A forty-minute drive from Lisbon, you will find the town of Mafra near the west coast of Portugal. The town is known for the landmark that dominates it, the opulent Palácio Nacional de Mafra (Mafra National Palace), a Baroque masterpiece that was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019. The beautiful palace complex includes the king's and queen's palaces, a royal chapel, a monastery and an impressive library. The buildings are surrounded by magnificent gardens and a royal hunting park known as Tapada.
A tiny, charming town with over 3000 inhabitants, Obidos is an hour from Lisbon and feels like stepping back in time. The medieval village's historic centre features picturesque cobbled streets and traditional white houses, surrounded by a crenellated castle wall which is accessible by foot. The entire scene is like something out of a story book, enhanced by the surrounding hilly landscape.
An ancient fishing village turned popular seaside resort, Nazare is only an hour and a half from Lisbon but it feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The town became world-famous almost a decade ago when Garrett McNamara, a 51-year-old from Hawaii surfed a 78-foot wave (23 metres) at one of the town's beaches, breaking the world record for the biggest wave ever surfed. The event put Nazare on the map and surfers flocked to the picturesque coastal village desperate to catch the giant waves that many locals have spent years avoiding. For travellers, it is a great spot to relax and eat fresh fish while taking in the beautiful scenery and watching surfers do their bit.
Braga is Portugal's third-largest city and its most important religious centre. With almost four dozen places of worship, Braga is something of an ecclesiastical destination, particularly around Easter. However, a large student population also means that, despite the numerous churches, Braga is not just a historical or religious tourist site but a dynamic and eclectic city with a lot on offer. Braga offers a slice of authentic Portugal, nestled amongst hills beside the spectacular Peneda-Geres National Park and just an hour from Porto. With a moderate climate all year round and unhurried pace of life, Braga offers the perfect environment to explore the city's cultural offerings and culinary scene.
Questions About Portugal for senior travellers
The Golden Years of Lisbon
Successfully breaking the Venetian monopoly on spices and also cornering the African market made Portugal cash-rich. Pepper, which the Portuguese bought for two cruzados (gold coin) a sack in Cochin, India, was sold for 30 cruzados in Lisbon.
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