Land of sun and colours
Unspoilt golden beaches, orangey red rock masses, dark green pine trees, a refreshing turquoise blue sea and sunshine literally throughout the entire year: everything you could possibly wish for in an ideal holiday country. Whether you choose to stay along the far reaching coast line or perhaps in the idyllic inland, the sun’s light and heat will never let you down.
Portugal has a dominant Mediterranean climate. The winters are cool and rainy, the summers are warm and dry. There are major temperature differences between the North and South of the country. The best known coastal areas have a very good summer temperature.
Portugal’s landscape is extraordinarily varied. The dividing line is the river Taag.
The area to the North of the river is full of hills and mountains and often stretches far above the 500m. This is very much in contrast to the South, which is mainly flat.
Plant growth is also very diverse. The most common trees in the mountains and other high plateaus in the North are the birch, chestnut, oak and maple tree. In the South you will mostly see the cork oak, eucalyptus and olive trees. Portugal is the biggest producer of cork and cork products.
Portugal’s animal world has a number of African elements. For example, you will come across the chameleon, genet and mongoose. The wild bore and wild cat can also be admired. Portugal is also an important stop over for migratory birds, the most important of which are the wading birds, avocet, curlew and the black-tailed godwit. You will also see eagles, owls, buzzards and sea coots.
Portugal has approximately 10 million inhabitants. The Portuguese have a reputation of being very hospitable and friendly people. The best way of getting to know Portugal is by visiting the small coastal towns. All the original fishing traditions are still upheld here and people still live from and with the sea. The unique architecture still shows some traces of the Moorish rule, like the white houses with highly imaginative chimneys and the typical ‘azulejos’ (blue painted tiles).
The local cuisine is certainly one aspect which should not be overlooked. Portugal offers the very best fish in the world, prepared in the traditional Portuguese kitchens fresh from the sea. The Portuguese wines also enjoy international fame.
Lisbon is the only European capital which boasts beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Anyone travelling along the funnel-shaped estuary of the Taag by train will be surprised by the continuous golden beaches located so close to the capital. Back in the 15th century, Lisbon was the sea’s capital. Ships would leave the banks of the river Taag to go on their journeys of discovery to Africa and India. The nearby towns of Estoril and Cascais boast the most beautiful palaces.
Carefully laid challenging golf courses on the sea, in landscapes which literally take your breath away. There are more than 30 top courses in the Algarve alone. The courses’ climate and location (and degree of difficulty) have turned the Algarve into a top golf destination.
The international airports
Portugal’s important international airports are: Porto, Lisbon and Faro (Algarve).
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