Places of Interest in Portugal
Portugal borders Spain and is the westernmost point of continental Europe. Like Spain it shares some of its cultural heritage with its North African neighbours. The capital, Lisbon, situated at the mouth of the Tagus River in western Portugal, is considered an international city thanks to its size and its thriving commercial district. The city has an Old Town, a perfect place to shop or to wander, admiring the architecture and enjoying the café life.
In 2012, the European city of culture is Guimarães. The city, located in the north of Portugal, will play host to festivals and displays of art and music, thought, dance and more over the course of the year before the mantle passes on for the following year.
In Portugal, two festivals a year are celebrated annually, Holy Week in the week before Easter and Carnival in February or March – the dates vary. Like Mardi Gras in Louisiana, a sister festival, Carnival has its roots in the feats before Lent when observant Catholics eat all their meat before a fast.
However, the ‘festival of the flesh’ has come to be an extravagant and expressive street party and home to vital traditions as well as street food and drink. Carnivals are hosted in many cities across Portugal, and it’s regarded as one of the best times of year to see the country, with the weather improving for Spring but not yet as hot as Summer.
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