Cities in Portugal
Major cities in Portugal, Lisbon and Porto are both magical places for visiting, with taste of famous history.
Lisbon’s revitalized Bairro Alto district is the place to go for a true taste of Portuguese nightlife, with jazz and electronica infusing the air until the sun comes up, and every corner of the winding, narrow streets home to another exuberant nightspot or cafe.
Back on the beaches, you’ll find a summer of relentless sun, best enjoyed at the buzzing surf spot of Lagos (not an African capital!) or the beautiful, verdant island of Ilha de Tavira, the stand outs amongst swathes of sandy but sometimes generic holiday spots.
Inland, there’s plenty of living history to explore, like the extensive open-air Stone Age art to be seen at Vila Nova de Foz Coa, or the historical era mish mash you can hunt down at outstanding Evora, chock full of elaborate architecture. The Roman ruins at Coimbra and expansive old castles at Castelo de Vide are exceptional experiences, too, as are the cork farms, home to Portugal’s most eminent export.
It's one of the world's great historical cities, with characteristic and surprising sights, cultural treasures, and a beautiful setting that make it a paradise for walkers and photographers, but also it's one of Europe's best values - officially Western Europe's least expensive capital.
Its mild climate makes it an ideal year-round destination. Even in winter, when most other European cities are freezing, in Lisbon high temperatures rarely go below 10C. What else to say? It is the only European capital located so close to sandy beaches, enabling visitors to combine culture with fun by the sea.
Portugal's fairytale town on the edge of Europe - Pena Palace Sintra and its mystical hills dotted with fairytale palaces and extravagant villas have bewitched visitors for centuries.
The Romans made it a place of cult moon worshiping and named it Cynthia after the goddess of the moon. They were followed by the Moors who also fell in love with the lush vegetation and built a hilltop castle, a palace, and several fountains around the town.
The World Heritage city with prehistoric monuments and Roman Temple. Evora is one of Portugal's finest and most delightful towns. It is a true open-air museum with a large number of wonderfully preserved monuments and buildings of public interest that led UNESCO to protect it as a World Heritage Site. Each age has left its trace on Evora. It was the Celts who named it Ebora and the Romans gave it its most famous landmark, the Temple of Diana.
The Wedding Present Town; Portugal's most romantic medieval village with Obidos Castle. All of Obidos has been declared a national monument.
It is known as the "Wedding Present Town" because it was a gift King Dinis gave to Queen Isabel on their wedding day in 1282, but that alone is not what makes it such an extraordinarily romantic place - Obidos view what make it one of Europe's most romantic medieval villages.
Oporto is one of the last undiscovered European metropolises, but that is about to change. There are now direct flights from New York and numerous connections to and from the rest of Europe, including an increasing number of low-cost airlines.
But this is not a new city. It is an ancient port steeped in history and tradition. It is a highly atmospheric place that has become known for its monuments by renowned architects (Gustave Eiffel's Dona Maria Bridge, Nicolau Nasoni's Clerigos Tower, Rem Koolhaas' Casa da Musica, or Siza Vieira's Serralves Museum),
Batalha Abbey Batalha's abbey is one of Europe's greatest Gothic masterpieces and is protected as a World Heritage monument.
It was built in 1388 after King Joao I made a vow to the Virgin that he would build a magnificent monastery if she granted him a victory over the Castillians in the Battle of Aljubarrota. Batalha Abbey facaade An equestrian statue of Nuno Alvares Pereira, the king's commander at the battle, stands before the southern facade.
Fatima is a town located 142 km North of Lisbon. Fatima is one of the most important catholic shrines in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Fatima's Sanctuary welcomes millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. Fatima's fame is due to the Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary that appeared to three shepherd children; Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta. Between May and October of 1917, the three children witnessed several apparitions. The last one, on October 13th, was confirmed by a miracle witnessed by 60,000 people, known as "the day the sun danced".
Known as the Home of the Knights, Tomar is a charming and historically outstanding town on the banks of the Nabao River. It is dominated by a 12th-century Templar castle containing one of the country's most significant and impressive monuments, the Convent of Christ (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO).
The main shopping street, the pedestrian Rua Serpa Pinto, leads to the Gothic Church of Sao Joao Baptista, on Praca da Republica, the town's elegant main square surrounded by 17th-century buildings. The 15th century church has an elegant Manueline portal and inside are 16th century paintings, including a Last Supper by Gregorio Lopes, one of the finest of the country's 16th century artists.
The splendid site and 360-degree panorama alone would be reason enough to visit the medieval mountaintop village of Marvao, but the town itself (a candidate for the World Heritage list), is one of Portugal's most spectacular fortified villages.
Typical Marvao street The greatest attraction is the unspoiled medieval atmosphere in its steep and narrow lanes with immaculately whitewashed houses, leading to a magnificent 13th century castle rising from the rock. It contains a huge water cistern and nearby is a 13th century church with a small but interesting museum of archeological finds and local artifacts.
Braga is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal, with a number of impressive Baroque monuments, including one of the country's best-known sights, the Bom Jesus Sanctuary.
Founded by a Celtic tribe called Bracari and later occupied by the Romans (who made it the administrative center of Gallaecia, or present-day Minho and Spanish Galicia), it became the seat of a large archbishopric and the country's religious capital in the 11th century.
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