VisitPortugal

2013/12/30

Cruises in Portugal

Photo: Administração dos Portos da Região Autónoma Madeira
The sea is a natural way of getting to Portugal and a good starting point to gain an insight into the history of this country of explorers. 

Boats from all over the world dock here, whether via the Atlantic to the west, or the Mediterranean to the south, and in the Madeira and Azores archipelagos.

Portugal is a country with a long history and a centuries-old culture, and will welcome you at this crossroads between Europe and the American continent.

If you stop here on a cruise, you will find many points of interest in the cities of Porto, Lisbon and Portimão, which are well worth exploring. Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, and Funchal, on Madeira, also offer their seafaring visitors a comfortable and friendly welcome.

More info at http://www.visitportugal.com/cruises

Óbidos Vila Natal 2013

Visit Óbidos – Christmas Town – and enter a truly magical world!

From, the beginning of December, Óbidos fills up with light, colour and fantasy - transforming into a dreamlike setting where everyone – children and adults – can enjoy magical experiences, amongst a wide array of attractions and amusements.

Father Christmas’ House, the crib, performances, games, ice rink, inflatables – are just some of the many attractions that Óbidos has in store for you, offering special moments ideal for the whole family.

2013/12/26

Tasty Portuguese Cheeses

©JP
Take our invitation and come and try one of the most genuine of Portuguese products - the cheeses! 

You are certain to be impressed by the quality and variety of cheeses produced across the length and breadth of Portugal. 

Whether made from sheep’s, cow’s or goat’s milk, Portuguese cheeses attract great appreciation. 

Savour the buttery soft Serra da Estrela cheese, or a semi-soft Nisa cheese, along with a good glass of wine for an unforgettable taste experience. 

The cheeses of Azeitão, of Serpa and Terrincho go particularly well with a glass of port.Just one possible combination in the many ideal marriages between the cheeses and wines of Portugal. 

With a slightly sharper flavour come the cheeses of Beira Baixa and Pico, normally served as desserts or entrées. 

And any fondue made from São Jorge cheese, that when entire weigh in at between 8 and 12 kilos, is unforgettable.

Portugal, your destination for 2014!

Looking for a unique idea to start 2014 in great style? Visit Portugal!


  
Pack your bags and bring only the essentials. We have everything that you need. Look for romance, discover culture, live an adventure or restore your calm by the sea in a good game of golf, at a spa or in the comfort of a top resort. 

Portugal is your destination. Make your stay one of discovery and transform each moment into a special occasion. You’ll see that it’s a unique journey! 

Why wait? Take a look at the many ideas on offer at www.visitportugal.com and start planning your holiday today. 

Accept the challenge and visit Portugal in 2014:)

2013/12/23

Celebrating Christmas and New Year in Portugal

Óbidos ©Turismo de  Óbidos
Spend a magical Christmas in Portugal, with Father Christmas and decorated trees, together with some more unusual traditions.

On Christmas Eve in Portugal, salt cod is the traditional dish and meat is served on Christmas and Boxing days. For dessert, the menu includes crown-shaped Bolo Rei filled with crystallised fruit, and traditional fritters. The pastries, filhozes, sonhos and rabanadas, are delicious.

At home, just as in the local church, people find a special place to put the Saviour’s crib from the nativity. It was the idea of St. Francis of Assis in the 13th Century to re-create the stable where Jesus was born at Christmas. In the regions of Bragança, Guarda or Castelo Branco, a Yule log is burned in the atrium of the village church after mass. It helps keep everyone warm through the night and to wish family and friends a Merry Christmas.

Stay for the New Year celebrations. At midnight, there’s a fireworks display in every town. Everyone eats 12 raisins, with one wish for each month, and drinks champagne to bring in the New Year. The party in Madeira is renowned for being the most dazzling, with a display of light and colour over the whole island you can even see from the ocean.

At the start of the New Year, you’ll see people singing in the streets. These are the Janeiras (new year’s carollers). They sing traditional songs and those who pass by are wished a Happy New Year full of luck.

Check here some useful links:
http://www.visitmadeira.pt
http://www.visitlisboa.com/
http://www.visitalgarve.pt
http://www.visitalentejo.pt/
http://www.visitcentro.com/
http://www.visitazores.com
http://visitportoandnorth.travel

Algarve: December Events Guide'13

Going to the Algarve during the month of December?

