Portugal - Holidays, Flights and Hotels
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Continental Portugal is split in two by its main river, the Tagus (Tejo). Northern landscape is mountainous in the interior areas with plateaus, cut by four breaking lines that allow the development of relevant agricultural areas. The South area between the Tejo and the Algarve (the Alentejo) features mostly rolling plains with a climate somewhat warmer and drier than the cooler and rainier north. The Algarve, separated from the Alentejo by mountains, enjoys a Mediterranean climate comparable with Morocco or Southern Spain, and is the southwesternmost tip of Europe (Sagres). Other major rivers include the Douro, the Minho and the Guadiana, similar to the Tagus in that all originate in Spain. Another important river, the Mondego, originates in the Serra da Estrela (the highest mountains in mainland Portugal - 1,993 m / 6,532 ft).
Mount Pico in Pico Island as viewed from Faial IslandThe islands of the Azores and Madeira are located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, some of the islands have had recent volcanic activity. Originally two islands, São Miguel Island was joined by a volcanic eruption in 1563. The last volcano to erupt was the Vulcão dos Capelinhos (Capelinhos Volcano) in 1957, in the Western part of Faial Island, increasing the size of that island. Dom João de Castro Bank is a large submarine volcano that lies midway between the islands of Terceira and São Miguel and rises to 14 metres (46 ft) under the sea surface. It last erupted in 1720 and formed an island that remained over the water for several years. A new island may be formed in a not so distant future. Portugal's highest point is Mount Pico in Pico Island, an ancient volcano, at 2,351 metres (7,713 ft).
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Portugal is a safe country. This does not mean that you should throw caution to the wind and let down your guard, but generally speaking, you are safer in Portugal than in most other western countries. In particular, there is a refreshing lack of boozy stupidity at the weekends, despite the profusion of bars open to all hours in the major cities. Also, there are no internal conflicts to speak of, and no terrorism-related danger.
Like any big city, there are some areas of Lisbon and Porto that you might want to avoid, especially at night. Also like in any other tourist areas, you might want to have in mind that pickpockets do tend to target tourists more frequently - but some common sense should be enough to keep you safe.