Introducing the country

Portugal - Europe's most westerly country - is a nation of two halves, with the green north full of rural farming villages and the sun-kissed south home to gorgeous beaches. Li...

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Portugal - Europe's most westerly country - is a nation of two halves, with the green north full of rural farming villages and the sun-kissed south home to gorgeous beaches. Linking the two are the country's Atlantic coastline, a landscape that helps make Portugal one of the best surfing destinations on the continent. 

With a population of around 10 million, the country is bordered by Spain and enjoys similarly long, hot summers to its Iberian neighbour. The capital, Lisbon, is a thriving city of half a million and home to the cobbled Barrio Alto (Old Town), elegant 15th century architecture and the impressive UNESCO listed Tower of Belém.

The Porto Wine growing region is well worth a visit if you're looking to get off the beaten track, while sun seekers are better suited to the Algarve in the south. Here, you'll find some of the country's most pristine coves and beaches, as well as exquisite seafood (salted cod is a favourite) plus Portugal's famous green wine. 

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Best way to get around

Train

Both slow and high speed routes span the country, including from the Algarve to Lisbon.

Tram

Do like the locals and use Lisbon's tram network; it's been running since 1873.

Car

Explore at leisure and hire a car; rental shops are abundant.