Portugal is an interesting travel destination because it is one of those places that people do not talk about much and yet it offers the traveler mot of what you could want in a European holiday. If you have not considered a Portugal bound vacation then you are seriously missing out.
The country offers everything to the tourist – It is relatively cheap next to its Euro brethren, it has beautiful sandy beaches and a rugged coastline, an intriguing history, great people, good wine, fantastic food and cities that stun with their architectural beauty.
What’s not to love?
Perhaps the lack of conversation about Portugal is that it is not really a country from which one can get to many other places. The geographical position as the southern most European nation is maybe a bit of a hindrance to those seeking more Europe for their money. But the great thing about this is that means the crowds are less and the sites more accessible.
Portugal, although small compared to Spain, offers so much to the traveler that it really shouldn’t require more countries to visit to make a memorable vacation.
Portugal Travel – What to See and Do – A quick look at some highlights.
Lisbon – This is Portugal’s capital city. If you are looking for a destination with history, friendly people, easy walks with fascinating sites and great food then look no further than Lisbon. Wonderful churches exist to explore and the Castle of St Jorge is a great attraction for history and architectural buffs. If it’s fun that you are after, Lisbon is thought to be among the best in Europe for nightlife and at prices that will not scare you The real hotspot for nightlife is the Bairro Alto district and surrounding area with bars, restaurants, Fado houses and clubs.
- Porto – Porto known for the world famous port winethat the world knows so well. Check out the city’s architecture and especially the bridge – Ponte de Luis I – Hard to miss and just an amazing bridge. You can walk across the bottom section or take a stroll across the top . Of all things photographed in Porto, this is probably the most popular and iconic photograph taken. The river Douro is another Porto highlight – Sunrise and sunset are magical times in this area to enjoy. It’s a great area for walking, getting a taste the porto vine or just to relax. A sightseeing boat trip, viewing Porto from the river is well worth the 15 Euros.
Do not pass up a visit into Sao Francisco church. The architectural vision and detail of the exterior are amazing but a look inside will thrill you with the interior beauty of mainly gold covered design. The Crypt is somewhat macabre with 2 small openings in the floor that are covered by plastic and bars which if you look into you see piles of bones. Perhaps a bit creepy but fascinating nonetheless. Ticket price for 1 is 3.50euros
- Travel to Sintra – Probably one of the most attractive cities in Europe. If you have a penchant for Palaces, Museums and views, this is a place you should definitely visit. The surrounding Duoro Valley offers wine lovers an added distraction.
- Head off to Batalha – Did someone say Gothic? Just a day trip from Lisbon, the home of all things Gothic with the greatest masterpiece of the era. Protected as a World Heritage Monument, Batalha was built in 1388, housing 16th-century stained-glass windows and seven incomplete chapels. An impressive sight that is worthy of the small change and time spent to visit.
- Chill out or get festive in Lagos –The Algarve is renowned for beautiful places and beautiful people. A small town on the Algarve, Lagos is a sun worshippers paradise and a spot to go to dinner after a day on the beach and than party the night away. Summer sees the young crowds but it’s good for anyone feeling like having a rave and letting their hair down.
- The treasures of Portugal are found in the smaller towns – beautiful places that speak of heritage and classics. Check out Evora, a World Heritage sites offering up a sumptuous buffet of historic architecture with the Temple of Diana amongst other beautiful buildings.
- Tomar – Tomar is the Templar Castle and Convent of Christ on the hill. Fascinating, this was the Knights Templar headquarters in the 12th century. Portugal’s most prized monument – the Convent of Christ is housed inside.
- Part of the Cistercian order, the largest building of the era is The Abbey of Santa Maria – worth a visit just to take a look at the rooms and grandeur.
Don’t forget that Portugal extends its national flag and territory beyond the mainland borders. Two hours flying time from Lisbon, in the Atlantic Ocean are the Azores islands – Beaches, wildlife, trails, food, wine and peaceful urroundings, each of the nine islands offer the traveler a distinct personality to enjoy.