#Heritage and history
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.
Reception and hospitality
We will often be surprised to meet a people of incredible kindness and politeness. So don't be surprised if you are approached when you talk to someone in French above a map or when you seem to be looking for something... In Portugal, there will always be someone friendly and considerate to guide you in your research and show you good tips... You will feel it very quickly: generally speaking, our compatriots have very good ratings.
Nature and sports
From green valleys of pines and vines to arid plains covered with olive trees and cork oaks, from long sandy beaches to coves enclosed in cliffs, Portugal offers an interesting diversity of landscapes from north to south. Visits to Peneda Gerês National Park and the twelve natural parks (including the Alentejo Coastal Park) provide an opportunity to discover unspoilt nature, hike and observe birds and dolphins in their ecosystem. This does not spoil anything, Portugal has ideal climatic conditions for the practice of many water sports and outdoor activities. Sports tourism has been developing over the past ten years, especially for lovers of sport fishing, windsurfing, surfing and kitesurfing or sailing. More traditional activities are also practiced, such as hiking, mountain biking, climbing, horseback riding, golf, canoeing and air sports (paragliding, in particular).
Gastronomy and wine
One of the characteristics of the complicity between Portugal and France undoubtedly comes from the same adoration for the pleasures of the table. Without being as sophisticated as French cuisine, Portuguese cuisine has excellent chefs, with creative and contemporary cuisine, who revisit the generous rustic dishes prepared with fresh and natural products. In most restaurants, which are generally well rooted in tradition, you will of course taste cod (bacalhau), according to 1,000 recipes, fish and seafood, deli meats, lamb, veal or roast suckling pig, grilled meats and other soups, stews, stews, stews, stews, processed rice... Here, the bread and cheese are excellent, they will accompany very good wines produced throughout the country. Those of Alentejo and Douro (including the famous Port wine) are the most famous, especially in red wines, but you will taste good wines everywhere. Throughout these pages, addresses will allow you to visit cellars to taste some of the best wines. As for sweets, you will have the choice between conventual pastries and countless small biscuits or creamy cakes including the famous and creamy pastéis de nata.
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette
Practical guide for you trip to Portugal