Tucked into Spain’s embrace along the northern and eastern borders and caressed by Atlantic waves on the western and southern flanks lies storied Portugal, home to picturesque villages, bustling cities, and a warm Mediterranean climate. A developed country with an advanced economy and high living standards, Portugal was impressively ranked nineteenth on the high quality of life global index rating as of 2005. The 10 million plus population operates on the Euro and establishes a global presence in a variety of industries, especially a booming export sector.
Portugal is famous for its beaches, food and Cristiano Ronaldo…. but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond the Algarve beaches and city break Lisbon or Porto, Portugal remains a beautiful easily-covered mystery. The Costa Vicentina's deserted golden shores contrast with the ravishing seaside towns of the Costa da Prata. National parks encompass the soaring peaks of the Serra da Estrela, the history-laden Sintra hills and the rural beguilements of Alentejo. Cycle paths and walking trails link distinctive country inns (quintas). Portugal's interior remains charmingly unspoilt yet accessible by improved transport links. Comfortable trains link Lisbon and Porto to inland gems like Evora, Coimbra and Guimaraes (Portugal's 12th century first capital).