Portugal... home to breathtaking architecture and some true cultural treasures. Portugal's greatest attraction is its gorgeous coastline, and in particular, the southern region where an array of top-class beach resorts (once sleepy fishing villages) provide luxurious sea side accommodations.
For a relaxed beach retreat, nothing compares to the Algarve. This region, in the southernmost part of Portugal, is one of the most popular beach resort destinations in Europe. Known for its rugged coastline with enormous cliffs, breathtaking beaches inside coves and the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Indulge in the spas, thalassotherapy centers, and the area’s golf courses for an amazing vacation experience.
Use walking paths and bike trails to get to know the region. Boat rides are also a popular way to explore the area. There is no shortage of fresh fish and seafood in the Algarve. The area has Michelin star restaurants with exquisite offerings.
Lisbon, perched on the coast of Portugal and steeped in a rich and diverse marine history, travelers will enjoy the city’s marine history and so many other wonderful city attractions.
Visit the Lisbon Oceanarium, which is marketed as the second best aquarium in the world with a wonderful array of marine life, or for a slightly more historical look at the sea, the Maritime Museum is one of Europe's best and a must for history buffs.
From Lisbon, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Tower of Belem, and stroll through the streets of the charming Alfama, Lisbon's old quarter.
The most popular day trip from Lisbon is a visit to Fatima. In 1917, the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared above an oak tree and spoke to three peasant children in the valley of Cova da Iria, 88 miles north of Lisbon. The children claimed to have seen the apparition on five different occasions, and the spot has now become one of the great pilgrimage shrines of the world, known as Fatima.
Bridges and port wine are what characterize Porto, Portugal's northern capital and second largest city after Lisbon. Porto sits across a great gorge where the River Douro enters the Atlantic, and although it is mainly industrial, the city center has plenty of charm with some art treasures, medieval cathedrals and museums, along narrow streets with wrought-iron balconies and bright splashes of potted geraniums.
Portugal also has several wine regions to explore with the most well know being the Douro Valley. A designated UNESCO World Heritage region and one of the top wine regions in the world. This area runs along the Douro River with mountain ranges of tumbled granite creating the perfect environment for wine producing grapes.
History, great food, stunning beaches and cobblestone villages make Portugal a fascinating European vacation destination.
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I work with my clients on creating personalized travel itineraries while consulting on everything from destinations to excursions and logistics of the trip. Through my personal travel I seek unique activities including private guides and tours for exceptional experiences. More on Belkys