The Algarve is known for its beaches, natural landscapes, bars and golf courses. And for its restaurants, hotels, monuments, and of course, for entertainment.
The offer of entertainment destination is diversified and includes events of public and private partners that invite you to enjoy emotions and traditions, sounds and regional flavors, that the Algarve Tourism organizes in this guide leaflet.
Discover here what’s happening in the Algarve region. 



Source: Algarve Tourism

2013/12/20

Portugal is one of the Best-Value Destinations for 2014 according to Rough Guides


The Rough Guides, one of the leading publisher of travel in the world, selected their 2014 Best-Value Destinations and Portugal is one of the chosen countries.  

For the Rough Guides, Portugal is:

"It’s a wonder more people don’t visit Portugal: the coast is almost one continuous beach, the big cities are lively and full of history, the wine is excellent and the mountains and rivers are as scenic as those in neighbouring Spain. Buses especially are cheap, and it’s an easy country to get around. Try Porto, centre of the port wine trade, for an affordable city break in 2014."

Things not to miss in Portugal:

1- Ericeira
Lisbon’s favourite beach retreat – and a noted surfers’ hangout.

2- Feira de Barcelos
The country’s liveliest and most colourful market shows that rural traditions are alive and well.

3- Museu Gulbenkian, Lisbon
The capital’s finest museum, and one of Europe’s greatest treasure chests of art and applied art.

4- Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga
 Portugal’s most photographed church, reached up a grand ornamental stairway.

5- Monsaraz
Many of the medieval houses in the fortified hilltop village of Monsaraz have been converted into atmospheric guesthouses.

6- Convento de Cristo, Tomar
Tomar’s extraordinary “Convent of Christ” is the former headquarters of the Knights Templar.

7 - Canal trip, Aveiro
Float through the canals and lagoons of fascinating Aveiro.

8- Évora
A golden-stoned

9- Batalha
The crowning glory of Manueline architecture, the “Battle Abbey” is one of Portugal‘s most triumphant buildings.

10 -Velha Universidade, Coimbra
 Portugal’s third-largest city boasts its oldest and most prestigious university.

11- Guimarães
The first capital of Portugal is a beguiling place of cobbled streets and historic buildings.

12- Sintra
The hilltop retreat near Lisbon is one of the most scenic in the country, surrounded by opulent palaces and country estates.

13 -Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto
Contemporary art in a wonderful building remodelled by Portugal’s leading architect, Álvaro Siza Vieira.

14 - Valença
Explore this superb fortified town, located on Portugal’s northern border with Spain.

15 - Castelo de Vide
Dazzling white houses, winding streets, cobbled squares and lush gardens add up to one of the country‘s most alluring small towns.

16 – Óbidos
Picture-book walled town that was once the traditional bridal gift of Portuguese kings.

17- Monte de Santa Luzia
There are superb views from the hilltop basilica over the northern resort of Viana do Castelo.

18 –Tibães
This barely visited monastery in the north is one of the oldest and most atmospheric buildings in the country.

19 -Parque Natural de Montesinho
Great walking in remote, unspoiled countryside dotted with traditional villages.

20 -Alcobaça

The sculpted tombs of Dom Pedro and Inês de Castro dominate this glorious twelfth-century Cistercian monastery.

21 – Conímbriga
See the vivid mosaics at the most important Roman site in Portugal.

22 -Porto’s riverfront
The historic riverside bairro of Ribeira is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

23- Pastéis de Belém
These delicious flaky custard tartlets have been made and served for over a century at the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém.

24- Bairro Alto, Lisbon
The capital’s big night out – touring the bars, clubs and restaurants of the funky Bairro Alto neighbourhood.

25 - Rio Douro valley
Take a train ride or boat trip from Peso da Régua up one of the loveliest river valleys in Portugal.

For more information please check the Rough Guides  website here.

Source: Rough Guides 

2013/12/17

Porto in the competition for European Best Destination 2014

The Porto City Council has been notified on 12 December by the European Consumers Choice, of the results of its pre-application for European Best Destination 2014: Porto is in the shortlist of 20 destinations selected to participate in the competition, which Porto has already won once, in 2012.

The choice of Porto as European Best Destination in 2012 has resulted in a strong promotion of the destination through the guides:
http://www.europeanconsumerschoice.org/travel/visit-porto-travel-guide/   

For three weeks, from 22 January to 12 February, travelers from all over the world can vote on their favorite destination among the 20 shortlisted to participate on the competition for European Best Destination 2014 at www.ebd2014.com.

