Portugal is today a relatively small country in the Iberian Peninsula, surrounded by the Atlantic on one side and Spain on the other.
However, a long time ago, Portugal was one very powerful country and one of the largest colonial powers on the planet.
Throughout the history of this country, Fernando Magellan, the man who first sailed the world, the great explorer Vasco de Gama, and the famous Bartolomeo Diaz, known as the first man to sail to the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, have become Portugal trademarks.
Today, however, the situation in this country is slightly different, and Portugal, with its 10 million inhabitants and relatively small territory, is no longer considered one of the great powers of this world.
But everything you see in this country, every city, village, every person you enter into a conversation with, every ornate calçada you step on, will tell you a story.
A story woven with history, culture, tradition and hospitality. Portugal is a country with an incredibly rich history, and there is a sense of national pride and belonging that is evident at every turn.
But Do You Know What’s Best About the Country?
They take a lot of pride in being Portuguese! That’s so good.
They love their country a lot. They hoist the flag wherever they can.
For national football team matches, special preparations are made at home, and even so many unemployment stories do not touch them when they say that they are living best. Vida boa, they would say.
The Climate in Portugal
In Portugal, we can distinguish two types of climate: the Mediterranean and the ocean climate. Across the northern part of Portugal, owing to the great influence of the Atlantic Ocean, the ocean climate prevails.
Otherwise, northern Portugal is accompanied by heavy rainfall during the whole year, and temperatures are not as high in summer as in the rest of the country.
The south of the country belongs to the Mediterranean climate, mainly due to the influence of the Mediterranean sea.
Summers are hot, temperatures often go above 40 degrees Celsius, and winters are very mild.
How to Travel in Portugal?
The best way to travel to Portugal is by bus.
Trains are often slow. Rent-a-car is quite cheap and can serve as an option.
Lisbon, Porto and Faro, cities in the north, center and south of the country, have good airline connections, but cheap flights are not always found easily.
For example, a flight between Lisbon and Porto can be found for around 15 Euros during the off-season, but its average cost is usually around 40 Euros and a bus ticket costs much less.
Almost all major places are covered by bus lines, which run from early in the morning until late into the evening.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR PLACES TO VISIT IN PORTUGAL?
In the heart of the city, there is a section known as Baixa. West of it are Bairro Alto and Chiado, and east is Alfama. This is the most charming and vibrant part of town, and there are most of the sights. Have you ever seen those cute authentic and old streets of Lisbon? Well, here you are. Here resides the true spirit of Portugal. As you walk, you will be able to see old people playing chess on the street, grandmothers doing laundry on the window and boys playing football on the street with the best players in this country. With the exception of Baixa, all these neighborhoods are pretty hilly, so keep that in mind if you’re not a fan of climbing the Lisbon hills. Also try Ginjinhu or Ginj, a very popular cherry liqueur served in small cups. The best place to try it is “A Ginjinha” in a part of Lisbon known as Rossio. Many epithets could be placed with the word Lisbon.
City of history, city of culture, city of fun. The best city to visit. But Lisbon is certainly a city of museums. Another reason Lisbon can rightly be called the perfect city is the large number of beaches that surround it.
One of the most popular is the Praia de Carcavelos. Beside her, the very popular Praia Sao Pedro. Both of these beaches are on the way to the super popular Cascais. The 40-minute drive from Lisbon to Cascais will cost you 1.75 / 1.25 Euros in one direction.
It is also interesting to note that Lisbon has its Jesus. Admittedly, it is slightly smaller than the one in Brazil, and is located near the Vasco de Gama Bridge, which is also the longest bridge in Europe!
Surfing is one of the main attractions in Portugal and Ericeira is a small fishing village with a great reputation for catching waves.
It is also close to Lisbon and is one of the busiest places.
However, sitting on the cliffs promising the coast and watching surfers is not the only thing you can do here. Restaurants are among the first places to enjoy fresh, delicious Portuguese seafood.
The second largest Portuguese city is Porto. Although not as big and lavish as Lisbon, Porto is a city that will slip into your skin. This place simply has some soul that is hard to describe.
