Portugal is a southern European country bordering Spain. Its location on the Atlantic Ocean has influenced it's tourist attraction - to the beaches, this in turn has played a role in their diet; salty cod fish and grilled sardines are national dishes.
Portuguese is the spoken language, which is related to Galician language, spoken in northwestern Spain.
The kingdom of Portugal lasted some 800 years, from 1139 to 1910.
The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, signed in 1373, is the oldest alliance in the world which is still in force.
Since 1910, the country has been a republic.
The modern Portuguese legal system has been influenced primarily by German law.
Due to the influence of Roman Catholicism, Portugal is one of the most socially conservative countries in Europe.
Portugal is the only country in the EU, along with Spain, where life imprisonment has been abolished.
The Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe with 17,185 m/56,381 feet.
From imposing São Jorge Castle, the view encompasses the old city’s pastel-colored buildings, Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. Nearby, the National Azulejo Museum displays 5 centuries of decorative ceramic tiles.
Just outside Lisbon is a string of Atlantic beaches, from Cascais to Estoril.
The Jeronimos Monastery was built in 1502 by order of King Manuel I. It was built to commemorate Vasco Da Gama’s voyage and to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for its success.
Great figures in Portuguese history are also entombed here, like King Manuel and King Sebastião, and poets Fernando Pessoa and Alexandre Herculano.
Jeronimos Monastery Cloisters was populated by monks of the Order of Saint Jerome , whose spiritual job was to give guidance to sailors and pray for the king’s soul.
UNESCO has classified it a World Heritage monument. This style of architecture became known as Manueline, a style of art that served to glorify the great discoveries of the age.
Each column is carved with coils of rope, sea monsters, coral, and other sea motifs. It portraits an era of sea exploration and the Biblical story of Joseph.
The Tower of Belém is typical of the Manueline style of architecture. The four-story tower was created in the shape of a ship’s bow jutting into the water.
The main side of the fortress faces the sea and is completely different from the side impression of the tower. Built from ivory-white limestone, the real beauty of the structure lies in the decoration of the exterior.
The Pena National Palace was built in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II, the palace was meant to be a summer home for the Portuguese royals.
Ferdinand’s taste was imposed on the builders and designers, the result was a Palace that looks like it has a little of all the other palaces of the era.
One portion caters to a medieval European castle, a portion of it is modeled after an Islamic tower dome. It’s full of colors – there is a purple wing, a red clock tower, a lots of yellow ornaments.
King Ferdinand said he wanted the palace to look like an opera.
It is now seen as one of the grandest examples of Romantic architecture.
The Sao Francisco Church looks like an ordinary 14th century Gothic and Baroque construction.
There is a museum housed in the catacombs below consisting of artifacts from the former monastery.
Praça do Comércio is a large square on the banks of the River Tagus in Lisbon. It was built on the site previously occupied by the Palace Yard following its destruction in the 1755 earthquake. Lisboetas often still use the previous name for the square.
Along with the Arco da Rua Augusta at its northern end, the Praça do Comércio is one of the centerpieces of the redevelopment of the Portuguese capital by the Marquis of Pombal in the mid-18th century.
The U-shaped square, open at the Tagus end, was designed by Portuguese architect, Eugénio dos Santos.
Discover the best of Portugal’s capital on this hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Lisbon. Choose from four different routes, all offering opportunities to see the city’s monuments and explore its charming neighborhoods. An option line to Cascais allows you to explore the magic of that town as well. Tickets can be purchased for 24- or 48- hours.
Hop on a double-decker bus at the Lisbon Terminal in Marquês de Pombal Square. Settle in and cruise through Lisbon on one of four different but equally engaging sightseeing lines, including lines to Belém, Oriente, Castle or the charming beach town of Cascais.
Sunbathe on one of the many sandy beaches along the Cascais Line. Catch the best coastline views before settling onto a beach to unwind.
On the western side of the square is the main Lisbon Tourist Office (Turismo) with a stylish shop selling upmarket craft items from all over Portugal.
On this side of the square is the HQ of Viniportugal, which promotes Portuguese wine. There are tastings Monday through Saturday.
The world-famous Porto wine is a sweet Portuguese fortified wine from the Douro Valley, Portugal.
Over half of the world’s cork is produced in Portugal.
Salvador Vilar Braamcamp Sobral is a Portuguese singer and a former psychology student. He represented Portugal in
the Eurovision Song Contest this past May and gave Portugal its first win since their debut in 1964. Below is a video of the winning song for your enjoyment.
Portugal has great hotels, motels, car rentals, tours and restaurants.
Have a great time in Portugal, let me know all about your trip.