Tourism in Portugal

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Lisbon, Portugal's capital.
Porto and Northern Portugal.
The Algarve leads in overnight stays.
University of Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in the world.
Monserrate Palace in Sintra, Greater Lisbon.
Pico, Azores, besides being the highest mountain in Portugal, is a wine region whose landscape is protected as world heritage.

Tourism in Portugal serves millions of international and domestic tourists. Tourists visit to see cities, historic landmarks, enjoy beaches or religious sites. In 2016, it was visited by 21,2 million, of which 12,6 million were foreign tourists. The most popular destinations were Lisbon, Northern Portugal and the Algarve; and, accounting international travelers only, the most popular were Lisbon, the Algarve and Northern Portugal. National tourists, however, prefer Northern Portugal, followed by Central Portugal and Lisbon.

Statistics[edit]

In 2006, the country was visited by 7 million tourists.[1] Ten years later, the country was visited by 12,6 million international tourists.

In 2016, and compared to 2015, most tourists staying in hotels were attracted to Lisbon (6.3 million, up from 5.8), Porto and Northern Portugal (4.4 million, up from 3.9), the Algarve (4.2 million, up from 3.8), Central Portugal (3.2 million, up from 2.9 million), Madeira (1.5 million, up from 1.3), Alentejo (1.2 million, up from 1.1), and the Azores (0.5 million, up from 0.4). The Algarve and Lisbon lead in overnight stays.[2] In 2016, overnight stays grew significantly in other regions: the Azores (+21.1%), Northern Portugal (+14.4%), Alentejo (+12%), Central Portugal (+11.8%), and Madeira (+10.9%).[3][4]

Accounting international tourists, the most popular regions were Lisbon (4,41 million), Algarve (3,01 million), Northern Portugal (2,08 million), Central Portugal (1,23), Madeira (1,19), Alentejo (0,37), and the Azores. For national tourists the most popular regions were Northern Portugal (2,28), Central Portugal (1,99), Lisbon (1,87), Algarve (1,18), Alentejo (0,80), Madeira (0,29), and the Azores (0,27).[4]

Region International Tourist guests
millions
TOP nationalities
(over 100,000 tourists)
National tourists
millions
Lisbon 4.41 France, Spain, Germany, Brazil,
UK, US, Italy, Netherlands,
China, Belgium, Switzerland
1.87
Algarve 3.01 UK (over 1 Million), Germany, Spain,
Netherlands, Ireland, France
1.18
Northern Portugal 2.08 Spain, France, Germany, Brazil, UK 2.28
Central Portugal 1.23 Spain, France, Brazil 1.99
Madeira 1.19 UK, Germany, France 0.29
Alentejo 0.37 - 0.80
The Azores 0.26 - 0.27

Lisbon is, with Barcelona, one of the European cities leading in overnight stays.[5] The urban areas of Porto and Northern Portugal, north of Douro River surpassed Madeira, in 2010, and the Algarve, in 2015, and became the second most visited destination in Portugal. In 2015, most tourists were Europeans, but also from the Americas and Asia. Sleeping in the country's hotels, the most numerous are the British, Spanish, French, Germans, Brazilians, the Dutch, Americans, Italians, and the Japanese, which not only want the sun and the beach, but mostly cultural ones, city breaks, gastronomy, nautical tourism, or business traveling.

Portugal won 14 "Oscars" of the tourism. The national tourism had 77 nominations and won a total of 14 awards in more than 10 European categories, surpassing Spain or Italy, at the gala of the World Travel Awards 2015, whose ceremony took place in Sardinia, Italy. CNN compared Lisbon and Porto head-to-head in order to find who has the best food, culture, old cafés and boutiques, nightlife, and the best beaches.[6]

Travel guide giants Lonely Planet have designated Portugal as one of the top 3 countries to visit in 2018.[7]

Tourism regions[edit]

Tourism in Portugal is located in Portugal
Lisbon
Lisbon
Porto
Porto
Algarve
Algarve
Fátima
Fátima
Coimbra
Coimbra
Tourist regions

Tourist hotspots in Portugal are Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve, Fátima, Coimbra, Azores, and Madeira, but the Portuguese government is currently developing new destinations: the Douro Valley, Porto Santo Island, and Alentejo.

Portugal has several other tourism regions such as Douro Sul, Templários, Dão-Lafões, Costa do Sol, Costa Azul, Planície Dourada, etc. Most of them are unknown to tourists and locals alike. As of 2007, these are being reorganized.

All these regions are grouped in tourism reference areas, which are widely known because these are the traditional regions:

  • Costa Verde — The Portuguese green coast comprises all the northern coast of Portugal from the estuary of the Minho River to the city of Porto.
  • Silver coast — The coast of central Portugal from Porto to Lisbon. Nazaré, Foz de Arelho and São Martinho do Porto are 3 important places at the Costa de Prata.
  • Costa de Lisboa — Lisbon coast. The coast of the capital city and its important suburbs.
  • Montanhas — Mountainous and interior regions of northern and central Portugal, namely Serra da Estrela and Trás-os-Montes.
  • Planícies — The Portuguese plane region of Alentejo in the south.
  • Algarve — The southern coast of Portugal including the Golden Triangle.
  • Madeira — The Madeira islands.
  • Açores — The Azores islands.

Tourist regions[edit]

Its historic background, cathedrals and canals, make Aveiro scenic enough to be also known as the "Portuguese Venice".

The main tourist regions can be broken-down into:

Other tourist regions include Douro Sul, Templários, Dão-Lafões, Costa do Sol, Costa Azul, Planície Dourada, that are unknown to many tourists or visitors.

Most of these regions are grouped in tourism reference areas, which continue to be in a state of reorganization and evolution, some based on the traditional regions of Portugal: the Costa Verde (Green Coast); Costa da Prata (Silver Coast); Costa de Lisboa (Lisbon Coast); Montanhas (Mountains); Planícies (Plains); Algarve; and the islands of the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores.

The Rooster of Barcelos is bought by many tourists as a souvenir. The legend of the Rooster of Barcelos tells the story of a dead rooster's miraculous intervention in proving the innocence of a man who had been falsely accused and sentenced to death. The story is associated with the 17th-century calvary that is part of the collection of the Archeological Museum located in Paço dos Condes, a gothic-style palace in Barcelos, a city in the Braga District of northwest Portugal.

Arrivals by country[edit]

In 2015 11,362,240 foreign tourists visited Portugal, a 9.3% increase over the previous years figure of 10,393,920. The majority (81.2%) of visitors were from Europe.[citation needed]

UNESCO World Heritage sites[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]