Portugal Travel Guide
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Portugal Vacation Trips
Vacation Holiday Trips offers travel tips and information for top travel places and best destinations. We feature links, resources and large selection of budget airlines, chartered planes, sea cruises, ferries, travel agencies, land transports and attractions including beaches, medical tourism, retirement homes, historical and pilgrimage tours.
Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic is a country on the Iberian Peninsula. Located in southwestern Europe, Portugal is the westernmost country of mainland Europe and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are also part of Portugal.
The land within the borders of today's Portuguese Republic has been continuously settled since prehistoric times. Some of the earliest civilizations include Lusitanians and Celtic societies. Incorporation into the Roman Republic dominions took place in the 2nd century BC. The region was ruled and colonized by Germanic peoples, such as the Suebi and the Visigoths, from the 5th to the 8th century. From this era, some vestiges of the Alans were also found. The Muslim Moors arrived in the early 8th century and conquered the Christian Germanic kingdoms, eventually occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula. In the early 1100s, during the Christian Reconquista, Portugal appeared as a kingdom independent of its neighbour, the Kingdom of León and Galicia. In a little over a century, in 1249, Portugal would establish almost its entire modern-day borders by conquering territory from the Moors.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, with a global empire that included possessions in Africa, Asia, and South America, Portugal was one of the world's major economic, political, and cultural powers. In the 17th century, the Portuguese Restoration War between Portugal and Spain ended the sixty year period of the Iberian Union (1580–1640). The 1755 Lisbon earthquake and, in the 19th century, armed conflicts with French and Spanish invading forces and the loss of its largest territorial possession abroad, Brazil, disrupted political stability and potential economic growth. After the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution coup d'état in 1974, the ruling regime was deposed in Lisbon and the country handed over its last overseas provinces in Africa. Portugal's last overseas territory, Macau, was handed over to China in 1999.
Portugal is a developed country, and has a high Human Development Index. It is the 7th most peaceful and the 13th most globalized country in the world, and has the world's 19th highest quality of life, although having the lowest GDP per capita of Western European countries. It is a member of the European Union and the United Nations since 1955; as well as a founding member of the Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (Community of Portuguese Language Countries, CPLP), and the European Union's Eurozone. Portugal is also a Schengen state.
Portugal Most Popular Attractions and Landmarks
Lisbon (Lisboa), the country's capital, stands breezily on the banks of the Rio Tejo. The city's low skyline, unpretentious atmosphere and pleasant blend of architectural styles conspire to make it a favourite with many visitors. Orientation is fairly straightforward - apart from the puff required to negotiate the hills - with most of the daily activity centred in the lower part of the city. Read More about Lisbon Attractions...
The town of Sintra lies immediately north-west of Lisbon and was long favoured by Portuguese royalty and English nobility (Lord Byron was mad about it) as a summer destination. Its appeal is still evident today, with its thickly wooded setting, romantic gardens and ramshackle glamour. Read More about Sintra Attractions...
The walled town of Évora is one of the architectural gems of Portugal. Situated in Alto Alentejo in a landscape of olive groves, vineyards, wheat fields and brilliant spring flowers, it's a charming town with one-way backstreets so narrow that car wing mirrors have the potential to be lethal. Read More about Evora Attractions...
Lagos, on the south coast of the Faro, is one of the country's most popular tourist resorts. Most visitors are drawn to the superb beaches, which include Meia Praia, a vast strip of sand to the east, and the more secluded Praia do Pinhão to the south. Read More about Lagos Attractions...
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