Why Portugal? Discover this country’s unique charms – in terms of her monuments,modern architecture, museums and intricate details…Why wait?
Ever tasted a glass of Port Wine? It’s been produced for over 250 years in the Alto Douro Wine Growing region – one of the finest places to appreciate it, together with the city of Oporto, after which this famous nectar is named. Both places have been classified as World Heritage sites by UNESCO, together with the Rupestrian engravings in the Foz Côa Archaeological Park – a genuine open-air museum founded over 25,000 years ago!
But the list of World Heritage sites doesn’t end there… There’s a total of thirteen sites, including Angra do Heroísmo, built in the fifteenth century in the heart of the Atlantic ocean. Come and see for yourself.
We also house magnificent art works in our museums, such as the Grão Vasco Museum in Viseu or the Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon, two leading museums that shouldn’t be missed.
Continue your trip through Portuguese culture with a shift in landscape. Wander calmly through the Alentejo’s plains and prepare to be amazed by what the region has to offer.
You can be sure to enjoy yourself, if only because it’s Carnival time…there’s a contagious party atmosphere in the Algarve or Madeira.
Remnants from the past, challenges to our imagination, are all around in the Alentejo, offering a real journey in time.
Two thousand years ago the territory that would later be Portugal was part of the Roman Empire. This source of our language and culture left many records in the Alentejo, written on stone and mosaics, cisterns and forums, in vanished cities and on oldmonuments. Other civilisations, older and less well known, covered the region with impressive megalithic monuments, majestic and mysterious in their simplicity, erected in honour of unknown gods.
These remnants from the past, challenges to our imagination, are all around you in the Alentejo, offering you a real journey in time.
Discover the ‘towns’ of Pisões and São Cucufate, where the inhabitants lived in luxury, with hot baths and cool pools amid the heat of the plain. In Miróbriga, remember the racing chariots pulled by Lusitanian horses, which attracted crowds to the town hippodrome, and then try to imagine in the ruins of the town’s first-century buildings what daily life was like two thousand years ago.
Don’t miss the chance to pay a visit to Castro da Cola, whose riches transport you to the life of our ancestors, from the Neolithic Age to the medieval Christian world, not forgetting the precious legacy of the Moors. Take a leisurely tour around the antas, or Iron or Bronze Age settlements, set in fertile land traversed by the River Mira.
Make the sites selected by UNESCO as World Heritage become your pretext to visit this country.
Portugal covers such a varied range of natural habitats. There is the masterpiece we created out of the majestic Douro valleys. It was only thus that Port could be brought into the world.
We made Sintra a magical and mystical place in dotting its abundant vegetation with palaces and romantic gardens while out on the island of Madeira we tend forests millennia in age.
Out of intercultural exchange and mastery of the seas came the Manueline style that is unique to this land. In Lisbon, the point of departure for the Voyages of Discovery, the Monastery of Jerónimos and the Tower of Belém stand proud as the finest symbols for this artistic architectural style.
Wander the historic centres of Guimarães, Porto, Évora or Angra do Heroísmo, all packed with the charm characteristic of Portuguese cities.
Stroll the Vale do Côa with its art gallery 25,000 years in the making or share the heritage of the Cister monks of the Abbey of Alcobaça.
By journey’s end, the discovery of such a rich and profound culture is sure to leave you deeply impressed.
In Porto Santo you will find sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Just two and a half hours by boat (or if you prefer, a mere 15 minutes by air from Madeira) is one of Europe’s most attractive island paradises – Porto Santo!
Discover a paradise island with a great climate, water that is warm all year round, and over five miles of golden sands and spectacular sunsets.
With the sun on your back, unwind with a stroll along the beach to Ponta da Calheta. Or explore the town centre, wandering into its gardens, relaxing in its cafés, and experiencing the friendliness of the local people. The more curious tourist can also visit the house where Christopher Columbus lived. If you have children, don’t miss a visit to the Quinta das Palmeiras, where you will
discover a mini zoo and mini botanical garden.
