Feb 04, 2008
Portugal! Is there more to say?
An amazing country, full of live, history, beauty and nature!
Visit Lisbon: The Jeronimos monastry, built in the 16@ is an internationally recognised historical place. Great figures of European and Lusophonic culture are burried there, such as Fernando Pessoa, the portuguese poet, considered the bigest in lusophonia, Vasco da Gama, the "inventor" of globalization by opening the sea route to India, amongst others.
Important events also took place there, being the most recent, the signing of the new Treaty of Lisbon.
While you're in the area of Belém, don't forget to eat the world famous "pasteis de nata". Believe me, you dont need to speak portuguese to know how marvousely they taste!
Visit the Belém Tower, recently counsidered one of Europe's wonders, and the Padron to discoveries (do not forget that, the portuguese where the first and the last owners of an overseas empire (1415-2002) mainly due to the discoveries movement of the 14@ to the 16@).
If still on the area, do not miss the morden art museum at CCB (Centro Cultural de Belém).
Apart rom Belém,you still have a lot to see in Lisbon!
The Ancient Art Museum, the Museum of Coches (the bigest and most important colection of ancient cars of the world), the ZOO (one of the oldest and bigest in Europe), and obviously the Baixa-Chiado area!
This, is Lisbon's life, main point! The famous Bairro Alto, is the fashion and trendy zone of the city, followed by the Chiado street where you are envited to join Fernando Pessoa's statue in a cofee at the "Brasileira". The Elevador de Santa Justa (built by Gustav Eifel's students), together with the Cathedral, the castle (from the 12@) and the old town it self, offers you an amazing, even if small, view over the history of the city that once ruled the world!
Dont forget to visit the main entrance of the city (Praça do Comercio). The only Square in the World, where one of its sides is opened (to the Tagus River). Here history hs passed quikly: earthquakes have destruied entire families, gold and spices from the far placed India has enrieched Europe, and even Kings've been killed!
Outside, the city, Parque das Nações (where the internacional exposition of 1998, the last of themilenium, and counsidered the best made till then,was held) with it's amazing open air spaces, with the Oceanirum (Europe's biggest aquarium), and with an amazing view over the Tagus river and it's two amazing bridges (also the bigest in Europe). Take a trip in the Funicular, you wont regret it!
While in Portugal, visit the Berlengas archipelago(and enjoy a one in a life time camping experience), Sintra with its romantic architecture recognised as World Heritage, do as "James Bond" did and visit Cascais the former "Costa do Sol", and obviously listen to the very portuguese brother of Flamengo and Tango: Fado song and experience the feeling of "SAUDADE"!
If going to visit the rest of the country, do not forget Faro, Sagres (where ancient sailors were trained), Sines and Lagos in the Algarves, Guarda and Serra da Estrela (respectively the highest town in Portugal, and the highest mountain in mainland Portugal, Guimarães (credle to the nation's first king), Coimbra (the students city and home to one of the oldest universitys in the European continent) or Porto with it's Unesco's recognized Old Town, and it's very own Eifel bridge.
While here... taste Porto Wine, and you'll understand why it is one of the most wanted wines in the World!
Finalising your trip, visit if possible the two portuguese atlantic archipelagos:
The Azores: Consisting in 9 islands and some more sea rocks, the Azores are the confirmation on itself of why Portugal's EEZ is the bigest in Europe. The archipelago, is home to the highest point in the country: The Pico.
Visit the World recognised Islands of S.Jorge, and Pico, or the capital od the autonomous region in Sao Miguel: Ponta Delgada, where, if lucky you will find the Joaninas (an amazing popular celebration to the lord Jesus).
While in the archipelago go for a whale watching tour, since this is top 1 place in the world for sprem whale watching, for is here that coafs are born every spring.
Finaly taste the wine that was once served at the Czars table, in St Maria.
The Madeira Region:
The second richest region in the country, this small archipelago in the african shore, is constitued for four group of islands and islets.
The major island, Madeira, is where the cpital is situated, the city of Funchal (the oldest european city outside the continet), the second island (Porto Santo) not far from there, is world recognised for its therapeudic sands. The other two groups are constitued by the Desertas islands and the Selvagens islands.
In Madeira, a lot is to be seen! the rich culture of the island is manifested in various old towns such as the piscatoric vilages of Camara de Lobos Where the 2nd highest cliff in the worldis situated and where Wiston Churchill had once "the best views of my life!".
While in the island go for the levada walks and enjoy one of the oldest forests in the world counsidered world heritage site by UNESCO, and already called "Europe's Amazonia".
Not to far from the "Green Atlantic Pearl" (name by wich Madeira is friendly treated outside), is the sandy Island of Porto Santo.
This was the first official discovery made by europeans (1418),and was home to world relevant names such as Columbus, who married the daughter of the islands captain.
The Desertas Islands, are a visitable natural reserve, home to the bigest colonies of monk seals( the rarest seal in the World) in the Atlantic Ocean. These islands are also home to a unic kind of tarantula: the Tarantula das Desertas.
The Selvagens Islands (closer to the Canarys than to Madeira) are acording to COUSTEAU's words: "The clearestand cleaner waters in the world!". They are currently on of the european candidates to WOnders of Nature.
NOTE THAT IF WANTING TO VISIT THIS 2 GROUP OF ISLANDS, AUTHORIZATION IS REQUESTED FROM THE NATURAL PARK IN FUNCHAL (INFORMATIONS MAY BE REQUESTED AT THE TOURIST INFORMANTION POINT)!!!
Finally, drink the world renoum Madeira Wine, and Poncha, and understand why Napolleon was offered 2 bottles of this marvelouses wine in his way to St.HELEN, and why, the USA's independence act was signed and celebrated with this nectar from the gods!
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