Head to the capital
Lisbon is compact enough to explore on foot but you can also choose to use the inexpensive network of pre-war Remodelado trams. This transport system crosses through several tourist routes, allowing you to stop off and visit the Moorish hilltop castle of Sao Jorge, which provides views over the Tagus River and the historic center. The ornate interior of the Church of Saint Roque, which was completed in 1619, is definitely worth a look as are the Saint Vincent Panels on display at the National Museum of Ancient Art. This coastal city, with its inspirational fountains and its cobbled streets is a delight, and finding somewhere to eat isn’t a problem. The restaurants serve delicious Portuguese seafood dishes with the freshest lobster, oysters and shrimp around.
The Algarve, which you can visit with Saga Travel, is Portugal’s sunniest stretch and offers beach resorts such as Albufeira, Faro and Sagres; the beaches are golden, expansive and always bustling during summer. It’s a hugely diverse region and attractions include touring the winemaking estates of Quinta dos Vales as well as trekking along the scenic valleys and rivers of the region’s five natural parks. You should visit the coastal route at Cape St. Vincent and the village of Salema, and be sure not to miss the town, bay and marina of Lagos. To experience the Algarve’s best Blue Flag beaches take a boat trip to Tavira Island; a camping park is available on the island for those who wish to spend a few days.
If you’re determined to explore all that this area of the world has to offer then the island of Madeira, home of the famous wine, is a fair distance from the coast but is still part of Portugal. Located 250 miles north of Tenerife, Madeira exudes an air of tranquillity, and has been named the “Garden Island” due to its lush greenery and abundance of tropical flowers. Funchal is the capital and it’s another atmospheric city full of historic buildings and traditional restaurants but also boasts a surprisingly lively nightlife. A trip to Madeira’s tiny sister island of Porto Santo makes an excellent day out and once you witness the beaches you’ll realize why Porto has been nicknamed the “Golden Island.”
Portugal is a country that’s best experienced on an extended vacation but even a week or two will provide many unforgettable sights and experiences. This destination certainly encourages relaxation but it’s easy to find plenty of attractions if that’s what you’re looking for.
(Photo by rodrigomezs via Flickr)
Article written by Cristiane R.