Portugal: another year being awarded by World Travel Awards

This year, Portugal has won another important award: it was elected for the third time in a row as the Best Touristic Destiny in Europe by the World Travel Awards. In the last year (2018), the country received 36 awards by World Travel Awards, this year a total of 39 went to Portugal. Read the full article to know the more important awards that the country won this year.

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Portugal: Europe’s Leading Destination 2019

Since 2008, Portugal has been acquiring distinctions from World Travel Awards in various categories. This year, it was considered Europe’s Leading Destination and Europe’s Leading Tourist Board. It is not the first time that the country receives these awards and it was already recognized as Europe’s Leading Golf Destination. The Algarve, in the south of Portugal, was always a touristic destination, specially for English people, but lately, Lisbon and Oporto have been the centre of attention for welcoming foreigners from all over the world. The main reasons for this popularity might be its pleasant weather, the 3000 sun hours per year, the 850 km of beaches bathed by the Atlantic sea, and the fact that is a place located near several European capitals.

Lisbon: Europe’s Leading City Break Destination 2019

In the words of HuffPost, “Lisbon is becoming more and more popular as a travel destination and for good reasons – it’s cheap, it has nice weather, great people, delicious food and lots of things to see and do.” It’s easy to find many articles highlighting Lisbon as the ideal place for living and visiting. Lonely Planet describes it as a city with Gothic grit and glamour. The article also enhances the trademark seven hills that are spread across the cityscape like lofty guardians of colour and history, which are so well appreciated by tourists. As well, the collection of terraces known as “miradouros” (viewpoints), a web of views over Lisbon, the Tejo river and beyond, is another city’s famous attraction. World Travel Awards has been awarding Lisbon in several categories, this year the city was considered Europe’s Leading City Break Destination and Europe’s Leading City Tourist Board.

Passadiços do Paiva: Europe’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction 2019

Passadiços do Paiva (Arouca UNESCO Global Geopark), located on the left bank of the Paiva River, in Arouca municipality, in the north of Portugal, was awarded this year Europe’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction and Europe’s Leading Tourism Development Project. It is not the first time that the geopark receives an award from World Travel Awards: the place where visitors enjoy a journey embracing biology, geology and archaeology has been awarded since 2016. The park is an ideal option for nature lovers, it is a long walkway composed of 8 km, surrounded by natural landscapes with brave waters downhills, quartz crystals and endangered species in Europe.

The Algarve: Europe’s Leading Beach Destination 2019

Passadiços do Paiva (Arouca UNESCO Global Geopark), located on the left bank of the Paiva River, in Arouca municipality, in the north of Portugal, was awarded this year Europe’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction and Europe’s Leading Tourism Development Project. It is not the first time that the geopark receives an award from World Travel Awards: the place where visitors enjoy a journey embracing biology, geology and archaeology has been awarded since 2016. The park is an ideal option for nature lovers, it is a long walkway composed of 8 km, surrounded by natural landscapes with brave waters downhills, quartz crystals and endangered species in Europe.

Madeira Islands: Europe’s Leading Island Destination 2019

It is the seventh year in a row that Madeira Islands are awarded by World Travel Awards, being considered, in some years, the World’s Leading Island Destination. This year, the archipelago was awarded Europe’s Leading Island Destination. The paradisiac islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean, 700 km far away from the African coast’s East and 450 km far away from the North of Canarias Islands, which makes this archipelago the southernmost location in Portugal. The most famous islands’ attractions are the tours to watch dolphins, the dive practicing, the walking to see watch the falls, and the biggest variety of parks and gardens.

Lisbon: the new capital of cool

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.”

Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal

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.

If you are looking to spend some time in Portugal, let us take care of your healthcare needs. Visit our website or contact us for more information.

 

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Tourists from the United States are traveling to Portugal as never before

Portugal has seen a great increase in American tourists in 2015 and the numbers continue to rise in 2016.

