As neighbours, Portugal and Spain share many of the same characteristics. For a start, various civilisations throughout its 3000 year history have left their mark on this country’s culture.
A country whose global power spread across five continents, as told by Luís de Camões, one of the leading names in world literature, in his famous poem, Os Lusíadas.
Its excellent cuisine and long winemaking history are among the list of similarities between the two nations.
However, Portugal has many characteristics making it unique and different.
Due to its peculiar geography and location, the territory has many Atlantic features. Residing just across the ocean from the well-known archipelagos, Madeira and the Azores, the latter of which became a mandatory stop for the galleons crossing the Atlantic since the 15th Century, and whose beautiful historical town centre, Angra do Heroísmo, has since joined the list of World Heritage Sites.
Also listed are many buildings across the country, such as the impressive Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower in Lisbon, both symbols of Manueline art; the romantic Palace of Sintra and its gardens near the capital; and the university of Coimbra and its 700 year history.
Another symbol of Portuguese identity is the Fado music genre, which is a lovely artistic combination of music and poetry.
There is also the Shrine of Fatima, which pilgrims from all over the world come to visit every year and has been one of the greatest landmarks of Marion devotion for over a century.
As for nature, Portugal has environments for everybody. The high peaks and volcanic landscapes of the Azores, contrast the long golden sand beaches that stretch along its continental coastline and the small coves hidden among the reddish cliffs of the Algarve.
The beautiful laurel forests of Madeira are a relic which have been admired by some of the islands most distinguished visitors, such as the Empress Sissi and Winston Churchill.
Portugal has traditionally been a holiday destination for kings and aristocrats from all around the world, with Estoril being its flagship. Its famous casino, one of the largest in Europe, inspired the British author Ian Fleming to create his famous character James Bond.
Home to various sporting events, such as tennis tournaments and motorcycle races, this region is a must for golf lovers.
In fact, Portugal has been selected as the world’s best golf location for 4 consecutive years, 2014-2017, at the World Golf Awards.