Travel Guides: Portugal
Portugal is a country of astonishing beauty and diversity. Here you will find many vacation opportunities that are endless.
You can choose sophisticated crowded coastal resorts or you can visit the medieval quarters of historic cities such as Lisbon, Porto, Braga or Coimbra, or if you are really passionate about historic trail, you can take a tour of the country (renting car is not expensive in Portugal), stopping overnight at one of the famous “pousada” – monastery, castle or former noble house which offers accommodation at affordable prices; for those seeking an active holiday, Portugal is an excellent choice, one of the top golf destinations, fishing trips; horseback riding or water sports like water skiing and windsurfing are also attractions of this destination.
Clearings where you can see how grow quiet almond trees, forests of cork trees and golden fields in Alentejo, farms in Ribatejo, the narrow streets of Alfama in Lisbon, drawn by oxen in vineyards in the Douro and Minho. Azalea and cane grow everywhere; the sound of the music “fado” is heard in small cafes. Portugal, a country situated in the south-west Europe, Iberian Peninsula, borders the Atlantic Ocean in the west and Spain in the north and east. It also includes two groups of islands in the Atlantic archipelagos of Azores and Madeira. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and lies on the west cost of the country, at the Ocean Atlantic, where the river Tagus flows into the ocean.
The heart of the city is the Baixa, or the Lower Town, the area where are the Sao Jorge Castle and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Maior, Jeronimos Monastery, Belem Tower – military construction for overseeing the port city, Jeronimos Monastery, built from the desire of King Manuel I, Castelo Sao Jorje built on the highest hill of the city Convento do Carmo. Lisbon has a big advantage because there are many nearby tourist cities, where many monument and tourist attractions can be visited. Among them is the Royal Palace of Sintra. An equally beautiful area, located in southern Portugal is the Algarve, called the Earth eternal spring, the region that welcomes you with exotic white houses, with specific chimneys, terraces full of flowers, palm trees, narrow streets, and with modern buildings and neighborhoods villas.
Porto is the second largest city with importance of Portugal. It is located in northern side, north of the River Douro. Porto is a true architectural treasure, with monuments in Gothic, baroque and neoclassical styles. Among other architectural styles worth mention the Arab style, Renaissance, modernism, represented by the famous Luis I bridge and Dona Pia (nineteenth century), Arrábida, Sao Joao and Freixo Bridge. Other architectural landmarks: Porto Stock Exchange building (XIX century), Sao Francisco Church (XIV century), Cadedrala Se (XII-XIV), Belvedere, Carmo, Carmelitas and Porto wine cellars (tasting Clerigos and Miragaia wines), City Hall, the streets Foz, Praça do Imperio, Avenida da Boavista and Praça da Republica.
Braga is a city with an interesting historical center, where you can visit: Casa dos Criva (eighteenth century), Santa Cruz Church (XVI-XVIII centuries), The Cathedral (XII-XVIII), the Hall (the eighteenth century), the Archbishop’s Palace (XIV-XVIII centuries), Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Staircase (XVIII century), Monastery Tibaes, spawns de Lima and Viana do Castelo. Sintra is a town in the district of Lisbon, located about 25 km west of Lisbon. The main objectives of Sintra are: Palacio da Pena Castle Maur (mountain), Palacio Nacional (the former royal residence, the best preserved medieval castle in Portugal), toy museum, Pena Palace (19th century), Castelo dos Moura, a splendid view of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.
Sintra Mountain Range, one of the largest parks in the Lisbon area, is a significant tourist attraction. Fatima is one of the most popular places of pilgrimage for Christians. Here can be visited Coimbra, the birthplace of the six kings of Portugal, the University, the Library of the University of Coimbra, which houses over 300,000 volumes of the medieval city of Santa Cruz Church (famous Nicolau sculptures signed by Chanterrena), Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nov. Since ancient times, fishing and maritime trade were among the main economic activities for the Portuguese. Portugal, a country where leisure possibilities are endless folk music tradition has survived for centuries, wine with dinner port or fish products.
