Medieval castles, pavements made of small hand-cut square paving stones, azulejos, exciting cities and golden beaches: the Portuguese experience can be many things. History, food and idyllic landscapes are just the beginning.
Outside the cities, Portugal’s beauty unfolds in all its startling variety. You can go hiking amid the granite peaks of Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês or take in the pristine scenery and historic villages of the little-explored Beiras. Over 800 km of coast offer more places to soak up the splendour. The beaches are covered with dunes, sand islands appear in front of blue and calm seas. You can do some dolphin watching in the lush Sado Estuary, boating and kayaking along the meandering Rio Guadiana.
Festivals pack Portugal’s calendar, not only in Lisbon, the capital city. Drink, dance and feast your way through all-night revelries, like Lisbon’s Festa de Santo António or Porto’s Festa de São João. Any time of year is right to hear the music that moves you deeply from within: fado in the Alfama, quarter of Lisbon.
Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christians all left their mark on the Iberian nation. In Portugal, you can gaze upon 20,000-year-old stone carvings in the Vila Nova de Foz Côa, watch the sunset over mysterious megaliths outside Évora, or lose yourself in the elaborate corridors of Unesco World Heritage Sites in Tomar, Belém, Alcobaça or Batalha. You can go on a trip visiting palaces set above mist-covered woodlands, craggy clifftop castles and stunningly preserved medieval town centres.
Green wine (a very fresh young wine), bacalhau à bràs (a cod fish dish), franguinhos … The Portuguese have perfected the art of cooking simple, delicious meals. Sitting down at the table means experiencing the richness of Portugal’s bountiful coastline and fertile countryside. You can take your pastel de nata (cream tart which is unique in the world) at an 1837 patisserie in Belém, or wander through scenic vineyards sipping the velvety ports of the Douro valley.