Today's visitors to Portugal will find spectacular castles, mediaeval villages, a lush land-scape including a mountainous green interior and a sweeping coast-line, with some of the finest beaches in Europe
The beaches of the south coast, known as the Algarve, have especially fine sand.
Of course, being on the Atlantic, they are far more tidal than the Mediterranean beaches of the Costa del Sol in neighbouring Spain.
The name Algarve comes from the Arabic term for,"the South", and reveals the Moorish past of southern Portugal.
The nation's capital, Lisbon, with its faded buildings and red-tiled roofs, is steeped in history and has an impressive memorial to the great mediaeval maritime explorers of Portugal, like Vasco da Gama and Henry the Navigator.
Portugal is a land of traditional, wistful, evocative "fado" music, fine food and good wine and some of Europe's greatest cultural masterpieces.
Allied to its excellent warm climate, it has a great deal to offer the holidaymaker looking for something a little quieter than Spain.
The wonderful island of Madeira, off the west coast of Morocco, is also part of Portugal.
It is often described as a "Floating Garden", due to the abundance of wild flowering shrubs that can be seen there.
Madeira was a favourite with British aristocratic travellers, wishing to escape the British winter, for centuries, long before travelling became the norm for ordinary people!
The fine historic buildings of the capital, Funchal, and the quality and number of classy five star hotels, such as Reid's, the Carlton and the Savoy, emphasise Madeira's position as a destination for the more discerning traveller!