Portugal has been mentioned as a leading destination for vacation in many articles and placed in the top of various rankings. This year, the World Travel Awards distinguished the country with several awards in different sections.
Photo credits: Bengt Nyman
Portugal conquering hearts
2018 is definitely the year of Portugal as an unmissable touristic place. World Travel Awards awarded Lisbon as Europe’s Leading City Destination 2018 and Portugal as Europe’s Leading Destination 2018.
Also, it is the third time in a row that Lisbon receives the award of Europe’s Leading Cruise Port 2018 and many Portuguese resorts and hotels conquered a prize in World Travel Awards this year. Regarding places hidden in the countryside, Madeira Islands were awarded as Europe’s Leading Island Destination 2018 and Passadiços do Paiva (Arouca UNESCO Global Geopark) as Europe’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction 2018.
Lisbon: the chosen place for a visit and for the stay
Lisbon has been in the top of the last rankings as a city break for tourists. The Telegraph explains the main reasons why Lisbon is such a desired destination, considering its restaurants, gastronomy, architecture, street art and closeness to the beach. There are other curious facts about the city: it is one of the world’s oldest ones, it is marked by Portugal’s role in the Age of Discovery and it gets more sun than anywhere else in Europe.
However, Lisbon is just not a city for a quick visit. Very recently it became the home of some celebrities: Monica Belluci, Michael Fassbender and Christin Louboutin bought their apartments in the typical neighbourhood of Alfama while Madonna is in the city’s spotlight because of her struggle to buy her ideal Portuguese house.
What really matters when moving abroad
The living cost, the sun and the quality of life are surely crucial factors that bring so many foreigners to Portugal. Nevertheless, when choosing this country to visit or to settle, there are two essential factors that strongly influence this decision: it is a safe destination and it has one of the few good healthcare systems in the world, as stated by the World Health Organization’s Director-General.
Portugal is one of the biggest winners in the latest report from InterNations, an international expat community, that counted on the input of 12 500 expats.
According to the 2017 “Expat Insider Report”, Portugal is definitely a top choice among expats. The climate, the people, the culture, leisure possibilities, the easiness to settle in and safety are some of the most valued aspects.
Portugal is definitely seen as a welcoming country: the country comes first in the rankings for “friendliness”, “feeling welcome, feeling at home in the local culture”, “easiness to settle down” and “easiness to get used to the local culture”.
All these granted this country the first place on the overall ranking for quality of life. Expats are satisfied and live happily in Portugal. The report claims only 4% expressed any dissatisfaction. One of the participants in the survey claimed: “This is a gem of a country hidden in plain sight”.
Portugal is also included on the top ten for “Health and Wellbeing”, a category that analyses both healthcare and the quality of the environment, describing the healthcare performance above average, both for quality and affordability.
Lisbon has become very attractive for foreigners looking to run their businesses or just resettle. The Guardian explores examples of the city’s recovery after the economic crisis.
According to this article by the Guardian, Lisbon is a city “of old-fashioned dignity, of arcades and ocean breezes, of the yellow, timber-lined streetcars that get into the tourist pictures, of classical facades maintaining their equilibrium over steep slopes, of delectable cake shops and family-owned seafood restaurants.”
It is described as cosmopolitan city that brings details from other cities together. Trendy co-working spaces set up in repurposed shipping containers and buses, like Village Underground, with cultural events at the workspace, is one of the examples given that resembles the reality of London. Then, there is the bridge that looks like the Golden Gate one in San Francisco and the city’s own Christ statue that recalls Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Lisbon’s safety is also mentioned in the article, along with being a liberal, open minded and “pro-enterprise” city. Those aspects and the fact that it is much cheaper when compared to London makes it an attractive place for “young creative exiles from the British capital” at a time when the Brexit is still characterized by uncertainty. Additionally, since last year and, at least, until 2018, Lisbon is the host city of the Web Summit, “the largest tech conference in the world”, which emphasizes the city’s innovative side.
Portugal as a whole is more and more attractive to tourists, foreign professionals looking to move and individuals looking to retire abroad. Even during the so-called “low season” of tourism, the numbers of visitors have been continuously increasing, not only in Lisbon but also in other regions like the North region and the Azores islands.
Nominated three times and three times winner, setting a new record. The city of Porto is once again the Best European Destination.
“Never has the choice of the winning city been so unanimous among travellers from all other the world”, that’s how the annoucement of the winner starts. With votes coming from over 170 countries, Porto was the first among 19 destinations that included remarkable european capitals like Paris, Rome or London in the competition pomoted by the European Consumers Choice, an organization of consumers and specialists.
Thinking of coming to Porto in the future? Here are some of the highlights:
Torre dos Clérigos: The icon of the city of Porto. After climbing nearly 250 stairs, you will be rewarded a unique 360º view of the city.
Serralves: Fundação Serralves hosts an impressive modern art museum, surrounded by 18-hectare gardens where you can also find see some artwork by contemporary artist along with the plants and trees.
Casa da Música: “Casa da Música” means “House of Music.” An internationally praised building with modern, futuristic architecture, home to music and other events that will surely impress you.
Douro river & wine warehouses: Visit the port wine warehauses at the other side of the Douro river, in the city of Gaia, and take the oportunity to gaze at the colouful houses fitting in each other, with the beautiful D. Luís bridge also within your view. All this while enjoying a glass of Port.
Francesinha: Not the healthiest option but it can’t hurt once in a lifetime. A sandwich with multiple layers of meat, covered in cheeses and soaked in a beer sauce, ranked among the best sandwiches in the world. And if you want to know more about Porto gastronomy, stay tuned!Anthony Bourdain is currently in the city shooting an episode of his CNN travel and food show “Parts Unknown”, which means we will be seing more of this side of Porto in the future.