Portugal is a great place to visit. It’s a popular tourist attraction; with beautiful beaches, plenty of history, and delicious cuisine. But here are a few unusual suggestions for things to do there that you may not already know about!
Pena National Palace
Built as a summer home for King Ferdinand II and his family in the 19th Century, the Pena National Palace looks like it belongs in a fairy tale. It’s a bit of a trek to reach the palace, but worth it when you arrive. The King’s luxurious and slightly extravagant demands meant that the castle is made up of many different styles of architecture. He apparently wanted it to look like an opera, and that is very apparent with its many towers and variety of colours. The inside is just as opulent as well, with dramatic and lavish decorations and furnishings. The castle was abandoned during the revolution, but was revived in the twentieth century and is now a heritage building.
Portugal’s Chapel of Bones
This one is a bit gruesome, but an interesting place to visit if you can stomach it! In the beautiful city of Evora the remarkable Capela dos Ossos started with a problem shared with many churches and chapels. By the 16th century, many cemeteries were becoming simply too full to fit any more bodies. The priests decided on an unusual way of solving this! The bones and bodies of many departed were displayed around the chapel in the hopes that people would visit to meditate and consider the meaningless of a materialistic lifestyle. It’s a pretty spiritual place with the saying “Nós ossos que aqui estamos, pelos vossos esperamos,” translated: “We bones, are here, waiting for yours.” above the doorway.
One of the two autonomous regions or Portugal (along with Madeira) it is made up of 9 volcanic islands. It is over 1000 km into the North Atlantic Ocean, so whale watching in the Azores islands is a perfect activity. They have a mild climate and are a beautiful location to holiday, but are sometimes forgotten about when considering Portugal. They are an intriguing place to visit, with a varied culture and dialect due to the irregular settling of inhabitants over two centuries.
Built into the side of a mountain, this strange looking village seems quite unreal. It’s hard to believe it was announced as ‘the most Portugese town in Portugal’ in 1938., But, once you look past all the boulders that the houses are crammed in between, it does start to look like a very typical Portugese town. Due to it being a ‘living musem’ the village has remained unchanged for the past hundred years, and walking around the huge boulders and houses built straight into the rocks can feel like another world.
There really is more to Portugal than just its beaches, sunny climate, and wines. With many monuments and landmarks recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites for ‘outstanding universal value’, there are plenty of stunning and fascinations attractions!
Much love xxx