From Andrew Harper
Portugal is blessed with a diverse landscape and a sun-drenched coastline. The country is split by the Tagus River. The north is chiefly mountainous and indented by steep valleys, whereas the south is a land of rolling plains. Traditional Portuguese architecture is extremely distinctive, especially the highly ornamented Manueline style from the early 16th century. Fish is integral to the country’s cuisine, especially dry cod (bacalhau), grilled sardines and caldeirada, a potato-based fish stew. Wines have been produced in Portugal since the time of the Roman Empire. The country is justly renowned for its pousadas, a chain of state-owned luxury lodgings in historic buildings. It also offers an ever-expanding number of excellent golf courses.
CLIMATE: Portugal has an agreeable climate, with mild winters, and summers that are dry and warm but seldom oppressively hot. The Mediterranean Algarve region is the sunniest, driest and warmest part of the country.
TIME: Five hours ahead of New York (EST).
CURRENCY: Euro (€). Fluctuating rate valued at €1.00 = US$1.36 as of December 2013.
U.S. EMBASSY: Lisbon, Tel. (21) 094-2300.
DIRECT DIAL CODES: To phone hotels and restaurants in Portugal, dial 011 (international access) + 351 (Portugal code) + city code and local numbers in listings.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Passport (valid for three months beyond end of stay). Visit www.travel.state.gov, and for travelers’ health information, www.cdc.gov
GENERAL INFORMATION: Visit visitportugal.com before your trip.