Portugal, Europe - Stein Travel
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Portugal

Portugal shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. Its long, varied coastline, sunny climate, and the relaxed lifestyle of the inhabitants of its charming towns and villages have made it a sought-after holiday destination. The delight of Portugal is that, although it is undeniably part of modern Europe, it retains some rural enclaves where time has stood still and traditions flourish. In the southern province of the Algarve, modern high-rise resorts line the coast and buzz with all the trappings of a package tour destination; the capital city, Lisbon, on the west coast, is a bright, busy, crowded metropolis surrounded by bustling tourist resorts. Travel a few miles north or east, however, and discover a largely undeveloped picturesque countryside full of medieval villages and towns where life has changed little over several centuries.

The Portuguese have a close affinity to the sea: for centuries their famed mariners led the way in the exploration of Africa and the Americas, and opened trade routes to the East. The country became a strong colonial power, and remained so until the mid-20th century, resulting in distinctive foreign influences on the local culture and architecture. From Africa, for example, was imported the now traditional, sentimental fado music, which is one of the country's unique experiences for visitors, particularly in the cafés of Lisbon.

In recent years Portugal, long overlooked on the list of the world's top vacation stations, has been investing time, money and effort into ensuring it is discovered by the world's travellers, just as once it was the Portuguese who discovered the world. This new age of discovery is paying off, as increasing numbers of visitors arrive each year and hotel and resort construction has exploded. From the visitor's point of view the compactness of the country makes it easy to take in all the best elements: sandy beaches, scenery, history, wonderful cuisine, lively entertainment, charming handcrafts, thrilling nightlife, country fairs, excellent sporting facilities and warm, friendly people.

From the cobbled winding streets of Lisbon's medieval citadel to the cork forests in Alentejo, and from fishermen mending their nets on remote beaches to the shopping malls and sophisticated glitzy resorts, Portugal is a country well worth discovering.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

Sightseeing in Portugal is a privilege and joy to those who've sampled the country's warm climate, charming ports and friendly people.

Portugal's prodigious sailors have historically chartered course for every foreign shore on the planet, but today the country has an altogether new focus ? drawing the world to her shores. Marketing itself as 'Europe's West Coast', everything from the hot springs of the Azore Islands to hiking and sailing in Madeira and the cultural sights of Lisbon have been revamped and are being served in true style to tourists from every corner of the globe. Portugal is the 7th most peaceful nation in the world according to the Global Peace Index, making its many marvellous sights safe to explore and conquer.

Portugal is known for its seafaring history and continued legacy as a coastal paradise. Jet skiing, diving, swimming, sailing, you name it and they cater for it. The Estoril Coast is a set of pristine blue-flag beaches ready for your worn feet. While the sea will always be Portugal's first love, the country does boast the Sintra-Casais Natural Park, a World Heritage Site and the capital of Lisbon is as cosmopolitan and metropolitan city to rival the likes of Madrid and Paris.

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