Top 9 Destinations — Portugal
Portugal has emerged from the long shadow cast by neighbouring Spain, seizing the spotlight as a dynamic centre for art, culture and cuisine. A spate of artfully
designed museums have opened in the past two years, there’s now a celebrated microbrewery scene, and rock-star Portuguese chefs are creating culinary buzz from Lisbon
to the glittering beaches of the Algarve (seven new restaurants received Michelin stars in 2017). Heightening Portugal’s appeal are its incredible affordability and
its natural wonders: in 2016, more than 300 beaches earned the coveted Blue Flag rating and two new biosphere reserves were named. It’s no surprise everyone is talking
about this small, seafaring nation.
The museums of Lisbon celebrate the rich history and culture of this Portuguese capital city. The Maritime Museum is perfect for kids (and grown-ups!) who adore all
things nautical, while the Casa-Museu Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves is a hidden gem of colorful artwork. .
2. Madeira Islands
Breezy Madeira is an eponymous island in the Madeira Islands, a Portuguese archipelago. The capital city of Funchal was settled in the 15th century and is a colorful
collection of gardens, religious sites, and quirky tourist attractions like the thatched-roof Madeira Story Centre.
There are lots of beach types, and with 20 very different beaches to choose from, Albufeira delights them all.
The town that gave the country (and port wine) its very name, Porto is Portugal’s second-largest metropolis after Lisbon.
Portimao is a sailor’s delight, thanks to its calm waters and beautiful conditions. Plenty of elite international competitions happen here, but you don’t have to be a
professional to set sail.
There is rich and beautiful history within Lagos’ 14th century walls, from its fortress to picturesque churches like Medieval São João Hermitage and the 17th-century
São Sebastião. But that’s all appetizer.
A coastal town just 20 miles west of Lisbon, Cascais was once a small fishing village, but its idyllic scenery attracted the attention of artists, writers and expelled
European nobility in the 20th century.
Long the home of Portugal’s monarchs, Sintra is a magnificent town of marvelous historic mansions, all set against the backdrop of lush hills. Sintra’s many castles
include the Palácio Nacional de Sintra (a main abode of Portuguese royalty until the early 20th century), the hilltop and storybook Palácio da Pena, Quinta de
Regaleira (incorporating several architectural styles and with gorgeous surrounding gardens), the Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle), and the Palácio de Monserrate.
Time seems to stand still in Evora, a well-preserved medieval town that features protective walls, a 13th-century cathedral, several palaces,and a 1st-century Roman
temple. No surprise that the town center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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