Portugal is located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It is the westernmost country of mainland Europe. It is roughly 350 miles long and 117 miles wide. It has a temperate year-round temperature that is influenced by the Gulf Stream. It’s Atlantic position provides a much cooler climate in the north with a good amount of rainfall in the winter.
Portugal offers many attractions such as sub-tropical volcanic islands, lush green meadows and not to mention 528 miles of beautiful beaches. Rich in tradition and history, it is one of the oldest nations in Europe.
Architecture is just one of the many intriguing features. Especially the Gothic style called Manueline which reflects the country’s prosperity during the Age of the Discoveries. Be sure not to miss the beautifully glazed tiles called azulejos which decorate most of the country’s buildings and monuments.
If golfing is a favorite, Portugal offers more than forty top-class courses including San Lorenzo which was officially recognized as one of Europe’s best championship courses. Surfing, water-skiing, swimming, horse-riding, and cycling are just some of the sporting activities one can enjoy while visiting.
Portuguese cuisine is very distinctive and offers many different specialties that have evolved from local ingredients and Portuguese traditions. Much of the cooking is spiced based thanks to the accomplishments of Vasco de Gama and other navigators of his time. He and his men circled the globe in search of pepper, cloves, curry, nutmeg, and cinnamon. All of which serve as the base of today’s Portuguese cooking.
Portugal’s rich cultural heritage extends to it’s capital city of Lisbon. This gorgeous city is widely popular for it’s restored palaces, stunning churches, and an immaculate hilltop castle. It’s most popular shopping area is the Baixa, which is made up of several small streets including the traffic-free Rua Augusta. A short walk from there brings you to Rua de Santa Catarina or downtown. Here you’ll find several quaint boutiques and stores. You’ll also find the illustrious Meridien Park Atlantic Hotel. Other accomidations range from fabulous five-star resorts to your most basic rooms. The towns of Cascais ans Estoril offer a more relaxed alternative as apposed to the hustle and bustle of city life. Apart from the hotels, it is also possible to stay in the more personal setting of a manor house. Here the guests are encouraged to eat and interact with the family.