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Northern and central Portugal
Northern and central Portugal
© Kuna George / 123RF
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Things to see in Northern and central Portugal
By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Towns

Arts and culture

Thanks to past world expeditions and exploration carried out hundreds of years ago, Portugal is enriched with an indisputable artistic and architectural wealth.

Monuments

Portugal is a country where practising religion is still deeply rooted in the traditions of the people. In fact, the country has some very beautiful religious buildings, including the sublime Santa Maria and Bathala Monasteries. These two monuments, (the first comprising the largest church in the country and the second the symbol of National Independence) are only one aspect of what the nation has to offer in terms of architecture. You just have to visit Porto's Old Town to really experience the country's architectural heritage. You will find towers, cathedrals and palaces as you wander through the streets. Styles from different eras and diverse histories, it is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of the country.

Activities and leisure

Lisbon's coasts are internationally known for their great water sports spots. Thus, the beaches stretching to the foot of the Sintra mountains are a hotbed for surfing, kite-surfing and other sports. Praia Grande, which sometimes plays host to international events, is also an ideal place for practising these sports as the sea is often choppy, especially with the relentless wind from September to October. If this isn't your idea of fun, however, head for one of Portugal's golf courses instead. The Lisbon region alone has fifteen 18-hole courses. Algrave is also a very popular swing course. This may just be the best way to combine sport and relaxation in a peaceful setting at the heart of Portugal's nature.