"small great country" Portugal by jorgejuansanchez
Portugal Travel Guide: 19,499 reviews and 54,801 photos
Portugal is a small great country. The population is only 10 million people, but the portuguese sailors discovered for the europeans many islands and lands in the five continents, that is why today the portuguese language is spoken by more than 200 million people in the seven Lusofonia countries, that is Portugal, Brazil, Guinea Bissau, Cabo Verde, Mozambique, Angola, and Sao Tome and Principe (and perhaps should be included recently independent East Timor). Still now, you can see in the atlas many portuguese named islands in the Indian and Atlantic oceans such as Fernando de Noronha, Tristan da Cunha, Diego Garcia, Cargados Carajos, Mascarenhas archipelago, Almirante islands, etc.
Portugal and Spain were always in history a single country, but in the XII century Portugal preferred to be independent from Spain. From 1580 to 1640, the two neighbour countries sharing the Iberian Peninsula were again united, but presently they form two separated governments. There was a time (mainly in the XV, XVI and XVII centuries) when Portugal and Spain were the dominant powers of the world and even divided the planet in two spheres for evangelization purposes, the Portuguese, from Brazil to Moluccas islands, and the Spanish, which included all America except Brazil, all the Pacific Ocean archipelagos and the Philippines.
Some beautiful cities that you should visit while in Portugal, are, Lisbon, of course, with the Monastery of the Jeronimos (UNESCO Patrimony of the Humankind), the Belem tower, and nearby Sintra, Estoril, Cascais and the Cabo da Roca, the most western point of Europe, where they will issue a certificate.
In the night you can assist to a fado show in the Bairro Alto, in Lisbon. I was in Luso restaurant, where apart from fados there were funny performances of folkloric dances from all the portuguese regions.
Other wonderful place worth to spend a few days is Oporto, an amazing and charming town protected by UNESCO, with its narrow streets and the Oporto wine cellars on the bank of the river Douro (Duero in spanish). Do not miss the Commerce Palace, which interior looks like the Alhambra of Granada. A good place for fados is the restaurant Mal Acozhinado, by the river Douro, inside an old XIV stone palace, which show is better than Luso’s in Lisbon. Finally, I advice you to take an excursion boat along the Douro River until the Atlantic Ocean passing through an iron bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel.
Fatima is interesting, even if you are not christian. The only annoyance is the commercialization of this holy place by hundreds of business shops selling wine, all kind of souvenirs and the typical portuguese rooster statue everywhere.
Coimbra deserves one day visit because of its university, the oldest in Portugal, in the top of a hill, and the walled jew quarter. And for children and adults alike, please, go to Portugal dos pequeninos (Portugal for children), a portuguese thematic park with seven parts corresponding to the seven countries where portuguese is the official language (Angola, Brazil, etc.).
Enchanting walled Obidos, historical Batalha monastery and the beaches of Nazaret, are also a must during your stay in Portugal.
The island of Madeira and Azores archipelago are very interesting places to visit if you can afford it.
The cost of living is slightly cheaper in Portugal than in Spain. Apart from the good and cheap portuguese wines, you should also consider to buy Conimbriga delicate porcelain.
If you go to Sintra, then try CREAM CODFISH in any reataurant (delicious!).
When visiting Cabo da Roca I was given this certificate (well, I had to buy it!)
Probably the most beautiful palace in Portugal is PENA (see picture). To get there you have to go to Sintra, a lovely town at about 24 kilometres of Lisbon. In the centre of Sintra you can visit another nice palace, but Pena is more beautiful. From Sintra you have to take a taxi (8 euros) up to the Pena Palace. Once in Pena you will not believe your eyes. The palace before you is fantastic; it looks like the romantic Neuschwanstein, in Baviera, and in fact it was constructed in 1840, in the ruins of a former monastery, by order of Fernando II, a Portuguese king born in Germany.
If you are fond of palaces, then, another one I can suggest you still more impressive than Pena, is in Bussaco, about 20 kilometres north of Coimbra, where you can take a suite for 1000 euros a night, or pay 80 euros for a double room.
- Pros:original country and cheap prices
This is a shelter for pilgrims making on foot the Camino de Santiago, or going to the holy village of Fatima. It is free... more travel advice
Located in the heart of Barcelos. Especial prices for pilgrims in luxurious roomsn (15 euro a single with modern toilets... more travel advice
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