Quirky is not a word that immediately springs to mind when you think of Portugal. It’s better known for its cheap, good food, warm weather, top quality beaches, and welcoming people. Typical, however, is not something every traveler is looking for. If you’re the kind of traveler that enjoys things a little more unusual, here are four attractions Portugal has to offer.
For those looking for a touch of adventure on their next holiday, then be sure to check out the Algarve which, along with stunning beaches and quaint ports and towns to discover, also offers a world of magic and fun at Zoomarine, host to a number of different animals, shows and even a sandy beach. Be sure to check out local villas to stay at to make the most of your Portugal holidays itinerary.
The Volcanic Azores
In the Atlantic, at the most westerly point of Europe, lie the islands of the Azores. They might lie a thousand miles away from Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon, but that doesn’t make them any less a part of the country. The scenery includes the traditional Portuguese white churches, villages nestled among tea plantations, and volcanic lakes that shine green and blue in the sun.
The Chapel of Bones
As you can probably guess from its name, this chapel is home to lots of human bones. It’s located in Evora and is a small part of the Royal Church of St Francis, a place of worship that was constructed in the late 1500s by a troupe of monks. The bones found themselves in this chapel when they were moved from nearby cemeteries because they were taking up too much room. In their wisdom, the monks decided the bones should be put on display to remind people of their mortality. It does feel very spooky when you wander around, but it’s beautiful in equal measures.
The Drowned Village of Vilarinho da Furna
Vilarinho da Furna has been underwater since 1972 when it was submerged as part of a construction project to build a dam to create hydroelectricity. The village is more than 2000 years old. If you want to see the windows and doors of the buildings rise above the water, you have to pick the right time to visit as they’re only visible when water levels drop. There is a museum dedicated to the village in nearby São João do Campo.
One last surreal experience you have to include in your travels is to eat at McDonald’s Imperial. Eating McDonald’s might not be unusual in many other locations around the world, but in the McDonald’s Imperial in Porto you’ll experience fast food in a location like no other. The fast-food chain has set up shop in a period building that includes chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.
Now you know there’s more to Portugal than sipping cocktails sat next to a pool, fun waterparks, and beautiful sandy beaches. If you make an effort to get out there and explore, Portugal might just surprise you.
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