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.
WHAT TO SEE IN PORTUGAL
Top destinations in Portugal are:
- Lisbon & Sintra
WHEN TO GO TO PORTUGAL
Weather in Portugal
The best period to visit Portugal is from April to October.
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
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:
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
- 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
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