 km wide and 561 km long. It has 832 km of the Atlantic coast and a 1,215 km border with Spain.
The Azores are situated in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America. They have an area of 2,355 km2 and consist of nine islands – São Miguel and Santa Maria in the Eastern Group, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial in the Central Group, and Flores and Corvo in the Western Group. It takes about two hours to get from the Azores to mainland Portugal by plane.
The Madeira Archipelago has an area of 741 km2 and lies in the Atlantic Ocean, about 500 km from the African coast and 1,000 km from the European continent (1½ hours flying time from Lisbon). It consists of Madeira and Porto Santo islands and the uninhabited Desertas and Selvagens islands, which are nature reserves.
The climate in Portugal varies considerably from one region to another and is influenced by the relief, latitude, and proximity to the sea, which offers mild winters, especially in the Algarve.
In the Porto e Norte area and Centro region, particularly inland, nearer Spain, the winters are colder, although the temperatures are still mild when compared to the rest of Europe. There is some snowfall. It occurs most in the Serra da Estrela mountains, where we find the highest point in mainland Portugal (1,991 m) and where skiing is sometimes possible.
The summers are hot and dry, especially in the inland areas (Trás-os-Montes in north-eastern Portugal and Alentejo). Temperatures are slightly lower in the coastal areas because of the influence of the sea.
There are often warm, sunny days in autumn. At the beginning of November, nice weather is often called “St. Martin’s Summer” as this saint’s day is 11 November.
Top Destinations in Portugal
Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is a city of contrasts. The city is known for its colorful neighborhoods, historic buildings, and delicious food. The Alfama district is a must-visit destination, with its winding streets, colorful buildings, and traditional restaurants. Be sure to visit the Torre de Belem, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers breathtaking city views.
Porto is a city that is famous for its wine and port cellars. The city is located in northern Portugal and is a popular destination for wine lovers. Be sure to visit the Ribeira district, known for its picturesque streets, colorful houses, and charming restaurants. The Dom Luis I Bridge is a must-see attraction, offering stunning views of the city and the Douro River.
The Algarve is a region in the south of Portugal famous for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and rugged cliffs. The region is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, including Praia da Rocha and Praia do Vau. Be sure to visit the charming town of Lagos, known for its historic buildings, lively nightlife, and delicious seafood.
Sintra is a picturesque town located in the hills outside of Lisbon. The town is known for its fairy-tale castles, palaces, and gardens. Be sure to visit the Palacio Nacional de Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers breathtaking views of the town and the surrounding countryside.
Top Attractions in Portugal
The Jeronimos Monastery
The Jeronimos Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located in Lisbon. The monastery is a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic architecture and is home to the tomb of Vasco da Gama. Be sure to visit the monastery’s cloisters, which are adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures.
The Pena Palace
The Pena Palace is a fairy-tale castle that is located in Sintra. The palace is known for its vibrant colors, intricate designs, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Be sure to visit the palace’s gardens, which are filled with exotic plants and trees.
The Douro Valley
The Douro Valley is a region in northern Portugal that is famous for its vineyards and wineries. Be sure to take a scenic cruise along the Douro River, where you can admire the stunning landscapes and sample the delicious wines and ports the region offers. You can also take a tour of the region’s wineries, where you can learn about the wine-making process and sample some of the region’s finest wines.
The Belem Tower
The Belem Tower is a historic landmark that is located in Lisbon. The tower was built in the 16th century as a fortress to protect the city from invaders. Today, the tower is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of Portugal’s maritime heritage. Be sure to climb to the top of the tower, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and the Tagus River.
Top Activities in Portugal
Portugal is a country that is famous for its wines, especially its ports and fortified wines. The country has a long history of winemaking, with some of its vineyards dating back to the Roman era. Be sure to visit the Douro Valley or the Alentejo region to sample some of the country’s finest wines and learn about the winemaking process.
Fado is a traditional Portuguese music genre that is known for its melancholic and soulful melodies. The music is often performed in small taverns and clubs, creating an intimate and emotional experience for the audience. Be sure to catch a fado performance in Lisbon or Porto, where you can immerse yourself in the country’s rich musical culture.
Portugal is a great destination for hikers, with its stunning landscapes, rugged cliffs, and scenic trails. The Rota Vicentina is a popular hiking trail that follows the Algarve and Alentejo coastline, offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Portugal is known for its world-class surf spots, especially in the Algarve and Nazare coastal regions. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, Portugal has a wave for everyone. The country also hosts international surfing competitions like the World Surf League in Peniche.
Did you know?
- Europe’s second longest bridge is in Lisbon at 10.7 miles.
- Lisbon is one of the oldest towns in Europe. It is even older than Rome.
- Tempura is actually not Japanese, it’s Portuguese invention.
- Portugal’s shores are one of the world’s great surf spots.
- Portugal is home to a fantastic number of bird species. The reason behind this is Portugal’s being the popular avian stopover on their migrations from Africa to Europe.
- “Vinho do Porto” (Porto Wine) is Portugal’s most famous export and its national drink.
- Portugal has its own Martial Art. It’s called Jogo do pau, meaning “game of the stick.”
- The superstar soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo is from Portugal.
- Seafood is the most popular dish in Portugal. It is the third-highest consumer of fish on the planet.
- Europe’s westernmost point in is Portugal, called Cabo da Roca.
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