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Portugal Things To See & Do

Algarve: Things To See & Do

Pueblos-Blancos-Algarve-Portugal

Pueblos Blancos

Throughout the Algarve region are picturesque ‘white villages’, each offering charming houses with whitewashed walls that have changed very little since the time of Ferdinand and Isabella.

 


Beaches

No visit to the Algarve is complete without exploring the many beautiful beaches. There are 150 named beaches, and many more that haven’t been named. The most popular stretches are those closest to the town and in the west of the region, but a little exploration to the east will reveal pristine beaches without another tourist in sight.

 


Sagres

The Cape of St Vincent is called ‘Land’s End’, Europe’s most south-westerly point. It is an important shipping landmark and its lighthouse is visible 50 miles away. The Ponta de Sagres, the fortress of Henry the Navigator was built near the cape.

 


Ponta da Piedade

 Protecting the bay of Lagos is the bizarre rock formation of Ponta da Piedade, with its high cliffs, deep caverns and hidden creeks. A boat trip around this promontory is highly recommended for the spectacular views it provides.

 


Monchique

The village of Monchique still retains much of its old world charm, and many of the traditional crafts such as weaving and basket-making are still carried out the old fashioned way. Particularly impressive is the view of the Serra de Monchique mountain.

 


Palace of Estoi

Situated near the village of Estoi, the palace is the most significant manifestation of Romanticism in the Algarve. Built in the 18th century, it combines neo-baroque and rococo styles and is partially covered with intricate 19th century azulejo-tiles featuring luxurious floral designs or depicting scenes from classical mythology.

 


Buraco dos Mouros

Located near the town of Loule, the buraco is a stalactite cavern with three chambers, used as a hideaway by the Moors in former times.

 


Silves

The town of Silves was the ancient Moorish capital, a heritage that can still be seen in the city layout and the architecture of the buildings. Above the city looms the largest and finest castle in the Algarve, also built during the Moorish occupation.

 


Tavira

Often described as ‘Algarvian Rome’ or ‘the Venice of Algarve’, the town is one of the most architecturally appealing towns in Algarve, with many fine 18th century buildings and bridges. Tavira is also known as the ‘Town of Churches’ because of its 22 churches.

 


Alcoutim

Once an important trading centre due to its strategic location, Alcoutim has since declined into a quiet town. Reminders of its past glory can be seen in the two impressive castles on both sides of the bordering River Guadiana, which were used to defend the trading vessels anchored at Alcoutim.

Carcavelos: Things To See & Do

 

Carcavelos-Beach-Portugal

Carcavelos Beach

This little village just outside Lisbon is popular because of its lovely wide beach, which attracts day trippers and weekenders from the nearby big city, as well as some of the country’s best surfers.

Cascais: Things To See & Do

Cascais-beach-marina-Portugal

Marina & Beach

The beachfront of Cascais, in particular Guincho beach, is the biggest attraction of this charming town, with its nearby marina, shops, restaurants and other facilities, just perfect for a beach holiday.

 

Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção)

The most prominent church in Cascais, this particular building is noted for its ornamentation, in particular the 17th century artwork in the nave painted by Josefa de Obidos, one of the few women painters of the time, as well as some lovely 18th century handpainted azulejos.

 

Bullfight Ring (Monumental de Cascais)

For the unsqueamish, this is the place to go to watch a bullfight.

 

 

Mouth of Hell (Boca do Inferno)

Located just outside town, this wide, mouth-like hole, or boca, in the cliffs was created by the power of the waves sweeping in from the Atlantic. When the sea is calm, the mouth is relatively quiet, but when the sea is rougher, the sound of the waves crashing in the boca is a furious roar.

Lisbon: Things To See & Do

 

Lisbon-The-Alfama-Portugal

The Alfama

Lisbon’s famed old quarter, with its narrow labyrinth of streets and Moorish designed buildings

sits in the heart of the city, is popular for its laid back attitude and timeless appeal.

 


St. George’s Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge)

Perched over the Alfama, this old fortress is popular with both locals and tourists for the panoramic views if offers over the city.

