Tourism in Portugal
Portugal attracts many tourists each year. In 2006, the country was visited by 7 million tourists. Tourism is playing an increasingly important role in Portugal's economy contributing about 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The main tourist areas are, by order of importance, the Greater Lisbon (Lisboa), the Algarve, Greater Porto and Northern Portugal (Porto e Norte), city of Coimbra, Portuguese Islands (Ilhas Portuguesas: Madeira and Azores), and Alentejo.
Lisbon is, after Barcelona, the European city attracting most tourists, with 7 million tourists sleeping in the city's hotels in 2006, the number grew 11.8% compared to previous year. Lisbon in recent years surpassed the Algarve as the leading tourist region in Portugal. Porto and Northern Portugal, especially the urban areas north of Douro River, was the tourist destination which grew most (11.9%) in 2006 and surpassed Madeira, in 2010, as the third most visited destination. Today, most tourists in Portugal are Spanish, British, French, Dutch, Scandinavians or Brazilians, which not only search for beach vacations, but mostly cultural ones, city breaks, gastronomy, nautical tourism or business traveling.
Tourist hotspots in Portugal are Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve, Coimbra 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.
- Costa de Prata — 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.
- Madeira — The Madeira islands.
- Açores — The Azores islands.
- Portugal Official Tourism Website
- Portugal travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Media related to Tourism in Portugal at Wikimedia Commons
- Portugal travel and tourism at DMOZ
- Options for tourism in Portugal
- Portugal Video Channel Website - Visit Portugal before you go!