VisitPortugal

2012/12/28

Memmo Alfama will be opening in June 2013



The new Memmo Alfama hotel will be located in the heart of the most typical and historic neighborhood of Lisbon: Alfama.

With its narrow streets, stairways and viewpoints, Alfama is the most genuine and authentic neighborhood in the city, marked by ancient traditions, the São Jorge Castle, the Cathedral and of course Fado, recently considered UNESCO Immaterial Cultural Heritage.


Here, visitors will find traditional shops and classic restaurants along roads lined with gently weathered colored houses, between which lines laden with linens slightly sway in the breeze. As you round the corner onto Travessa das Merceeiras, a slight urban intervention meanders into view. In perfect harmony with the traditional houses that surround it stands a mural by the young Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto aka Vhils: a relief of former resident’s face marks the façade of a building that otherwise blends into its surroundings. Behind this wall lies a home away from home in Lisbon - the Memmo Alfama.

Upon entering, a cozy living room greets guests in lieu of a traditional front desk and they can check in from anywhere in the hotel. Memmo Alfama’s laidback ambience implores its visitors to feel at home, welcoming them not only to borrow a book from the living room library or grab a fresh snack or slice of homemade cake from the 24-hour loyalty fridge, but also to integrate themselves into the vibrant culture of the Alfama district and the city of Lisbon.

Memmo Alfama has dedicated an intimate area of the hotel to its signature Lisbon Story, which provides guest with all the relevant information they need to navigate this rich and dynamic city and Living Alfama, an inventive approach to local integration, pairs staff suggestions for neighborhood delights with inside tips from locals themselves. Memmo Alfama offers countless avenues to take in the allure of Lisbon from the authentic Portuguese gastronomy and wines in the wine bar to the stunning terrace, bar, and pool, which offers a sublime vantage point to take in the sights and sounds of the city and the Tagus River.

This hidden treasure in the heart of one of Lisbon’s most picturesque districts has mastered the art of local integration, offering a truly authentic Lisbon experience with unmatched views of Alfama and Tagus River.

Address:
Memmo Alfama
Travessa das Merceeiras, 27
1100-348 Lisbon
Portugal
http://www.designhotels.com/


Source: Design Hotels

Portugal, your destination for 2013!

Looking for a unique idea to start 2013 in great style? Visit Portugal.

Pack your bags and bring only the essentials. We have everything that you need. Look for romance, discover culture, live an adventure or restore your calm by the sea in a good game of golf, at a spa or in the comfort of a top resort.

Portugal is your destination. Make your stay one of discovery and transform each moment into a special occasion. You’ll see that it’s a unique journey!

Why wait? Take a look at the many ideas on offer at www.visitportugal.com and start planning your holiday today.

Accept the challenge and visit Portugal in 2013:)

2012/12/18

TAP wins “Best Airline in Europe” award in Los Angeles and “World’s Leading Airline to South America” in New Delhi

TAP is the “Best Airline in Europe” and was honoured with the respective award in Los Angeles last December 13. A few hours earlier, the airline was also recognised as “World’s Leading Airline to South America” in New Delhi. These awards – two of the most important in the travel and tourism industry – recognise TAP’s prestige and international reputation.

The title “Best Airline in Europe” awarded by the US magazine Global Traveler, is the result of a survey of more than 25,000 registered votes made by the magazine’s readers, a very demanding public that makes frequent international trips.

The award reflects TAP’s performance in the competitive North American market, particularly the work the airline has done in the corporate segment, recognising the high quality of the TAP product and the potential of the airline’s Lisbon hub as a strategic platform for connections between North America and Europe.

At virtually the same time, TAP was voted “World’s Leading Airline to South America” during the grand finale of the World Travel Awards, which are considered the “Oscars” of world tourism. These awards highlight the world’s best brands in travel and tourism and are the result of a vote among industry professionals.

The awards confirm TAP’s leadership in South America, fruit of the airline’s extensive work over the years, especially in Brazil, one of the fastest growing markets in the world and where TAP is the unquestionable leader.

Source: Tap Portugal

The Azores are on the Fodor's 2013 Go List

Fodor's 25 Places to go in 2013: The AZORES

Fodor's 2013 Go List encompasses great values, newly accessible destinations, buzzy hotspots, and travel-worthy events around the globe.

According to them, the Azores Islands are "A lush island paradise in Portugal just waiting to be discovered".

Why go now?

"This lush, volcanic archipelago is an insider's find thanks to its slightly inconvenient location—in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about mid-way between the New York and Lisbon.

Renowned for world-class whale watching, hot mineral springs, and quaint seaside towns, each of the nine islands that make up the Azores Islands has its own fascinating identity.

And thanks to the Portuguese territory's off-the-beaten-path locale, prices are well within budget. Hotels and bed-and-breakfasts are cozy, and while the seafood is outstanding, it's almost impossible find an expensive restaurant on any of the islands. "

Read the all article at http://www.fodors.com/go-list/2013/azores-islands/  

More information about the  Azores at  http://www.visitazores.com/en



2012/12/17

Portuguese cheeses


©JP

 Take our invitation and come and try one of the most genuine of Portuguese products - the cheeses!

You are certain to be impressed by the quality and variety of cheeses produced across the length and breadth of Portugal.

