Discover the Proud Heritage of Portugal

By: Rudi Van Der Zalm

Portugal is a relatively small country with a rich culture and proud heritage. Tourists visiting Portugal are usually drawn by the mild climate and beautiful sandy beaches of the country. Portugal is regarded as one of the most rewarding travel destinations in Europe.

The coastline of Portugal stretches some 800km and all along it are some stunning villages and historical cities like Lisbon or Porto. The country borders with Spain to the north and the east and to the south and west lies the Atlantic Ocean.

The Archipelago of Madeira forms also part of Portugal. These island group is found 1000 kilometres southwest of Lisbon in the Atlantic Ocean. The airport on Madeira in the town of Santa Cruz on the east side is just an hour flight from Lisbon and also serves the other island of Porto Santo with smaller planes. This archipelago is really something special to enjoy.

To the south of Portugal we find the popular Algarve. The Algarve coastline has some of the finest beaches of Portugal. The region is popular with people taking a family holiday to Portugal and visitors who come to this area on golfing holidays. The Algarve has some of the finest golf courses in Europe and caters for golf players of all budgets and handicaps. Faro international airport is the natural gateway to this part of the country. At the airport we find all kind of tourist services, amongst them travel agencies, bars, restaurants, banks or car hire.

One of the most well know tourist resorts on the Algarve is Albufeira. It is a mere three-hour flight to Faro airport from most major European capitals with flights to the main airport in Faro. Albufeira boasts almost all-year sun, has great beaches and low prices, which are the main reasons why so many European visitors make the journey every year.

There is an extensive network of major routes that connect the Algarve to the rest of Portugal and the nation's main cities. That is why renting a car when you arrive at Faro airport is certainly recommendable if you would like to discover the country on your own. Faro car hire is a useful way to travel around the Algarve. There are many interesting routes in the area that offer some truly amazing views. Remember that driving a rental car in the centre of large towns and popular resorts is best avoided if possible, because many of the streets are narrow and other vehicles parked alongside the street can make it difficult to pass with your rent a car.

Bear in mind that in Portugal it is compulsory for the driver and all passengers to wear seat belts. There may be heavy fines in case you do not comply with this rule. Children under 12 years old are not allowed to travel in the front seat of the rental car.

Towards the centre of the country we find the capital, Lisbon. Lisbon sits on a hilly terrain beside one of the most magnificent harbours in Europe. The area also has excellent beaches. Lisbon is internationally recognized as one of Western Europe's most unspoiled cities. Many tourists also succumb to the temptation of visiting the delightful Sinatra and Cascais which are both easily accessible from Lisbon.

While travelling by car around Portugal, the discerning tourist cannot fail to be impressed by the numerous small villages. Many of these villages offer stunning geographical locations, one more reason to consider to rent a car in Portugal and discover the country at your own pace.

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