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Signposts in the Sky

Looking upwards on a clear night, it's difficult not to wonder how the heavens guided Portugal's great discoverers towards new horizons in the late Middle Ages.

The Berlengas Islands

The Berlengas Islands form an archipelago of extraordinary red rock formations located twelve kilometres off the coast of Peniche in central Portugal.

The Town of Barcelos

Located on a hill above the River Cavado, Barcelos is one of the prettiest places in the north of Portugal.

My Kingdom for a Boat

When King Manuel II sailed off into the sunset on the 5th of October, 1910, it marked the end of the Portuguese monarchy. Boarding the yacht Amélia with the rest of his family at Ericeira, a fishing town north-west of Lisbon, he sailed to Gibraltar and never returned to Portugal, dying childless in England twenty-two years later.

The Town of Beja

Rising like a pyramid above vast plains of surrounding wheat fields, Beja stands proud as the capital of the Lower (Baixo) Alentejo region.

Fair and Square

It is widely claimed that Portugal is the land of the azulejo painted tile and in no other country and by no other people has it been used on such a vast scale or in such an original way.

A World of Heritage

Portugal has a total of fifteen UNESCO World Heritage sites, fourteen cultural and one natural, with several more under consideration.

Rock of Ages

An extremely rare concentration of rock etchings and settlement sites in the Douro Valley region represents some of the world's earliest evidence of recurrent human occupation.

In the Pink

1942 was a very turbulent year but it did spawn one of the world's most iconic and popular table wines.

The Final Frontier

There's no place in Portugal as remote as Corvo, a single volcanic crater island set bold as brass in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Dolphins' Delight

It's extremely rare to see a large pod of bottlenose dolphins in European waters, but happily a family of three dozen or so are a regular sight in the Sado Estuary south of Lisbon.

Eavesdropping on Évora

Keep your ear close to the ground and listen very carefully; the ancient city of Évora in the heart of Portugal's picturesque Alentejo region might just be ready to whisper a few of its secrets...

Portugal's Natural Wonders

When the Portuguese voted for their seven favourite land and seascapes, the outcome was a genuine showcase of the country’s most magnificent vistas.

The Timeless Taste of Madeira

When William Shakespeare mentioned Madeira wine in his late sixteenth century play 'Henry IV, Part 1', it seems he was already very well aware of its intoxicating virtues.

A Fish for All Occasions

The versatility of the dried salted cod known as bacalhau has long-established it as the Portuguese national dish.

Lisbon's 178-Year-Old Secret

The highly regarded and much celebrated Pastel de Belém celebrates its 178th birthday this year and its ingredients still remain a closely guarded secret.

The Pride of the North

Rich from centuries of trade, the ancient city of Porto is as much a cosmopolitan centre as it is a place steeped in the historical events of the past. The city is best-known for its striking bridges and the much-celebrated Port wine.

Poetry in Commotion

Portugal's most celebrated poet, Luís Vaz de Camões (c. 1524-1580), lived an extraordinarily eventful life by any stretch of the imagination. As a young man he fought in Morocco and paid with the loss of an eye, followed by a period of imprisonment in Lisbon for taking part in a street fight. He was released on condition that he served the king's militia in India, thus flinging him into a reckless and dangerous life of adventure.

Footloose in Lisbon

Compact and cosmopolitan, Lisbon is a walker's dream come true. There's much that can be seen in just a couple of hours, with plenty of refreshments available along the way.

That Fado Feeling

Portugal's ever-popular and intensely heartfelt national song is known as fado. It holds UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage of Humanity award and is celebrated the world over as a major performing art.

Animal Magic

Set in sprawling gardens in the Sete Rios district of the capital, Lisbon Zoo has been operating for over a hundred years.

A Family Affair

Lawrence's has a history like no other place in Portugal. Arguably the second-oldest hotel establishment in Europe, and without doubt the most ancient in all the Iberian Peninsula, it is intimate enough for guests to quickly absorb its exquisite 18th-century character.

Fit for a Queen

Enveloped in a Moorish wall, the diminutive whitewashed village of Óbidos was deemed so enchanting that it was gifted to a queen, not once but many times throughout the centuries.

Feeling Good in Faro

Faro, the sunshine capital of the Algarve, has metamorphosed into a major tourism hub in recent years, and not just in the high season.

A Seafaring Story

The history of Portugal's ground-breaking association with the seas spanned a hundred years from 1415-1515. Widely labelled as the Age of the Discoveries, this epoch-making period saw Portuguese navigators sail across uncharted seas to break out of the confines of Europe and discover the New World.

The Village of Sintra

Lying at the east end of a rocky range of mountains just 26 km west of the centre of Lisbon, the fairy-tale setting of Sintra is one of the oldest places in Portugal.

The Town of Amarante

Situated 56 km east of Porto, the pretty town of Amarante is set immaculately along the banks of the River Tâmega.

River of Gold

Iberia's third longest river, the majestic Rio Douro, gathers waters from over fifty major tributaries to form the peninsula's largest river basin.

Beacon of Faith

Over four million people visit a village called Fátima in the centre of Portugal each year where three children saw the Virgin Mary almost a century ago.

The City of Funchal

Set on a glittering bay against a background of soaring green mountains and nestling picturesquely into the shelter of the verdant hillside, the enchanting city of Funchal attracted Madeira's earliest settlers in the 15th century.

When the Earth Shook

The great earthquake of 1755 wasn't exclusive to Lisbon. In fact, the epicentre was calculated to have been out in the Atlantic some 200 km south-west of the Algarve. But the capital was very badly shaken and here's an eyewitness account of what happened on that fateful day.

Madeira on My Mind

Once visited, never forgotten. It’s little wonder that the enchanting island of Madeira attracts more repeat visitors than any other part of the country. Blessed with a spectacular volcanic landscape and subtropical climate, it was discovered by Portuguese navigators in the 15th century.

The House of Pointed Stones

One of Lisbon's architectural treasures, the Casa dos Bicos or House of the Pointed Stones, stands just off the city's main square, Praça do Comércio.

All the Fury of Furnas

One of Europe’s best-kept spa secrets is Furnas, a live volcanic showpiece located on the eastern side of São Miguel island in the Azores.

The Rarities of Arrábida

Towering over Lisbon's southern coastline, the great limestone ridge of the Serra da Arrábida, 40 km south of the city and clearly visible from its higher points, is home to the world’s oldest living examples of Mediterranean vegetation.

The Many Faces of Conimbriga

Conimbriga is the most extensive Roman site so far discovered in Portugal but its story is a chequered one.

The City of Bragança

Situated high on a plateau near Portugal’s north-eastern frontier with Spain, the ancient city of Bragança was once the seat of the Dukes of Bragança, Portugal's fourth and final dynasty, which ruled the country from 1640 to 1910.

The Village of Santana

Named after St Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, Santana is a village of hedgerows and flowers on the north coast of Madeira Island.

A Piece of History

In the extreme south-western corner of Portugal lies a piece of history that changed the world, none other than Henry the Navigator's Rosa dos Ventos.

Port's Past and Present

It seems that Portugal's much-celebrated port wine was invented by chance. A shortage of French claret at the end of the 17th century had wealthy wine connoisseurs searching for suitable alternatives.