Whether made from sheep’s, cow’s or goat’s milk, Portuguese cheeses attract great appreciation.

Savour the buttery soft Serra da Estrela cheese, or a semi-soft Nisa cheese, along with a good glass of wine for an unforgettable taste experience.

The cheeses of Azeitão, of Serpa and Terrincho go particularly well with a glass of port.Just one possible combination in the many ideal marriages between the cheeses and wines of Portugal.

With a slightly sharper flavour come the cheeses of Beira Baixa and Pico, normally served as desserts or entrées.

And any fondue made from São Jorge cheese, that when entire weigh in at between 8 and 12 kilos, is unforgettable.

Monastery of Serra do Pilar has opened to the public


Mosteiro Seera do Pilar By Maria Cartas and TPNP/ DRCN 
 Monastery of Serra do Pilar, in Gaia,World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO since 1996, and definitely the belvedere with the most spectacular panoramic view over Porto, has opened to the public on 8 December as “House of the Northern Patrimony”.

The entrance is done by a lateral door giving access to the welcome desk, to the shop and to the interactive digital table presenting information on Porto and North of Portugal. Then one gets inside the next room in which can be seen a film about the four places classified as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, on the North of Portugal - the historical centres of Porto and Guimarães, the landscape of the Douro Valley and the Archeological Park of the Côa Valley.

It is time now to visit the rare circular cloister, the only one of its kind in the country.

Here one may see the statue of D. Afonso Henriques, Portugal’s first king, by the sculptor Soares dos Reis, made of plaster which was the cast for the statue existing next to the Castle of Guimarães.

Visitors may also enjoy a guided visit by an element of the army, that owns the largest part of the space. On these guided tours, taking place every hour, it will be possible to climb to the dome. By security reasons, access will only be allowed to groups of 15 persons at a time. It is necessary to climb 100 steps until the 360.º balcony that surrounds the church, being the last 53 steps done on spiral staircase.

The space “Northern Patrimony” is opened from Tuesday to Sunday, from 09:30 to 17:30. From March on it is expected to open from 09:00 to 18:30 and on July and August, from 09:00 to 19:00. The space will close on Mondays, and on 25 December, 1st January, 1st May and Easter Sunday.

Admission fees:
- 1, 00€ - visit to the “Patrimony Room” and to the Cloister
- 3, 00€ - visit to the “Patrimony Room”, to the Cloister and to the dome
- Free – for Youth Card holders, senior citizens (over 65 years old) and children up to 12 years old.


The “Northern Patrimony House” installations and the opening to the public of the Monastery of Senhora do Pilar are the result of a protocol between the Direção Regional de Cultura do Norte and the Portuguese Army.

Source: VisitPorto.travel

Christmas and New Year in Portugal

Praça da Figueira, Lisbon ©ATL
Spend a magical Christmas in Portugal, with Father Christmas and decorated trees, together with some more unusual traditions.

On Christmas Eve in Portugal, salt cod is the traditional dish and meat is served on Christmas and Boxing days. For dessert, the menu includes crown-shaped Bolo Rei filled with crystallised fruit, and traditional fritters. The pastries, filhozes, sonhos and rabanadas, are delicious.

At home, just as in the local church, people find a special place to put the Saviour’s crib from the nativity. It was the idea of St. Francis of Assis in the 13th Century to re-create the stable where Jesus was born at Christmas. In the regions of Bragança, Guarda or Castelo Branco, a Yule log is burned in the atrium of the village church after mass. It helps keep everyone warm through the night and to wish family and friends a Merry Christmas.

Stay for the New Year celebrations. At midnight, there’s a fireworks display in every town. Everyone eats 12 raisins, with one wish for each month, and drinks champagne to bring in the New Year. The party in Madeira is renowned for being the most dazzling, with a display of light and colour over the whole island you can even see from the ocean.

At the start of the New Year, you’ll see people singing in the streets. These are the Janeiras (new year’s carollers). They sing traditional songs and those who pass by are wished a Happy New Year full of luck.

Check here some useful links:
- http://www.visitmadeira.pt
- http://www.visitlisboa.com/
- http://www.visitalgarve.pt
- http://www.visitalentejo.pt/
- http://www.visitcentro.com/
- http://www.visitazores.com
- http://www.visitporto.travel

2012/12/14

We are part of it! 48 hours of Guimarães 2012

Between the 21st and the 23rd of December, the city doesn’t stop. From Friday’s 8pm (21st) until Sunday’s 8pm (23rd) our agenda is full. The initiatives programmed under the name “We are part of it! 48 hours of Guimarães 2012” will occupy the city, bringing music, performances and urban interventions to public and private spaces.

On Friday, the 21st, by night, in Multiusos de Guimarães, takes place the European Capital of Culture title handover from Guimarães 2012 to Košice and Marseille-Provence, next year’s European Capitals of Culture. Then the show “Then We Stay...” takes place, the confluence point of the artistic work developed with the different Guimarães’ communities. Hundreds of people on stage share the result of two years of artists’ residencies. With its dimension and number of people involved, this will be one of the most striking projects of Guimarães 2012. From 11:55 pm onwards, in the Historic Centre, we celebrate the “Non-end of the World Party”.

