Off the beaten path, approximately 1,000 miles west of mainland Portugal, the warmth, beauty and old-world charm of the Azores envelop tourists as soon as they step off the plane. The Renaissance-era avenues of Ponta Delgada, the lush fields of Sao Miguel (which gives the island the colorful nickname the Green Island), Terceira Island, where the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Angra do Heroismo is located and rugged Faial Island, dotted by extinct and dormant volcanoes, never fail to enthrall travelers. A visit to the Azores, whether it`s brief or leisurely, will leave you breathless.
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.
The Algarve region of southern Portugal may be best known for its glorious beaches, some of the most popular in Europe in fact. In the east, centered around Faro, a calmer way of life unfolds and quiet towns and unpopulated beaches define the area. The west side, where Albufeira is the largest city, is well-known for its nightlife, where the party doesn`t stop until dawn.
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!
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.
Situated just off the southwestern coast of Morocco, the Canary Islands have been popular vacation destinations for decades. The Canary Islands offer breathtaking landscapes, beautiful beaches, lots of shopping and entertainment opportunities, and of course over 600 years of Spanish architectural influence and history.
Stunning and tropical Sal Island, a former Portuguese colony which is now part of the nation of Cape Verde, combines wonderfully with a stay in the Azores. We recommend making it part of your trip to Portugal to enjoy its 350 days of sunshine a year, fine white sandy shores, pastel houses in seaside villages, and its relaxed vibe.