Didem Doğan

Portugal: an introduction

Destinations like Spain, Italy or France may be on top of the list, however in Europe we go for Portugal! The main reason is its melancholic beauty; it may sound like a cliché however there’s something sad and reserved about this beauty. First of all, Lisbon is a city that appeals to your aesthetic senses, its being founded on hills gives her a beautiful perspective, the well preserved old city of Alfama, with its cobble stone narrow streets to ceramic walled houses is elegant. You may spend well a full three days in Lisbon; discovering first the old town, day and night, climbing the steep roads or taking the slow picturesque tram, going down again to the riverside, and then climbing again to the Castle stopping by the view points that are called ‘mirador’, stopping at bakeries which are famous in Portugal, spending nights at fado clubs. If you are into museums you can visit the Gulbenkeim Museum, or the modern art museum of Berardo in Belem. On your second day take the train to Belem to visit the symbol of the city, the Explorers’ Statue, also the monastery and taste the famous deserts ‘pastel de Belem’. You can spend another couple of days making day trips from Lisbon to Evora, a small city frozen in time, or Sintra- a romantic village surrounded by frosty forests, or Cabo de Roca to see the beginning of the Atlantic- the Westernmost point of Europe. Porto, the second city of Portugal is also worth a visit due to its old town by the river, its train station, park, Music House, famous wine tasting places. The transportation in Portugal is quite easy as the railway system is very advanced. The famous Portuguese gastronomy with its fish-based meals (bacalão), the coffee and the desert is another reason to visit this elegant, beautiful country at the edge of Europe.