Life Beyond the Room Custom Travel
Portugal: Europe’s Golden Coast
Population: 10.3 million
Number of visitors: 27 million
Words of advice:
- Breathe in the ocean air
An endless coast of golden beaches, mountainous parks and lush river valleys, Portugal is the hidden gem of the Iberian Peninsula.
Every region is very diverse, from the sun-kissed beaches and aquatic adventures of the Algarve to the winding riverside streets of Porto with its rooftop terraces and port lodges, to the architectural beauty, rich culinary scene, and renowned nightlife of the capital Lisbon.
The extensive planting of vineyards produces some of the best wines in the world and adds to the stunning landscape: rolling hillsides of vines punctuated with old, whitewashed windmills. Famous for bacalhau, codfish, Portugal’s flavorful food scene boasts much more than that, mixing traditional dishes with culinary innovation, drawing on fresh Atlantic seafood and Mediterranean influences.
The seemingly small size of Portugal can be quite deceiving for any first-time visitors. While a week may be enough to scratch the surface of the capital and either the northern or southern regions, to fully savor the country, 10 days to 2 weeks are recommended. And that’s just scratching the surface! Whether or not it’s your first time to Portugal, you should consider heading to the off the beaten path islands of the Azores.
A cluster of stunning volcano islands in the middle of the North Atlantic, the Azores are a lush paradise of vibrant vegetation, tropical fruits, volcanic calderas and hot pools. It never gets too hot here with the fresh Atlantic breezes making activities like trekking, biking, horse-riding, kayaking and sailing a pleasure. The islands are a prime spot for scuba diving and whale watching – particularly sperm whales. Enjoy the culinary delights of extremely fresh fish, wine grown on precipitous volcanic mountain sides, their famous green tea, as well as the rich dairy products that they are well known for. The climate is subtropical, with temperatures rarely surpassing 86F in summer or dropping below 50F in winter. With direct flights both from the east coast of the USA and Lisbon, it’s an adventure waiting to happen.