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Hidden Portugal - travel spots only insiders know about

Nature in Alentejo seems endless. Plan a day in the Santo André lakes and Sancha Natural Reserve, enjoy relaxing moments, go birding and admire the view.

How about a swim at natural pools of Porto Moniz? They were formed by volcanic lava, naturally filled with Atlantic seawater. If you're traveling with your family, these pools will guarantee fun times here on Madeira Island. And don't forget: take some great pictures and share them with us! 

A museum of decorative art, a rocaille style decorated Throne Room and the Neptune Basin are some of the highlights that you can discover when visiting the Palace of Queluz, quite near Lisbon. Imagine yourself as a member of the royal court and stroll around this beautiful palace, which is one of the finest examples of Portuguese architecture from the late eighteenth century.

If you're looking for a surfing challenge in Portugal visit the famous Praia do Norte in Nazaré, where in 2011 Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara surfed a wave more than 30 meters high, setting a Guinness Book record. Check out the best wind, waves and water!

Water and animals could be the magic formula to make children happy. If you think that it gets harder and harder to come up with an excellent family program, what about spending a day on one of the many theme parks all over Algarve? You'll have plenty of laughs and memories to bring home.

In Alentejo, don't forget to visit Elvas and its star-shaped fortifications, which are also classified as World Heritage site. This month, from the 20th onwards head to São Mateus Fair, but any time of the year you can enjoy a delicious "sericaia" with local plums from Elvas. 


Sometimes, you just need to take a few moments away from the everyday grind. In the north of Portugal, you'll find many spas that will help you to find the balance you need and to restore your energy. You will feel as good as new. :)

What if we told you that wine from the Azores is exquisite? On Pico Island, vineyards are planted in black lava soil. The landscape of Pico Island’s vineyard culture is hypnotizing and is indeed classified as a World Heritage Site. Enough said?

Come and see a different side of the Algarve, through the Via Algarviana, from Alcoutim to Cape St. Vincent. A quiet and green Algarve, full of quaint and secluded villages and stunning landscapes – all waiting for you. :)

Set in a sheltered bay, Sesimbra is a charming fishing port, so finding tasty fresh fish dishes is not challenge at local restaurants. After you meal, explore the town: the castle, the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel and Lagoa de Albufeira.


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Cheryl Garcia

Great ideas - now let me know what are the best websites to search for homestays, please and thanks.

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