The fact that Porto is once again on this prestige shortlist, reflects its notoriety, attractiveness and excellence as a tourism destination, as well as the dynamics of this major economic activity, the one with the most growth potential and one of the major contributors for national GDP.

The winner of the competition will be on the spotlight on Europe’s biggest tourism website - www.europeanbestdestinations.org - , and on the social networks of this non-profit organization, headquartered in Brussels, having as goal the development and promotion of European culture and tourism, of its diversity, richness and quality.

Porto counts on your vote :)

Portugal season’s greetings!


In 2014, follow your heart and visit Portugal!

Give free rein to your wishes and get ready for the trip. Welcoming you to Portugal will be a real pleasure for us. 

See our suggestions and choose what appeals you most - busy and active days, full of Adventure and High Energy, or calmer and more peaceful ones, filled with Romance or simply to Relax. Visit us at any time and be seduced by the charms of nature, the sun and the mild climate. Let yourself be pleasantly surprised!

We look forward to seeing you in 2014.

The Tourism of Portugal wishes you a Happy New Year!

2013/12/13

Sumol Nazaré Special Edition 2014

The 6th edition of the most expected Bodyboard championship in Portugal is coming and the dates to the waiting period and to the Special Trials are already known!

In January 2014, Praia do Norte, in Nazaré, Portugal, receives 24 of the best national and international bodyboard athletes, who every two years defy the perfect waves of the “Nazaré Canyon“.

The Sumol Nazaré Special Edition 2014 has a waiting period of almost a month – January 3 to 30 and will be approved by the Portuguese Surfing Federation and the Portuguese Bodyboard Association.


During this interval one day will be chosen to hold the event, according to the best forecasted tides and weather conditions.
This project aims to make known the quality and diversity of these waves and the potential of Nazaré as a unique spot to practice this kind of sport. In ten years of existence (translated into 5 editions held), the Sumol Nazaré Special Edition 2014 
attracted to the North Beach more than 50, national and international, top athletes and 15 thousand visitors, under a single event that happens in one day and have innovative molds in the sport’s scene.

In 2012, Pierre Louis Costes was the winner of the 5th edition of the SUMOL NAZARÉ SPECIAL EDITION, being the second and third positions won by the Portuguese António Cardoso and Tiago Moita Silva, respectively.

More information at:
-Site: www.specialedition.com.pt 

2013/12/11

Douro Valley is one of the destinations of Fodor's Go List 2014

According to Fodor´s Go List 2014, Douro Valley in Portugal is one of the top 25 trips to book right now!

Why?

"The most beautiful wine country in the world borders a wonderfully wild coastline

Why Go Now:
One of the world's oldest wine regions and a UNESCO world heritage site, the Douro Valley remains one of Europe's lesser-explored gems. But this may soon change. Recent awards for the country's wines, especially the affordable, deep, rich Douro reds and effervescent vinho verdes, have spurred a savvier hospitality industry all along the wine trail. Porto, Portugal's famed second city and the Douro Valley anchor, is at the ocean's edge, so a day at the beach is certainly not out of the question.
Insider Tip: No trip to this region is complete without a boat ride on the Douro River, whose curve after curve of terraced vineyards together form a World Heritage Site. The less-traveled Rota dos Vinhos Verdes (Green Wine Route) explores the young wines produced across the Minho.

When to Go:
It's best to visit the Douro Valley in summer when it's warm and the vines are bursting. Try your hand at harvesting in September"


Check here the Fodor's Go List 2014

More information about Douro Valley at:
http://www.visitportugal.com/Douro Valley
http://www.visitportugal.com/Port and Douro Wine Route
http://visitportoandnorth.travel/Douro


Source: Fodor´s

2013/12/06

Porto, is one of the 10 destinations on the rise in Europe according to TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice 2013

Porto’s cityscape is a who’s who of architecture, a mash-up of medieval cathedrals and iconic, futuristic edifices. 

The eponymous port wine originated here, on the banks of the Douro River. 

After staring dizzily at buildings, there’s much to explore: the astoundingly grand staircase and stained glass of the Lello & Irmao bookstore, colorful public sculptures and tile murals, the double-decker Mercado do Bolhao. The Crystal Palace Gardens are a serene, surreal retreat from it all.