Saturday and Sunday, during the day, in Plataforma das Artes e da Criatividade, it will be possible to revisit the most striking works and projects of Guimarães 2012 in “Capital City – A Travel around Guimarães 2012”. Books, movies, storefronts, performances, exhibitions and photographs will help you remember the European Capital of Culture. At the same time, through the city, dozens of concerts fill the programme of “My City is your Home” in an augmented version of Mi Casa es tu Casa. This time, writers, comedians, actors and actresses join musicians and singers. Artists visit various houses and their owners and not the other way round.

On Saturday night, La Fura dels Baus return to Toural (the place where everything started) – by CCTAR’s hand – with the show “We are part of it”. The Children and Youth Choir of Academia de Música da Sociedade Filarmónica Vizelense and Guimarães’ volunteers also participate in the show. Right after, in the city centre, in Caldeiroa, takes place Gróia’ 12 – The First Night of the Rest of the Year.

On Sunday at 6pm is Fundação Orquestra Estúdio’s turn to go on Multiusos’ stage. This time with the Christmas Gala, a concert that will be fully recorded by RTP.

Between Friday’s 8pm and Sunday’s 8pm there are 48hours of Guimarães 2012 waiting for you! Do we have a date?

More information at http://www.guimaraes2012.pt

Source: Guimarães 2012

2012/12/13

Portugal won 3 World Travel Awards in the Grand Final Ceremony

Last night the World’s greatest brands were revealed at the World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala Ceremony.
The WTA are considered the “Oscars” of the world travel industry.

 
Portugal won 3 “Travel Oscars” :
-
TAP Portugal was elected the World's Leading Airline to South America
-
Vila Joya was elected  World's Leading Boutique Resort
-
Conrad Algarve was elected World's Leading New Resort

Congratulations to all the winners:)

More information at http://www.worldtravelawards.com/    

Source: World Travel Awards

2012/12/11

Madeira Islands Open returns to Santo da Serra in May 2013

The Madeira Islands Open, won in 2012 by the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, Ricardo Santos, will return to Santo da Serra from May 16-19, 2013.

In May this year, Santos celebrated the 20th edition of the tournament with an emotional home triumph, becoming only the second Portuguese player after Daniel Silva to win on The European Tour.

Santos will be bidding to become the first player to successfully defend the Madeira Islands Open title when Santo da Serra stages the €675,000 tournament for the 18th time next year.

Situated on the beautiful holiday island of Madeira, in the Atlantic Ocean, Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s creation boasts spectacular mountain views, and was recently voted Portugal’s third best course in The Rolex World’s Top 1,000 Golf Courses.

The tournament, which will be held in the same week as the Volvo World Match Play Championship, will again form part of both The European and Challenge Tour Schedules, with the prize money counting towards The Race to Dubai and Challenge Tour Rankings.

António Henriques, President of Club de Golf Santo da Serra, said: “It is with great pleasure that we will host the 21st edition of the Madeira Islands Open on our Championship Course, which was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and welcomes visitors all year round. May is the month of the flower festival which celebrates Madeira’s natural beauty, so it is a perfect time to visit the island.”

Keith Waters, The European Tour’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “The Madeira Islands Open has become an established stop on the Tour Schedule, and provide a welcome opportunity for all of members to play and earn valuable Race to Dubai and World Ranking points.

“The beauty and ambience of the Island makes the week all the more enjoyable. We are grateful for the continued support of the Government and the members of Club de Golf Santo da Serra.

“Last year’s tournament will linger long in the memory for all those in attendance, and the fact that Ricardo has since been named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year will only serve to increase the excitement as we look forward to next year’s renewal.”

Madeira Island Golf Video
 

For further information, please contact:
The European Tour Communications Department
Tel: +44 1344 840400
Email:
Media@europeantour.com  

Contacts in Portugal:
Hugo Ribeiro
Telefone: 964045622 / 934220853 / 91 584 56 97
E-mail:
presspgaportugal@sapo.pt


 
Source: Associação de Promoção da Madeira and European Tour

Porto Santa Maria awarded as “Best Summer Hotel” by the tour operator Thomas Cook Northern Europe

The hotel Porto Santa Maria was nominated the number one hotel (amongst 900 hotels from around the world) for the entire summer 2012 activities of the tour operator Thomas Cook Northern Europe.

The tour operator covers several markets including Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

On a scale of zero to five, the Hotel Porto Santa Maria reached an outstanding score of 4.87.

The nomination is based on the results of questionnaires completed by the tour operator’s customers where they were asked to assess the standard of the customer services and accommodation facilities provided.

Also the Eden Mar hotel achieved the 7th place.

More information about the hotel:
Porto Santa Maria is located on the sea next to the sea-front promenade in the middle of the old centre of Funchal in the renowned “Old Town”; it faces the harbour used by cruise ships and pleasure boats. Close by are the cable car which links Funchal with Monte, Forte de São Tiago and the famous Mercado dos Lavradores (market).


The Porto Santa Maria´s location is fantastic for both the actively inclined and those who would prefer to relax and listen to the braking of waves.

A congenial hotel offering 146 rooms, restaurant, bars with terrace, direct access to the promenade, outdoor pool, indoor pool, SPA, gym, parking... all in the heart of the city.

