Portugal may be best known for its Algarve, that stretch of sandy beaches and sparkling seas that starts at Faro, runs to Cape St. Vincent and then stretches to the north. Add to that the fact that Portugal is one of the cheapest eurozone countries (cheaper than Spain) and there are plenty of cheap flights to Portugal from UK and Irish airports and so far, so summer holiday, but there is much more to it than that.
Apart from the perfect beaches, there are national parks and nature reserves, mountains and rivers. The Atlantic coast is wild and offers the swells so beloved of surfers. More gently, perhaps, the Algarve is heaven for golfers. The Azores, a group of nine volcanic islands 1,500km from the mainland, and Madeira are also part of Portugal.
Portugal's capital, Lisbon, is a beautiful old city, lying across seven hills and bordered by the River Tagus.
The Portuguese know how to live well, celebrating high days with gusto. Accompanying the hearty - and healthy - cuisine (salt cod is a specialty) and good wines (including Port and Madeira of course) there is a laidback "coffee and café" culture.
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