An old-world charm



THE cities in Portugal take visitors back in time with their historical buildings, and also entice them with their charming landscapes and beaches.

In addition to being a magnificent capital city, Lisbon is also close to several beaches that are great spots to go for a swim, and to enjoy a good time under the sun.

If you are looking for something unique to do in Lisbon, consider a City of Spies walking tour.

During World War II, as Portugal chose to remain neutral, Lisbon became a hotspot for espionage and a haven for spies, which now makes it quite an interesting place to explore.

But if you are looking for something more laidback, then consider visiting the Parque Eduardo VII, which is located in the centre of the town. The park will transport you away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and take you closer to nature.

You can also visit the spectacular 16th century Hieronymite Monastery and the Belem Tower, built as a tribute to Vasco da Gama’s journey of discovery to the East.

Then, consider an evening in the quaint historic towns of Cascals and Queluz, to enjoy traditional Portuguese flavours amidst the melancholic tunes of Fado.

You can also pay a visit to the impressive Royal Palace of Sintra, a Unesco World Heritage site.

Then catch a ferry across the Tagus River to the vibrant waterfront neighbourhood of Cacilhas and enjoy typical Portuguese seafood and other fish specialities at a local restaurant there, before taking a ride across the impressive Suspension Bridge for a sweeping view over Lisbon.

Or you can also follow the road taken by pilgrims over the decades to the Shrine at Fatima, site of celebrated religious miracles.

The town is located 142km north of Lisbon and is famous for the Catholic shrine dedicated to Mother Mary.

The sanctuary welcomes millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world every year.

Some devotees would crawl on their knees to the shrine to seek blessings from the Virgin Mary.

The site is famous because of the Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary who was said to have appeared in 1917 to three shepherd children – Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

The tombs of Francisco and Jacinta, who died young in 1919 and 1920 respectively, can be found in the great basilica located on the far side of the plaza.

The basilica was built in 1928 in the neo-classical style, with a central tower 65m high.

The two siblings were beatified in 2000 and canonised in 2017.

Sister Lucia, who became a Carmelite nun, died in 2005 and is now buried in the Basilica side by side with seer Jacinta.

The sun-kissed shores of southern Portugal’s Algarve region is another popular site for sun-worshippers, with its spectacular natural landscapes and fascinating heritage.

One of the most famous vantage point is at the Ponta da Piedade which offers wonderful photo opportunities of its many various spectacular rock formations.

Ponta da Piedade is located near Lagos in Algarve. It also boasts the most beautiful beach in the world, according to the travel expert team of HuffPost.com.

In fact, the beach at Ponta da Piedade is a hidden treasure in the middle of the Algarve Eden.

Its cliffs are so high that some of them can measure 60 feet. These rugged cliffs sublimely contrast with the calm and blue-green waters.

A long and narrow stairway leads to a small cove, where experienced fishermen are waiting for the tourists in picturesque boats to take them to explore this natural paradise, navigating through the giant stone sculptures.

Portugal truly has much to offer, and one of the best ways to explore this country is by joining the special guided tours by Trafalgar.

For more, visit www.holidaytours.com.my.



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