What is Portugal Famous For?
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- TATA AIG Team
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Portugal has a long and fascinating history span from the ancient Celts and Romans to the mediaeval Moors and Christians. Portugal became an independent kingdom in 1143 and rose to prominence as a global maritime power in the 15th and 16th centuries, exploring and colonising lands in Africa, Asia, and South America.
Portugal also played a vital role in the Age of Discovery, producing famous explorers like Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan.
Today, Portugal is noted for its architectural marvels, beautiful traditions, and gastrointestinal delights.
Famous Attractions in Portugal
On your trip to this beautiful country, the following places should be on your bucket list.
This Portuguese tourist attraction is also known as the Tower of Saint Vincent. It is a 16th-century fortification on the Tagus River bank in Lisbon. It was built as part of a defence system to protect the city from maritime attacks and to function as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. This tower is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The tower reflects the Manueline style, a Portuguese variant of late Gothic that incorporates maritime and exotic motifs. The building has a four-story bastion, a polygonal tower, and a balcony with a stone railing. The exterior has a decoration with sculpted figures, coats of arms, ropes, knots, crosses, and armillary spheres.
Also known as the Monastery of the Hieronymites is a 16th-century monastery on the opposite bank of the Tagus River from Belem Tower. It was built to observe Vasco da Gama's finding of the sea route to India and honour the sailors' patron saint, Saint Jerome.
This Manueline-style monastery has elaborate carvings, sculptures, and columns that reflect the maritime and religious themes of the era. This place is divided into two main parts: the church and the cloister.
Casa da Música
It is a 21st-century concert hall on a roundabout in Porto. It has a geometric shape resembling a faceted crystal or a spaceship. It is made of white concrete and glass. The hall has two main auditoriums, a smaller hall, a restaurant, a bar, a terrace, and a rooftop.
Portugal's famous place list also includes Pena Palace, which sits on a hilltop in Sintra. King Ferdinand II built it as a summer residence and a romantic retreat.
The palace has various architectural styles, such as Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance, and Manueline. It has several sections, such as the clock tower, the chapel, the triton gate, the arch of the old wall, and the queen's terrace. The interior has antique furniture, paintings, tapestries, and porcelain.
University of Coimbra
Dating back to the 13th century, it is one of Portugal and Europe's oldest and most prestigious universities.
The university's architecture spans from the mediaeval to the modern era. Some of the most notable sections within this university are the Royal Palace, the Joanine Library, the Chapel of São Miguel, the Botanical Garden, and the Science Museum.
Mafra National Palace
King John V built Mafra National Palace because of his vow to build a convent if his wife gave birth to a son.
The palace complex includes a royal palace, a basilica, a convent, a library, and a park. It showcases the Baroque and Neoclassical styles, with exquisite facades, domes, towers, and statues. The palace has over 1,200 rooms, including the king's and queen's apartments, the throne room, the music room, and the hunting room.
Sanctuary of Fátima
This sacred place honours the visions of Mary, the mother of Jesus, that three young shepherds witnessed in 1917.
The sanctuary is a large complex with a basilica, a chapel, an arcade, a museum, and a park. The basilica is a neoclassical church with a bell tower, a portico, and a dome. The museum has exhibits such as the crown of the Virgin Mary, the bullet that wounded Pope John Paul II, and gifts and donations from the pilgrims.
Portugal Famous Food
Portugal is famous for its seafood, especially cod, which is said to have 365 different ways of preparation - one for each day of the year. However, there is much more to Portuguese cuisine. Let's learn about them.
Pastel De Nata
Pastel de nata is a small, round pastry stuffed with creamy egg custard and crowned with caramelised sugar. It has a crispy and flaky crust and a soft and sweet filling. It is usually sprayed with cinnamon and powdered sugar and served warm.
Pastel de nata originated in the 18th century in the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon.
Bacalhau à brás
Bacalhau à brás is a simple but tasty dish made with shredded salted cod, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, onions, garlic, parsley, and black olives. It has a golden, fluffy appearance and savoury, satisfying flavour. It is usually served with a green salad and bread.
Bacalhau à brás is one of the many ways to cook bacalhau.
Caldo Verde is a thick and hearty soup made with potatoes, kale or cabbage, onion, garlic, olive oil, and chouriço, a smoked pork sausage. It has a green and red colour and a warm and comforting taste. It is usually served with cornbread or rye bread.
It originated in the Minho region in northern Portugal, where kale and potatoes were abundant and cheap.
Arroz De Pato
Arroz de pato is a baked dish with rice, duck, bacon, chouriço, and spices. It has a crispy and browned top and a moist and tender inside. It is usually garnished with parsley and orange slices.
It originated in the Beira region, in the centre of Portugal, where duck farming was common and rice was cultivated.
Cozido à Portuguesa
It is a hearty and rich stew made with diverse types of meat, such as pork, chicken, and rabbit, and different parts, such as ribs, ears, feet, and blood sausage. It also includes vegetables like potatoes, carrots, cabbage, turnips, and beans. It is seasoned with salt, pepper, bay leaves, and garlic.
