A gentle climate
Portugal has more days´ sunshine than practically any country in Europe. Spring arrives early and summer tends to linger … It is not unusual to be able to enjoy a midday glass of wine on a terrace in December! Photographers and walkers will love the light at all times of the year.
Incredible landscapes and beaches
With a territory smaller than the state of Indiana, Portugal is amazingly beautiful. It is also a country of great geographical diversity: mile upon mile of unspoilt beaches, some of them with huge Atlantic rollers for some of the best surfing in the world; the plains of the Alentejo with their cork forests; the mountainous Douro Valley wine country with its terraced vineyards … A journey through Portugal is full of astonishing discoveries.
Succulent food and award-winning wines
Portuguese food has at last been acknowledged for what it is: fabulous! You can choose between a traditional tasca – ask for the meia dose, as the smaller portion is called, or you may be too stuffed to make it through the afternoon – or go for one of the many hip places reinterpreting Portuguese classics with fresh local ingredients: olive oil, abundant sea food, sun-soaked fruit and vegetables …
With a staggering 250 indigenous grape varieties and a vine-friendly climate, it is no surprise that Portugal has such an exciting variety of remarkable wines. The surprise is that most of them are still so inexpensive. Why not try one of the full-bodied reds or fruity whites from the Douro, many of which are collecting international wine awards?
Friendly, welcoming people
Perhaps climate and diet have something to do with it. The Portuguese are some of the friendliest and most welcoming people in Europe. Family and community remain important. Laid-back, they are humorous and tolerant making for a peaceful, safe country. Portugal today boasts third place in the Global Peace Index rankings.
Two contrasting main cities
Lisbon, the capital, is full of history and stunning old architecture. Porto, in the north of Portugal, is more avant-garde. Lisbon is famed for its pavements and incredible light. Porto has a cutting-edge art and music scene … and Port wine. Both rivals are beautiful and both within touching distance of the Atlantic Ocean. Don’t choose between them, you should visit both!
Many of the things we enjoy most are still amazingly good value in Portugal. These include coffee, wine, good meals, live music, taxis …
But this is not all. This beautiful country with its delightful people grabs at our emotions. We return to our own countries humming a Fado song, the taste of a Douro wine still on our palette, our skin salty from the Atlantic waves. It has been a memorable experience, although we are still not quite sure how we should pronounce saudade!