Portugal’s Southern Cities Worth A Visit
Once considered the Iberian Peninsula’s best kept secret, Portugal offers a little bit of everything to its welcomed visitors. Old fashioned charm exudes from every corner, with quaint, picturesque villages housing friendly locals that are eager to share their proud heritage. Green hillsides dotted with ancient castles, and lovely cobblestone streets are shadowed by towering cathedrals that have stood the test of time. Travelers delight in the delicious cuisine, enchanting culture and the seemingly endless stretches of breathtaking coastline. Portugal has a magical atmosphere that delights visitors and locals alike – it’s a destination you truly must experience to understand. And while the famous cities of Lisbon and Porto are certainly beautiful places to explore, there are a couple of southern cities that should definitely be on any Portugal travel itinerary.
While Portugal as a whole is teeming with history, the tiny village of Sagres provides surprisingly little. What it lacks in historical finds, however, it more than makes up for in beautiful natural landscapes and local charm, particularly for beach lovers. Magnificent coastline, covered with soft, golden sand invites sunbathers, while pristine waves lap at the shores, urging surfers to jump in and ride. Breathtaking cliffs hover above, providing shelter from the outside world. Whether you prefer beaches with all the amenities, or spectacularly private waterfront areas, where you can be alone with only your thoughts and the sounds of the sea to keep your company, you’ll find whatever you’re looking for in Sagres.
Aside from the incredible beaches, one of the nicest things about Sagres is the fact that it has somehow managed to escape the touristy feel of other nearby cities, maintaining its quaint, old world charm. Lovely little shops offer local treasures, while a plethora of cafes and restaurants serve up heaping helpings of fresh seafood. Yet, even with all the places to visit, Sagres still has a remote feel to it, making it the perfect place to escape for a quiet getaway. Enjoy everything from walking and cycling to surfing and diving, then kick back and experience the best of what the Algarve has to offer.
Like Sagres, Faro is also home to a number of fantastic coastal treasures. Where it differs, however, is in the rich cultural and fascinating historical discoveries it offers to visitors. The oldest part of the city, known as ‘Cidade Velha’, provides a distinct ancient feel, from narrow cobblestone streets to age-old buildings. The famed Sé Cathedral, which rests in the middle of the old town, is home to some of the most awe-inspiring integral carvings and magnificent works of art in the world. Visitors can even climb the steps to the top for a spectacular panoramic view of the square below. There are also plenty of dining, shopping opportunities as well as other activities to participate in – you’ll certainly never be bored!
For those who prefer natural landscapes to manmade sites, Faro is located steps from the Ria Formosa nature reserve. The reserve covers an area of over 170 square kilometers and is home to hundreds of different species of birds who flock to the fertile area during the spring and autumn migratory periods. There are a number of beautiful beaches to explore, where you can relax and take in some sun, or dive in and participate in a wide variety of water sports.
Portugal is one of Europe’s most amazing places to visit, both for historical and cultural reasons, as well as for the magnificent natural beauty found throughout. Of all the cities to visit in this beautiful country, perhaps none offer the opportunity for blissful relaxation, adventure and cultural discover like Sagres and Faro. Whether you prefer lying on the pristine sands of a coastal getaway, shopping in quaint, friendly shops, dining on mouthwatering local cuisine, or exploring fascinating historical sites, these two southern cities of Portugal are certain to satisfy all your travel needs.