Why Go Now: Portugal

Gone are the days when Portugal was the continent’s unsung destination. Europe’s coolest country—young, fun, energetic and vibrant—is emerging into the spotlight. With a rich, centuries-long history, extraordinary hospitality and an emerging sector of high-end hotels, restaurants and shops, Portugal—whose name seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue—is just hitting its stride. Here are ten reasons why Portugal should be on your destination wish-list.

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1. The weather and variety of landscapes ensure that a visit to Portugal is sunny, interesting and active.
Lisbon, with its steep hills, yellow trams and blue-and-white tiles, is a vibrant treat for the eyes. The wine country to the north is lush and serene. The coastlines are rugged and dramatic. Porto brims with soulful old-world charm. Outside the cities are expansive olive orchards, farms and national parks ideal for hiking. Portugal contains a mix of terrains that offer panoramic vistas and accommodate myriad activities and excursions. Plus, thanks to its location on the southeastern edge of Europe, temperatures rarely drop much below 60º Fahrenheit, and the days are reliably sunny. Lisbon, in fact, has been named one of the top five sunniest cities on the continent.

2. Independent travelers can tour the country easily and pleasantly by car.
Portugal is compact, with no two destinations more than a half-day drive from each other. Taking to the road yourself allows you to turn off at will to visit little towns where life is lived much as it was decades or even centuries ago. Roman roads, bridges and aqueducts, as well as monasteries, convents, palaces and manor houses, are among the many antique engineering and architectural treasures you’ll stumble upon while navigating the narrow roads. Some of our favorite stops between Lisbon and the Douro Valley include the charming villages of Óbidos, Tomar and Coimbra.

– Amelia Osborne Scott on April 26, 2019

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