Sunday, March 04, 2012

Travel tips to European Countries: Portugal


About the country
Portugal was a world power in 15th and 16th century but was reduced to rubbles during an earthquake in 1755, Napoleon's Invasion and Brazil's Independence. Sharing the Iberian Peninsula with Spain and bordering Atlantic Ocean by both west and south coast it is popular for its long and varied coastline, sunny climate and the charming towns makes it a traveler's paradise. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal.

The best thing about Portugal is that despite being a part of modern Europe one can still find the rural dwellings which has stood by time and has preserved its traditions. While modern architectural marvels like high-rise resorts dot 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 10.6 million and the official language being spoken is Portuguese. Mirandese is also second officially language spoken in some parts of Portugal.

Electricity
The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plug used are round pin with attachment and "Schuko" plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts.

Geographic Location
It is located in Southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain in north and east and borders Atlantic Ocean by both west and south coast.

Climate
The climate of Portugal can be classified into two. It is oceanic in the north and Mediterranean in the south. It is also one of the warmest countries of Europe. The average temperatures in the mainland are 13∞C (55∞F) in the north and 18∞C (64∞F) in the south. Summers are hot and dry. Winters are cold and wet. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Portugal.

Local Customs
Casual dressing is acceptable. But keep in mind not to wear beachwear in towns. Smoking is allowed after meals in Restaurants. Smoking is prohibited in theatres, cinemas and buses. Tipping is 10 to 15 percent in restaurant and hotels and 10 percent to taxis.

Attractions
Castelo de Sao Jorge:Castle of St. George
Alfama - The oldest part of Lisbon
SÈ (Cathedral) - first church in Lisbon
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Museum
The Bairro Alto - The Bairro Alto district, an historic enclave dating back to 1513
Monument to the Discoveries - One of the 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
Tower of Belem - This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Parque das Nacoes
Fatima
Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis - dedicated to Soares dos Reis, the famous sculptor born and bred in Porto
Igreja de Sao Francisco
Solar Vinho do Porto
Vila Nova de Gaia
Frederico de Freitas Museum
Sao Vicente Caves
Cable Car
Cathedral
Whale Museum
Porto Santo
Setubal
Coimbra
Coimbra University
Guimaraes
Guimaraes church and palace
Braganca

Travel
By Air
The national airline of Portugal is TAP Air Portugal (TP). The airlines 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, Easyjet, bmibaby, Jet 2, MyTravelLite, Flybe, Flyglobespan and SATA.The biggest airport is Lisbon International Airport which is located like 4.5 miles north of the city.
By Sea
The main ports for international passengers are Lisbon, Leixes (Oporto), Funchal (Madeira) and Portim„o (Algarve), served by Cunard, Italia, Linea C, Olympia, P&O and Union Cas
By Rail
If coming from UK, the fastest way is to get on Eurostar train to Paris and from Paris to Portugal by Sud-Express.
Road
Spain is the only country sharing border with Portugal. The major border posts are open most of the time now.

Duty Free Items
1. Up to 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g smoking tobacco for Non-European union countries.
2. 1 liter spirits with 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 liters of wine
3. perfume up to 50g and 250ml eau de toilette
4. Gifts up to Ä175
5. 500g coffee or 100g tea or 40g of tea extract
6. Medicines for personal use

Prohibited Items
Birds and poultry arriving from countries infected with Avian influenza, Un-canned goods, meat or dairy products, Narcotics, firearms, ammunition, weapons, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.

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