The Algarve may be best known for its long, hot summers and glorious beaches but make no mistake, there is more to see and do here than lounge lazily on the sand and soak up the sun. Charming towns dot the coastline, but also the inland area. Sunny piazzas, churches, historical sites and orange groves mark the land. The scents, the sounds, the foods are the real takeaways here.
In the East side, a calmer way of life unfolds and quiet towns and unpopulated beaches define the area. The West side is `party central` with loud, brash resort towns hosting restaurants, pubs, and clubs. Music and laughter wafts through the air at all hours. Whichever side you choose to explore (or both!) will provide an unforgettable vacation experience!
Faro - Albufeira: 40 mins. approx.
Albufeira - Lagos: 50 mins. approx.
Lagos - Faro Airport: 1 hr. approx.
Lisbon - Albufeira: 2 hrs. 30 mins. approx.
Albufeira - Faro Airport: 35 mins. approx.
Faro Airport - West Algarve Area: 40- mins/1 hr.15. approx.
West Algarve Area - Faro: 40- mins/1 hr.20 approx.
Faro Airport - East Algarve Area: 40-50 mins. approx.
East Algarve Area - Faro: 45-55 mins. approx.
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal is a dazzling city stretching along the Tagus River, a cosmopolitan destination forever linked with the sea. Its nucleus, an ancient fortress, is now circled by neighborhoods drenched with medieval remnants. It follows an unhurried pace, full of character and beguiling charm.
Lisbon was once one of Europe`s most underrated capitals, but with its cinematic hillsides, cobbled alleyways, vibrancy and charm, the city has earned itself a well-deserved status as a power player among travelers. Nearby sunny shores beckon with a dizzying array of culture, activities, food, music, art, and relaxation.
Porto, Portugal`s second city, is one of the oldest European cities, having been conquered by the Celts, the Romans, and the Moors, all before the year 1000. The city`s history is evident when you stroll the streets of the city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Porto is a hub for shopping, music, arts and entertainment for northern Portugal.
The Douro River Valley is one of the most beautiful areas of Portugal, best-known for its fortified wines. The Douro wine plantations, called `quintas`, and their sprawling terraced vineyards were entered into the UNESCO World Heritage `Cultural Landscapes` register in 2001. The Douro Valley is sleepy and quiet, yet also full of adventure.
The Costa Verde, so named for its fragrant pine forests and dazzling fields of emerald green, stretches from the Spanish border south to Greater Porto. The region is known for its port wine; its UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Porto city center and the Santuario de Santa Luzia in Viana do Castelo; and for its beach resort towns.
The Beira Alta region of Portugal is picturesque and diverse. It is known for its delicious queijo da Serra cheese, for its wines made from grapes growing in the Dao River Valley, and of course for its architectural and geographical splendor. The mountains of the Serra da Estrela and the Serra do Acor rise above beautiful river valleys.
Plains extend as far as the eye can see, from the Tagus River to the Spanish border. This is the Alentejo, dotted with cork oaks, olive trees, and vineyards. Here and there a town pops up and houses standing proudly on grassy knolls and roads winding beyond castles and convents recall battles with the Spanish for lands.
1,000 miles west of mainland Portugal, the warmth and beauty of the Azores envelop all five of visitors` senses. The Renaissance-era avenues of Ponta Delgada; the lush fields of Sao Miguel; Terceira Island, where UNESCO World Heritage-listed Angra do Heroismo is located; and rugged Faial Island, dotted by volcanoes, enthrall travelers.
Madeira is a beautiful and fascinating island located 300 miles off the coast of Morocco that makes for a wonderful year-round holiday destination. Madeira offers stunning natural scenery, with massive mountains, jagged cliffs, lush forests and delightful flower gardens. The people of Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, are welcoming and hospitable.
Portugal has so many beautiful sights, you might want a car to explore everything - from the major highways connecting large cities to the small, two-lane roads that traverse the countryside. Enjoy your trip and have fun experiencing scenic Portugal on the most iconic road trip of your lives!
Portugal has a long, eventful history, but in the rush for tourists to visit the biggest sights, sometimes beautiful and paramount cities like Fatima or Castelo Branco get lost in the shuffle. These charming towns are every bit as important as their more popular siblings, so take a look at these overlooked destinations.
Tourists flock to Portugal for many reasons, from its rich history to its incredible food, but its beautiful beaches often steal the show. The coastline stretches from the dreamy Algarve in the South to the popular Costa Verde wine region in the north, and we can`t forget Madeira Island and the Azores!
Lisbon - Evora: 1 hr. 30 mins. approx.
Evora - Alentejo Golden Plains Area: 20 mins/1 hr. approx.
Alentejo Golden Plains Area - Algarve East Area: 2 hrs./2 hrs. 40 mins. approx.
Algarve East Area - Faro Airport: 20-45 mins. approx.
Porto - Costa Verde Area: 20 -55 mins. approx.
Costa Verde Area - Coimbra: 1 hr. 30 mins./2 hrs. approx.
Coimbra - Obidos: 1 hr. 25 mins. approx.
Obidos - Lisbon: 1 hr. 10 mins. approx.
Lisbon - Costa Azul Area: 40-55 mins. approx.
Costa Azul Area - Evora: 1 hr. 40 mins. approx.
Evora - Faro: 2 hrs. 30 mins. approx.
Evora is the largest city in the Alentejo region. For centuries Evora has served as one of the country`s main agricultural centers. Evora is also well-known for its rich history. The city has been conquered by the Romans, the Visigoths, and the Moors, and Evora`s past can be seen in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic center.
Beja, situated on a hill high above the Alentejo`s Golden Plains, boasts a history that stretches back to the time of the Celts. Romans knew Beja as Pax Julia. Today, Beja is thriving not only as a city of historical significance, but as a haven for artists, sculptors, writers, and restaurateurs.
Portugal is well regarded worldwide for its wines. From the warm beaches of the Costa Verde inland to the Douro River Valley and historic Beira Alta, down through Lisbon and across the sea to Madeira Island, there is enough activity, history, and wine across 13 distinct regions to keep all travelers delighted.