 

   Details

Opening Hrs: April to September: dailym 9am to 9pm; October to March: daily, 9am to 6pm
Pricing:

Free admission

Contact:

Telephone: 21 887 7244

Getting Here: Bus 37 or tram 12.

 


Tower of Belem (Torre de Belem)

The Tower of Belém was a defensive structure built to defend the estuary of the river Tagus,

and is a fine example of Manueline architecture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Details

Opening Hrs: October to April: Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm; May to September: 10am to 6.30pm
Pricing:

EUR3

Contact:

21 362 0034

Getting Here: Avenida de Brasilia. Bus 27, 28, 29, 43, 49 or 51. Tram 15

 

Elevador de Santa Justa

This wrought-iron lift takes the visitor up to the Bairro Alto district above the downtown Baixa,

and is attached to a rooftop café offering fantastic views of the city.

 


Bairro Alto

A historic enclave reached by the Elevador de Santa Justa from the lower city, the ancient buildings offset the modern character of the district, which comes alive at night when party-goers crowd its streets and the famed fado houses, where Portugal’s unique music is played each night.

 

 


Baixa

The busy commercial downtown area of Lisbon, the Baixa’s wide avenues and the pedestrian-friendly Rue Augusta are known as a great place to shop.

 


Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos)

This sixteenth century monastery was ordered built by Dom Manuel I to celebrate the discovery

of the sea route to India. It is one of the most important buildings in Portugal, symbolic of the nation’s period of wealth and conquest, and has been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

 

Details

Opening Hrs: May-September: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am-6pm; October to April: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am-5pm
Pricing:

Church free. Cloisters: Adults EUR 3; Over 65 and under 12, free

Contact:

21/362-00-34

Getting Here: 1400-206 Lisbon. Train: Bélem Station. Tram: 15.   Bus: 27, 28, 29, 43, or 49

 


Monument to the Discoveries

This great limestone statue near the Tagus River commemorates Portugal’s Age of Discoveries, when Portuguese sailors set sail to explore the world, and immortalizes all the historic figures

who were prominent during this period of history. A favourite photo opportunity.

Details

Opening Hrs: September to June: Tuesday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5pm; July and August: Tuesday to Sunday, 9.30am to 9pm
Pricing:

EUR1.90

Contact:

21 303 1950

Getting Here: Bus 27, 28, 43 or 49

Se Cathedral

Built by the first king of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques (1109-1185), this was the first church to be built in Lisbon. Its interior takes the form of a Latin cross with three naves and features fine treasures such as the font where St Anthony of Padua was baptised in 1195, and numerous notable relics, images and icons.

 

  Details

Opening Hrs: Tuesday to Saturday: 9am to 7pm; Sunday and Monday: 9am to 5pm.
Pricing:

Free

Contact:

21 886 6752

Getting Here: Tram 28

 


Parque das Nacoes

Lisbon’s exhibition park features several attractions, not least of which is the Lisbon Oceanarium with its 15,000 living examples of marine life, and the Virtual Reality Pavilion, which showcases the Portuguese age of discovery. Other attractions include a science centre, cable car, the Vasco da Gama Tower and numerous bars and restaurants offering Portuguese cuisine.

 

   Details

Opening Hrs: daily 10am to 8pm (until 7pm in winter)
Pricing:

Adults: EUR 10, children 4-12: EUR 5

Contact:

Telephone: 21 891 9333 or 21 891 9898; E-mail: info@parquedasnacoes.pt

Getting Here: Avenue D. João II, Lote; Transport: Buses, trains and the metro go to Oriente Station;

Madeira: Things To See & Do

Madeira-Lido-Promenade-Portugal

Lido Promenade

The most popular beachside area of Funchal is the Lido, with its palm trees and convenience shopping markets, the beaches and pools, restaurants and many other attractions for the visitor.

 


Sao Pedro, Santa Maria and Se

The city of Funchal is divided into parishes, and the most ancient one is Sao Pedro. There are numerous historic monuments and buildings scattered around the parish, a reminder of the island’s roots. The Santa Maria area also retains many of the buildings and the charms of bygone days, while much of the spiritual, temporal and political power of the island rests in the parish of Se, where many of the legislative and religious buildings are located.

