- Travel and Places
Travel to Portugal Lisbon
A little history about this beautifull country
The Portuguese managed to get world power in 15th and 16th century by setting up a global empire, they colonized Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America, which made them become one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. The Portuguese Empire was just amazing display of power they become the first and most long-lived Global Empire the world as ever seen, spanning for almost six centuries (1415 - 1999 ).
In 1755 November 1st on a sunday and the religious holiday of ALL SAINTS, Lisboa the capital of Portugal suffered a horrific earthquake followed by a huge Tsunami which totally destroyed this lovely powerful city, but what finished it off was the fire which killed thousands of people, also round that time the Spanish and French invasions were happening, including Brazil’s Independence. All this resulted in both the disruption of political stability and economic growth and it caused the reduction of Portugal's international status as a global power during the 19th century.
Portugal is sharing the Iberian Peninsula with the Spanish and it also borders the Atlantic Ocean by both west and south coast, that is very popular for its long and varied coastline, sunny climate and the charming old towns makes it a real paradise, the people are really nice and like to keep there traditional ways. The Azores and Madeira Islands also belong to Portugal these islands are more tropical, Madeira is just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union, while the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean quite close to America.
The best thing that Portugal has to offer is that despite being a part of modern Europe, one thing you can still find is the rural dwellings which has stood by a long time and the portuguese have really preserved there traditions. While modern architecture resorts rule the coast in the Southern province of the Algarve, Lisbon on the west coast on the other hand is a crowded city home to many fine tourist resorts. If you want to go back in time you have to just travel few miles north or east where you will see scenic countryside still resemble medieval villages and towns of earlier centuries.
Population & Languages
The population of Portugal is roughly about 12,632,069 million and the official language spoken is Portuguese. Mirandese is also a second officially language spoken in some parts of Portugal. If you cant speak it, then i suggest you learn at least the main words you will need to get around.
The voltage of electricity is 230 Volts and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plugs used are round pin with attachment and "Schuko" plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts. You will be able to get an adapter if you are going form England or any other country with the three pin plugs, they should only cost you around 40 to 50p each.
Portugal is located in the South-western Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula. It shares the Iberian Peninsula with its one and only neighbour Spain in north and east borders, and the Atlantic Ocean by both west and south coast.
The climate of Portugal can be classified into two, It is oceanic in the north and Mediterranean in the south which is the Algarve. Portugal is also one of the warmest countries of Europe followed by Spain etc. The average temperatures in the mainland are 13°C (55°F) in the north and 18°C (64°F) in the south. Summers are very hot and dry, most summers the Portuguese have really bad forest fires all over the country . Winters are cold and wet but sometimes dont last as long and it will start to harm up earlier. From Spring to autumn are the best seasons to visit Portugal and see for yourself the beauty that this country has to offer.
Casual dressing is acceptable everywhere, just don't forget to take off your beachwear in towns as the police don't allow this, most people will speak or have knowledge of english language as most people will learn this in school, Smoking is allowed only after meals in Restaurants and cafes. Smoking is prohibited in all theatres, cinemas and buses also trains, but on train there are special areas you can smoke. Tipping, if you going to tip, give them 10 to 15 percent in restaurant and hotels and 10 percent to taxis, you have not got to do this. One more thing beware of taxi drivers as they will try and charge you double the amount, ask them for the price list, this will tell you the price per km.
Castelo de Sao Jorge – Castle of St. George it was built by the Moors, but conquered by King Afonso Henriques empire which took place in 1147, this castle overlooks the beautiful city of Lisboa and the river Tagus, the castle is strongly fortified and dates back to medieval times. The castle is one of the main historical and touristic sites of Lisboa or Lisbon in english.
Alfama - Is one of the oldest parts of Lisbon, it sits on a sloped hill between the Castle of Lisbon and also the river Tejo, the name Alfama comes from the Arabic language Al-hamma, meaning fountains or maybe baths. Here you will find many different historical attractions for you to visit, it also has lots of Fado bars and restaurants that play you music if you wish them too. For those who don't know what Fado is:( Portuguese typical melancholy music) thats the best description i can give you.
