Places

Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal; a lovely riverside city and home to Port wine

Vila Nova de Gaia is a charming riverside city which sits on the opposite bank of the River Douro to Porto, one of Portugal's lovelies cities. As it is an easy walk across the Dom Louis bridge and Porto is such a popular destination now Gaia gets lots of visitors keen to explore its lovely riverside area and sample its famous Port wine.

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What to see in the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal

You will probably first head for the wide open boulevards and beautiful squares of the Baixa area of Lisbon and the old town in the Alfama district with its castle and cathedral. See our guide to these areas. However the quintessential Lisbon is best found in the surrounding districts.

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Sintra, Portugal; home to the Pena Palace and a Moorish castle

Sintra is just a short drive from Lisbon and is an incredible village with two amazing castles, a Gothic mansion and a small centre with a warren of little streets filled with bars and restaurants. The Palace of Pena in particular draws thousands of tourists every year.

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Faro, Portugal; capital of the Algarve and has a charming old town

Faro is the capital of the Algarve region of Portugal and also home to the airport for the reason. For this reason thousands arrive at Faro each year but many pass straight through and on to their final destination and miss the quiet charms of this pretty Portuguese town.

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Vilamoura, Portugal; top tourist complex on the Algarve coast

Vilamoura is a large private tourist complex which covers 2 hectares in total and is one of the largest in Europe. It is one of the most prestigious in Portugal and is very popular with visitors to the Algarve.

Vilamoura is about 20km from Faro which is the capital of the Algarve and home to the nearest airport.

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Benagil cave, Portugal; amazing natural caves in the rocky cliffs of the Algarve

One of the highlights of our trip to the Algarve was a boat trip to the Benagil cave and 20 others that leaves from Benagil beach near to Lagoa on the southern coast of Portugal. Lagoa is situated between Portimao and Albufeira and from Lagoa you will see plenty of signs to Benagil.

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Praia da Marinha, Portugal; a fabulous beach on the Algarve in Portugal

The Praia da Marinha beach is probably the most beautiful beach in Portugal and absolutely should not be missed on your visit to the Algarve. It is located between Lagos and Albufeira on the southern coast of Portugal. Head for Lagoa and then follow the signs for the beach.

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Lagos, Portugal travel guide and visitor information

One of the most popular destinations in the Algarve region of Portugal is the city of Lagos.  Lagos lies at the mouth of the Bansafrim River on the Atlantic Ocean. It is situated between Portimao to the east and the southern tip of Portugal, Sagres, to the west.

The fortified walls and cobbled streets of Lagos attest to a history dating back to the 14th century. 

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Visit historical Tavira, Portugal

When traveling to Portugal, one area that should not be passed by is the Algarve. This area lies in the southern part of Portugal, and is the most popular tourist and vacation site in the country. The most southwestern point of the Algarve is also the most southwestern point of all of Europe. The area is also known as the sunniest spot in Europe. There are many small cities and villages in this area, each of which has its own unique attributes.

One of these is the city of Tavira, whose origins date back to approximately 2,000 BC. Because of its strong fishing industry, Tavira was very important to the Moors when they occupied it, as well as to the Romans. Even today, an area near the city is being excavated and shows evidence of a Roman settlement. A Roman bridge also connects two sections of the town across the River Gilao.

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Visit Porto, Portugal; with a historic centre along the edge of the Douro river

As the capital and gateway to the northern part of Portugal, the city of Porto (also known as Oporto), is the second largest city in Portugal. It lies at the mouth of the Douro River. It is home to past and present day architecture, with styles including Roman, Gothic, and Renaissance.

In 2001, this city was chosen as the European Capital of Culture. In addition, UNESCO has recently cited the historic center of the city as a World Heritage Site. Porto also sits on the 'Portugese Way' path of the 'Camino de Santiago' pilgrim route. Porto is also the area where one of the best-known wines comes from: Port wine. The best way to become one with Porto is to take a walking tour throughout the city.

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Visit Coimbra, historical city in central Portugal

In the Centro (Central) region of this country, one will find the city of Coimbra, which is also the main city of this region. It is not a large city, but it is full of numerous interesting sites.

Coimbra lies on the banks of the Mondego River. Like in earlier times, the houses can be found along the river and up the hills that surround the city. In the past, the clergy, nobility, and students would occupy the upper levels of the city, while the artists and tradesmen lived on the lower levels. In today’s Coimbra, this pattern is still evident.

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Highlights in Ponta Delgada, Portugal

In the Atlantic Ocean, between Portugal and North America, one will find a group of islands famous for their natural beauty. These are the Azores and are composed of nine islands. Although all of the islands originated from volcanoes, they are all different from one another. The islands belong to Portugal, and together they make up one of the two autonomous regions of the country.

One of the islands is Sao Miguel. This is the largest of the nine islands. Because of the geography of this island, one will find that most of the homes lie along the network of roads that circle the island. The island contains a caldera and a volcano crater, filled by the twin seas Sete Cidades, as well as beautiful gardens for the visitor to enjoy.

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Visit Horta On The Blue Island Of Faial

In the Atlantic Ocean, between North America and Portugal, lies an archipelago, made up of nine islands, known as the Azores. All of these islands were created by volcanoes, and because of this, they possess a beauty that is hard to compare to any other islands. Depending on which island one is on, there may be caves, tunnels, wrecks, and underwater sites that are hard to beat. With mild water temperatures, any one of these islands would be a treat to visit.

Faial is the fifth largest of the Azores islands. Unlike the other islands in the archipelago, Faial is the site of the most recent volcanic eruption, which took place in 1957. The island is known as the “Ilha Azul”, or “The Blue Island”. This is because the island is planted with endless hedges of blue hydrangeas.

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Visit Aveiro, important historical city in central Portugal

The region known as Central Portugal lies between Lisbon and Oporto on the Portuguese coastline and includes the area known as the Silver Coast, due to its white sandy beaches. One of the major cities in this section of Portugal is Aveiro.

Aveiro was once an important seaport on the Rio Vouga from as early as the Roman times. However, in the late 1500s, the mouth of the river filled with silt, creating vast marshes, making it impossible for ships to enter or dock there. It was not until 1808 that a canal was cut through to the sea, allowing the port to re-open. Most of the water was drained and all that is left are the few lagoons that are visible today.

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Visit Viseu, medieval city in the hills of central Portugal

Portugal, which is located in southwestern Europe, is divided into several provinces. About halfway between the Spanish border and the Atlantic Ocean, and nearly surrounded by mountains, lies the city of Viseu. This city is the capital of the north-central region known as the Beira Alta region. Viseu is sometimes referred to as the “City of the Green Pine” due to the pine forests and vineyards that surround it.

The city of Viseu’s name came from the Roman word “viso”, which means good view. The original settlement of this city can be traced back to the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle ages, and as its name says, it lies at the highest point of that area. A walk here is a trip into the past, with its Renaissance mansions, beautiful palaces, and narrow alleys.

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Visit Funchal, capital of Madeira

One unique area of Portugal is the archipelago that includes the island of Madeira. In this area, all of the islands are volcanic, and Madeira accounts for approximately 93% of the area. The island is very mountainous, consisting of peaks, valleys and ravines that make the interior part of the island almost inaccessible.

Due to this geography, most of the villages are found at the mouths of the ravines, where the rains that fall during the fall and winter make their way to the sea.

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