The Poet King



None of Portugal’s kings was as forward-thinking and gifted as Dinis (1261-1325), who wrote dozens of poems of a romantic nature, including many about his wife, Elizabeth of Aragon.

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Gateway to the Azores

The largest place in the archipelago and capital of both São Miguel Island and the Azores since 1522, Ponta Delgada is a charming city stretched out along a wide bay on the island’s south coast.

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Lisbon’s Jerónimos Monastery

When visitors arrive in Lisbon‘s historic centre of Belém, the first building they see is the imposing Jerónimos Monastery, impressive for its sheer size and without doubt one of the most spectacular monuments in the whole of Europe.

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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.

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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.

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Magellan the 1st Globetrotter

One epic achievement still much talked about and celebrated the world over is that of Ferdinand Magellan, the intrepid Portuguese navigator who led the first fleet of vessels to successfully circumnavigate the globe in the early 16th century.

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The Convent of Christ

The magnificent Convento de Cristo (Convent of Christ) in the historic town of Tomar in central Portugal is one of the most impressive religious complexes in the whole of southern Europe.

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The Epic Genius of Camões

In 1572, Luís Vaz de Camões published his long-awaited poem, Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads), based on the hardships and adventures experienced by the great explorer, Vasco da Gama.

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Lisbon’s Maritime Museum

Located in the heart of Belém, a bustling tourist centre in the western suburbs of Lisbon, the excellent Museu de Marinha (Maritime Museum) is a top attraction for anyone interested in learning all about Portugal’s many seafaring achievements over the … Read more

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The Rounding of the Cape

The flurry of Portuguese maritime activity orchestrated by Prince Henry the Navigator in the 14th and 15th centuries culminated in the Holy Grail of seafaring achievements when an unknown sea captain bravely steered his wooden caravel around one of the … Read more

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Tracking the Tagus

The longest of all Portugal’s rivers, the Tagus (Tejo in Portuguese) meanders across the Iberian Peninsula for just over 1,000 kilometres before spilling out into the Atlantic Ocean in Lisbon, right at the point where Portuguese caravels set sail on … Read more

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Manuel the ‘Fortunate’

A man of rare taste and exceptional vision, good King Manuel I of Portugal ruled over the Portuguese Empire during the halcyon days of his country’s great Age of Discovery.

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The City of Leiria

Surrounded by one of the oldest state forests in the world, the lovely old city of Leiria was once the southernmost outpost of the early Portuguese kingdom at a time when Lisbon was still under Moorish occupation.

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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 Discovery, this epoch-making period saw Portuguese navigators sail across uncharted seas to break out of the confines of Europe and … Read more

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Serra da Estrela Cheese

The undisputed queen of Portugal’s many first-rate cheeses is queijo da serra (serra cheese), made from the milk of ewes leisurely grazing in elevated pastures full of wild vegetation throughout the Estrela mountain region of central Portugal.

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Creating the Caravel

Purpose-built for traversing the oceans, the wide-hulled caravel (caravela in Portuguese) was arguably Portugal’s most significant contribution to maritime history and an integral part of Prince Henry the Navigator’s ambitious plan for extensive sea exploration in the 15th century.

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The Seaside Town of Machico

Nestling at the heart of a wide bay on the eastern edge of Madeira, just a short drive from the island’s international airport, Machico is a pretty fishing town with plenty of tourist appeal and some of the most spectacular … Read more

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