Sightseeing in Portugal

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Tourism and Culture

Different Forms of Tourism

Traditionally Portugal's main tourist destinations were: Lisbon and the surrounding area (Estoril, Cascais, Arrábida south of the Tagus), Madeira and the Algarve. But local and foreign tourist itineraries have widely diversified. Portugal is one of the oldest states: it has 9 centuries of history. Its monuments bear witness to this historic past: the Romanesque cathedrals of Coimbra and Porto, the monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha from the second part of the Middle Ages, the tower of Belém, the monastery of "Jerónimos" and the Convent of Christ in Tomar from the "manueline" epoch (King Manuel 1, XV and XVIth centuries) or the Palácio Nacional at Mafra from the XVIIth century.
Besides monuments and castles, there are also:
- cobblestones (especially in Lisbon and the south) and the azulejos which cover the façades of buildings and churches such as the Madre de Deus Convent or the Palácio Marquês de Fronteira;
- fado, the national song: Camané, Marisa, Cristina Branco and Porto and all it represents: the city, the valley of the Douro (World Heritage Site);
- and, of course, wine.
A very varied choice: walking on the island of Madeira, along the "levadas" (canal side walks), the trails in the Serra da Estrela, in the center of the country, fishing and water sports in the Azores.
In 2007, the new basilica at Fatima opened its doors, the sanctuary where believers flock especially for May 13 and October 13.
Portugal has a wealth of spring waters. Some establishments have been converted into luxury spa and health hotel units. Others are being modernized, with the help of public funds. For further information consult the Termas de Portugal (sectorial association) website.
The Algarve is the coast where most visitors go, especially in the summer. Avoid August.
More and more, people are looking for alternatives: the beaches of Alentejo, especially the Toia peninsula, which is under development, the beaches of the island of Porto Santo, the beaches of the Cascais shoreline.
There are also surfing beaches: Ericeira, Guincho, Peniche which are national/international championship venues.
Winter Sports
There is no winter sports tradition, as it has never snowed enough in Portugal. The activity is slowly starting up.
Outdoor Activities
Hiking, mountain bike, climbing, mountain climbing, rafting.
Portuguese products, unfairly underrated by foreigners, are rapidly attracting interest among expatriates:
- Portuguese wines (there are more than 30 appellations d'origine - "DOC" in Portuguese). Wine from Porto had the first appellation d'origine in the world. The Viniportugal institution is in charge of distribution.
- cheeses; the king of Portuguese cheeses is the "queijo da serra", a melt-in-the-mouth ewe's milk cheese.

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Individual and Civic Freedoms

Political Freedom
Civil Liberty
Freedom of the Press
The media are free and put forward a wide range of political, economic and cultural opinions.
World Ranking of Freedom of the Press According to "Reporters sans Frontières", 2009 report : 32/175
Evolution: 14 places down compared to 2008
For Further Information, Consult Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2009, Reporters Without Borders
Free Access to the Internet
Freedom of Assembly
Rule of Law
Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights
Women's Condition
There is a disparity between men and women's wage levels.
For Further Information
World economic Forum-Global Gender Gap

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Degree of Freedom
Catholics: 95%
Role of Religion in Society
Slight: limited to some social solidarity.

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