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Are you planning a trip to Portugal? Be sure to check out some of the country’s best cultural spots. From breathtaking monuments to charming historical villages, Portugal has something for everyone. Here are three must-see destinations that will give you a taste of Portuguese culture and history.
Photo by Katya Shkiper on Unsplash
Overlooking Portugal’s capital, Castelo de S. Jorge is a national monument where you can learn about the country’s heritage and take in the beautiful views. The second-century castle was built in medieval times, when the Romans ruled Portugal. Much of the structure was destroyed in 1755, when Lisbon was hit by an earthquake, but the ruins remain and can be explored on foot. You can also take in an exhibition about Lisbon’s history, enjoy a stroll in the gardens, and join a guided tour to get more insight into this unique citadel.
Photo by Reiseuhu on Unsplash
Sometimes it’s fun to just wander around a new place and see what you can spot. The old centre of the town of Lagos, located in the Western Algarve, is ideal for doing just that, as it has plenty of traditional charm. Admire the 18th-century townhouses, stroll around the walls of the medieval castle, and find somewhere to eat delicious Portuguese food in the alleys behind it.
There are also some beautiful baroque churches, like the opulent Igreja de Santo António, i.e. the Church of Saint Anthony. There are six paintings depicting scenes from his life, but what’s most likely to catch your eye is the gold-plated woodwork, which covers almost everything above the blue and white tiles on the lower wall.
Want to relax? The sandy beaches are nice and sheltered, with blue waters and stunning views across the coastline.
Photo by Luís Feliciano on Unsplash
The largest church in Portugal, the Monastery of Alcobaça was founded by the first king of Portugal, King Alfonso I, in the 1100s, and is a must-see for anyone who’s interested in architecture. The monastery is an excellent example of Gothic Cistercian architecture, which is known for being simple, severe, pristine, and elegant.
At its peak, it was home to 900 monks, who held Mass throughout the day and night. It’s now a museum, where you can tour the church, tombs, and Chamber of Silence, to name a few, and was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989.
If you’re looking for a beautiful and culturally rich country to visit in Europe, I’m sure it’s clear by now that you don’t need to look any further than Portugal. With stunning architecture and historical sites around every corner, you certainly won’t be bored.
We’ve highlighted just a few of the places you can visit, but there are countless others waiting to be explored.
Have you been to Portugal? What were your favourite spots? Let us know your recommendations!
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