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With its 850 kilometres of beaches Portugal is certainly a very attractive holiday destination. However, the beaches are just one of many reasons to visit the country. Portugal is a very attractive place, and not just during the summer period, as it offers a great cultural experience, many different leisure activities, excellent Portuguese food, world famous Portuguese wines and astonishing landscapes. Therefore, why not consider planning your holidays in Portugal?
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Remember, should you choose to visit Portugal; your holidays spent in the country will stay in your memories forever. Let us share with you some of the best destinations you can’t miss when visiting the country. Take note!
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal is a must-see place. Historic and melancholic, the city is an ideal point to start your holidays in Portugal. Wandering through its narrow lanes you will enjoy the best viewpoints - or miradouros - of Lisbon and the dreamlike panoramas you will discover. Remember to visit the Belém tower and Jerónimos monastery – two noted examples of Manueline architecture and two of the most popular Lisbon attractions. If you decide to spend more than one day in the city and are wondering where to stay in Lisbon, keep in mind that Iberostar offers one of the best 5 star hotels in Lisbon at your service. Check out our offers, book a room and get ready to comfortably explore all of the points of interest in Lisbon.
Declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sintra is another location you can’t miss during your short breaks or holidays in Portugal. It hosts several famous points of interest in Portugal such as the famous Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros) and Pena Palace. The former is a fortress built by Arabs dated back to the 9th century and the latter; Pena Palace is a true pearl of Sintra. It is a colourful palace constructed in 1836, where Portuguese kings lived and is not only beautiful but also offers spectacular views as a bonus. Other Sintra sights worth visiting are the Quinta da Regaleira estate and the Palace of Sintra (Palácio Nacional de Sintra). Of course, the proximity to Lisbon and the two cities - Estoril and Cascais – which connect Sintra with the Portuguese Riviera, offer a wealth of other things to see and do during your stay in Sintra.
Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and is certainly worth a visit. Located on the north of the country, it is yet another of the most outstanding places in Portugal. Beside the spectacular Dom Luís I Bridge, an engineering prodigy from the year 1880 which is considered the most iconic construction in the city, Porto also stands out thanks to other places of interest. You definitely need to include a visit to the striking São Bento railway station, Porto Cathedral (or Sé do Porto in Portuguese), the Church of São Francisco, the Lello & Irmão bookstore that appeared in the Harry Potter movies, the Stock Exchange Palace and the relaxing Crystal Palace gardens to your itinerary. Additionally the historical centre of Porto was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1996 and of course, it would be impossible not to mention the extraordinary Porto wines – an excellent touch, helping make holidays in Portugal even more relaxing! So, remember to visit Porto as it is one of the best destinations in Portugal!
Are you looking for unusual places to visit in Portugal? The so-called Portuguese Venice, Aveiro, has everything necessary impress travellers. Although it is famous for its small network of canals carrying traditional boats (moliceiros), Aveiro also has a large number of churches and convents to astonish you with. Moreover, it is situated very close to Costa Nova - a charming seaside town dotted with brightly coloured wooden houses. Any time spent here will certainly be a highlight of any of your trips to Portugal!
Évora is the only Portuguese city which is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network and is also is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its most emblematic monument is the Roman Temple of Évora, also referred to as the Templo de Diana, a Roman building dating back to the first century BC which was modified in the second and third centuries AC. The historical centre of the town was declared a world heritage site in 1986 making Évora a good choice if you would like to get in touch with history during your holidays in Portugal.
Should you prefer a destination for sun and beaches; the province of the Algarve is one of the best places in Portugal. Offering beautiful beaches with turquoise waters, one can enjoy the outstanding beaches near Albufeira, Praia da Rocha, Lagos, Tavira, Portimão, and the towns of Faro and Silves. Silves is the most popular location, but any of the mentioned places offer a great choice of hotels. When visiting the east of the Algarve, nature lovers must try exploring the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve. So, go ahead and arrange your Portugal holidays in the Algarve and relax by the sea.
Why should you visit Madeira? Because it is a real paradise for lovers of nature! This island in the Atlantic Ocean has majestic mountains, beautiful beaches, quiet bays and green meadows. Rent a car and explore Madeira while enjoying its beauty, forget all your worries diving into its rich nature! That is why when planning your holidays to Portugal, don’t forget about Madeira – one of the best holiday destinations in Portugal.
This archipelago of nine islands, in the middle of the Atlantic, 1,400 kilometres west of Lisbon is another of those unmissable places in Portugal. Famous for its rich flora and fauna, as well as for its pleasant climate throughout the year, the Azores are considered a high-class rural tourism destination. São Miguel and Terceira are among the most visited islands in the Azores, so if you are still trying to decide upon the best places to visit in Portugal, the Azores should certainly be on your list, especially if you are planning to travel with family.
As a centuries-old seafaring country (the continental coastline of Portugal is 943 kilometres long, plus 667 kilometres in the Azores and 250 kilometres of coastline in Madeira) fish and seafood are two of the most popular ingredients when it comes to Portuguese food.
For example, it is estimated that there are around 300 cod recipes in everyday use on the country, such as a golden cod dish called bacalao à brás, and can usually be found in all good Portuguese restaurants. However, it is not the only specialty, we also recommend trying a green soup (sopa verde) made of mashed potatoes, cabbage, garlic and oil, or Francesinhas a Portuguese sandwich originally from Porto, made with wet-cured ham, or roast meat and covered with melted cheese. Smoked sausages or black olives from Mirandela are also a delicious part of typical Portuguese dishes.
Rice is also very popular in the area as well; served with stews (Cozido à portuguesa), chicken and pork or with nutritious Feijoada - a typical Portuguese dish made of beans and salted pork which is very popular in Brazil where it is considered a national dish.
If you are wondering what to have for dessert you should definitely try some of the sweet specialties, such as the exquisite Belém pastries (Pastéis de Belém) originating from the district of Lisbon of same name, Pão-de-lo de Ovar, or Ovos Moles - Portuguese egg yolk sweets from Aveiro, first made in several convents of the region.
As for Portuguese cheese, it is worth mentioning that the country has more than 12 cheeses registered as having protected designation of origin. Among the most appreciated is creamy Serra da Estrella which is very similar to the Spanish cheese Torta del Casar.
Finally, Portuguese food tastes even better when accompanied by amazing local drinks, such as, for example, the famous Ginjinha a popular cherry liquor from Lisbon, and of course, the excellent wines from Porto.
As you see, when it comes to holidays Portugal is a great destination, offering sun, beauty, variety, quality, flavours and fun. So, enjoy Lisbon or have a great time in any other corner of the country. There is a lot to see and many things to do in Portugal. Why not discover it in person?
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