Portugal for the Independent Traveller
View from Sesimbra Castle
One of the oldest nations in Europe, Portugal is located on the
west side of the Iberian Peninsula and includes the Madeira and
Azores archipelagos. Diverse geographical features such as
far-flung beaches, mountainous regions, rivers and rolling plains
attract visitors from around the world.
The mild climate calls to water sports lovers, golf enthusiasts
and beachcombers alike. Many take advantage of "turismo de
habitacao" arrangements offering privately owned homes - from
farmhouses to grand manors - as personalised accommodation.
Portugal is home to dozens of castles, most of them built or
rebuilt between the 12th and 14th centuries. The round chapel of
the Templar Castle in Tomar was once a fortress church; oriental
architecture inspired its octagonal shape. The Castelo da Pena,
built circa 1839, exemplifies Portuguese architecture in the
Romantic period. Located on a peak of the Serra de Sintra, it
stands against a verdant backdrop.
Capital: Lisbon (Lisboa)
Time: GMT +2 hrs
Summers are filled with festivals dedicated to the "Santos
Populares" (popular saints). Wine, traditional breads and sardines
often accompany the street fairs, bonfires, fireworks and marriages
that are common during festival time.
Particularly diverse cuisine is a testament to Portugal's active
exploration throughout the ages. Visitors experiment with popular
codfish dishes, order "Francesinhas," meat sandwiches covered with
cheese and bold seafood sauce for late-night snacks, or stop in at
the many "pastelarias" pastry shops found on city streets.
Discovering what Portugal has to offer is like opening a book
and finding something interesting with each turn of the page.
Alentejo | Algarve | Azores Islands (Acores) | Central
Portugal (Beiras) | Costa de Lisboa (inc Lisbon) | Costa Prata |
Costa Verde | Madeira
Islands | Northern Portugal (inc. Porto)