Travel Pulse magazine highlights that Americans are among the top nationalities that most recently visited the country. That is why the Portuguese Tourism board set the promotion of Portugal in the United States as a priority. The Portuguese Tourism Board believes that the satisfaction that American visitors get from visiting Portugal is the greatest drive of new tourists, since those who enjoyed their time will tell family and friends to plan a trip too. Also the value for money and the proximity to North America are likely to drive the interest of tourists.

Portugal’s capital Lisbon, offers world-class luxury hotels at affordable prices when compared to other European capitals and flights from New York City to Lisbon take around 7 hours or less. Travel Pulse adds:

One sign of the country’s soaring popularity is the fact that it’s nearly impossible to narrow down five must-see locales within this small country. The Azores are a must, Porto can’t be missed as the birthplace of port wine, the Algarve is mesmerizing and Lisbon is the country’s cultural hub – but there’s so much more.

The increase in American tourists in Portugal can also be explained by an increase in overall tourism in the country. In 2015 a record number of foreign tourists stayed in Portuguese hotel, more than 10 million visitors came to the country, according to Portuguese National Statistics Institute. The fact that Portugal is a safe destination right now is also making the number of tourists to rise and 2016 is already expected to break new records.

Read the full Travel Pulse article here.

 

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Esquire magazine names Lisbon one of the coolest cities in Europe

A recent article on Esquire magazine states “Why Lisbon is one of the coolest cities in Europe” to visit right now and why it shouldn’t be underestimated.

The article recommends places to visit and things to do that aren’t likely to be in other city guides.

According to the magazine: “Lisbon does distinct districts beautifully, with the formality of the central Praça do Comércio (created after the earthquake of 1755) flanked by the winding lanes of the Alfama, the city’s centre under the Arabic occupation of Iberia, and the once-seedy and now achingly cool dockyard area of Cais do Sodré.”

The best places to stay are Bairro Alto and to eat there is the renewed Mercado da Ribeira for a relaxed lunch, and Belcanto the two Michelin star restaurant owned by the Portuguese chef José Avillez to learn how the former colonies influenced the Portuguese cuisine and provide a unique dining experience.

The magazine advises visitants to appreciate the street art all over the city, highlight the works of Portuguese street artist Vihls. For those who want to explore further, they can from Lisbon go surfing in Cascais (about half an hour) or to hang out on the beach in Comporta (about an hour south of Lisbon).

Lisbon city guide by Esquire Magazine
Lisbon city guide by Esquire Magazine

Readers are advised to visit Lisbon because “There might not be a cooler city in Europe at this precise moment (…).”

Click here to read the full article on Esquire Magazine.

 

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Trips to Douro in Portugal according to international press

The North of Portugal has been gaining a lot of attention for the past few years. It’s biggest city, Porto has been featured in news outlets all over the world. Associated to a trip to Porto is always a trip to Douro, the wine region that is an UNESCO monument.

The Telegraph calls it a trip to the heart of Portugal following the Douro River from Porto to the Spanish border were the reporter found some of the most authentic things Portugal has to offer. In the words of Stanley Stewart, the journalist from the Telegraph who took the trip “the Rio Douro, the River of Gold, is one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe, and the journey upriver one of the most scenic routes on the continent.

Recently another renowned publication, Travel Weekly wrote about what they called “a chic stay in Portugal wine country” suggesting places to see the Douro River beyond the cosmopolitan city of Porto and where food and wine compete with the astonishing views of the Douro valley for the first place in travellers minds. Like many travellers do, the reports stayed at a property that besides producing their own wine, also offer a luxury stay and great food. And they describe Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House, as “(…)an oasis of flat turf where guests could amble between indoor and outdoor public spaces, relax at the swimming pool and, most definitely, sample a fine dining experience — outdoors, weather permitting — built around fresh, local foods and wine made from the property’s own grapes.

The exposure Douro is getting in the press is increasing the tourists’ curiosity for the region, making Porto and Douro a must see in 2016.

