Cape Town - Along with most European nations, Portugal ranks as one of the top nationalities in the world on The Henley & Partners – Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index.
The country ranking of 16 out of 161 positions reflects the strength of the country in terms of its economy, education and health facilities, the standard of living, and the peace and stability enjoyed by those living there.
These reasons account for Portugal’s popularity among South Africans looking for a second residence in Europe.
It’s also the country’s great natural beauty, its culture and food, and the appealing climate that bring millions of tourists to its shores.
Here are some of the top reasons to visit the country:
The Mediterranean climate guarantees warm summers and relatively mild winters – far more pleasant than countries to its north.
The long coastline and many large rivers make Portugal perfect for water sports: kitesurfing, canoeing, surfing, stand up paddling, and a variety of boating activities are available to those who love the water.
The city-breaks: most visitors journey to the capital city, Lisbon, or to Porto, the country’s second city, twice named European Best Destination. With its trendy nightlife, top-notch restaurants, and stunning views of the city across the River Tagus, Lisbon is a must. Porto, on the other hand, offers the relaxation of a Douro River cruise, wine tastings (in particular the port for which the city is named), some of the best golf courses in Europe, and calming spa experiences.
Fascinating day trips from the main centres are easy as the country is relatively small. Visit the enclave of Sintra, close to Lisbon, to experience the beauty of its mountain-top castles and mansions, or Ericeira, site of Europe’s first World Surfing Reserve, an 8-kilometre stretch of outstanding natural surf breaks.
From Porto, the town of Braga is well worth a stopover: boasting the oldest cathedral in the country, its famed fountains at the beautiful Praça da República make for a really special experience.
As one of the more affordable destinations in Europe, and with its wide range of experiences on offer to suit everyone’s preferences, this is a destination well worth considering.
Adapted from a press release for IOL