Posts About 'Portugal Travel'

April in Portugal

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

One of Portugal’s top international musical hits is a song called “April in Portugal,” originally sung by the great Fado diva Amalia Rodrigues but also performed by other big names like Eartha Kitt, Louis Armstrong, and Bing Crosby. The first version is from 1947 and was called “Coimbra” as an homage to Portugal’s old university city, but came to have yet another name, “The Whisp’ring Serenade.”
In the mid-20th-century the month of April came to be associated with tourism in Portugal, which promoted it as a great time to be in the country, with the temperatures rising and the flowers in bloom. This time of the year remains a great time to fly to Lisbon, especially in 2013. Here is what you’ll be able to experience this month:

Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

THE NEW JULIO POMAR MUSEUM
On April 5th, the new Julio Pomar Museum opens its doors. Julio Pomar is one of Portugal’s top contemporary artists, currently living between Lisbon and Paris but this will be the permanent home of dozens of his works. It’s an old building by Bairro Alto (Rua do Vale, 7) which has been refurbished by local Pritzker Prize architect Siza Vieira, and the first exhibition will be on display until September with free admission.

FOOD FESTIVAL
Lisbon’s biggest gastronomic festival is “Peixe em Lisboa,” the “Fish and Flavours” festival which this year happens from the 4th to the 14th in a courtyard of Comercio Square. Portuguese and international chefs will show off their art in preparing fish and you can try them and learn how to prepare them yourself.

THE 10TH INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL
The “IndieLisboa” festival is back, from April 18 to the 28th. In its 10th edition it will once again screen independent films from all over the world, and will close with the local premiere of “Before Midnight” starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply (it had its world premiere at Sundance and will be in theaters worldwide in late May).

BELEM ART FEST
On the 5th and 6th, four museums in the Belem district will host special events, from concerts to film screenings. The Coaches Museum, the Archaeology Museum, the Berardo Museum and the Museum of the Presidency will also provide access to their permanent collections through one single ticket valid for all spaces.

JAZZ FEST
The São Luiz Theater will host a special jazz fest on the 6th and 7th featuring national musicians in concerts and workshops. The events start at 4PM on both days, lasting until well past 1AM.

“MUSIC DAYS”
The Belem district will host yet another festival later in the month, the “Dias da Música” in Belem Cultural Center. The annual event takes place on the 19th, 20th and 21st, with over 60 concerts, debates and a special market. This year it will focus on the music of the late 1700s and early 1800s, with classics by Beethoven and Chopin.

RIVER SIGHTSEEING CRUISE
The river sightseeing cruises are back for another season. Available from April to October, it takes you on a two-hour tour of the city’s ancient and modern landmarks, from the old center to the Parque das Nações district and the Age of Discovery monuments of Belém.

VERDANT SINTRA
When in Lisbon, go to Sintra. Now that the colder and rainier season is coming to an end and that the bigger summer crowds haven’t yet arrived, it’s the best time to see Portugal’s romantic fairytale town. It’s also at its most verdant and colorful, and a palace you should make an effort to visit at this time of the year is the Monserrate Palace, recently renovated but still overlooked by those who only give themselves enough time to see the famous Pena Palace. After you visit the interior, be sure to relax at the beautiful gardens.

