Most popular cities in Portugal
Top regions in Portugal
Top landmarks in Portugal
Once Portugal ruled on almost half of the world territory, right from it's independence in XI century, its borders expanded southward to the sea. Later on the Prince Henry the Navigator started the development of navigational and cartographic techniques, which influenced major Portugal's discoveries and changed the fundamental perceptions of humankind: Vasco da Gama sailed to India, Magellan circumnavigated the globe, and Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope. In time, Portuguese navigators explored two thirds of the Earth, opening the globe to trade and colonization and expanding the intellectual horizons of Western civilization for all time. In spite of its former influence, Portugal still suffers from one of the most widespread misconceptions in European travel-that it's simply a poor copy of "another Spain", but the situation slightly changes. As, unlike other countries, Portugal has lots of saved has so many undiscovered places, which makes the country one of the most rewarding travel destinations in Europe.
This was very shortly a very rich history of Portugal, but what about Portugal vacations? Well, there are many options to spend the vacation in this country: visit its capital, Lisbon, or beaches in Algrave. The range is very broad.Accommodation rates in Portugal include the 13.1% service charge and 17.5% value-added tax (VAT). Hotels are ranged by the government from five stars to one, according to the availability of certain technicalities, so second- and third-class hotels can be really good in terms of price and quality. Generally prices include service and taxes; breakfast might or might not be included; individual write-ups reflect various hotel policies about breakfast.
While travelling in countryside, you can stay in pousadas, government-owned tourist inns, located in very beautiful and warm historic buildings, such as convents, palaces, and castles. This is a good option especially if the town or village is small and there are not so many hotels to stay in. Rates are not low but, for the quality and services offered, are moderate. A guest can't stay more than 5 days because there's usually a waiting list. The identical inns, not run by the government are known as estalagems. Lisbon, Portugal's capital is located on hilly terrain beside one of the finest harbors in Europe, the estuary of the Tagus River. Unlikely, the name of the city came from Ulysses, who, according to the Lisboans tales founded their city. But there is another more real story, that the Phoenicians or the Carthaginians were the original settlers and the city might have been named Allis Ubbo or "safe harbor" in Phoenician. After Phoenicians, Lisbon was under Greek and later Roman rule, so that Julius Caesar renamed the city to Felicitas Julia "merry Julius".
Today Lisbon, as one of the greatest maritime centers in history, still shines with numerous colors. Still in place is the Lisbon of old, with its great art and architecture-which is what probably brought you here in the first place. Here one hardly can find ugly places, as the city simply does not have such. So, choose any district of the city and find your hotel or apartment, depending on your demands and budget. However, we highly recommend choosing some middle-range hotel in historical building with ocean view. This option will help you to feel the real "taste" of Lisbon. Surely, the city has a great variety of international hotels, as The Ritz, which is rather expensive option for stay. Less expensive option is guesthouse or pensãos.
Portugalia hotel guide
Expensive options include glamorous Four Seasons Hotel The Ritz Lisbon, one of Portugal's legendary hotels located at the city's center. And Pestana Carlton Palace, one of the grandest hotels in Portugal, located in a former villa, in an upscale residential section 5km (3 miles) from the historic center. Prices start from €300 per double room, from €600 per suite. Mid-range option is York House, a former 17th-century convent and private home. It abounds with climbing vines, antiques, four-poster beds, and oriental carpeting-fittings and furnishings that maintain the building's historic character without flattening your wallet. Price in this category starts from €70 per double room, from €125 per suite.
Among top Lisbon attractions, you can explore the National Coach Museum, the Jerónimos Monastery, Alfama and the Castle of St. George. Several museums as: the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga and the Museu da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. If you have time, visit the Fundação Ricardo Espírito Santo and watch reproductions of antiques being made or books being gold-leafed. You could also spend time seeing the gilded royal galleys at the Naval Museum, wandering through the fish market, visiting Lisbon's new aquarium, or exploring the arts and crafts of Belém's Folk Art Museum.
Within a few miles of from the capital is located Costa do Sol, which, along with string of beach resorts as Estoril and Cascais, forms the Portuguese Riviera on the northern bank of the mouth of the Tagus. Until the development of beaches in the Algarve, those on the Costa do Sol were among the most crowded and glamorous in the country. Estoril resort with its beautiful beaches along the Portuguese Riviera has long basked in its reputation as a playground of monarchs. Today's Estoril was the creation of Fausto Figueiredo, who built the deluxe Palácio Hotel in 1930.
