Portugal is increasingly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Travellers come from all over the globe to this thin rectangular strip of land that is met by the Atlantic Ocean. The peninsula however has a fascinating interior that is well worth the use of hire car, touring at your own pace and leisure is strongly advisable.
The landscape in Portugal is varied and diverse ranging from fertile plains to barren mountainsides. As you tour the country in your hire car the chance to stop at the many historic villages is too good to miss and the warm friendly people will always make you feel welcome.
Portugal has a largely rural population that depend upon agriculture for their income. This agricultural way of life is visible at every stop in your hire car and becoming involved in the relaxed way of life is a necessity. With the incredible heat in Portugal there is little wonder that the inhabitants take regular breaks from their working lives to get out of the fierce sun and relax over a slow enjoyable lunch.
Of course much of Portugal has many well developed tourist areas by the coast. This is result of years of tourism efforts and cheap flights from other areas in Europe. If you do want to escape these tourist traps it is well worth the use of a hire car to head away from the crowds and exploring the country yourself. The best experiences are always away from tourist groups, as getting your own spin on a culture is always infinitely more rewarding.
That is not to say you have to leave the coast in your hire car to find the real Portugal. There are numerous little fishing villages that offer a fascinating insight into Portuguese culture. The small fishing boats that fill the harbours are still evident and create picture perfect photo opportunities. Thankfully tourism has not yet reached a lot of these villages and the quaint way of life is still in existence.
When travelling the country in you hire car it is well worth visiting Lisbon, as the capital and largest city in Portugal it offers a unique view of modern Portuguese life. Full of brilliant museums and architecture the city is evidence of Portugal's rich heritage. A marked historical site is the Tower of Belem, as the most outstanding image on the skyline it was the last thing the new age explorers would be able to see before embarking on their voyages of discovery.
The nightlife in Lisbon is lively and frenetic at times with a huge amount of bars and clubs, a good time is guaranteed. The Portuguese head out a lot later than their European counterparts so do not expect the city's nightspots to become lively until around eleven at night. Once the locals do come out however the city erupts with a party atmosphere that is hard to rival. A tip to tourists is to start your night out in the trendy upper town area before heading down to the dock area for late night activities.
As you tour in your hire car make sure to stop off at local eateries to sample the cuisine of the various regions. Coastal areas have a large amount of fish in their menus with shellfish often being a speciality. Inland however pork is an extremely popular meat although regional differences in menus are commonplace.
Overall using a hire car to tour the undiscovered Portugal is ultimately rewarding. It is easy to spend the whole time of your holiday lying on the fantastic beaches cooking yourself; exploration however should be a major consideration as there is a lot of Portugal that has yet to be spoiled by mass tourism. If you would like to pursue a unique experience this kind of tour is highly advisable and will allow you to say that you have seen the real Portugal.