As many of you already know, Portugal is the home of Port Wine. But did you also know that some of the world's best table wines come from the Douro region as does world famous brandy Maciera and the popular sweet liquor Madeira or the potent Aguardente (fire Water), also come from Portugal? Portugal is a wine connoisseurs paradise and luckily for us, has not yet been conglomerated and assimilated. Portuguese wines are some of the most flavorful and unique wines in the world today.
This post though isn't about wines, but about Portugal as a whole. Cities like Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, Funchal as well as regions like the Azores the Algarve, Madeira and Minho are enchanting gems of Europe. Since many of Portugal's major cities were built off of the Atlantic ocean, beach resorts are a common theme in most Portuguese cities, making Portugal the ideal Travel experience.
Originally called Lusitania by the Romans, Portugal is Continental Europe's most westerly country with a covetous Spanish Empire laying siege on its Eastern front and a vast and untamed sea to the west. Due to the wars of long ago and the urge to discover new lands,most would assume that the Portuguese would have become a hardened a bitter group, but the exact opposite is true. For a people who have endured many years colonial wars in Africa, Sea battles with other envious seafaring nations, and continental wars with neighboring countries, including the heartache brought on by the iron fisted rule of Fascist regime of Salazar who ruled Portugal for most of the 20th century, and stagnated its social and economic diversity, the Portuguese are surprisingly the most freindly people you will ever meet.
But the Portuguese have turned much of the bitter tears of wars and isolation inward into a magical musical genre called Fado. It was in these during the fasciast rule where a century's old musical form called Fado took hold and flousrished in the country. Fado, with the help of a musical genius by the name of Amalia Rodrigues has become the national music of the Portuguese and is now being appreciated by people from America to Japan.
As legend has it, Fado has two distinct birth places and can be divided into Fado of Coimbra and Fado of Lisbon. The Lisbon Fados are world famous and tourists from the four corners of the globe swarm to the Fado coffee houses to enjoy the mournful songs of Fado. It is said that Fado began as songs sang by the Portuguese explorers and sailors like Vasco da Gama who in their yearning for home sang these tunes of sadness. When Portugal became the world's richest nation in the Middle Ages, a colonial empire that stretched from Brazil to Africa, India, China and Japan, Fado may have been born, strengthening its roots that makes it so unique today, but never really Fado until the 1800's. But it was Amalia Rodrigues who popularized it and added vocal inflections that was unheard of before her time creating the Fado that we know and love today.
When you think about your next Portugal vacations you will be truly blessed with a vacation that has no boundaries. Your Portugal Vacation may last a week, a month or many many years and each time you will find something new and rediscover something old. Places like Lisbon, Algarve, Sao Miguel, Funchal Madeira island or the Sun dried Algarve or the great cork plains of the Alentejo is all waiting to be discovered.
Whether you are looking for a Quinta to rent or Pousada hopping, or perhaps you are a looking for returning each year with a holiday timeshare, Portugal is a country that is full of surprises. It's no wonder that British make up the largest group of yearly visitors to Portugal, a country that has friendly ties for nearly a thousand years. British expats have been flocking to the shores of the Algarve, seeking year round warmth, culture and value.
If you are traveling to Lisbon, be sure to visit the grounds of Expo 88, with its stunning Lisbon oceanarium. Close by, don't miss out on the Carriage Museum which showcases one of the world's greatest collection of Carriages used by the Portuguese Aristocracy. Or Perhaps you are looking to take in culture and history. Lisbon's Gulbenkian museum is world renown and features artifacts spanning the long history of Portugal. For Art junkies, the new Berardo Museum is a must see for its vast collection of priceless art, including Andy Warhol, Picasso just to name a few.
Traveling to Portugal is always a please surprise and you will enjoy your Portugal vacations. And this is only the tip of the iceberg, there are just too many places to visit and things to see, it is truly a gem, and you will never regret your choice of having a Portugal Vacations.