Bucket List Destination: Portugal

France, Italy and the UK are all popular travel destinations within Europe. However, this little country with over 800km of coastline and a vibrant historical presence makes it an ideal destination for travelers in the upcoming years. Between Spain and miles of Atlantic waters lies Portugal. The country has something to offer almost everyone, with a rich European history dating back thousands of years, thriving city culture, pristine beaches and peaceful nature preserves.

portugal

Portugal has a lengthy and interesting history that dates back thousands of years through Medieval Europe and the Renaissance. Museums and galleries or art, antiques and artifacts can be found throughout the country. One interesting museum is the Tile Museum, located in the capital of Lisbon. The Tile Museum houses magnificent works of mosaic tile with a former convent from the 1500’s. This form of art is quite unique to Portugal and the wall to wall scenes are comprised of ceramic and porcelain tile. The museum includes about 53 meters of tile works. Also in Lisbon is the Calouste Gelbenkian Museum, which houses a private collection of Egyptian, Persian and other specialty works, including paintings and sculptures.

 

portugal2Another must see when thinking about visiting Portugal is the landscape. The landscape consists of a medley of beaches and cliffs that overlook the Atlantic Ocean. The stunning cliff formations are created by years of volcanic and lava activity and are sure to make a lasting impression. One interesting cliff formation is located on the coast, just west of Lisbon. The rough currents and surf of the Atlantic Ocean has created what locals call the Boca do Inferno, or ‘Hell’s Mouth’. Boca do Inferno is a small, open cave in the cliff formation that is a popular attraction for hikers, mountain bikers and mountain climbers. The formation is located about a thirty minute walk from the main town and the waves crashing and cascading through the limestone rock is definitely a sight to see. Years of erosion can easily be seen in the striated limestone cliff face.

portugal3Portuguese culture is very vibrant; this is evident though the red and yellow colors that are strewn throughout the streets. There are often cultural festivals that take place and can give you a great deal of insight into the history and the daily life of those who inhabit the country. In particular, the festival of Agitagueda is a 23-day long art festival in which vendors and local artisans exhibit their work throughout the streets of Agitagueda. Colorful umbrellas line the streets and urban as well as traditional art is displayed for all to see. In addition to art festivals, bullfighting has a strong history in Portugal although it is typically seen as a Spanish tradition. Fortunately, the Portuguese version of bullfighting does not include slaughtering the bull at the end of the fight. The season for bullfighting takes place from April to October, beginning with the Easter holiday.

portugal4Finally, who can’t forget the beaches. The beaches are pristine and virtually untouched due to the seclusion provided by the large cliffs that hang above many beaches.  Each one of the beaches along the Portuguese coastline is unique and offers something a little different. Some beaches are even covered in brilliant black sand speckled with hints of green emerald. One beach, which offers the typical white sand and rock formations, is Praia Da Rocha. Praia da Rocha is a popular beach and wedding destination due to its tameness and obvious beauty. Although the area can get busy during high tourist times, the beach is beautiful and the nearby town and nightlife makes it an ideal vacation for everyone.

-Michelle 


One thought on “Bucket List Destination: Portugal

  1. I cannot speak for continental Portugal, however I have been to the Azores (I was there this last month), and it was simply beautiful! I spent most of my time on the island of Faial and the beauty and history has me wanting more!

    Like

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