A sun-soaked land on the Iberian Peninsula with plenty to offerto both short- and long-term visitors, Portugal's greatestattraction is its gorgeous coastline. The southern region of theAlgarve is a firm favourite, where an array of top-class beachresorts, once sleepy fishing villages, provide luxurious oceansideaccommodation.
The region's fine, year-round climate and ease of access meanthat it is a hugely popular winter sun vacation destination.Additionally, there are several low-cost European carriers thatprovide direct cheap flights to the Algarve. It also serves well asthe perfect place for a weekend getaway when the daily grind ofcity life becomes too much. Seaside towns like Albufeira and Lagosare home to some of the best beach resorts in the Algarve,providing a heady mixture of sheltered beaches, outstanding naturalscenery and high-quality lodgings.
There is far more to Portugal than its beaches, however. Asanyone who has ever set foot in Lisbon's historic Alfama district,or travelled to the medieval town of Évora will tell you, thecountry is home to some breathtaking architecture and culturaltreasures. Notable tourist sights in Lisbon include the JerónimosMonastery and its Manueline architecture, the iconic Monument tothe Discoveries, and the most-photographed building in all ofPortugal, the Tower of Belém.
This geographically varied country also offers skiingopportunities at the Vodafone Ski Resort in the Serra EstrelaMountains. This craggy, forested mountain range is also a greatarea for walking and hiking trails, and is the place to go forthose craving the pampering of a spa resort holiday inPortugal.
Sightseeing in Portugal is a privilege and joy tothose who've sampled the country's warm climate, charming ports andfriendly people.
The sea has always been Portugal's first love. Thegolden beaches and soaring cliffs of the Algarve attract millionsof visitors every year. Vibrant, energetic tourist resorts in theSouth give way to the natural treasures of the Parque Natural deRia Formosa.
The trademark seven hills of Portugal's historiccapital city, Lisbon, stand over a colourful city. Visitors canwind their way through the city aboard the famous Tram 28, andexperience mournful Fado music in the Alfama district. Not to bemissed is a day trip to the picturesque town of Sintra, nestled inthe mountains north of Lisbon. Equally impressive is the walledtown of Obidos, with its hilltop castle now turned into a luxurypousada (inn).
Not far away lie the mysterious megalithic monumentsof the Cromeleque dos Almendres, situated just outside the livelyuniversity town of Evora. Porto, in the north, is an edgy cityboasting a historic centre and great food and drink, gateway aswell to the famous Port-producing region of the Doura Valley. Onthe way north to Porto, visitors should stop to take in theatmosphere in Coimbra, former medieval capital of Portugal and hometo the country's oldest university dating back to the 13thcentury.
Portugal's historic seafarers uncovered yet moredelights in their travels to the West. The tiny island of Madeirais known as a 'floating garden', hiding a botanical wonderland andfamous fortified wine behind its soaring ocean cliffs. Further Westlie the Azores, dramatic island landscapes shaped by geologicalforces within the earth. Visitors can indulge in watersports, seewhales and dolphins, hike to volcanic craters and explore the lushscenery.
The resort island of Pico is dominated by its volcanic namesake,rising from the middle of the landscape and towering 7,720ft(2,351m) above sea level. It is the highest peak in Portugal. Asingle road, following the rugged coastline, encircles the island.It is possible to climb the volcano to the peak but the route isarduous and should not be attempted by amateurs. Pico's other mainclaim to fame is as a jumping-off point for whale-watchingexpeditions, offered by local boatmen. In the island's vineyards,the famous 'verdelho' wine grapes are grown. In the town of Lajes,there is a whale-hunting museum and at São Roche, you can discovera museum depicting the operation of a whaling factory.
Terceira, an island resort destination in the Azores, holds manyplaces of interest for tourists. The historic centre of its capitaltown, Angra do Heroísmo, is classified as a UNESCO World HeritageSite. The town is an idyllic setting, renowned for itspastel-coloured sunset vistas. Terceira is best known for itsperiodic 'running of the bulls'. Ask in the local bar when the nextevent is likely to take place. Besides the capital, the other maintown on the island, Praia da Vitória, is interesting because of itsAmerican flavour. Being close to the American airbase in Lajes, itfeatures several burger joints and US-style souvenir shops.
The resort island of São Jorge is surrounded by sheerblack cliffs and is the centre of the Azores' dairy industry. Thelush green grass of the island's fields plumps up the grazing cows,who in turn produce rich milk for creamy, straw-coloured wheels ofcheese. The island also has exclusive rights to the deliciousfleshy cockles that are caught in the waters of Caldeira de SantoCristo. Aside from its gastronomic delights, São Jorge offersactive pursuits like dive fishing, hiking, swimming and birdwatching. Villages such as Velas and Manadas possess historicbuildings dating back to 1400 and offer the sleepy culture oftraditional harbour towns.