What Porto is known for is the Riberia, a part of the city protected by UNESCO. One totally authentic place, with a smirk, a real Portugal.
That’s where you go from Porto to Gaya. Otherwise, this is exactly how the country got its name, since the city of Porto is made up of two parts – Porto and Gajo.
If you want to give yourself a gift, head to Rua de Santa Catarina Street and get lost in the sea of shops, cafes and restaurants, and don’t miss the city’s cathedral, which offers great views of the river.
In Port, you must also try francesinho. Francesinha means little French in translation, but it is far from being a small dish.
These are two toasts, of which there is an indescribable amount of different types of meat.
Around, an indescribable amount of cheese served in a sauce cooked with wine and beer. Still, what I liked most about Porto was one bookstore.
Livraria Lello is no ordinary bookstore. Lello is a place with imagination, a place that makes you feel like a little fairy from a movie you watched when you were a kid. J.K. Rowling admitted that she used Lello as inspiration while creating the story of the little wizard.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that it never rains in Portugal.
Porto is located fairly north, and the amount of rain that falls here during the year is much higher than in the rest of Europe.
Therefore, if you are planning a trip to Porto, be sure to save your seat in a suitcase for a smaller umbrella.
The third largest city in Portugal is Coimbra, which with its 300,000 inhabitants, comes just behind Porto and Lisbon.
Coimbra is the student center of this country, and it houses the oldest University in Portugal and the second oldest in Europe (after the University of Bologna), founded in 1290.
In the city center is the large Largo da Portagem square. In the immediate vicinity of the square is the Santa Cruz Monastery, Comercio Square, as well as the Old and New Cathedral (Se Velha and Se Nova).
The old cathedral (Se Velha) is particularly significant for the city, given that it was built in the 12th century, at the behest of the first Portuguese king, Afonso I, at the time when Coimbra was the capital of Portugal.
5. Funchal, Madeira
Funchal is a modern city that stands for tradition, which is why churches, museums and other famous values are still preserved. It is also a very walkable city with many cathedrals that are more than 500 years old.
Funchai is also known for sunny and warm weather, but when the sun goes down, it’s easy to find fun and great food at nightclubs, restaurants and gambling establishments, as well as world-class hotels.
This place is also known for its so-called slide because it was very topical, especially for people living in the steep hills of Monte.
This type of hand made go cart toboggans first made their appearance around 1850 and today attract thousands of tourists who want to experience an exciting, high-speed sled ride through the narrow streets of Funchal.
If you are traveling from Lisbon to the south of Portugal, It is highly recommended that you to visit this city, because it really offers a lot to see. This is confirmed by the fact that the whole city has been under UNESCO protection since 1986.
Although a small settlement with only 50,000 inhabitants, Evora is a very charming city. The first thing you’ll see upon arrival at the center is Praca do Giraldo. A colorful and very wide square with a large church in the center and several cafes where you can have coffee watching the local life.
There is also a tourist info center if you would like to know more about this place, and the staff working inside speak English very well.
From here, the real maze of streets continues in various directions, and what will particularly delight you here is the fact that almost all the houses are crystal white.
The Bone Chapel, or Capela dos ossos, is also interesting.
It is locqated in the Church of Sao Francisco (Igreja de sao Francisco).
Entrance to the church will cost you two euros, and if you want to capture this moment on your camera you will have to pay an extra euro.
Basically, the church is specific in that it is completely lined with human bones! From all sides, whether it is ceiling, floor or side walls, you will see human bones.
WHAT IS PORTUGAL ALSO KNOWN FOR?
What you must not miss in Portugal is fado (translated from Portuguese fate). Today, there are two basic types of fado, the Lisbon and the Coimbra fado. Lisbon style is more popular.
Coimbra is more refined, somehow more cheerful. When you listen to fado you feel every emotion. You also feel pain and sorrow and happiness and sadness, though you may not understand a single word of Portuguese.
Feel the emotion emanating from it, feel the soul that has a name, and you will find yourself in some weird condition.
