Portugal - a country with a rich history of seafaring and discovery, looks out from the Iberian Peninsula onto the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of Europe's unspoiled tourism jewels, shaped by a rich history and vibrant culture. Its rugged windswept coastlines are home to pristine beaches, creating picturesque scenery seldom found elsewhere and its idyllic weather and welcoming people make it a pleasure to visit at any time of year.

The northern landscape is mountainous in the interior areas, with plateaus indented by river valleys, while the south features rolling plains and a climate somewhat warmer and drier than in the cooler and rainier north. The postcard-quality islands of the Azores (also a part of Portugal) are located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and offer travellers a magical journey into a land of majestic scenery - nature in all its original splendour.

Portugal provides the traveller an idyllic climate and is one of the warmest European countries. Summers are hot and dry throughout Portugal, particularly in the Algarve, which experiences very little rain. However refreshing sea breezes make for pleasant conditions. Winters are cold and wet, particularly in the northern and west coast regions, with temperatures averaging around 10°C. Lisbon, the capital, has a warm climate with sunny spring and summer days when temperatures frequently reach 30°C or above.

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