Portugal: Introduction

Portugal Introduction Portugal Introduction Portugal Introduction

Although having no obvious geographical boundaries, Portugal's borders have remained almost unchanged for nearly 800 years. The ten million there people speak Portuguese, a derivative of ancient Latin.

Wherever you go in Portugal you'll see evidence of it's centuries-old history, fantastic churches, palaces and castles, as well as narrow winding cobbled streets and small squares. Portuguese culture and history is steeped in its maritime traditions. From the early days of discovery following the discovery of America, Portugal was at the forefront, holding the first and longest lived of modern European colonial empires. Spanning four continents and almost 600 years, this ended as recently as 1999, with the hand over to China of Macau.

Fishing also has deep roots in Portuguese life and culture and this is reflected in Portuguese cuisine, with over 1000 different recipes for cod. Along the coastal town and resorts you'll find market selling freshly caught fish straight out of the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

The Algarve is the go to destination for both beach and golf holidays in Portugal with a hoard of stunning beaches and golf links scattered along the coast. To the north however, Portugal still has lots to offer. The Minho and and northern regions of the country offer great opportunities to see a more traditional way of life, and among the vineyards of the Douro valley around Oporto there are plenty of places to taste the country's most famous export – port wine. The capital Lisbon, is vibrant city full of winding cobbled streets and Portuguese history. To boot, out into the Atlantic you have the beautiful archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores. Whether you are a backpacker on a shoe string budget, or someone looking for something more extravagant Portugal has something to offer for all.