|Portugal has a attractive and varied landscape, changing from luscious green scenery to mountains and beautiful coastlines, as well as culturally rich cities.
Lisbon is the capital city and is situated near the west coast within a natural inlet, giving it shelter from the harsher Atlantic weather. The city is built on seven hills so there is plenty of opportunity for getting some great city views, one of which is from to St. Jorge’s Castle.
The Belem area of the city has many monuments including Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery, the Presidential Palace and the Coach Museum.
Lisbon is also gaining a reputation for some great nightlife. The Chiado district is a shopping district by day and a popular nightclub district by night and the city also houses two massive casinos.
Porto (Oporto in Portuguese) is Portugal’s second city, and northern capital. This is an ancient city and the historical centre, called Ribeira, has UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Built on a hill, Porto also has some wonderful views to enjoy which you can do so by getting on the Ascensor da Ribeira, an ‘elevator’ running up hill, or use the Funicular dos Guindais to take you up the steep streets and for a great view of the river.
Away from the cities, Portugal has some beautiful countryside and mountain scenery. There are many conservation areas here including one national park, 12 natural parks and 9 nature reserves. The national park, Parque Nacional da Paneda-Geres is in the north of the country and has some stunning landscapes. It’s particularly famous for its waterfalls, rivers and dams.
Serra da Estrela Natural Park is situated in the Serra da Estrel mountain range and the area is famous for its cheese and also for the mountain dog which shares its name! There is skiing here too, at the Vodafone Ski Resort.
Portugal is famous for its beaches and attractive coastline, particularly the south coast around the Algarve. The weather and the waters are warmer here than along the west coast and the water is also calmer, making this a more appealing spot for families with children. However, if you like rougher waters for surfing, the coast near Lisbon is said to be great for this!