Sé (Cathedral) - first church in Lisbon to be built by Portugal's first king Dom Afonso Henriques which he won from the Moors, before it was a church it was a mosque but it got rebuilt when the war was won in 1139. An English crusader named Gilbert of Hastings was placed as bishop in the Roman Catholic Church of (Se Cathedral). This Cathedral is a Latin crossed building, but since then this Cathedral has been renovated because of the 1755 earthquake which destroyed areas of the Cathedral quite bad, it also destroyed the tombs which the King of Portugal and his wife were buried in.
The Bairro Alto - The Bairro Alto district, an historic enclave dating back to 1513 this district was built because there was not enough houses for people to live in back in the 1500 or so, before houses were built all this land was farming land. But now days it has changed even know the old houses are still there, the council of Lisbon as really changed and renovated the whole district, now you will find lots of restaurants and pubs also night clubs, in other words they have made it more for the young people.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos -Monument to the Discoveries - One of the most popular attractions in Lisbon is the monument, situated on the riverbank in the Avenida de Brasilia in the district of Belem, which was designed to commemorate the Portuguese Age of Discovery of the 15th and 16th centuries. It situated where the old ships used to depart to their often unknown destinations, the Monument is about 52 metres high carved to the shape of the prow of a ship. It was built by architect Cottinelli Telmo and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida.
Tower of Belem - This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this tower was ordered to be built by King John 2, so it could be part of the defence system and also as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. This tower was built with lioz limestone and its about 30 metres, with four stories high tower, this tower was to protect the entrance of the river Tagos in Lisbon, this is not the only tower that was built for protection.
Travelling by plane (in or to) Portugal:
The national airline of Portugal is TAP Air Portugal (TP) they offer a excellent service and not many delays. The airline operates direct flights to many destinations like Faro, Lisbon and Porto from a number of countries, including Canada, France, Spain, the UK and USA.
Portugalia Airlines (NI) operates flights from Europe. Many popular airlines that fly to Poland from UK are British Airways, GB Airways and Monarch Airlines, Easy jet, bmibaby, Jet 2, MyTravelLite, Flybe, Flyglobespan and SATA. The biggest airport in Portugal is the Lisbon International Airport which is located roughly about 4.5 miles north of the city of Lisbon.
Travelling by Sea (in or to) Portugal:
The main ports that oporate for international passengers are Lisbon port, Leixes in (Oporto),Portimão in (Algarve) and also funchal in (Madeira island) these are served by Cunard, Italia, Linea C, Olympia, P&O and Union Cas.
Traveling by Rail (in or to) Portugal:
If you are coming from UK, the fastest and easiest way is to get on the Eurostar train to France Paris and from Paris to Portugal by the Sud-Express train. They offer an excellent service and a reliable, comfortable trip. I visit Portugal every year and I must say i never fly there I always get the train as i am scared of flying. If you traveling in portugal by train Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses (CP), the Portuguese National Railways, will offer the following facilities:
ALFA Pendular trains: circulating on the route Lisbon - Porto - Braga and Porto - Lisbon - Faro Intercity trains (IC): from Lisbon to Porto-Guimaraes/ Guarda/ Covilha/ Faro/ Beja/Évora
The Regional and interregional trains are for short distances Suburban train in the cities of Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra Lusitânia Hotel, Train between Lisbon and Madrid Sud Express between Lisbon and Hendaye with connecting TGV trains to Paris
Travelling by road (in or to) Portugal:
Spain is the only country sharing borders with the Portuguese, the major border posts are open most of the time now. If coming from U.K you can get a ferries across to spain then drive to Portugal.
Duty Free Items:
1.You will be allowed Up to 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g smoking tobacco for Non-European union countries.
2. One liter of spirits with an alcohol greater than 22%, or 2 liter spirits or aperitifs made of wine less than 22% or sparkling wines or liqueurs, or a proportionate mix of these, and 2 litres of wine.
3. perfume up to 50g and 250ml eau de toilette, no deodorants cans.
4. Gifts up to €175
5. 500g coffee or 100g tea or 40g of tea extract.
6. Medicines for personal use only not allowed to import it in.
Birds and poultry arriving from countries infected with Avian influenza, Un-canned goods not allowed, meat or dairy products, Narcotics,firearms, ammunition, weapons, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol will be taken off you if you bring them in or out, all this is a must not do.