The Other Lisbon Coast

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Carvalhal Beach

When people talk about beaches in Lisbon they usually mean the coast immediately west of the city center which are the towns of Cascais and Estoril. For most locals they also mean the long stretch of sand that is Costa da Caparica south of the city. But further south is a lesser known and more upscale paradise. It’s the Troia Peninsula, still relatively secret because it doesn’t cater to mass tourism. It’s also a more recently-developed area, complete with a landmark design hotel and other newer accommodation choices, golf courses and even a casino.
The waters are calm and clean, and there’s lots of sand with plenty of space to spread your towel. All around you is pristine natural beauty and not very far into the Atlantic is a natural habitat of dolphins which you may observe on a boat trip.
All of it is just about one hour south of Lisbon. The main beaches are Comporta and Carvalhal by the village of Grândola. They’re two of the few that remain completely wild, preserving their natural vegetation and fowl. You’ll still see several storks and their nests, and feel the fresh scent of pine trees.
But you don’t even have to look for Comporta or Carvalhal, since all around the main resort areas of Troia is fine, soft sand. The weather is usually sunny and mild or warm from late April to early October.
If you’re coming to Lisbon with peace and relaxation in mind, Troia is an alternative to Cascais or Algarve and is just a short trip away. You can find accommodation here: Troia (Grandola) Hotels

Troia Design Hotel

A New “Jurassic Park” North of Lisbon

Friday, June 1st, 2012

DinosaursThe world’s largest open-air dinosaur park is about to be created north of Lisbon in the town of Lourinhã. This is one of the richest areas on the planet when it comes to dinosaur fossils (including the biggest collection of dino eggs), so in addition to a leisure destination it will also be something of a museum scientifically recreating the Jurassic habitat. It will have over 200 life-size models of the creatures that once ruled the Earth, spread over 2.5km of woodland. A central building will be an actual museum presenting the important collection of fossils and will include a restaurant and an auditorium.
The project costs 10 million euros, and if that comes as a surprise at a time when Portugal is being one of the victims of the euro crisis, it should be noted that this comes from private investment, in part from a German company. Studies show the park will be profitable with just over 135,000 visitors per year, something quite achievable when considering that the village of Obidos nearby attracts 2 million people every year.
If everything goes as planned, the “dinopark” can be ready by late 2013.

Survey Says Majority of Tourists Want to Return to Lisbon Soon

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Lisbon, Portugal

A survey conducted at the airports of Lisbon, Porto, Faro and Funchal showed that the vast majority of tourists (88%) left “very satisfied” with their experience in Portugal and want to return within the next three years. Close to half said their stay exceeded expectations, highlighting the landscapes, beaches and cultural attractions.
The tourists that most enjoyed Lisbon arrived from Spain, the Netherlands and Brazil, while the French preferred Porto.
With the highest satisfaction rate is “friendliness of locals” at 75%, while the reasons that led them to choose Portugal as a destination ranged from recommendation of friends or family (25%) to internet information (33%).

The 10 Strangest Foods in Portugal

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Every culture has them: Foods that only a local could love. In case you’re brave and curious enough to try new things, or prefer to be informed of what can be avoided, here are the ten strangest foods in Portugal.

Arroz de Cabidela
ARROZ DE CABIDELA
Recently a tourist reported an experience at a restaurant in a Portugal Pousada where a waiter explained what the “arroz the cabidela” listed on the menu was like. He correctly described it as rice soaked in chicken’s blood, and the facial expression of the tourists reacting to that description must have surprised the waiter because he quickly added “with chicken!” as if that made it sound any better. Yes, it’s a bloody good delicacy if you’re familiar with it, but for anyone hearing about it for the first time, it’s understandably disgusting. And the cooking process is even more disturbing: After the chicken is killed, it hangs upside-down for the blood to be drained out. It’s then added to the meat when it’s cooking, giving the dish a brownish color.

Arroz de Sarrabulho
ARROZ DE SARRABULHO
If “arroz de cabidela” sounds good to you, perhaps you’ll also want to try “arroz de sarrabulho.” Instead of chicken, the meat is now pork, but it’s also soaked in its own blood. It’s a specialty from the north of Portugal and the blood also gives the rice a greyish-brown color. You may be surprised to know that it was one of the 21 finalists in the vote for the “7 gastronomic wonders of Portugal.”

Morcela
MORCELA
At this point you’re probably thinking there’s something vampirish about Portuguese cuisine, but here’s one more bloody food: Morcela, a sausage made with blood! This type of sausage actually exists in several cultures in almost every continent, and the Portuguese version is mostly meat-free. It varies from region to region, but is always filled with rice and pig’s blood. In some cases, pieces of pork are added.

