Portugal is renowned for its Port but is also establishing
a good reputation for its still light wines that use a variety of
indigenous grapes. For its size Portugal boasts a high number of
different styles of wine and vineyards can be found throughout the
country. Oporto is famous for port wine, which
became a major trade following a 1703 agreement with the United
Kingdom, and there are many wine lodges, still bearing English names
like Croft or Graham, where visitors are welcome.
Music and folklore
The melancholic fado, said to have originated from
16th-century sailors’ songs, is Portugal’s best-known
musical form. One of the best places to experience it is Lisbon,
with many fado clubs located in the Alfama and
Bairro Alto neighbourhoods. One of the country’s
main traditional crafts is the making of decorative tiles known
as azulejos. Visitors wishing to learn the craft
should enquire locally. Traditional folk dancing is still practised
in the rural areas and there are numerous colourful festivals.
Portugal’s coastline offers excellent beach holidays with
all the usual activities including:
sailing and windsurfing
For information on diving, which is practiced in many areas along
the coast, contact:
The Portuguese Federation for
Underwater Activities (FPAS),
Rua Frei Manuel Cardoso 39,
Telephone number/fax number: 2181 41148
The Algarve has a perpetually mild climate, although the tides can
be strong during the winter, and big-game fishing is popular here.
The west coast is best for surfing and the Beiras in the north has
big Atlantic breakers with many deserted beaches.
The wetlands around Rio de Aveiro (crossed by numerous
canals) offer some interesting boat trips in traditional Portuguese
moliceiros (gondola-like sailing barges). Another good boating destination
is the Douro Valley, stretching from Oporto to
the Spanish border, where the River Douro is navigable.
Canoeing is available in the Peneda-Gerês National
Portugal is a well-known golfing destination and the south in particular
has many championship golf courses with 19 in the Algarve alone.
The mild climate allows playing all year round. Some of the best-known
18-hole courses include:
Estoril, one of the oldest, close to Lisbon, hosting
many major competitions.
Quinta de Marinha, on the Estoril coast near Lisbon,
with good views of the Sintra mountain range.
Eagle, near Rio Maior, boasting a typically US design,
open to non-members.
Ponte de Lima, a typical mountain course in the
northern Minho region, close to vineyards, fruit gardens and mountains.
on the coast near Póvoa de Varzim.
Tróia, in Alentejo, southern Portugal, reputedly
the country’s most difficult course.
The Royal Golf Course, in the Algarve, said to
be one of the world’s most famous and most photographed courses.
The Peneda-Gerês National Park, a wilderness
park in the far north near the Spanish border, has many short-distance
walking trails with places to swim along the way. The dense Foia
forest in the Algarve highlands also offers good walks
with beautiful scenery. Horseriding is also available
in the park as well as in many resorts elsewhere.
Portugal offers some excellent cycling routes, notably in the
Minho region in the north, where the most interesting
villages and towns are sometimes not accessible by car.