See here the list from TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice 2013

Source: TripAdvisor

TAP voted the "Best Airline in Europe" by the North-American Global Traveler Magazine

TAP Portugal was voted the “Best Airline in Europe” by the Global Traveler magazine, USA, the leading specialized publication in the Tourism & Travel niche. 

Launched ten years ago, with the aim of acknowledging and naming the top in the travel industry, the Global Traveler Awards are one of the most relevant and coveted awards and mean a great deal to TAP, as the winners result from the GT Tested Reader Survey annually conducted by the magazine, asking frequent business and luxury travellers to evaluate and vote the best in a wide range of travel-related products. In the whole, this year’s survey covered as many as 17 categories, including world-wide airlines, hotels, loyalty programs and many other travel products.

For TAP, this GT Award not only recognizes and rewards the dedication and hard work that the company has consistently developed in recent years in the very competitive and demanding North-American market, but also highlights its top quality product as well as the great potential of its main hub in Lisbon, which is a strategic platform offering excellent air connections between North America and Europe.

The Global Traveler is a leader magazine in its sector, with a very large circulation worldwide. Its readers are frequent premium travellers averaging a considerable number of international and domestic round-trip flights a year. The 2013 GT Awards now announced resulted from the direct voting of more than 22,000 people who responded the survey from January 1 to August 31, 2013. This year’s winners will be honored and awarded at a cocktail reception to be held on December 10 at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, in Los Angeles, California.

Source: Tap Portugal

2013/12/05

Mediterranean Diet nominated World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO

The Mediterranean Diet was nominated, last December 4th, World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The recommendation was submitted by seven countries - Portugal, Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, and Morocco.
Intangible Cultural Heritage includes oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festivals, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.
According to a prepared statement by UNESCO, “The Mediterranean diet is a set of traditional practices, knowledge and skills passed on from generation to generation and providing a sense of belonging and continuity to the concerned communities.”
The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes primarily plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts, healthy fats, such as olive oil, eating fish and poultry and limiting red meat, reducing additional salt intake and drinking red wine in moderation.
Download the portuguese brochure here.
Source: UNESCO

Porto in the Top 14 of British Airways of destinations to visit in 2014

The Top 14 of British Airways of destinationsto visit in 2014, places Porto on the 10th position, ahead of other destinations.

For the British airline “The historic town ofPorto is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. Wine lovers have long enjoyed its charms and from March British Airways customers will be able to as well.” A three-night break in Porto,.”

The company offers a city short break of “three nights in Porto, with staying at the four star Mercure Porto Centro, including flights, starting from £299 per person in June”.

An unmissable oPORTOnity to come to the OptimusPrimavera Sound, to the Serralves em Festa and to live the most amusing and authentic festival you may ever experience, the São João do Porto!

2013/12/04

Lisbon will stage its first European Cup final since 1967 at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on Saturday 24 May

Estádio da Luz ©SL Benfica
The Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica will stage the 2014 UEFA Champions League final on Saturday 24 May.

Known across the world as the Estádio da Luz, the home of SL Benfica was formally inaugurated in 2003 in time to host several matches – including the final – of UEFA EURO 2004. The arena stands on the site of the original Estádio da Luz, which opened in 1954 and held the final of the 1992 European Cup Winners' Cup, where SV Werder Bremen beat AS Monaco FC 2-0.

The Portuguese capital has witnessed just one previous European Champion Clubs' Cup final, back in 1967 when Celtic FC's 'Lisbon Lions' overcame FC Internazionale Milano 2-1 at the Estádio Nacional. Meanwhile, the Estádio José Alvalade, home of Benfica's local rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal, staged the 2004/05 UEFA Cup final, with the host team losing 3-1 to PFC CSKA Moskva.

Benfica will hope to have the chance of competing in the 2014 final at their own ground, with the club boasting an impressive European pedigree. Founded in 1904, they have won a record 32 Portuguese titles and 24 Portuguese Cups, and lifted the Champion Clubs' Cup in successive seasons, 1960/61 and 1961/62. They have also finished runners-up in UEFA's top club competition five times.

Source: UEFA

2013/12/03

Hotel The Vine awarded World’s Leading Design Hotel 2013 by World Travel Awards Association

In the year that celebrates the 20th anniversary , the World Travel Awards, international distinction created worldwide to recognize and reward excellence in the tourism industry in the aspects of distribution , accommodation and transportation , elects The Vine Hotel among the best worldwide in the category of Hotel Design .

