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Portugal Travel Guide - Portugal Tourist Attractions
Beautiful Castles, Picturesque Locales, Exquisite Lace, Red-White-Green Wines
The western-most country in the European mainland, Portugal is bordered by Spain in its’ north and east, and by the Atlantic to its south and west. A part of the Iberian Peninsula and the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira, the ‘Atlantic pearl’, are also part of it. River Tagus from Spain flows through Portugal, finally merging with the Atlantic.
Our Portugal Tour Package will lead you to a country which has varied topography and climate with diverse flora and fauna. In Portugal’s north are mountains, many plateaux dotted with river valleys in the centre, while there are rolling plains in its’ southern region. Portugal has many World Heritage Sites; among them being the splendid Batalha Monastery, breathtakingly beautiful Pena National Palace in Sintra near Lisbon, Coa Valley, Evora and Palacio da Bolsa in Porto. The 16th century fortress – Belem Tower on the Tagus in Lisbon, as well as the beautiful palace and castle in Guimaraes, Lisbon’s Castelo de Sao Jorge, the Ulysses Tower, the marvellous Monastery of the Hieronymites, Window of the Convent of Christ, the Sanctuary of our Lady of Fatima and the Conimbriga ruins are all famous tourist haunts. Cabo Girao, Madeira’s sea cliff, rising 1,930 ft above the Atlantic, is a favourite with hikers. Picturesque Madeira is full of fragrant flowers and fruit orchards. Europe’s longest bridge, the Vasco da Gama Bridge is in Portugal.
Algarve has the best beaches, and there are other beautiful ones at Azores, near Lisbon and in the Porto region. Besides swimming, surfing and fishing in these places, tourists often go for hikes or play golf. Azores, Madeira, Douro Valley and Serra da Estrela have plenty of wild life. There are spa towns and resorts. Geres has many tourists cycling along its mountainous terrain, while the more adventurous opt for white-water rafting in the Douro. Portugal has several fairs and music festivals. Vilar de Mouros and Paredes de Coura are among the oldest festivals held amidst enchanting landscapes. The Serra da Estrela experiences some snow and tourists go there to ski. Mt Pico, an ancient volcano, in the Azores archipelago is another place tourists head for. The Douro River cruise lends fantastic views of rich olive groves and fertile vineyards, but Portugal’s beauty lies in its countryside and the best way is to walk through it.
The Portugal Tour Package will lead you to shopping centres, traditional stores and trendy boutiques all over that sell everything from good clothing to jewellery, solid shoes to unique handicrafts, wicker goods to exquisite lace, nic-nacs to antiques, copperware to crystal curios, cork products to leather goods, and hand-painted tiles to pottery. Shoes made in the rural areas are of good quality. Liquor shops in Portugal have an infinite variety of liqueurs and, red, white and green wines. Albufeira, Lagos and Estremoz have good markets; while Coimbra is reputed for its ceramic ware. Madeira offers intricate embroidery, delicate laces and fine wicker goods. Nazare and Gallo de Barcellos are known for their pretty dolls. In Porto, the Rua de Santa Catarina is a fashionable shopping area with many trendy shops and boutiques. Avenida da Boavista has several reputed stores selling all kinds of wares. Lisbon is the most popular place to shop in Portugal. Chiado has innumerable shops selling a variety of goods including expensive jewellery. Bairro Alto has several traditional and modern stores. A famous shopping area is Baixa in downtown Lisbon. Alfama has shops selling quaint and antique items. Lisbon’s flea market is famous for clothes, antiques, jewellery and nic-nacs. There are several famous Portuguese fashion designers, while some of them including Fatima Lopes and Maria Gambina have set up shop in Lisbon.
Portugal has several bars and nightclubs, especially in Lisbon, Porto and Algarve. Vegetarian dishes are few. There are Indian, Italian, Mexican and Chinese restaurants in many cities. The staple diet of the Portuguese includes soup, bacalhan – salt cod, fish (sardines, salmon, trout, mackerels, linguado and cherne) – which is fried, grilled or boiled and served with various sauces. Portuguese have many rice dishes including duck rice, frog fish rice, seafood rice and octopus rice. Grilled chicken and bread-covered cuttlefish slices that are sliced, are beloved Portuguese dishes. Fresh seafood including lobsters, oysters, clams and goose barnacles are easily available. Their rice cakes and, orange and carrot cakes are tasty, while they are known to have a wide variety of sumptuous pastries. Pasteis de nata, a flaky pastry filled with custard, topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar, is an all-time favourite with locals and tourists. Also hugely popular are their desserts and roasted chestnuts. Portugal is home to the world-famous Port wine. The locals are fond of red and white wine; though their ‘green’ wine is also quite popular.
Defined as having a Mediterranean climate, Portugal is a warm country but its archipelagos – Madeira and Azores – experience a sub-tropical clime with plenty of rain in Azores. During July-August, in North Portugal, the maximum temperature averages between 30oC-35oC, while in the interior, it is around 35oC-40oC. In regions like the Guadiana Basin, the temperatures soar over 45oC. The Algarve region has a climate similar to southern California. Autumn and winter in Portugal are marked by windy and rainy days. During winter, nearer the sea, temperatures stay around 5oC, but can plunge below -10oC from October-May in places such as Serra da Estrela, Serra de Montesinho and Serra do Geres, bringing snowfall. Braganca, Guarda, Vila Real and Viseu also experience snow.