Thursday, June 5, 2014

Wanderlust Wednesday - Bucket List Edition: Places to Visit in Portugal #1

Hi everyone! Today's Wanderlust Wednesday will be different than the usual. Instead of writing about places I've had the pleasure to visit, I will instead share a list of some of the places I'd love to visit someday. In this first 'Bucket List' post, we will take a look into some amazing places and attractions from all the corners of this modest yet enchanting rectangle on the edge of Europe which is Portugal, my motherland!

I don't know if it's because of our economic situation (certainly you've heard - or not - about the hole we're supposed to be stuck in) but, from my experience, Portugal is a totally underrated country when it comes to pretty much everything; from gastronomy to culture, from sports (except for Figo and CR7 I guess) to Eurovision... some even say it's the most underrated country in all of Europe. In fact, most foreigners I've met and talked to simply know little about Portugal. There simply is no interest.

But I guess that changes when a foreigner finally takes the risk and decides to pay this country a visit. I mean, it's no accident that Porto, the city where I was born and where I currently study, was elected European Best Destination 2014. I can assure you that this country has such a unique, wonderful personality of its own! And to prove it, here is a little list of amazing places I'm personally craving to visit. 

In no particular order...

Located on the western coast of the Iberian peninsula, Portugal is one of Europe’s most visited countries due to its idyllic climate, affordable travel costs and exceptional attractions. Portugal’s varied geography ranges from the verdant mountains and vineyards of the North to the rolling farmland and medieval villages of the Central region to the glamorous beaches of the Algarve along the southern coastline. Also belonging to Portugal but lying in the Atlantic Ocean are the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira, known for their lush landscapes and flower gardens. An overview of the best places to visit in Portugal. - See more at: http://www.touropia.com/best-places-to-visit-in-portugal/#sthash.QCOkT97j.dpuf
Located on the western coast of the Iberian peninsula, Portugal is one of Europe’s most visited countries due to its idyllic climate, affordable travel costs and exceptional attractions. Portugal’s varied geography ranges from the verdant mountains and vineyards of the North to the rolling farmland and medieval villages of the Central region to the glamorous beaches of the Algarve along the southern coastline. Also belonging to Portugal but lying in the Atlantic Ocean are the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira, known for their lush landscapes and flower gardens. An overview of the best places to visit in Portugal. - See more at: http://www.touropia.com/best-places-to-visit-in-portugal/#sthash.QCOkT97j.dpuf
ocated on the western coast of the Iberian peninsula, Portugal is one of Europe’s most visited countries due to its idyllic climate, affordable travel costs and exceptional attractions. Portugal’s varied geography ranges from the verdant mountains and vineyards of the North to the rolling farmland and medieval villages of the Central region to the glamorous beaches of the Algarve along the southern coastline. Also belonging to Portugal but lying in the Atlantic Ocean are the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira, known for their lush landscapes and flower gardens. An overview of the best places to visit in Portugal. - See more at: http://www.touropia.com/best-places-to-visit-in-portugal/#sthash.QCOkT97j.dpufIn no particular order...
1. Pena National Palace (Palácio da Pena), Sintra

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. This palace is located on the top of a hill above Sintra and represents one of the major expressions of 19th century Romanticism in the entire world. It's surrounded by a forested park of over 200 hectares of gardens taken straight from a fairytale, with many exotic plants and a labyrinthic system of paths.


2. Beaches of Lagos, Algarve

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Algarve is maybe the favorite destination for summer vacation in Portugal, and I guess we all can see why. Its variety of tourist-friendly beaches, bars and services, as well as its vibrant summer nightlife, makes the city of Lagos one of the most visited ones in the country. The beaches look indeed paradisiac; Ponta da Piedade (in the photographs) is a protected area and was considered the most beautiful beach in the entire world by The Huffington Post. What wouldn't I give to swim in that clean turquoise water and stroll through those breathtaking sea caves!


3. Bertiandos and S. Pedro d'Arcos Lagoons (Lagoas de Bertiandos e S. Pedro d'Arcos), Ponte de Lima

Photo sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

As a wetlands Nature Reserve with around 350 hectares, these lagoons constitute a protected landscape under Natura 2000. This landscape of valleys, forest and marshlands is home to a great biodiversity, both floral and faunal, including endangered amphibian species. Three years ago, my course organized an excursion to these lagoons and I was so upset I couldn't attend it because of a deadline. But even though I missed that chance, I'm still hoping that one day I'll get to spend a day exploring this place.