Once you get here, you see that the possibility for a holiday is endless: you can choose from seaside resorts or visit the medieval quarters of historic cities such as Lisbon, Braga, Porto and Coimbra. For those seeking an active holiday, Portugal is an excellent choice, being one of the top golf destinations, fishing, horse riding or water sports like water skiing and windsurfing. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal was a maritime power, creating a vast colonial empire, but in the second half decades of the 16th century, most of its territory was conquered by the Netherlands and England. Between 1580 and 1640, Portugal is annexed by Spain. In 1910, the monarchy is abolished and Portugal is proclaimed republic.
In 1926 it establishes the dictatorship of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, overthrown by a military coup in 1974. In the same year the Portuguese colony is recognized the right of self-determination and sovereignty. Portugal joined the EU in 1986. Area – Total: 92,391 sq km, Land: 91,951 sq km, Water: 440 sq km. Climate:
Maritime temperate, cold and rainy in north, hot and dry in the south. Extreme points: The deepest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m. Highest point: Ponta do Pico (Pico or Pico Alto) on Ilha do Pico in Azores – 2,351 m. Population: 10,102,022 (July 2003 estimate). Age structure: Between 0-14 years: 16.8% (male 874,198, female 825 742), 15-64 years: 67.2% (male 3,326,957; female 3,461,425), Over 65 years: 16% (male 651,697, female 962,003) (2003 estimate).
Ethnic groups: Portuguese. Religion: 94% Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam. Languages spoken: Portuguese. Capital: Lisbon. Independence Day: June 10. Coin: Euro (EUR). Means of communication: Telephones: 5.3 million (1998), Mobile: 3074194 (1997), TV stations: 62, Internet country code: .pt, Internet users: 4.4 million (2002 estimate), Airports: 66 (2002 estimate). Portugal or the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa) is a country located in the extreme southwestern Europe in the Iberian Peninsula, bordering the Atlantic Ocean in the west and south, and Spain in the north and east. It also includes two groups of Atlantic islands: Azores (Açores) and Madeira Islands.
Political system: Parliamentary Republic. Time Zone: GMT (GMT +1 in the summer). Useful information: Road traffic: European road E 82, E 806, E90, E01, E801, E805, E80, E802, national roads; Traffic regulations: driving on the right side. At roundabout, vehicles in the circle have priority. Drivers must wait for passengers in trams to descent. Traffic Signs are those recognized by international law. Seatbelts are mandatory. Child seats are mandatory for children when their age is up to four years. Speed limits: City 56 km / h, open road 88 km / h, Highways 120 km / h. Documents required when riding the machine are: valid passport (for people from non EU countries) or identity card (for people from EU countries), driving license, registration and car registration “green card” (international insurance).
Fuel stations: Petrol stations are open from 7am to 10 pm and many of the highways are open 24 hours. Car Tax: There is a toll highway, “Auto-Estrada”, which connects Lisbon and Porto. Parking: There are several Portuguese cities with “blue zone” parking. You get a cardboard disc, free, either from police or from the auto clubs. In central Lisbon are found very few parking spaces in the street. Fuel Price: between 1.2470 euro and 0.9760 euro / liter. Portugal is split in two by its main river, the Tagus (Tejo). Other major rivers are: Douro, Minho and Guadiana. As the River Tagus, all spring from Spain. In the north, the landscape consists of mountains.
Main objectives: Lisbon: Portugal’s capital, historic city. Among the tourist attractions of Lisbon are: Centro Cultural de Belém, – one of the most important cultural centers in Europe, located in a building of outstanding architecture; exhibitions, Performing Arts, restaurants, gardens and shops. Museu Nacional de Arte – Antiga founded in 1880, as the name says it contains pieces of ancient art from the twelfth and nineteenth centuries, especially sculptures, drawings, works of gold, jewelry, textiles, drawings and furniture. Portuguese master paintings and European artists, religious statues and gold and silver make this museum one of the most important in Portugal.
