Windmills came to the Azores during Portuguese settlement during the 15th century. They were used to pump water and to perform various actions in support of local agriculture.
All aboard! Much has been written about Portugal, but not so much about Portugal’s rail system. And that’s a shame. Rail is a great way to get around Portugal. It is fast and easy, with major rail hubs in Lisbon and Porto. In fact, Lisbon’s Oriente Station is just 10 minutes from the airport. Most stations are near downtown, and bigger cities have connections from downtown terminals to bigger stations on the main line, as in Coimbra, Porto and Lisbon.
For a small country, Portugal has a rich literary tradition. Portugal’s 2nd king was a poet, and every generation has produced writers of note. Today, mountains, monuments and an infinite sea make for inspiration. Here are a few places that have a writer's touch:
The vast majority of people who visit the Azores stay on São Miguel. And this is understandable. It’s the home of the João Paulo II International Airport and the island offers a wide variety of tourist activities. The other islands in the archipelago all have their own unique appeal though.
Stretching from the banks of the Tejo River to the mountains that surround the Algarve, the Alentejo is the heartland of Portugal. The Alentejo has inspired countless epic tales and adventures. A land with intense flavors of wine and a local cuisine that is unlike anything else, and as fresh and as local as the land it comes from. A place where you can enjoy both bliss and thrills, surrounded by rolling plains and mountains, blue rivers, pristine beaches, and villages painted in white and blue. And, the sunlight is warm and unique. Discover the Portuguese region rich in natural beauty, adventure, culture, flavors and welcoming smiles.
Portuguese olive oil comes in different grades. The best is always the cold-pressed extra virgin. The better the quality, the better the flavor, texture and shelf life. Portugal is in the top 10 producers of olive oil in Europe, accounting for about 2 percent of consumption and more than 1 percent of production.
In recent years a dispute has broken out between Spain and Portugal on the islands. Spain has filed a brief with the United Nations to expand its fishing waters between the Canary Islands and Madeira - opening the Selvagens to commercial fishing. Spain has argued that the archipelago is really just “rocks."
Located only 10 minutes away from Madeira’s capital Funchal, Câmara de Lobos is emerging as an alternative place to dine and stay. The town is set around an amphitheater-like harbor surrounded by colorful houses that make this a charming and picturesque place to visit. Fishing and agriculture remain the main activities, but tourism has expanded into the nearby areas and this sector observed significant growth in Câmara de Lobos.
October is the spookiest time of the year and in the spirit of Halloween, we’ll tell you all about Portugal’s not so secret ghost hubs. With more than 800 years of history, Portuguese culture has a wealth of chilling myths and eerie stories. Discover the haunted manors, old hotels, schools, palaces and hospitals than can be visited today across Portugal.
So, when traveling to Madeira, it is important not to forget to pack hiking shoes and gear, to explore this and many other levada trails that can’t be found anywhere else. Bringing a swimsuit or not is debatable, because although the waters of the lagoons and gorges look Caribbean blue, they are very cold.