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Travel Directory / Europe / Portugal

Portugal Travel Guide

Portugal in Southern Europe is a country with rich and unique cultures, beautiful countryside and lively cities. It was once one of the poorest nations in Europe but due to the introduction of democracy in 1974 and its incorporation into the European Union, its position has risen to that of prosperity.

Portugal boasts of many World Heritage Sites, cultural and landscape diversity to keep any tourist busy for quite a while. Its idyllic weather and warm hospitable people has made it one of the best value destinations in Europe. It is dotted with rugged coastlines, crystal blue waters, pristine beaches and pleasant views of the locals doing everyday chores on cobbled streets and whitewashed houses.

The climate in Portugal is one of the warmest in Europe and can be classified as Mediterranean. During summer and spring temperatures can get very high averaging between 35 to 40c. Autumn and winter can be typically rainy and windy with temperatures rarely falling below 5c. Snow can be seen on the mountain areas to the north, mainly in Sierra da Estrela.

Lisbon will probably be the first destination on any traveler's list as it is the capital of Portugal. It offers one of the most vivid settings of any European capital with its whitewashed houses perched on the steep hillsides bordering the Rio Tejo (River Tagus). The splendid Castle of Sao Jorge with its twisting cobbled stone streets and 10 towers adorn the hill was founded in the 12th century.

One of the must see destinations in Lisbon is the 2.5 kilometer suspension bridge that crosses the Tagus and is overlooked with a soaring statue of Christ. In the suburb river town of Belem, famous for launching the expeditions of Vasco Da Gama and other famous explorers of the 15th and 16th century are many other attractions worth visiting. The Torre de Belem, an old prison tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is also Hieronymite Monastery one of Portugal's Golden Age architectural masterpieces.

Oporto is the second largest city after Lisbon and sits along a great gorge where the River Duoro and the Atlantic meet. In 2001 it was nominated for the European City of Culture and now is a historical center and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although the city is mainly an industrial town, it holds plenty of rustic charm and art treasures in its medieval cathedrals and museums. The narrow streets and quaint little balconies made of wrought iron and potted flowering plants make it a relaxing stroll.

Evora is one of Portugal's best cities. Its beautiful hilltop town is still surrounded by a ring of fortified walls that holds in its center, cobbled streets and charming little houses. The medieval Cathedral and the Church of Sao Francisco which is famous for its grisly ossuary and the 14th century palace of the Duke of Cadaval and other well preserved historical buildings make it a another UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Some other places of interest that you might enjoy are the Villa Vicosa, a city famous for its marble architectures, Figueira da Foz with its wide sandy beaches and was the venue for the 1996 World Surfing Championships.