AN ANCIENT EMPIRE TO BE DISCOVERED
Do not let yourself be fooled by the size of this country. Good things usually come in small packages and this is 100% true when it comes to Portugal.
Located in the extreme South-west of Europe, with a mild climate and 3000 hours of sunshine every year, this country has the oldest borders in Europe which means that it brings together many centuries of History. However, Portugal is not only defined by its past but also by its present times. This is a country where tradition and modernity walk side by side, blending in perfect harmony and you can feel this wherever you go, from North to South, including the islands.
Here you are going to find historical palaces and castles, each of them with a story to tell. Forests and green woods, as well as white-sand beaches and colourful cities. An extremely rich gastronomy to explore, with a wide variety of regional delicacies to taste and amazing wine to drink. To top it all, you will get the chance of meeting some of the nicest people in the world, ready to give you a warm welcome and to show you the best of what their country has to offer.
It was in the North that Portugal was founded, back in the 12th century. This region is crossed by the Douro River, which enters Portugal through mountains and ravines in the interior of the country, flowing through the famous Douro Valley, a World Heritage landscape, towards the city of Porto. The North of Portugal is an area populated by mountains and nature parks, where the Baroque Architecture so characteristic of this region can be seen in castles, churches and manor houses. This is a region of strong gastronomy and wines, as well as solid religious and family values. Here you will find the genuine Portuguese people, who will welcome you with open arms. The cities of Braga, Guimarães, Viana do Castelo or Vila Real, amongst others, await you.
This World Heritage City is Portugal’s 2nd biggest city and it has everything one needs for a great vacation. No wonder it has won the award for Europe’s Leading Tourism Destination at the World Travel Awards 2017. It is impossible not to fall in love with Porto and its colorful facades. This is a great example of how well medieval traits get along with our current contemporary lifestyle. From ancient churches and monuments, such as the Church of São Francisco, to modern buildings, like Casa da Música, Porto is a truly eclectic destination in many aspects. As the name suggests, this is also the city where Port Wine is aged after coming from the Douro Valley, something we can discuss with you during your next visit…
This region is known by many as “the country within a country”. It is so vast and diverse, that if you visit it you will feel like you have been to more than one country. The interior of the Center of Portugal is covered with mountains, where you will be able to find some of the most characteristic historic villages, nestled in valleys that at a first glance may look inaccessible. This is also a region of great cities, where you will find the most stunning monuments, some of them considered World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. To top it all, a wild coast with a rare beauty awaits you, where you can do all sorts of activities, including seeing the biggest wave in the world, in the fishing village of Nazaré. This is the heart of Portugal, its true and most authentic essence.
Lisbon is one of Europe’s greatest capital cities, which has been forgotten for some time but suddenly has reborn in all its splendor and this is one of the reasons why it has been considered Europe’s Leading City Destination 2018, at the World Travel Awards. This is Portugal’s capital, therefore, a city full of history and stories to tell, where the authenticity of old traditions and ancient history mix with hi-tech innovations and a contemporary lifestyle. However, the Region of Lisbon is more than just the city itself. Within an easy 30-minute drive outside the city you can enjoy the fairytale town of Sintra with its endemic vegetation and historical Palaces; the coastal town of Cascais or even Arrábida, one of Lisbon’s best kept secrets.
The Alentejo Region, located within a short drive from Lisbon’s Airport, is known for the combination between all its nature and historical heritage. This is the land of wheat fields, cork oak forests, wildflower meadows, tiny white-washed villages and medieval towns. An important part of this region is its 126-kilometer (78 miles) extensive coast. Protected by the South West Alentejo and Vicentine Coast National Park, this is the most stunning coast in Europe, that still has a truly natural and wild character. In this region, life runs at a very slow and peaceful pace, and you can feel this on its people and landscapes. This is the ultimate destination for a relaxing getaway, paired with excellent food and wines.
For a long time, the perception most people had about the Algarve was that this was only a “Sun & Beach” kind of destination. However, things have changed, and this corner of Europe has become one of the most exclusive and sophisticated, yet authentic, Southern European destinations. Here, an intricate coast awaits you, with white-sand beaches and warm waters, as well as caves to be explored by boat. Algarve, or Al-Gharb, has a big influence of Arab Culture which gives it a unique vibe, where modern beach resorts coexist with Moorish white-washed villages and the Portuguese Culture. For golf lovers, this is the ultimate destination, where they will find some of the best golf courses, with breath-taking views.
Europe’s Leading Island Destination for 3 years in a row and World’s Leading Island Destination in 2017, by the World Travel Awards. Is this enough to convince you to visit Madeira Islands? Do not get carried away by the common concept of what an island is. Madeira is way more than a touristy beach destination. This is an island full of culture, amazing hiking trails, breath-taking landscapes, exotic fruits, delicious seafood and remarkable people. Madeira is the island of eternal springtime, the island that has it all and therefore is called “The Pearl of the Atlantic”. It even has the most beautiful neighbor – Porto Santo Island. This small piece of land is a refuge for those looking for white-sand beaches, peace and quiet. It is easily accessible from the main island, by sea or air, therefore, very convenient to combine both.
These breathtaking nine islands are Europe’s secret islands of adventure. A volcanic archipelago in the mid-Altantic, that feels like a world unto itself. The Azores beauty is rare and timeless and although they all belong to the same group, each island has its own endemic characteristics. One thing they all have in common is the simplicity you can feel everywhere, from hotels, to restaurants or even its people. This is a destination for those looking for adventure, nature and connecting with themselves. There is whale watching, swimming with dolphins and whale sharks, diving with manta rays, canyoning and kayaking. You can even walk inside volcanoes or simply drive along empty roads fringed with millions of azaleas and hydrangeas.