The island resort of Santa Maria, a fantastic holiday retreat,lies southwest of São Miguel Island and features an airport thatwas a World War II American Air Force base, now appropriated as acivil airport. The main town on the island is Vila do Porto. Itonly has one hotel but also several inns and private villas forrent. There are a few sandy golden beaches on the island, includingPraia Formosa, and the scenic Maia and São Lourenço Bays, offeringrocky cliffs and attractive vineyards. Pretty villages like Anjosand Santo Espírito are steeped in local history and culture, andthe island has many colourful festivals throughout thesummertime.
The walls of Castelo de São Jorge sit atop a hill guarding theTagus, dating from the Moorish occupation in the 10th century. Butthe site has been a fortress for centuries, possibly from 500 AD.The castle is regarded as the cradle of Lisbon and today itprovides a panoramic view of the River Tagus and the Alfamamedieval district below. Visitors can walk the esplanades and climbthe ramparts while a multimedia show is available during the daywhich brings alive the history of Lisbon. The castle grounds areplanted with olive, pine and cork trees and provide a pleasant spotto relax.
The oldest part of Lisbon, the Alfama quarter sprawlsdown the hillside from below the Castelo de São Jorge. It retainsmuch of the traditional colour and atmosphere from the days when itwas the ancient seat of the Saracens. Along the narrow cobblestonealleyways are taverns and street markets, interspersed withclose-packed houses still occupied by stevedores, fishmongers andsailors. Lisbon's renowned flea market, the Feira da Ladra, is heldin the Campo de Santa Clara at the edge of the Alfama, everyTuesday and Saturday. The Alfama is also full of historic buildingsand churches, which are well worth exploring.
Sé de Lisboa is a Roman Catholic cathedral located inthe Alfama district of Lisbon. Since the beginning of itsconstruction in the year 1147, the Lisbon Cathedral, as it iscommonly known, has been modified several times and survived manyearthquakes. Nowadays, it is a mix of different architecturalstyles, including Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic architecture. Itwas built on the site of a Saracen mosque after the city wascaptured by the Crusaders in the 12th century. Inside, this ancientchurch features treasures like the font where St Anthony of Paduawas baptised in 1195 and numerous notable relics, images andicons.
Gulbenkian was an Armenian oil magnate who died in 1955 havingput together one of the world's finest private art collections. Thecollection is now housed in a modern centre where the CalousteGulbenkian Foundation sponsors a host of cultural and performingarts projects, featuring a rotating exhibition of works byPortuguese and foreign artists. The Gulbenkian collection itselfcovers Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, Islamic ceramics andtextiles, Syrian treasures, Chinese ceramics, Japanese prints andlacquerware, and European medieval illuminated manuscripts. Thecollection is vast and astounding. Among the paintings are twoRembrandts, a Rubens and a Renoir.
The Bairro Alto district is a historic enclave datingback to 1513, reached via the Santa Justa Elevator from the lowercity. The colourful district resounds to the calls of vendors andfishmongers while the windows and balconies are festooned withlaundry and bird cages. At night, the area comes alive with some ofthe finest fado cafés in the city along streets lit by Victorianlanterns. Fado is the famous brand of music and dance brought toPortugal by African slaves in the 19th century. There is no betterplace in Portugal to experience this musical genre than in theBairro Alto of Lisbon.
One of the most famous sights in Lisbon is the imposing Padrãodos Descobrimentos, situated on the riverbank along Avenida deBrasilia in the district of Belém. Designed to commemorate thePortuguese Age of Discovery, Belém, where the Tagus meets the sea,is the point from which the maritime explorers of yore set forth intheir sailing ships to discover the world. The monument wasunveiled in 1960 on the 500th anniversary of the death of PrinceHenry the Navigator in 1460. The massive monument takes the form ofa caravel with Prince Henry at the prow, backed by images ofrenowned mariners, royal patrons and others who participated in thegolden Age of Discovery.
Belém Tower, also known as the Tower of Saint Vincent, is afortified tower located in the civil parish of Santa Maria deBelem. The tower was built in the 16th century to serve as afortress in the middle of the River Tagus. It is a UNESCO WorldHeritage Site, along with the nearby Jeronimos Monastery. Thefamous Belém Tower is one of Lisbon's most photographed landmarks.The outer walls are adorned with beautiful openwork balconies and astone-carved rope, along with Moorish watchtowers and battlementsshaped like shields. Visitors to the site should make sure to get aguided tour to learn the rich history of the beautifulstructure.
