Despite its small size, Portugal is a place of many wonders and home to a rich and lively culture. This 900 years old country is among the 20 most visited countries in the world and the numbers keep growing. Its touristic attractions vary from ancient cities, medieval villages, castles, palaces, seaside towns to contemporary architecture. Outside the cities, Portugal’s diversified landscape unfolds from amazing cliffs, gorgeous beaches, snow sites to waterfalls and forests.
Portugal’s borders have changed very little since it became an independent nation in the XII century, being one of the oldest european countries and also the most stable. Mountains make up for most of the frontiers with Spain to the north and east which early monarchs fortified with walled towns on dramatic hilltops, and the atlantic ocean to the west and south.
Along its existence, although the country’s relatively small area, it has played a crucial role in world history, mainly due to its New World Discoveries which would establish a sea route to India, colonized areas in Africa, South, Asia and Oceania creating a super wealthy and powerful empire. Discovering and mapping all these coastlines, Portugal would make a very important contribution to global trading and the main contributor to the first atlantic economy. But if once the country ruled a seafaring empire, today it is a friendly place with a laid-back vibe and a fantastic coastline of golden sands.
Today, Portugal is proud of its 16 UNESCO-protected World Heritage Sites, since no other country of comparable size has more. Also here, you can travel from green mountains covered with vines, trees and parks, to rocky slopes and falls in the Centre, to a near-desert scenery in Alentejo and the gorgeous beaches in Algarve in a single day. The main touristic areas are: North, Center, Greater Lisbon, Alentejo, Algarve, Azores and Madeira. Find more about them on the left.