Capital: Lisbon ♦ Population: 10.3 million ♦ Currency: Euro (€) ♦ Language: PortugUese
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Lisbon: yummy food (be sure to try the custard tarts), nightlife and culture. It is a very hilly city – unless you are in the dead centre of the city, it is basically up and down all the time. The architecture is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Keep an eye out for the golden trams!
Porto: port… need I say more? Probably, because I am not a HUGE port lover. The charming city is nestled riverside, expanding over the bridges and forming a wonderful panorama from anywhere on the water’s edge. It has a very chilled out feel, probably something to do with the river flowing right through the middle.
Sintra: mountain town, home to Pena National Palace
Algarve: beaches galore. Lots of travellers, so nightlife is abundant. There is a huge expat community (predominantly English and Australian) which has resulted in a huge Western food scene (and good coffee!).
Coimbra: university town – founded in 1290, it is one of the oldest universities in Europe. A very quaint town built near a river, with the university towering over it on a rather steep hill.
Did you know?
- Portugal is the oldest country in Europe
- Portugese is the official language of 9 countries (Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Principe, Sao Tome and Equatorial Guinea)
- The Vasco de Gama bridge in Lisbon is 17km long.
- Cristiano Ronaldo is from Portugal.
- Lots of main dishes in Portugal won’t necessarily come with vegetables; they usually need to be ordered as a side.
- The waiters will expect you to order your food before drinks, so you’ll have to tell them if you want to do it the other way around.
- Eat big at lunch and smaller at dinner to save money.
- The starters that are brought out at the beginning of your meal are not free, so if you don’t want them, say so.
- For a non-food related tip… Portugal is slowly becoming more and more popular as a tourist destination, so if possible, get in soon or visit somewhere off the beaten track.