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Often people assume they know what Portugal is about just because it is in Western Europe, but the truth is that this country is extremely surprising, packing a unique experience as a travel destination.
Portugal is a truly magical country and one of the places everyone should try to visit at least once. Portugal is located in the Iberian Peninsula, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and Spain to the east. Despite its rather small size, Portugal was the starting point of a huge colonial empire that stretched from Africa to South America.
Portugal combines some of the most diverse and condensed attractions on the continent, rapidly passing from beautiful cities to remote villages, from high mountains to the serene beaches, from lush valleys to dry deserts. Frequently overlooked in comparison to destinations like France, Spain or Italy, Portugal has preserved much of its authentic charm and feel. There are many things to say about Portugal, starting with its most impressive cities, such as Lisbon, the enchanting capital with its incredible monuments and atmosphere. There are many things to see in Lisbon, including Sao Jorge Castle, the Cristo Rei monumental statue, the Belem neighborhood, as well as the museums, parks, funiculars and so on. Another great destination is Porto with its UNESCO World Heritage historical center, its famous wine and the exquisite scenery.
Among the other cities and towns of Portugal, some make for fascinating experiences, such as Sintra, Braga, Viana do Castelo, Coimbra, Amarante. Beyond these destinations, the rural side of the country is also fascinating, with traditional and authentic villages. Portugal is also famous for its idyllic beaches that stretch along its infinite shores. From the ones close to Lisbon to the popular resort of Algarve and from the beaches in the islands of Madeira or Azores to the ones of Alentejo, these destination are excellent for all types of water activities, including some of the best surfing in Europe. Portugal has also been named one of the best golfing destinations in the world, with perfect courses in magnificent places.
There is much more to discover in this amazing country, including the Natural Park of Arrabida near Setúbal, great for hiking and other adventures. And the Rio Douro (“River of Gold”) that winds for over 200km from the Spanish border to the sea at Porto, with port wine lodges and tiny villages dotted above intricately terraced hillsides. This is a great route to drive along but also home to a classic rail journey, the Linha do Douro.
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