The cultural wealth of Portugal is also revealed through its fine architecture and art. A visit to the country's museums and art galleries is a must during your stay.
When visiting the country, make a point of visiting the capital, where you will discover the famous Belem Tower. The city of Sintra, with its countless palaces and castles displaying romantic, gothic or renaissance architecture, also deserves a special mention.
Along the way, you will see many buildings covered with Azulejos: this artistic architectural decor using glazed ceramic tiles contributes to the splendour of the country. The facades of many of Portugal's major monuments are adorned with this bright blue pottery.
When you travel to Portugal, the first thing you feel when you arrive is the warm ambience of the music, which is an important part of Portuguese culture. The Alfama and Bairro Alto districts in Lisbon are particularly famous for their fado, a traditional form of Portuguese music.
Social interaction often centres around sports... The Portuguese love to meet up to play football. You will also encounter lively Portuguese people in a bar or a café, enjoying a game of football. It is also a great opportunity to mingle with these vibrant people.
But Portuguese culture also glitters through its many religious monuments. Portugal has a rich Catholic heritage, exemplified by the gigantic cathedral in Coimbra and the monastery of the Hieronymites. The monastery of Batalha is also well worth a visit for its sheer beauty.
Portugal's culture and traditions are also expressed in its gastronomy. Spend some quality time in traditional restaurants and tapas bars, or try one (or two) of the famous "pasteis de Belém", which is a traditional Portuguese custard pastry.
Although the night of Midsummer's Day (23 June) is a date celebrated in many parts of the world, the city of Porto celebrates it in a special way, with the inhabitants jumping over bonfires and flying paper lanterns. São João is thus one of the most important and best-known festivals in the country, as evidenced by the crowds of people who flock to the streets to celebrate it, by feasting on grilled sardines accompanied by a glass of excellent local wine.
An amusing and curious custom is the martelinhons. These toy hammers which emit a sound are used to hit the heads of friends, family or any stranger they meet along the way.
The evening ends with fireworks to welcome the summer solstice.
Not far from the capital of Portugal is the town of Torres Vedras, which holds the country's largest carnival (March). This celebration continues to honour the traditions and history of this joyous festival, assigning a theme each year.
The satirical character of this festival is perhaps the most characteristic. Many floats are made up of caricatures of well-known personalities such as politicians and footballers.
Giants and bigheads also take centre stage at the carnival, as do the Matrafonas, men dressed as women who express their playful opinions on the female gender and everyday life.