The Portuguese Republic is located in the western part of the European continent in the southwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula. The capital of the country is Lisbon. Portugal borders Spain and is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
The climate is different in different regions of the country. On the northwest there is a lot of rain, the summer is short and the winter is warm. On the south, the summer is hot and dry and winter does not last long. The north-eastern part has a long and snowy winter and hot summer. The annual temperature in January varies from +3 to +12°C in different regions. In summer, the average annual temperature is +19 - +30°C.
You can visit Portugal all the year round as the weather is quite good in any season. If you like beach holidays, visit Portugal from July to September.
About 99% of the population are native Portuguese. The majority of them (94%) are Catholics. The official languages are Portuguese and Mirandese (regional).
Portugal can offer to its tourists a lot of entertainments. The beaches and ski resorts are open all the year round. There are places for diving and surfing and wonderful nature attracts the fans of ecotourism.
Those who like to sunbathe on the warm sand, we recommend going to a beach resort Algarve. There you can also try horse riding, playing golf, waterskiing or underwater hunting for sharks. Local instructors will teach you how to sail and for children there are three aquaparks.
The Costa De Lisboa was once a place where European noble people spent their holidays. Today, this place is preferred by the tourists who want to feel a real aristocratic atmosphere.
The waters of the Azores and Madeira are ideal for diving and snorkeling.
Those who appreciate historical and architectural monuments should visit Évora, Buçaco, Lisbon, Setúbal, Coimbra and Porto.
Visiting Portugal in winter, visit a ski resort Serra da Estrela.
Flight is the most convenient and comfortable way to get to the capital of Portugal for the tourists from CIS and Eurozone countries.
TAP Portugal offers direct flights from Moscow airport Domodedovo to Lisbon. From the airport Vnukovo, Russian Transaero offers flights two times a week. TAP Portugal and Lufthansa fly to Lisbon from Moscow and St. Petersburg in transit across Munich. French Air France offer flights to Lisbon with a stop in Paris and Holland KLM Royal Dutch Airlines fly in transit across Amsterdam.
The flights are available from all the European capitals to Lisbon, Faro and Porto and to Madeira islands. EasyJet has flights to the cities of Madeira and Lisbon from the London airport Gatwick.
You can get to Portugal by train from Spain and France. The trip will take you about three days.
Fish and seafood lovers will be particularly happy about their trip to Portugal. Portugal chefs know, at least, three hundred ways to cook cod. Dried and salted cod Bacalhau is the most spread. The Portuguese also like sardines grilled over coal. They cook traditional for Europe salmon and mackerel and exotic sword-fish, monkfish and devil fish.
The most famous Portuguese dish is Sarrabulho which is a pork stewed in red wine with liver. World-famous Paella is very popular both among the Portuguese and the tourists.
Portuguese soups are thick and substantial. We recommend trying the Stone Soup with chicken legs, veal, spices and smoked sausage.
Rice, vegetables and potato are the main side-dishes for meat or fish.
In Portugal, there is a great variety of sweets and pastry and they are sold virtually everywhere. Pastel de Nata are world acknowledged cakes and they are sold in a famous pastry shop Pasteis de Belem. They were cooked first in the 18th century by the Catholic monks. The ingredients for this Portuguese wonder are kept in secret and only three chefs in Portugal know the recipe.
The Portuguese Republic is a wine-producing country. The tourists will enjoy an amazing aroma and flavor of the famous Madera, port wine and unique green wine Vinho Verde. Portuguese wines have a soft taste. Do not miss a chance to visit Dao and Douro which are the most famous wine-making regions in the country.
Details of interest
Whenever you happen to be in Portugal, you have a chance to participate in some event. Every year in the country, they celebrate 14 official holidays and 100 regional holidays. February in Portugal is the time of bright and amusing carnivals.
Sightseeing in Portugal
Portugal is filled with historical, cultural and nature monuments. In the country, there are 15 objects inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. According to the list, the human masterpieces are Convent of Christ in Tomar, Batalha Monastery, Alcobaça Monastery and prehistoric Rock-Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde paleolithic art. Laurisilva of Madeira is also under UNESCO protection as a natural site with the unique biological evolution of plants and animals. Tourists will be impressed by the trip to the Azores where there is one more UNESCO site and this is the Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores.
A visit to the Historic Center of Evora will leave no one indifferent. This city together with a unique city of Porto and its Historic Center of Oporto and the Historic Center of Guimaraes are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Under UNESCO protection are the wonderful wine-making Portuguese regions Alto Douro and Pico island. Two more sights of Portugal which became part of the heritage of humankind are also worth seeing. These are the Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications and the University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia.
Tourists will remember Portugal for its amazing Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belem in Lisbon which are under UNESCO protection. The main sight of the capital is St. George's Castle, from its tower you can see the entire city before your eyes.
One more UNESCO site is the Cultural Landscape if Sintra. In this city, the residence of Portuguese Royals is located which is called Palacio Nacional da Pena.
The city of Faro is famous for its fortress wall and the churches St. Francis' Church and St. Peter's Church. In Faro, you can visit some museums.
Coimbra is the main trading port in the central part of Portugal. In the city, there is a University which was built in 1290.
From your trip to Madeira, you can bring knitted warm things in the national style and in the city of Caldas da Rainha, you can buy Portuguese pottery.
In Mafra and in Tomar, they sell ceramic figurines of saints.
Wallets, bags or umbrellas made of leather and corkwood are extremely popular among the tourists.