Three years have gone by since my last visit to the Iberian peninsula. While I was previously exploring the southern coast of Spain, this time I wanted to get to know Portugal, the second country on the most south-eastern part of Europe, better. My travels led me from Porto in the north via Lisbon all the way down to the Algarve coast. I was lucky to see some of the most impressive landscapes and historical sites of the region and somewhere in between there was also some unique birdlife that I'll go into more detail in a later article.
I hope you'll enjoy my short photographic summary of a country that has way more to offer that I could ever try to show in such a brief manner.
Porto, which literally means 'port' once was one of the most important transfer sites of goods from the new world. Since the fall of the Portuguese colonial empire it has lost most of it's international importance but is still the cultural and economic center of northern Portugal.
Braga, situated about 45 km north east of Porto, is especially famous for the pilgrimages of Bom Jesus do Monte and Santuário do Sameiro.
Coimbra used to be the capital of Portugal until Lisbon took over this function in 1256. Especially famous for its university, which is one of the oldest universities in Europe, Coimbra is one of the cultural and intellectual centers of the country.
Óbidos and Peniche
Walking the streets of the old town is almost like entering a different world. The medieval character and features have been preserved perfectly. It is possible to walk on the city walls almost in their entirety - without any added safety measures like railings of course.
Cabo da Roca
The most western point of mainland Europe was one of the important stops of my trip, not just because of its special geographic location but especially because of the dramatic landscapes of steep cliffs and granite boulders. When I arrived at the scene I was very disappointed to see that the weather was extremely foggy as is typical for the Atlantic coast, with almost zero visibility from the top of the 140 meters high cliffs.
I had almost given up hope to get a picture in these conditions. It was clear that I won't get a sunset or even decent colors but still I wanted to scout the surrounding area for some unlikely opportunities.
Walking down towards the shore I noticed that the visibility improved with lower altitude and the fog from above was more like low hanging clouds.
I hope you enjoyed the highlights of my trip so far. The next part is about some bird photography. See it here