In 1917, the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared above an oak treeand spoke to three peasant children in the valley of Cova da Iria,79 miles (127km) north of Lisbon. The children claimed to have seenthe apparition on five different occasions, and the spot has nowbecome one of the great pilgrimage shrines of the world, known asFatima. Between May and October, the 13th day of every month ispilgrimage day, when hundreds of the faithful gather in a squaretwice the size of St Peter's in Rome before the Chapel of theApparitions. The original oak tree is gone, but has been replacedby a simple white column inside a basilica, which is flanked bystatues of the saints.
The National Museum Soares dos Reis (Museu Nacional Soares dosReis), located in the ancient Carrancas Palace in Porto, is one ofthe most renowned Portuguese museums. This extensive art museumopened in 1840 and is today dedicated to Antonio Soares dos Reis,the famous sculptor born and bred in Porto. The gallery also housesa foreign art collection which includes works by the Dutch,Flemish, Italian and French masters. There is a large collection ofPortuguese 19th century works, including those from the Portoschool, and exhibits of ceramics, glassware, gold and silverwork,and furniture.
On the Porto waterfront stands the church of St. Frances, datingfrom 1383. While not very imposing from the outside, it has alavish Baroque interior that was created in the 17th and 18thcenturies. Pillars and columns within the vault are festooned withgold-gilded cherubs and flower garlands, entwined animals and fruitcornucopia. This feast for the eyes is set off by wide Gothicarches made of marble that soar into the roof. The Igreja de SãoFrancisco (Church of Saint Francis) is the most prominent Gothicmonument in Porto. It is located in the historic centre of the cityand has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Many visitors come to Porto for its foritified wines. The placeto head for samples of every port produced in the region, and alsothe rest of Portugal, is the Solar Vinho do Porto. It is found inthe splendid grounds of the Crystal Palace Gardens and in thevicinity of the Romantic Museum of Quinta da Macieirinha. Insidethe rose-bedecked villa is a relaxed, upmarket tasting room.Staffed by knowledgeable hosts who offer glasses or bottles ofport, you can enjoy complimentary snacks and learn about theport-making process. Also in the villa is a small museum containinga collection of 18th century furniture and paintings.
This suburb of Porto lies along the south bank of the RiverDouro, on the site of an ancient fortified village. Today, VilaNova de Gaia is home to more than 50 wine companies who operatetheir lodges in the winding narrow streets flanked by red-roofedbuildings. Most of the lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia welcome visitorsfor tours and tastings. Among the best known are Sandemans, housedin a former 16th century convent, and Taylors. The suburb alsofeatures a 16th century monastery that has interesting circularcloisters and a terrace where the Duke of Wellington planned hisattack on the French in 1809.
The Frederico de Freitas Museum in Funchal houses avast array of decorative pieces. Turkish, Moorish and North Africantiles, as well as about 2,000 mugs, trophies and vases are ondisplay, along with Madeiran artefacts, porcelain works, religioussculptures, ancient sacred paintings and Chinese and North Africanmetal and woodwork. When Frederico de Freitas died, he left hiscollection to the Autonomous Region, during which time the buildingwas expropriated by the Regional Government. It then startedrebuilding and restoration works on the house for the purpose ofopening it to the public as a museum.
Formed 890,000 years ago, the São Vicente Caves are among thefirst caves of volcanic origin to be opened to the public inPortugal. The caves were formed by a volcanic eruption whichoccurred in Paul da Serra. The outer part of the lava that wasexposed to lower temperatures solidified rapidly while the insideremained liquid with lots of gases, forming a series of lava tubes.The caves were first reported in 1885 by locals and opened to thepublic on October 1st, 1996. At the end of the tour, visitors mayaccess the Volcano Centre, a pavilion offering a range ofeducational and entertaining audio-visual displays. They recreatethe geological evolution of the caves and the eruption of avolcano. They also simulate the birth of the Madeira Islands.
A favourite attraction in Madeira's capital, Funchal, is to ridethe cable car from the Parque Almirante Reis in the old part of thetown up to the scenic village of Monte in the mountains above thecity. The journey takes about 15 minutes and ends at the cablewaystation near the Monte Palace Tropical Garden. The panoramic viewspreads to the delightful city of Funchal and to an overwhelminglandscape, where nature's green melts with ocean's blue. The bottomstation for the cable car is situated at the Inn Quinta do BomSucesso on Madeira Island, seven minutes from the centre of Funchalcity.
