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WHY VISIT PORTUGAL

Warm hospitality, mild climate, unspoiled nature, these are just some of the advantages of this very pleasant country.

Lisbon, the capital, between the hills and river, offers many attractions: The beautiful square Praça do Comércio, the magnificent Avenida da Liberdade, Bairro Alto – a very lively district at night, and the old town with the Castle of Sao Jorge and Alfama district with its narrow streets resembling a labyrinth. Do not miss the Belém Tower, the Hieronymites Monastery, and the famous Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.

Sintra offers cool refreshing vistas of green hills and gardens: There you can visit the Palacio Nacional and the Convento dos Capuchos, a monastery dating from the 16th century and constructed in the form of cave cells.

Porto, of which the nickname is “the undefeated city”, is well-known for its particular wine, but also for its bridges and monuments: Its historic center is registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Places to see: The Se Cathedral, Maria Pia Bridge, the Palacio de Cristal, the Clérigos Tower, the Carmelitas Church.

The Douro Valley extends across 200 km of beautiful landscapes and vineyards; you can also explore the river aboard a cruise ship.

The Algarve coast, despite the intense tourism, is a place to discover for its beautiful beaches and few authentic villages that still remain.

Do not miss Evora and its Moorish fortifications located on its hill, take a walk and discover its narrow streets and the cathedral, the Roman temple, and its museum.

Source: http://www.thebesttimetovisit.com/

WHAT TO SEE IN PORTUGAL

Top destinations in Portugal are:

  • Lisbon & Sintra
  • Porto
  • Coimbra
  • Tomar
  • Batalha
  • Funchal
  • Lagos
  • Braga
  • Setúbal
  • Guimarães
  • Évora
  • Faro
  • Algarve

WHEN TO GO TO PORTUGAL

Weather in Portugal

The best period to visit Portugal is from April to October.

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

A weather map of endless suns sums up the situation across the whole of Portugal in summer, certainly between June and September, when usually the only daytime variation across the country is a degree or two further up or down the scale from 30°C. In July and especially August (the Portuguese holiday month), the coastal resorts are at their busiest and prices reach their peak, worth bearing in mind when thinking about the best time to visit. It’s also too hot to do much exploring – if you want to do any serious hiking, or even just walk around the cities, towns and archeological sites, you’re better off coming in May or October. Most of the rain falls in winter, from November to March, though you can just as easily experience bone-dry winter months and downpours in May and June. The crisp, sharp sunshine makes winter an appealing time to visit central Portugal, while in the south, especially on the coast, it is mild all year round. In the north, on the other hand, it’s pretty cold, especially inland where snow is common along with the mountainous border areas.

Perhaps the best time to visit Portugal is spring (ie, from February) – when dazzling flowers carpet hillsides and the almond blossom lights up the countryside – or early autumn (October) when the weather is warm but not too hot and the summer crowds have thinned out. The sea, too, is warm in autumn, though the official swimming season only lasts from the beginning of June to mid-September; outside these months – no matter how lovely the weather – outdoor pools and river beach facilities close.

Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of Portugal

January

Epiphany (Dia de Reis) (Jan. 6). The traditional crown-shaped cake bolo rei (king’s cake) with a lucky charm and a bean inside is eaten; if you get the bean in your slice you have to buy the cake next year.

February

Carnaval Many areas now have Rio-like carnival parades, with Lisbon and the Algarve towns being good destinations. But Carnaval has much older traditions steeped in springtime fertility rites, and for a glimpse of what it was like before thongs and spangles, check out the masked merry-making of the Entrudo dos Comprades, near Lamego.

March/April

Easter Holy Week (Semana Santa) religious processions in most places, most majestically in Braga, and at São Brás de Alportel in the Algarve (the Festa das Tochas). The Festa da Mãe Soberana in Loulé (Algarve) is one of the country’s largest Easter festivals. Another good location is Tomar, where the floral crosses of the procession are ceremoniously destroyed afterward.

May

Queima das Fitas. (Early May) The “burning of the ribbons”, celebrating the end of the academic year, reaches its drunken apogee in Coimbra and other university towns.

Festa das Cruzes. (May 3) The “Festival of the Crosses” is the biggest annual event in Barcelos (Minho).

Fátima (Peregrinação de Fátima). (May 13) Portugal’s most famous pilgrimage commemorates the Apparitions of the Virgin Mary; also in October.

Corpus Christi Vaca das Cordas (End of May or early June) is a “running of the bull” ceremony in Ponte de Lima with roots in classical mythology.

June

Festa de São Gonçalo. (first weekend) Prominent saint’s day celebrations in Amarante.

Rock in Rio-Lisboa. (first week) Europe’s largest rock festival (an offshoot of the enormous Rock in Rio fest) is held in even-numbered years.

Feira Nacional da Agricultura. (first two weeks) Held at Santarém, for ten days from the first Friday, with dancing, bullfighting, and an agricultural fair.

Santos Populares (Popular Saints). (second and fourth weeks) Celebrations in honor of Santo António (St Anthony, June 12–13), São João (St John, 23–24), and Pedro (St Peter, 28–29) throughout the country.

Arraial Pride Lisbon’s increasingly popular gay pride event changes the exact date and venue annually but usually takes place towards the end of the month in venues such as Terreiro do Paço and Belém.