 


Dragon Trees Nucleus

A species of tree only found in Madeira, the Canary Isles and Cape Verde, the slow-growing tree is named for its much-divided crown of leaves, which resembles a ‘thousand-headed dragon’. A park has been set up just outside Funchal to protect a stand of centenary Dragon Trees, where their unique beauty can be appreciated at the visitor’s convenience.

 


Levadas walk

The web of irrigation canals called levadas covers the entire island of Madeira, and walking on the footpaths alongside the waterways is one of the best ways to see the beauty of the island.

 


Caves of Sao Vicente

Madeira Island is the tip of an ocean volcano, and evidence of its origins can be seen in the rich volcanic soil that supports its farmers, and the parallel caves of Sao Vicente, which were carved out by the flow of lava from the Paul de Serra plateau to the sea.

 


Monte Palace Tropical Garden

The garden of the historic Monte Palace building is famed for its vast collection of indigenous and foreign blooms, including its Japanese-themed garden, and the lakes teeming with imported Koi.

 


Gardens of Indigenous Plants of Sao Vicente

For insight into the unique botanical heritage of Madeira, there is no better place to go than the Garden of Indigenous Plants in Sao Vicente on the north coast of the island, where the whole park is dedicated to the preservation of native plants.

 


Orchid Garden

Anyone who loves nature will appreciate this garden, where the gardeners go to extraordinary extents to recreate the natural setting for the orchids and other exotic plants here.

 


Laurassilva Forest

On an island with an abundance of natural attractions, one of the most popular is the laurassilva forest covering much of the island, the largest and most complete stand of such trees left in the world, and home to a number of rare and beautiful flora and fauna.

 


Porto Santo

A charming island 37 km away from Madeira Island, the main attraction is the 9km long beach, and the associated water sports, as well as a wide range of outdoor activities such as tennis, volleyball and island tours.

Peniche: Things To See & Do

Peniche-Beaches-Portugal

Beaches

The beaches of Peniche are this fishing-town’s main attraction. The wide sands and warm waters draw not only swimmers and sunbathers, but also surfers, as the waves sweeping in from the Atlantic are a popular trial for both new and experienced surfers.

 

Fortaleza

Located on the water’s edge at the southern part of town, this 16th-century fortress was once used as a  prison during the Salazar regime, but has now been converted to a museum of local archaeology and crafts – though visitors can still see the cells and solitary chambers where the prisoners were once kept.

 

Berlenga Island

This beautiful island off Peniche has long been a stopover point Romans, Vikings and other sailing nations. Once home to the Monestary of Misercordia (though only ruins are left), it is now a nature reserve, inhabited only by birds, a few endemic plants and a few permanent fishermen families. Visitors can camp on the island, or take a cruise in the surrounding waters.

Porto Tourist Attractions

Torre-des-Clerigos-Portugal

We’ve put together a quick list of attractions that you will want to check on your list, based on geography and must-see factor.

Day One
Port-wine Lodges — Port the celebrated chief export of Porto, where the site of its creation is the biggest attraction. Many of the port-making businesses are small, family-owned and run, while others are larger commercial operations, but all produce excellent liquor, and offer free tours for the curious and the thirsty. There are dozens of establishments scattered around Porto, so individual exploration is recommended.
Torre des Clerigos –  One of the best views of Porto and its surrounding country is from the belfry of this tower, which at 76 metres is one of the tallest structures in northern Portugal.
Day Two
Igreja de Santa Clara — In juxtaposition to its plain face, the interior of the Church of St. Clara is an artistic masterpiece, with nearly every square inch blanketed with carved and gilded woodwork created by impassioned 17th-century craftmasters.
Se Cathedral — Founded by a medieval queen and originally designed in a Romanesque style, this beautiful cathedral is now a monument to changing architectural tastes arising over the years, with architectural influences from various periods and sources.
Palacio de Bolsa — When the city fathers of the past decided to build a stock exchange to impress the financial world of Europe, they created the Palacio, an ornate, almost palatial building that now speaks more for artistic creativity than the financial acumen of the city.

 

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