At 92,390sq km Portugal is a relatively small country. But there is plenty to see. Whether you’re interested in beaches, cities, culture, wine or nature, you’ll find it in Portugal.
I spent only a week there, but I would have wanted to stay longer. 3 weeks are easily spent exploring this fascinating country.
For port wine fans, Portugal is a must. See how the port is made and – of course – taste it 🙂
Due to the importance of its position on the world map this province was at one time its own Kingdom. It has been invaded and fought over by the Phoenicians, Romans and Moors. Closely associated with the sea throughout its history this was the base of the famous Henry the Navigator who, from the point at Sagres organized the 15th Century exploration of the New World.
The Algarve is composed of 5.411 square kilometers with approx. 350,000 permanent inhabitants. This figure can swell to over a million people at the height of the summer. Its administrative centre is Faro controlling 16 Municipalities, who in turn govern a total of 77 Parishes.
The length of the south-facing coastline is approx. 155 kilometers and most of it is absolutely beautiful.
Lisbon is a very pleasant city lots to see. This interesting and very endearing city was founded as the capital of the Kingdom of Portugal on the 25th of October in 1147. Even today the foundations of Roman buildings are being discovered pointing to its importance of its location throughout the ages.
Scattered through the city are many interesting places and buildings. Amongst these are the Igreja da Estrela and its generous gardens, the English Cemetery that contains some historic memories, Parque Eduardo VII, the Estufas (huge and wonderful greenhouses), and the Jardim Zoológico.
There was also time for a politically incorrect visit to the bull fighting arena. The bulls did almost as good as the cavaleiros with two of the latter being carried out unconscious.
The second-largest city in Portugal was nominated European City of Culture for 2001 and the historical centre is a UNESCO world heritage site. Founded by the Romans at the mouth of the River Douro, modern Porto (Oporto) is an industrial city with a atmosphere and plenty to The sights of the old town include the Cathedral (Sé), dating from the 12th to the 18th centuries, the Church of São Francisco, the 19th century Stock Exchange and the Torre Dos Clérigos, which offers wonderful views. The old waterfront, known as the Cais da Ribeira (a World Heritage Site), caters for tourists with cafés, restaurants and an open-air market. Across the river, the 18th century Port wine lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia are open to the public for tours and tastings.
North of Porto, this is a scenic region of port-wine vineyards. There are lots of villages to explore and port sampling is encouraged. The river with its five dams is navigable and boat cruises are a peaceful way of absorbing the atmosphere. The valley can also be explored by train.
The train was a good way to see different parts of the valley in a short time – if you’re on a tight schedule.