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Just off the Faro coast in the Algarve lies one of the most enchanting and singularly beautiful beach destinations in the whole of southern Portugal, an unoccupied spit of sand officially called the Ilha da Barreta but known more affectionately by locals as the Ilha Deserta (Desert Island).
To get close to Lisbon and its residents there's nothing better than a nostalgic roller-coaster ride in an elétrico, one of the capital's old streetcars, which are constantly rumbling through the city's narrow streets passing old, weather-beaten façades in one of Europe's most dignified metropolises.
The age-old custom of hurtling visitors downhill at breakneck speed in something resembling an over-sized laundry basked is thankfully very much alive on the Atlantic island of Madeira. Two men control the wide toboggan-style whicker baskets (known locally as carros de cesto) with hand-ropes attached to wooden runners firmly secured underneath the vehicle to create a unique kind of sleigh ride without the snow once described by Ernest Hemingway as 'exhilarating'.
Birthplace of six kings and the seat of Portugal's first university, Coimbra is one of the most celebrated cities in southern Europe. It's a place where tradition runs very deep with black-caped students scurrying through the streets and squares during term time, adding much joie de vivre to the general atmosphere.
Concentrating on a person's actual health rather than merely how they look, Portugal's wide-ranging thermal spa experience is far more therapeutic than some other destinations, with the majority built around mineral-rich springs set in strikingly picturesque locations.
When King Manuel II sailed off into the sunset on the 5th of October, 1910, it marked the end of the Portuguese monarchy. Boarding the yacht Amélia with the rest of his family at Ericeira, a fishing town north-west of Lisbon, he sailed to Gibraltar and never returned to Portugal, dying childless in England twenty-two years later.
Rich from centuries of trade, the ancient city of Porto is as much a cosmopolitan centre as it is a place steeped in the historical events of the past. The city is best-known for its striking bridges and the much-celebrated Port wine.
Portugal's most celebrated poet, Luís Vaz de Camões (c. 1524-1580), lived an extraordinarily eventful life by any stretch of the imagination. As a young man he fought in Morocco and paid with the loss of an eye, followed by a period of imprisonment in Lisbon for taking part in a street fight. He was released on condition that he served the king's militia in India, thus flinging him into a reckless and dangerous life of adventure.
- Published: 29 October 2015
Lawrence's has a history like no other place in Portugal. Arguably the second-oldest hotel establishment in Europe, and without doubt the most ancient in all the Iberian Peninsula, it is intimate enough for guests to quickly absorb its exquisite 18th-century character.
The history of Portugal's ground-breaking association with the seas spanned a hundred years from 1415-1515. Widely labelled as the Age of the Discoveries, this epoch-making period saw Portuguese navigators sail across uncharted seas to break out of the confines of Europe and discover the New World.
Set on a glittering bay against a background of soaring green mountains and nestling picturesquely into the shelter of the verdant hillside, the enchanting city of Funchal attracted Madeira's earliest settlers in the 15th century.
The great earthquake of 1755 wasn't exclusive to Lisbon. In fact, the epicentre was calculated to have been out in the Atlantic some 200 km south-west of the Algarve. But the capital was very badly shaken and here's an eyewitness account of what happened on that fateful day.
Once visited, never forgotten. It’s little wonder that the enchanting island of Madeira attracts more repeat visitors than any other part of the country. Blessed with a spectacular volcanic landscape and subtropical climate, it was discovered by Portuguese navigators in the 15th century.