Portugal elected top country to visit in 2014

Portugal has been elected for the second time the number one country to travel to in 2014 by the Spanish edition of the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler magazine, one of the most important travel publications available in Spain.

According to the magazine this award was given due the combination of Portugal´s culture, cuisine, fine wines, beaches, golf courses, history and especially for the Portuguese hosts, described as an affable, open and very sincere people.

The award was received by João Cotrim Figueiredo ,President  of Turismo de Portugal.

Condé Nast Traveler Awards 2014 have distinguished hotels, resorts, spas, cities, transports and technologic products, fashion and beauty accessories associated with travel and tourism, in a total of 23 categories.


Azores Trail Run 2014

The Azores Running Trail (ATR) is an initiative of the Blue Island Athletics Independent Club and will progress inside the areas of Faial Natural Park – elected as a European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) by the European Commission and the only one in Portugal awarded with this classification. 

The event will take place on the 24th of May, the European Day of Parks, and will be divided in two competitions, the 10 Volcanos Trail and the Faial´s Coast to Coast Ultra Trail.

10 Volcanos Trail 
As the name suggests, this trail starts at onof the largest and most spectacular calderas on the planet and crosses, through 20km, the 10 most important volcanoes of the fissural alignment of the Capelo Peninsula. Biodiversity and geodiversity are omnipresent throughout this trail and the particularly outstanding landscapes allow us to discover an important part of the Azorean endemic flora in its natural state. This high difficulty trail follows the most recent volcanoes of Faial and reaches the most recent territory of Europe, the Capelinhos Volcano, a true lunar scenario, where it is possible to see tuft, volcanic bombs and ash formed only 57 years ago, ending at Porto Comprido – the biggest and most important whaling station of Azores, between 1940 and 1957.

 Faial´s Coast to Coast Ultra Trail

The Coast to Coast Trail also starts near an old port – Porto da Boca da Ribeira, in Ribeirinha. This high difficulty trail of 52km transports us to times past, when the inhabitants of Faial used canadas (typical dirt roads) to carry goods from one village to another, by their own means or with the help of animals. Passing by an old lighthouse, destroyed during the strong seism of 1998, we are reminded of the islands’ volcanic nature and of its people. A fair part of the trail develops through the biggest and most spectacular graben of the archipelago, a big portion of land that collapsed between two tectonic faults. The trail ends at the central caldera, the biggest and most important volcano of the island, reaching the Ten Volcanos Trail.

These 52km take us to a journey in geological and historical times, crossing the island of Faial from coast to coast, following its formation, from East to the West. It starts in an 800 thousand years old territory, passes through a central area of 450 thousand years old and ends in one of the most important geological places in the world, the sleeping Capelinhos Volcano.

Check the Program here
More information at:

Source: Azores Running Trail


Oviedo is TAP’s 11th new destination in 2014

Portuguese airline strengthens its market lead in the Iberian Peninsula. 

TAP has announced the eleventh new route it is to launch in 2014. It will connect Lisbon and Oviedo from 1 July, and enable the Portuguese airline to strengthen its leadership in carrying passengers between the two Iberian countries.

The launch of the Oviedo service has been made possible because of an important change to the fleet operated by PGA — Portugália Airlines, with the replacement of two 19-seater Beechcraft 1900-D aircraft with two modern 46-seater ATR 42-600s, which also have a longer range.

There are many advantages to using the new ATR aircraft, including being able to improve the in-flight service and consequently customer satisfaction, greater reliability, seats that are more comfortable, lower noise levels, faster turnarounds, improved cost effectiveness, the ability to operate longer flights with greater options for use, lower fuel consumption per passenger per kilometre and lower CO2 emissions.

TAP routes currently using Beechcraft aircraft will in the future be served by the ATRs, representing a large increase in the number of seats on offer. This could result in an increase in the number of seats available to other destinations operated by the company.
Oviedo will become the eighth Spanish city with direct TAP flights, joining Madrid and Barcelona (which have direct flights from Lisbon, Porto and Funchal), Seville, La Coruña, Bilbao, Malaga and Valencia.

In 2013 TAP carried 944,000 passengers between Portugal and Spain, a 6% increase on 2012. With the increase in the number of seats announced and with this new route, the Portuguese company is getting ready to be the first to carry one million passengers between destinations on the Iberian Peninsula.

Source: Tap Portugal 

Madeira Islands Open: 8-10 May 2014

Madeira Islands Open_Clube-Golfe Santo da Serra
The Madeira Islands Golf Open, which is part of the main PGA European Tour, is held in May at Santo da Serra Golfe club.

Santo da Serra Golf Club is is rated as one of the most spectacular golf courses in Europe, with staggering views from the mountains to the sea below.

