PORTUGAL: THE OVERLOOKED EUROPEAN DESTINATION
South Europe is a favorite spot among travelers. We are drawn to it’s sun, lifestyle, food, charm…the list is long. But one of the most overlooked southern European destinations, is also one of the best. Portugal is not just the place left of Spain on the map, it is a unique country worth exploring. Some of the characteristics which make Portugal an obvious place to visit, are good weather, enchanting cities, and extreme natural beauty. The most popular destinations are the capital city of Lisbon, and south Portugal’s Algarve region.
Lisbon is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe. Built on seven hills, Lisbon offers many spots to relax and overlook the city. Saint Jorge’s castle sits atop of the biggest hill, and the view down toward the river and the Alfama neighborhood is spectacular. The Alfama below is an interesting section of narrow, colorful streets, and a perfect spot to just walk around and get lost. The quietness and the slow pace of Lisbon makes it an ideal place to wonder around without an itinerary. Travelers can discover the infinite number of charming little streets and alleys, parks and vistas. The Tagus River which runs through the city, dumping out into the Atlantic, is another great place to walk along and relax in one of Europe’s sunniest capitals.
The Algarve is perhaps Portugal’s most popular destination. It is a place of beautiful beaches and almost year long warm weather. The Algarve has recently become a resort area, which is a bit disappointing, however, there are still many places yet undiscovered. Going to the Algarve is about relaxing on the ocean. With over 160 kilometers of coast, beach lovers have it made. Off season, cities like Sagres offer travelers a taste of the quiet beach village life that is slowly becoming more and more replaced by resorts and golf courses.
Portugal is also famous for world class wines, and no matter where you visit, enjoying long, relaxing dinners and countless bottles of wine is a must. Being a country on the ocean, the seafood is impeccable. The allure of South Europe is in this laid back lifestyle, and Portugal is one of the best places to experience it.