Destinations - Portugal
While it's true that Portugal is no longer the Iberian Peninsula's best kept secret, it's fairly easy to escape the crowds. Portugal has an old fashioned charm, with medieval castles, and picture perfect villages scattered over meandering coastlines and flower-covered hillsides. Portugal has been at the forefront of discovery for centuries. Because of their exploration to the Far East and Brazil there are fantastic artifacts and sights to see.
Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal. Lisbon is a stunning mix of ancient sites and modern wonders: from a 16th century Moorish castle to the largest aquarium in Europe. It also features Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, traditional Portuguese, and Modern & Post-Modern architecture. Lisbon is built on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean where the river Tagus intersects. It also is built on seven hills, which makes getting around the city interesting. Be sure to ride the 1930s trams and the three elevators, da Gloria, da Bica, and da Lavra, only one of which travels vertically. In Bairro Alto, in the upper quarter of Lisbon, you can find lots of shopping and entertainment, as it is the heart of Lisbon's youth and of the Portuguese capital's nightlife.
Sights to see in Lisbon: Torre de Belem, Lisbon Cathedral, Praça do Comércio, Statue of King Jose I, Parque de Eduardo VII, Belem Tower, São Roque Church, Rooftops of Alfama, Santa Justa Elevator, St. George’s Castle, Feira da Ladra, Vasco de Gama Tower, Rua Garrett, Vasco de Gama Bridge, Jeronimos Monastery, Pedro IV Square, Campo Pequeno Bullring, Lisbon Oceanarium, Parque das Nacoes and much more!
Located along the Douro river estuary in northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centres, and registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its settlement dates back several centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its Latin name, Portus Cale, has been referred to as the origin for the name Portugal. One of Portugal's internationally famous exports, port wine, is named for Porto, since the metropolitan area, and in particular the adegas of Vila Nova de Gaia, were responsible for the production and export of the fortified wine.
Sights to see in Porto: Porto Cathedral,Avenida dos Aliados, Palacio da Bolsa, the remnants of the old city walls, the gardens of the Crystal Palace and much more!
For more information about Portugal, please visit the Portuguese Tourist Board website.
"My team's spring break trip to Portugal was amazing. It was a first-class operation as soon as we got off the plane in Lisbon. Everything was well coordinated with hotels and meals, bus transportation, and sightseeing with Filipe, our full-time tour guide. There were so many great things to do in close proximity to each other, plus the quality of women's soccer over there was very good. My girls thoroughly enjoyed the training and gained valuable experience playing against three very talented clubs. I hope more teams will follow our lead and visit Portugal with Excel in the future. Thank you!"
--JP Sousa, Head Women's Soccer Coach, Catholic University, Portugal