Situated on the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is renowned for its Gothic castles, lush landscapes and cobblestone villages. With appetizing coastline cuisine such as salted cod, spicy sausage and caramel custard, it is no wonder travelers are increasingly drawn to the country’s vibrant culture. Whether you relax on one of the golden beaches in Algarve or admire the ornate architecture throughout the cities, Portugal is always ready to offer a taste of the good life.
Major Attractions: In addition to visiting Lisbon, Portugal’s historic capital, explore the winding alleys and medieval churches in Coimbra, or try a glass of the world-famous port wine in Porto. Out of Portugal’s innumerable castles, the Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra is one of the country’s most breathtaking estates and features gardens and underground grottos.
Great for Church Groups: Religious groups might visit the Sanctuary of Fatima, which commemorates the manifestation of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. The medieval Convent of Christ once sheltered the legendary Templar Knights, and the Monastery of Batalha is one of the finest specimens of Portuguese Gothic architecture.
Hidden Treasures: Experience whale-watching and hot mineral springs on the volcanic islands of the Azores, or wander through the world’s largest laurel forests on Madeira Island, known as the “Floating Garden of the Atlantic.” The village of Monsanto displays houses between, on and underneath giant boulders.
Unique Souvenirs: Portugal offers a variety of exquisite keepsakes, such as bright, floral pottery; hand-embroidered rugs; and Viana Filigree Heart Pendants. In Évora, located near the world’s largest cork forests, look for cork boots, bags, dresses and umbrellas.
For more information contact the Portuguese Tourist Office at 646-723-0200 or go to www.visitportugal.com.