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Travel Guide: Portugal Highlights

14th Aug 2015 12:00am | By Editor

Great port, beaches and seafood make Portugal a delight.

Lisbon

Portugal's capital Lisbon is tucked around the seven hills that hug the harbour. Bright yellow rickety old trams take you up through leafy streets to the old quarter and its Moorish castle.

Visit Lisbon's many museums by day, including Belém's monastery, listen to melancholic music of fado in Alfama, and party in the trendy bars of Bairro Alto by night. 

 

The Atlantic coast – Estremadura

Estremadura has Portugal's richest farmland and mile-long sandy beaches. Sintra is only 45 minutes by train from Lisbon with its craggy Moorish castle ruins and fairytale forests. 

Costa Azul is an idyllic place to visit where Lisbon locals often go for a summer retreat. The cliff-lined coastline around Ericeira is also one of Portugal's best spots for surfing.

 

Porto and the Douro

Porto, where the famous sweet fortified port wine originated, is Portugal's second city. Explore its scamble of streets with iron-wrought balconies and architecture of old and new.

Sample port wine from the wine cellars that line the grand River Douro or go for a river cruise under the city bridges.

 

The Algarve

Boasting majestic sandy beaches, rocky coves and fresh seafood – the Algarve is the most popular tourist destination in Portugal with many British tourists congregating there.

From the ancient town of Faro, head west to sporty resorts or to the coast for surfing beaches, east for beautiful beaches and protected wetlands, central for rocky grottoes and southwest to the historic town of Lagos and cliff beaches.

 

Alentejo

The agricultural region of Alentejo is dominated by cork and olive plantations and a traditional, poorer way of life. Alto Alentejo in the north is a medieval scattering of fortress towns, such as Évora, and clifftop castles, such as Marvão, and Roman ruins.

 

The Beiras

The Beiras is in the upper northern parts of the country and encapsulates all that Portugal represents. The medieval town of Coimbra is Portugal's ancient university town. Torre is Portugal's highest peak at 1993m and is a popular ski resort. The Roman city of Idanha-A-Velha also has a Moorish mosque, as well as a keep built by the Knights Templar.

 

Home of Ronaldo

Madeira Island seems far from Portugal's coast, but is still part of Portugal. Popular for its beaches, wine, flowers and new year celebrations, Madeira is where Christiano Ronaldo, one of the world's most talented young footballers, grew up.