Wednesday, 25 July 2018

22 reasons why everyone is going to Portugal right now

According to The Telegraph everyone seems to be going to Portugal right now. Indeed, this week the country reported gleefully on another record year for overseas arrivals. Just over 12.7 million foreigners visited the country in 2017 – up 12 per cent year-on-year. Here's why it is proving so popular.

 1. Lisbon’s timeworn charm
“Set against the ever-present backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, this dainty sun-kissed city lives in a Latin fairytale of timeworn manners and traditions,” says Telegraph Travel’s Lisbon expert, Guyan Mitra. “Check out the century-old wooden trams and iron funiculars that still lurch and rumble their way through the city. Or witness the best of this bygone heritage by wandering through the Baixa district, where age-old herbalists, haberdashers and tailors rub shoulders in the baroque streets of the ornate city centre.” Portugal's capital is a "Latin fairytale" according to our expert.
2. Pretty Porto
“With its medieval heart, contemporary buzz, magnificent gold-leaf-laced churches – oh, and a rather nice signature tipple – Portugal’s second city merits a visit at any time,” writes Telegraph Travel’s Adrian Bridge. Carved in two by the Douro river, downtown Porto has a faded sophistication, while the seaside suburbs have witnessed something of a renaissance in recent years, home as they are to a burgeoning collection of bars, restaurants and cafes, which offer an authentic slice of local life.

3. The wine, of course
Portugal’s national drink (port or porto) is ubiquitous across the country, particularly in its eponymous home. Any bar and restaurant worth its salt will sell the fortified wine, but for larger quantities head to one of Portugal’s plentiful off-licences, which sell anything from dusty, 100-year-old bottles worth €1,000, to more affordable vintages.

 4. The Harry Potter connection – and a spectacular bookshop
JK Rowling taught English in Porto back in the 1990s and was a regular at the Livraria Lello bookstore, which is one of the most famous shops in the city. Apparently, its decorative bookcases, carved wooden ceilings and lavish staircases inspired the Hogwarts Library in her Harry Potter books.

 5. Freshly-baked pastel de natas
Nowhere does custard tarts (or pastel de natas, as they’re called here) quite like Portugal. And perhaps nowhere in Portugal does them as well as Pasteis de Belém in Lisbon, which is why queues for the sweet, rich and perfectly crisp tarts often stretch along the pavement.
6. The weather
Perched on the western edge of Europe, Lisbon is the continent’s sunniest capital city, boasting an average of 2,799 hours of sunshine a year, pipping Athens, which has 2,771 hours of sun a year, to the post.
7. It has Madeira
“Madeira is not Ibiza. It attracts a more mature clientele, and raving is limited to enthusing about the island’s dramatic scenery and botanical wonders,” writes Telegraph Travels’ destinations expert, Gavin Bell. Bell was particularly enthused by the island’s cornucopia of fine food and wine, plus the landscapes which he said could have been “dreamt up by Tolkien”.  

8. Your pound goes further
The vote for Brexit hit travellers in the wallet, but trips to Portugal soften the blow. Yes, it takes the euro, but the country remains one of the most affordable destinations on the Continent, offering visitors the elegance of Western Europe for Eastern European prices. In fact, in its annual Holiday Money Report, the Post Office declared Portugal the second best value destination for a European getaway, after Bulgaria. 
9. This bridge
Located in Lisbon, this record-breaking structure is named after the famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama.

10. This spectacular stadium
Portugal’s unexpected victory at Euro 2016 ignited further interest in a sport that already enjoys semi-religious status across the country. There are bountiful opportunities to watch a game, but for something special head to Estádio Municipal de Braga, a stadium carved out of a rock. Listen out for the phrase “o jogo Inglês”, which means “the English game” and is used disparagingly to describe boring football. Charming. 

