Portugal is located to the west of Spain, its coast line flanking the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of a mainland and the islands of Azores and Madeira. Portugal was famed for its fervent maritime exploration during the 15th and 16th centuries, which lead to the creation of the large Portuguese empire in South America. However, fortune changed for Portugal and it was as of 1974 amongst the poorest of European countries. In more recent times, Portugal has undergone something of a revival. It is now a member of the EU and a highly developed country.
Thankfully for many holiday makers across the UK, it is easy to travel to Portugal.
Flights to Portugal are generally cheap or you can alternatively drive there within a couple of days. Portugal is famous both for its excellent weather conditions and numerous golf courses on the island. In 2008, Portugal was named the world’s best golfing destination. The island is also home to a wealth of glorious beaches, history and culture. The Algarve coastline in particular is inviting, with secluded beaches and coves.
There is a wide variety of terrain in Portugal to explore, including lakes, mountains and coastal settings. Visitors may wish to see Aveiro, known as the Venice of Portugal, which has stunning architecture and canals. Porto in the north is home to a city centre which is UNESCO Heritage Listed. Whilst you are in this area it is a wise idea to visit the Estoril Coast and see for yourself the impressive Royal Castle of Sintra.
Lisbon is another intriguing place to visit, with Manueline architecture, views over the Atlantic Ocean and landmarks such as the Belem Tower to behold. See for yourself how the trams clatter through the streets, seemingly unhindered by the passage of time. The cool glades of Mountain Beiras will surely tempt you, with their natural lagoons and romantic castles. Likewise, Madeira is truly a heavenly place to see, boasting a volcanic peak, beautiful botanical garden and numerous scenic locations for walking adventures. Water sports are on offer to the more adventurous at this idyllic location.
Portugal is not only full of picturesque places to visit, it is also home to bountiful culinary delights. Seafood, such as octopus, crab and oysters are all in abundance at the coast. Further inland, you will fine any number of tasty local dishes such as wild boar or cured ham. An added benefit is that there are many local vineyards which means affordable, decent wine is on tap.
Having visited the country several times and know how to save money while traveling to Portugal, I’m keen to head back there again this summer. Previously I visited when it was just me and my partner, but this year we are travelling with two small children in tow. I’m confident that with the good food, gorgeous beaches and wealth of places to visit, we will all be kept quite happily entertained!