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Sun-drenched beaches of the Algarve, medieval hilltop towns, colourful fishing villages, a cosmopolitan capital, the vine-filled valley of the Douro, wild remote mountains—Portugal has it all. But Europe's oldest country, which has had its eyes melancholically set on the sea and on a lost and glorious past, has turned its head toward Europe and is undergoing a profound modernization. Still, things move a bit more slowly in Portugal, devagar as residents say, and some 16 million tourists seem to like the pace.
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EXCITING DESTINATIONS IN PORTUGAL
The hodgepodge of historical periods and cultures represented in the city of Lisbon is a major source of its charm. Lisbon constantly reminds travellers that Portugal has been conquered several times, that it developed (and lost) its own illustrious empire and that, for much of the 20th century, it isolated itself from the rest of the world. Today you will find restored medieval facades, wonderful art-nouveau buildings, black-and-white mosaic sidewalks and plenty of modern shops.
The city was built along the hills overlooking the Douro river estuary, and its historical centre was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1996. It has been continuously inhabited since at least the 4th Century when the Romans referred to it as Portus Calle.Across the river from Porto proper, in the suburb of Gaia, are located the warehouses of notable companies dealing with Port Wine, such as Cálem, Fonseca, Sandemans, Kopke, and others.
Algarve offers some of the finest beaches and recreational facilities in Europe. The white-sand beaches are clean, and the fishing, watersports and golfing are world-class. Almond trees bloom in January and February, covering the ground with lovely white petals. To add to the charm, the weather is usually comfortable, the people are friendly and the food can be excellent. There are countless beaches, small towns and historical sites to see along the Coast
Sintra, Portugal, offers castles, palaces, formal gardens and stately homes scattered about the green hills of the area. Located 15 mi/25 km northwest of Lisbon, Sintra is near some fine Atlantic beaches.An annual music festival is held in various parks, churches and palaces around Sintra in June and July. Several charming quintas (country mansions) in the region accept guests. The Hotel Palacio dos Seteais, where Lord Byron likened Sintra to an earthly paradise, is a luxurious alternative.
Stop for a couple of hours in this walled city to shop + walk the narrow streets. Founded by Phoenician sailors, Lagos is one of the main starting points for Portugal's first explorers. It was also the site of Europe's first slave market, established in 1441 (a plaque marks the spot, but virtually no trace of the market remains since Lagos was completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1755). Have a look at the beautifully decorated baroque church of Santo Antonio, the major sight of Lagos.
SAMPLE TOURS custom made for Portugal
Celebrate with Friends and Family on beautiful beaches, discover authentic local cuisine, and explore Portugal's culture and history
Music in Portugal
Tailored towards groups wanting to explore music and performance in Portugal. Discover some great performance opportunities for yourself and your groups
Customising your own Tour to Portugal
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