Why should you visit Portugal?
Do you know the reason why Portugal is one of the best destinations in Europe? There's not just one reason why so many people want to visit Portugal, but many reasons spread across a small country bordering Spain and the sea. There are five regions on the mainland and two islands, Madeira and the Azores, which captivate every visitor and help create memories.
“O povo português é, essencialmente, cosmopolita. Nunca um verdadeiro português foi português: foi sempre tudo.”
Free translation: The Portuguese people are essentially, cosmopolitan. A true Portuguese was never Portuguese: he was always everything.
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Do you want to know why so many people want to visit Portugal? In this article, we'll give you some hints that will help you understand the charm of this country, but the best thing is to pack your bags and go discover it!
The Portuguese people
We could start with countless characteristics of Portugal, but it's the Portuguese who make it all unforgettable! The Portuguese are known for being hospitable and welcoming visitors with great joy. They're very proud of their roots, and therefore they love to show tourists their traditions and places.
If you get lost in a city, don't be afraid to ask the first Portuguese you meet for directions. He'll most likely show you the way and, if he has some time, even drive you to your destination. If you ask for directions, many Portuguese speak fluent English and can still give you a few hints in other languages.
Another characteristic of the Portuguese is that they have a unique feeling in the world. We are talking about Saudade, but what exactly does that mean? It's the lack they feel for someone, something or a moment. Only Portuguese speakers can feel this sense of emptiness and melancholy. Perhaps this is why this word has no translation in other languages.
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Portugal has a diverse musical culture, with each region having its style of music. We're known far and wide for our emotional style, which is sometimes sorrowful but always touches the spirit of all listeners. We're talking about the musical style of fado, and the greatest fado singer of all time was the outstanding Amália Rodrigues. Today's fado singers include Carminho, Sara Correia, Ana Moura, Mariza, and Carlos do Carmo.
Music is a part of the history of Portugal and its people. The peaceful revolution of the carnations began in Portugal in 1974 when the song "E Depois do Adeus" by Paulo de Carvalho was broadcast on the radio. To the sound of this music, we ended a dictatorship and began a new era of democracy.
Portugal is likewise on the cutting edge. Several music events take place throughout the year, with posters including international and national artists. Jazz, electronic music, mainstream music, and heavy metal are all featured at these festivals. Whatever your style is, or if you want to have a good time, search for the best festivals in Portugal.
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Sports Tourism in Portugal
Sport tourism enthusiasts will be glad to learn that Portugal is one of the top nations in which to engage in outdoor activities. If you visit the Algarve, you will hear hundreds of times that the sun shines more than 300 days out of the year, which is an excellent reason to enjoy a holiday and not neglect physical activity. The seaside trails are ideal for running, walking, or even a yoga session. You can walk the trail from Praia da Luz to Lagos starting near Estrela da Luz.
Various sports are popular among fans in Portugal. Football is the most popular sport in Portugal, and everyone has a favourite team. This sport is practised in schools, on the beach, in gardens, and everywhere else.
Surfing is another activity that grew in popularity following the Carnation Revolution. In Portugal, we have all the conditions for participating in this sport. We have calm beaches for novices, more challenging beaches for experts, and beaches with tremendous waves for the truly daring surfers. The Nazaré canyon was presented to the world after Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara surfed a wave of 23.77 metres, which earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
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Portugal has sun, sea, and award-winning beaches.
There's no way around it! The sun, sea, and beaches are unforgettable, and those who come to us regularly understand what we mean. The sun is nearly always shining, whether in winter or summer, and the temperatures are warm all year. These distinguishing features entice travellers to visit the beach during the start of spring. The sea temperatures may still be a touch low, but by March, there will be plenty of people on the beach basking in the sunrays.
The sea was instrumental in bringing the Portuguese closer to other cultures. Today, we may claim that it is the sea that brings people from other countries to us. Portugal is bounded to the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean for 832 kilometres. The Algarve’s Sea is warmer and calmer than the rest of Portugal's coast. Perhaps this is why we have the greatest proportion of visitors in Portugal.
Do you know what it means to have a beach with a blue flag? It is an environmental quality symbol that indicates the beach’s cleanliness, the purity of the water, and the presence of litter bins. Thirty-two conditions must be met to carry the blue flag. In 2021, 372 flags were raised, 12 more than the previous year. Just in the Algarve, there are 91 beaches where this flag is hoisted. We have the neighbouring beach of Luz in the municipality of Lagos, which is only a few minutes away from Estrela da Luz, Porto Mós beach, and D. Ana beach.
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A small country called Portugal
A small country in terms of size, but a large one when it comes to experiences and activities! We can observe on a map that Portugal's territorial extent is not large, but that does not mean it is a bad thing. On the contrary, in a few hours, we cross the country from one end to the other and have the opportunity to get to know the diversity of traditions, landscapes and cultures of each region.
If you decide to travel from north to south, you should concentrate on the places you truly want to see because there are so many villages and monuments scattered across the country that you will easily become distracted. We've put out an itinerary for you to help you decide, organised by category:
- Gastronomy: Gastronomy is a serious matter, and you will see this when you notice that every town has a typical recipe and a dessert. This could be the secret. In each town you visit, ask for the typical recipe of the area and enjoy it. In the north, go for a hearty dish and try the famous francesinha. In the centre, look out for the genuine Bairrada suckling pig. In the Alentejo, we recommend shark soups (sopa de cação) and curd cakes. In the Algarve, we could not decide only on one but two main dishes: grilled sardines and Algarve's seafood cataplana. For dessert, try the Doce Fino or the Dom Rodrigo.
- Monuments: Because Portugal has such a rich history, it is only natural that there are several monuments to visit. We return to the north and encourage a visit to Porto's São Bento railway station. It is ranked as one of the top ten most beautiful train stations in the world, and tourists often stand with their heads held high, admiring the main atrium's tiles. Visit Sintra in the central region and spend a few hours admiring the amazing monuments of the Pena Palace and the Quinta da Regaleira. In the Alentejo, we recommend a visit to the largest keep in Europe, in Beja, from which you will enjoy a spectacular perspective of the region's plains. In the Algarve, not far from Estrela da Luz, you should see the 15th-century fortress of Sagres, as well as the church within its walls and the wind rose with a diameter of 50 metres.
- Portugal's Best Boardwalks: Do you enjoy outdoor activities? Hiking is particularly popular in Portugal, both in the summer when there is little chance of rain and in the winter when temperatures drop, but the landscapes glow with vibrant colours. Take the Sistelo boardwalk in the north, a short (2-kilometre) walk with spectacular views of the mountain terraces on which the small settlement of Sistelo, nicknamed "Portuguese Tibet," is located. The Central Zone also has stunning hikes with breathtaking scenery, such as the Senhora do Piedade boardwalks in the middle of the Lousã Mountains. After the 12-kilometre hike, you may cool off at Burgo's river beach. We recommend the Alamal boardwalks near Gavião in the Alentejo. It runs along the river and includes the Belver Castle at the summit. Finish your hike by crossing the Belver Centenary Bridge. Finally, hike the Algarve's longest boardwalk, which is 6 kilometres long and located in Alvor. It connects the beach of Três Irmãos to the Alvor estuary, where you can see birds and other creatures.
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If you haven't already planned a trip to Portugal, these tips should entice you to pack your bags and go. Estrela da Luz awaits your visit to the Algarve, which, like the other regions, has a plethora of attractions. Begin your trip to the south by staying in one of our apartments.