Once one of Europe’s greatest superpowers, Portugal has plenty of points of interest where you can still view the country of Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan. Whatever kind of vacation you’re taking in Portugal, there’s plenty of places to visit that will take your breath away as much as the Mediterranean heat. This list has been compiled by yourgolftravel, and includes some of the best things to do near their resorts when you’re taking some time off from the course.
Belem is near the capital of Lisbon, and is where Magellan and da Gama once loaded their ships in preparation for their voyages to the New World. Belem’s selection of cultural venues and striking monuments makes for one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the Med, so it’s no wonder than Belem is one of the most visited areas in Europe.
Ponta Da Piedade
One of the most popular stop offs for those on Algarve golf tours, Lagos itself is one of the oldest towns in Portugal, with fortifications dating back to the 8th century. Though blessed with bustling nightlife and brand new marina area, nothing in Lagos will prepare you for the sublime south of the city, with the beautiful Ponta da Piedade lapped by turquoise waters and decorated with fabulous rock formations; Ponta da Piedade is one of the most naturally beautiful places in Europe.
One of Portugal’s “big four” cities; boasting one of the world’s most successful football clubs; Porto is the place to go for those looking for something a little more urban. That’s not to say the people of Porto have abandoned their traditions either, with the modern developments blending seamlessly with the historic centre. The pace in Porto is dictated by the world class wine industry, so you have the perfect excuse to sample absolutely everything the city has to offer; from strolling up the numerous roads leading to the majestic cathedral; to marvelling at the Stock Exchange with its neoclassical architecture; to enjoying the city’s most famous product in one of its many cosy restaurants.
More things to enjoy in Portugal
My thanks for this article to yourgolftravel.com
Join us on a Mediterranean cruise taking in seven wonderful destinations – Barcelona, Genoa, Malaga, Cadiz, Lisbon, Gibraltar and Alicante. Each city has much to offer, but if you’d like to explore some lesser known corners, as well as some well known highlights, here are some ideas for the places you might visit.
Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city and the capital of the Catalonia region. One of its most famous landmarks is Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished church of the Sagrada Familia, which has been under construction since 1882, with a planned completion date of 2026.
To get away from the tourist-orientated areas of the city, explore the district of Raval, whose maze of streets offer fashionable and unique shops.
Genoa is an historical Italian city and the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, the explorer who discovered the Americas. The home where he was allegedly born is in an area known as the Piazza De Ferrari, where the Teatro Carlo Felice Opera and Palace of the Doges is also located.
To search out a tasty treat, explore Recco to the east of Genoa, the birthplace of cheese focaccia, where cheap and delicious focaccia bread is served on the seafront.
Malaga is in the Spanish region of Andalusia and enjoys a subtropical climate. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and is surrounded by mountains to the north, the harbour to the south and two rivers, the Guadalmedina and the Gualdhorce.
For a view over the city try the Alcazaba, a Moorish fortress that enjoys wonderful views of the Plaza de Toros and the port. Perfect for lazy afternoons when other attractions may be closed.
Cadiz is a seaport to the south of Spain and has been the main homeport of the Spanish navy since the 18th century. Commonly known as Casco Antiguo (Old City), it is many narrow streets, which connect a number of stunning plazas.
For a break from city sightseeing seek out the Donana National Park to the north of the province, the largest Natural Park in Spain and home to a range of wildlife.
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and the most populated city in the country. The most popular area for shopping, entertainment and nightlife is Bairro Alto, where Portugal’s national song Fado, can still be enjoyed. The monument Cristo Rei overlooks the whole city and resembles the Corcovado monument in Rio de Janeiro.
Off the beaten track , you’ll find Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, home to an esteemed art collection and surrounded by serene and beautiful gardens.
Gibraltar lies at the entrance to the Mediterranean and is an overseas British controlled territory at the end of the Iberian peninsular. Its famous landmark is the Rock of Gibraltar with its upper area covered by a nature reserve, which is home to over 200 Barbary Macaques, the only wild monkeys found in Europe.