Francesinha is a decadent and indulgent sandwich made with bread, cheese, ham, steak, sausage, and sometimes egg. It is covered with melted cheese and a spicy tomato and beer sauce. It is usually served with french fries and a cold beer.
It originated in the 1950s, when a Portuguese chef named Daniel David Silva, who had lived in France, decided to create his own version of the French croque-monsieur.
Alheira is a smoked sausage made with bread, garlic, and various meats, such as chicken, pork, or rabbit. It has a cylindrical shape, a brown colour, and a solid and aromatic flavour. It is usually fried or grilled and served with boiled potatoes, greens, and a fried egg.
Alheira is one of Portugal's most unique and historical dishes and has been recognised as a national gastronomic treasure.
Polvo à lagareiro
Polvo à lagareiro is a succulent and tender dish with octopus, potatoes, olive oil, garlic, and parsley. It has a rich and savoury taste and a purple and golden colour. It is usually baked in the oven and served with a green salad and bread.
It originated in the coastal areas, where octopus was abundant and fresh, and olive oil was produced in large quantities. The name lagareiro comes from the word lager, which means “olive press” in Portuguese and refers to the workers who pressed the olives to make oil.
Portugal’s Traditional Music
One of the most famous things in Portugal is music, and some popular ones are:
Fado is the most famous and iconic genre of Portuguese music. It is a melancholic style of music that expresses the feelings of fate, loss, and longing. Fado originated in Lisbon and Coimbra in the 19th century and was influenced by African and Brazilian music. It is usually sung by a solo vocalist, accompanied by a 12-string guitar and a viola.
Rancho folclórico is a collective term for regional folk music and dance traditions. It is based on local customs, costumes, instruments, and songs. Rancho folclórico is often performed in festivals, celebrations, and competitions. Some examples of regional folk music include Alentejo's cante, Minho's vira, and Madeira's bailinho.
Pimba is a humorous and upbeat genre of music that features double-entendre lyrics and catchy melodies. It became popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Pimba is popular among rural and working-class audiences, who enjoy its simple and fun style. Some of the famous singers include Quim Barreiros, Emanuel, and Ágata.
Choro is a Brazilian-born genre of music that blends European and African elements. It was introduced to Portugal by Brazilian immigrants in the early 20th century. Choro is characterised by fast and virtuosic playing of various instruments, such as flute, guitar, mandolin, and cavaquinho.
Corridinho is a lively and rhythmic genre of music and dance that originated in the Algarve region. It is derived from the Portuguese word for running, as the dancers move quickly and energetically. An accordion, a guitar, and a triangle are necessary to play Corridinho. It is often performed in pairs or groups, following steps and patterns.
Fandango is a music and dance genre with Spanish and Moorish influences. It is popular in Portugal's central and southern regions, especially Ribatejo and Alentejo. A guitar, a tambourine, and castanets are required to play Fandango. It is often performed as a courtship dance, with expressive gestures and movements.
Pauliteiros are a genre of music and dance that involve the use of wooden sticks. They originated in the northeastern region of Trás-os-Montes, influenced by Celtic and Roman cultures. Pauliteiros are usually played by a bagpipe, a drum, and a flute-like instrument. They are often performed by male dancers, wearing colourful costumes and hats with ribbons.
Folia is a festive and religious genre of music that celebrates the Epiphany. It originated in the 16th century, influenced by the Portuguese colonisation of Brazil. Folia is usually played by various instruments, such as guitars, violins, accordions, and percussion.
Cantigas de amigo
Cantigas de amigo is a mediaeval genre of lyric poetry and music that expresses the feelings of a young woman in love. Amigo was initiated in the 13th and 14th centuries, influenced by the troubadour tradition. Cantigas de amigo is usually sung by a female vocalist, accompanied by a harp, a lute, or a vihuela.
Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, a foodie, or a culture vulture, you will discover many reasons to fall in love with this beautiful nation.
But before you pack your bags and book your tickets, there is one thing you should not forget: travel insurance.
A travel insurance policy is a must-have for any global trip, especially if travelling to a Schengen country like Portugal.
Why do you need overseas travel insurance for Portugal?
It is mandatory to have a travel medical insurance policy to apply for the Schengen Visa.
Also, travel is unpredictable, and anything can happen while you are abroad. You may face unexpected situations like flight delays or cancellations, baggage loss or damage, passport theft or loss, personal liability, or legal issues.
You may also fall sick or get injured due to accidents, sudden illnesses, or even Covid-19. In such cases, you will need financial assistance and support to deal with the consequences.
However, you must always compare travel insurance plans before deciding on any.
What is Portugal famous for?
Portugal is famous for its explorers, Port wine, cork products, football, Fado music, and pastel de nata.
What is very popular in Portugal?
Portugal is special for many reasons! It is a beautiful country in Southern Europe known for its breathtaking coastline, historic palaces, and tasty food. People love the warm hospitality and the vibrant culture.
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