Already awarded the distinction of Europe's Leading Design Hotel in August this year, The Vine receives now this worldwide recognition.

But our country has more reasons to celebrate with pride this fantastic event as in total has received three awards: Portugal as "World 's Leading Golf Destination", Hotel Vila Joya in Algarve as "World 's Leading Boutique Resort " and Hotel The Vine in Madeira as " World 's Leading Design Hotel " .

Successively appointed since 2009 , Hotel The Vine was for the 4th consecutive time since its opening in late 2008, candidate in two categories : " Europe's Leading Design Hotel " and " Portugal 's Leading Boutique Hotel " .

The dispute of this prestigious trophy is quite fierce among the top design hotels worldwide and receive this award is a great honor not only for The Vine but also for Portugal as a tourist destination reference and especially for Madeira, a proven quality destination.
Madeira that has been awarded the title of “Europe’s Leading Island Destination” in August, saw the World’s distinction been granted to The Maldives this year.

The WTA are divided into ten global regions with the ceremonies of each division taking place throughout the year and culminating in the final event which this year was held in Doha in Qatar on the evening of 30 November.

For hotel unit spokesperson for this distinction "is an honor and a pride, not only for The Vine but also for Madeira as a reference tourist destination and also for our country"

About Hotel The Vine:
Like a fine wine, The Vine is a hotel with soul and a concept.
Intense, sophisticated, luxurious, with a touch of simplicity and discretion.
Take a dip in the rooftop pool of 360⁰, enjoy a Vinetherapy session at The Spa or savor a gourmet dinner overlooking the city in the UVA restaurant are some of the simple pleasures that will make your stay memorable at this hotel.
The Vine has 79 rooms spread over 4 floors, each of which celebrates the variations of the vineyard throughout the four seasons of the year through a unique decor inspired by the world of wine and grapes, with the signing of the prestigious and award winning designer Nini Andrade Silva.
The warm tones of summer to muted grays of winter, whatever floor you choose here will always feel good.
The spacious rooms and suites of generous proportions reflect the unique environment of The Vine that, despite its size and sophistication, offers guests a service unexpectedly cool and relaxed but highly personalized and focused primarily on meeting all of your needs.


For more information, please contact:
Hotel The Vine
Rua dos Aranhas, Nº 27 – A
9000-044 Funchal
Portugal
General phone: 291 009 000
Reservations: 00 351 291 009 000
Group/Events Sales: 291009000
General email: front.office@hotelthevine.com
Reservations: reservations@hotelthevine.com
General manager: management@hotelthevine.com
Sales manager: sales@hotelthevine.com
Website: www.hotelthevine.com

2013/12/02

Portugal won 5 World Travel Awards

Great news for Portugal! 

In the 2013 World Travel Awards Grand Final hosted last Saturday (30th November 2013), Portugal won 5 World Travel Awards. The winners are:



- World's Leading Golf Destination: Portugal
- World's Leading Design Hotel: The Vine Hotel (Madeira)
- World's Leading Conservation Company: Parques de Sintra - Monte da Lua Pena | Monserrate | Capuchos | Mouros  
- World's Leading Luxury Leisure Resort & Spa: Conrad Algarve 
- World's Leading Boutique Resort:  Vila Joya (Algarve)
Congratulations to all the winners! 

2013/11/29

The Gastronomy & Wines of Porto and the North of Portugal

Land of sea, plains and mountains, Porto and the North of Portugal’s gastronomy is as diverse as the landscape where its ingredients are produced and tasted. 

Known for its hospitality, the region is generous when it is time to provide a good table service. And it has a wide variety of dishes (of fish, sea food, meat or regional and convent-made confectionery), cooked with local ingredients. With four demarcated wine regions, the region also supplies a wine for each occasion. 

In the many wines of excellent quality that are produced here, there is one that is known all around the world – the Port Wine, produced in the world's oldest demarcated region – but there are others waiting to be tasted, such as the reds and whites of Douro and the greens of the Minho Region.

More about Gastronomy &Wines in Porto and the North of Portugal here

Source: ARPT Porto and the North

Tap with new flights to Tangiers and Boavista

TAP has more than tripled the scale of its operations in Africa over the last 10 years, rising from a total of 22 flights per week to that continent in 2003 to 71 from last October with the launch of two new destinations: Tangiers in Morocco and Boavista in Cape Verde.

