25 Feb 2013 Portugal: Land of Pure Delight
by Terrance Richardson
The mention of this beautiful country conjures up images of white sandy beaches, great food, and adventure around every corner just waiting to be discovered.
Considered a top destination by many, Lisbon is home to some of the top tourist destinations in Portugal. Gothic cathedrals, monasteries, and museums around every corner housing priceless collections from around the world, Lisbon is a veritable melting pot of activities. The Castelo de Sao Jorje towers above the city providing impressive views of the surrounding area. A visit to the Baixa, with its wide streets, abundant shops and restaurants is a perfect way to cap off any trip to this incredible city.
The Algarve region of Portugal is considered to be the preeminent beach holiday destination and Lagos is at the center of every exciting moment. The beauty of the cobblestone streets filled with restaurants and shopping blended with plenty of beach-side resorts make Lagos a top destination for fun seekers of all ages. More than just a city by the sea, Lagos is filled with a rich and deep history. Churches and museums have carefully preserved the traditions of this incredible city.
Deep in the Portuguese countryside lies the village of Sintra. Quite a contrast from the Algarve region and even the bustling city of Lisbon, Sintra is home to some of the most beautiful buildings in Portugal. Locals and visitors alike visit Sintra in order to commune with nature. Be sure to visit the Palacio de Pena. Standing firmly at the top of Mount Pena, the Palacio is an incredible example of 19th century Romantic revivalism. The highlight of the Palacio is the Chapel which houses an altarpiece attributed to Nicolau Chanterrene, one of the architects of the Mostiero dos Jeronimos in Lisbon.
The gateway to the northern regions of Portugal, Porto is a city of contrasts. From its narrow medieval city streets to the extravagant Baroque style churches, Porto has something for everyone. The Ribiera district, Porto’s historic city centre, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and is definitely a must-see when visiting this city. Winding streets, beautifully tiled churches on every corner, and the old traditions waiting to receive guests make a trip to the city centre a delightful treat for visitors of all ages. Grab a quick bite in one of the many cafés or pop into one of the local shops. Whatever you desire, Porto is sure to please.
The premier attraction in all of Portugal is Coimbra. Likened to a fortress of learning, this ancient university along the banks of the Rio Mondego has been enchanting and delighting the intellectual visitor for centuries. Founded in 1290, Coimbra was also the capitol of Portugal for few years. The collection of Romanesque and Baroque style buildings are a must see for those who hunger for knowledge.
Portugal is a country with something for everyone. From fun filled beaches to the quiet halls of learning, Portugal will continue to be a top holiday destination for visitors of all ages.