July

Sintra Music Festival. (Throughout the month) Performances by international orchestras, musicians and dance groups in parks, gardens and palaces in and around Sintra, Estoril, and Cascais. An offshoot of the festival is the “Noites de Bailado” – ballet, dance and opera in Sintra’s Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval.

Festa dos Tabuleiros. (first week) Tomar’s biggest and most spectacular procession takes place every four years, with the next two being in 2015 and 2019.

Festa do Colete Encarnado. (first two weeks) Held in Vila Franca de Xira, with Pamplona-style running of bulls through the streets.

August

Festival Sudoeste. (second weekend) Much-heralded four-day rock, indie and electro music festival at Zambujeira do Mar, Alentejo coast.

Festas Gualterianas. (first weekend) The major festival in Guimarães has been held since the fifteenth century.

Festa do Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem. (first weekend) Seafaring is celebrated at Peniche with religious processions by boat and on land.

Romaria da Nossa Senhora da Agonía. (third weekend) Viana do Castelo’s major annual religious celebration, plus carnival and fair.

September

Romaria de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. (first week) The annual pilgrimage in Lamego comes to a head at the end of the first week, though events start in the last week of August.

Festa Avante! (first week) The Portuguese Communist Party’s big annual bash sees three days of live music, events, rallies, and speeches.

Feiras Novas. (third and fourth weekends) The “New Fairs” – a traditional festival and market – held in Ponte de Lima.

Festa de São Mateus. (third and fourth weeks) A week’s worth of celebrations in Elvas (Alentejo), including a huge religious procession plus the usual fairs and fireworks.

October

Feira de Outubro (First two weeks). More bull-running and bullfighting in Vila Franca de Xira.

Fátima (Oc. 13). The second great pilgrimage of the year at Fátima.

November

Feira Nacional do Cavalo (First two weeks). The National Horse Fair, held in Golegã.

São Martinho (No. 11). Celebrations in honor of St Martin, with roots in pre-Christian harvest festivals, coincides with the first tastings of the year’s wine, roast chestnuts, and Água Pé – a weak wine made from watered-down dregs. At its most traditional in northern Trás-os-Montes, Beira Baixa (particularly Alcains), Golegã, and Penafiel east of Porto.

December

Christmas (Natal) (Dec. 24). The main Christmas celebration is midnight Mass on December 24, followed by a traditional meal ofbacalhau, turkey or – bizarrely in Trás-os-Montes – octopus.

New Year’s Eve (Noite de Ano Novo) (Dec. 31). Individual towns organize their own events, usually with fireworks at midnight, and the New Year is welcomed by the banging of old pots and pans.

Source: http://www.roughguides.com/

HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH PORTUGAL

Within the country, the most effective means of transportation is the bus, the train is the cheapest: You can use both of them according to your needs. In the city, taxis, buses, and trams are numerous, and in Lisbon, you can take the metro and funicular, they are genuine national institutions.

by plane, the main airports are:

by train

by car

GENERAL INFORMATION ON PORTUGAL

health tips & vaccination: none

local currency: European euro

local time zone: GMT+1 (+2)

electricity: type C and type F (230 V – 50 Hz)

mobile phone operators:

WHAT TO DO IN PORTUGAL

typical food in Portugal

  • Bacalhau á bràs (scrambled eggs with salted cod, potatoes, and onions; popular in Estremadura).
  • Lulas recheadas à lisbonense (stuffed squid; a Lisbon speciality).
  • Tripa à moda do Porto (tripe; available for those of a meaty disposition in Porto).
  • Queijadas de Sintra (cheese tart found in Sintra).
  • Açorda de mariscos (shrimp stew cooked in a bread bowl).
  • Caldo verde (green soup made with finely shredded green kale leaves in broth).
  • Pastéis de bacalhau (codfish cakes).
  • Arroz de Tamboril (monkfish cooked in a laurel, garlic, and tomato stew with rice, almost like a risotto).
  • Alheira de Mirandela (a type of fowl sausage).
  • Arroz de Cabidela (chicken (or rabbit) cooked in its own blood and served with rice).
  • Cataplana de Marisco (a fish stew made of white fish, potatoes, seafood, peppers, and a hint of chili).
  • Francesinha (a sandwich made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries).
  • Sapateira Recheada (stone crab is stuffed with its own roe and insides and served with a type of potato salad).
  • Caracois (snails cooked in an oregano based broth with lots of garlic, laurel, and thyme. ).
  • Salada de ovas (salad made from cod or hake roe sacs sliced and mixed with onion, tomato, and bell peppers).
  • Torta de Azeitão (soft, spongey cake with sweet egg yolk spread on top, and rolled up).
  • Pastéis de nata (traditional custard-filled tarts typical of Lisbon).
  • Aguardente (a sugar cane-based drink).

souvenirs from Portugal

  • Claus Porto Soaps
  • Azulejos, the Portuguese ceramic tiles
  • Being the largest producer of cork in the world, there are many interesting cork design items 
  • Wool wear
  • Jewelry
  • Presunto dry-cured ham, Portuguese cheese, Chouriço spiced sausages and olive oil (it is available also an extra-virgin olive oil that contains 24-karat edible gold flakes)
  • Red and white wine
  • Ginjinha cherry liqueur or Porto liqueur

SIMPLE DICTIONARY

Hello: Olá

Goodbye: Adeus

How are you?: Como você está?

Thank you: Obrigado

What is your name?: Qual é o seu nome?

How much is it?: Quanto isso custa?

Sorry: Desculpa

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