Costa de Lisboa. The entire region is known as Costa de Lisboa and runs southwards on the other side of the River Tagus through the Setúbal peninsula. Places to visit: Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal for the last eight centuries (Quem não viu Liboa não viu coisa boa – Anyone who has not seen Lisbon has not seen anything worthwhile); Setúbal, a modern fishing port; Troia; Sesimbra, a busy fishing town; Cabo Espichel, with spectacular views of the sea and mountains.
Costa de Estoril. This region starts exactly at the western end of Lisbon and stretches along the mountainous north side of the Tagus estuary. Places to visit: Estoril, international tourist resort and home to the largest casino in Europe; Cascais; Cabo da Roca; Sintra, described by Lord Byron as the “glorious Garden of Even”; Queluz, the Versailles of Portugal; Mafra, home to the impressive palace-convent that was built in the 18th century.
The Algarve. This is the southern-most tourist region and is a true paradise for sun-lovers. Places to visit: Faro; Albufeira; Portimão; Sagres; Cabo San Vicente, with its famous lighthouse and spectacular views of the sea and barrier reefs.
Mountains. The mountain areas cover Northeast Portugal and surround the green vines that grow on terraces near the Upper Duero and the remote area of Tras-os Montes. Places to visit: Vila Real; Chaves, ancient spa town; Bragança, surrounded by walls and dominated by the tower of a mediaeval castle; Miranda do Douro, which is home to the mirandés language; Régua, centre of the Port wine industry; Guarda; Serra da Estrela, famous for its cheeses, especially the local sheep’s milk cheese; Castelo Branco.
Plains. Lisbon is separated from the Algarve by a distance of around 300 km, taken up by El Alentejo, with its endless, slightly undulating green plains. In the North, along the course of the Tagus, stands the region of Ribatejo. Places to visit: Santarém, capital of Ribatejo; Tomar, one of Portugal’s oldest and most picturesque towns, founded by the Knights Templar; Évora, capital of El Alentejo and of great historical interest; Arraiolos; Estremoz; Portalegre; Elvas.
Madeira. Deservedly known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic”, the island of Madeira is an important world tourist resort with extraordinarily beautiful countryside. The ships from the New World, Asia and the Far East often stopped off here and left behind samples of exotic plants. As a result, a professional botanist is not necessary to appreciate the beauty of the plant life or enjoy the taste of the famous fruit of Madeira. Places to visit: Funchal, the island’s capital, Cabo Girão, the second-highest cliff in the world; Porto da Cruz; Bahía de Zarco (Machico) and Porto Santo, an island that is just over 25 miles from Madeira and has almost 10 km of sandy beaches.
The Azores. Situated in the Atlantic Ocean halfway between Europe and North America, nine fascinating islands make up the Archipelago of the Azores. A particularly peaceful place, ideal for those who wish to escape from the pressure of modern life. Nine islands with their own charm: São Miguel, Santa María, Terceira, Pico, Faial, São Jorge, Graciosa, Flores, Corvo, with a truly unique countryside.