Porto Santa Maria is an adult only hotel, only accepting reservations for guests over 16 years old.

Contacts:
Hotel Porto Santa Maria
Avenida do Mar e das Comunidades Madeirenses, 50
9060-190 Funchal
Ilha da Madeira – Portugal
Tel: +351 291 206700
Fax: +351 291 206727
e-mail:
portosantamaria@portobay.pt

More links of the Porto Bay Hotels &Resorts:
- Site:
www.portobay.com | www.onbyportobay.com | www.portobayevents.com
- Facebook:
www.facebook.com/portobayfans
- Twitter:
www.twitter.com/portobay
-Flickr:
www.flickr.com/portobaytrade  | www.flickr.com/portobayevents
- YouTube:
www.youtube.com/portobayhotels  

Source: Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts and Associação de Promoção da Madeira

2012/12/10

Ryanair adds new routes to Portugal for 2013

Ryanair, British low-cost carrier, has announced several new routes operating to Portugal for 2013.

The airline will be linking Porto with the German city of Nuremberg from the 2nd of April 2013, with flights departing every Tuesday and Saturday.

Additionally, departures from the French city of Strasbourg are due to begin twice a week in early April, bringing the total number of Porto routes to 35.

New services to and from Faro commencing in spring 2013 include Cologne, with four weekly departures (April 1st), Leipzig (April 2nd),  with a twice-weekly operation and Dortmund starting on March 15th, also twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays.


More information at http://www.ryanair.com/

Source: Ryanair

Aer Lingus with more flights to the Algarve

Aer Lingus, the Irish national carrier, has announced plans to introduce more flights to the Algarve, including the launch of a new route between Shannon and Faro and an increase in frequencies from Cork commencing next summer.

The airline has also increased its operation to Lisbon.
Aer Lingus director of communications, Declan Kearney explained:
“Our 2013 summer schedule offers our customers more choice with additional frequencies, new destinations and a great mix of city break and summer sun options. We’ve also significantly increased our number of transatlantic flights in response to customer demand. We look forward to welcoming customers on board the new services".


 

The three weekly Shannon-Faro service operates, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Tickets are already on sale. The flights will start on May 1st, operating until the end of September 2013.

For more information, see: www.aerlingus.com  

Source: Aer Lingus

2012/12/07

I Wear My Voice on My Sleeve: Fado and Fashion at MUDE Museum

Mude - Alexandra (Traje de Cena do Teatro Politeama 
On the first anniversary of the consecration of Fado as Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, the Fado Museum inaugurates a premiere exhibition at MUDE, entitled "With this voice I dress - Fado and Fashion."

On display until March 31, the exhibition offers a voyage to the world of images that "dressed" Fado and that during the 20th & 21st centuries have developed and created its identity.

The exhibition runs simultaneously at MUDE and the Fado Museum, creating a new cultural circuit in Lisboa.

One focus is centered on the contemporary, recreating costumes worn by singers as diverse as Ana Moura, Mariza or Carminho, while the other reveals Fado's historical evolution, evoking some cult figures, such as Amalia Rodrigues.

Opening hours Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm.

More info at http://www.mude.pt/

Source: Webletter Lisboa Inside

2012/12/05

Madeira International Micro Film Festival: From December 6th to 8th

Madeira islands will host the 1st edition of the Madeira Micro International Film Festival (MMiFF), an independent festival to be held in December at the old grounds of Cine Sol building, located in the eastern municipality of Ponta do Sol.

The event will include some workshops and the broadcasting of six recent European films, favoring the fantastic, the indie and the European genres.

Promoted in collaboration with several entities, namely the Ponta do Sol Inn and Digital Berlin - an European cultural marketing firm -, this cinematic occasion will contribute to promote Madeira Islands artistic and cultural traits.

It will also help to expand the restoration and preservation of “Cinema Paraíso“, an historical art deco style building dated from 1933 and an unquestionably urban heritage of the picturesque village of Ponta do Sol.

Time Table:

Thursday, 06.12.2012

18:15: After (90 min)
21:45: Vanishing Waves (124 min)
After Show with Hanno Leichtmann (Static)
alphaville dj set

Friday, 07.12.2012
18:15: Two Years At Sea (88 min)
21:45: Consuming Spirits (136 min)
After Show with Thomas Bücker
Filmscore-/ambient-dj set

Saturday, 08.12.2012
18:15: Mondomanila (75 min)
21:45: The Whisperer in Darkness (103 min)
Screening: Network Awesome presents Trailblazers and Madmen
After Show with Michael Rosen

Filmscore-/ambient-dj set

 

Contacts:

Digital in Berlin
Schwedter Strasse 52
10435 Berlin
Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 30 749 211 95
michael@digitalinberlin.de www.digitalinberlin.de

Estalagem da Ponta do Sol
Caminho do Passo, 6
9360-529 Ponta do Sol
Madeira Island
Portugal
Phone: +351 291 970200
Fax: +351 291 970209
info@pontadosol.com www.pontadosol.com

More information at http://mmiff.com/

Source: Associação de Promoção da Madeira

2012/12/04

Christmas & New Year's Eve Party in Lisboa


Praça da Figueira © Turismo de Lisboa
 During this time, the Portuguese capital prepares to host the most festive season of the year.

