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Portugal

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Table of contents

Things to do and See in Portugal

 

The Algarve


The Algarve is a popular holiday destination with its whitewashed houses and cliffs with dramatic views of sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s located in Portugal’s southernmost region and it’s popular with international tourists.

The capital of the Algarve, Faro was devastated by the earthquake in 1755, but part of the old town has survived. The main tourist sights in the city are the Cathedral (Sé), rebuilt in the 18th century and an Archaeological Museum, which is another great tourist attraction.

Praia do Vau

This is a quiet peaceful resort, with long sandy beaches that have a sheltered bay with calm waters.

Quarteira

    This a very popular beach that has several championship golf courses in the area.

Caldas de Monchique

This area is home to a famous spa. Take some extra time out to climb the Monchique Mountains.

Sagres

This is the most south-westerly in continental Europe, it was the place that Prince Henry the navigator came in the 15th century and set up the school of navigation, opening the phase in Portuguese history called The Discoveries, when Portugal was one of the seafaring imperial powers.

Porto


Porto is Portugal's second-largest city and is located on the sea and has some great beaches. However Porto is the home of port (the fortified wine named after the city) and it also boasts an historic centre that has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. For more information on Porto go to www.portoturismo.pt

CitySightseeing Portugal

This is an open top bus that takes you around the city and allows you to hop-on and hop-off at different stops. I would say this is the best way of seeing this beautiful city when you first arrive. A ticket will cost you €10 and is valid for 48 hours. Another option is paying €17, which gives you the bus tour and also a boat cruise plus a winery tour. For more information go to www.citysightseeing.pt

FC Porto

This is Porto’s most popular football team and the winners of the 2003 UEFA Cup and the 2004 Champions League. They play at the Estádio Do Dragão Stadium, which is in a new very nice area of Porto. If you are in town and they are playing you should try and get a ticket to go watch a game. For more information go to www.fcporto.pt

Sé do Oporto

This Romanesque cathedral was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and is one of Porto’s oldest attractions. The cathedral's exterior resembles a fortress, inside there is a 17th century silver altar and azulejos (Portuguese tiles) and a fine view from the cloisters.

Ribiero (Old Town)

Here you will have a chance to explore the narrow cobbled stone streets, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located in and around the river and this is where most of bars and restaurants are located.

Wineries

Some of the best wineries in the region are Taylor’s, Ferreira, and Caves Porto Calem, which was established in 1859 and has some of the best port wines around.

You can walk across the upper level of Ponte Dom Luís I to get to Vila Nova de Gaia where Porto's 60-odd port wine lodges are situated. Many of the lodges offer free tasting and some of the larger ones run tours.

The biggest wine region lies 100km east of Porto in the Douro Valley, which is said to be the best region to grow the grapes due to the extreme temperatures.

Ponte D. Luis I

The bridge was built in 1886 and it links Porto and Gaia. The Ribiero waterfront is the best area to view the bridge.

Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis

This is Porto's most important museum contains mostly Portuguese art, with an emphasis on the 19th century sculptor, Soares dos Reis. Admission into the museum will cost €3.

Torre dos Clérigos

This ornate 18th century tower rises 75 meters above the city. There are excellent views from the top.

Lisbon


Lisbon is the capital of the country and it was founded in the 10th century. It was the capital of the Old Portuguese Empire that stretched from the Far East to Central America.
It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world and with all the historical buildings; it’s a city that is a must for every visitor. One suburb worth checking out is Belém, which was where the ships of Vasco da Gama, Àlvares Cabral and other famous explorers were launched in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Costa do Castelo

This is an area in the city where you will find the last remnants of medieval Lisbon.

St. Georges Castle

Castle of St George is located in the historic Alfama district, above the old Moorish quarter, which dominates the city from its vantage point atop Lisbon's highest hill. The Moors have had a lasting influence on Lisbon culture. The impressive Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. Georges’s Castle) is a testament to that influence. Although the site was once a Visigoth fortification, the Moors greatly enhanced the structure, erecting many of the protective walls during the ninth and tenth centuries. Despite serving as a royal residence for Christian kings until the late 15th century, the Moorish influence remains prominent. The admission fee is €4, but prices are subject to change at anytime.

Bairro Alto

By day, this section of Lisbon is relatively quiet with children playing in the streets and people shopping; by night, it changes into a crowd of revelers crammed into the neighborhood's narrow streets to go clubbing and bar hopping until the wee hours.

The Torre de Belem (Belem Tower)

Finished around 1520 by architect Francisco de Arruda, the Manueline Tower was built to safeguard the harbor. From the late sixteenth century until the nineteenth century, the tower served as a prison. Today, the tower serves as a monument to Portugal's Age of Discovery and gives visitors a spectacular view of the city. It’s one of the most famous sights in the city. Admission is €4, but prices are subject to change at anytime. For more information go to www.mosteirojeronimos.pt

Se Cathedral

Cathedral Se, a large fortress begun in 1150 A.D. by Afonso Henriques, is the burial place for Lisbon's patron saint, St. Anthony.

Baixa

Located between the Rossio and the Praca do Comercio, this section is a shopper's paradise with several pedestrian streets.

Feira da Ladra

A trip to Lisbon is not complete without a visit to one of its famous open-air markets, including one of the most popular called Feira da Ladra or "Thieves Market," which offers a little bit of everything.

Park of Nations

The Park of Nations is the former Expo ’98 site, wonderfully located on the Tagus riverfront.  It is now a popular leisure area boasting the world’s second largest Oceanarium, a water sports centre and the Vasco da Gama Tower (Lisbon’s tallest building).

Jeronimos Monastery

This 16th-century monastery is one of the few surviving examples of medieval, Manueline architecture. It’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a spectacular building with high arches, impressive columns and ornate spires.

Today, visitors can still see various monastic rooms, including a refectory and chapter house, as well as a church hall designed by João de Castilho. Admission is €4, but prices are subject to change at anytime. For more information go to www.mosteirojeronimos.pt

Braga


This is the capital of the Minho region and was founded by the Celts in 300 BC. It became an important administrative centre during the Roman occupation and has been Portugal's religious capital since medieval times.

Bom Jesus do Monte

Located 5km from the centre of Braga, this church is the city's most famous attraction. It is best reached via the huge staircase although you can take the funicular (€0.60) if you're feeling lazy.



Braga's cathedral is the oldest in Portugal and it features an assortment of architectural styles, a richly decorated interior and an impressive treasury.
Rua Dom Paio Mendez, Braga

The Rest of the Country


Azores

Set adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores are almost 1000 miles from the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The nine volcanic islands have a total area of 910sq miles and were uninhabited when the Portuguese first settled them. The landscape is beautiful and whales and dolphins are abundant in the unspoilt waters surrounding the islands. For more information go to www.azores.com

 
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