Torre de Belém – Belém Tower was built in an effort to defend the Tagus River estuary. It received the architecture of Francisco Arruda, with notable Mural influences. Mosteiro dos Jerónimos – XVI century monastery began to be built during the reign of Dom Manuel I to celebrate the discovery of the maritime road to India. The work was completed during the reign of Dom João III. It is one of the most important buildings in Portugal and is included in UNESCO heritage; Alto da Serafina, Serafina Recreation Park with views over the northern city; the old town.
Porto: the second largest city of importance of Portugal, Porto has always been the commercial capital of this country, of Roman origin, a mercantile city, built almost entirely of hard granite stone. Old churches and narrow streets give the place a charm unmatched by Baroque art and Rococo style, designed by great architect Nicolas Nazzoni: Hospital San Antonio, Torre dos Clerigos, cathedrals and Morro da Santa Clara, belonging to the glorious eighteenth century. The landscape is dominated by the great bridge Dom Luiz, one of the most impressive sites on the Douro valley.
Lamego was once the old city center for Moors merchant coming from Spain. The majority of its buildings date back to the eighteenth century, but you can admire the ruins of a castle in the twelfth century, and Remedios Cathedral, located atop a cliff, to which access is along an endless staircase, a place of pilgrimage for believers around the world. Vila Real: although with many new buildings, modern, Vila Real is a city of numerous unforgettable buildings dating from the XVI and XVII centuries, the great churches and, especially, Sao Domingo cathedral clergy. Madeira: it was characterized as an island where reigns eternal spring and summer left to spend their winter vacation. Madeira is a group of five islands, located 580 km from North Africa and 1000 km from Portugal.
Its capital, Funchal, has colorful city streets and shady parks, which Captain Cook said it was endowed with all the gifts of nature: the waterfalls of purple flowers that seem to flow from the ancient walls of the buildings, filling the air with mimosa dream perfume, carpets Jacaranda petals that are almost blue streets. Something has been kept here in the spirit of ancestors, adventurers of the sea, blue-eyed pirates, soldiers and treasure seekers. Algarve: Moors are at home, as indicated by the white traditional buildings and the characteristic appearance of the inhabitants. It is a fishing land where you can admire all types of boats that absolutely have ever been invented, which supplies meat to many countries around the world.
The Azores: 1400 km from the mother country and 3,000 km from America, the Azores islands are a paradise, with luxury yacht owners and lovers of cruises. It is said that the Azores was a mountain of the legendary Atlantis, the water swallowed. The archipelago consists of nine isolated islands, surrounded by mountain peaks in mysterious fog, black rocks, craters that have formed exuberant blue lakes and abundant flowers of all nations. Land is ideal for growing tea, orange, banana trees, tobacco, grapes and vines. The capital Ponta Delgada is on the largest of the islands, Sao Miguel. Portugal, at the Atlantic, west of the Iberian Peninsula, boasts one of the largest cultural centers in Europe. In many places you can still find surprising traces of Moorish culture, which had a great influence on this country in the VIII century.
Most holiday destinations mean the only beaches with clear waters – but Portugal has much more to offer. For all the tourists there are many possibilities: historic cities and landscapes, either on the beach or indoors. Portuguese culture will capture the variety of influences, which is reflected in cuisine, music and folklore. Algarve region in the south is the most popular destination for tourists in Portugal and at the same time, with over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, one of the sunniest of the planet. Algarve is known for its long, fine sand, mild climate and fascinating rock formations from the west coast. The area between Faro and Cabo de Sao Vicente is the only region with less sand, but lovely isolated coves. In addition to traditional architecture fishery village stations are available with excellent tourist infrastructure and supply very wide and varied activities.
Whether is golf, diving or hiking, here everything is possible. In Portugal, before each meal it will be served a portion of bread, butter, sardines and olive paste. You must be careful however, because these delicacies will be a lot of the bill. You really want to try the soups, appetizer available in many styles – are very popular and tasty fish and vegetable soup for instance, but prepared from potatoes and cabbage soup with a slice of pork (Chourico) is considered the “soup national.” As the main dish coastal regions are of course recipes with fish, potatoes part of sardine. But the recipe with swordfish, tuna and squid are often served. A Portuguese specialty is “Arroz de marisco”, rice with seafood. If you prefer meat – is not a problem, especially in the country you will find meat in abundance.
