Go To Portugal

Written by Helen Glenn Court
Bookmark and Share

Any time of year is wonderful to go to Portugal and enjoy its rich landscape, remarkable history, and temperate climate. My own experiences have been a month in January and another in September. Both were delightful. One visit was to the Azores, which lie 800 miles from Lisbon and 1,200 from New York.

Go to Portugal: Islands and Mainland

The Azorean islands, like Hawaii, are volcanic, with the same lush landscape, rich soil, ice blue lake water, and amazing vistas of the Atlantic from almost everywhere. They're also small, hilly, and inviting. The Portuguese discovered them during their explorations westward to the Americas and Asia, and knew a good thing when they saw it. When you go to Portugal, don't forget them or Madeira.

Less than one-fifth the size of Spain, mainland Portugal has a diversity of geographic features in its 35,672 square miles. Shaped like a face looking westward, it is flanked on the east by Spain on its other borders by the Atlantic. In the north are the mountains of the Minho region, and the old Celtic capital of Braga and its 300 churches. To the northeast are rugged moorlands, stone villages, and an extensive nature reserve encompassing 70,000 hectares of protected lands. The Douro Valley region is renowned for its port wine. Anyone planning to go to Portugal will likely eye the boat trips through those marvelous vineyards.

The central Tagus Valley is one of Portugal's most inviting areas, with its great stretches of coastline. To the north, you'll find wide sandy beaches, the Cabo da Roca lighthouse (Europe's most westerly point). Below Lisbon are the Costa Azul and its tiny fishing villages, sandy coves, and splendid seafood. The Algarve region in Portugal's south has attracted visitors since the Phoenicians. It offers stunning Atlantic beaches, a string of low mountains dividing it from the rest of the country, rugged beauty, and world renowned hospitality.

Bookmark and Share