The number of African destinations served by TAP has risen from seven in 2003 to 15. From carrying 269,000 passengers in 2003, the company grew to carry 675,000 in 2012.

Since last October TAP is offering twice weekly flights to the island of Boavista in Cape Verde and five flights per week to the Moroccan city of Tangiers.

Tangiers will join Casablanca and Marrakesh as Moroccan destination to which TAP flies. With the opening of this route, and with the planned increase in capacity to Casablanca, the total number of seats TAP will offer each week between Portugal and Morocco will increase by 50 per cent.

Boavista is the new destination in Cape Verde, adding to TAP’s existing flights to Sal, Praia and Sao Vicente. With the introduction of the twice weekly flights to Boavista, TAP will offer a total of 15 flights to the country, rising to 17 in the high season. After Angola, Cape Verde is TAP’s busiest African destination.


Source: Tap Portugal

2013/11/25

Madeira’s levadas

About 1,500km of levadas (irrigation channels) to explore, discovering breathtaking landscapes: a unique encounter with nature.

Alongside its natural beauty, Madeira has another no less surprising beauty to offer: its great network of irrigation channels - the Levadas.


These waterways are a living reminder of the titanic effort of past generations to distribute the abundant water that flows from springs at the top of the mountains amongst the slopes and valleys. They cover several protected areas including, most importantly, the Madeira Natural Park and the Funchal Ecological Park.

Most of the trails are quite accessible, but there are varying degrees of difficulty, so you are advised to consult professionals in the field and specific publications on the subject, and use suitable equipment.

Apart from the footpaths they provide, the levadas are sometimes the only means of access to certain places so isolated that they certainly deserve a visit. Explore some of these levadas to discover the soul of the island, away from the beaten track.

These magnificent walks give a glimpse of the breathtaking landscapes in a perfect encounter with nature. From the deep blue of the sea to the green of the high mountains, the excitement of going from sea level to 1862 metres is guaranteed!

Between the levadas and the footpaths you can enjoy the best panoramas that the exuberant nature of Madeira provides. A real tonic for the routine of everyday life!

More information at:
-http://www.visitmadeira.pt/Walks
http://www.visitportugal.com/Madeira

2013/11/22

MadeiraDig 2013: 6th to 9th December in Calheta, Madeira Islands

The Municipality of Calheta is hosting the International Festival of Digital Arts - “MadeiraDig”, a unique cultural event in area of digital arts, namely experimental electronic music, cinema and digital video, performances and interactive installations.

The MadeiraDig festival programme presents several DJs and artists of the global musical and audiovisual scene, such as Pharmakon (US), Tarik Barri (NL), William Basinski (US), Emptyset (UK), Grouper (US), Most People Have Been Trained to Be Bored (PT), Pierce Warnecke (US), Marcus Fjellström (SE) and Clara Hill (D), among others.

Established in 2004, MadeiraDig was promoted with the purpose of alluring national and international artists from various areas to Madeira and to encourage the creativity of Madeira artists.

More information may be obtained at www.madeiradig.com

Source: Turismo da Madeira

Alentejo is one of the National Geographic Best Trips for 2014

National Geographic Traveler presents the New Year's must-see places and Alentejo region was one of the chosen destination for 2014.


The travel writer & blogger Anja Mutić that wrote the article for National Geographic says that "Lying right below the country’s heart, Alentejo has served as Portugal’s breadbasket and seduces with its slow pace, a sense of modern times in half step. Look no further than the recently opened museum in the village of Belver, devoted to the tradition of artisanal soapmaking. Or the newly launched Marble Route, which takes visitors into quarries and underground galleries, celebrating the prized local material. Also now taking reservations: Évora’s Ecorkhotel, coated in that Alentejo staple, cork

And then look up, at the night skies. Above Lake Alqueva, the heavens remain unmarred by light pollution, prompting the UNESCO-supported Starlight Foundation to designate Alqueva the world’s first Starlight Tourism Destination".


You can read the full article here and discover the several tips that 
Anja Mutić gives about the Alentejo region.




More information about the Alentejo at:
www.visitalentejo.pt

www.visitportugal.com/alentejo
www.darkskyalqueva.com


Source: National Geographic 

2013/11/21

Portugal Michelin Stars 2014

Yesterday evening Michelin announced the Michelin stars and Bib Gourmands 2014 for Spain and Portugal. The guide will go on sale today.

