Coimbra, sitting on the banks of the River Mondego, was once the capital of the emerging country of Portugal. Today, where the palace of the kings and queens once stood, is a major university. Created in 1537, the university is one of the oldest in Portugal and all of Europe. The city has always been a center of learning, poetry and art.
Historic spa resorts across Portugal are being reborn for the modern traveler. And, new luxury spas are dotting up across the landscape. The country has always been thought of as "a garden by the sea," with green inviting landscapes, and in some places the waters are known to be therapeutic.
Mountain air blows through the medieval streets of Guarda. It is Portugal’s highest city. Fernando, King of Portugal, spent some time here in the 14th century, taking advantage of the mountain air while recovering from a lung disease.
Even though Viseu is far from the sea, the town is also full of art relating to Portugal’s great age of exploration, when the country had mastered the high seas and opened up worldwide trade routes. Prince Henry the Navigator, who was also the Duke of Viseu, lived here.
The annual music festival Maré de Agosto, on the island of Santa Maria, Azores, will run this year from August 21 to the 23. The festival, one of the oldest of the kind in the Azores, is celebrating its 30th year. And it will be help, as usual, on the sandy beach of Praia Formosa.
The Centro region also has several significant cities, each showcasing an array of architectural styles in their many cathedrals and important museums. One of the most well known of Centro’s cities is Coimbra, home to Portugal’s oldest university, the nation’s first capital and its third largest city
The 13th and 14th centuries brought a flamboyant period of castle building, with more decorative touches and features like pepper pots on towers, ornate brickwork and massive great halls built of stone. Many became fortified palaces, but just as castle building reached its zenith, the era came to quick end in 1453 as the Turks brought down the once impregnable walls of Byzantium with cannon fire.
Idanha-a-Velha is a tiny town in the east of Portugal, in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova with a population of 100 today. It may also be the most fascinating place in Europe that has never been written about
Faial’s Sea Week, Semana do Mar, will take place from August 1st to the 10th with a range of activities taking place in Baía da Horta, the Canal - 2014 between Faial and Pico, and the Bay of Porto Pim (Horta).