Roam around the island, taking in the stunning views: Portela, surrounded by windmills; Pedreira on Pico Ana Ferreira, with a beautiful panoramic view over the golf course; and at the western end of the island, the Miradouro das Flores, overlooking Madeira and the Desertas islands. Fonte da Areia, where the water that falls on to the rocks has caused erosion, is also worth a visit. And Zimbralinho, a small port in the south-west of the island, is a picture of beauty.
By off-roader, bicycle or even on foot meanwhile, pop along to the Pico do Facho. At 517 metres it’s the highest peak on the island. And if you’re still feeling active why not go and see the Pico do Castelo? The enclosed valleys and islets appear to have been scattered around the island almost like seeds.
If you like your beaches, the Algarve is a great choice. There is everything possible to ensure the best of holidays in the sun. With an amenable year round climate, the Algarve season extends beyond high summer and enables you to choose less crowded periods of the year. That is, from mid-April through to October, the sun is – almost – always out thus extending the pleasures of the Algarve’s beaches far beyond August.
Long beaches are broken only by irregular rock forms including odd and mysterious cave formations that may be visited by boat. Some luxury hotels, given their exclusive sea- frontage are in the very best position for enjoyment of this fine environment.
Visit the stores of the Vilamoura marina and admire the splendid yachts at anchor over an ice cream on a café terrace
Of the diverse range of cuisine available across the Algarve, musts include the shellfish and potato ‘cataplana’ copper-cooked stew accompanied by lavish glasses of chilled white. Such dinner is perfect before setting out to tour the lively and long lasting Algarve nightlife. There are as many places to drink as there are to dance – and that is through to day break at Praia da Rocha, in Galé, Praia da Oura, or alternatively in Vilamoura.
Covering an area that extends roughly from Leiria to Setúbal, and with its epicentre in the capital, the Lisbon Region has all kinds of attractions for those who want to relax.
The beaches are all excellent ones with a mild climate. If you enjoy a lie-in in the mornings, you can stay further to the north, where sometimes the various resorts are shrouded in early morning mist: São Pedro de Moel, São Martinho do Porto, with its beautiful bay, Foz do Arelho, or even Santa Cruz and Ericeira.
Further south are the beautiful beaches of Azenhas do Mar, Praia das Maçãs, Praia Grande and Guincho, and all those along the Estoril coast. After this, you must cross over the River Tagus to the popular and lively beaches of Costa da Caparica, followed by the more graceful ones of Arrábida or the Tróia Peninsula. The northern waves are greatly appreciated by fans of surfing, kitesurfing and other more active sports, whilst, to the south of Lisbon, you can visit the nudist beaches of Meco or swim with dolphins close to Setúbal.
Whether you decide to go north or south, the artistic and cultural heritage that you’ll find is so vast that we cannot even begin to list it. Suffice it to say that there are several monuments classified as world heritage. But we can also tell you that you’ll find some most attractive pottery at Alcobaça and Caldas da Rainha, gastronomic festivals and wine routes all over the region, and fairs and pilgrimages, together with their accompanying festivities, in many places, especially in the summer.
Bathed in the bright light of the sun’s rays, the Lisbon region is waiting for your visit.
A long weekend, with the whole family together!! Portugal has everything you need tomake this a great trip: there’s a wide variety of tours available, entertainment to suit allages, a mild climate and a country where you can feel entirely safe.
Sharks, rays, penguins and 4 oceans all together in one? You can only find this at the Lisbon Oceanarium! If you want to give your kids a real fun day out, there’s nothing like the houses and monuments adapted to their size at Portugal dos Pequenitos in Coimbra. Do they know how the Romans used to live? They’ll certainly find out in Conímbriga.
All kinds of toys from past to present can be found at the museums in Seia, Sintra and Ferreira do Alentejo. This will be a fun discovery.
And what if there really were such a thing as a chocolate house? Well, there’s one in Portugal and, what’s more, you can eat it! Nobody can resist… the Óbidos Chocolate Festival.
For our pint-sized explorers, there are some really great surprises. Did you know that Europe’s largest Christmas tree is to be found in the heart of Lisbon? And, now we mention it, why don’t you start thinking about those presents now?
For more information on travel to Portugal visit www.visitportugal.com