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.
Portugal currently has no official religion, although the most predominant religion in Portugal is Christianity, mainly is Catholicism (according to the 2011 Census which stated that 81% of the population of Portugal is Catholic) though only about 19% attend Mass and take the sacraments regularly.
You can start your exploration by exploring Portugal’s capital, once the center of world exploration. Lisbon’s attractive tile-covered houses make it one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, and its unique Fado make it attractive to the ear, as well. While there, be sure to visit the Jeronimos Monastery in Belem and take the time to savor a few pasteis de Belem, a custard treat found nowhere else on the planet. Next on your list should be the Sesimbra beach resort. This resort is to the south of Lisbon on the Setubal Peninsula and is just a short bus ride from Lisbon. The Portuguese treasure this resort as they most times flock there for the short holiday season.
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.
If surfing is your sport, then Portugal is your spot! Renowned spots such as Nazare, Peniche, Sagres, and Espinho are considered perfect for this courageous and daredevil sport. However, it is most time advised that you ride the waves with care as the incredulous power of the Atlantic sometimes poses a challenge even to seasoned surfers. Not only is Portugal the Surfing Capital of Europe but its weather is a bit too cold for sharks, unlike other surfing hot spots in South Africa and Australia.
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.
Where abouts in Portugal?
Pousada de Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga, Portugal
The Vintage House Hotel, Douro, Rua António Manuel Saraiva, Pinhão, Portugal