Porto is the second most populous city in Portugal, giving its name to port wine and the entire country. It is located in the north of the country and stands at the mouth of the Douro River. Porto has preserved the originality of the Middle Ages and literally “breathes” history. The old city in Porto is smaller than in Lisbon, but its labyrinth of streets and lanes is no less bizarre and intricate. The ancient area of Ribeira is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The main attractions of Porto – Se Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace, the Stock Exchange building, the City Hall, Liberty Square with beautiful buildings of the 19th-20th centuries, Rua das Flores, the coastal Ribeira quarter with picturesque facades of houses. On the river Douro you can take a walk on a pleasure boat. Four bridges connect Porto with its satellite town of Vila Nova de Gaia, home to the famous port wine vaults for more than 300 years.
Not far from Porto are the fishing villages of Matosinhos and Leña da Palmeira, famous for the best fish and the best fish restaurants in the area. To the east of the city lies the picturesque valley of the Douro River. It can be reached by car, train or boat.
The town of Sintra is located northwest of Lisbon. It is under the protection of UNESCO. Sintra was loved by the Portuguese monarchs, here is the Palacio Nacional da Pena – a unique monument of the Romantic era, which housed the summer residence of the Portuguese kings. From the height of this palace, you can see the entire city. Another interesting palace is the Palacio Nacional de Sintra, whose architecture is a mixture of Manuelian and Gothic styles.
Not far from the city are the gardens of Monserrate, and a little further away is the Convento dos Capuchos, a 16th-century rock-hewn dwelling with some rooms upholstered in cork wood. Of the churches, the most notable are the Romanesque of St. Martin, the Romanesque-Gothic of St. Mary, St. Peter of Penaferrim, Santo António do Penedo (all built in the 15th-16th centuries), the Penigna Chapel, lined with Baroque tiles.
Sintra has a unique Toy Museum, the exhibits of which cover the period of the 16th to the 20th centuries. The mild and humid microclimate of the city contributes to the development of lush vegetation, here you can find plants of the rarest species that are not found anywhere else in Portugal. This is a real green paradise with unusually healing mountain air.
In the vicinity of Sintra are the Capuchin Monastery (XVI century) and Cape Roca. Cape Roca is the westernmost point in Europe. On a stone stele 140 m high, it is written: “Here the earth ends and the sea begins.” You can buy a certificate to remember your stay in this place.
According to Nexticle, Faro is the capital of the Algarve province and a center of industry and fishing. One of the main sectors of the economy is the production of table salt, which is mined from local salt marshes. The city has a rich history. Previously, there were trading posts of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. Under the Romans, it became an administrative center and a major port. The greatest prosperity came at the time when the Arab conquerors dominated Portugal.
In Faro, sections of the ancient fortress walls have been preserved, behind which there is a cathedral. In the city, the Karmo Temple (XVIII century), the Archaeological Museum, the Maritime Museum, and the Ethnographic Museum deserve attention.
8 km east of the city is the Ria Formosa lagoon, a natural reserve, home to many birds, more than a hundred species of fish, shellfish. 12 km north of Faro are the ruins of Milreu, which was once the palace of the Roman nobility, and the palace of Eshtoy. In the palace of Viscount Estoja (XVII century) you can see magnificent gardens, decorated with sculptures, tile paintings, pools, ancient Roman columns.
Évora is the largest city in the province of Alentejo in the center of Portugal. In 1986, it was declared by UNESCO a monument of world culture. The appearance of the city was formed under the influence of the Romans, Moors, medieval Portuguese kings. More than 30 churches and monasteries, as well as Moorish palaces, have been preserved here.
Se Cathedral was created in the transition from Gothic to Romanesque style. Its construction began in 1186. Its Gothic courtyard (XIV century) is beautiful, the Museum of Church Art and the Local Lore Museum in the Bishop’s Palace deserve attention.
A unique monument is the temple of Diana II c. – the only surviving Roman temple in the country. For centuries, it has been used for a variety of purposes, even as a slaughterhouse. In the last century, the ancient building was cleared and became available for viewing.
Near the city park is the church of San Francisco with a chapel made of human bones. One of the most beautiful places in Evora is the Largo das Portas de Moura square with a Renaissance fountain.