Read the entire articles here:

Travel Weekly

The Telegraph

 

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What do in Lisbon in one day, by Yahoo Australia

Yahoo Australia guide to visit Lisbon if you only have one day

Yahoo Australia’s reporter Gemma Nisbet was in Lisbon and wrote an article with the best spots for those travelling to the Portuguese capital for the first time. She called them the “abundant charms of historic Lisbon” as she went in a day trip through the city and its surroundings.

The day trip starts at Parque Eduardo VII, where travellers can appreciate some of the best views of Lisbon and the Tagus River. Descending towards the riverside, there is Avenida da Liberdade described as “(…) we’ve travelled down the leafy Avenida da Liberdade — opened as a public garden in 1886 and now an elegant thoroughfare lined with designer boutiques.” This avenue is in fact one of the most iconic places to see in Lisbon due to its luxury offering in century old restored buildings. By the riverside Yahoo reporter saw 25 de Abril Bridge that resembles San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The Belem Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries are must see landmarks of the city and they symbolize the great era of the Portuguese Discoveries. The next stop is the Jeronimos Monastery, another mark of the Discoveries full of maritime ornaments and reminders of those times.

Parque Eduardo VII, Lisbon

Parque Eduardo VII, Lisbon

When visiting Lisbon in a short trip it is important to visit another points of the area like Cascais and Sintra: two cities just a short drive (or train ride) from Lisbon. In Cascais the reporter visited the marina and the pier area where fishermen still fish and then headed to Sintra to visit its most famous spots: castles. Sintra has plenty of them. The National Palace was the first. What the journalist adds about Sintra is “(…) Looking over the multi-coloured buildings of the town, the gardens and trees, and the romantic remains of the Moorish castle crowning the hill, I can see why Lord Byron called Sintra a “glorious Eden” when he visited in 1809.”

The reporter was aware that the trip was short and compressed so that all the most beautiful spots were visited and she was accompanied by a tour guide that made sure all the most curious details about Lisbon and its monuments were conveyed.

To read more about the Yahoo Australia reporter trip to Lisbon, click here.

 

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Medical risk map for 2016 puts Portugal with low risk

International SOS releases every year a worldwide medical rating that rates countries by their health care risk.

Considering there is risk everywhere, due to many factors, many countries have a good standard of medical care and that means they pose a low risk for who goes under medical care there.

The medical rating is based on the standard of local medical and dental care available, the access to prescription drugs, the presence of serious infectious diseases and cultural, language or administrative barriers to access health care.

The rating divides countries by very high, high, medium, low medical risk and rapidly developing.

Most countries in Europe and North America have a low medical risk, including Portugal.

The low medical risk medical is defined by: “International standard of care throughout the country. Most specialist care widely available. High quality emergency and dental services and a wide range of prescription drugs available. Low risk of infectious diseases.”

Countries like Turkey, Poland, Hungary, and Mexico are considered medium risk countries for medical care. These countries are known for their low prices for health care and are popular among those who chose to go abroad for medical care. Although there are great health care facilities in these countries, a quality standard isn’t always met and in some cases the medical care goes wrong and patients get serious injuries.

In Portugal the access to medical care is widely available in both public and private facilities and Portuguese medical professionals are recognized internationally for their work.

Medical Port has partnered with the most outstanding health care facilities and doctors to give our clients the access to the best options and provide effective treatments.

Learn more about the Travel Risk Map here.

Learn more about Medical Port here.

 

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Portuguese hotels distinguished by the luxury publication Condé Nast

Every year Condé Nast reveals the hotels and luxury spas with their seal of approval, which guarantees an exceptional experience, according to them.

Hotels around the world receive this distinction every year and that makes them part of an exclusive group of hotels, spas and resorts with the finest qualities that every luxury traveller seeks.

Condé Nast describes these annual recommendations as: “Whether you’re searching for a luxury hotel, spa, country house, boutique retreat, celebratory venue or somewhere by the beach, we provide inspiration and assistance in finding the perfect place for every occasion.