2. Portuguese Cuisine
The Portuguese cuisine is filled with a popular fish trend, but meat dishes are also featured. All around the country delicious things from cod, perch and other types of fish are prepared.
Local delicacies in Madeira are actually dozens of types of dishes made from saber fish. But Portuguese cuisine also has many other seafood, spices and fruits.
And, of course, the choice of wine in this place will delight lovers of such a drink.
The port vine is considered to be a kind of business card of the country, and it is used as an aperitif and for dessert.
Portugal’s wine production dates back to Roman times. Portugal has been interested in the wine production especially in recent years, because it has the most indigenous varieties, which is exactly what is wanted on the market.
These varieties have been shown to be much more resistant to disease, mold and other nuisances that can occur in vineyards.
Depending on the climatic conditions – latitude and altitude, indigenous varieties yield different yields and different wines.
As a result, wineries from Portugal have a large number of different labels and several brands that market themselves under the name of the variety.
The most famous Portuguese wines are Porto, Vinho Verde and Madera, wines made from indigenous varieties. This is precisely why Portugal is today in a high position when it comes to the world’s top wine exporters. Portuguese wines are attracting more and more wine lovers.
In Portugal, you can buy top quality clothing and footwear, gold jewelry and, of course, as a gift to friends and relatives you should buy a couple of bottles of wine.
The main souvenirs that are popular with tourists are: leather goods, traditional ceramics, handmade lace, and attractive variety of embroidery. When shopping, keep in mind that many shops close at 1pm on weekends. But individual shopping centers with a large selection of resort-based products keep their doors open until nightfall.
The total length of the Portuguese beaches is 1800 km. There are sandy, pebble and rocky beaches.
Most beaches in Portugal are equipped with umbrellas and comfortable loungers, some of which are marked with the prestigious Blue Flag, but the country also has many wild beaches that people have decided to visit in order to be alone with nature.
The most appropriate beaches for a comfortable stay are believed to be located in the Algarve. This region is known for its amazing combination of beautiful lemon-colored beaches, bizarre cliffs and indigo seawater. The most beautiful beach in the Algarve is Praia de Rocha.
A wonderful beach holiday will feature the Lisbon Riviera resorts.
The most up-to-date hotels, gourmet restaurants with a rich selection of seafood and, of course, incredibly beautiful beaches are concentrated here. Ginshu is considered the most famous beach in these places: not only is it amazing nature, the surf conditions are just perfect.
For diving enthusiasts, the beaches of the Azores are perfect.
These places have fascinated many tourists with their underwater wealth and lush vegetation, and if you add the opportunity to see dolphins or whales, it becomes clear why the Azores are so popular.
The peculiarity of Madeira beaches is that the golden sand is not of local origin at all, but is shipped from Morocco.
Due to its natural features, most Madeira beaches (many covered with basalt stones) were either equipped with concrete platforms or covered with imported sand.
A little discomfort is more than offset by the purest, such as tears, water and the beauty of the coastal cliffs.
By the way, there are sandy beaches in Madeira. There is an unusual volcanic black sand beach in Kanisal, which looks very exotic when combined with the surrounding cliffs of color.
No less surprising is the beach in the Porto da Cruz area with black sand versus white pebbles. The beach season opening in Portugal usually takes place in mid-April, but for ocean swim enthusiasts, the best time to relax comes in late May and runs through the end of September.
The most visited beach resorts in the country are located on the south Atlantic coast. Many prestigious hotels have been built here, and tourists are offered the most enjoyable, diverse and exciting holiday.
WHAT ELSE TO DO IN PORTUGAL
Trips to Portugal involve much more than a beach vacation.
In the Algarve, for example, there are a large number of tennis courts, golf courses, as well as several water parks and, of course, many invaluable monuments of history and architecture.
Holidays in Madeira can be combined with a stroll through the unique Levada (artificial canals), and the Lisbon Riviera will introduce you to royal palaces, monasteries and picturesque old towns.
Of course, Portugal is no stranger to vivid nightclubs and various concerts, as well.
Last Updated on April 2, 2020