There is no doubt that the appeal of the fine sandy beaches and turquoise waters of southern Portugal is irresistible, especially for Canadians in need of sunshine. In Portugal, the sun – but also the vineyards, the picturesque villages, the mountains and the great outdoors – a pleasure that can be enjoyed all year long!Besides, did you know that Lisbon is one of the sunniest cities in Europe, even surpassing Athens in terms of hours of sunshine?
This small country in the Iberian Peninsula offers travelers in search of beauty and sweetness of living sublime landscapes, it is good to discover at any time of the year. Along the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Spain on the other, this fertile and green paradise boasts 800 kilometers of coastline for a territory scarcely larger than the state of Maine. Who says Portugal says Lisbon and its narrow streets or Porto and its fortified wines , so popular with Quebecers, but we also think of the melancholic melodies of fado (this sweet music that can be heard everywhere in the pubs and cafes of the country) and s omptuous beaches in the south (especially at the end of winter, when the complexion is pale!).
The Algarve region invites summer visitors to walk along its turquoise shores and swim there, but the all-season traveler will be rewarded with other charms than those offered by the beaches! By bike or on foot, we discover with pleasure its pretty villages and fishing ports, its imposing rocks and its vertiginous cliffs.There is nothing better than to scan the horizon from the rocks of Cabo de Sao Vicente, the southernmost point of Western Europe – also called “the end of the world! To leave the more hectic pace of the coast, you can take a detour into the charming walled city of Silves and its Moorish castle, or you can go further north in the green mountains of Monchique.
Less known but equally attractive, the Cascais region , near Lisbon, offers seaside pleasures all year long. Golf lovers, know that the region is home to world-class greens. Bet the score will be less important than the sensational ocean view that extends to the feet of golfers! Once the game is over, you must stop to visit the Pena Palace, which sits above the city of Sintra. With its golden tower and its Romanesque architecture, this UNESCO World Heritage site makes you want to believe in fairy tales again!
Bordered by the ocean, the region offers paradisiacal beaches where to bask in the summer, but also national parks like the majestic Serra de Sintra-Cascais Park , to make dreaming enthusiasts of hiking of all levels dream. Whether by traversing its steep rocky walls or its trails with more accessible slopes, the beauty of the territory seduces every time. And if the appeal of thrills is more insistent, the place is perfect for testing the waves in surfing and kitesurfing.
AN OPEN-AIR MUSEUM
The towns and villages of Portugal embody centuries of history: from the Roman remains to the great projects of today, through the days of glory of Portuguese explorers. Everywhere, perched palaces, gently sloping vineyards, monasteries and catholic churches call for visits to cozy footsteps in a Portugal of yesteryear. The narrow, colorful streets of Lisbon and Porto are easily explored year-round; every detour reveals counters and cafes serving sunny, local and colorful cuisine, to our delight. You have to taste the grilled sardines, revel in a glass of vinho verde and sweeten the beak of pasteis de nata , these decadent tartlets that make the country famous.