The republic of Portugal is one of the oldest countries in the world and is home to some spectacular medieval architecture. The land has been home to many diverse cultures with each leaving their own unique imprint on Portuguese culture.
Here are just some of the best sights to see in Portugal:
In the 16th century famous explorers departed from Belem and began the age of discovery which was to change the world forever. Today Belem is a quiet leafy district of Portugal’s capital city Lisbon. The famous tower of St Vincent stands at the entrance to the river Tagus dominating the surrounding landscape the Torre de Belem is the much photographed symbol of Portugal’s maritime glory. The Belem tower is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the seven wonders of Portugal.
Nearby is the formidable Monument to the Discoveries, a huge limestone sculpture in the shape of a medieval caravel ship and features key historical figures from the era.
Like Belem the Pena palace is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the seven wonders of Portugal. The palace sits on a hill above the majestic town of Sintra. The present day palace was built between the years 1842–1854, before that the site was home to a small monastery used by Catholic monks. The palace itself displays a mixture of architectural styles, ranging from Gothic, Moorish and Medieval. After its completion the palace was used as a summer home for the Portuguese royal family but after the 1901 revolution it fell into the hands of the state. It is one of Portugal’s most visited locations.
Portugal’s capital is also its star attraction. It is the seventh most visited city in Southern Europe and the economic centre of the country. The city is home to some spectacular buildings and has a rich cosmopolitan culture. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, predating other European capitals such as Paris, London and even Rome. It has been ruled by many different civilizations, from the Romans, Germanic tribes and Moors. In 1147 the city was conquered by Portugal’s first King Afonso Henriques.
This city is the old capital of Portugal and the country’s second largest. It is the city that gave Portugal its name and is full of stunning architecture dating from many different periods. Its centre is a UNESCO world heritage site and is filled with medieval churches, narrow streets and markets. Despite the history of the place, Porto is also a modern city and home to one of the best metro systems in the world.
The town of Lagos is one of the visited places in Portugal. Located in the Algarve it attracts thousands of tourists to its beaches, cafes and restaurants. It has a vibrant and hosts massive summer parties and celebrations. Lagos often tops must see places lists. If beaches aren’t your thing then Lagos also has many historical and cultural things to see and do. It was the home of the age of discovery and was the centre of the European slave trade.