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Archive for portugal

The Lighthouse of Felgueiras

By Linda Tancs

Among the many charms of Porto, Portugal, the lighthouse of Felgueiras sits at the mouth of the Douro River where it meets the Atlantic. Thanks to its location, the swells at this 19th-century hexagonal lighthouse can be immense. Although it was deactivated in 2009, it’s still a popular landmark, offering visitors a bit of ocean spray along with enviable views.

Chestnuts in Portugal

By Linda Tancs

Gothic arches, Manueline windows, wrought-iron balconies and other embellishments are typical fare for the Portuguese medieval town of Marvão. It’s located in the Alentejo region, commonly known as the “bread basket of Portugal.” Just a kiss from Spain, the views from the castle keep offer some of the most mesmerizing views in the country. This time of year, though, it’s the annual chestnut festival that delights visitors the most, an occasion where nearly three tons of chestnuts are expected to be consumed.

Portugal’s Oldest Town

By Linda Tancs

Situated on the Lima River in northern Portugal, Ponte de Lima is frequently referred to as the nation’s oldest town because it was given a charter by Queen Teresa in 1125. The small town may be most famous for its bridge over the river, particularly the Roman portion constructed in the first century. But it’s also the center of Vinho Verde (green, or young, wine) production, the history of which is recounted at the local interpretative center. Another gem is the toy museum (Museu do Brinquedo) on the right bank of the river, where you can travel in time through Portuguese toy manufacture from the 19th century to the 1980s. Almost 200 Portuguese manufacturers are represented. Driving there is recommended; public transport options are poor, even from Porto.

A Memorable Walk in Portugal

By Linda Tancs

One of the best preserved trails in Europe, Rota Vicentina meanders through the Alentejo and Algarve regions of Portugal. There are two main routes, the “historical way” and the “fishermen’s trail.” The longer of the two is the historical way, a 142-mile journey from Santiago do Cacém to the Cape of St. Vincent that passes through forests, towns and villages. At 77 miles, the Atlantic coast-hugging fishermen’s trail, as the name implies, provides access to fishing grounds. For the less adventurous, one-day circular routes provide a less demanding trek although they still enhance the two main trails. You’ll find them in Almograve, São Luís, Troviscais, Santa Clara, Sabóia, Bordeira and Carrapateira. Avoid the summer crowds and go now. Unlike other places in Europe, southern Portugal is one of the few places where the weather is fine for trekking in February.

Portugal’s House of Stone

By Linda Tancs

Surrounded by windmills of the modern age, Portugal’s Casa do Penedo looks more like something out of the Stone Age. Located near Fafe in northern Portugal, the prehistoric-looking structure was built in the 1970s as a family shelter. Aptly named, the stone (boulder) dwelling comprises four large boulders that serve as the foundation, walls and ceiling of the house. Billed as one of the strangest homes in the world, you can arrange a guided tour from Porto.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Oldest City in the Azores

By Linda Tancs

Terceira is the third largest island in the Azores archipelago of Portugal. It’s also home to Angra do Heroísmo (Angra), the oldest city in the Azores, having received its charter in 1534. In the 1800s, Queen Maria II bestowed the name Heroísmo upon the town for the resistance it offered the troops of King Miguel in 1829 during his attempt to establish an absolutist monarchy. The centerpiece of the city is its cathedral, Sé Catedral, the largest church in the archipelago. It’s prized for its pau brasil and jacaranda wood in the sacristy. Other religious artifacts, along with an interesting historical account of the Azores, are located at Museu de Angra do Heroísmo, which is housed in a former monastery.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Romanticism in Portugal

By Linda Tancs

The Palacio Nacional da Pena (Pena Palace) in Portugal is regarded as the country’s greatest example of Romanticism, an umbrella term that covers many of the European 19th-century “revivalist” and Eastern-influenced styles. In this case, it mimics Romanesque Revival and Neo-Manueline architecture. The imposing, colorful castle is perched on the top of a hill in the Sintra Mountains above the town of Sintra. They say that on a clear day you can see it from Lisbon. Don’t let that stop you from taking a closer look. The gardens are likewise stunning, filled with walking paths, pavilions, lakes, ponds and exotic trees.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Conditions of Carriage in Lisbon

By Linda Tancs

The stark exhibition hall in Lisbon housing Portugal’s royal carriages perfectly illuminates the ornate, gilded coaches you’ll find there. Located in the Belém district, the National Coach Museum boasts one of the finest collections of historical carriages in the world with vehicles from the 16th through 19th centuries. It features richly decorated coaches, Berlins, sedan chairs and carriages, aptly fit for the nation’s kings and queens. The facility was first inaugurated in 1905 by Amélie of Orléans, the last Queen Consort of Portugal, at the old riding ring of the Palace of Belém. Its newer digs offer interns and scholarship holders a training center for conservation and restoration.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Plums in Portugal

By Linda Tancs

A plum job takes on new meaning in Elvas, Portugal, site of a 100-year-old plum-processing factory. Still operating today, the facility is faithful to the age-old recipe for the region’s famous ameixas d’Elvas (preserved plums). There’s a museum on the premises, where visitors can observe the manufacturing process and learn about the city’s long history of plum production. Of course, the factory (formerly Frutas Doces and now known as Sereno & Fonseca) has goodies for sale in the gift shop.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Where Sailors Reign in the Azores

By Linda Tancs

The Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, are an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic. Each of the nine islands has a charm all its own, like vineyards planted in black lava fields in Pico and the cosmopolitan flair of the largest island, São Miguel. Faial is dominated by beech trees (faias, hence the name) and a huge mass of hydrangeas, but it’s equally known as a gathering place for the world’s sailors. Thanks to the locale’s reputation as a way station for international yachtsmen, Peter Café Sport is a pub and a hub at the marina in Horta. A rite of passage for tourists, it’s likely the best known sailors’ bar in the world.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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