“The edge of Europe” – Portugal may be a long way removed from its colonial heyday, but it still has plenty to offer the wayward traveler. Known most of all for it’s beaches, seafood and robust port wine, it also features some spectacular scenery and rich, colorful history and traditions. Of all the countries I’ve visited in Europe, Portugal was one of the cheaper ones. Of course, they use the Euro there, so that will be changing eventually.

The Portuguese people were also some of the friendliest I’ve met in my travels. Most of them just seem to be content to just leisurely stroll through life. The highlights for me were definitely the two biggest cities – Lisbon (Lisboa) and Porto (Oporto).


Another highlight of Portugal that deserves a special mention is the Port wine. It’s very heavy, strong, and very satisfying. What sets it apart is that brandy is added, so the average alcohol content is around 20%, and makes it the perfect sipping wine. There are 3 main kinds – tawny, ruby, and white. I prefer the ruby, as the tawny is a bit too sweet for my taste. I do enjoy the tawny on occasion, just not as much as the ruby. True Port is produced only in the Douro valley (around Porto) in the north, although it’s available all over Portugal.


I was fortunate to be able to travel to Portugal for 2 fun filled weeks in June (2004) for the purpose of attending Euro2004, which Portugal was hosting. The European Championships are widely regarded as the second best soccer tournament in the world, next to the World Cup. They’re held every 4 years (offset 2 years from the WC). To see the photos and story of my Euro2004 experience, CLICK HERE.

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