Portugal has many remains that have made the great history of this small country. From the earliest times, you will find dinosaur tracks near Fatima, rock paintings, Celtic megaliths all over the territory, but especially in Alentejo and Algarve, Roman ruins near Coimbra, Braga, Beja or Evora... The presence of Muslims for more than four centuries has left surprising Arab-Hispanic mosaics in some churches such as Coimbra and especially "Moorish" fortifications around many villages, especially in Alentejo and Algarve, again. From the 11th to the 19th century, many Christian monuments were built. From chapels to cathedrals, from castles to monasteries, all tell the story of Portuguese architecture and art through the ages, the most characteristic of which remains the Rococo Baroque. Some sites that bear witness to this rich history have been inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List: the rock engravings of the Vale Côa, the historic centres of Evora, Elvas, Porto and Guimarães, the abbeys of Batalha or Alcobaça, the Convent of Christ in Tomar, the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, the palaces of Queluz or Mafra and the picturesque Sintra.
Sun and beaches :
With its 832 km of ocean coastline (Costa Verde, Costa de Prata, Costa de Lisboa, Costa Azul, Alentejo littoral, Costa Vicentina and Algarve), Portugal is full of beaches and coves. The water is often fresh but of good quality. Make no mistake about it, Portugal's beaches are a reflection of the country's diversity: "Californian" beaches with bicycle and rollerblade tracks near Porto, or Brazilian-style beaches near Lisbon, windsurfing, bodyboarding and surfing spots on the Sintra coast or in the Bay of Cascais, isolated coves and wild coast in the coastal Alentejo region, turquoise and warm sea on the Algarve coast... These beaches are the most popular with tourists because they are isolated coves of white sand and crystal clear water.
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette