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Things to do in Portugal
Algarve - experience the Zoo Marine Algarve
This large marine theme park is a great day out for the whole family. Open every day it consists of a water park as well as rides for the youngsters. There is a large aquarium where you can see manatee, sharks and crocodiles. For a very special occasion book yourself into the dolphin experience program and spend time in the water with these magnificent animals.
Algarve - watch the dolphins at Dream Wave World
Lovers of the sea will enjoy a day with Dream Wave World whether it is on a jet ski on your own, a group of you on a speed boat or exploring the caves and watching the wild dolphins from the Insonia. There is also the Leaozinho pirate ship with half day cruises, bar-b-que cruises and sunset cruises. Take the opportunity to relax and enjoy the waters of the Algarve.
Lisbon - explore the Gulbenkian Museum
If you like historical artifacts and works of art the Gulbenkian Museum is for you. Everything from Egyptian and Medieval Christian works made from ivory to paintings by Van Dyke and Monet. The museum is divided into 2 different areas, the first hosting ancient art and the second more modern art from the 18th century onwards. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Lisbon - visit the 16th century Monastry of St Jerome
Thought to have been completed around 1600 the monastery took about 100 years to build. The architecture is absolutely stunning with magnificent carvings and arches both inside and around the cloisters. Wherever you look there is something new. Look out for the tomb of Vasco De Gama, the famous explorer. Dedicated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 it is possibly the most beautiful building in Lisbon.
Maderia - go interactive at the Maderia Story Centre
A modern museum that portrays the history of the island of Madera this is an opportunity to learn more about this unique island. The museum is filled with information and interactive displays that the children will love. Everything from the creation by volcanic activity through to the modern day and includes how the famous Madera wine came in to being.
Maderia - view the 17th Century Frederico de Freitas Museum
The Frederico de Freitas Museum is housed in the magnificent 17th century home of the Counts of Calcada. During the 1940s Frederico de Fretias was a lawyer on the island and a collector of sculptures, paintings, furniture and ceramics. What is unusual is the way in which the exhibitions are displayed, in cabinets as if it were a person’s home. The museum is closed on Sundays, Mondays and holidays.
Porto - attend the Sao Francisco church
Gothic in design the Sao Francisco church dates back to 1425 and has hardly been altered since. The interior was extensively decorated in the 18th century with Portuguese guilt wood on the walls, ceilings and roof. Much of the interior is baroque in style with granite arches and gilt is everywhere. Make sure you see the 13th century classic sculpture of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Porto - taste wines at the Solar Vinho do Porto
Wine lovers will find this region of Portugal irresistible. There has been wine made in this area for over 2000 years and examples of 4th and 5th century stone presses can still be found. There are plenty of different vineyards to select from and numerous Ports to select. Do a tasting and work your way through the vintages. Be sure to take a taxi wherever you decide to go.
Sao Miguel - take a trip to the natural beauty of Furnas
There has not been an eruption at the Furnas volcano since 1630 but the massive, large eruption then, plus the earlier one in 1443 helped shaped the region to be what it is today. Take a walk around the area and look down into the old, large crater which has now formed into a lake. There are still areas of minor volcanic activity in the area and in one location you can cook your own simple dinner in the hot waters. There is frequently a strong smell of sulphur in the area.
Sintra - enjoy the art of the Palacio Nacional de Sintra
Possibly the oldest medieval building in Portugal the Palacio Nacional de Sintra dates back to 1415. The interior of the building is elaborately decorated with paintings and frescos. Look on the ceiling for the ancient Heraldic shields of Portugal. Go to the kitchen and peer up the chimneys which are a feature of the town’s landscape. Also take time to visit Sala dos Cisnes and Sala dos Pegas.
Introduction of Portugal
For many years, Portugal has been a favourite, if somewhat 'alternative', tourism destination for its sea, sun, history, heritage and beautiful countryside. The rich, unique culture of this 900-year-old country centres on its maritime empire, begun in the 15th and 16th centuries and encompassing colonies in Africa, Asia and Oceania. Diversity is its main attraction, from the lively cities of Lisbon and Porto through Tomar's Knights Templar castle and Sintra's UNESCO-listed fairytale palaces to famous beach resorts such as Vale do Lobo, the holiday island of Madeira and Algarve beach towns like Faro. Portugal hotels come in all shapes and sizes, but for or a real Portuguese experience, a stay in a pousada is a must for history buffs. These hotels are scattered all over the country in ancient mansions, palaces, monasteries and other heritage buildings that have been sympathetically converted to picturesque lodgings through a government scheme. Portugal's diverse heritage shines though in its unique cuisine, as varied as the country's topography and evolved from hearty peasant dishes enriched with the spices from the country's colonial outposts.