Tourism in Portugal
Portugal has much to offer world travelers, from the exciting capital city of Lisbon to the fairytale town of Sintra and to Tomar home of the Knights Templar. Portugal has amazing beaches with beautiful white sand and clear waters, many of which have been awarded the blue flag eco-label. Portugal is rich with history and has a fantastic tradition of food and wine.
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal. It has been called the city of explorers. Famous explorers such as Ferdinand Magellan and Vasco De Gama were launched from its ports. Lisbon also plays host to a multitude of museums and art collections. The Alfama district is a maze of medieval streets overlooked by an ancient castle.
Sintra was originally named “Cynthia” by Romans who settled in the town and made it a place of worship for the Moon Goddess. The Moors came after the Romans came and built several castles and palaces around the town. The British Lord Byron fell in love with the town saying that it was “perhaps in every respect the most delightful in Europe.” Pena Palace is the most famous building in Sintra containing turrets, ramparts, domes and gargoyles. It has a large ballroom and the “Arab Room.” Outside Pena palace there are large gardens with trees and plants brought back from various Portuguese colonies. The gardens also have black swans in their ornamental ponds.
Tomar is on the Nabo River. So Francisco is a 17th century church in the town that contains a Match Museum with over 43,000 matchbooks from 104 countries. The Castle and Convent of Tomar were granted to the Knights Templar in reward for helping the Portuguese drive out the Moors. The Castle and Convent of Tomar are considered one of Portugal’s greatest architectural accomplishments.
Portugal’s beaches are beautiful and stretch up and down the entire west and south coasts of the country. The beaches in the south, in the Algarve Province, have warm water that is relatively calm. The Algarve Province contains a little over 93 miles in beaches. Portugal’s beaches also offer a multitude of entertainments including the Quicksilver Pro Portugal which is a surfing competition that is part of the World Qualifying Series and has the highest challenge rating of six stars. Portugal also gets to be the first European country in the F1 Power Boat World Championship.
The official Portuguese tourism bureau offers many ways to try the wine and food of the country. They have planned out several “wine routes” which allows tourist to travel the country experiencing the different kinds of food and wine that Portugal has to offer.