Meanwhile, at the same year, now popular Cascais resort was just a tiny fishing village that attracted artists and writers to its little cottages. Now the place is blooming with apartment houses, new hotels, and the finest restaurants along the Costa do Sol draw a never-ending stream of visitors every year. For accommodation pick Albatroz Inn, originally built as the summer residence of the dukes of Loulé. Since its transformation into a stylish hotel, its aristocratic elegance has drawn guests from throughout Europe. Prices are from €175 per double room to €600 per suite.
Since the time of the Moorish occupation, Sintra has been considered one of the most beautiful and desirable sites in Portugal. Sintra has been favored by Catholic monarchs, industry moguls, and members of the Portuguese gentry. Place to see: Sintra National Palace, and Castelo dos Mouros.For accommodation pick Tivoli Palácio de Seteais, one of the most elegant hotels in Portugal. In 1807, a treaty ending the Napoleonic campaign in Portugal was signed here, with terms so humiliating to the Portuguese that they labeled the building the Palace of the Seven Sighs. Any sighing you're likely to do today will be from pleasure-at the setting, the lavish gardens, and the reminders of an old-world way of life. Prices are from €240 per double room to €375 per suite.
Another lovely area, Estremadura, contains a number of lovely towns as old as Portuguese nationhood whose beauty has not been diminished by time: Obidos, Alcobaca, Nazare, Batalha and Fatima. The region is neither extremely harsh nor remote, but rather is a spiritual heart of Portugal. Its isolation derives more from the slow, erratic, and sometimes undependable public transportation, which makes the region, best suited to a driving tour. Óbidos, is the most perfectly preserved 13th-century village in central Portugal. Its historic authenticity is the primary concern of the population of less than 5,000. For 600 years, Óbidos was the personal property of Portuguese queens, a symbolic love offering from their adoring husbands.
For accommodation you may check Pousada do Castelo, which lies in a wing of the castle that protects one of the most perfectly preserved medieval towns in Portugal. In 1285, King Dinis offered the castle, along with the entire village, to his beloved Queen Isabel. Inside, the medieval aesthetic coexists with improved plumbing, electricity, and unobtrusive contemporary comforts.
Two other old and must-see towns are Nazaré and Fatima.
The maritime province of the Algarve, often called the Garden of Portugal, is the southwesternmost part of Europe. Its coastline stretches 160km (99 miles) from Henry the Navigator's Cape St. Vincent to the border town of Vila Real de Santo António, fronting once-hostile Spain. The area is famous for the best beaches in Portugal. So, check the local hotels for availability if you want to enjoy the vacation in one of the province' villages: Carvoeiro, Albufeira, Olhão or Portimão.
Alentejo and Ribatejo are on the east and southeast of Lisbon. Underpopulated but fertile, and marked mostly by fields and grasslands, these are horse- and bull-breeding territories, with some of the most idyllic landscapes in Iberia. Their medieval cities, including Evora, Tomar, Beja, Elvas, and Estremoz, contain famous examples of Roman and Manueline architecture.
Places for stay in one of region's towns are luxurious former temple Pousada dos Lóios in Evora and Pousada de Santa Luzia in Elvas.
Porto, Portugal's second-largest city and its capital of port wine. Entrepreneurs who returned home after making their fortunes in Brazil built some of the town's most imposing villas in the late 19th century. Places to stay in Porto are Ipanema Park Hotel, five-star hotel, offering 15 floors of grand comfort with the largest roster of facilities, including an outdoor pool. Also, you may check Infante de Sagres, a hotel built by textile magnate in 1951 in the style of a Portuguese manor house. Its elegant detailing makes it appear much older than it is. It's the most nostalgic, elegant, and ornate hotel in Porto. The managers began their careers here as teenage bellboys, and the staff members have obvious pride in their hotel. Prices in the region's finest hotels start from €90 per double and €275 per suite.
There is just a small list of towns, villages or attraction of this incredible country, and surely you will not regret your Portugal vacations. But, as the time passes really fast, no doubt you will wish to come back on the wonderful beaches of Algarve or narrow streets of some small and hidden fishing village.