11. You can whack people with mallets
St John’s Day (June 23) is celebrated with gusto in Porto. There are church services, all-night parties and, weirdly, inflatable mallets, which are used to club fellow revellers with.
12. The beaches are exquisite
Portugal’s exquisite coastline, reliable weather and fine seaside resorts make it one of Europe’s best destinations for a beach break
13. The waves
Thanks to the rolling swell of the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is one of Europe’s best surfing destinations with a wave for every ability. Best of all, the breaks are relatively uncrowded.
14. It boasts ‘Europe’s answer to Hawaii’
Floating in the Atlantic Ocean, some 850 miles from mainland Portugal, the Azores was described as “the Hawaii of the Atlantic” by Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater. “They are lost in deep seas; steep-sided, beautiful, wild,” he wrote. “This is not to say the weather matches the glow of Pacific America – cloud and rain dog the Azores as much as sunshine – but such climactic inconstancy only adds to the aesthetic. Every day is different.”

15. Its secret cities 
Everyone has heard of Lisbon and Porto, but how about Guimarães, Tavira and Sintra? If those names don’t ring any bells you’re missing out on an opportunity to discover what Portuguese cities were like before the tourists arrived.
16. Opulent hotels abound
And because money goes further in Portugal, a luxury stay is refreshingly affordable.
17. The nightlife
From the thronging streets of Lisbon and Porto to the pumping seaside resorts of the Algarve, Portugal’s love for a night on the tiles is no secret. Less known, however, is the country’s growing affection for Afro-house, which is being imported from Africa like its going out of fashion. The genre has found fertile ground in Lisbon’s vivacious clubbing scene, but it’s poised to spread across the country.   
18. Fado bars
At the core of Portugal's musical tradition is the distinctive song form, fado – literally “fate” – which is predominantly slow, resigned and melancholy in character. The music is lyrical, soulful and accompanied by guitars – the Spanish-style guitar known in Portuguese as viola and the Portuguese pear-shaped guitarra. To catch a live performance drop into one of the country’s wonderful fado houses.

 19. It’s home to Europe’s most underrated river
The Douro might not conjure the imagery of the Seine or even the Thames, but it’s comfortably one of the most beautiful waterways in Europe, as it snakes through vineyards, bucolic villages and Porto, where it is spanned by the city’s iconic iron bridge.
20. There’s a chapel made from bones
The interior of the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) in Evora is, rather morbidly, decorated with human skulls and bones from some 5,000 corpses. The chapel was built by a Franciscan monk in the 16th century, who wanted to remind worshippers that life is transitory.

21. It has one of Europe’s best pools
The Leça Swimming Pool complex, designed by the eminent Portuguese architect, Alvaro Siza, is one the continent’s best bathing spots. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Leça da Palmeira, near Porto, its saltwater swimming pools are carved into the rugged shore and are popular with architecture aficionados as well as bathers.
22. It’s home to Serralves
The most visited museum in Portugal, Serralves is also one of Europe’s most influential contemporary arts museums. Located in Porto, this wonderful exhibition space sits in manicured gardens, which are scattered with works from the likes of Richard Serra and Claes Oldenburg.   
Source: The Telegraph | See the original article here.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Bike Tour "Grand Prix Portugal National Road 2"

A wonderful road that holds the best of our history, representing a guardian of our memory. A heritage united by an incredible umbilical cord that truly aggregates, from end to end, Portugal.

 The Bike Tour "Grand Prix Portugal National Road 2" is much more than a portentous sports event, which is a major competition at world level. It's a project that aims the promotion, stimulating and valuing this fascinating road.

There will be many actions throughout the year, but everything will have the epicenter and its peak in the Bike Tour.

Now, everyone to the road to see the cyclists pass!  :)

Together we will build the most fascinating project of national cycling "Bike Tour Portugal National Road 2 - The biggest road in Europe".

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Top 10 - Most beautiful beaches in Europe

Sunbathe in the golden sand beaches of the Algarve, dive into the crystal-clear water of Corfu, or swim to explore the depths of Formentera. From the United Kingdom to Italy, moving to Croatia, Portugal and Spain, join us on a short visit through the ten most beautiful beaches found on the European coastline. Brought to you by

Benagil (Algarve, Portugal)

Not all beaches are as noticeable to the world. Some are like hidden gems, surrounded by breathtaking scenarios. Such is the case of Algar de Benagil, a beach found in Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal. An intriguing landscape located under the homonymous sea cave of Algar, a somewhat secluded spot with a natural oculus through which sunlight pours, illuminating this wonderful surface covered in golden sand.