Caracois
CARACOIS
The French call them escargots and have turned them into something of “haute cuisine.” In Portugal they’re “caracois,” also meaning snails and are eaten mostly in the south of the country. For whatever reason the people in the north are not fans, but it’s a favorite dish on a sunny summer afternoon in Lisbon’s cafés and restaurants. In reality, what its devotees really like is the stew they’re cooked in, and not exactly the tiny wormy shelled mollusks that you can barely taste.

Coelho à Caçador
COELHO À CAÇADOR
There are some who say that a rabbit’s flesh is the closest to that of a human. Many may agree and may wish to avoid eating what in some cultures is a beloved family pet. In other countries it’s a wonderful meal, including in Portugal. It’s made popular by hunters, and is most often accompanied by rice or potatoes in a dark sauce.

Codornizes
CODORNIZES
Quail is definitely not unique to Portuguese cuisine but it’s another favorite of Portuguese hunters. While mostly served at home, you can find them listed on menus of restaurants in the interior of the country. They’re usually cooked and served whole, leaving the job of cutting the wings and legs for you on the plate.

Tripas à Moda do Porto
TRIPAS À MODA DO PORTO
It’s one of Portugal’s most historic dishes but also one of its least appetizing. When Prince Henry the Navigator asked the people of the city of Porto to provide food for the men going into the sea, they gave all their meat and ended up with only the animals’ stomachs. Out of necessity they had to create meals out of them, and so was “Porto-Style Tripe” born. Tripe is also present in French, Italian and Eastern European cuisines, and Portugal’s version includes pieces of sausage and beans.

Torresmos
TORRESMOS
This cholesterol-filling delicacy is made of pig skin and fat. It’s cut into small pieces and fried until it becomes crunchy. The Portuguese took this tradition to Brazil, becoming quite popular in the northeast of that country, often served with beans.

Cozido à Portuguesa
COZIDO À PORTUGUESA
At the risk of receiving hate mail from the most patriotic Portuguese, we’re going to include one of the most emblematic dishes of the country on this list. This national specialty mixes a variety of vegetables, sausages and meats, and it’s the choices of meats that may be a problem for some. It seems that no single part of a pig goes to waste in Portugal, and this dish often includes a nice crunchy ear with tiny hairs. If there’s no ear, you just may find a foot.

Enguias
ENGUIAS
The Portuguese don’t eat snakes but they do enjoy the snakelike eels. Popular in the coastal areas of the north of the country, they are often bought alive. No matter how many spices or delicious condiments may be added, the very sight of them will make many people lose their appetite.

Portugal’s Other World Heritage Sites

Monday, March 26th, 2012

They’re not officially on UNESCO’s list, but these sites of extraordinary cultural significance could very well end up there one day, joining the 14 others in Portugal (like Sintra and Lisbon’s Jeronimos Monastery and Belem Tower).

Mafra

MAFRA PALACE
It’s one of the world’s biggest palaces and it has some singular features such as a total of six organs that are unique in the world and the world’s largest collection of church bells in addition to one of Europe’s finest libraries. One of Nobel Prize author José Saramago’s most translated novels is about the building’s unbelievable construction (published in English as “Baltasar and Blimunda”).

Baixa

DOWNTOWN LISBON
The only reason Lisbon’s downtown isn’t yet a World Heritage Site is because many of its buildings have reached an advanced state of decay and have been stripped of many of their original features. Before it can present its candidacy to UNESCO it will have to restore everything back to its original state, but even without the official recognition Lisbon’s downtown is already a remarkable place. You couldn’t tell by simply looking at it, but this is Europe’s first urban planning project, using large-scale pre-fabricated earthquake-proof techniques that included modern sanitation. This type of grid of broad streets was later replicated in other European cities such as Paris and Barcelona.

