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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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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Summer vacations in Portugal, according to international press

Portugal was recently considered to be a great destination for summer vacations from several newspapers around the world.

The French edition of the Huffington Post voted Porto Covo beach in the south of Portugal to be the second most beautiful beach in the world. Only toped by Paradise Island beach in the Bahamas. Porto Covo is in the top 3 according to the Huffington Post because, “There are cliffs and great beaches but the village is also worth a visit. It is a fishing village of just 1500 inhabitants, far from the tourist places of the country.”

Read the full story on the most beautiful beaches in the world, here.

According to U.K.’s newspaper, Mirror, Portugal is the most popular European destination for Brits traveling abroad this summer. The data was taken from a TripAdvisor poll that ranks the 10 favorite destinations for British holidaymakers.

You can read the full top 10, here.

Condé Nast Traveller ask their readers to rank the best beach restaurants in the world, and the restaurant “Sal” in the famous beachtown of Comporta was named number 1. Readers highlighted the quality of fresh fish, Portuguese picanha and fruity sangria.

See the full gallery of the best beach restaurants in the world here.

 

British newspaper, The Guardian, has also recently mentioned two regions in Portugal as some of the best places for a family summer vacation in Europe. Portuguese region of the Algarve is known for its white sand beaches with turquoise waters, “It’s all about the beaches in this southern region of Portugal, close to the Alentejo border; long, wild and often empty, it has them in spades.” And Coimbra region in the center has innumerous options for those who like a nature vacation: “Go paddling in the Mondego river, visit hillside villages, explore historic Coimbra, spend a day at the coast (90 minutes’ drive away) if you’re craving the sea, and pack a picnic for hiking, biking or kayaking trips in the Serra da Estrela mountains.”

You can read the full article on The Guardian, here.

Portugal is definitely hitting the spotlight in the media around the world, highlighting different aspects that make the country a great place to visit, and a perfect destination for your medical travel.

 

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Portugal among the best 15 tourism-friendly countries

According to the World Economic Forum, Portugal is the best 15th country to visit as a tourist.

The organization ranked 141 countries across 14 dimensions on their ability to receive tourists giving each dimension a score from from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest).

Portugal’s overall score was 4.6.

Portugal received the highest scores in the following dimensions: Safety & Security, Health & Hygiene, Tourist Service Infrastructure, and Prioritization of Travel & Tourism, which placed the country among the best 15 countries in the entire world to travel to as a tourist.

In the dimensions of Safety & Security and Tourist Service Infrastructure Portugal’s overall score placed the country in the 10th place. Meaning Portugal is one of the safest countries to travel to and that there are plenty of tourism infrastructures to help and support tourists needs. Portugal is placed at the 17th place in the dimension of Cultural Resources & Business Travel, implying the country it is a great option for those who travel looking for Culture and History and for those who travel for business. The country ranked number 12 for the number of World Heritage (UNESCO) cultural sites. Regarding the sub index of Infrastructures, Portugal got the 1st place for Quality of Roads meaning the roads are considered efficient and extensive by international standards.

For Health & Hygiene, Portugal got the 1st place in the sub dimensions of Access to Sanitation and to Drinking Water, with a score of 100% meaning, the entire population is covered by those two basic needs. For physician density per 1,000 people, Portugal is in the 20th place of the whole ranking.

Overall the report classifies Portugal as a safe destination with good infrastructures for tourists and prepared to welcome them and give them the support they need.

The first place in the report is occupied by Spain. Read the full report here.

 

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Porto in Portugal is in the news all over the world

For the past few months news articles about Portugal’s second largest city, Porto, have been written all over the world. From the newspaper Los Angeles Times, the American fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar to the Australian newspaper Herald Sun, Porto has been highlighted for its natural beauty, magnificent monuments and great food.

The LA Times emphasizes that Porto is full of art, history and architecture and everyone must see at least 4 places:

São Bento Railway Station

“Visitors who travel to Porto by rail are rewarded with murals of 20,000 hand-painted tiles depicting naval battles and other historic scenes.”

Church of Saint Francis

“Every tour book highlights the 15th century Church of St. Francis and its altars, statues and other religious icons supposedly gilded with more than 400 pounds of gold.” 

Lello Bookstore

“This bookstore, rated third best in the world by Lonely Planet a few years ago, has a stunning stained-glass ceiling, a red-carpeted wooden staircase and a banister crafted in the Gothic style.” 

Serralves Museum

“This 45-acre site, about a 15-minute taxi ride outside Porto’s historic district, attracts more than 300,000 visitors annually.”

Harper’s Bazaar talks about Porto in an article about the “10 underrated European destinations”, uncrowded cities that make a perfect European vacation.

“It’s hard not to fall in love with Portugal’s romantic second city, Porto. Located on the coast of the Rio Douro, the portside town is a melting pot of colors and architectural styles; from the pastel townhouses to the medieval bell towers, the extravagant baroque churches to the classical beaux-arts state buildings. Wine aficionados come here for the growing number of wine caves and cellars open for tastings, while music-lovers travel for the Primavera Sound festival every June.”

Herald Sun advises travellers to Porto not to pack tight clothes because it’s hard to walk in them after eating so much great food “pack plenty of elastic-waisted clothing because the food and wine are irresistible”. The Australian newspaper describes the city as “(…) an elegantly tarnished city with a rich history that dates back to the Romans. Its chipped wall tiles, peeling paint and rusty ironwork are part of its charm, and it is extremely charming. Its colorful Ribeira (meaning riverside) district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site”.

 

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Porto is becoming increasingly popular for river cruise lines

Portugal’s second largest city, Porto is known for its day cruises up and down the Douro river. But for those wanting to experience the Douro river in its plenitude a cruise up the Douro Valley is the way to go. Cruises can take from two days up to two weeks depending on the experience you are looking for.

Canada.com news website features Porto river cruise lines in an article highlighting why the city is becoming more and more popular for tourists from all over the world. Such popularity is also bringing the interest of international cruise lines, with some already established in Porto and new ones planning to do come next year, as the article refers:

“There are historic churches and museums, of course, and beautifully tiled walkways but I was there to learn more about the Douro and find out why it has become so fast-growing and popular for river cruises. Viking, AMA Waterways, Uniworld and CroisiEurope are here and next year Scenic Cruises will bring its new ship to the Douro, the Scenic Azure, with its all-inclusiveness.”

Douro region is a UNESCO heritage site, with its old vineyards and wineries where the sweet Douro wine is produced.

But travelling across this river is much more than seeing grape vines:

“This cruise leisurely winds through the Douro Valley below spectacular socalcos, stone-walled, terraced vineyards carved into the steep slopes where they’ve been making wine and port for 2,000 years.”

Porto offers its visitors magnificent places like palaces, museums, churches and other historical places in narrow streets up and down the hills.

The city is also famous for its charming streets with plenty of stores and great food. No visit to Porto is complete without a Port Wine tasting in Gaia, across the river, where the most famous brands offer guided tours to the wineries. Viewing Porto from Gaia is an experience everyone visiting should have.

Read the full article here.