4. Montalegre, Trás-os-Montes

Photo sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

While the portuguese coast is what attracts tourists the most, it is the northern inland that really fascinates me. Those who have been following me for a while may remember this and this WW posts about my past excursion to Montalegre. So why did I include it in this wishlist? It is simple; because I didn't get enough of it! This was another college trip and although it was nice to visit the Ecomuseum of Barroso and the lameiros (a kind of pasture fields exclusive to the north of Portugal), I didn't get to see many other things. And either way, Montalegre is the kind of place I will always come back to. For next time - supposing there will be a next time - I want to meet the village itself, see the Misarela bridge (3rd and 4th pics) and revisit the ruins of the monastery of Pitões das Júnias (4th pic), as well as to contemplate the great waterfalls.


5. Natural Park of Serra da Arrábida (Parque Natural da Serra da Arrábida), Setúbal

Photo sources: 1 | 2 | 3

The mountain range of Serra da Arrábida spreads along both margins of the Sado river and shows peculiar temperate-mediterranean climate and flora. The Natural Park was created in the 70's in order to protect its exclusive flora and diversified fauna, and is today comprised by woods of high integrity, like Mata do Solitário (literally meaning Woods of the Lonely One), which constitutes a good portrait of forests of thousands of years ago. The beaches at the foot of these mountains are also something out of this world.


6. Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra

Photo sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

This estate is also classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It consists on a romantic palace and chapel, as well as a luxurious park featuring dense wild woods, decorative and symbolic structures, an enigmatic system of tunnels and underground walkways, grottoes, lakes, fountains and the initiation wells, which were used for ceremonial purposes such as Tarot initiation rites. Isn't that spiral staircase terrific?


7. Monsanto, Castelo-Branco

Photo sources: 1 | 2 | 3

This historic village may have the same name as the evil corp, but it is way more pleasing and sustainable. :) Although with only 830 inhabitants (as of June 2011), it has become known as "the most Portuguese village of Portugal". Monsanto is built upon granite mountain rocks, which results in a fantastic fusion between buildings and landform.


8. Ruins of Conímbriga, Coimbra

Photo sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Classified as a National Monument, Conímbriga is one of the largest Roman settlements in Portugal. It was once a flourishing and prosperous village, inhabitated by Lusitanians and Romans alike, until it suffered from the barbaric invasions of Sueves. The city walls and mosaic floors of many houses and public buildings are largely intact. If you're a lover of all things history and archaeology then I'm sure you'd love to visit Conímbriga. Although this was not the largest Roman city in Lusitania aka old Portugal, it is the best preserved.


9. Fisgas de Ermelo, Vila Real

Photo sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

The "Fisgas de Ermelo" are a group of three immense waterfalls as well as other small cascades. They constitute one of the most remarkable aspects of the Alvão National Park not only for their breathtaking presence in the mountainous landscape, but also for their pools of crystalline water (much like those I've seen in Gerês I suppose). I've been wishing to visit the Fisgas for years now, and they are still on the top of my list.



 I hope you've enjoyed scrolling down this list as much as I've enjoyed compiling it. To me, Portugal is like an entire world, awaiting to be explored and discovered. Have you ever been do any of these places? Or any other place in Portugal? What places do you think I should add to my bucket list?
(It's pretty extense already tho, and I can assure you I will be continuing this series!)


Smiles,
post signature

1 comment:

  1. Portugal is a country that offers outstanding landscape diversity owing to its North-South disposition along the western shore of the Iberian Peninsula. You can travel in a single day from green crags in the North, enclosed with vines and all varieties of trees to stony mountains, with remarkable slopes and falls in the center, to a near-desert landscape in the Alentejo region and eventually to the splendid beach holidays destination Algarve. The climate, combined with investments in the golfing substructure in current years, has also turned the country into a golfing haven. One of the most prominent things about Portugal is the sheer diversity of its tourist attractions and sightseeing opportunities. Well-known places in this country range from the historically important to the downright spectacular, from ancient university towns to national parks and mountain ranges.Portugal sightseeing recommends you to visit its magnificent cities which features numerous architectural structures like, churches, forts, palaces and monuments. It offers you thoughts to try out sightseeing tours and sightseeing packages which will please you to the core. Here are some of the very best places to visit in Portugal.
    best places to visit in portugal

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...