No less binding than the appetizers, are in Portugal deserts. Just once try delicacies worth egg-sugar-almond or one of several “Pudims”, which are great fresh. Portugal boasts one of the largest cultural centers in Europe. Manueline style architecture is unique and ornaments also Manueline cover the old buildings and are also unmistakable and incredibly beautiful. After the end of Moorish occupation, were built some of the most beautiful cathedrals, Romanesque and Gothic-influenced. In particular the churches and monasteries are part of the Portuguese architectural heritage. Copies that are Jeronimos Monastery in Belem Cathedral “Sé” and the Justice Palace in Lisbon, the monastery church Templar of Tomar, the Abbey of Santa Maria da Vitória in Batalha, and the Cathedral of Braga. Another symbol of Portuguese culture, known throughout the world, is folk and traditional music and performances in national costumes.
Centuries ago, Portugal was a pioneer of worldwide exploration. Until recently, however, it has not had much success in the tourism industry. Apart from Lisbon, Algarve and Madeira, Portugal was undiscovered by most visitors. Today, Portugal blooms like a pure jewel of European tourism. Rich and troubled history, created by centuries XV and XVI discoveries and new state leadership from 1932 to 1974, is an integral part of the country today. Portugal has enough places listed as World Heritage by UNESCO natural and cultural wonders to attract the attention of every visitor, for a long period of time. The country has an astonishing diversity, an idyllic climate and hospitable people, not to mention the postcard images of the rocky coast, beaches and primary fishermen, cobblestone streets, painted houses and fairytale castles.
Portugal will offer unlimited opportunities for the party in sophisticated seaside resorts, to walk in medieval centers such as Lisbon, Porto, Braga or Coimbra. To explore these places which are withdrawn, spend a romantic night in a hut, a monastery or manor house situated in a fascinating landscape. Regarding sports, Portugal is a top destination for golf, tennis, fishing, horse riding, windsurfing and water skiing. Other memorable experiences include Fado, Portugal’s soul music, the celebrations of the country, with centuries-old folk traditions, wine tasting and delicious fish.
Main attractions: Wander the hills to admire the capital city of Lisbon and the Tagus River estuary. Climb the highest hill of the 12 and visit the castle of St George in XII century. Look at the biggest sharks in Europe, see above the Tagus River, the cable car and visit the Knowledge Pavilion in Nations Park, 5 km east of Lisbon. Explore the Lisbon suburb of Belem, the place where Vasco da Gama went in the XV and XVI centuries. Attractions that you should not miss are Torre de Belem Monastery of Ieronimits, both located on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and the new Berardo collection of modern art. Visit Sintra, an alpine town full of palaces, at 25 km from Lisbon. Do not miss the former summer residence of the Portuguese royal family and the beautiful Monserrate gardens.
From the west head to Sintra, Cabo da Roca lighthouse and watch the waves that hit the rocks below, in the westernmost point of Europe. Discover Evora, a virtual museum and a city that has reached its golden age in the fifteenth century, when it became the residence of Portuguese kings. Its monuments had a profound influence on Portuguese architecture and Gothic Manueline. Visit the monastery of Santa Maria, located on the UNESCO World Heritage list, which was built in memory of the victory of King Joao I of Castile in 1385. Visit Santa Maria d’Alcobaca monastery, founded in the XII century by King Alfonso I. Explore the history of the medieval Knights Templar castle of Tomar.
Monastery of Christ in the heart of the order castle is one of the major artistic and historical structures of Portugal. Visit the historic center of Porto, the Stock Exchange Palace, Romanesque-Gothic cathedral, Romanesque church Cedofeita, baroque tower Clerigos and Caisse de Ribeira waterfront. Visit Porto and Gaia in order to taste the best wine. Alto Douro region is a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, because of centuries of viticulture that produced a cultural landscape of incomparable beauty. In the north-east lies the medieval capital of Portugal, Guimaraes, an outstanding example of medieval town that was transformed into a modern city with a beautiful castle and the former palace of the Dukes of Braganca.
