Language:

Portuguese

Passport and Visas:

Visa not required for UK passport holders

Events & Festivals:

April: The Lisbon Fish & Flavours Event - A gastronomic delight of fresh local fish, wine and entertainment.

April: The Maderia Flower Festival - Funchal’s streets are decorated in an explosion of colour, with floats, performances, music concerts and shows.

April: The Flower Torches Festival, Algarve - An Easter celebration where men run through the streets holding torches shouting ‘Hallelujah’ before laying flowers at the church.

June: The Atlantic Festival, Madeira - Combines the Maderia Music Festival and Fireworks Competition, with philharmonic bands, classical music held in churches throughout the area and a huge fireworks-to-music competition, held every Saturday in June.


June-July: The Festival in the Square, Lisbon - An annual open-air arts festival in São Carlos Square with symphony orchestras, ballet dancers and fado singers.

July: The Festa do Frango no Churrasco, Algarve - A three-day extravaganza devoted to the tempting aromas of barbecued chicken.

July: The Funchal Jazz Festival, Madeira - A three-day musical event.

July-September: The Cascais Summer Festival - A nightly programme of entertainment running along the coastal path, with live music, jugglers, market stalls and fireworks.

August: The Festival Marisco, Algarve - A huge seafood event with concerts, folk dancing, singing, and of course lots of food stalls.

December: New Year's Eve Fireworks - This dazzling display of colorful fireworks over Funchal Bay attracts revellers from far and wide. It is even more impressive when viewed from the sea so book yourself a place on a boat and enjoy this spectacular record-breaking display from the water.

Good to know:

Savouring life slowly is a Portuguese passion, and much of the best of Portugal is  traditional folk festivals, simple, honest food drowning in olive oil, music that pulls at the heart strings, recalling past love and glories and markets overflowing with fish, fruit and flowers.

Lisbon

Lisbon, the dazzling city that stretches along the banks of the River Tagus, is an enchanting capital. The impressive fortress around which the city originally sprang up, is now circled by neighbourhoods drenched with medieval charm. As the dusk turns to night, the yellow electric tramcars continue to slowly wind their way up and down the hills of the old capital, while the sound of traditional Fado songs enliven many a candlelit dinner table in restaurant or home.

Algarve
Gorgeous beaches, warm water and glorious year-round sunshine make a stay on the Algarve the dream holiday. Situated on the extreme South of Portugal, this area of the territory was the last to be conquered from the Moors and traces of the Moorish presence are still seen in its unique terraces, chimneys and whitewashed houses. The southern coastline consists of a long stretch of fabulous sandy beaches, punctuated by extraordinary rugged red cliffs and fantastic grottoes.

Madeira
Between the verdant hills and the blue ocean, Madeira lies 621 miles southwest of Lisbon and 497 miles from the coast of Africa, offering the delights of a subtropical climate. An archipelago of volcanic origin, Madeira is the largest and more populated of the islands. The beautiful assortment of flowers and tropical fruits, mild temperature of the ocean water and natural pools, a wealthy cultural heritage, luxurious hotels and Funchal’s cosmopolitan life are but a few of the available charms found here.

History:

An independent kingdom since 1143, Portugal established its continental frontiers in 1297 and is one of the oldest nations in Europe. Situated on the west side of the Iberian Peninsula, its geographic location along the Atlantic coast soon determined its vocation to the sea.

In 1415, the Portuguese set sail on an epic voyage that would make them the first to discover the ocean routes to India, Brazil, China and Japan, and at the same time founded settlements on the east and west coasts of Africa.