The country of Portugal gives you the best of both worlds: the cold Atlantic on one side, the warm Mediterranean on the other. The history and culture of a glorious people on one hand, and the modernity of a prosperous country on the other. The country is voted to have the best quality to price ratio. Beautiful cities, white-sand beaches, food and festivals galore: Portugal is perfection itself.
The best city: Lisbon
Portugal’s capital is a bustling harbour town surrounded north and south by plentiful beaches. The historical buildings and monuments make the city a delight to wander around and explore. Situated on seven steep hills, with trams running up and down them, there are spectacular views of the city and quaint alleyways to discover.
The riverside area is beautiful, with its huge statue commemorating the Portuguese explorers of the world. The sunlight that reflects of the River Tagus gives Lisbon its nickname ‘White City’. Belem is the hip student quarter, worth visiting for the famous pasteis de Belem – tasty egg pastries!
The best beach: Lagos
Down south, in the Algarve, on the Mediterranean Sea, is the seaside town of Lagos. This is where holiday makers come for relaxation by the sea, the hippy vibes of Lagos town, and the water activities such as dolphin cruises and scuba diving. This is also the best spot for nightlife.
The dramatic coastline, stunning beaches, and the tranquil olive-grove landscapes of the Algarve, can be easily explored from Lagos. Nearby is Silves red stone castle, and the Renaissance town of Tavira.
The best for history: Evora
Evora’s history dates back 2,000 years to Roman times. Once a flourishing Roman city, the town is now capital of the southern Alentejo region. The Old Town is an open air museum, with 4,000 historic structures including Roman walls and temples.
century Cathedral of Evora is Gothic architecture at its best, presiding over the city centre. Outside of the city is Europe’s largest complex of prehistoric megaliths.
The best festival: Obidos International Chocolate Festival
The hilltop town of Obidos, encircled by an old fortified wall containing a magnificent medieval castle, is a stunning backdrop for the annual chocolate festival. Wander around the cobbled streets, cafes and shops, while everyone is dressed in medieval garb and street artists entertain the crowds.
There are sweets and chocolates everywhere to try and to purchase. The ‘’Kids Chocolate House’’ is delight for the younger visitors, and adults can enjoy culinary classes where the main ingredient is, of course, chocolate.
The best Portuguese island: Madeira
Located in the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal and North Africa, Madeira is the ‘’Floating Garden of the Atlantic.’’ Green landscape, wineries and flower gardens, tranquil beaches and forests, Madeira is a paradise on earth.
Visit the Orchid Garden and the Laurissilva Forest, the world’s largest concentration of laurel. Funchal is the capital, and here history permeates the city, with its churches, fortresses and the tree-lined Lido Promenade with its ocean views. Here you will be spoilt for choice with tourist resorts, restaurants, quaint streets and shops.