7 Reasons Why Portugal Is One Of Europe’s Top Destinations, Year After Year
Why does it feel like everyone is choosing to travel to Portugal right now? Could it be the delicious pasteis de natas, stunning weather and friendly people? The famous Portuguese custard tarts do taste better when you’re looking at colorful tiled buildings, watching the sunset over the ocean or eating them warm from the oven as an old yellow tram rattles past. Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, this small southern European nation offers everything from history and culture to world-class wines and fresh seafood.
The Sun Kissed City Of Lisbon
Portugal’s sunny capital can’t be skipped. With its cobbled streets, colorful tiled buildings and charming hilly neighborhoods, Lisbon is a must-visit destination that draws visitors back again and again. One trip to Lisbon will give you just a taste of Europe’s second oldest capital city, after Athens. Yes, Lisbon’s ancient history dates back further than Rome’s (by about 400 years!) and you’ll hear all about how its golden age came to an end with the tragic natural disasters of 1755.
The Magic Of Sintra
Sintra’s mystery and magic must be seen in real life. Centuries ago, the royals and rich built grand summer palaces on the hillside, crafting a destination so splendid that it now has UNESCO protection. While it makes the perfect day trip from Lisbon, Sintra is home to so many palaces (and an ancient 10th-century Moorish castle) that you need more than a day to explore this brilliant destination where nature and man combine. Now that sounds like a good excuse to travel to Portugal again and again to tick off more grand palaces.
The Fresh Seafood
With 517miles of coastline, Portugal’s history, culture and food is defined by the sea. Set against the wild Atlantic Ocean, for centuries local fishermen have ventured out in search of fresh seafood, helping define Portuguese cuisine. Book a table at a local seafood restaurant or marisqueira to taste local delicacies like goose barnacles, razor clams and whelks, or order grilled fish and clams cooked with white wine, olive oil and garlic where you can.
The Beautiful Beaches And World Surf Reserve
Portugal has some of the most gorgeous golden sandy beaches in all of Europe. Travelers return to Portugal for stunning days frolicking in the sand or taking brisk ocean swims. The more adventurous can join a surf lesson or hire a stand-up paddle board or sea kayak along the coast. Keen surfers can visit the whitewashed village of Ericeira, an official World Surf Reserve, and Nazaré, which is known for its giant seasonal waves.
The Brilliant Unknown Wines
You’ve not heard much about Portuguese wines? That’s because the locals are keeping it to themselves! Per capita, the Portuguese are among the top wine drinkers in the world. Once you taste the local vinho you’ll understand why. From table wines that go down like water, native grape varietals you’ve never heard of, to crisp, fresh and effervescent “green wine”, there’s a whole new wine world to unlock in Portugal. Soon you’ll know the difference between a light red wine from the famous Douro Valley and the hearty rich Alentejo red. But there’s so much more to explore…
Why travel to Portugal? For blue skies and sunshine. Expect warm sunny days almost year-round, especially in the summer months when it simply doesn’t rain. During the shoulder seasons, expect cooler weather and sunny days that are still appropriate for the beach. In winter, Portugal gets most of its rain, but between showers you’ll find those famous blue skies. In the cold months you can even go skiing at Portugal’s highest mountain, Serra da Estrela.
From learning about the beautiful Lusitano horse breed with Be My Guest hosts Vera and Tiago, to visiting iconic sites and tasting Portugal’s famous port wine, there’s so much culture to uncover when you travel to Portugal with Trafalgar. Take a look at the video below for a taster of what you’ll experience with when you unlock the best of Portugal on a Trafalgar guided tour.