Portugal Travel Guide


Overview

Portugal is like a dreamland to many; it was the land of great explorers and the country's rich past is full of romance and adventures. For many people, a journey to Portugal is not like a tour to a country but a pilgrimage to the history of mankind- from the ancient university town of Coimbra to the famous English romantic poet Lord Byron's favorite Portuguese haunt, Sintra, one can feel the proud history of the country everywhere. The country has witnessed the ebb and flow of some of the greatest civilizations in the world. Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, Celtic, Greek and even Arabian culture has their impact upon the country and the imprints of them in the country are visible even now. The 15th Century explorations especially by that of the legendary Vasco De Gama has set high standards on the outlook of the people and from there on they have all set to become the ruler of the whole world. The Coimbra University, established in 1290, is one of the earliest universities in Europe and the country has produced many luminaries in the field of science and technology. Even now the football team of country is one of the best and players like Christiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo have conquered the heart of the football lovers all over the world. The country is not a secret place to the travelers worldwide; in fact it is a hot tourist destination for people all over the world. It is fairly easy to get escaped to the beaches, the crowd or to the resorts. The old fashioned charm of the country- with medieval castles, villages that reminds you of the old glory of the country, the beautiful flower capped mountains and the meandering villages- is one of the greatest attraction of the country. Portugal is one of the destinations in the world where you get everything. The nature is at its best here and the world-class hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs in the country offer you greater experiences. Portugal is a pretty safe country and the crime rate is pretty low. The beauty of Portugal cannot be described in words; it has to be seen and appreciated. The land of the legendary Jose Samarago is one of the best in Europe for a traveler.

Places to visit

Lisbon, the capital of the country is the most coveted place for the tourists visiting the country. The intriguing tile-work, fantastic architecture, delicious seafood, diverse population, and nonstop nightlife are some of the characteristic features of the city. When you visit the country do not forget to go the well-preserved architecture of UNESCO’s world heritage sites in Batalha, Evora and Alcobaca, and the barhopping in the Bairro Alto while listening to the thrilling, contemporary hip music and Portuguese blues fado. There are many forts and citadels in the city and almost all of them carry the elements of the glorious past of the country. The palaces will guide you the great cultural past of the country and the museums in the country will show the relics of the great culture of the country. Braga is the city that is well known for the historic buildings, gardens and monuments. It is considered as the Rome in Portugal for its high concentration of religious architecture. Even from the 12th Century onwards it was a spiritual center and the seat of archbishops in the country. It was located in the northern part of the country and some consider it as a pious place and some others as a fanatic region; for a tourist, it is one of the most beautiful tourist locations in the country. If you are looking for natural beauty, them go to Minho, Douro and Lima valleys and to the city of Oporto that is located at the end of the Douro Valley. The beach in the Algrave coast is another attraction for you when you are in the country. Evora was the most important place in the country after the earthquake in Lisbon and is located at the intersection of three rivers and is about 100 km east of Lisbon. This place is of historical importance, and even if you are not interested in historical places, do not erase this name from your list because of the amazing beauty of the place.

When to go

Unlike in many countries in Europe, Portugal has a warm and sunny climate that ranges from 30°C to 37°C in summer and in places like Alto Douro and Alentejo it may even rise further. In the northwest of the country the weather is a little mild and damp and around 2000 mm of rain annually falls there; so bring an umbrella if you go to that part of the country. In July and August the mercury will be at its peak and it would be a bit difficult to go out. During this time there will be heavy discounts in the hotels and restaurants and you can make your trip cheaper. From November to March there are chances of heavy rain in the northern part of the country and mild rains in the southern part of the country. If you can remember all these things, you can plan your trip accordingly. In general, you can visit the country anytime of the year that depends on your choice.

Getting there and around

Lisbon is one of the most famous cities in Europe and is connected by air to almost all the major cities in the world. The international airports at Oporto and Faro can also be used and these places are less crowded than the capital city. Alternatively, you can come to the country by car from Spain and remember that the country shares its border only with Spain. You will get bus services to the country from France, Spain and England and trains from Paris, Madrid and Valencia. While in the country, you can use car, bus or train services to get around but remember that the country has the highest accident rates in Europe mainly because of careless drivers, poor road conditions (that are very improving now) and because of the presence of farm equipments in roads.

CITY GUIDES IN PORTUGAL

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Portimao