Admire a variety of stone carvings from the upper Paleolithic period (22,000 to 10,000 BC.) Coa Valley Archaeological Park is the most impressive artistic expression primitive kind in the world. Admire the lovely city of Coimbra in the Portuguese culture, in which is one of the oldest universities in Europe, the Romanesque cathedral of Velha, Nova is a Jesuit cathedral and the Gothic church where the first king of Portugal, resting, Santa Cruz. Discover the oldest city in the Algarve region. Built on the banks of the river Gilhao, Tavira picturesque location boasts a hall with arches, a Roman bridge with seven arches, old fortifications and a beach. Take advantage of Portugal’s beaches and water – surface and deep diving, windsurfing, water skiing, fishing. Absorb the spiritual atmosphere of Fatima, an important pilgrimage center since 1917, when the Virgin Mary appeared before a crowd of children. Admire the torches of the procession on May 13 and 13 October.
Hiking, mountain climbing or go canoeing in Peneda-Geres, Portugal’s only national park. Attend a car or motorcycle race on the famous Estoril track, located a short distance from Lisbon on the Atlantic coast. Fish is the main food of the Portuguese diet, and the most popular is code. Fish is prepared in so many recipes that can be said otherwise cook every day of the year. Other marine creatures that are commonly consumed are salmon, sardines, pattern, octopus, squid, barbell, hake, turbot and bass. Practically every table contains Portuguese soup. The most popular is the green soup (caldo green), made with cabbage Gaelic (couve galega), sausages, potatoes and olive oil. Another popular soup is called Sopa alentejana, and has garlic bread. Another dish is called national caldeirada, a stew of several kinds of fish, onions and tomatoes. The most common dessert is rice pudding (arroz doce), cinnamon flavor.
It is believed that the Lusitans, a Celtic tribe, were the first inhabitants of Portugal. The region was conquered by the Roman Empire in 140 BC. Towards the end of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths invaded the entire Iberian Peninsula. The Portuguese have won independence from Moorish Spain in 1143. The expansion of Portugal was coordinated by the great son of King John I, Prince Henry the Navigator. In 1488 Bartholomew Dias reached the Cape of Good Hope, proving that Asia was accessible by sea. In 1498 Vasco da Gama arrived on the west coast of India. In the mid-sixteenth century the Portuguese empire expanded to the west and east Africa, Brazil, Persia, Indochina and Malaysia peninsula.
In 1581 King Philip II of Spain invaded Portugal and occupied it for 60 years, which led to a catastrophic decline in the trade. Explorers, brave and cunning and Portuguese settlers proved to be inefficient and corrupt. At a time when Portuguese monarchy was restored in 1640, Dutch, English and French already had taken most of the colonies and world trade. Portugal was chosen with Angola and Mozambique in Africa and Brazil (until 1822). Corrupt King Carlos, who ascended the throne in 1889, made Prime Minister Joao Franco, dictatorial power in 1906. In 1908, Carlos and his heir were shot on the streets of Lisbon. The new king, Manoel II was ousted from the throne during the revolution of 1910 and Portugal became a republic in the French style.
With a traditional friendship with Britain, Portugal fought with the Allies in World War I in Africa and the Western Front. The weak government and the postwar revolution in 1926 brought to power Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. As finance minister (1928-1940) and prime minister (1932-1968) Salazar ruled the country in dictatorship style. He kept Portugal neutral in the Second World War but helped the Allies with naval and air bases after 1943. Portugal joined NATO as a founding member in 1949, but was accepted by the United Nations only in 1955. Since 1950, international politics and colonial Portugal has faced difficulties. The bloodiest wars against colonialism in Africa took place against the Portuguese. In the next 13 years, Salazar and his successor Marcello Caetano, fought against the independence movement, attracting worldwide criticism. The armed forces have managed to excite the leftist revolution in 1974 and the new military leadership has dropped all the territories. Portugal has been accepted into the European Union in 1986 and that same year Mario Soares became the first civilian president for more than 60 years.
