Offering a perfect balance between tourism and respect for its natural heritage, Portugal is an ideal holiday destination
for those looking for a complete change of scenery. Prepare your holiday agenda : walking, hiking in the stunning national parks and nature reserves such as the Litoral Norte National Park
on the coast of northern Portugal
where you can walk for miles and see nothing but untouched sand dunes, the Ria Formosa park in the South of Portugal in the Algarve region
particularly popular among bird watchers who can roam for hours and catch sight of the magnificent migratory birds that take a break in the wetlands and lagoons. If you want to get lost in a sub-tropical forest, head for Madeira’s Laurisilva forest and marvel at the ancient laurel trees in a magical, fairytale atmosphere. On the cultural side, Portugal offers holidaymakers a wide choice of unusual and surprising places to see and things to discover for all tastes and ages. You will find Europe’s oldest book shop in Lisbon dating back to 1732. Portugal is the native home of the cork tree and produces 70% of the world’s supply of cork so a visit to a cork factory is a must. You will hear Fado, a unique type of music dating back to the 1820s, in the bars, cafes and restaurants everywhere in Portugal. In 2011, Fado was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site and the viticulture there dates back to the 15th century and is well worth a visit.
Portugal offers a mix of tradition and modernity in its many fascinating towns and pretty seaside villages. The capital city of Lisbon is actually older than Rome with archaeological findings dating back to 1200BC offering endless tourist attractions, historical and modern monuments. Holidaymakers looking to plunge into the rich historical past of Portugal can visit sites such as the Moorish Castle of Sao Jorge which overlooks the city of Lisbon, the Belem tower dating back to the early 16th century built at the mouth of the Tagus River or one of the hundreds of ancient churches and numerous monasteries and convents. A ride on the famous tram 28 is an absolute must ! For more modern sites, you can’t miss the famous Vasco da Gama bridge in Lisbon, once the longest bridge in Europe (17.2km in total) built in 1998 and the Lisbon Oceanarium offering the chance to get close to anemones and corals as well as several types of sharks. Other towns and cities packed with authentic places to see and visit include Sintra located in a beautiful spot at the foot of the Sintra mountains in the subregion of Lisbon offering the chance to see castles, royal retreats and many buildings dating back to the 8th and 9th centuries and Evora where you can visit the Agua de Prata Aqueduct (Aqueduct of Silver Water) built during the reign of King João III by Francisco de Arruda and the Palace of Vasco da Gama who lived here between 1519 and 1524. Wherever you decide to stay
, your Portugal holiday will be a memorable and lively visit, one which will no doubt make you want to return to this unique country many times.