It was not so long ago that Portugal was considered to be one of Europe’s best kept secrets but this is no longer the case.
It seems that the world has come to know and love this gem for its old world charms, architectural wonders and warm-hearted people. Portugal offers a diverse landscape that can range from pastoral green countryside covered in vines and trees to rocky mountains or near desert conditions. Portugal’s castles and palaces are scattered throughout the country and boast an historical importance with many of them dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries. Once considered one of the poorest nations in Europe, that has changed with the end to its former dictatorship along with its inclusion in the European Union.
Portugal looks out from the Iberian Peninsula onto the Atlantic Ocean making it a favorite destination for travellers looking for a holiday filled with award winning sandy beaches. The Algarve region is a favorite beach spot due to its warm waters of the Peninsula. This busy area offers a variety of beach activities including surfing and kite surfing making it a popular family vacation.
For those interested in culture and nightlife Lisbon and Porto offer river views along cobblestone streets lined with dozens of restaurants, cafes and bars. Jazz can be heard through the open doors of many well used spaces throughout this region. Museums and art galleries dot the landscape for daytime outings.
For a relatively small nation, Portugal has a wide variety of food that is based on regional offerings but emphasizing fish, meat, tomatoes, olive oil and spices. Soup is a typical beginning to lunch and dinner and cheese and bread will vary from region to region but is consistently part of each meal. Portugal is one of the best known producers of wine in the world for it’s fortified wine such as Port.
This is a nation of very warm and inclusive people and it is easy to get help while travelling anywhere throughout the country. While many of today’s younger generation are capable of speaking either French or English an attempt at a few Portuguese words is always well received and is sure to endear you to the hearts of the locals.