Despite its small size historic Portugal was a real conquering nation and a major economic, political and military power. In the Age of Discovery they divided the world into two with Spain and strongly influenced world history. Their colonial empire lasted about 600 years – enough time to spread their language that by today is spoken by 220 million people in 10 countries.
Medieval castles, peaceful cobblestone villages, world-famous wine, delicious and affordable seafood, delightful cities, brilliant beaches and warm weather are only some elements that make a visit to Portugal so exciting.
As they traveled a lot, they introduced chili to India, peanuts to South East Asia, tempura to Japan and battered fish to the UK. The Portuguese brought cinnamon from Sri Lanka, piri piri from Africa, salt dried cod from Newfoundland and sweet oranges to Europe. They even helped to make tea popular in England.
In one day you can see almost all of its beautiful countryside: From the green mountains of the North covered with vine, trees and rocks, to the remarkable slopes and falls in the centre, the desert-like landscape in the Alentejo region to the enchanting beaches in the Algarve of the South.
900 years of history make Portugal one of the oldest nations in Europe and the capital, Lisbon, even older than Rome. Located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and River Tagus, Lisbon is an extremely important container port and plays a major role in European media, arts, trade, commerce and finance.
Take a ride in 19th century tram system, dive into the history of its stunning architecture, the many museums, galleries and the Bertrand Bookstore, the oldest in the world, that used to be the center of Lisbon’s intellectual and artistic scene.
Drive along the longest bridge in Europe with the tuneful name of Vasco da Gama – the perfect invitation to drive further, next to the 800 kilometers of Atlantic coastline.
Towards the North, don’t miss Porto, the second-largest city and former European Cultural Capital, full of music and arts. Many famous musicians came from the area, and Portugal’s culturally essential Fado is best perceived here. Fado expresses an often fateful, resigned and melancholic world view and attitude.
Out of the city you want to visit the Douro valley hillsides, one of the world’s oldest established wine producing regions and the only place where the grapes of the globally appreciated Port wine are grown.
There’s so much more to learn about the local culture, life and traditions. Stray with us through its old-fashioned villages, explore its history, fall in love with its amazing scenery and enjoy Portugal’s outstanding seafood. Our local experts and mentors will make you want to stay in this endlessly fascinating place.
Join us this summer in Portugal: beonboard.org/portugal
Also published on Medium.