Monuments and Attractions

Step in the History of the World

Portugal is a country full of attractions extremely rich in history culture, and tradition. Charmingly preserved, it has greatly influenced the world in the past and continues to do so in contemporary times. With beautiful landscapes and magical sites, Portugal is well worth discovering.

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The Portuguese “Age of discoveries” is internationally considered one of the most important periods of history and there are several attractions related.

The Portuguese discoveries occurred during the 15th and 16th centuries (between 1415 and 1542, specifically) and were a mark of civic pride and honor. By that time Portuguese sailors were discovering and mapping the coasts of Africa, Asia and Brazil. Portuguese exploration broke down spatial obstacles, reduced distances and turned the world into a “global village” for the first time in History.

Throughout the country you will find many references to the “Age of Discoveries”, however, most of the attractions are clustered in downtown Lisbon, along the river where ships departed to explore and discover the whole world. Many historical sighs are encountered when traversing the city streets, expressing the grandeur of the Portuguese empire, and many are the monuments that serve as a tribute to this period of time.

Some of the most emblematic attractions and tourist icons are: the Discoveries Monument, originally built for the 1940 WorldExhibition, the Belém Tower – Lisbon’s most famous construction and a UNESCO World Heritage monument (a masterpiece of Manueline architecture) and on the other side of the road and distinguished as a symbol of Portuguese art at its finest, the Jerónimos Monastery (another magnificent example of the Manueline style of architecture).

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Internationally renowned for its unsurpassed beauty and style, the Portuguese architecture differs from region to region and after the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon, a new architectural style appeared, the Pombaline style, which introduced early anti-seismic design features.

One of the most beautiful sites to visit this kind of architecture is the beautiful Comércio Square and the vibrant “Baixa Pombalina” in Lisbon. In the Comércio Square you may admire one of the most prominent and important monuments of the capital, the Arco da Rua Augusta.

This triumphal arch was built to commemorate the city’s rebirth after the 1755 earthquake, and this attraction is a mandatory experience, as it offers a stunning 360º view over the old part of the city. And if you walk up the narrow streets, to the panorama point, you will be able to enjoy the marvellous atmosphere of Alfama along with its colourful buildings.

While touring around, observing and appreciating the different architectural styles, you cannot miss out on the opportunity to visit the most historical house in the city of Lisbon, the “Casa dos Bicos”. With the tower of Se Cathedral in the backdrop, this stunningly unique house that has a curious façade of Renaissance and Manueline influence, is unlike any other you will ever see in the world, definitely worth contemplating and photo shooting.

Portugal’s longstanding traditions and historical architecture constitute main attractions and are some of the most impressive things you will ever see in your life. From famous castles, palaces and fortresses to amazing cathedrals and museums.

Almost every corner of Portugal has its fair share of castles and palaces. Portuguese castles and palaces are very special and unique, offering insight into the traditions and history of their wonderful regions. Perfectly preserved, they are usually located in romantic ruins on atmospheric hilltops. Two of the most beautiful ones you will find: St. George Castle in Lisbon and Pena National Palace in the magical villa of Sintra. This is one of the most iconic attractions in Europe.

For those looking for magnetic sunsets and scenic views, Fortresses are a major cultural, tourist and catering hotspot. The most acclaimed ones, for their beautiful panoramic settings and sunny positions are: the Sagres Fort in the Algarve (backed out by the lighthouse of Cape St Vincent) and the Guincho Fort in Cascais, Lisbon.

Cathedrals and churches are also an integral part of Portugal’s national heritage and a major draw for international visitors, particularly the ones that have their interiors completely covered in gilded carvings. Some of the most prodigious examples you will find in Portugal are: Igreja da Pena, Igreja de S. Roque, Convento da Madre Deus and Igreja Santa Catarina, all of which are located in the capital, Lisbon.

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Some Portuguese monuments are true depositories of world historic treasures. These educational institutions cannot be missed when visiting the country; they are essential to all communities as schools, libraries and utilities. Check out a few of the most incredible museums in Portugal: Museu de Arte Antiga, Museu dos Coches, Museu dos Azulejos, and the unconventional and indescribable convent, the Convento de Mafra.

Historical monuments in Portugal are so well maintained and have such fascinating stories behind that you are bound to feel emotional the minute you gaze at them, and of course, are one of the best ways to enjoy spectacular views. Many of the Portuguese monuments are open late at night and their illumination makes nighttime a memorable time to visit them. All Attractions Highly recommended!