Things to do in Portugal
If you are into visiting beautiful monuments and enjoy remarkable views , then Lisbon, Sintra, and Porto are the top three places, and all of them are well worth a visit. But don't overlook Viana do Castelo, Braga, Guimaraes, Coimbra, Tomar, Aveiro, Amarante, Braga, Braganca, Chaves, Lamego, Viseu, Vila Real, Lagos, Silves, Evora, Angra as they also have wonderful monuments and places of interest.
The most popular beaches are in the Algarve, which has stunning coastlines and gobs of natural beauty. The water along the southern coast tends to be warmer and calmer than the water along the west coast, which is definitely Atlantic and doesn't benefit of the Gulf Stream. For surfing, or just playing in the surf there are great beaches all along the west coast, near Lisbon and Peniche.
Beaches: Surrounded by sea in almost its entirety, the Portuguese beaches are well worth visiting. A lot of activities are offered, from surfing, to kite-surfing, and during the summer months the most frequented beaches offer sand based activities such as aerobics. If you're not the type of breaking into a sweat during holidays, almost every single public beach will have a bar where locals sit. Some of the most popular beaches are (from north to south):
- Espinho, near Oporto, in Costa Verde/Green Coast, northern region.
- Figueira da Foz, near Coimbra, in Silver Coast/Costa de Prata, central region.
- Praia das Macas and Praia Grande[Sintra], Carcavelos and Estoril[Cascais], near Lisbon, in the Costa de Lisboa.
- Zambujeira do Mar, in the Alentejo region/Costa Alentejana e Vicentina.
- Salema, Praia da Rocha, in the Algarve.
Golf: The climate, combined with investments in the golfing infrastructure in recent years, has turned the country into a golfing haven. Portugal was recently named "Best Golf Destination 2006" by readers of Golfers Today, a British publication. Fourteen of Portugal's courses are rated in the top 100 best in Europe. Portugal is also a great location to learn the game and perfect technique. Many resorts offer classes with the pros. Courses can satisfy the most demanding golfer, while newcomers won't be intimidated, unless they find the beautiful landscapes and stunning vistas distracting to their game. Locals have mixed feelings about golf courses, namely due to the huge amounts of water required to maintain them and their apparent pointlessness.
The countryside also offers a great deal of possibilities, although you will have to incite the travel agent's advice a little more than usual, as they tend to just sell beach holidays. Cycling through the mountainous terrain of Geres or white-water rafting in the affluents of river Douro is an exhilirating experience.
There are several Fairs, specially in the Summer months, particularly in Northern Portugal. During the summer, music festivals are also very common. In the north of the country two of the oldest festivals such as Paredes de Coura and Vilar de Mouros. The regions chosen for the festivals are most of the time surrounded by beautiful landscapes and pleasant villages. In the south, the most famous one is Festival do Sudoeste, in the west part of the south cost with a summer landscape and never ending beaches.
Major events of the year are listed at tourist board's official site