Swimsuit with thong is common on Portuguese beaches. Topless beaches are only accepted from south to Lisbon. Smoking is banned in public places. Local time is GMT. Located in the southwestern Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic coast, Portugal was historically a strong maritime force. In 1415, the Portuguese raised the sails and embarked on a series of journeys which were established as discoverers of sea routes to India, Brazil, China and Japan. They found villages on east and west coasts of Africa. The ramifications of the present universal throughout history are now symbols of Portuguese culture. Language is one of the most spoken in the world, and the Portuguese people benefited greatly from exposure to many different civilizations.
The vast artistic and archaeological heritage speaks not only about the 850 years of history and contacts with distant civilizations, but also about the existence in this geographical area of ancient peoples: Celts, Visigoths, Romans and Arabs. The natural advantages of a country with a diverse geography made Portugal into a chosen destination by many tourists, a place ideal for water sports and golf, offering modern tourism facilities, friendly and personalized, such as “Turismo habitacao” (private houses, from farms to delightful real palaces and castles), “hotes de Charme” or “pousadas”. Portugal has kept over the centuries its main treasure: a strong reputation for hospitality, which transforms it into a haven of comfort and safety.
Costa de Lisboa: At first glance, what impresses you most is the light! Surroundings of Lisbon, south-west coast, lovely beaches of Cascais and Estoril, the romantic town of Sintra background, Arrábida, Troy and many others, are suitable for practicing sports of any kind, under bright blue skies. At sunset, the lights of the city, echoes of Fado guitars, begins performances and good mood after dark, when you can try your luck. Lisbon – a city of contrasts, with 20 centuries of history, is an endless source of treasure, blending harmoniously with the peak of Baroque art discoveries. Time is very short but you must see all these treasures in so many palaces, museums and monuments. In the sixth century style beauty Manueline celebrated “discoveries” and International Exposition ’98 was the theme of “Ocean.” The sea is therefore once again a meeting point of cultures.
Costa Verde: The noble traditions mingle with the natural beauty of the oldest parts of Portugal. In the north-west of the country, with average temperatures of 9 ° C, 20 ° C in winter and summer lays this vast land with dense vegetation and rich history. Here was born the twelfth century the first king of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques, who then expanded the kingdom to the south. The legacy of a distant past is visible everywhere. We recommend you stay in one of the great farms or villas with crest and to take pleasure aristocratic tradition of hospitality. Together with excellent art, tourists can enjoy abundant cuisine, wines and soda (green wine) or rich, and a variety of artifacts that combines the glitter filigree embroidery with local color.
The longest highway in Portugal (Lisbon to Porto A1) takes you (A3) in the heart of Costa Verde. If you follow the shoreline, on the road from Vila do Conde in Valenca, you can enjoy beautiful beaches, seaside resorts and charming villages such as Caminha and Vila Nova de Cerveira. Peneda-Geres National Park in central region is one of the main objectives. Throughout the region the rivers, waterfalls, vineyards and fertile fields mingle with ancient monuments in urban centers. Porto, the capital of the northern region of the country, with its international airport, offers the pleasures of a city on a large river, being situated at the mouth of the Douro River, where boats start to move along the riverside.
Costa de Prata: In the central part of the Portuguese coast, intense reflections of the water give the name of the region: Costa de Prata (Silver Coast). Festivities and vitality of folk art from Costa de Prata is contagious. Ceramic art charm and colors attract the eye. Located in the central part of the country, this land of golden beaches offers the possibility to practice water sports. Buçaco quiet resorts and discover Vimieiro promise miracles. In Obidos and Coimbra discover medieval castles and formidable library and artistic treasures, which will translate into distant Roman times. Aveiro and Leiria have also kept the charm of the past. The Convento Cristo, with its famous Manuelina windows and the monasteries; Alcobaça and Batalha part of world heritage evidence of an old alliance between art and faith. Today this combination is best at Fátima.