Sagres, Portugal

SAGRES
Prince Henry the Navigator’s inspirational coastline is just as mystical and mysterious today. It’s Europe’s southwesternmost tip and was therefore believed to be the end of the world in ancient times. Prince Henry however, wondered what laid beyond the horizon and started a project of “discoveries” that paved the way for Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Christopher Columbus and all the other famous explorers. An enormous compass believed to have been used to study navigation is still seen on the ground in Sagres today.

Vila Viçosa, Portugal

VILA VIÇOSA
This town is made almost exclusively of marble. Like most others in the serene Alentejo province, it’s a rather sleepy place today but it was once a royal town with a palace belonging to the royal family of the Bragança dynasty. The palace is naturally also made of marble, as are benches and pavements, as this region is rich in this “white gold.”

Marvão, Portugal

MARVÃO
This near-Heaven village is a fortified medieval place described by the New York Times as “a fairytale mirage.” It’s one of the world’s highest settlements, standing close to 3,000 feet up high on a mountain, all inside a wall and protected by a castle. It’s almost unbelievable how anyone chose to settle here, but you’d have to have a 13th-century mentality to understand it.

Universidade, Coimbra

COIMBRA UNIVERSITY
It’s one of the world’s oldest universities and it’s quite a special one, with unique traditions associated with it over time. It includes one of the world’s most remarkable baroque libraries and is the most likely candidate to end up on UNESCO’s list in the near future.

Buçaco Palace Hotel

BUÇACO FOREST
It was one of the first forests in Europe to reunite plants from all over the world. It’s also the site of one of the continent’s first palace hotels, surrounded by a magical atmosphere.

Arrabida Park

ARRÁBIDA NATURAL PARK
This isn’t just another beautiful natural park. It’s one of the best places for geologists to learn about three key phases of the earth’s evolution and its tectonic plates, as well as a curious landscape of Mediterranean flora that’s actually on the Atlantic, developed around 180 million years ago when it was under water. The diversity and singularity of the park in terms of vegetation distribution gives it a natural heritage unmatched anywhere in the world.

New Places to See in Lisbon Before You Die

Monday, February 6th, 2012

1000 Places to See Before You DieThe best-selling book “1000 Places to See Before You Die” by author Patricia Schultz inspired countless other copycat “…before you…” publications but it is still the original ultimate “traveler’s life list.” It was first published in 2003 and has recently been updated. A major update is for Portugal and especially Lisbon (“one of Europe’s most alluring capitals”), which now has three “must see” museums. The first book only listed the Gulbenkian but it now highlights “great museums of three collectors.” Those are the Gulbenkian, the Berardo Museum (opened in 2007) and MuDe (design and fashion museum opened in 2009). All three showcase “awe-inspiring gifts” from different collectors (Calouste Gulbenkian, Joe Berardo and Francisco Capelo) who “enriched the city with magnificent museums.”

Another Lisbon addition is Alfama, the “ancient neighborhood where history and Fado live,” and back on the list are Sintra (“the summer resort of palaces and castles”) and Obidos, “the town that belonged to the queens of Portugal.” Other places to see in Portugal “before you die” are the “hilltop castles” in the “ancient border towns” of Estremoz and Marvão, the “open-air museum of Portuguese architecture” that is the city of Evora, the “pleasure palace” of the Buçaco forest, and Madeira, “the pearl of the Atlantic.” New on the list is Porto and the Douro Valley, where “there’s magic in the air.”

After Portugal, you have other 991 places left to see around the world, and many of them are Portuguese-built, from “one of the world’s greatest enclaves of Baroque architecture” that is Brazil’s Ouro Preto to long-forgotten constructions like Ghana’s Elmina Castle.
Perhaps in a future edition the author will also discover Portugal’s Azores, the Coa Valley or the promontory of Sagres, all with a must-feel/must-see mystical atmosphere.