In the heart of the historic section of Funchal stands the Sé doFunchal, the most impressive of Madeira's religious edifices. Fromoutside, the simple rough white stucco and brownish basalt of thecatherdral is not all that impressive, but after entering throughthe Gothic portal there is plenty to admire. The ceiling, forinstance, is Moorish carved cedar inlaid with ivory, and behind theBaroque altar are paintings by Flemish and Portuguese artists. Thelate fifteenth-century cathedral is one of the few structures thatsurvived intact since Madeira's early period of colonisation. Asthe centre piece of the structure, the cathedral contains a silverprocessional cross, donated by King Manuel I of Portugal,considered one of the masterpieces of precious metalwork ofPortugal's Manueline style.
Madeira's sister island, Porto Santo, lies 42 miles(68km) northeast of its larger sibling and was actually discoveredbefore Madeira itself. Porto Santo is rather bleak and barren.However, its southern coast is bordered by a lovely 5 mile (8km)stretch of beach fringed with soft golden sand, making for apopular holiday resort. The main town on the island is VilaBaleira, which was visited by Christopher Columbus. There is ascenic park in the town, some cafés and pretty cobblestone streetslined with stucco houses. Visitors can catch one of several regulardaily flights to and from Madeira, or ferry from Funchal harbour toPorto Santo.
Christ the King, known as Cristo Rei, is a Catholic statue andmonument dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. Itoverlooks the city of Lisbon in the central part of Portugal. Theshrine was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio deJaneiro, after the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon visited thatmonument. Like the iconic Christ the Redeemer in Rio, the CristoRei spreads its massive arms as if to embrace all of Lisbon.Situated on the bank of the Tejo River opposite the city, thestatue is over 328 feet (100m) tall and provides amazing panoramicviews of the city from the top.
The historic town of Guimarães is regarded as thebirthplace of Portugal. Here, in 1128, Afonso Henriques became thefirst king of the country. Guimarães has many medieval buildingsand fortifications, and has been declared a UNESCO World HeritageSite. One of the main attractions is the tiny Romanesque churchwhere Afonso was allegedly baptised, and the imposing Palace of thefirst Duke of Braganza. There are numerous other Gothic, Romanesqueand Baroque delights to discover in walking around the town. Thereare also two excellent museums: The Museu Alberto Sampaio containsreligious art and relics and is housed in a monastery, while theMuseu Arquelogico Martins Sarmento displays the finds from a nearbyCeltic hill settlement.
Marketed as the second best aquarium in the world, theworld-class Lisbon Oceanarium is the most impressive achievement ofEXPO '98, which used to be an abandoned waterfront. The centrepieceof the stone and glass building is the 1.3 million gallon (5million litre) holding tank. The Oceanarium consists of fourdistinct ecosystems that replicate the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian,and Antarctic oceans, each featuring the aboveground birds,amphibians and reptiles associated with those waters. Otters splashand dive in the warmer Pacific waters, while penguins shufflearound in their tuxedos in the Antarctic section.
The Navy Museum (Museu de Marinha) of Lisbon isdedicated to all aspects of the history of navigation in Portugal.It occupies a part of the neo-Manueline Western wing of theJeronimos Monastery, together with the National Museum ofArchaeology. With such maritime icons as Vasco de Gama andBartolomeu Dias, it's no wonder that Portugal's Maritime Museum isone of the best in Europe. It evokes a sense of what it was likewhen the conquering Portuguese dominated the high seas. Visitorscan marvel at the hundreds of models of 15th- to 19th-centurysailing ships, merchant marine vessels, fishing boats and pleasureboats as well as a full range of Portuguese naval uniforms.
The Vasco da Gama Aquarium is a great attraction for children inLisbon. As well as its wonderful collection of live fish and sealife, there are also preserved water birds, fish, seals, andmammals from King Carlos' oceanographic expeditions on display. Thebuilding includes two different sections, the Museum and theAquarium, complementing each other to give a betetr understandingof the aquatic world. Outside, there's a small garden with a lakefull of carp, which children enjoy feeding. Children under 6 gofree and between 6 and 17 benefit from reduced prices.
The 330-seat planetarium, adjacent to the Maritime Museum,offers an entertaining and educational insight into the mysteriesof the universe. Visitors can tour the exhibitions beforemarvelling at the astronomical shows projected onto the 25-meterdiameter dome. Older kids are enthralled by a visit to the CalousteGulbenkian Planetarium and they are encouraged to explore itsastronomical wonders. The planetarium hosts astronomical showsdaily, offering an entertaining and educational experience foryoung minds. Ask the hotel concierge to check the times of thePortuguese, English and French shows before you visit.
