Portugal Off The Beaten Path Tips by traveldave
Portugal Off The Beaten Path: 314 reviews and 382 photos
The Citadel of Cascais comprises the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Luz de Cascais and the Tower of Santo António Cascais. It was constructed by King João IV in 1488 as a small fortress that was part of a defensive line of fortresses on the right bank of the Tagus River that protected the sea approaches to Lisbon.
In 1580, Spanish forces led by the Duke of Alba took the fortress, which led to the union of the Portuguese and Spanish crowns. In the late sixteenth century, the fortress was enlarged by King Felipe I of Spain, turning it into a citadel and giving it its present low profile and star-shaped floor plan.
The citadel was converted into a summer palace by King Luís I in 1870, and it was used as a royal summer residence up until 1908. King Carlos I had an interest in marine biology, and installed Portugal's first oceanographic laboratory in the citadel in 1896. Nowadays part of the Citadel of Cascais serves as the summer residence of the Portuguese president.
The Citadel of Cascais is located in the center of Cascais, just to the southwest of the Largo 5 de Outubro. A fine example of an early Portuguese fortress, the citadel is one of the town's most popular tourist attractions.
Portugal's third-largest city after Lisbon and Porto, Coimbra has about 430,000 inhabitants in its metropolitan area. The city was founded on a hill overlooking the Mondego River, and the impressive historical buildings on the hill's summit form a skyline that is an iconic symbol of the city.
The area that would one day become Coimbra was first settled by Germanic peoples from about 465 to 468 A.D. The Romans occupied the area from 586 to 640 A.D., but the town never prospered under their rule, nor did they leave any significant monuments. The town only began to flourish under the Moors, who moved into the area in 711 A.D. It became a trading center between the Muslim south and the Christian north. The Moors called the settlement Qulumriyah, which was eventually corrupted by the Portuguese into Coimbra.
The town was taken from the Moors by Ferdinand the Great in 1064. The first king of Portugal, King Alfonso Henriques later moved his capital from Guimarães to Coimbra, which served as the nation's capital until 1255.
During the Middle Ages, the city was divided between the upper city, or Cidade Alta, and the lower city, or Cidade Baixa. The aristocracy and members of the clergy lived in Cidade Alta, and Cidade Baixa was the home of the lower classes and the center of trade and commerce. Nowadays, Cidade Alta contains most of the city's great buildings and monuments, and Cidade Baixa is characterized by narrow, cobbled streets.
Coimbra is also home to Portugal's largest and oldest university. The University of Coimbra was founded in 1290, but was not permanently established in Coimbra until 1537. It is one of the oldest universities in Europe, and is the oldest university in the Portuguese-speaking world. The university is located on a hill overlooking Coimbra, and forms a distinctive part of the city's skyline.
Like its neighbor, Estoril, Cascais is popular with the young international crowd. The town became a fashionable resort in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when King Luís I moved his summer palace there. The royal presence attracted members of the Portuguese aristocracy, who built magnificent vacation villas in the surrounding hills, transforming the town into a resort area. Nowadays, fashionable shops and restaurants line the pedestrian streets of the town.
Cascais is about 19 miles (30 kilometers) from Lisbon, and is part of that city's greater metropolitan area. It is home to many members of the Portuguese monied elite, and is therefore one of the richest municipalities in the country.
Cascais was first settled in the twelfth century, at which time it became an important fishing port. During the Middle Ages, the town benefitted from maritime commerce, since it was a port of call for ships on their way to Lisbon. At the same time, the Cascais area was a center for agriculture, producing wine, olive oil, grains, and fruits.
In 1488, King João II built a fortress on the town's harbor as part of a defensive line of fortresses protecting the sea approaches to Lisbon. It was taken by Spanish forces in 1580, which led to the union of the Portuguese and Spanish crowns. The fortress and town were also occupied by the French during Napolean's invasion of Portugal in 1807.
The fortress was converted into a royal summer residence by King Luís I in 1870. Because of the royal presence, many improvements to the basic infrastructure of Cascais were carried out, including construction of better roads to Lisbon and Sintra, and the building of a casino and bullring. Cascais was also the first town in Portugal to have electric lights.
The town's main square (pictured here) is the Largo 5 de Outubro.
The resort town of Estoril is located about 18 miles (29 kilometers) west of Lisbon, near the mouth of the Tagus River on the Atlantic coast. Its casino and cultural and sporting events attract visitors from all over the world.
The area that would one day become Estoril was first inhabited by the Phoenicians. They were followed by the Romans who settled in the area around 2,000 years ago, and then the Moors occupied the town until they were expelled during the reconquest in the twelfth century.
In the centuries that followed, Estoril became a major fishing port. However, it was a sleepy village with little or no recognition from the outside world. Estoril first became popular at the turn of the twentieth century for its therapeutic spring waters. And in the years before the Second World War, businessman Fausto Cardoso de Figueiredo and his partner Augusto Carreira de Sousa built the Casino Estoril and developed the town into a seaside resort.
During the Second World War, Allied and Axis spies were drawn to neutral Portugal. They engaged in international espionage and secret diplomacy. This brought about an atmosphere of intrigue and mystery to the town. The war caused the downfall of most of Europe's monarchies, and Estoril became a place of exile for many European kings and aristocrats, among them Miklós Horthy, the regent of Hungary; King Juan Carlos I of Spain; and King Carol II of Romania. The presence of royalty and aristocracy set the stage for the town's current sophistication and cosmopolitanism.
