Portugal

Europe’s West Coast

Overview

Whether you want to spend the holidays lounging on a beach or you want to explore its beautiful cities, Portugal has got the best of any holiday package to offer to you. Portugal at 900 years old is the oldest country in Europe with the same borders. From the green landscapes and crystal clear waters of the old volcanic craters on the Azores Islands to the waterways along the Levada Walks in Madeira, experience Portugal in both a traditional and exotic way.

Begin your adventure in Portugal’s capital, once the center of world exploration. Lisbon’s attractive tile-covered houses make it one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, while its unique Fado music makes it attractive to the ear as well.

Considered to be the best day trip from Lisbon, Sintra was initially home to the Portuguese nobles. However, these places are now open to the public. Set amidst pine covered hills of the Serra de Sintra, Sintra is quite a sight for sore eyes.

Then head further south to plunge into the warm waters of the Algarve beaches. If you are yet to get enough of the water, simply proceed to Tavira, a beach resort that is also located on the eastern Algarve and enjoy a mix of both traditional and modern relaxation.

Portuguese cuisine

Soup is always the first course of any Portuguese meal, with the most popular being the Minho specialty. The soups are so thick that sometimes they can be eaten with a fork. The Portuguese also consume so much bacalhau (dried cod) that locals will tell you there 1001 ways to cook it. Two other delicacies include grilled sardines and caldeirada, a potato-based stew that can be made from several types of fish.

The Portuguese also consume a lot of meat with recipes made out of made out of beef, pork, lamb, or chicken. Other varieties you may especially want to try are the rice-based specialties, such as duck rice. In many Portuguese restaurants, a salad will come sprinkled with salt – if you are watching your salt intake, you can ask for it “sem sal” (without salt) or “sem tempero” (no conditioning).

Take home these souvenirs

For souvenirs, you can buy cork accessories, Portuguese ceramic tiles, its famous port, azeite (Portuguese olive oil), and cheese.

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Tourism website: Visit Portugal

Time zone: UTC/GMT +01:00

Currency: EUR – Euro

Official language: Portuguese

UNESCO World Heritage sites: 15

See more of the country in our Portugal photo gallery.