The tiny Graciosa is known as the 'White Island' of the Azoresdue to the pale rocky landscape. But there is variety in its goldenwheatfields and green and purple vineyards. The landscape is dottedwith quaint Dutch-style windmills, and most of its 4,600inhabitants make their living from farming, winemaking andcattle-raising. Graciosa has its own unique natural attraction: theFurna de Enxofre. This is a small, warm sulphur lake, concealed ina grotto underneath a volcanic crater. Visitors on holiday here canreach the lake via a 270ft (80m) spiral staircase enclosed in abrick tower.
Faial, with its sheltered bays and immense volcanic crater, isthe most visited of the Azores islands. Much of the interior isprotected as a reserve where visitors can enjoy the diverse floraand fauna under the guidance of local guides. Faial's main town,Horta, has a large marina that is a favoured stopping point foryachtsmen, and the harbour also occasionally accommodates cruiseliners. Horta and other villages have a number of pretty churches,chapels, towers and forts, and a lively small-town atmosphere. Ofinterest to sightseers is the new section of land, covering an areaof approximately one mile (two km), added to the island in the mostrecent volcanic eruption of 1957.
As wonderful as Lisbon's historical area of Alfama isby day, its culture can be even better experienced at night in oneof the legendary fado bars of the area. Fado music dates back tothe 19th century, characterised by mournful songs about ill-starredsailors. Essential to the music is the emotion of nostalgia and thesensation of loss and its permanent, life-changing consequences. Animmensely popular pastime among Portuguese locals, the atmosphereinside any one of the Alfama area's fado bars can be truly magicaland tourists to Lisbon are strongly encouraged to join in andbecome part of the unique, and strangely therapeutic,atmosphere.
One of Portugal's most iconic tourist sights, theJerónimos Monastery is an absolute must-see attraction for visitorsto Lisbon. A stellar example of Manueline, also known as Portugueselate-Gothic architecture, the Jerónimos Monastery is a UNESCO WorldHeritage Site, earning its place in the registry on the basis ofits architectural splendour that 'exemplifies Portuguese art at itsvery best'. The Jerónimos Monastery is a beautiful building,resplendent in a gleaming ivory hue with sharp spires, intricatesculptural details and maritime motifs. The cloisters areparticularly magnificent, with each column individually carved withcoiled rope, sea monsters, coral and other designs that bespeak anera of nautical adventure.
Literally the island of 'flowers', this mostnortherly of the Azores blooms, carpeted with numerous flowersamong impossibly green hills and white-washed villages. Consideredone of the most beautiful islands in the Azores, the best time tovisit is summer, when it is covered in the bright pink and bluehydrangeas that give Flores its name. Highlights on the islandinclude the seven serene lakes in volcanic craters, the EnxareusGrotto, the Águas Quentes hot springs, and the multiple waterfallsof the Ribeira Grande. Flores' largest town, Lajes, is apicturesque fishing port set in green fields. All the island'stowns and villages have historic chapels and churches toexplore.
These yellow trams, with their polished wooden floorsand vintage quality, might be loud and bumpy, having been inoperation since 1901, but they also wend through the most historicand most interesting areas of the Portuguese capital city. The ridetravels through Graça, Alfama, Baixa, Chiado, and Bairro Alto,where the largest concentration of great sights in Lisbon can befound. The hop-on, hop-off service is a wonderful way for visitorsto get their bearings in Lisbon, and the ideal way to get to knowthe historic city centre. Tram tickets are sold in kiosks all overLisbon. A 24-hour pass allows visitors to explore the city withmaximum flexibility.
Portuguese Phrase Book
|por favor||please||por fah vor|
|o meu nome �||my name is||or mu norm eh|
|onde est�||where is||ohn deh ehsta|
|voc� fala Ingl�s||do you speak english||vorche fahla in glays|
|n�o compreendo||I don't understand||no compreendo|
|eu preciso um doutor||I need a doctor||eu preseeso um dew tor|
|um, dois, tr�s, quatro, cinco||one, two, three, four, five||oom, dohs, tres, quatro, sinko|
The weather in Portugal is among the warmest in Europe, with anaverage temperature of around 55°F (15°C) in the north, and 64°F(18°C) in the south. The average annual rainfall is as high as 118inches (300cm) in the northern mountains, but countrywide is closerto 43 inches (110cm).
Southern Portugal has a Mediterranean climate with hot, drysummers and mild winters. There is very little rain and summers arewarm, but refreshing sea breezes make for pleasant conditions.Summer temperatures in the Algarve can pass 86°F (30°C), and reachas high as 116°F (47°C) in the Alentejo.
