Portugal

This outstanding and friendly country is located on Europe's western edge so unfortunately only a few tourists visit it every year. But those who decide to come to Portugal won't be disappointed. Portugal widely associated with Porto Wine, with one of the world’s best football teams and with fado music, offers much much more: uncrowded historical cities, pleasant weather, moderate rates for food and hotels, and unusual tourist attractions - all are  to be found in Portugal.

The capital and the largest city of Portugal, Lisbon, is especially attractive for its favoured  location on several hills towering over the mouth of the River Tagus. Although the city experienced a serious disaster – the huge earthquake in 1755 accompanied by  a tsunami – some interesting sights have nevertheless survived while many others were constructed later. A real highlight of Lisbon is the Belem district with a number of historical monuments, including the Belem Tower, The Hieronymites Monastery and the monument commemorating the greatest of Portuguese explorers and travellers, such as Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan and Bartolomeu Dias. Other interesting sights in Lisbon are St Jorge’s Castle, the St Justa Elevator and Ponte 25 de Abril, compared with the Golden Gate in San Francisco. If you enjoy shopping, stroll around the elegant Chiado district or the rowdy Bairro Alto. The latter is also a paradise for anyone interested  in culture and nightlife.

Adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is known for its luxuriously long beaches. the majority of the best and most popular summer resorts are  located in the region of Algarve in southern Portugal, but those who want to spend holidays sunbathing and swimming have a lot of other destinations to choose from in Portugal. Hundreds of kilometers  of sunny beaches in the Azores, Madeira and Savage Islands (Selvagens Islands) are a magnet for holiday-makers searching for some good solid  rest, exotic wildlife and breathtaking landscapes.

Portugal is famed  for its splendid wines. While travelling , visit the green valleys of the Douro wine-making region or the golden plains of the Alentejo region to try out the  local specialties. However, the most renowned kinds of wine are Port Wine or simply Porto and Madeira Wine.

Port Wine is named after the second largest city of Portugal – Porto. Its urban architecture is varied, with Roman, Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassic and Renaissance buildings, but it is worth a visit mostly  due to the Riberia district situated along the waterfront. Dotted with atmospheric smoky bars and seafood restaurants, Riberia is the oldest part of the city, included inthe Unesco Heritage List. Other sights to see in Porto is the Gothic church Igreja de Sao Francisco and an amazing iron bridge, Ponte de D. Luis, that was built by a disciple of the famous Mr. Eiffel.

If you still haven't had your fill of  sightseeing, there is always charming Aveiro with its abundance of canals and bridges, known as  the Portuguese Venice, or Braga – a city full of interesting historical sights or Coimbra with the word’s oldest university, to name just a few of its attractions.

Apart from its fascinating cultural heritage, excellent beaches and tasty wine, Portugal offers a  beautiful countryside that  is  varied thanks to the country’s north-south axis. What’s really interesting, Portugal was chosen the best golf destination in 2006. If you still need an argument for visiting Portugal, keep in mind that it ranks highest in many quality of life ratings. This picturesque country has something for everyone and undoubtedly shouldn’t be forgotten in your future holiday plans.