Everyone seems to be travelling to Portugal these days. Indeed, this year the country reported gleefully on another record year for overseas arrivals. Just over 12.7 million foreigners visited the country in 2017 – up 12 per cent year-on-year. Here’s why it is proving so popular. Portugal has been recognized by many newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller, Forbes, The New York Times, El País, CNN, World Travel Awards, the Best Of Wine Tourism, Great Wine Capitals, Catavinum and many more. These awards recognize the country’s tourism excellence.
Lisbon’s century-old wooden trams and iron funiculars that still lurch and rumble their way through the city are unique. Wandering from Baixa district to Graça you’ll see a very traditional side of Portugal. From coffee places with amazing pasteries to little shops with Portugal’s most particular types of wine and cheese. While you would need to be searching on the internet for a good typical British restaurant in London, in Lisbon every corner is filled with their typical dishes that include the best meats in Europe and the best fish around the world.
Azores is one of Portugal’s best kept secrets. If you like nature based activities and enjoy being in a place where people mostly live from farming and fishing – this is your paradise. When it comes to green volcanoes that are perfect for hiking, botanical gardens, and an ocean that is full of sperm whales, then we are talking. It is the cheapest place in Portugal for you to visit, being able to buy your typical five-pound pint for only 1 euro.
Porto has a contemporary buzz that brings life and joy to a medieval heart that is filled with old churches. People in this city are even nicer than around the rest of Portugal. If you smile at them, they’ll hit you back with sympathy and care. Sliced in two by the Douro river, downtown Porto has an extreme sophistication, while the seaside suburbs have witnessed something of a renaissance in recent years, home as they are to a burgeoning collection of bars, restaurants and cafes, which offer an authentic slice of local life.
Madeira has long time been an attraction to British people. Madeira doesn’t only put on a show in February. A tropical archipelago with a wonderful subtropical climate and breathtaking scenery. This place is justifiably known as ‘the floating garden’ or ‘Pearl of the Atlantic’. Madeira has a variety of rare attractions besides its luxurious blue skies and sea and its imposing valleys and mountains where plant life is abundantly diverse.
No matter where you travel in Portugal – food will be damn tasteful. There are many different types of food experiences you may have in Portugal. You can get 25 different sorts of seafood. You can try meat in all of its forms, the best one being the “Bifana” which you literally eat out of a piece of bread that is full of butter and oil. You can have the best clams of your life when it is summer time, “Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato”, and a grilled fish that will remain with you until you revisit Portugal again. All of this – for nothing. Not to forget, the unique “Pastél de Nata”, that every corner in London now sells…but it is not even comparable.
It’s incredible that in such a small country, brings so many wine regions producing such a vast diversity of exceptionally good award-winning wines. This means that no matter where you are planning to stay throughout Portugal, you’ll have no trouble finding good wine to drink or wineries to visit. Portugal has one of the oldest demarcated wine regions in the world.
On Portugal’s southern coast, you’ll find Algarve. It’s the country’s sunshine region, where you can catch rays more than 300 days a year while swimming in crystal clear waters. Most travelers planning a trip to Portugal immediately think of heading to Lisbon or Porto, but a quick three-hour drive down the coast and magic happens. The Costa Alentejana, which connects Lisbon to the south, is stunning. When you drive down this coast, you can explore some of the most beautiful beaches anywhere.
From hidden beaches to surf contests, there’s so much more to this coast than meets the eye. During the summer, it is filled of British people enjoying everything that this place brings to life.
If you drive away from the coast and start going deep inside Portugal’s tiny villages, you’ll notice that the countryside is one of this country’s most stunning beauties. Animals rest in the grass while older man treat these lands like they are their own. If you happen to stop to eat or to explore the villages, you’ll notice that (even though the majority is older people), they are all more than welcoming and happy to see new faces.
As one of Europe’s most popular summer holiday destinations, the Algarve is famous for its bars and clubs, and continues to attract many British holidaymakers all year around. In the summer, it’s not only one of the best areas for nightlife in Portugal, but it’s also one of the top clubbing destinations in all of Europe. Lisbon, if you compare the Algarve, the has a much more authentic feel. You’ll find over 100 bars and restaurants in the Bairro Alto area, one of the main centres of nightlife in Portugal. Porto, the historic port in the north of the country, and has become increasingly popular among clubbers, thanks to its bohemian Portugal nightlife.
Fado has been a form of Portuguese music since 1800’s. It is known for its expression and melancholy. This melody can express the Portuguese spirit. Words cannot describe it. Veiled in yearning and sweet misery yet tinged with joy and hope, fado is one of Europe’s most beautiful musical styles and is still traditionally celebrated in the cities of Coimbra and Lisbon.
For travellers on a budget – Portugal is the place to visit. It is still one of the cheapest countries of Western Europe and the county offers stunning beaches and fascinating cities. Overall Portugal has incredibly cheap public transport, good priced accommodation and good value food, anywhere you look. You can also get beers for less than a euro, and taste the best coffee for less than 50 cents.
According to the 2017 Global Peace Index, Portugal is the world’s 3rd safest country while the United Kingdom sits at position 41. It is an extremely safe place to visit, and unless you’re coming from either Iceland or New Zealand, it’s safer than your home country.