In the north, the weather is wetter, particularly in winter, andcooler, with temperatures influenced by Atlantic currents and theSpanish Meseta.
The climate of the Azores and Madeira is subtropical with somevariation from island to island. Much of the Azores experiences drysummer months with warm temperatures year-round.
The best time to travel to Portugal is during spring (April andMay) and autumn (September and October) when days are pleasantlysunny and warm but tourist areas are relatively quiet. Theseseasons also offer cheaper rates at hotels and less crowdedbeaches, restaurants and golf courses.
This intimate wine bar has an excellent selection of more than150 vintages available by the glass, as well as delicious tapas ofPortuguese cheeses and cured meats. BA Wine Bar do Bairro Altoisn't the place to go for a full meal, but it is perfect for apleasant evening sampling local delicacies as the staff is friendlyand knowledgeable. Try the pumpkin walnut jam, the charcuterieselection or the sardines in tomato sauce! Open Tuesday to Sundayfrom 6pm-11pm. Reservations are essential as it is fairly small butalways full.
Kais Restaurante Bar is set beautifully on an esplanade by theriver, complete with a rich, wooden interior and warm atmosphere.This Lisbon setting is truly stunning, with its myriad of culinarydelights being enjoyed in a large, restored warehouse. The upmarketand sophisticated menu offers superb cuisine including shrimp inchampagne sauce, lamb chops marinated in wine and garlic and adelicious lobster risotto. For dessert, the saffron crème brulée isoutstanding. Open Monday to Saturday for dinner. Closed on Sundaysand the first two weeks in August. Reservations recommended.
Founded in 1936, Gambrinus has become an institution in Lisbon.Located in the heart of the city, its interiors are characterfulwith rich, warm tones offset by stained glass windows and a beamedcathedral ceiling. The restaurant offers some of the best shellfishand seafood found in the region, with a few Portuguesespecialities. The menu features varied and unusual cuisine withdishes such as partridge casserole, Chicken Cafreal and smokedswordfish. They are particularly proud of their famous CrepesSuzette. This trendy establishment is open daily for lunch anddinner, reservations are recommended.
With only 12 tables available, the very trendy and firstall-Brazilian restaurant, Comida de Santo, is situated in Lisbon.Step from cobbled road into a world that lends itself to a NewWorld flavour. The décor is bold, boasting oversized panelsdepicting jungle scenes and paintings of vibrant, local streetlife. The potent caipirinha (aguardiente cocktail with limes andsugar) is a great way to kick things off and the feijoada(meat-and-bean stew) or vatapá (peppery shrimp) are highlyrecommended. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Bookings areessential.
Serving the trendy São Carlos square for the last 50 years,Belcanto, meaning 'beautiful song' in Portuguese, is one of the toprestaurants in Lisbon. Extensively renovated in 2012, therestaurant has been awarded a coveted Michelin star for itsexcellent Portuguese cuisine and extensive wine list. Focusing ondishes that push the boundaries of fine dining, the kitchen staffstrive to express themselves on the plate. Belcanto is perfect fora special dinner or decadent lunch on any visit to Lisbon. OpenTuesday to Saturday, 12:30pm-3pm for lunch, and 7:30pm-11pm fordinner. Reservations are essential.
Meaning 'Fish Dock' in Portuguese, Doca Peixe restaurant servessome of the best quality fish and shellfish in Lisbon. Theestablishment is found along the Santo Amaro Dock, an old area ofwarehouses now restored to a charming space of leisure. Fish can beseen swimming in the aquarium at the entrance, reiterating itsmantra of fresh food straight from the local markets. Fish can bechar-grilled, cooked in salt or baked. The flagship dish is codfishcooked with clams and flavoured with coriander. The grilled platterof shellfish comes highly recommended. Open Tuesday to Sunday forlunch and dinner. Booking advisable.
Nood is set in a modern and minimalist canteen, offering a greatselection of Asian-inspired cuisine. Categorised somewhere betweennoodle bar and sushi restaurant, the fusion menu features (Asian pastries), (Japanese noodles) and (grilled chicken on skewers). Don't miss thesignature Nood ice-cream with chocolate and wasabi for dessert! Thekids will have their very own menu as well as colouring pens tokeep them entertained. Open daily for lunch and dinner, from 12h00to 00h00. Reservations recommended.
The imposing Castelo de São Jorge fortifications and the pale,refined towers of the Basilica da Estrêla greet guests at the ViaGraça. Surrounded by a neighboured of Pombaline architecture, thisis a setting designed with style and discretion. Boasting aromantic, warmly-lit interior and vast wine cellar, it is an ideallocation for any lunch or dinner. The menu offers a selection oftraditional Portuguese food including roast duck with Setúbal wine,and stuffed fillet of sole served with shrimp. Open for lunchMonday to Friday and dinner all week, reservations recommended.
