“…What we are cannot be transfused into word or book…”

When Fernando Pessoa – one of Portugal’s greatest poets – wrote these words, he could have been writing about his beloved homeland, for Portugal offers an extraordinary diversity of experiences within a compact space. From the rugged mountain peaks, remote gorges and terraced vineyards of the north, to the pristine beaches, rolling hills and wide horizons of the south, visitors have a fascinating array of things to discover. A stroll around a spectacular palace, an all-night party in one of Lisboa’s hottest clubs, a hike through mountains inhabited by wolves and lynx, or a lazy day at a deserted cove, taking things easy in true Portuguese style – all are in easy range in a country that allows visitors to travel from end to end within the space of a day.

Discovery is of course the hallmark of this sea-faring nation. Portugal’s famous navigators opened up sea rout to the east and west, bringing back spoils from Africa, India and Brazil. Their legacy is everywhere – in the citie built on the riches of the discoveries, in ornate Manueline architecture, and
in present-day Portugal’s openness to other cultures.

For everywhere visitors go, they are met by warmth, friendliness and generosity of spirit. Born from a rich mix of cultures and experiences, and tempered by the country’s long romance with the sea and mild climate, the Portuguese are an unpretentious, easy going nation, always ready to share a drink, a meal and a story. Hotels (ranging from the simple to the palatial) are comfortable and welcoming, the food is delicious, and the wines – well, the wines are one of Portugal’s undiscovered treasures.

This love of simple pleasures goes hand in hand with sophistication. Portugal is a country with a proud history, an extraordinary cultural heritage and a thriving intellectual and artistic life. Those in search of culture can take their pick of the many world heritage sites around the country, enjoy an extraordinary range of architecture, from ancient tombs to remarkable contemporary buildings, and feast their eyes on treasures from the Baroque to exciting contemporary art. Meanwhile traditional folk festivals celebrated with a deep, passionate fervour provide an insight into Portugal’s unique

Of course, for those who enjoy the pleasures of sun, sea and sand, the country’s miles of fabulous beaches and surf-pounded Atlantic coast are hard to beat. Island lovers can indulge their passions too – the Azores offer a great variety of adventurous experiences (whale-watching is a particular favourite), while Madeira is a beguiling mix of ancient rainforest and modern luxury.

Overwhelmingly beautiful landscapes, cosmopolitan cities, magnificent architecture, vibrant nightlife and locals ready to welcome you with open arms – all this and more is waiting to be discovered.

Simply go deeper.

Informations provided by ITP – Instituto de Turismo de Portugal – www.visitportugal.com

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