In Portugal 14 hotels were distinguished with this seal in 2016. From the south to the north of continental Portugal and in the Azores Island, the publication highlights the best hotels and resorts that will please the most exquisite travellers.

According to the publication: “Portugal boasts a beautiful coastline fringed with sunny beaches and rolling sand dunes as well as an exciting hilly interior, ideal for exploring by bike, foot or kayak. (…) Portugal also offers some fascinating historic cities, its capital Lisbon with its medieval buildings and grand views, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Porto, home to port wine. The most talked about area of Portugal is the Algarve with its idyllic coves, rocky outcrops and glittering waters.

Click here to see the full hotel list and the description of each luxury hotel in Portugal selected by Condé Nast.

AFAR magazine names Portugal the most popular non-U.S. destination

According to AFAR travel magazine, Portugal was the most visited non-US location in 2015 and is the 5th must go destination for 2016.

AFAR analysed the most searched terms and cities for trip planning in 2015 by their website visitors and compiled the list of the most visited places. Portugal is number 2, only followed by the American city of New Orleans.

NY Daily News magazine published AFAR’s list and here is their opinion about Portugal: “The major draw of the country is the beautiful Algarve’s beaches featuring bright blue-green waters and interesting rock formations. The hilly capital of Lisbon is known for its café culture and bars and restaurants. Bacalhau (white cod), Pasteis de Belem (custard cups) and Caldo Verde soup are mainstays in Portuguese dining and a must-eat if visiting the country.

AFAR recently released their January/February 2016 issue which contains the “The Top 10 Destinations on Our 2016 Travel List” and Portugal is number 5, and these are the reasons why: “Portugal is heating up as a cultural hub. Foodies are flocking to the capital city of Lisbon, which is radiating with exciting new culinary experiences. In addition, the city is getting a swanky new port hub to support the building river cruise traffic. Porto has quickly emerged as a top art scene and the central coast 200-mile stretch between the two cities is becoming loved by beachcombers. Locals and newcomers alike are breathing new life into Portugal’s smaller villages. With these experiences, Portugal truly has something for everyone.

All these reasons make Portugal the most popular non-U.S. destination of 2015 and probably 2016.

Read the full articles here: NY Daily News  and AFAR.

 

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Portugal’s residence program for foreigners is the best in the world

According to a report from Henley & Partners, the global leaders in residence and citizenship planning, Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program is the world’s best residence-by-investment program in 2015.

This program allows foreign citizens to invest in Portugal and obtain a residence visa.

Among the 19 residency programs for foreigners analyzed by Henley & Partners, the Portuguese one is the one that offers more advantages to foreign investors. Portugal is followed by Austria (2nd place) and Belgium (3rd place).

The programs were ranked according to 10 indicators: Reputation, Quality of Life, Tax, Visa Free Access, Processing Time and Quality of Processing, Compliance, Investment Requirements, Total Costs, Time to Citizenship and Citizenship Requirements. Portugal ranked highest on “Total Cost” meaning the initial investment required is lower when compared to other programs. Portugal shared the top spot with other countries in the following indicators: “Tax”, “Visa Free Access”, and “Processing Time and Quality of Processing”. Meaning that foreigner investors have light tax burdens and the processing procedures are quick and efficient.

Some of the reasons to move to Portugal, according to Living in Portugal:

  1. Great climate with an average of 3300 hours of sunshine per year, one of the highest rates in Europe
  2. The satisfaction of 80% of the tourists who visit the country and want to come back
  3. The average housing prices in Portugal are very competitive compared to the main European cities
  4. Taxation is light on foreigner investors as Henley & Partners already highlighted in the report
  5. Portugal is ranked as the 17th safest country in the world among a list of 153 countries

Medical Port serves foreign residents’ healthcare needs through the For Health Card, a card that gives access to the top private healthcare providers in Portugal with discounts and specialized services. To learn more about the For Health Card please visit our website.

 

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