Nowadays, Estoril is a seaside playground for Portugal's elite and the international jet set. International cultural and sporting events attract visitors from all over the world. Some of the major events staged in Estoril include the Estoril Fashion Festival, the Estoril Open de Portugal (tennis), the Estoril Circuit (motorsports), the Audi Med Cup (sailing), the Estoril Surf Girls (women's surfing), the Estoril Golf Open, and the International Lusitano Horse Fair.
The Largo da Portagem is in the center of Coimbra's bustling commercial district in the lower city, or Cidade Baixa. It means "Place of the Gateway", as it served as a gateway from the Cidade Baixa to the upper city, or Cidade Alta. The square is dominated by a statue of Joaquim António de Aguiar, the prime minister of Portugal from 1808 to 1817.
The Largo da Portagem is a logical place to start a tour of Coimbra. The Rua Ferreira Borges leads from the square into the old quarter of the city. The local tourist office is also located here, and is a good place to get helpful information about the sights and history of Coimbra.
Once a small fishing village, Albufeira has become a major tourist destination on Portugal's Algarve coast. Tourists are attracted by the town's three beaches, Peneco, Pescadores, and Inatel. These beaches are characterized by soft white sand, and are sheltered by steep rocky cliffs. Crowds of tourists sunbathe on the beaches during the day and frequent the restaurants, bars, and discotheques at night. In my opinion, the crowds and bland hotel buildings have spoiled what would otherwise be a picturesque and quaint village.
Albufeira was originally settled by the Romans, who called their town Baltum. The Roman occupation is evident in remains of roads, bridges, and aqueducts that can still be seen. The area was eventually conquered by the Moors, who called the town Al-Buhera, which means "Castle of the Sea", and referred to a fortress they built on an outcrop overlooking the bay. In 1249, the Moors were expelled during the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. Albufeira then became part of the Kingdom of Portugal.
In the nineteenth century, the town became a center for the fishing industry that arose along the Algarve coast. Albufeira was discovered by the tourism industry in the 1960s, and since then there have been massive development projects beyond the old part of town, and the Praia dos Barcos (where fishermen still take to the sea in their small boats), in which dozens of huge hotels, restaurants, bars, discotheques, and other facilities that cater to the tourist trade were built.
More Reviews (15)
traveldave's Related Pages
Portugal Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Portugal in my heart"
- "Portugal my lovely country"
- "Wonderful Portugal"
- "Portugal by Car"
- "Portugal - Country of Batles"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Portugal
- Hotels in Portugal
- Transportation in Portugal
- Nightlife in Portugal
- Restaurants in Portugal
- Shopping in Portugal
- Warnings and Dangers in Portugal
- See All...
Explore the World
- San Jose Hotels
- Sweetland Center Hotels
- Fort Polk
- El Arrayán Hotels
- Watertown Hotels
- Shanghai Shi
- Tuscany Off The Beaten Path
- Beaches near Caracas (Litoral Central)
- Albuquerque Off The Beaten Path
- Vincennes Off The Beaten Path
- Oklahoma City Off The Beaten Path
- Carmel-by-the-Sea Off The Beaten Path
- Šmarna gora
- Aruba Off The Beaten Path
- Haw Par Villa (Tiger Balm Gardens)
- Organization of American States
- Chattanooga Off The Beaten Path
- Telluride Off The Beaten Path
Badges & Stats in Portugal
- 21 Reviews
- 23 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 0 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (29)
Have you been to Portugal?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Portugal
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Illinois Intro, 50 reviews, 51 photos, 1 travelogue
- United States of America Intro, 47 reviews, 49 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Canada Intro, 45 reviews, 47 photos, 1 travelogue
- Peru Intro, 43 reviews, 44 photos, 1 travelogue
- New Mexico Intro, 42 reviews, 44 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Indiana Intro, 40 reviews, 42 photos, 1 travelogue
- Morocco Intro, 35 reviews, 36 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination West Virginia Intro, 34 reviews, 36 photos, 1 travelogue
- Tunisia Intro, 31 reviews, 33 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Yemen Intro, 31 reviews, 33 photos, 1 travelogue
FriendsSee All Friends (1)
Top Portugal hotels
- Albufeira Hotels
- 360 Reviews - 664 Photos
- Lisbon Hotels
- 5119 Reviews - 12617 Photos
- Funchal Hotels
- 500 Reviews - 1020 Photos
- Alvor Hotels
- 126 Reviews - 363 Photos
- Porto Hotels
- 991 Reviews - 2484 Photos
- Faro Hotels
- 230 Reviews - 766 Photos
- Cascais Hotels
- 449 Reviews - 2294 Photos
- Lagos Hotels
- 244 Reviews - 621 Photos
- Ponta Delgada Hotels
- 117 Reviews - 310 Photos
- Tavira Hotels
- 194 Reviews - 385 Photos
- Estoril Hotels
- 61 Reviews - 351 Photos
- Portimão Hotels
- 66 Reviews - 241 Photos
- Quarteira Hotels
- 24 Reviews - 62 Photos
- Pinhão Hotels
- 56 Reviews - 190 Photos
- Praia da Rocha Hotels
- 31 Reviews - 70 Photos