Travelling to Portugal for the first time? It is always useful to have a bit of background knowledge about a new destination.
Portugal’s extreme south-western position at the tip of Europe provides this small and unexplored country with many attractive features for those looking for the perfect destination for their holiday. This is your in-depth travel guide to one of Europe’s most fantastic destinations.
With nearly 2000 km of coastline, Portugal’s culture, gastronomy, lifestyle and people have always had a close relationship with the sea. Most of the main cities can be found close to the river mouth bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. This provides most of these cities, namely Lisbon and Porto, with fantastic breathtaking views over infinite blue waters and particular characteristics you are bound never to forget.
The endless, unspoilt beaches, provide ideal spots for a summer holiday. You may lay under the warm sun and refresh at the cool waters of the sea. Try out some water sports like surfing, windsurfing or kite-surfing and end your evening with a cool drink at one of the fantastic beach bars carefully built along the coast. The most famous location for its beaches is Portugal’s most southern region; the Algarve.
Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, offers one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan, dynamic and diverse lifestyles. Eating in Lisbon is always a pleasure, from fresh fish brought into the markets everyday, to the delicious fruit and vegetables from nearby areas, ending with a mouth-watering sweet pastel de nata. Lisbon is filled with yellow trams that meander through the cobbled streets, galleries and museums with all kinds of art forms and artists, typical neighbourhoods busy with Lisbon’s usual lifestyle and others that cater for your every dining, shopping and entertainment need.
Porto (Oporto), at the tip of the Douro River has a close relationship with this historic wine region. Famous for a sweet wine called Port, Porto provides a truly rare gastronomic experience. Try its delicious meats and fishes traditionally prepared to fill your palate with pleasure experimenting the different Ports at the beginning or at the end of your meal. Porto is characteristic for the mixture of architecture that fills the city, with Barroque churches, an Eiffel bridge and contemporary design buildings, this city has many stories to tell. Take a boat trip up the river to the famous Douro wine region, to get to know one of the worlds most beautiful places, classified as World Heritage in 2001.
Visit the cities in the Alentejo, Portugal’s biggest wine region. Take a tour around the vineyards and get to know some of the world’s most famous wineries. Cheeses and smoked hams accompany most of the wine tasting and you’ll understand the reason for their fame once you try some.
The most diverse flora and landscape may be found in the small island of Madeira. The island is protected by high cliffs and surrounded by clear navy blue waters. It is filled with vineyards, banana plantations and ancient green forests, which you may drive by the steep hilly winding roads that reach high viewpoints with breathtaking views. The sunny city of Funchal caters for your every need; with sophisticated restaurants, great venues for different types of entertainment and shows and many more activities that won’t fail to impress you.
Select from the menu on the right-hand panel to find out about transportation, car rentals, airport transfers, money matters, common mealtimes, opening hours for shops and businesses, driving in Portugal, facilities for people with disabilities and what to do in an emergency.
Browse through our complete travel guide for more information.