Portugal, which borders Spain on the Iberian Peninsula, is a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. With its exceptional range of landscapes, extensive cultural heritage, range of leisure activities, and superb cuisine and wines – as well as its mild temperatures even in the winter months – it’s no wonder that Portugal has become a top tourist destination all year round.
Lisbon, Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital, is a charming city nestled on seven hills. It is one of the oldest cities in the world – in fact, it is the oldest in Western Europe, predating other capitals by centuries. Lisbon is home to rich culture, beautiful beaches, narrow cobbled streets, delightful restaurants – and a vibrant nightlife. Visit the imposing Castelo de Sao Jorge castle which dates back to the 12th Century and the Torre de Belem fort with its iconic watch towers, breathtaking views, and scenic parks. Go bargain hunting In the Feira de Ladra, Lisbon’s famous market, and don’t forget to sample one of the Pastel de Nata custard tarts that Lisbon is famous for.
Porto, Portugal’s second largest city, is situated on the coast, as well, and features an abundance of incredible museums, Roman ruins, and medieval buildings. Many of the buildings are adorned with mosaics and azulejos –tin-glazed ceramic tilework distinctive of this region. The Clerigos Tower, a 75-metre bell tower, is the city’s most iconic silhouette and offers amazing panoramic views from the top of its 225 steps. The Crystal Palace Gardens offer an exotic paradise of flora. The palatial 19th-century Palácio de Bolsa, formerly a stock market, is another historical highlight in Porto. A trip to Porto isn’t complete without a visit to the nearby Porto Wine Cellars to learn about and sample the many varieties of the famous port.
Coimbra, a riverfront city in central Portugal, is home to a preserved medieval old town and the historic University of Coimbra. The university is built on the grounds of a former palace and is famous for its baroque library – the Biblioteca Joanina – considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world, and its 18th-century bell tower. In the city’s old town lies the 12th-century Romanesque cathedral Sé Velha.
Sunny Madeira Island is another must-see in Portugal which attracts visitors year-round to its world-class resorts. Funchal is the capital and one of Portugal’s trendiest regions with its stunning beaches and landscapes, exotic food, cultural sites, outstanding wine, and great nightlife.
A trip to Portugal isn’t complete without a stop in the Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region. The area is characterized by its golden cliffs, charming villages, magnificent beaches, and secluded coves. Algarve is also renowned for its world-class golf courses.
If you have more time, take a 2-hour plane ride to the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, which are an archipelago of 9 volcanic islands in the mid-Atlantic. The islands are characterized by outstanding landscapes, fishing villages, and green meadows. San Miguel, the largest island, has lake-filled calderas and houses the Gorreana Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in Europe.
Regardless of the season, Portugal offers attractive, exciting vacation spots to suit any travel style. Need guidance? RoutePerfect is your address for planning, organizing, and booking your personalized dream vacation. Unlike any other company, RoutePerfect offers its exclusive popular itineraries written by tourism professionals and experienced travelers to jumpstart your planning, helping you to customize your travel and book your accommodations so that you can experience the country YOUR way.