Café de São Bento is a small eatery in Príncipe Real and hasgrown into the epitome of a Portuguese steakhouse. Receiving ravereviews from both locals and tourists for many years, the smallrestaurant has a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere designed foradults. Here, guests can enjoy excellent steak and side dishes, anda good selection of wines. Because it is small, Café de São Bentocan be crowded during peak dining hours. The restaurant is openMonday to Friday from 12:30pm-2:30pm and 7pm-2am, and weekends7pm-2am. Lastly, they discourage bringing children.
The official currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into100 cents. There are numerous banks, bureaux de change and ATMsavailable in main cities and tourist destinations. Foreign currencycan be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and automatic currencyexchange machines. Banking hours are generally 8.30am to 3pm Mondayto Friday. Major credit cards are widely accepted.
Portuguese is the official language, but English iswidely spoken and understood.
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pinplugs are used.
US nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 dayswithin a 180 day period. A passport valid for at least three monthsbeyond period of intended stay is required.
British passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject','British Overseas Territories Citizen', and Identity Cards issuedby Gibraltar must be valid for the duration of intended stay.British passports with any other endorsement must be valid forthree months beyond period of intended stay. Visas are not requiredfor British Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens,British Subjects, and those with Identity Cards issued byGibraltar.
Canadians do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 dayswithin a 180 day period. A passport valid for three months beyondperiod of intended stay is required.
Australian nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to90 days within a 180 day period. A passport valid for three monthsbeyond period of intended stay is required.
South African nationals require a passport valid for at leastthree months beyond period of intended stay, and a Schengenvisa.
Irish nationals do not require a visa to visit Portugal. Apassport valid on arrival is required.
US nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 dayswithin a 180 day period. A passport valid for at least three monthsbeyond period of intended stay is required.
New Zealand nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to90 days within a 180 day period. A passport valid for three monthsbeyond period of intended stay is required.
All visitors, except EEA member states, must hold tickets anddocuments for their return or onward journey, and proof of paidaccommodation (equivalent in convertible currency accepted). Theborderless region known as the Schengen area includes the followingcountries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia,Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands,Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden andSwitzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visathat has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travelfreely within the borders of all. It is highly recommended thatpassports have at least six months validity remaining after yourintended date of departure from your travel destination.Immigration officials often apply different rules to those statedby travel agents and official sources.
There are no health risks attached to travel to Portugal. Ayellow fever vaccination certificate is necessary for entry foranyone travelling from an infected area and destined for the Azoresor Madeira. Health facilities are good and reciprocal healthagreements exist with most European countries, including the UK,whose citizens can receive low-cost emergency care at statehospitals. It is advisable that travellers obtain a European HealthInsurance Card (EHIC) before travel. Dental care and repatriationcosts are not covered under this agreement, and medical insuranceis therefore advised.
Service charges are not usually added to hotel and restaurantbills but it is customary to leave a 10 percent tip. Bar staff andtaxi drivers also expect tips, which usually entails rounding up ofthe bill to the nearest Euro.
Generally, safety is not a problem for travel in Portugal butthere is a rising incidence of petty theft and pick pocketing intourist areas, so reasonable care should be taken. Portugal has avery poor road safety record so exercise caution and drivedefensively when exploring in a rented car.
It is a legal requirement for foreigners to show some form ofidentification on request.
Business culture in Portugal observes a strict hierarchical'top-down' approach to management and leadership. Subordinateemployees are expected to do as they are told. Strong businessrelationships are built on trust between colleagues, and personalconnections are important. Business etiquette is formal, yetrelaxed. Use titles ('Señhor' and 'Señhora') until strictlyinstructed not to do so, and show deference to those in obviouspositions of authority. Business meetings in Portugal must be madeby appointment, and should not ordinarily be scheduled for timeswhen they might conflict with important family or religiousholidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.).
The dress code in Portugal is strictly smart and formal - with astrong emphasis placed on presentation. Business hours in Portugalvary, but are generally from 8.30am to 1pm, and 3pm to 6pm, fromMonday to Friday.
The international access code for Portugal is +351. Pre-paid simcards can be bought at airports and used in unlocked mobilephones.
Wifi is available in most hotels, cafes and some restaurantsthroughout Portugal.
Travellers over 17 years arriving from non-EU countries do nothave to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarrilos, 50 cigars or250g of tobacco; 4 litres of wine, 16 litres of beer and 1 litre ofspirits over 22% or 2 litres of liquor less than 22% volume; 50g ofperfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; other goods up to the valueof €430 for air and sea travellers.
