Portugal: Europe’s Hidden Gem

Portugal is predicted to be one of the most visited countries in 2017. With its golden beaches, crystal clear water and breathtaking landscapes, it’s no surprise that the country is making its name in the tourism industry.

According to “Dublin People”, tourism in Portugal has increased by 9,2%, compared with last year’s 8,5%. Tourists aren’t only staying in Portugal for a couple of days, but instead, the number of hotel stays have been increasing by 8,7%. During Christmas season, Portugal’s tourism occupation reached new heights, with an average occupancy rate of 87%, the highest rate in comparison with the rest of Europe.

What can Portugal offer you? Olivia Miwil of the “New Strait Times Online” has experienced this country firsthand during an eight-day tour. Highlights of the tour include a city tour in Lisbon, where one can see stunning views of the whole city and the Tagus River and, at the highest point in the city, you can even glimpse the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean.

Other such attractions are the “Belém Tower”, that has survived the massive earthquake more than two centuries ago, or the town of “Sintra”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with scenic structures and different architectural styles. And Algarve, a coastline region with amazing hidden beaches, popular for having one of the best golf courses in Europe.

For the wine lovers, Portugal has 9 of them in the “100 best Buys of 2016“, published by “US Wine Enthusiast” Magazine, such as “Quinta da Aveleda” at the top 10 or “Quinta do Portal” in the 12th position. The most known wines come from the regions of “Douro” and “Porto”.

Other reasons are the never-ending beaches, free diving, rappelling, whale watching and scenic hikes… All these adventures can be enjoyed in the “Azores”, an island 1300 km off coast. These are just some of the obvious reasons why Portugal is Europe’s Hidden Gem, and will be 2017’s most visited country.