Montanhas: In the heart of the country, down to the Tagus, lies a beautiful mountainous region, where the world still has time to enjoy life. In the extreme north-east of the country, this region is the soul of stone: granite temples and homes, rocky slopes and stability of a nation that has kept the dances and songs (with a strong Celtic influence), festivities and processions which combines a pagan legacy Christian ritual for centuries. Because the region is mainly for agriculture, here the tourist can enjoy a wide variety of delicacies (steaks, sausages, cheeses and wines) and can enjoy the silence of a people still living in the community and the hospitality has always been first instinct. From the quiet landscape of Planicies, vast Ribatejo plains until golden wheat crops in Alentejo, pacific scene is just a curtain that opens to an unimaginable heritage.
What surprises primarily in this region remains a remarkable sequence of successive cultures: dolmens and menhirs, Roman and Arab vestiges with recent signs of Christianity and medieval castles. The north-west of this region (which lies along the Tagus River and is dominated by Santarem) consists of fertile pastures, where grazing quietly most beautiful horses and bulls. In the north-east are the beautiful villages and towns scattered forming the so-called Rota dos Castle (Castle Route): Nice, Castelo de Vide, Manvao, Portalegre and Alter do Chao. In the south, the landscape becomes more welcoming and straight: besides Evora (one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal), worth to be mentioned Monsaraz, Vila Vicosa, Estremoz and Arraiolos (renowned for its handmade tapestries, traditional designs based on centuries 17-18).
Farther south, sunny plains become less inhabited, with all too little shade provided by olive trees and oaks. A trip to Alvito, Beja, Serpa and Mertola is a good choice in this regard and invite the tourists who love the coast to beaches on the Atlantic coast on south-west. With the largest variations of temperature (5 ° C in winter to 33 ° C in summer), these are the most sparsely populated plains, open-minded, where the pace of life will slow songs clock in the region. Beautiful beaches, warm ocean water and hot sun equal vacation. Located in Portugal, this was the last conquered territory from the Moors by the Portuguese king in 1292. Traces of the Moorish presence are still visible in the unique architecture – terraces, chimneys and whitewashed houses.
Now what seemed hard to see in the 13th century is no longer an obstacle, because of modern roads (Lisbon-Albufeira-Castro Marim road – 1P1) and Faro international airport. There is therefore every reason to visit this charming region, with average temperatures of 24 ° C in summer and winter the temperature rarely drops below 12 ° C – ideal for golf or other sports. In the northern region, the hills Espinhaco Cao, Monchique and Caldeirao occurs winds. Region colorful, with fig, orange and almond blossom, is also the greenest and most fertile zone. The south coast is formed by a long string of fine sandy beaches, rocky cliffs broken by the extraordinary and fantastic grottoes. Besides the abundance of water sports (Marina Vilamoura and Lagos deserve special attention, including numerous ports and keys), there are a number of alternatives, such as tennis courts, famous golf courses, luxury hotels or resorts and chic life social entertaining.
Azores: Located 1460 km from the coast and 3750 km of the European continent of North America, Azores archipelago was discovered in the first half of the 15th century by Portuguese navigators. Consisting of nine islands, the archipelago is divided into three groups of islands: East (Sao Miguel and Santa Maria), Central (Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial) and western (Corvo and Flores). Besides the international airports of Santa Maria, Ponta Delgada and Angra, there are flights to all islands (the regional airline SATA) and scheduled to ship between eastern and western groups. Even blasé visitor will also be touched by the sapphire blue and emerald green of the lake, the fertile volcanic cones and craters, colorful hydrangeas and azaleas, 15th century churches and majestic villas.
