Escape for the Weekend

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What to see in Portugal? Whales, hot springs and fantastic underwater landscapes of the Archipelago of the Azores; wines and architecture of Madeira; Obidos; Sintra; Evora; the Bowbelle wreck; the T-reef national park; the U-boat U1277 wreck.

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Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country in southwest Europe, located on the Iberian Peninsula and two archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean: the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores. It is bordered by Spain and washed by the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal has the total area of 92 thousand square kilometers and the population of nearly 10.5 million people. The capital of the country is Lisbon. The official language is Portuguese.

The national currency is the Euro.

Portugal’s terrain is mountainous in the north and flat in the south. The climate of the country is Mediterranean. Portugal is said to be one of the warmest European countries.

Portugal is famous for a great variety of picturesque landscapes. Within one day you can travel from alpine pastures to emerald tropical plains, and from sunny islands to the mainland. The most popular tourist attractions are located in the historic center of Portugal.

You can start your acquaintance with this country from the archipelagos. On the Archipelago of the Azores, consisting of 9 volcanic islands, you can watch whales, relax in hot mineral springs and walk along the streets of tranquil seaside towns. Madeira is a real paradise for those who are fond of green landscapes, refined architecture and good wine. Then let’s visit Lisbon, situated on the banks of the Tagus River; Obidos, encircled by a medieval fortified wall; Sintra with its amazing palaces and castles; Porto, famous for its perfect port wine; Evora, possessing more than 4,000 historic monuments; Aveiro, called “the Venice of Portugal” and then let’s bask in the sun on gorgeous beaches of the Algarve.


Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS), the main international gateway to Portugal and a major European hub.

Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO), an international airport near Porto, a base for easyJet, Ryanair, TAP Portugal and Portugália.

Faro Airport (FAO) located 4 km from Faro.

Madeira Airport (FNC), an international airport in the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira.

João Paulo II Airport (PDL), an international airport located on the island of São Miguel, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores.

Diving in Portugal

More than 2 thousand kilometers of coastline, 8 marine reserves and 12 islands make Portugal a very interesting diving place.

Off Santa Maria Island, the most southern island of the Azores, you can swim with whale sharks, explore underwater caves and tunnels and watch various marine species, such as groupers, hog-fish, moray eels and other. The volcanoes, created the Azores long time ago, also formed amazing underwater landscapes. You will find here various craters, caves and arches.

While diving off Madeira you will see lots of reefs, gullies, crevices and caves with abundant marine fauna and flora. At Madeira you can visit Garajau national park and T-reef national park, and explore one of the most popular wrecks – the Bowbelle, a 90 metre long sand-dredger, sunk in 1996.

The best-known wreck in Northern Portugal is the IIWW German U-boat U1277, deliberately sunk in 1945 and luing at a depth of 31m near Porto. Other interesting wrecks located here are the Tiber, a British steamboat sunk in 1847 off Porto; the Veronese, a British steamboat that sunk in 1913; the Barbosa, a Brazilian packet boat, sunk in 1934; the Vila do Porto, a Portuguese motor boat, sunk in 1955; the Jakob Maersk, an oil tanker that sank in 1975 and others.

The water visibility is up to 15 meters. The water temperatures range from 13 to 24ºC, which makes scuba diving in Portugal possible throughout a year, though the most comfortable time is from May to October.