Unique Portugal


There are a few things that make a place vacation-worthy: delicious cuisines with a strong regional bond, sights that just cannot be found anywhere else and the ability to attract travelers from the far ends of the budget (and everywhere in between). Portugal ranks in all of these—and it is not just one city shadowing other less-visited destinations.

Although Lisboa remains a must-stop on itineraries (as it should), head three hours north and you will find the cultural hub of Porto, where port tastings are the perfect option for filling lazy vacation days at the vineyard. If you are looking for ancient ruins and enough castles to fill a volume of photo albums, head to Sintra. The Pena Palace remains a favorite, with its bold colour palette that is best seen against a sunrise or sunset. Do not forget to take in the Moorish architecture of the Sintra National Palace—it’s not hard to see why Danish fairy tale author Hans Christian Anderson was so inspired by this city. An hour north of Sintra, you will find Obidos—a medieval town that dates back 700 years, topped by a castle that you can now spend the night in.

Moreover, that’s only half of the country. Head south to see the pristine beaches or hop on a quick plane ride to Madeira, a series of four islands off the western coast that are known for their volcanic terrain and botanical gardens. Give yourself a couple of weeks and you can get a solid taste for what this country has to offer.

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