Portugal is a forgotten European country as end of the earth. What is the label of Portugal? Beach, football or wine? Or Cristiano Ronaldo or delicious Portuguese egg tarts? Or is it the westernmost Rocca? Portugal is indeed a country that is especially suitable for vacations and pensions. It is cheap and convenient to live there. Here is the list of the top 10 most popular attractions in Portugal.
1. Sao Miguel Island
Sao Miguel Island is the largest, most accessible and most well-known island in the Azores, which is a volcanic island. Damaged by more than a dozen earthquakes and volcanic eruptions since the 15th century, it’s now Portugal’s main tourist destination in winter. It’s rich with fertile land producing grains, tea, wine and fruit. It’s a pearl and a true paradise in the area of the Atlantic Ocean. There are beaches and hot springs where you can watch whales, surf, swim or hike. What’s more you can see the beauty around you when you enjoy hot springs, which makes you feel super happy.
2. Convento de Cristo
The Convento de Cristo is a Catholic church building in Tomar that is in the western part of Portugal. The church is built in the 12th century. Originally it was the base camp of the Knights Templar symbolizing the conquest of the Knights. The blue tiled walls of the church made him feel the glory of his past. After the dissolution of the Knights Templar in the 14th century, the Portuguese branch turned to the Catholic Church, which tells us about the 7 centuries’ history of Portugal. The Convento de Cristo combines Romanesque, Gothic, Manuel and Renaissance architecture styles and is one of the most important historical and cultural buildings in Portugal. It was listed as a world heritage by UNESCO in 1983.
3. Belém District
The essential remains of Lisbon’s are gathered almost in this small area – the Belém district. The Belém district is located 6 km west of downtown Lisbon and Belém means the birthplace of Jesus in Portuguese. This place brings together a comprehensive area of local life, culture, history, scenery and even politics. The entire Belém area is built by the river. There are not only the most beautiful ancient buildings of Portugal but also the elegant parks. Most of the buildings in this area have withstood the 1755 earthquake and have survived. You can also taste the food here and watch the production process. Of course, some processes of production are trade secrets and cannot be made public. There are three main attractions in the Belém area: the Belém Tower, the Jeronimo Monastery and the Monument to the Discoverers.
4. Monastery of Alcobaca
The Alcobaca Monastery is one of the most masterpieces of the religious architecture ,that is built in the late 12th century, It consists of a church, five corridors, seven dormitories, a residence for foreigners, a kitchen and a cafeteria. The church is simple and solemn with 999 monks in its heyday time. There are two coffins of Pedro and his wife Ines in the monastery with many lively statues, which are exquisite works of art. Under the Ines’s coffin are six animals that look like killers and whose bodies are like beasts. Facing the front of the Cross, it is the most beautiful tomb built by Portugal in the Middle Ages.
5. Marina of Horta
When you arrive in Fayal, be sure to visit the Horta Marina and take a look at the yachts that are parked there. You will admire the paintings left by the sailors who stayed here on the pier. It is like an open-air exhibition. No one knows the specific age of the first mural. It’s said that it was probably around 1950-1960. A large ship that came from the ocean and it experienced a lot of hardships and finally arrived here. The sailors or the navy left a memorial mural in order to commemorate their success. Later, people hope that they’ll continue their fortune, so they imitate them and leave murals. Thus, we can see more than 1000 paintings at the dock that represent more than 1000 stories, which is called the Arabian Night of Fayal.
6. Jeronimo Monastery
This monastery is a masterpiece of Gothic art. It was created in the 13th century by the monks of the Jeronimo sect. It has been finished being built for 100 years and is the most magnificent and majestic monastery in Portugal. The monastery is made of gold-colored beige stone made in Portugal and is large in scale with an astounding facade of more than 300 meters. The monastery is a perfect combination of Gothic and Renaissance. It is considered by the later generations to be the jewel of Manuel architecture. It is the only piece in history and cannot be copied. It was endowed with important religious and political significance. There are many historically important figures who have been buried here, such as Portugal’s greatest poetry Camoes, the virgins of Bethlehem and the ancestors of the Manuel family.
7. Batalha Monastery
The Batalha Monastery was built to commemorate defeating the Castilla in 1385 and is a sign of the further consolidation of Portuguese national independence. On August 15, 1385, after the heroic Portuguese people defeated the Castilians in the Battle of Arruba, King Juan I promised to build the monastery. That’s why the solemn Gothic building was born, so it’s also known as the ‘Triumphal Virgin Mary Monastery’. In addition to being an important symbol of Portuguese independence, the monastery is beyond the general status and importance because João I and Prince Henriques were buried here. What people take delight in talking about is its ‘unfinished chapel’ that gives people a beauty of damage. There is a saying that the design failure caused the project to fail. There is also another saying that the government removed the human and financial resources for the construction of Lisboa’s Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and it led to the suspension of the project. Which one do you believe more?
8. Benagil Caves
The Benagil Caves is a breathtaking beach view. The circular crack at the top of the cave leads into the sunlight that makes the soft sand in the cave sparkle. The calm and warm water is suitable for swimming. The beach is soft and the sea is clear. Take bikinis and swimming trunks, sunscreen, food and water with you for enjoying the great experience.
Tips: The sea is still very cool even in early July, so be sure to bring a dry towel.
9. Cabo de Sao Vicente
Cabo de Sao Vicente is the southernmost tip of Europe with a lighthouse standing there. When you are here, you will have the feeling that ‘where the land ends and the sea begins.’ You can walk along the beach or overlook the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also the best place to watch the Atlantic sunset. You can sit on the towering cliffs and watch the gradient of the sky color. Watching the sun fall makes you feel that the time stops.
10. Cabo Girao Cliff
Located on the southern coast of Madeira, Cabo Girao Cliff is the highest coastal cliff in Europe and you can enjoy the sunset at dusk. A viewing platform with a glass bottom plate is set up at 580 meters above sea level. But it’s difficult to see clearly the scenery below through the glass. The convergence of the blue of the sea, the blue of the sky and the white of the clouds is really refreshing and impressive.
If you are interested in travelling in Portugal, please discover other places by yourself. However, don’t forget to get your pocket Wifi before leaving. I’m sure that you need it!