Portugal as a Destination
If you are tired of the old common destinations in Europe that are starting to become both exhausted and overcrowded, you should head to Portugal – the country that not too long ago was poor and relatively empty but which since joining the EU has flourished like never before. And this country has many nice and unexplored corners that are now starting to fill up with tourists and new residents. Start in the green Porto up north, continue to charming Leiria and further down to Lisbon. After being there for a while to look at all that the Portuguese capital has to offer, you can continue down to the Algarve coast or why not take a small detour to the football professional Cristiano Ronaldo’s childhood archipelago, Madeira which is 400 km north of Canary Islands.
A little history lesson about Portugal
Like Spain, Portugal has also felt the wings of the dictatorship from 1926 until 1974. However, a group of young officers took over in the coup “Red Carnation Revolution”. At the same time, the Portuguese colonies demanded autonomy and some wars flared up. After the coup, Portugal withdrew its troops from i.a. Mozambique and Angola and still many of the inhabitants of these countries are seen in the Portuguese cities.
According to elaineqho, Portugal is an EU member state and manages itself with a calm democracy and tourism is flourishing again.
Start the journey in the leafy Porto where the landscape is much more different from the southern and innermost parts of the country. Nature is lush and green, the vineyards take turns and the port wine is made on a conveyor belt. Porto’s inner city is quite similar to other southern European cities, but you still notice the “poverty” of the countryside here and there. However, people are very hospitable and willing to talk for a while.
… To Leiria
In the middle of the country on the Atlantic coast is a city called Leiria. It has about 50,000 inhabitants but the city seems significantly larger. Here you will find shopping, charming streets and a lot of beaches around which are reached via the many roads lined with eucalyptus trees. From Leiria you are close to other interesting cities such as Coimbra, Fatima, Alcobaça and Batalha. Near Leiria is the Marinha Grande, which has been the center of crystal and glass crafts for a long time.
North of the Algarve is a flat agricultural landscape, called Alentejo. Here you can find the historic city of Évora. The fishermen work on the coast, the shepherds walk with their sheep and goats in the mountains and in the town of Coimbra, you will find the students. Take a turn into the culturally rich city and Fatima Monastery where three children once told that they had seen the Virgin Mary. Since then, this place has been a place of pilgrimage for all pilgrims and Christians.
Once you have arrived in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, it’s time for sight-seeing, shopping and nightlife. Listen to the typical Fado blues at one of the many music clubs or stroll around Bairro Alto. Lisbon is elevated on seven hills and is a hilly and happy city today.
Continuation towards the Algarve
Last but not least, you can indulge in the golden grain of the Algarve coast with beautiful beaches, relaxing golf and adventure. Here it is sun and swimming that apply while you can enjoy the culture up close. It is easy to get here by plane and also easy to rent a car or take the local buses, or the train to see more of the country or the Algarve’s exquisite coastal strip.