10 Reasons to Visit Portugal Instead of Spain

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Portugal beach

There’s a reason why Spain is one of the world’s five most-popular destinations. Not only is it one of Europe’s biggest countries, it’s also one of the world’s most breathtaking in terms of natural beauty and cultural attractions. For that reason, after a tour of Portugal’s neighbor, most travelers conclude that they have seen enough of Iberia and overlook Portugal, figuring it’s just another version of Spain. Those who know Portugal know that despite the many similarities, the smaller Iberian nation has quite a different essence and temperament, not to mention its own individual character and culture. Portugal usually ranks between the world’s top 15 or 20 most-visited countries, but living in the tourism shadow of Spain means that it could actually be higher on that list. So if you’re not sure if you should visit Portugal or Spain (or both) on your next trip, here are ten reasons why you should choose Portugal now:

LOCATION
If you’re in the United States or anywhere in North America or South America, Portugal is the closest European country to you. If you’re in the British Isles, Portugal is the only country in mainland Europe that shares your time zone, and you’ll reach Lisbon or Porto before you reach Madrid or Barcelona. Portugal is therefore perfect if you prefer shorter flights.
Also, Portugal’s location on the Atlantic means that its coastline is quite different from Spain’s which is for the most part on the Mediterranean. Portugal’s coast is therefore a different experience, with mystical capes that includes the westernmost point in Europe, making it a unique, unforgettable experience.

IT’S MORE AFFORDABLE
Prices in Portugal are the lowest of all Western European countries, and that of course includes Spain. Even 5-star hotels in major tourism areas can be anywhere from 25% to 50% lower than in the neighbor country, and even more affordable are the restaurants which even in Lisbon can be quite inexpensive.

THE FOOD
Spanish tapas are now a worldwide trend and Spanish paella is more famous than any Portuguese dish, but even many Spaniards will agree that Portuguese food is simply better. And we emphasize the word “simply,” as Portuguese food stands out for its freshness and simplicity. It’s also more varied and quite frankly better prepared than the typical meat-heavy Spanish cuisine (we’re not talking about the new wave of innovative Catalan cuisine here, but the traditional Spanish food).

LANGUAGE
If you feel more comfortable going to a country where you can communicate in English, choose Portugal. You’ll find more (young) people speaking at least some basic English than in Spain, and with quite a better accent to be understood. English in Portugal is learned not just in school but also through TV and movies, as they are not dubbed but subtitled. In Spain and throughout much of Europe everything is dubbed so it’s difficult to develop a good accent and learn English. It’s for that reason that Portugal has more English speakers than any other southern European country, which is always good news for travelers.

SIZE
Good things do come in small packages. Being a varied, compact country like Portugal has its advantages, proving that size does matter.
Spain is probably Europe’s most diverse country, being for example quite different in the south (Andalusia) and in the north (Galicia or Basque Country). Considering it’s four times larger than Portugal, you won’t be able to experience all of its regions unless you spend a few weeks in the country. But you can in Portugal. You’ll also find a variety of landscapes and cultural attractions, and there’s also a great north-south contrast, but here you’ll easily travel between the different regions and are able to leave with a greater sense of the country. You can wake up in the peaceful Douro Valley wine country, and fall asleep by the relaxing beaches of Algarve.

TIME
The advantages of the country’s small size mentioned above also mean that you can dedicate more time to each destination. You don’t have to rush from place to place if you have several attractions on your list. You have time for more museums, more meals, more time at the beach. You’ll get more from your trip.

WEATHER
Many of the major Spanish cities located away from the coast such as Madrid suffer from extreme temperatures: They may be scorching hot in the summer, and freezing in winter. In Portugal, weather is never so extreme, even in the colder, rainier north. The country is cooled off by the Atlantic and warmed by the winds of the south, making it a year-round destination, especially Lisbon and the southern coast, the sunniest regions in Europe.