Portugal gained one more two stars restaurant, "The Ocean" in Armação de pêra, Algarve, and finished the list with a total of twelve Michelin stars, one more than last year. The Eleven in Lisbon, regained his Michelin Star and the 
L'And Vineyards in Alentejo, is the new entry in this list. 

The MICHELIN guide Spain & Portugal 2014 also lists 253 Bib Gourmand restaurants that offer excellent value for money. 
Whether they are the latest buzz or quaint bistros, offering traditional or inventive cooking, local specialties or world cuisine, all serve a three-course meal at moderate prices (no €30 in Portugal), while respecting the quality criteria of the MICHELIN guide.


Check here the full list of results for Portugal Michelin Stars 2014:

**
- Ocean (Armação de Pêra)
- Vila Joya (Albufeira)


*
- Belcanto (Lisbon)
- Casa da Calçada (Amarante)
- Eleven (Lisbon) - regaining the star 
- Feitoria (Lisbon)
- Fortaleza do Guincho (Cascais)
- Henrique Leis (Almancil)
- Il Gallo d’Oro (Funchal)
- L'And Vineyards (Montemor-o-Novo) – new
- Willie’s (Vilamoura)
- Yeatman (Vila Nova de Gaia)

Congratulations to all the 12 winners! 

+ info: 

Source: Michelin

2013/11/15

New scuba diving website from the Azores

Azores tourism created a new website dedicated to scuba diving in this amazing Archipelago: http://dive.visitazores.com/



Diving in the Azores

Lying in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores Archipelago features nine islands and a sea of emotions that are waiting to be discovered. The most remote islands of the North Atlantic are just a few hours away from mainland Europe and North America, offering a huge variety of dive sites and a rich and abundant marine life. From diving with the world’s largest fish (whale shark) in crystalline waters to finding yourself surrounded by dozens of graceful devil rays and agile blue sharks, everything is possible in this oasis of marine life.

The archipelago’s location in the North Atlantic Ocean, in a transition zone between the nutrient-rich currents from the north and the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, turns this group of islands into a true sanctuary for a large and varied number of marine species. Featuring a rich and unique marine biodiversity, the Azorean waters host five species of sea turtles, over 24 different species of cetaceans, and about 600 species of fish, including large schools of pelagic fish, several species of sharks, graceful manta and devil rays, and friendly dusky groupers.

Despite the Azores being considered one of the world’s top locations for whale watching and the sperm whale being the region’s most iconic image, there is an increasing number of divers who venture themselves down here and find out that this group of islands, which features mild waters with an amazing visibility, hides some of the best underwater experiences in Europe and in the world. Above water, the volcanic landscapes of the archipelago – green hillsides cut out by cliffs, fajãs (flat, low-lying strips of land by the sea), lakes and waterfalls where tranquillity, harmony, peace and quietness reign supreme – turn a visit to these islands, which National Geographic Traveler considered one of the best summer destinations in 2011, into a unique experience.

You can dive on all the islands of the archipelago, which offer experiences as diverse as coastal dives, wreck dives, cave diving, diving with sharks, and the most intense diving experience that the Azores have to offer – diving in remote seamounts, where you will often find dozens of devil rays and large schools of pelagic fish. Under water, the islands are as different as on land, with whale sharks on an island and blue sharks on another, or with a World War II shipwreck on an island and the remains of 15th and 16th century shipwrecks on another. Coastal dives have, however, some elements in common. Witnesses of the volcanic origin of the archipelago, the Azores Islands feature a coastline with a very diverse seafloor relief, giving the dive sites an added geological interest with impressive arches formed by ancient lava flows and deep caves, often formed by several interconnecting chambers.

Coastal marine life is characterised by the presence of friendly dusky groupers, curious schools of grey triggerfish, as well as several species of small, colourful nudibranchs, octopuses and moray eels that hide between rocks. Small fish give colour to the black rock seafloor, such as the Mediterranean rainbow wrasse, the ornate wrasse, the Azores chromis, the Mediterranean parrotfish and many others. At greater depths, the red scorpionfish, the barred hogfish and reef fish can be found often along large stretches of black coral. But don’t be distracted by the species that roam the seafloor, because the water column is often filled by schools of yellowmouth barracudas, Almaco jacks, white trevallies and, for the more fortunate, a majestic devil ray, turtle or ocean sunfish. However, the seamounts far from the coast are undoubtedly the best places to spot large pelagic fishes, with schools of sometimes thousands of beautiful, large Almaco jacks patrolling the seafloor and hundreds of large yellowmouth barracudas still in the water column observing the divers. It is in this Atlantic depth that the Azores stand out and become a unique destination for diving.

