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Ten reasons for Portugal

Moliceiros on the main canal, blue hour, Aveiro, Venice of Portugal, Beira Litoral, Portugal, Europe

Brazilians love it, as do their Spanish neighbors, and Portugal is also a popular holiday destination for international travelers. Spectacular nature, centuries-old culture, and good wine in southern Europe.

City view of Lisbon (DW/C. Deicke)

Experience Lisbon by day and night

With its alleys through which historic trams push their way, the Portuguese capital on the Tejo is a popular travel destination that cruise ships also like to head for. Lisbon has a long history that has left behind churches and monasteries, palaces, and an imposing fortress. Other attractions: top-class museums, Europe’s largest aquarium, and sizzling nightlife.

A big wave surfer on the north beach of Nazare, Portugal.

Surf the giant wave

Around 830 kilometers of the Atlantic coastline the narrow country. Many tourists head to the southern Algarve, while surfers head to the rugged beaches of the northwest. Probably the most famous surf spot is north of the city of Nazaré. There are waves here that can sometimes be higher than 20 meters.

Biblioteca Joanin, University Library of the Portuguese University of Coimbra

Study in Coimbra

Coimbra was once Portugal’s capital. The university, founded in 1920, still shapes life in the city today. The baroque university library is particularly famous. Its magnificent halls contain veritable treasures of antiquarian books. Fascinating: Bats live in the library and protect the stock by eating insects. The reading tables are covered in the evening.

The Palácio da Pena in the city of Sintra, red and yellow facades

Stroll through Sintra

Almost looks like Disneyland, but it’s a historic castle: The Palácio da Pena in the city of Sintra. It was built in 1840 on the ruins of a monastery. The client was the king consort D. Fernando von Saxe-Coburg Gotha. Gothic, Egyptian, Islamic, and Renaissance elements are interwoven here. Sintra and the surrounding cultural landscape are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

A dusty vineyard in Pinhao, Portugal

Enjoy good wine

Although Portugal only occupies 12th place on the list of the largest wine producers, connoisseurs appreciate the variety of old grape varieties that produce a whole range of interesting wines. Wine has been cultivated in Portugal for centuries, some grape varieties are only found here. The grapes for the world-famous port wine grow in the Alto Douro wine region in the north of the country.

Colorful houses in the Ribeira district, Cais da Ribeira, waterfront promenade on the Rio Douro, Porto, Portugal, Europe

Port Wine, Potter – Porto!

In the city of Porto, located on the Douro River, port wine was traditionally stored. To this day there are numerous port wine cellars. In the old town, there are still many buildings in need of renovation, which contribute to the original charm of the city. And: Porto has one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world! The Livraria Lello is said to have been the inspiration for the world of Harry Potter novels.

Worship in front of the Basilica Antiga, Nossa Senhora do Rosário

Pilgrimage to Fatima

It’s not the sun, wine, and art that attract people to this city, but religious wonders: Fátima in the center of the country is one of the most important places of pilgrimage for Catholics. In 1917 the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared here to three shepherd children. To testify to this, a miracle of the sun is said to have occurred sometime later, which was observed by tens of thousands of those present.

Moliceiros on the main canal, blue hour, Aveiro, Venice of Portugal, Beira Litoral, Portugal, Europe

Gondola through Aveiro

The city of Aveiro, 70 kilometers south of Porto, is also known as “Portugal’s Venice”. Of course, Aveiro is not nearly as spectacular as Italy’s pearl on the Adriatic. There are also gondolas and canals here. In addition, numerous pastel-colored Art Nouveau houses make Aveiro a real gem.

Bairro Alto district: fado bar Tasca do Chico, fado singer Carla Linhares, Lisbon

Listen to the fado

If you want to trace the soul of Portugal, you should visit a fado bar. Love, longing, world pain – these are themes that fado music is all about. Fado is sung by a soloist accompanied by classical and Portuguese guitar. It originated in the slums of Lisbon and is still sung in fado venues such as “Tasca do Chico” here.

Cliff and seascape from Cape Roca, Sintra, Portugal

Standing at the end of Europe

The Portuguese once believed this would be the end of the world. Only the European mainland ends at Cabo da Roca in a westerly direction. The rugged cape is 40 kilometers from Lisbon, hiking trails lead along the coast to a lighthouse. When the sun sinks into the ocean in the evening, visitors can experience spectacular moments in the lonely landscape.

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