Tuerredda (Sardinia, Italy)

The Tuerredda beach is located in the province of Cagliari, on the southern coastline of Sardinia. Deep blue waters, a strip of fine sand, and the Mediterranean scents carried by the sea breeze make this landscape a precious Italian jewel. The multiple colors of the water change constantly from a deep blue to emerald green. Its sandy depths are the perfect habitat of many sea creatures.

Kaputas (Turkey)

The Kaputas beach is considered as one of the best beaches in Europe and one of the most attractive destinations in the entire Mediterranean region. It boasts a wild nature and a non-polluted sea. This location offers a perfect view for visitors looking to enjoy the beauty of the landscape while resting in a fascinating granular sand bay.

La Concha (San Sebastian, Spain)

Seen from the highest point, the shape of this San Sebastián beach resembles a shell with a pearl. In fact, this beautiful beach located in the Basque Country receives its name after that shell-shaped form. It is a marvelous coastline covered in fine sand, and it offers ideal waters for surfing and sunbathing in the Cantabrian Sea.

Paleokastritsa (Corfu, Greece)

There's no need to travel all the way to the Caribbean Islands to enjoy the depths of the sea or diving into different shades of turquoise colored waters. You can do it at a much closer location by visiting the village of Palaiokastritsa, located on the Greek island of Corfu. Its beaches can be found on rocky shores and all of them offer incredible bays, open to practice swimming or scuba diving. Palaiokastritsa tops the selection of best beaches in Europe that you must visit this summer, according to travel search engines such as Skyscanner and TripAdvisor.

Zlatni Rat (Croatia)

A beach located in a wide isthmus of white sand that changes its form depending on the Mistral's wind and the strong tides. That's exactly what you'll experience if you go on a vacation to the Zlatnia Rat, on the Croatian coast. It's currently one of the most visited places during the summer holidays, a destination where visitors can still enjoy transparent waters and one of the most remarkable beaches in Europe.

Ses Illetas (Balearic Islands, Spain)

The clear waters and the fine golden sand are signatures of the Ses Illetes beach, located in Formentera. This sea paradise is a perfect retreat for relaxation, to enjoy incredible sunsets, or walking through its sand dunes. In addition, the depths of this beach are covered with 'posidonia oceanica', a seagrass species that forms an entire ecosystem, certainly a wonderful choice for scuba divers.

Inchydoney (Ireland)

Consider making a visit to Inchydoney in your next trip, a beach next to the town of Clonakilty, in the Irish county of Cork. Surrounded by dunes, this beach is a perfect destination for friends and families looking to explore coastal areas or surfing in incredible surroundings.

San Teodoro (Sardinia, Italy)

With less than 5,000 inhabitants, the town of San Teodoro, in Sardinia, is proud to offer its visitors some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. The blue and transparent sea, an authentic natural pool, becomes the ideal place for recreational diving because of its shallow depths. Its fine white sand recalls the Caribbean tropical scenery.

Bantham (Devon, England)

If you are looking for a different beach full of surprises, visit the Bantham beach, in the county of Devon, located in the southern region of England. This maritime enclave offers incredible views to the Bigbury Bay since it's surrounded by impressive natural scenery.

Source: TourismReview | See the original article here.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

The Azores, Portugal: Five reasons to visit

According to Aicep, the Azores is like a tropical version of 'Middle Earth', the mythical world brought to life in The Lord of the Rings flicks.

This far-flung archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is home to other-worldly scenery. But being more Fern Gully than Frozen, these Portuguese islands are painted in shades of verdant green and blue, and boast temperatures to please both the nature- and sun-seekers among us.

Like Middle Earth's real-life New Zealand locations, the Azores' steep valleys, dramatic volcanic rock formations and soaring mountains all scream for adrenaline-charged adventures – and plunging into its temperate seas will reap rewards, too.

So time to strip off and dive deep into the valleys and waters of the Azores' biggest island, São Miguel, to discover why you should visit Europe's Eden.

Source: Portugal Global - Aicep | See the original article here.