Thanks to the volcanic origin of islands, which lie along the chain of submarine volcanoes of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, there are underwater elevations in the Azores sea that rise from the great depths of the ocean floor (sometimes greater than 1,000 metres) up until just a few metres from the surface; these elevations are called seamounts. Some of them once were islands that were swallowed by the sea, and many others are either too far from the islands or too deep to be visited. But there are seamounts that can be reached by divers, including the Princess Alice Bank, the Dom João de Castro Bank, the Formigas Islets, and the Dollabarat Reef. They feature a unique variety of marine ecosystems ranging from the abundant number of the most common species of the Azorean seafloor to large schools of pelagic fish, dozens of graceful devil rays and even some species of cetaceans.

Dive in the Azores and discover a sea of emotions!

Download the brochure here.

Source: Azores Tourism

The Algarve: Golf Destination of the year 2014

The Algarve was considered by IAGTO the Golf Destination of the year 2014.



The world-class holiday region of the Algarve has scooped the prestigious title of International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) European Golf Destination of the Year 2014 - the pinnacle of golf tourism awards.
The award was announced at the IAGTO Awards gala dinner, last November 14th, to correspond with the final day of the renowned International Golf Travel Market.
With six courses in the recently released prestigious Golf World Top 100 Courses in Continental Europe, the Algarve continues to provide a heady mix of world-class layouts and value for money - a blend which was, no doubt, in the minds of more than 500 golf tour operators who voted in the awards.
Desidério Silva, president of the Algarve Tourism Association, said: "I'm very proud to accept this award which is for everybody working within the golf tourism industry in the Algarve. At a time when people have to keep a tighter rein on their finances than at any time in living memory, the fact we can still attract golfers in the number we have speaks eloquently for the product and the people who deliver it.
"We are fortunate that, in the Algarve, we have some of the very best golf courses in Europe, some outstanding sun-soaked coastline and numerous excellent hotels and resorts of all sizes - but even if all the ingredients are present it still needs highly trained and hard-working people to serve it up correctly and achieve high levels of customer satisfaction. "And that's what the people who work in the Algarve have done, not just this year, but in previous years and in many years to come. 
"We should also show our appreciation to the tour operators who work so hard to bring people to the region and thank them for their faith in the Algarve. I thank them all for their marvellous effort and everybody for their votes and their support. We hope to welcome you to our wonderful region again very soon." 
It is yet another award for the world-class golf product available on the Algarve, which can lay claim to almost 40 courses within its boundaries. This year also witnessed a dramatic Portugal Masters victory for England's David Lynn at Oceânico Victoria, on the European Tour, and the 50th anniversary of the ever-popular Vale do Lobo resort in August, highlighting the true extent of the Algarve's golf offering - suitable for top professional to holiday golfer.
Golf World's recent Top 100 supplement demonstrated that ably with a very impressive showing for a region that covers just more than 2,000m2. That becomes all the more impressive when you consider that a further eight courses featured in the magazine's list of The Next 100 top European courses.
The Algarve says it is "Europe's most famous secret" - yet it seems that word is continuing to spread.

More information at:

www.algarvepromotion.pt/golf
www.algarvepromotion.pt
www.visitalgarve.pt
www.facebook.com/Algarve-europes-most-famous-secret
www.witter.com/atalgarve
www.youtube.com/algarvepromotion
www.iagto.com
About IAGTO:
The Golf Destination and Golf Resort awards are voted for by IAGTO’s specialist golf tour operator members that now number 516 from 62 different countries. Each was asked to vote for what they considered to be the best-performing golf resorts of the year. They considered these criteria: customer satisfaction; quality of golf courses and accommodation; value for money; support from suppliers, tourist boards & airlines; professional conduct of suppliers; and accessibility to tee times.
IAGTO is the global trade organisation for the golf tourism industry, comprising more than 2100 companies in 95 countries. IAGTO operators control over 85% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide and their combined annual turnover exceeds €1.5 billion. In 2012 they made the golf holiday arrangements for over 1.6 million golfers.