How exciting, you’ve finally booked that trip to Portugal! You already have a fair idea of what to expect weather wise, so all you need to look into now is how you intend to spend your time whilst soaking up the culture of the country.
The Top Ten
I’ve decided to call the rest of this blog ‘The Top Ten’; ten suggestions of places to visit, sights to see and what you can expect. Please remember that this is not an exhaustive list, as Portugal really does have something for everyone!
1) Lisbon – the capital of Portugal. Stretching along the banks of the Tagus River, Portugal’s capital winds upwards, among 7 steep hills. A truly enchanting destination, complete with beautiful alleys, quaint shops and impressive bridges. The hub of activity, providing colourful sights, rustic architecture and St Georges castle.
2) Sintra – A picturesque town, to the west of Lisbon set amidst the hills of Serra de Sintra. Due to its luxurious palaces, grand monuments and decorative gardens, this is an extremely popular tourist destination.
3) For wildlife lovers, a visit to Serra De Sao Mamede Natural Park. It is one of the 30 protected areas in the country. Beautiful mountain ranges, which are the hosts to approximately 120 species of birds, to wild boar bumbling through the mulch woods. It is also reported that the Iberian Lynx has returned to the country from SW Spain. Get booked onto a tour and see if you can spot this rare cat, or simply take in the splendour of the wildlife.
4) Food for thought? How about sampling the national dish of dried and salted cod? Heavily influenced by the acres of coastline, many food outlets offer lobster and shellfish caught fresh the same day. Venturing more inland, expect home-made cheeses and black pork. Not forgetting to include a taste of the fine wines and ports that are produced locally.
5) Hit the beaches; top up the tan whilst taking in the stunning scenery. The Algarve offers amazing offshore geology, while grass dunes surround virgin Costa Vicentina bays. Laidback areas shy away from loud restaurants and discos, opting for local diners and small fishing harbours.
6) Get active! With perfect weather and vast coastlines, Portugal offers great activities for all. Hiking and cycling are popular choices, while central and northeast Portugal provides slightly rougher terrain for a more challenging activity. Being so close to the ocean, why not partake in a bit of surfing along deserted golden beaches.
7) From locally crafted cork gifts, to cheese and wine, or a visit to the waterfront to sample fresh produce at the morning market. For quirky independent shops and galleries visit Principe Real. Luxurious goodies can be found in Avenida Da Liberade, while Baixa is deal for souvenir gifts and locally made items.
8) Visit the charming fishing villages such as Nazare and Tavira, and dine in one of the many relaxed restaurants.
9) Take a cruise along the Douro River to experience the magical landscapes of the wine producing regions, ending at the wonderful port city of Porto.
10) The best tip of all, enjoy Portugal! Your holiday, your choices, but it is advisable to experience as many of the sights as possible!