Portugal: Incredibly simple, yet stunning

Portugal: Incredibly simple, yet stunning

Portugal is a very fascinating tourist destination located in the southwestern part of Europe. The county boasts of having great history and rich culture and heritage. With its medieval castles, scenic landscapes, beautiful countryside, breathtaking beaches, wonderful cities and many more beautiful things, Portugal is a favorite tourist destination for tourists from across the world. The country is known for its incredibly pleasant weather, delicious food and friendly people. In an exclusive interview with TnH magazine, H.E. Mr. Joã o da Camara, Ambassador of Portugal to India elaborated on what make Portugal an attractive tourist destination across the world and why Indians should visit the country. He also spoke about Portuguese visa process for Indian visitors. Excerpts:

Q. What is extraordinary about Portugal as a tourist destination?

If I could answer this question in a word it would be: simplicity. We as a tourist destination offering fantastic weather, delicious food, very friendly and welcoming people. Moreover, we have beautiful white sandy beaches, a typical countryside, historical cities, modern cities and ideal conditions for radical sports, golf and horse riding. Some of the best music festivals in the world are held in Portugal. The country is home to many important destinations for religious tourism. All such places and destinations in the country are connected by one of the best road networks in Europe and by a very good public transport system.

Q. Why do you think that Portugal is good destination for Indian visitors?

Indian people find Portugal quite a familiar destination and feel very much at home. In many ways you can find and identify Indian influence and Indian heritage in our society. I would also like to underline that as compared with other European destinations, Portugal is much cheaper.

Q. How simple is the visa process of Portugal for Indian travellers? How about the first time travellers?

For travellers who have been to Schengen countries before, the process is very simple. They just need to go to one of the VFS centres that represents Portugal in India and to bring with them all the required documents. For the first-time travellers, they need also to come to the Portuguese Embassy in New Delhi or to the Portuguese Consulate General in Goa (responsible for the States of Goa and Marahastra) for an interview.

Q. How does the Portugal visa service remain competitive?

I don’t know much about other services so I cannot compare. I can only say that our visa service is quite straightforward and simple.

Q. What tips can you offer to Indian nationals applying for the Portugal visas?

I will suggest them to plan their trip ahead, give some time to the visa request and present all the required documents.

Q. How important is the Indian outbound market for Portugal ? How many Indian tourists visited Portugal last year?

India is still not one of our main markets in terms of tourism but we are very much willing to make it. We received about 7000 tourists in 2016. The figure is not impressive but we are encouraged by the fact that it doubled in the last two or three years and that is now three times more than what it used to be 10 years ago.

Q. How is the air-connectivity between the two countries?

We still don’t have direct flights between our two countries but we have many different convenient connections with one stopover.

Q. How will you describe the relationship between India and Portugal?

Bilateral relations are excellent but not yet very substantial. We are working to improve it and we have already the first signs of that improvement following a very successful visit of the Portuguese Prime Minister to India.

Q. What do you like the most about India?

I like India’s diversity, the warmth of its people, its heritage and also its modernity.


Portugal in brief:

Once you are in Portugal, you will be enamored by the breathtaking beauty of this small country. One of the oldest European countries, Portugal is an amazing tourist destination. Its landscapes are quite spectacular and enchanting. The country is dotted with stunning castles and walled towns, which are fascinating reminiscent of the country’s glorious past. Located in Marvão, the Castle of Marvão, a well-preserved medieval castle, is perhaps the most magnificent castle in Portugal. The country also has awe-aspiring coastlines and beaches. Besides its varied and captivating attractions, the country’s delicious food and wine and its friendly people make it a preferred destination. Lisbon and Porto boast of some of Europe’s best clubs and most contemporary architecture. From cliffbacked coves to endless sand dunes, you are not often far from stunning beaches in Portugal. Antique churches located in different parts of the country add further charm to it. Mountains make up the bulk of the country’s frontier with Spain. Early Portuguese monarchs fortified the border with a series of walled towns, which make these border areas some of the most fascinating experience while visiting this immensely beautiful country. Apart from beaches and high mountains, the rest of Portugal is an assorted and fertile country with deep valleys and gently sloping hills dotted with stone-built villages. In succinct, this country offers almost everything to entice an intrigued traveller and make you mesmerize on every visit.

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