Lisbon became in the last 30 years, one of the most visited and popular destinations in Europe, due to the economical development of Portugal, allied to the charming of the old quarters, historical monuments and to the friendly population.
This historical city founded on the XII century, offers a variety of contrasts: known as the City of the seven hills, you can find the Moorish quarters: Alfama and Saint Georges Castle, the historical and monumental quarter of Belem, with the representative monuments of the Portuguese discoveries, the old and charming center “Baixa”, Bairro Alto and Avenida da Liberdade, cosmopolitan and shopping areas and the new quarter of Park of Nations, where the World Exhibition Expo’98 took place.
Considered one of the Europe’s coolest city and awarded in the last two consecutive years (2018 and 2019) the World’s Leading City Break Destination, Lisbon is, nowadays, a busy and lively city and it is also one of the big cultural attractions in Europe, with interesting Museums, old cafes and taverns.
Estoril evolved from a small spa to an elegant town due to its preference by members of Royalty from several countries.
Its proximity to Lisbon, its mild climate and attendance by aristocrats turned Estoril into an absolute “must” for visitors. Nowadays, Estoril is a modern and elegant cosmopolitan resort,
with the Casino, the Golf Courses, the Sailing and Horseback-
Cascais, once a small fishermen village, has grown in size and popularity in recent years to become one of the most attractive resorts on the capital’s coastline.
Portuguese Kings and many exiled foreign Kings have lived in Cascais over the years. It is a sophisticated place with many elegant shops and a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.
Sintra, a beautiful hill town, on the outskirts of Lisbon, is dotted with historic Palaces and surrounded by wooded hills.
A tour in the Sintra Mountains is an amazing experience, where you will discover the beauty of its nature: dense forest, an incredible landscape of giant moss-covered boulders, with breathtaking views over the Atlantic Coast, the Tagus Estuary and beyond. The route then returns down along small country roads passing through hill villages and large estates.
Porto is Portugal’s second largest city, also known as the Capital of the North, and rises like an amphitheatre on the Northern bank of the river Douro.
Its location in the industrialised northern part of the country benefited Porto with a very active spirit for business and trade, while enjoying a lively cultural life and the lush gastronomy of the North.
Porto’s historical centre is a real trip through the times.
In the Cathedral district: a wonderful panorama of the city from the Terreiro da Sé; the imposing Cathedral itself contains many small-scale treasures; the Renaissance Church of Santa Clara and its opulent gilded interior; the São Bento Railway Station, on the site of an earlier Monastery, and the scenes depicted in azulejos that decorate its interior.
The Ribeira Quarter, along the Douro River, recently declared Worldwide Heritage by the UNESCO; the Baroque Church of Clérigos and its soaring tower, the Crystal Palace, where many exhibitions are held; the Gothic Church of Saint Francis.
Along the riverside, the splendid two-tier bridge of D. Luis I, designed by an assistant of Gustave Eiffel, and the Dona Maria Pia railway bridge designed by Eiffel himself.
The Douro Valley, birthplace of Port wine, is one of the oldest and most beautiful of the historic European wine regions.
Wine has been made there for two thousand years.
In 1756 the Douro Valley became the first classic wine region to be legally demarcated. Its vineyards were comprehensively classified the following year, almost a century before those of Bordeaux.
The Douro Valley has a climate of hot dry summers and severe winters. The Granitic foothills of Marão and Montemuro shelter this region from the Atlantic humid winds. Its wild and mountainous landscape is dramatic in scale and until relatively recently much of the region was remote and inaccessible.
Most of the finest vineyards are planted on the steep hillsides bordering the Douro River and its tributaries, such as the Pinhão,
the Távora and the Rio Torto.
About two thirds of the vineyard area is planted on slopes with a gradient of over 30% and the Douro Valley is the only significant wine producing area in the world to practice hot climate hillside viticulture.
Thanks to its stunning coastline, year-round mild weather, lush vegetation, warm sea and air currents from northern Africa, the Algarve has become one of the most popular holiday destinations
in southern Europe.
Facing North Africa to the south, and exposed to the force of the Atlantic in the west, the Algarve has a varied coastline.
West of Faro is the Barlavento (windward side) where the sea is colder and rougher and where one finds stunning beaches backed
by abrupt cliffs, as well as deserted beaches and beautiful sandy coves, punctuated with grottoes.
East of Faro, the Sotavento (leeward side) has long, sandy beaches washed by warm, calm water.
The Algarve is a delight to visit all year round: in summer the coast between Faro and Lagos is a favourite destination for visitors from all over Europe: Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo are two beautiful examples of luxury holiday resorts set in an area of great natural beauty; Vilamoura, a modern seaside resort in the middle of which one finds the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Cerro da Vila; the ancient Moorish fortress of Albufeira; the delightful boat trips one takes from Armação de Pêra, along sandstone cliffs, rocks sculpted by erosion, and the numerous sea grottoes;the vast beach, turquoise waters and the series of creeks of Praia da Rocha; the coveted seaside resort of Lagos, an international sailing centre, an important port during the Great Discoveries and the capital of the Algarve between 1576 and 1756.
From Lagos you can reach the beaches on the rugged south-west coast, the picturesque harbour of Sagres, the School of Navigation and Shipyard built by Henry the Navigator, as well as enjoying a stunning view from Saint Vincent Cape, formerly believed to be the end of the world, an important reference point for shipping since the 15th c.
East of Faro you find places like Tavira, with its roman bridge, its Moorish castle and remains of the walls and the sandy beach of the Island of Tavira.
The Azores Archipelago, of volcanic origin, is located in the middle
of the Atlantic Ocean, between Europe and North America.
Composed by nine islands, the area of the islands varies from 747 sq. km (São Miguel, the biggest island) to 17 sq. km (Corvo, the smallest island).
The nine islands are usually divided in three distinct groups: the Eastern Group (São Miguel & Santa Maria), the Central Group (Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Faial & Pico) and the Western Group (the weather-beaten islands of Corvo & Flores).
Having been an integral part of Portugal from the 15th century, the Azores are nowadays an autonomous region, endowed with its own parliament and government.
The Azores Islands have a mild climate all year round, practically with no significant temperature changes.
The Islands are a paradise for those who love Nature: the shapes
of its lagoons framed by flowers, the hills, the belvederes and the breathtaking views combining blue and green.
The Azores also provide for a lot of different emotions and adventures.
There is a great variety of interesting things to do: whale watching; walking through valleys and hills, breathing the air scented by flowers and iodine from the ocean; playing golf or tennis; sailing or snorkelling and visiting volcanic galleries and old craters.
Madeira, also known as ‘’the pearl of the Atlantic’’, offers its visitors the permanent mildness of its climate, the enchantment of its semi-tropical vegetation which turns the island into a true flowered garden, and the variety and beauty of its landscapes which spread into huge panoramas.
The discovery of Madeira marks the first stage of the Great Discoveries of Portugal.
The island is literally covered with flowers: camellias, orchids, proteas, geraniums, hibiscus, strelizias, fuchsias and others grow
or are grown there all year round.
The art in Madeira is essentially religious, and the presence of Flemish art is noticeable.
As for its gastronomy, one will experience the famous meat kebabs, the roasted meat with cinnamon, the tuna steaks, the fried corn,
the honey cakes and naturally all the delicious fruits, all of which accompanied by the famous Madeira wines, the three main ones being the Sercial (dry wine originally from the Rhine region, ideal
for an aperitif), the Bual (rich fruity wine from the Bourgogne region originally, sweet dessert wine), and the Malmsey (the most famous one, a rich, dark after-dinner digestive wine).