Things To Do In Portugal
Portugal is the home of the man who discovered India for the western world, it is also the home to the man the world worships as the god of football; and it is home to beaches, gothic streets and medieval cathedrals. An enigma in its own right, Portugal with its rich history and geographical bounty makes for one hell of a vacation place. There are so many things to do in Portugal that you might feel the need to extend your holiday. From surfing and swimming on Algarve beaches to spending days and days exploring the museum that is the whole city of Evora, exploring Alfama in Lisbon to joining the Portuguese in singing the glories of Cristiano Ronaldo - you are set for this holiday.
Enjoy the Portuguese Beaches
One of the best coasts that boast of stupefying beaches is the Algarve coast, in the south of Portugal. The coast is littered with a few of Europe’s best, shadowed by clear blue skies and a sub-tropical Mediterranean climate. There are all in all a hundred and fifty beaches to choose from along Algarve and the waters of Atlantic are as crystal blue on each. Some of the best beaches though by popular choice are Praia da Marinha, Praia de Odeceixe, Praia da Falesia and Ilha de Tavira. You could enjoy so much here, from sailing to surfing, swimming to sunbathing, photography as well as diving.
Visit the Museum-City Evora
Ever heard of a museum that is basically a whole city? Well, Portugal boasts of one. Evora has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city stretches up a hill, with its ancient narrow Roman streets and Moorish buildings, ruined temples and thermal baths outside basilicas. This city was captured by Rome back in 59 BC and hence its ruins have a heavy Roman influence, as well as Roman advancement in terms of aqueducts and drainage and road-alignment. It is no surprise then, that Evora is a Museum City, one with special monuments like Megaliths, Evora Se Cathedral, Dona Isabel and the Temple of Diana.
View Alfama’s white-and-red Houses
Have you always lusted over the travel brochure photos of Portugal where white-washed houses are covered by red roofs alongside the pristine blue waters? Well, those houses belong to the Alfama neighbourhood of Lisbon, one of the oldest districts of the capital. From small pebbled streets winding around to trams that are straight from the 60s, medieval churches to the quintessential white-and-red houses, Alfama district is a great place to walk. What’s more is, its rich cultural scene - cafés, restaurants, Fado clubs and live Fado music on streets along with monuments like Castle of São Jorge, Santa Luzia and the Lisbon Cathedral.
Go Boating in the Venice of South Europe
The port city of Aveiro is nothing but Portugal’s own blessing, Venice-style. It is home to canals and colourful houses by those canals, boats with oarsmen swishing gently past and a clear sky of the western coast of Portugal. It can't get any better, can it? You must visit this Venice of southern Europe and enjoy a day or two rowing in the canals, visiting cathedrals and museums and running along beaches that boast of lighthouses. Costa Nova Beach and Praia da Barra Beach are two especially famous ones nearby, sure-shot tourist haunts all year round.
Drink Port and Listen to Fado
Port is Portugal’s traditional wine, widely produced in the city of Porto in the Douro valley. If you are in Portugal then you must drink Port, either at one of the many bars in Lisbon or anywhere you are touring, or at the epicentre of the drink’s birthplace in Porto. The wine is made from grapes and has a unique taste that is best enjoyed while listing to live Fado music (traditional Portuguese music). The best place to enjoy Port wine and Fado, aside from Porto city, is Solar da Vinho da Porto in Lisbon.
Do a Day-trip to Sintra
Sintra is a resort town built on the foothills of Mountain Sintra, not very far from Lisbon. It makes for a gorgeous one-day trip when visiting Lisbon. With its forests and thick covers of mountains, luxurious villas and ancient slope roads, Sintra is a real royal treat come alive. You can enjoy the escapades and walks down Moorish structures and parks, visit castles and places as well as sit by the waterfront and chill.
Party on Madeira Island
Madeira is one of the most famous islands of Portugal, visited by more than one million tourists each year. The beaches on this island are some of the best and most beautiful, while the land remains lush and blooming all year round - giving Madeira its nick name of the ‘eternal spring island.’ You could visit small towns and villages in Madeira, enjoy local life, take road-trips down the coastal road, go horse riding or sailing or scuba diving. Kayaking and fishing and paragliding are also great here. New Year’s Eve parties are the BEST here and the fireworks on Funchal Harbour are simply breathtaking.
Go to the End of the World
Long before it was proven that the world is a globe and not a flat disc, Europeans believed the western-most tip of Portugal to be the end of the world. Cabo da Roca, off the Sinatra mountains north of Lisbon, marks that place where continental Europe ends. The harbour boasts of a lighthouse built in the 16th century and great history of seeing off explorers that set about to discover new worlds - India, China, Africa, Brazil etc. There is also a church nearby and a load of touristy flea shops. Sunset is the best time to stand here and then go on for a chilled out meal at the nearby cafe.