LISBON
Portugal’s capital stands out for being a big city that charms rather than overwhelm. Its old historic center where the tourism attractions are found is quite compact and has a greater sense of history than Madrid or Barcelona which are essentially late-19th and early-20th-century cities. Lisbon is Europe’s oldest capital after Athens and if Iberia became unified as one country it would probably become the capital, as a Spanish king once envisioned. This is one of the world’s greatest natural harbors and as one of the world’s great historic cities, it should not be missed, especially by history buffs. And when we say Lisbon we also say Sintra with its fantastic palaces.

ALGARVE
Those looking for Southern European sunshine and warmth in resort accommodation that maintains some local charm should choose Portugal’s Algarve over Spain’s Costa del Sol. While parts of Algarve have also been stripped of any character by mass tourism’s overdevelopment (ugly concrete hotels and apartment buildings), it fortunately did not reach the proportions of many areas of southern Spain. Also, Algarve is Atlantic and not Mediterranean, yet its culture mixes that of the two. It’s in many ways similar to Costa del Sol but with its own flavor, and you’ll want to stand by the cape of St. Vincent, known as the end of the world to ancient Europeans before the Age of Discovery.

THE ATLANTIC ISLANDS
Spain’s Canary and Balearic islands are great and beautiful, but for something completely different, look for Portugal’s Azores. This archipelago halfway between Europe and the United States is more New Zealand or Ireland than Mediterranean island resorts. There is no mass tourism or beach resorts — instead you’ll find an incredibly magic atmosphere of volcanos, breathtaking landscapes and whales swimming in the Atlantic. Pictures are not capable of illustrating or capturing the natural grandeur of the place, making it a truly unique destination that needs to be lived to be believed.

10 Great Reasons to Visit Portugal in 2012

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Porto, Portugal

THE EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE
The city of Guimarães was Portugal’s capital for a brief period back in the 1100s, and in 2012 it will be European Capital of Culture. This well-preserved medieval city is one of Portugal’s dozen World Heritage Sites for its architectural and cultural treasures, and in the upcoming months it will present a calendar filled with major cultural events, from the classic fine arts to contemporary artistic performances. It will host national and international artists and will target cultured tourists to the north of the country.

THE EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF YOUTH
Taking advantage of its proximity to Guimarães, the baroque city of Braga will turn into the European Capital of Youth. The European Union selected this Portuguese city for its young population (35% of which is under 26 years old), and it will host the EU-Africa, EU-Latin America and EU-Arab Nations summits together with several events throughout the year with lots of music and festivals.

EUROPE’S NEW HISTORIC CITY
All the attention on Guimarães and Braga will be beneficial to Porto, the capital city of the north of Portugal. Tourists will find a rejuvenated old city which has been tastefully reimagined through careful renovations. Old bookshops and warehouses are now trendy cafés and restaurants, and the once-sleepy downtown is now a vibrant center day and night. This added to its reputation as a major wine destination and its magnificent setting by the Douro River has turned Porto into one of the fastest-growing European destinations. Of course the always-increasing number of low-cost flights has helped, but the number of upscale tourists has also increased, leading to the grand openings of two grand hotels last year — an InterContinental facing the city’s main square and the luxurious Yeatman across the river.

LISBON’S NEW ATTRACTIONS
Despite all the budget cutbacks, Lisbon will go on. The José Saramago Foundation will finally open in the landmark Casa dos Bicos after countless delays, presenting literary events and the Nobel Prize author’s library. Nearby, on Comercio Square, you’ll find a new museum related to the city’s post-1755-earthquake years with the fascinating story of how it rose from the ashes as a then-state-of-the-art city. Across the triumphal arch, you’ll find the ever-expanding Design and Fashion Museum with several new exhibitions, and in the Belém district there will be a new home for magnificent royal carriages.

