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Portugal and Madeira Travel guide

Beach on Porto Santo island, Madeira Pena Palace in Sintra Port cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia Frustuck Simmer Algarve
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Portugal and Madeira : Michelin's recommendations

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Through what miracle did this thin strip of land exposed to the tumultuous Atlantic Ocean become master of the globe in its heyday? More than ever anchored to the continent, Portugal still evokes in our collective memory that lost paradise of the great Renaissance navigators. Perched high on the country’s beautiful Sintra Mountain Range, Manuel I’ s extravagant palaces hark back to the opulence of those times, full of the magic of that glorious past.
From Medieval Arab invasions to 20th century dictatorships, Europe’s long history unfolds along its thousand kilometres of coastline. The traditional yet piquant nature of this former spice kingdom is in evidence all along that coast, and even today its sweet melancholy resonates in the fado bars of its captivating capital, Lisbon.
The Tagus flows past the “white city”, then empties languidly into the ocean after easing through the estuary poetically known by Lisboners as the ‘‘ Sea of Straw’’ due to its golden reflections at sunset. There are many colourful places to explore on both sides of Portugal’s legendary river. In the north, the granite hills and vineyards of the Douro overlook the Costa Verde. The Algarve, in the south, is a vast garden with Arabic influences that contains some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches along its seaside cliffs.

Portugal and Madeira - See all cities and regions

Portugal and Madeira : Must-see towns and regions

  • Évora

    Now a Unesco World Heritage site, the capital of the Alentejo has been a walled settlement since the Roman era. It will entrance you with its Moorish alleyways interspersed with arches, its shining wh...

  • Ilha da Madeira

    Nearly 1 000km from Lisbon, the "pearl of the Atlantic" is a volcanic outcrop rising from the waves. The name means “wooded island”, so christened by Henry the Navigator’s men when discovered in 1419....

  • Lisbon

    Located on the Tagus estuary, Lisbon is simultaneously a coastal and a river city. A cultural crossroads and commercial hub, this prestigious capital of a relatively small country was for many years o...

  • Sintra

    Situated not far from Lisbon, at the foot of the Serra de Sintra, topped by the ramparts of its Moorish Castle, this little town is dotted with bewitching fountains and parks... A stroll through its n...

  • Mafra

    Located forty or so kilometres from Lisbon, the monastery of Mafra perfectly illustrates the reign of King João V "the Magnanimous"... It has often been compared to the monastery at Escorial in Spain ...

  • Porto

    Famed for the wine named after it, this lively city with its busy harbour traffic is the North’s capital, renowned as industrious, sober and conservative… It has much to offer: granite churches displa...

  • Albufeira

    Today this old fishermen's village is the most trendy spa resort on the Algarve. It dominates a beautiful small beach protected from the swell by a rocky point, a curious limestone block in the shape ...

  • Coimbra

    Dominated by the old university's high tower, Coimbra clings to a hill and is bathed by the Mondego river. This place is not without its charms and poets have praised them many times. You must see Coi...

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