Undiscovered Portugal

Here are two texts from students in our Advanced course.  Their writing task was to write a contribution to a website or brochure for tourists interested in spending time in the Portuguese countryside.  We think they do a great job of selling the country to potential visitors.  What do you think?

The Undiscovered Countryside

If you are on the lookout for adventure and holiday time well-spent, here is the perfect destination for you: the Portuguese Countryside, a world waiting to be explored.

Portugal has a vast mountain area which is without doubt a great place to try out outdoor sports and pursuits like climbing, mountain biking or, for the less daring, hill walking.  These mountains are also home to a great variety of wild animals.  They might be shy but if you are patient, you might be lucky enough to see a lynx, birds of prey or even wolves.

If you are looking for a relaxing and peaceful escape from hectic city life, Portugal can offer that too.  Far away from the hustle and bustle are hotels and cottages for rent with pools and spas where you can unwind and recharge your batteries.

When it comes to accommodation, there is a wealth of options.  You can choose from elegant hotels, quaint country cottages and bungalows, welcoming bed and breakfasts and well equipped camp sites.  In general the standard of the facilities are excellent.  Places to stay in the countryside are also cheaper in comparison with the big and modern city hotels.

As much as we’d like to, we can’t give accurate predictions about the weather conditions.  If you’re coming in winter cold temperatures are to be expected along with the chance of heavy rain, deep snow and dense fog.  In contrast, summer is usually very hot but you should still be prepared for the odd summer shower.

To sum up, the Portuguese countryside has a lot to offer.  Take some time out to come and see the beautiful landscapes of Serra da Estrela and Serra do Gerrês for yourself.  I’m sure you won’t regret choosing to spend your holidays here.

 

Areas such as the Serra do Caramulo are wonderful destinations for nature lovers who love going off the well beaten tourist tracks.

Areas such as the Serra do Caramulo are wonderful destinations for nature lovers who love going off the well beaten tourist tracks.

 

A Destination with a difference

When visiting a foreign country, tourists often choose the same overcrowded places as their destination.  However, by doing so, they might be overlooking somewhere even better.  For example, the Portuguese countryside is a great place to get away from the stressful life in the city.

What to do and where to stay

More often than not we assume that there isn’t much to do in the countryside but that’s completely wrong!  If you want to relax and enjoy breathtaking sights, this is the best place you could choose.  And as far as activities go, there are a wide variety of ways to take advantage of your time.

One of the main attractions is extreme sports.  There are many adventure parks offering activities such as rafting, rappel, suspended bridges, rock climbing and mountain biking.  In addition, there are also calmer programmes like hiking trips.

Finding a place to stay is no longer the problem it once was thanks to the growing trend in rural tourism.  From budget options like youth hostels to cosy wooden houses and bungalows which can be rented for shorter or longer breaks, there are plenty of options available to suit all tastes and budgets.

These options place you in the heart of Portuguese village life.  A visit to the countryside gives you closer contact with locals and, consequently, a deeper contact with their culture.

What to expect

There isn’t much to say about the weather.  It might be slightly colder or warmer than what you’re used to, but nothing unusual or unbearable.  In the countryside, even on hotter days during the height of summer, there’ll always be a tree offering some shade.

Animals might be your biggest problem, especially insects during the summer, so make sure you have what you need to repel them.

An invitation

All in all, when making your decision about your next holiday destination, don’t forget to look beyond the normal resorts and tourist traps.  Whichever country you choose to visit, the countryside is sure to offer you a different experience.  I’m sure that if you make the Portuguese countryside your destination, it will be a memorable experience too.

 

Wonderful views in the Serra do Caramulo.

Wonderful views in the Serra do Caramulo.

 

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2 Comments

Filed under CAE 2012

2 responses to “Undiscovered Portugal

  1. Further reading 1:
    Max Wooldridge, The land that time forgot, (Portuguese travel feature from The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2003/mar/25/portugal.walkingholidays?INTCMP=SRCH)

  2. Further reading 2:
    Portugal chosen as one of the hottest tourist destinations for 2013 by travel inspirations website Globe Spots: http://www.globespots.com/besttravel.php?year=2013 with tips on where to visit: http://www.globespots.com/places.php?country=portugal

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