Institute of Portugal Tourism, Lisbon: +351 211 205 050 orwww.visitportugal.com
Portuguese Embassy, Washington, United States: +1 202 3505400.
Portuguese Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 207 2355331.
Portuguese Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 729 0883
Portuguese Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 341 2340
Consulate General of Portugal, Sydney, Australia: +61 2 92622199
Portuguese Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 412 7040
Portuguese Consulate, Auckland, New Zealand: +64 9 255 2569
United States Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 727 3300
British Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 392 4000
Canadian Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 316 4600
South African Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 319 2200
Australian Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 310 1500
Irish Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 330 8200
New Zealand Consulate, Lisbon: +351 21 314 0780
Sintra is steeped in history and offers some of the mostexquisite natural and architectural sites in the country. Verdanthills and pastureland wend their way northwest from Lisbon, out ofthe Tagus estuary and up towards Sintra. The resort town enjoys apicturesque location, nestled in the rolling hills and peaks of theSintra mountain range. Here, at the northern-most extent of theprotected Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, history, archaeology,architecture and natural beauty combine to create a compelling andenduring centrepiece that has enjoyed centuries of popularity.Lisbon and Sintra are connected by a reliable and inexpensive trainservice.
Setúbal, one of Portugal's oldest cities, is renownedfor producing the most delicious muscadel wine in the world.Setúbal is also the capital of Portugal's sardine industry and hasbeen a fish-salting centre since the 1st century. White mounds ofsea salt drying in the sun are a familiar part of the locallandscape. The city sits nearby the Nature Park of Arrábida. Thepark offers unspoilt nature and beautiful beaches. Lucky visitorsmay even be able to spot the dolphin colony, which inhabits theSado River.
In the remote northeast province of Tras-os-Montes,the small provincial capital, Bragança, lies close to the Spanishborder and is slowly being discovered by tourists. This is mostlybecause of its fine local museum and the small medieval village andcastle on a hillock overlooking the town. Between the medievalcitadel and the cathedral is the garden of the Museu do Abade deBaçal. The museum itself houses a collection of sacred art andwatercolours painted by Alberto Souza. In the medieval citadel isthe Domus Municipalis, a pentagonal 12th century civic buildingwhich is unique in Europe.
A small town at the mouth of the River Ave, 20.5 miles (33km)north of Porto, Vila do Conde has become a popular summer holidayresort because of its sandy beaches and rocky reefs. This isdespite that it does not often feel like a resort. The town hassome entertaining local industries, mainly hand-hewn boat building,lace-making, hand-knitting and sweet making. Visitors are welcomeat the Rendas lace-making school, where fine examples of the locallace can be purchased while the large Friday market is a good placeto find both souvenirs and excellent local food.
Boasting a remarkably well-preserved Old Town centre,partially bordered by medieval walls, as well as the outstandingRoman Temple (built in the 1st century AD), the gorgeous medievaltown of Évora is really something special to behold. Designated aUNESCO World Heritage Site, the town is small, compact,easy-to-navigate and best explored on foot. Visitors will feelimmersed in history as they pass by the Aqueduct of Silver Water,the Cathedral of Évora, the Palace of Vasco da Gama and theRenaissance Fountain at Largo das Portas de Moura, built in 1556.The town makes for a perfect cultural day trip from nearbyAlgarve.
The Serra de Estrela, mainland Portugal's highestmountain range, is fast becoming one of Europe's hottest newresorts for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Therange is formed from a huge granite ridge that reaches 6,539 feet(1,993m) at its highest point, and its unique topography ofstrangely-shaped crags and gorges, fast-flowing streams, mountainlakes and pristine forests makes it one of Portugal's greatestnatural attractions. The ski resort itself features five miles(7.4km) of skiable snow, nine runs ranging in difficulty fromabsolute beginner to intermediate, and a terrain park forsnowboarders. There are also hiking trails, chic restaurants andhigh-class health spas.
The resort town of Espinho lies just 16 miles (26km)south of Porto. It has a casino and a bullring, as well as a rangeof shops, restaurants, hotels and campsites. It possesses a longstretch of golden sandy beach popular with surfers, a number ofexcellent seafood restaurants, and one of the world's oldest golfcourses. The Monday market is a popular draw, occupying three citystreets with stalls selling local food, crafts, souvenirs and otheritems. Espinho is easily navigable, with many of its chiefattractions located within easy walking distance of the trainstation downtown. These include local museums, a planetarium, musicacademy, and the João de Deus city park.