Enjoying a mild climate even in December, this is the ideal time to visit the city and admire the Christmas decorations and lights that light up the city, especially in the historic centre. Christmas fairs are held all around town, as well as enjoying the season's own festive spirit. The churches are filled with music and the city's main square - Terreiro do Paço - becomes the perfect host for these festivities that continue into the New Year. A 28 metre tall technological Christmas Tree has been installed here, decorated with words, film clips and real time images.

Besides being a sculptural work, designed by Portuguese artist Leonel Moura, the Christmas Tree is a medium for video projections, which collects images of the surrounding landscape, projecting them in real time onto the installation. Thus, visitors to Terreiro do Paço during the holiday season will become an integral part of the celebrations and can see themselves instantly projected on the official Christmas Tree of the Portuguese capital.

And whilst on a visit to Terreiro do Paço, this is also the ideal opportunity to discover the Lisboa Story Centre, the latest exhibit venue in the Portuguese capital. On December 6, 13 and 20, this venue extends its visiting hours until midnight with the last entry until 11pm - inviting kids and adults to learn about the history of the city, in an educational and interactive way.

Until December 22, the churches of S. Roque, Mercês, S. Nicholau, Santo Augustinho, Graça, S. Domingos and Basilica da Estrela celebrate the festive season with shows that are held at various times during the afternoon and evening.

During this holiday season, the traditional delicacies such as "Bolo Rei" (fruit cake) the irresistible "Sonhos" or the renowned "Rabanadas" (French toast) can be enjoyed in cafes and patisseries all over Lisboa. And why not go in search of the best "Bolo Rei" in town? Year after year, the competition is fierce and the recipes are enhanced to the customer's delight.

After indulging in the Christmas delicacies, prepare to lose the calories gained at the famous São Silvestre race on December 29, starting at Praça dos Restauradores and crossing the city centre.

Come the last day of the year, Lisboa prepares to give a warm welcome to 2013 and everything leads to Terreiro do Paço, the meeting point of the Portuguese capital. It is here that several Portuguese musicians go on stage to invite locals and tourists to make the countdown to the sound of music, accompanied by the traditional raisins and solemn toast with champagne.

Source: VisitLisboa.com

2012/12/03

The CS Madeira renamed VidaMar Resorts Madeira

As of November 19th 2012, the five star property, known as the CS Madeira Atlantic Resort will be renamed the VIDAMAR Resorts Madeira.

The ownership of the hotel is retained by “Carlos Saraiva Madeira Exploraçao Turistica”, under the new management of VIDAMAR. The 300-room property will be rebranded, beginning a two-year property upgrade that will embrace the VIDAMAR concept.

VIDA: Where the young at heart enjoy the vibrant energy, adventure and creativity.

MAR: Where couples find the time to rest, relax and enjoy the ocean experience.

In addition to the VIDAMAR Resort Madeira a new 320 unit property will be opened in the Algarve on 1st May 2012. Named the VIDAMAR Resort Algarve this beach fronted property signals the future expansion of the VIDAMAR brand in Portugal and beyond.

For further information please contact:
VIDAMAR Resort Madeira
Estrada Monumental, 175-177
9000-100 Funchal
Telf: (+351) 291 717 700
Fax: (+351) 291 717 701
E-mail:
info@madeira.vidamarresorts.com
Web: www.vidamarresorts.com

Source: Associação de Promoção da Madeira 


2012/11/30

Portuguese Ricardo Santos named Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year - European Tour

Ricardo Santos by ©Getty Images
Ricardo Santos has created history by becoming the first Portuguese winner of The Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award following a season in which he won the Madeira Islands Open at Santo da Serra, where he had played many times as a junior.

Santos celebrated the 40th anniversary of The European Tour one week late by becoming only the second Portuguese player to win on the International Schedule – exactly 20 years after Daniel Silva became the first by capturing the Jersey Open.

Born in Faro in 1982, Santos, raised in a home adjacent to the Oceânico Victoria Golf Course in the Algarve, fulfilled his boyhood dream by winning on Portuguese soil with a superb final round of 63, which was the lowest final round by a winner during the 2012 season and was watched by many of his family including brother Hugo, who also played in the Madeira Islands Open.

Santos had notched seven birdies before – to a hero’s welcome – he rattled home a 40-footer at the 17th, then drilled an approach to two feet at the last to become, appropriately, the first Rookie winner on The 2012 European Tour International Schedule. Santos’ claim to succeed Tom Lewis as the winner of the award was strengthened by the fact that none of his fellow rookies subsequently won on The European Tour in 2012, which ultimately swung the vote in the 30 year old’s favour.

Santos, who dedicated his win to his wife, Rita, and their daughter, Victoria, was naturally thrilled to learn that he had become the 48th recipient of The Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award, which was launched in 1960.

He said: “It’s an honour to become the first Portuguese player to win the Rookie of the Year award. When you look at some of the players who have won the award in the past, it’s a real privilege to see my name next to theirs on the trophy. It’s been an amazing season, and to end it be winning the award is more than I could have dreamed of.

