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Guide To Portugal

Portugal, once the leading seafaring nation is now one of the most popular destinations for millions of travelers. Most tourists drive to the beaches of the Algarve coast and marvel over its bizarre rock formations, which are the most stunning ones in Europe.

Afterward, they take a trip to the impressive sights of Lisbon; the headquarter of world discoveries. Both of these destinations have only little in common with the rest of Portugal. The tourism in this country is divided into five contrasting regions: Porto and Northern Portugal, the mountain regions in Beiras, Lisbon and the Tejo, as well as Alentejo and the Algarve.

Who leaves the towel for once in the closet and goes on a discovery tour will be surprised, for Portugal has lots of scenic and cultural diversity to offer. Where Europe ends on the map, the exciting holidays begin.

Within the reach of Lisbon are stunning places like Belem, Sintra and Queluz. No sooner has one left the metropolitan area of Lisbon, one gets to the rural parts of the country. It is sometimes enough to drive a couple of miles in order to experience a change in customs, crafts and cuisine.

Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, boasts itself as the "secret city". Furthermore, it is the productive center of the country, where economic power and wealth are concentrated. The market town, which is full of passion, lies on the western edge of the winery region; home to the famous Port wine.

The mountainous northern Portugal has something lush. In the provinces of Minho and Douro Litoral, the cabbages are growing extremely large. A total contrast to the southern province of Alentejo; its area accounts for a third of Portugal.

The land is flat, barren and red; therefore, only corn sunflowers, olives and cork trees grow there. However, the gently, rolling hills show rich colors in the spring. Evora, the capital of Alentejo is another highlight, with its Roman city walls. There, travelers can discover the culture and history of various eras.

While the western coast between Porto and Lisbon is densely populated, the mountain provinces in the east have become forgotten landscapes. The border with Spain is packed with castles and fortresses. This is a relic of time, when Portugal had to defend its independency from the powerful neighbors.

Many villages are deserted, as the inhabitants fled from poverty to the coast. Ten most beautiful cities threatened by decay have been placed under monument protection and restoration. The avid nature lover will be excited by the unspoiled countryside, remote river and mountain valleys, snow-capped mountain ranges, sprawling forests and nature reserves with many rare plants and animals.

On the mountain Mondego is the university of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest university of Europe. It occupies the Alma Mater, the landmark of the city. This is the highest hill from which the city has settled down to the river terrace. Portugal is a manifesto that nature is capable of many wonders, and its locals are welcoming guests to share the beauty of their native land.