LISBON’S MUSIC FESTIVALS
2012 is a year of Rock in Rio-Lisboa, the festival that takes place every two years with lots of major international stars. So far Lenny Kravitz, Maroon 5, Metallica and Bruce Springsteen have been confirmed but other big names will be announced soon and until the event which lasts for several days in late May and early June.
And let’s not forget the annual Optimus Alive festival on July 13, 14 and 15. This year it will bring bands like Radiohead and Snow Patrol among others to be announced.

THE EVENTS BY THE SEA
The Lisbon coast will host major international events in 2012. The Volvo Ocean Race will pass by the Portuguese capital in June before heading back into the Atlantic towards the Portuguese island of São Miguel in the Azores, eventually reaching the Brittany coast in France. A few weeks later the Tall Ships Races will be in town (July 19th-22nd), with a fleet of major ships moored by the historic center of Lisbon for a unique and magnificent sight.
Also happening on the Lisbon coast is the Estoril Open, the tennis tournament that will bring major players and lots of excitement in April and May.

MORE ACCESSIBILITY
EasyJet will have a new base in Lisbon starting in April, bringing thousands of extra tourists to the city. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll find Lisbon overrun with tourists, as it still doesn’t get the mass tourism of Rome or Paris. It simply means that you’ll have more flight choices and price ranges to bring you to Portugal. Also, starting in the summer, your hotel or apartment in the center of Lisbon will be even easier to reach, as the airport will finally have a metro station. Of course, if you prefer, you may still choose a private transfer.

LISBON’S NEW HOTELS
After a hostels boom, Lisbon’s accommodation choices expanded with central apartments that have become popular choices among tourists looking for extra privacy and lower prices. But there are also new hotels, starting with Fontecruz, a luxury boutique hotel right on the main avenue scheduled to open on the first days of the year. Then, later in the year we’ll see the conclusion of the landmark Sana Vasco da Gama Royal Hotel on the Vasco da Gama Tower.

ALGARVE HAS IT ALL
In the last few years Portugal’s southern province added an extra “L” to its name when promoting its tourist attractions. It became “Allgarve,” reminding tourists that this is not just a destination for beach resorts, but really a place that’s got it all, including cultural events and a variety of activities. While it’s been reported that it will no longer use the name “Allgarve”, the Algarve will continue to offer some of the best of Portugal together with all the tacky/mass-tourism-targeting attractions many know it for. Those who get away from the tourist path will find the best restaurants in the country (it has more Michelin stars than Lisbon) and some of the finest hotels which together with a rich calendar of events and sunny weather throughout the year, making it a perfect destination for a few days of leisure and relaxation.

AFFORDABILITY
The euro crisis is not good news for Europeans and especially for the Portuguese during these austerity days, but it’s great news for tourists! Portugal is hoping tourism will help its bank accounts, and to attract visitors it’s been lowering prices. In doing so it also hopes that the Portuguese will travel within their own country instead of going abroad, and for that reason 2012 will be a year of bargains. Even luxury accommodation is at a third of the price of elsewhere in Western Europe, so even if you’re used to mid-range accommodation in your European travels, you’ll be able to have an upgraded experience in Portugal for the same price!

6 Recommended Restaurants for Porto Restaurant Week

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Porto Restaurant WeekIf you’re in Lisbon from October 20th to November 2nd, you’ll want to hop on the train to Porto. That’s when the Restaurant Week of Portugal’s second city takes place, offering the opportunity to try some of the finest restaurants in town at special prices. One euro per person will be donated to charity so you’ll also be contributing to a good cause. In this edition there are over two dozen participating restaurants, and we’re recommending six of them where you’ll be able to try different flavors, from Portugal to Japan:

ARTEMÍSIA – International cuisine.
FOZ VELHA – International cuisine
GÓSHÒ – Japanese cuisine
GREAT – Mediterranean cuisine
PORTUCALE – Portuguese cuisine
SESSENTA SETENTA – International cuisine