“Winning in Madeira has brought me more recognition in Portugal, and being named Rookie of the Year will get my name known even more, here at home and across Europe. But the award is not just for me – it’s also for my coach, Almerindo Sequeira; my fitness coach, David Moura; my sports psychologist, Gonςalo Castanho; and for my wife, Rita. Our daughter Victoria is probably too young to understand at the moment, but when she grows up I’m sure she’ll be proud of her father for winning this award.

“The goal for 2013 is to win again on The European Tour, and to play my first Major. This award has given me the confidence to go and achieve my goals – although you only have one chance to win the Rookie of the Year, hopefully I can win many more titles in the future.”

Prior to turning professional in 2006, Santos won the Swiss Amateur International Open Championship and the Portugal Amateur Order of Merit, in addition to representing Portugal in the Eisenhower Trophy and the Continent of Europe in the St Andrews Trophy.

He graduated to The European Tour by finishing fourth in the Challenge Tour Final Rankings in 2011 – when he also played alongside brother Hugo in the World Cup for Portugal – after springing from the pack with a closing round of 66 to win his maiden title in The Princess by Schüco at the PGA of Sweden National.

George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “We congratulate Ricardo on an outstanding season capped by becoming the first Portuguese winner of the very prestigious Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award. I’m sure Ricardo would have been a very popular choice with Sir Henry himself, as he had a great affinity with Portugal after designing the Championship Course at Penina Golf & Resort.

“Ricardo followed success on the Challenge Tour by gaining his maiden European Tour victory. These triumphs will unquestionably increase interest in the game in Portugal and encourage other players from the country to emulate his achievements.”

Santos follows many of golf’s greatest names such as Sir Nick Faldo, Tony Jacklin, Sandy Lyle, José María Olazábal and Colin Montgomerie in addition to, more recently, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Matteo Manassero, Ian Poulter and last year’s winner Tom Lewis in winning The Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award, which is judged by The R&A, the Association of Golf Writers and The European Tour.

The judges considered four main contenders, but Santos became the 11th winner from Continental Europe ahead of England’s Matthew Baldwin and Tommy Fleetwood and Spain’s Jorge Campillo, who all also graduated from the 2011 European Challenge Tour.

Source: European Tour

2012/11/29

Azulejos in Portugal

Photo from the gardens of Palácio Marquês da Fronteira, in Lisbon by ©SF
The azulejos of Portugal encompass styles and languages of all periods and fill any visit with colour.

Al-zuleique is the Arabic word from which the Portuguese azulejo originated. It meant the ‘small smooth, polished stone’ used by the Muslims in the Middle Ages.

The Portuguese kings liked the way they used azulejos to decorate floors and walls, so they began to be produced in Portugal in the late 15th century. They became an important feature in architecture over the centuries, and can be said to have been adopted in Portugal as in no other European country.

In the 18th century, the azulejo "invaded" churches and convents, palaces and houses, gardens, fountains and stairways. With geometric patterns, telling stories of the lives of saints or with profane themes such as La Fontaine’s fables, sometimes with captions like an old version of the comic strip, the azulejo became one of the main Portuguese decorative features.As you travel around the country you will find an authentic living museum of azulejos, but the Museu Nacional do Azulejo in Lisbon gives you a unique chance to discover their complete history and technical and artistic evolution, from the early days to contemporary production.

Even in the 21st century, the azulejo is still used by avantgarde artists, leaving its mark on public art. It is essential to visit the stations of the Lisbon Metro to see works by world-famous Portuguese artists such as Vieira da Silva and Júlio Pomar. Tour the world of the azulejo and experience the fascination of this art.

More on Portuguese tile at http://www.visitportugal.com/

Do you know filigree?

Photo from Viana do Castelo Filigree by ©Jose Manuel

Do you know filigree? It is a way of working with gold or silver, transforming wires thin as hair into the most delicate of pieces. Made of spirals and wavy lines, the traditional forms continue to be reproduced. You never get weary of them and they maintain the lustre and the attraction of times past.

Ear-rings, bracelets and necklaces for personal use are the most common way of using it, as you will be able to notice in Minho where it is the most important accessory of the regional costume.

Not even the new designers resist the noble metal and give it new forms each day.It continues to inspire plastic artists.

Remember the symbol for the Euro 2004? In a ball surrounded by a yellow heart, the traditional filigree merged with the passion for football.

Do not resist either and take a piece home. The most important workshops can be found in the north of the country and the best known are Póvoa do Lanhoso, Gondomar and Travassos, where you can also get to know this art in detail at the Gold Museum.

2012/11/22

Madeira Festivities: Christmas and New Year Celebrations

Enjoy the Madeira Festivities, from the 8th of December to the 6th of January of 2013.

The arrival of the decorative lights in the streets of the city centre of Funchal, during the month of December, marks the beginning of the Christmas and New Year festivities.


These commemorations consist of a rich and extensive programme of cultural, religious, ethnographic and artistic manifestations that takes place throughout the entire month of December and ends with the celebration of Twelfth Night.

At this time of the year, Funchal transforms itself into a crib of real life proportions, the streets become decorated with multi-coloured flowers and lights of all sizes, forming shapes and figures allusive to the season. In the streets and squares, everyone partakes in the sound of the contagious music of the concerts, the performances of the philharmonic bands and of the folklore groups, in addition to the Christmas exhibitions, authentic living portraits of Madeirean traditions.

