Portugal, a different way to experience Europe
Exuberant and melancholy at the same time, Portugal is a truly charming country. Spending your vacation in Portugal means experiencing the spontaneous character of its people, enjoying its great fortified wines and discovering surreal brightly colored landscapes nuanced by time.
From Lisbon to the southern cliffs of Algarve and the ancient northern city of Porto you will breathe the history of Portugal anywhere you stroll through its built and natural landscape. Everything oozes of the majestic past of a country that once dominated the seas, and many exotic influences from faraway places still remain preserved in the Portuguese music and art.
Colors and lights of Lisbon
Travel to Portugal and visit Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, with its wooden trams and its narrow alleys that rising up its seven surrounding hills (just like Rome). So much more than a city, from far above it looks like a sprawling painting of abundant life! You can take a walk up to the São Jorge Castle or to one of the many typical miradouros (viewpoints) to have a look of the city. Then take a rest at the famous “A Brasileira” coffee shop in the Chiado area while writer Fernando Pessoa’s bust is watching at you. From here you can easily reach city parish of Belém and visit the Dos Jeronimo Monastery and the Tower of Belém, two World Heritage Sites. At night enjoy a romantic dinner in the aristocratic district of Barrio Alto and listen to the traditional melancholic Fado music.
Lisbon is a city to experience without a hurry; it registers as a sequence of colors and light, from the ocean to the houses, the people and the azulejos, this scenery can only be explained by the variety of natural and human components that coexist here.
Charming Porto, an explosion of sensations
Next travel to northern Porto, the Cidade Invicta (the unvanquished city). Perched on the hillside overlooking the Douro River, Porto will surprise you by its amazing mixture of architectural styles, ranging from the Middle Ages to the contemporary works of the great architect Alvaro Siza. Start your visit to Porto in its real heart, the charming and decadent Old Town, in its entirety declared a World Heritage Site. You can enjoy some bacalhau (salted codfish), the national dish, at the lively Ribeira district on the Douro banks. Crossing one of the six great bridges you can experience a Port wine tasting at the Port Houses of Vila Nova de Gaia, in the same place where this wine is aged. At the São Bento Railway Station, you take in the amazing azulejos that illustrate the most important highlights of Portuguese history. Visiting the Dos Clerigos church you can climb the highest tower of Porto and enjoy a stunning view of the city.
Portugal off the beaten paths: deep inside the culture
Portugal is a small country and you can easily discover its quaint towns by car. We suggest visiting the town of Sintra and its fairy-tale palaces with their iconic twin conical chimneys and lavish interiors. On the road from Lisbon to Porto make a stop in Coimbra. Strolling through its narrow streets look up to admire the many monuments covered with brightly colored tiles and enjoy the typical Fado: here it is sung only by men and outdoors, on the streets, unlike the traditions of Lisbon where you can listen to the Fado only inside the inns.
Portugal is a perfect example of how a country can evolve without losing its identity and culture. It is hard to understand what it is that sets it apart. Perhaps it is the result of continuously experiencing the golden light that brushes the ocean before lighting the last moments of the sunset…