Mainland Europe’s westernmost nation, Portugal has over 1,000 miles of coastline, a predominantly warm Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, and a laidback lifestyle. Roughly the size of the US state of Maine, it has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – from the wine-growing region along the Douro river to the former Templar Knights’ stronghold in Tomar and the island culture of the Azores. With historic cities and Moorish castles, expansive vineyards and breathtaking beaches, Portugal is experiencing a renaissance. Discover its rich and varied culture and natural beauty and savor its delicious local cuisine and world-class wines.
One can easily spend several days in the cosmopolitan capital Lisbon with its scenic location on a river estuary, maritime traditions, and cultural attractions. Climb the towers and walk the ramparts of the Castelo de Sao Jorge hilltop citadel, get lost in the warren of lanes and stairways of the Alfama neighborhood, and explore the Baixa downtown district which, after being devastated by an earthquake and fire in 1755, was rebuilt on a parallel grid and is now the commercial center of the city. Further north, with a strategic location on the Douro River, Porto is the country’s second-largest city, known for its UNESCO-protected historic center and the production of Port – a type of fortified wine.