In Madeira, the preparations for “A Festa” (the Festivity) are lived with special enthusiasm, which is the nickname that the Madeireans have given to identify Christmas as their party par excellence. They commence at the beginning of December with the setting up of the “lapinha” (crib) and with the confection of various delicacies and pastries, namely the famous honey cake, corn bread, homemade liqueurs and the preparation of pork in wine and garlic, which is one of the most famous culinary dishes of Madeira.

Another living tradition of this season is the celebration of the 9 Childbirth Masses, which take place at dawn to announce the Birth of the Boy Jesus, accompanied by hymns sung by locals, normally in churchyards, filled with Christmas decorations and where traditional drink and food typical of the season is offered to those present. On 23rd December the traditional Market Night Party celebration is held, where the Madeireans do their last-minute Christmas shopping and where one can savour the various traditional snacks and drinks of the season.

After the Christmas commemorations the high spirits continue, in anticipation of the New Year Festivities, with the famous fireworks display, officially recognized by the Guinness World Records, in 2006, as the greatest display of fireworks in the world.

This magnificent scenario, of rare beauty, is simply unique, with thousands of multi-coloured lamps decorating the amphitheatre of Funchal, transforming it into a grandiose stage. As the clock strikes twelve, on the 31st, the sky is lit up with colour, light and hope in a new year that is just beginning.

Don’t miss it and come lo live up this event in Madeira!

For further Information visit: http://www.visitmadeira.pt/fimdoano

Source: Madeira Tourism


9th International Digital Art Festival - Madeira Dig

From November 30 to the 3rd of December, Casa das Mudas Arts Centre in Calheta hosts the 9th 'International Digital Art Festival - Madeira Dig. This is a cultural event dedicated to digital art, namely experimental electronic music, films, digital video and interactive performances and facilities.

Several personalities from the electronic music and audio-visuals scene will boost this year’s event, with groups like Biosphere, Sculpture, Leyland Kirby/The Caretaker, Pete Swanson and Jana Winderen, amongst others.

“MadeiraDig” began in 2004 with the purpose of appealing internationally acclaimed artists from music, film, video, art, IT and photography industries to the island and also, to inspire Madeiran citizens to be inventive in these areas.

More information is available at www.madeiradig.net

Source: Madeira Tourism  


Lisbon: Christmas tree lights up Terreiro do Paço

©Fernando António Marques
From December 1 the monumental Terreiro do Paço public square will be adorned with new colours and an even warmer atmosphere with the installation of a technological Christmas Tree to celebrate the holiday season in Lisboa, commemorating this tradition in the most avant-garde way.

This large tree, 28 metres high, is an installation designed by Portuguese artist Leonel Moura and will have as its décor projections of words, films (previously produced) and real times images of the surrounding landscape and movement.

Thus all who visit Terreiro do Paço during the holiday season until January &, will become an integral part of the installation, being able to see themselves immediately projected on the city’s Christmas tree.

Source: VisitLisboa

2012/11/21

TAP launches new mobile site

TAP has launched a new mobile site as the next phase of its pioneering use of new technologies to make innovative services available to its customers in the most accessible way.

The TAP mobile platform covers the whole mobile device market using both native iOS and Android applications and HTML-based applications for devices using other operating systems.

Customers accessing www.flytap.com  via a smartphone are automatically directed to the mobile version of the site which they can also access directly at mobile.flytap.com.

The site is enabled to display schedules, arrivals and departures, a baggage simulator, my booking, mobile check-in and ticket bookings. The dedicatedVictoriaarea for frequent flyers will be added shortly.

Source: Tap Portugal

2012/11/20

New tourist route “Iberian Douro/Duero – World Heritage Route”

The “Iberian Douro/Duero – World Heritage Route” is a new tourist route that the “Rei Afonso Henriques Foundation” proposes to tourists travelling to Portugal or Spain. It gathers the 11 sites classified by the UNESCO as World Heritage existing along the Douro Valley.

In Portugal – Porto’s Historical Centre, Guimarães Historical Centre, the Alto Douro Wine Region, the Pre-Historic Rock-Art site in the Côa Valley and the extension in Siega Verde.

Those wishing to follow this Route may select the destination(s) to be visited, following the suggestions proposed by the Foundation at www.douroiberico.com . Here, besides general information on each of the classified sites, supported by pictures, videos and maps, one may choose a tourist package adjusted to one’s needs, which will lead to the discovery of the landscapes, patrimony and pleasures of this amazing territory, or simply choose one of the unique experiences available at the portal.

The portal gathers also information on accommodation, gastronomy and cultural activities of the several sites composing the route

This project is the result of the close collaboration between Portuguese and Spanish entities, responsible for the management of each one of the classified sites, therefore, for more precise information, the portal links to the tourist information points existing in the territory in which tourists may enrich their visit with the suggestions they will be given locally.

Find more aboit this new route at http://www.douroiberico.com/

Source: Porto Turismo and Fundação Rei Afonso Henriques

Onyria Golf Resorts was Voted Iagto's Golf Tourism Supplier of the Year

The growing reputation of Onyria Golf Resorts was boosted further still last November 15, 2012, when the company was named the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) golf tourism supplier of the year, at the awards dinner at International Golf Travel Market (IGTM).