The course was built in 1937 and was redesigned by Robert Trent Jones in 1991. It is located in Santo da Serra not far from Funchal and less than 15 minutes from Madeira International Airport.

With 27 holes available for play in 1998 all characterised by generous fairways, tight undulating greens and a choice of tee positions to suite all abilities. 

The Madeira Island Golf Open is a European calendar event, which every year attracts the best golfers to fight for victory hole by hole. According to the rules, the last two days of each tournament are played only by the 70 best contestants from the first two days.

If you are a golfer, don’t miss the chance of visiting the Madeira Islands that week and seeing for yourself the three excellent golf courses that Madeira and Porto Santo islands have to offer.

More information at:

Between 25-27 of April don't miss in Fronteira, the CEI Atoleiros – International Endurance Event

In April, the town of Fronteira, in Alentejo region, holds the CEI Atoleiros, an Endurance event named in honour of the historic battle that took place here in 1384.

This event involves a series of national and international equestrian endurance tests, of which the highlight is the 2 star CEI that runs for 120km. The event, which takes place on Sunday 27 April, incorporates the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, and will be attended by participants from every continent. 

This festival also includes three other races in Europe, to be held in Italy, France and Slovakia, and is sponsored by HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

The senior and junior National Portuguese Endurance Championships take place at the same time, as well as the rating for the 7th edition of the World Equestrian Games to be held in France from 24 August to 7 September.

More information at:


Easter mini-holidays in Portugal

©Turismo do Alentejo
Make the most of the Easter mini-holidays and discover Portugal with the whole family together!

Portugal has everything you need to make this a great trip: there’s a wide variety of tours available, entertainment to suit all ages, a mild climate and a country where you can feel entirely safe. 

Discover how we celebrate Easter in Portugal by visiting Porto and the North for the Holy Week festivities in the city of Braga, or travel south and appreciate the beauty of the Festivity of the Sovereign Mother and Festivity of the Flowered Torches in the Algarve

If you prefer something more active, travel to the Alentejo region and discover the various itineraries and routes on offer. Alternatively, visit Lisbon’s Parque das Nações that offers fun for the whole family. 

Another relaxing Easter break option is a trip to the Slate Villages, or one of the magnificent “Quintas da Madeira” country estates or a rural tourism house in the Azores… all offering the finesse and tradition of Portuguese hospitality

We urge you to accept our invitation and let yourself be seduced by the Spring in Portugal. 


Easter in the Algarve: Season of Folares, almonds and processions

Folar da Páscoa ©Turismo do Algarve
On Easter Sunday, people eat lamb, beans flavoured with mint, and homemade sausages, followed by folar (traditional Easter bread) and almonds.  Philharmonic music bands accompany the religious processions, and balconies and windows are decorated with colourful quilts.
The Good Friday procession, commemorating the burial of Jesus, takes place at night.  On Easter Sunday, there is the Procession to the Risen Christ.  The most important Easter processions are the Mãe Soberana (Sovereign Mother) celebration in Loulé and the Festa das Tochas Floridas, (Flower Torch Festival) in São Brás de Alportel.
In Loulé, the Easter Sunday celebrations start with Festa Pequena (Small Feast) in which the statue of the Pieta on its litter is brought down from the Hermitage of Our Lady of the Pieta, to the Church of St Francis, where it stays for two weeks.  The Festa Grande (Big Feast) culminates with the procession of the Pieta back up the steep slope to the Hermitage with the statue borne on the shoulders of men running up the slope.
In São Brás de Alportel, on Easter Sunday, men holding torches decorated with branches of lavender, rosemary, and country flowers form lines in a procession marking the Resurrection of Christ in a celebration linking the religious and the secular.

Lisbon is one of the "Travelers' choice: World's top 25 destinations" by TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor's sixth annual Travelers' Choice awards were chosen once again based on the quality and quantity of TripAdvisor users' reviews
and ratings over the past 12 months.

This year, at number 23, Lisbon breaks into the top 25 of the Global Destinations of 2014.
"The museums of Lisbon celebrate the rich history and culture of this Portuguese capital city. The Maritime Museum is perfect for kids (and grown-ups!) who adore all things nautical, while the Casa-Museu Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves is a hidden gem of colorful artwork. To fully appreciate the city’s dramatic stone architecture you can take a guided walking tour, or customize your own tour, making sure to visit the Padrao dos Descobrimentos, the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, and the UNESCO World Heritage site the Torre de Belem." 

More information about the Travelers' Choice awards here.

For more tips about Lisbon, check the following links: Region
- Lisbon Brochure
- Lisbon City Breaks Brochure


Jet2 starts flying from East Midlands to Madeira

Jet2 will start flying from East Midlands to Madeira on April 8th, 2014. 

Later on this IATA Summer of 2014, Jet2 will start operations from Glasgow and Newcastle. Madeira Airport will be connected to five of Jet2 major bases: Manchester, Leeds, East Midlands, Glasgow and Manchester.

