With its golden sands, plentiful sunshine, verdant countryside and beautiful towns and cities, Portugal is surely one of the most alluring holiday destinations in the whole of Europe dear Lazy Penguins. As long as you know where to look in this entrancing nation, you can find an array of fairytale visitor spots, and here are five of the best.
Located close to the capital Lisbon, the historical town of Sintra is hard to beat in terms of sheer beauty and charm. Set atop the Monte da Pena, this colourful settlement is a real feast for the eyes. Its crowning glory is the Palácio da Pena, a resplendent 19th-century palace surrounded by an English-style woodland park featuring a selection of exotic trees.
The capital of the Algarve, Faro is another must-see. Its old town, complete with winding, cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings, provides an idyllic setting for a stroll, and you can check out a variety of museums, chapels and churches. If you are going to book yourself some Faro flights, it’s also worth making the journey to the nearby Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. This tranquil network of waterways and islands attracts an impressive array of animals, including the rare and striking purple swamphen.
Another jewel in Portugal’s crown is Coimbra. Located between Lisbon and Porto, the city boasts beguiling medieval buildings and beautiful squares. It is best known for its university, which was established in 1290 and is one of the oldest in Europe. This majestic centre of learning offers impressive views over the city’s maze of streets, and you enter the university through an imposing iron gate framed by intricate stone carvings.
With a history dating back two millennia, Evora also has a touch of magic. Take a walk through this ancient city and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. While there, cast your eyes over its Gothic, Moorish and Renaissance architecture, and spend some time exploring the Roman baths and battlements.
No tour of the country is complete without a trip to Porto. Located at the mouth of the Douro River, this multi-coloured metropolis is a sight to behold. The most picturesque part of the city is the Cais da Ribeira riverfront. As you walk through its narrow alleys and pass its old granite homes, you’ll pick up tantalising aromas from the many cafes and restaurants that line the streets.
With so many fairytale spots to see, you’ll need to plan your Portugal trip carefully if you’re to make the most of your holiday there.