For a different perspective, the World War II Seige and St Michaels Cave’s are popular with tourists, but enquire at the Rock Hotel about ways to see more of the tunnels.
Alicante is an historic Mediterranean port that is overlooked by the Castle of Santa Barbara, which sits on Mount Benacantil. The Explanada de Esparia is a tree-lined promenade where concerts often take place and the El Palmeral Park is a great place to relax by the lakes, enjoy a picnic or take a stroll.
To escape the bustle, the Old City has some stunning architecture, ‘Spanish colonial’ style buildings and streets that are generally quiet.
My thanks for this article to www.Travel247.ie, an Irish owned tour operator that specialises in Mediterranean Cruises and package holidays globally.
This article takes us to the Algarve region of Portugal, to explore not only the beautiful beaches, but also the hidden backwaters, such as the inland walking trail of the Via Algarviana and the Costa Vicentina nature reserve.
Until last year I thought the Algarve was all sun, sea and golf. A sort of rich man’s Costa del Sol where people came to fly and flop and cultural adventure was extended from the hotel bar to the beach and back.
This I now realise was not only misguided and unfair but widely off the mark. Sure, you can come to the Algarve for its sandy beaches and comfortable apartments but for those wanting slightly more from their get-away Portugal’s most southern region offers up more than enough to satisfy those itchy feet.
Day one of my Algarvian retreat and I joined my guide just outside the pretty hillside village of Alte where I was to begin a stretch of the regions popular walking trail – the Via Algarviana. This 240 kilometre path stretches from Lower Guadiana to Cape Saint Vincent and takes in some of the region’s most picturesque countryside along the way. As someone who has been known in the past to be somewhat navigationally challenged I was more than pleased to discover the paths were clearly sign-posted and the wooden posts with their red painted ring were all I needed to monitor in order to ensure I didn’t end up aimlessly walking into Andalucía…
In terms of seeing the ‘hidden Algarve’ you can’t get much more off the beaten track than this. The paths wind their way through fields and meadows, forests and tiny little villages where dogs bark with gusto as you pass through their little pocket of tranquillity. After a couple of hours our guide brought us to a small clearing by a house where she promptly laid down a blanket and an elderly lady from the cottage scurried over with a basket heavy with fresh breads, olives, Portuguese meats and delicious homemade chutneys and jams. Needless to say our small group devoured this mouth-watering picnic before gathering our things together and carrying on to meet our vehicle which would drive us out to the coast to our designated lunch spot (yes, that was just a snack…)
Food in the Algarve is another very good reason to come here and away from the tourist hot spots there are numerous local restaurants to slip into for a traditional meal. Bread, cheese, cooked meats and sweet potatoes were all firm favourites of mine – while the seafood was without doubt some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Fresh, beautifully cooked in light sauces the fish, prawns, mussels and scallops we feasted on overlooking the Costa Vicentina on the Algarve’s rugged and idyllic Western Coast.
As well as nature lovers (the Costa Vicentina is a protected Natural Park covering over 74,000 hectares and boasting over 750 different species – 12 of which are not found anywhere else in the world) this part of the Algarve is a surfers haven. Sandy inlets, rugged coves and deserted stretches of wave scattered sea and sand make this an ideal place to come and bring your board. Or, if like me you’ve eaten far too many mussels to risk straining your own, a great place to sit and digest…
Heading back later that evening to the nearest largest town, Lagos, where we would spend the night (a mini bus had helpfully taken our suitcases that morning – well, I was on holiday:) I checked into the Quinta dos Caracois full of respect for a region so undeniably appealing yet also in some parts so untouched I almost want to keep my new found knowledge to myself. Enjoy…
Author Bio: Roberta Summer loves exotic locations, cocktails and Japanese food. She hails from Madrid where she learnt flamenco and has since travelled extensively to explore her passion for dance and languages.