Summer break is the time students look forward to as much as they wait for holidays. It is the time of deserved rest after exhausting studies and the necessity to run one’s brains to their fullest. Apart from being time for rest, it is also the time to go explore some new corners of the world, gain new cultural experiences, and discover new wonders that the planet has to give. One of the most attractive destinations for traveling in Europe is Portugal. It is a sunny country with a distinctive picturesque vibe and access to the Atlantic ocean.
The atmosphere there combines the best of Spain and France. People are always serene as they practice the art of living calmly and smoothly. This country is rich in traditions, architecture, and beautiful scenery. Tourists there enjoy juicy oranges, drink amazing wine, and listen to amazing fado music.
This country has a subtropical Mediterranean climate, so it is comfortable in Portugal all year round (it is worth remembering that it rains a lot in winter). The country has a lot to show, so if you have gone too far researching your itinerary, you can rely on PaperWriter to help you with homework before the awaited trip. But here are our recommendations on what not to miss in Portugal.
1. Alto Douro
Not far from Porto in the north of the country lies the Alto Douro Valley, which is included in the UNESCO list. This valley is known for almost 2000 years of wine production. It has earned international fame, receiving awards and prizes in various competitions. It is worth visiting both due to the tradition it carries and promotes and to see the beauty of the vines, gardens, and nature surrounding them.
2. The Azores
Here you can find peace, enjoy nature, or lie on the beach. The Azores is the name for nine islands. There are islands for walking and diving. Other ones are all about climbing. There is even Pico Island where you can watch whales. In the Azores, the best time to spend your holidays is from June to August. If you are a fan of swimming, the water in July and August can reach 30 degrees.
This castle town is recognized by UNESCO as a treasure for the cultural landscape it preserves. This historic and fascinating city is definitely worth setting aside a full day to discover. Beneath the wooded hills of the Serra de Sintra, the city’s crown jewel is the Palácio Nacional landmark. Its signal twin chimneys are looming over a beautiful square border with houses painted in a palette of pale pinks and ochers with splashes of yellow.
Castelo dos Mouros, which is apparently hewn from the granite escarpment, is another unmissable spot in Sintra. Then, there is the mesmerizing Palácio da Pena, which served as a retreat destination for Portuguese royalty in the 19th century. For the avid walkers, there are many hiking trails in Sintra, but one needs durability to walk the whole way. Once at the peak of Sintra highlands, one will be amazed by the Atlantic coast and distant Cascais views.
Evora is a sight at the deep heart of Alentejo. It remains a go-to sight in Portugal. People come here to enjoy the remarkable architectural ensemble and monumental art. Évora deserves a careful and slow exploration. Its medieval walls cover a century of history. The impressive illustrations on the Templo Romano, which date back to the second century, will take one’s breath away. Évora’s historical significance and the unspoiled state of its architectural treasures have earned it a well-deserved status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One should also experience the delightful city market atmosphere with its low-key personality. It is nice to wander and shop through its Moorish alleys, browse museums, and have lunch in picturesque squares where one is considered a guest, not a tourist.
Cited by many guidebooks as the most fascinating city in the Algarve, Tavira truly ticks all the boxes. Rio Gilau has a smile-shaped Roman bridge connecting one side to the other.
It is a real destination for discovering Tavira’s historical treasures. The castle walls provide a glorious view of the old town and the nearby shore. Another place to see here is Igreja de Santa do Castelo. It is a grand church that keeps the memory of warrior knights entombed in it. While there, don’t miss attending the Núcleo Islâmico museum. One of its best-known highlights is a rare figurative vase that is dated 11th century. If you are visiting during the scorching summer season, make sure to go to the huge beach of Ilha de Tavira. It is a great place to relax even when the heat seems unbearable.
6. Parque Natural da Ria Formosa
The Algarve is rightfully famous for its paradise-like coastline. It has Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, which is an actual natural wonder. This protected territory is a 60 km long area composed of swamps, salt mountains, shallow water lagoons, and sand dune islets. Its area covers Quinta do Lago east Faro at the start and ends at Cacela Velha.
The historic hilltop University of Coimbra is just one of the reasons to visit this revered Portuguese city. Yet the lavishness of additional attractions for visitors, many of which were centered around the UNESCO-classified Velha Universidade as a World Heritage Site, are well worth a day’s sightseeing.
If you take a tour of the old university campus there, visit the building Biblioteca Joanina. It is a baroque stone of gilded and marbled wood with frescoed ceilings. The building has an 18th-century tower, which tourists can climb to enjoy the view across the whole university area. Finally, one’s exploration should include the imposing late 12th-century cathedral Se Velha.
To Sum Up
Portugal is a place to visit for nearly any type of tourism, from historical sightseeing to surfing and nightlife. With enough time at your disposal during this summer break, you can do a well-balanced adventure that will become a real cultural experience. The feeling at the end of the trip to Portugal will be the sense that you will definitely come back.