From the Algarve to Lisbon

Albufeira alley flowerageThis journey by far surpassed our expectations. Portugal is a fascinating country with a rich cultural heritage, charming old cities, picturesque landscapes, dreamlike beaches with idyllic bays and not at least the country, where 1917 happened the wonder of Fatima , which made the city a world famous place of Christian pilgrimage.

We started our tour with a one week's round-trip by car, which gave us unforgettable impressions of life, the cultural heritage and the beauty of the country. Our itinerary lead us more than 1000 km through the country, from Faro at the southern coast up to the region around Lisbon and back to the Algarve, to Albufeira, where we spent another week.

The Algarve is a hilly coastal region in southern Portugal with 20-50 m high cliffs, picturesque ormations of yellow and reddish-brown limestone and sandstone rocks, romantic grottoes, caves and coves as well as fine s andy beaches and lagoon landscapes.
Batalha Monastery Santa Maria da Vitória, Unecco Wold Heritage

Especially remarkable and impressive were the unusual large fortresses on high hilltops like in Sintra, Marvao, Estremos or Obidos, with mighty ramparts surrounding mediaeval cities, still inhabited, as well as marvellous castles and architectural masterpisces of churches and cloisters. Thus we often felt like taken back into the times
Sintra Palacio Penaof the Moorish conquerors and the expulsion of them by the Portuguese.

On the way we enjoyed seeing the varying landscapes - steppes, mountain chains and fertile plains with exotic subtropical vegetation. While Eucalyptus-, olive- and cork oak plantations, fruit trees and wine form the lovely picture of the countryside, palms and a lavish abundance of colourful flowers give the white villages, the nobleman's country seats, the socalled quintas and the cities a charming flair. donkey on the road...
donkey drawn carriage

But it is not only the flowers, which make the historic cities so attractive. It is the magnificent cultural heritage with multi cultural architectural styles of the edifices and monuments which come from the Roman and Moorish past just as the traditional decoration of the houses with colourful ceramic tiles and elaborate lattices from wrought iron at windows and balconies, historic street lamps and narrow alleys... The most
Sintra palacio nacional - azulejosbeautiful and typical example Sintra palacio nacional - azulejosuniting all features is the capital Lisbon itself.

The decoration of walls with ceramic tiles, the "azulejos" - inside and out of the buildings - is a special feature all over Portugal. Since the Arabs brought this craft to Portugal, it developed into a real traditional art. Elaborate wall paintings from tiles decorate banqueting halls of palaces as well as churches and common buildings. Even street signs on houses are made from decorative tiles!

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