Portugal is becoming slowly, but steadily, one of the principal tourist destinations of Europe, and this is happening thanks to both the country’s beautiful natural landscapes on the continent and in the islands, and the Government’s efforts to stimulate the growing tourism industry.
If we are to look at sheer numbers, in 2016 every tourism indicator increased: revenues, number of guests and overnight stays, also the occupancy rate. Although the data for 2017 hasn’t arrived yet, the growing tendency was obvious: a year before, tourism growth smashed all records, with a 10.7% increase and close to 12.7 billion euros in total revenue.
Portugal’s successful tourism sector was noticed worldwide, so much so that the new chief of the World Tourism Organization, Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, chose Portugal as his first official visit destination, earlier this month. After extensive meetings with the Portuguese President and with representatives of the public and private sectors, Mr. Pololikashvili said that portuguese policies in the tourism industry are a direct result of good governmental decisions and the cooperation between all those involved in the tourism sector.
The UN Tourism Organisation Secretary-General praised “the commitment of Portugal to sustainable tourism and its will to guide the development of the sector in the years to come by evidence-based measurement and policies,” while Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa added that “tourism is a priority in Portugal for job creation and rural development“.
But tourism is just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond that, Portugal’s other just as important sectors are experiencing serious growth. Among them, the industries overwatching automobile production, aeronautics, mechanical products and also the largest hi-tech start-up gathering of the world (websummit) and will soon be the global hub for crypto currencies. This translates in thousands of jobs and more investments.
“(…) some years ago were not finding jobs and were emigrating to the U.K. and Germany; now it’s U.K., German and French firms that are coming to Portugal and investing,” said Economy Minister Manuel Caldeira Cabral on Tuesday, at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
According to Forbes the “noble and elegant” Lisbon is also the cheapest capital city of the world.
Lisbon’s most photographed street and considered most beautiful street in the world is probably Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo simply the best location for an apartment in Lisbon. It’s in the historic and picturesque neighborhood of Bica one of the city’s most traditional neighborhoods, known for its small bars and especially for the iconic funicular that runs through it. Constantly photographed by tourists, the funicular has been going up and down the hill. The typical Montmartre of Lisbon where you can meet Madonna.
In 1888, the municipality of Lisbon signed a contract with the Nova Companhia dos Ascensores de Lisboa for the installation of a lift system that connected the Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo to the Rua de São Paulo along the Largo do Calhariz. The project was realised by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard. The mechanical motor of the elevator was installed in 1890, after the conclusion of the public work. Yet, the lift only began functioning on 28 June 1892, after a couple of years of tests.
The tiny neighborhood, found between the Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré districts, is made up of cobbled lanes and stairways, dating back to 1597, after a landslide. The land belonged to an influential Jew with ties to King João II, and was first inhabited by fishermen and fishwives. The name comes from a 17th-century water fountain (“bica”), although there are several in the area, that belonged to Duarte Belo, a local merchant. The fountains were popular meeting places, filling the neighborhood with life.
Little affected by the 1755 earthquake, Bica offers a breathtaking view of the river, and maintains the colorful 17th- and 18th-century buildings, many of them always with open doors, flower-filled balconies and laundry out to dry.
The city of Lisbon glows with dynamism. Rich in history, Lisbon offers an amazing trip into the past, with its numerous castles, palaces, and the Romanesque and baroque churches. As for the coastline, it is scattered with beaches and marinas, an affordable apartment in Lisbon worth between 1000 to 5000 euros per square meter : simply the cheapest (Forbes), safest (interpol), prettiest and the eldest capital city in western Europe founded by the crusaders on their way back from Jerusalem.