This legendary land consists of nine islands with poetic names enjoying moderate temperatures year round, and is an oasis of peace, where words like “stress” and “pollution” are not part of the vocabulary. There are many stories about the beauty of the archipelago, its fishermen and shepherds, but they distinguish between stories of a tourist. Madeira: It’s hard to choose what is more pleasant: to see the sea in Madeira or look to the sea from Funchal. A volcanic archipelago discovered by Portuguese navigators in 1419, it consists of Madeira (the largest and most populous, with its capital in Funchal), the island of Porto Santo and two groups of uninhabited islands: Desertas and Selvagens (bird sanctuaries).
Exceptional climate (16 ° C – 25 ° C) and legendary natural beauty have made a favorite destination from Madeira. A famous tourist location, the island invites you to a bath, a game of golf or a walk in the mountains, clouds. For centuries, skilled hands on canvas brooded models of island flowers and weave baskets and cane chairs. All cane carts that carry tourists at a speed of daring, are their unique experience and courage can be rewarded by the taste of Madeira wine. Exotic flowers and lush gardens framed spiritual incursion or Flemish art collections in church architecture and portals. From this window you may not miss the wonderful panorama.
Since the 60s Portugal is due to low prices (because of the weak economy of the country) and reduced crime in the country one of the most popular holiday destinations of European tourists. The tourism industry is quite developed with a volume of tourists per year by 23 million. The most loved regions are the Algarve islands and resorts in the south followed by the country’s west coast and Figueira da Foz and Troia Peninsula. Portugal has some of the most beautiful golf courses and more competitive in the world. A lot of castles and ancient artifacts are waiting to be visited, signs of great pioneers of the country’s history (Sintra, Evora, Setubal and Estoril).
Considered by many as the country that lies in the shadow of Spain, Portugal is an excellent tourist destination, the country itself presenting a rich and original culture, cities, stunning landscapes and unforgettable. Initially one of the poorest countries of Europe, Portugal has managed to rise in recent decades in the social and economic impact of any EU country. The secret consist primarily from comebacks in history and cultural heritage tourism and implementing efficient and productive means. The country is located in southwestern Europe, sharing the Iberian Peninsula with Spain, being surrounded on the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean.
After its period of glory in the world in XV-XVI centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth through the destruction of Lisbon in an earthquake in 1755, through its occupation during the Napoleonic Wars and the loss of its Brazilian colony in 1822. Revolution of 1910 destroyed the Portuguese monarchy, initiating a period of chaotic republicanism (First Republic). In 1926 a nationalist military coup initiated a period of five decades of fascism and establishes dictatorship of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. In 1974, a leftist revolution installed a military government imposed a series of democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal declared independence to its colonies in Africa (Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe) and the lost colony of East Timor, in Asia, because of an Indonesian invasion.
Portugal entered the European Union itself in 1986, losing another Asian colony, Macau, given back to Chinese sovereignty in December 1999. Northern Portugal is predominantly mountainous, consisting of parallel chains (NE-SW) with moderate altitudes: Marão Serra (1415 m), Serra de Nogueira (1318 m), Caramulo Serra, Serra de Estrela (maximum altitude throughout the country: Pico de Serra, 1991 m). Portugal southern plains are occupied by waves (Alentejo) and low plateaus, mountain ranges limited, among which, in the S, Serra de Monchique (maximum elevation 902 m) and Serra de Malhao. Coast (832 km) is low and straight. Part island is made up of islands of volcanic Azores / Açores (2355 km ²) located at about 1 500 km west of Portugal and composed of nine large islands (São Miguel, Pico, Faial etc.) and Madeira (797 km ²), with the island of Madeira (740.6 km ²), Porto Santo, his Selvanges, 500 km from the African coast (Morocco).
Population: 10,102,022 (July 2003 estimate) Portugal is far from being a homogenous country linguistically, ethnically and religiously. Portuguese language is spoken throughout the country, except for Miranda de Douro city, which is recognized as dialect the Asturian language. Minority, including those formed by immigrants from former African colonies, counted more than 100,000 people. Most of the population is Portuguese. Imported products: car industry products, chemicals, transport equipment, iron and hotel, cotton, diamonds, grains, meats, oil; Exported products: clothing, textile machine industry products, wine, oil, cork, canned fish, timber.