Flights from Glasgow start on May 26th, with one weekly frequency at Mondays. On the other hand, flights from Newcastle start on July the 4th, once a week, every Friday.Tickets are on sale at

These new operations from East Midlands, Glasgow and Newcastle represent more than 22 thousand seats from the UK market to Madeira and may reflect on the arrival of 9.600 additional tourists this Summer.

The UK is the second largest source market to Madeira, 441.328 passengers were registered in 2013, a market share of 18,6% on Madeira Airport. Flying toMadeira since 2010, Jet2 has a fleet of 50 aircrafts and serves over 50 destinations, from its home bases in the UK.

Jet2 flew over 42 thousand passengers to Madeira in 2013, from Manchester and Leeds.
“Jet2 traffic has been growing substantially at Madeira Airport, not only with the increase of number of seats but also launching new routes to regional airports in the UK. This combines with our strategy to consolidate an important market and stimulate demand from different market segments like youth and families.”, said Duarte Ferreira, Madeira Airports Director.
Steve Heapy, Chief Executive of said: "We're delighted to be launching our first flights between Funchal and East Midlands today. Our low fares, industry leading baggage allowance and famous friendly service will be welcomed by our loyal customers at both ends of the route."

These operations result from a joint effort to promote Madeira in the UK, supported by Madeira Promotion Bureau and Madeira Airports.

Kátia Carvalho, Executive Director of Madeira Promotion Bureau explains: “The work that Madeira Promotion Bureau and Madeira Airports have been done in the past years has been producing positive results. Jet2’s growth is a good example of an airline that has been growing steadily and has been increasing the market share of the UK.”

To celebrate the arrival of the first flight, Madeira Airports will be hosting a welcome reception, offering flowers and Madeira Wine to the passengers.

Source: ANA Aeroportos de Portugal

Sweet Desserts

Aveiro_Ovos Moles_R.T. Rota da Luz
Barrigas de freiras’ (Nuns’ Bellies), the sweet yolk ‘ovos-moles’, ‘dons rodrigos’ and Santa Clara pastries are heavenly sweets certain to win you over. And, these celestial delights keep on coming. 

What about the famous Belém pastries, whose recipe remains a closely guarded secret, or the ‘Abade de Priscos Pudim’, a 14th century legacy from one of the best Portuguese cooks, or the ‘toucinho-do-céu’ (lard-from-heaven), prodigious in its spices!

The convents would enter into great rivalries to see which could produce the best sweets and desserts with results best described as divine!

The ‘Sericaia de Elvas’, based on a recipe brought back by a 16th century Portuguese governor of India or the Madeira sugarcane cake, a wonderful island invention that combined cane with European spices, are just a couple of other examples of the Portuguese taste for all that is good and sweet.


A Gaiola Dourada (The Gilded Cage) at Museum of Modern Art in New York City

Arte Institute is pleased to present the screening of the movie "The Gilded Cage" at Museum of Modern Art in New York City on April 12 at 4 p.m. Director Ruben Alves and actors Rita Blanco and Joaquim de Almeida will be attending.

The film is a comedy based on Portuguese emigration to France, was the most viewed film in theaters in Portugal in 2013. Ruben Alves won an audience Award at the European Awards Cinema. The film stars Rita Blanco and Joaquim de Almeida.

The screening in one of the most respected museums of modern art in the world is an initiative of the Art Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes Portuguese culture and art. The project is also supported by the Camões Institute for Cooperation and Language.

Plot: Maria (Rita Blanco) and José (Joaquim de Almeida) emigrated from Portugal to France 30 years ago. Ever since, they have lived in modest lodgings at the street level of a chic apartment building in Paris, raising their now adult daughter and teenage son. They are universally liked around the community: Maria is the building concierge, always available, even on her day off, maintaining the high standards the inhabitants depend on. José, a building site foreman, is equally as indispensable to his boss (though both men are unaware that their son and daughter are secretly engaged). When José learns he has inherited the family winery and the couple's dream of returning to Portugal is now possible, they are elated but struggle with how to tell those around them. However, word of the big news spreads anyway, and soon their family, neighbors, friends and employers are scrambling behind the scenes to find ways to prevent them from leaving. Alves warm-hearted, cross-cultural comedy features a terrific ensemble cast, spot-on comic timing and a thoroughly appealing central couple, whose dilemmas are portrayed with great tenderness and affection. Enthusiastically embraced by audiences upon release in April this year, THE GILDED CAGE became the sleeper box office hit of the French spring, selling over 1.2 million tickets in less than five weeks.

The Arte Institute is a non-profit organization that promotes culture and showcases art from Portugal. It is a space that offers a creative environment for Portuguese artists in the field of art, literature, music, dance and film.