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Portugal

The Portuguese beach scene is often associated with a relatively secluded and easy-going lifestyle. Travellers lounging with their drinks and basking in the sunshine are a regular sight. The flawless beaches have led to a tourist boom across the country's southern coastline, with hundreds of scenic stretches of sand. Still, not all of them might be available for swimming, especially due to sloping seabeds or underwater currents. In the late 1960s, large pieces of the coastal land were rearranged into golf courses, and the area lost much of its unspoilt charm. Many sections, however, have remained relatively intact. The Lisbon Coast, also known as the Costa de Lisboa, along with Algarve, is among the regular areas to catch up on your tan. Costa de Lisboa, starting from the northern edge of Lisbon and extending to the small town of Vila Franca de Xira, Palmela and Alcacer do Sal, to finally end at Porto Covo, contains almost 40 percent of the country's entire population. The area specialises in light industry, being particularly oriented towards large-scale fishing. It's also a source for wine, fruit and horticultural produce. The coast has natural reserves like the Reserva Natural do Estuario do Tejo and the Reserva Natural do Estuario do Sado, along with the historic town of Silves, representing an ancient Moorish settlement.

The province of the Algarve, set in the most remote southwestern part of Europe, has a coastline stretching for 160km between Cape St. Vincent and Vila Real de Santo Antonio. Rich in geological formations and diverse vegetation, this coastal area encompasses estuaries, lagoons, bogs and sandy spits. The areas set south of the mountains of Monchique and Caldeirao enjoy a distinctly tropical climate, and are suitable for growing almonds, lemons, oranges, pomegranates and figs. The predominant Moorish architecture gives the place its distinct Oriental flavour. The cosy fishing villages, with their picturesque traditional homes and vividly coloured boats, also make up part of the region's ambiance.


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