Five Amazing Islands not to miss in Portugal

by alrou on August 22, 2013

Elegant, romantic, and full of surprises, Portugal has to be experienced and trusted. Located in Southwestern Europe, the country borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east and southern direction and Spain to the East and North. Apart from the mainland of Portugal, there are several islands in the Atlantic Ocean which belong to the country.

1.Armona Island, near Olhão in the Algarve

1. Armona Island
This island is located off the coast of Algarve in Portugal and is 30 minutes distance by ferry from the coast. The Island has been inhabited for 50 years only hence overcrowding here is not a problem. No vehicles are allowed to enter this island. The island doesn’t have hotels, big roads or any banks. But what a tourist can be assured of are extensive beaches similar to those expensive destinations like the Seychelles. Ria Formosa National Park on the Island forms an important site for migratory birds which makes it a suitable area for those interested in bird watching. The Island has many species of flora and fauna to add on the spectacular chameleon population. Ferries operate between the Island and the neighboring major town of Olhão.

2.Sunset in Tavira Island in the Algarve

2. Tavira Island
This island is located to the South of Tavira town in the Algarve, several hundred meters from the coast. The Island’s length is 11 kilometers and between 1 Km and 150 m in width. The conditions on this Island are natural and attract many tourists and offer individuals a good bird watching and swimming sites. The island is served by ferry and a floating bridge which makes movement to and from the Island easy.

3.Fort of São João Baptista in the Berlenga Grande Island to the West of Cabo Carvoeiro, Peniche

3. Berlenga Grande Island
Berlenga Grande is part of the Berlenga Archipelago, a group of small islands and costal reefs, located 6 miles off the Portuguese coast (to the West of Cabo Carvoeiro, Peniche) and is classified as a natural reserve. There are many diving sites for individuals with different diving expertise. Berlenga Grande is the main island and is the only inhabited one. This area also has dolphins as well as large schools of various fish species. The island also has beautiful caves with abundant macro life and red gorgonians. There are smaller islands located to the north of Berlenga Grande which are known for different species of marine birds and a diverse ecosystem. These are the Estelas and Farrilhões Forcados, which are a great diving experience.

4.Pico Island viewed from Pico da Esperança in Ilha de São Jorge, Azores

4. Pico Island
This is one of Portugal’s most beautiful islands in the Azores, named after its mountain. The Pico Island has a beautiful landscape with a mixture of exotic vegetation and lava rocks. The island is scarcely populated and it forms an ideal location for bird watching, trekking, jogging, hiking, bike and moto quad bike rides, fishing as well as dolphin and whale watching. On this Island, the conditions are always calm and peaceful and visitors have a choice of going to the village side and experiencing culture and periodic festivals. It is accessed using the ferry and the best means of exploring the island is by foot.

5.Porto Moniz in the Madeira Island

5. Madeira Island
This is a Portuguese island located on top of a big volcanic tower which is 6 Km tall from the Atlantic Ocean floor. This island is a favorite tourist destination and which makes it the second richest area of Portugal. The island has very diverse vegetation which is especially prevalent in Archipelagos forest. Fauna on the island are also diverse with more than 250 land mollusk species.

Portugal is a perfect spot for those who are trying to unwind, have unforgettable adventures and need a tourist-friendly environment.
If travelling to the United States from Portugal or any European country, be informed about ESTA which is an automatic system that screens tourists or travelers entering this North American country, so that security within the U.S. is never vulnerable.

Photo Credits
1.Photo under CC license by Dieser Benutzer
2.Photo under CC license by Cayetano
3.Photo under CC license by Hugo Cadavez
4.Photo under CC license by Gillaume Baviere
5.Photo under CC license by Feliciano Guimarães

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The Best of Portuguese Golf

by alrou on July 14, 2013

With its promise of long warm summers, dazzling sunshine and spectacular coastal views, Portugal has been attracting golfers from around the world for as long as anyone can remember.

It’s not just the sun that’s a massive pull factor for enthusiastic golf fans; Portugal also boasts fantastic courses and hotels which form part of luxury, purpose built complexes, including the likes of the extremely popular Vilamoura. Built in the 1970s, the resort has evolved and expanded to cater for golfers and travellers in search of a sophisticated and elegant destination.

What’s more, no matter how dedicated a sports fan you are, it’s unlikely that you’re going to want to dedicate the entirety of your break to your sporting pursuit, no matter how much you love it. For travellers seeking a break from the course, Portugal’s wonderfully rich culture and array of beautiful cities and towns make for welcome exploration and adventure.

Follow this guide to some of the best golfing opportunities that Portugal has to offer.

Algarve
At the centre of Portuguese golfing is the popular Algarve region, famous for its picturesque coastline and breathtaking beaches. Golfing is such a popular holiday activity in this part of Portugal, that companies like Golf Kings even specialise in tailor made Algarve golf breaks.

Arguably one of the most popular, and visually stunning, courses in Portugal is the world-famous Dona Filipa & San Lorenzo Golf Resort. Designed by award winning course architect Joe Lee and officially opened in 1988, this course has been ranked one of the best in the world.

Nowadays, the Eastern Algarve is becoming increasingly popular with travellers and golfers alike, the latter being attracted by the construction of exciting new courses and luxury hotel complexes. In a list of the best courses in Portugal , created by golfers with a passion for discovering the best golf in the world, the Monte Rei Golf Club in the Eastern Algarve is identified as number one.

The course occupies a fantastic spot between the Atlantic Ocean and the dramatic mountain vista, and outstanding views are a guarantee. The club is also home to two Jack Nicklaus Signature courses, so you can rest assured you’ll be experiencing some fantastic golf.

For the time not spent on the course, the Algarve is the perfect place to relax and unwind as you enjoy the sandy beaches and clear blue waters. It’s not difficult to see why the region is flooded by travellers during the summer months, although it is possible to escape the crowds during July and August by basing your stay in quiet, picturesque towns such as Monchique and Tavira.

Lisbon
Even though the older, more established resorts like Vilamoura and Albufeira in the Algarve may continue to hold their position as the epicentre of Portuguese golfing holidays, newer destinations on the Lisbon coast are attracting more and more golfers each season.

One of the top attractions for golfers in this region is the Estoril Golf Club, which is the oldest course in Lisbon. Created in 1929, this serene, pine scented course also offers one of the more challenging games in terms of accuracy and is perfect for experiencing sportsmen and women in search of a new challenge.

Lisbon itself is a fantastic choice for travellers and offers a unique combination of a traditional, quaint Portugal and a modern, vibrant city that embraces party culture and a good time vibe. To discover more of what Lisbon has to offer, in addition to fantastic golf, take a look at this online guide from Lonely Planet.

Madeira
A quick hop south – or more accurately, a one and a half hour flight from Lisbon – lies the Portuguese island paradise of Madeira.

The way of life on Madeira may be much more laid back than mainland Portugal, but the quality of the golf is by no means inferior. Individuals travelling to Madeira can expect fantastic courses and equally luxurious hotels and complexes, including the likes of the Palheiro Golf course, nestled atop the mountains overlooking the ocean.

It’s worth bearing in mind that Madeira shares its climate more with the likes of Morocco and the Canary Islands than it does mainland Portugal, so spending a full day on the course during the height of summer may be uncomfortable.

Follow scores of other golfers and make your way to Portugal for your next sporting break, as it is a golf destination that will set the bar in terms of outstanding greens with beautiful scenery and rich culture.

You might also like:

  • 10 towns in Portugal you must visit
  • Luxury Travel in Portugal’s Golden Triangle

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