Every year Travel + Leisure names one place the Destination of the Year and this year, Portugal takes the honor. Emerging from the European debt crisis, Portugal has flourished into a new, hot spot for tourists and investors alike. With impressive economic growth and a variety of natural landscapes, Portugal has topped the travelers list and risen in popularity as one of the hottest destinations in the world.
Not too long ago, Portugal was suffering through the European debt crisis with its economy in bad shape and funding for many sectors being cut. Almost hitting bankruptcy, the country’s economy was worse than it had been in 40 years.
However, Portugal was able to emerge from the crisis and flourish again. Possibly due to lower prices, the tourism industry grew substantially and helped Portugal begin booming again. Portugal and its stunning resort areas were top rated getaway spots at lower cost than other European destinations. This further led to increased tourism in the country.
Portugal has definitely bounced back and is out on the destination scene with numbers to back it up. Foreign tourism in Portugal increased 10% in 2015 and so far 2016 is expected to show even better results. Portugal certainly seems to be back on a strong economic foundation once again.
The travel industry has seen so much growth with increased flights including nonstop flights from 8 American cities. There has been a stunning 119% growth in flight bookings from North America and over 40 new hotels and accommodations. Many of these hotels fall in the luxury travel category which displays the demand for high end travel.
The weather is one of the major perks to visiting Portugal. Unlike most European countries with brutally cold winters, Portugal boasts temperate weather all year long. And it’s only a 7 hour flight from most of the eastern seaboard so it’s quick to get to and never a bad time to visit. And the fact that it’s less expensive and not as crowded as other jam-packed European destination makes it a top choice for many prospective travelers.
When considering Portugal as a prospective holiday destination or investment opportunity it’s important to get to know each part if the country and what it has to offer. Portugal is made up of seven regions, with 2 of them being island groups. These include the North, Centre, Lisbon Metropolitan Area, Alentejo, Algarve, Autonomous Region of the Azores, and the Autonomous Region of Madeira.
First and foremost, any visitor to Portugal must visit her capital city, Lisbon. Anyone looking for an incredible cosmopolitan getaway will find everything they need. This city is one of Europe’s gems, with world class restaurants, shops, attractions, and cultural sites. The oldest bookshop in the world can be found in Lisbon as well. Football fans will want to see Cristiano Ronaldo’s brand new hotel, the Pestana CR7, which boasts a subtle football theme throughout. And make sure to visit the famed UNESCO World Heritage Site Belem Tower which lies just outside the city.
The Douro Valley is in the northwest of the country and is famous for winemaking and its gorgeous landscape. Visitors will be in awe of the white-washed quintas and terraced vineyards along the River. There is so much natural beauty to see in this river valley, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The famed Six Senses luxury spa resorts have just opened its first location in the western hemisphere in the Douro Valley. Known for their high end accommodations and spa treatments all over Asia, they have attracted many travelers. Their Douro location offers wine related treatments including vinotherapy and many varieties of wine to choose from.
Downstream lies the country’s second largest city of Porto which is known for the production of Portugal’s famous port wine. There are many museums, fine dining establishments, designer shops, as well as wine tasting. It’s also easy to fit into your itinerary as Porto is only a few hours’ drive from Lisbon and can easily be made in a day trip.
The Azores archipelago consist of 9 small islands and a must see for sport lovers. This is the place to be if you love sailing, hiking, rock climbing, surfing, and more. It’s hard to believe that the Azores is only four hour direct flight from Boston, making it an excellent choice for those living in the northeastern U.S.
Perhaps one of the most popular Portugal destinations is the Algarve. Known for its stunning beaches, amazing golf courses and quaint fishing villages there is something for everyone. Located on the south and on a stretch of gorgeous coastline, visitors can also check out regional landmarks such as the Ria Formosa Natural Park and Silves’ Moorish Castle and a 16th century fortress of Cape Saint Vincent.
Prospective travelers and investors have a lot to gain from visiting Portugal. There are so many exciting places to visit and profitable places to invest thanks to the boom in the economy. Plus, foreign investors have the added benefit of getting Portuguese residency and/or citizenship for themselves and their family by investing in Portugal. The Portugal Golden Visa program is simple and clear cut, with qualifying investments getting the investor heaps of benefits and the prospect of EU citizenship.
It’s easy to apply for a Golden Visa for Portugal when making a worthy investment. So come visit and see what this amazing place has to offer!