The awards are voted by tour operators and golf travel writers and it was a success on ‘home turf’ for Onyria Golf Resorts, as the ceremony took place in Vilamoura, Portugal, venue for this year’s IGTM.

The company has two golf developments in Portugal: Onyria Palmares Beach & Golf Resort, in the Algarve, and Quinta da Marinha Resort, on the Lisbon Golf Coast, which itself was named IAGTO’s best European golf destination in 2007. It also owns the Onyria Claros Beach & Spa Resort, in Izmir, Turkey.

João Pinto Coelho, the company’s sales director, said: “Every time we receive an accolade such as this it strengthens our resolve to continue to build on our reputation and enhance the overall experience for our visitors. And every time, one of us gets up and says how delighted we are – and, it may be a cliché, but we truly are delighted. It’s always heartwarming to receive plaudits for what we are doing but when it’s voted for by our customers and suppliers it means even more.
The ‘supplier of the year’ category was introduced only last year. Previously, IAGTO awards recognised only golf destinations and golf resorts. The new category opened up the awards for all IAGTO members including golf courses, hotels, inbound operators, transportation companies and others, comprising more than 1,400 in 85 countries.

More than 450 IAGTO golf tour operators from 59 different countries cast their votes for the award. Each operator was asked to nominate whom they considered to be the best performing IAGTO supplier this year in terms of dealing with tour operators, handling ‘fam’ trips and, above all, obtaining high customer satisfaction. Tour operators may vote for any IAGTO member golf courses, hotels, inbound operators or other suppliers such as hotel groups or airlines.

The award comes after a long line of accolades for the company’s latest project, Onyria Palmares Beach & Golf Resort, which launched only in June 2011, following a €10m redesign by the inimitable Robert Trent Jones Jnr.

The course was named Portugal’s second-best course by readers of Today’s Golfer magazine; become a new entry, at 26th, in Golf World’s poll of the Top 100 European Golf Courses; was listed as the third best course in Portugal by Golf Digest, the number one distributed sports title in the USA; and was one of only two Portuguese new entries in the second edition of the Rolex World’s Top 1000 Golf Courses – and all a little more than a year after being opened.

The 27-hole set-up is part of the Onyria Palmares Beach & Golf Resort which will follow Onyria’s traditional business model. There is a plan for a five-star hotel, while the complex also includes a selection of plots for villas which have been released on to the property market.

Meanwhile, on the Lisbon Coast, the company’s property sits on one of the most prestigious areas of the country, Quinta da Marinha, where the renowned Robert Trent Jones Snr – father of the architect of Onyria Palmares – designed a course which has hosted both ladies and men’s professional tour events.

The Quinta da Marinha Resort – an ‘officially recommended resort of the Professional Golfers Associations of Europe’ – offers hospitality in the 198-room, five-star Hotel Quinta da Marinha, a member of the luxury collection of the Great Hotels of the World group, and in 40 one or two-bedroom townhouses. Additionally the new five-star boutique hotel at the resort, Onyria Marinha Edition Hotel & Thalasso, has been awarded “best service quality” from Turismo de Portugal.

That thread of quality runs throughout the properties of Onyria Golf Resorts, justifying the award of 2012’s golf tourism supplier of the year.

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www.onyriaresorts.com
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www.quintadamarinha.com
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www.onyriamarinha.com 
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www.onyriapalmares.com 
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www.onyriaclaros.com

Source: IAGTO

Portugal ranks 1 on the Globe Spots' list of top destination for 2013

Globe Spots' list of top destination for 2013 is finally here. Can you guess which country is number 1?

Portugal:)

"Portugal oozes 'old European charm'. Medieval towns and historical quarters are full of squares, churches and monasteries.
 
Narrow lanes are flanked by old skew houses with crooked balconies draped in drying laundry. Here, neighbours still share the latest gossip or discuss politics from their windows.
 
Pastry shops and taverns are found in such abundance it makes you wonder whether the Portuguese eat at home at all.
 
The pace is soothingly slow and any day seems to be a good day for a drink. Chances are that after a few days in Portugal, you’ll find yourself sitting in a small square with a glass of tawny port in your hand, no matter whether you previously liked the stuff or not. It's just one of those things Portugal does to you."

See the all list of the Top Countries for 2013 here
 
 
Source: Globe Spots

2012/11/19

Giant Waves Return to Praia do Norte


©Nazaré Qualifica - Vítor Estrelinha - Jorge Leal
 It was forecasted a big swell this week in Nazaré. But contrary to all predictions, that were pointing to poor weather and wind conditions, Praia do Norte was favored with big and perfect waves, with more than ten meters, which delighted Garrett McNamara, Andrew Cotton, Hugo Vau, José Gregório and Ruben Gonzalez, under the project ZON North Canyon Show 2012.

On Wednesday, Garrett McNamara and Andrew Cotton surfed awesome waves, but also had two of their heaviest beatings, where they could apply what they had learned with Martin Stepanek, Freediver World Champion (free-diving), who was the week before in Nazaré to teach breathing techniques and aquatic survival.

That same day, the Portuguese duo José Gregório and Ruben Gonzalez was also in Praia do Norte to surf some waves, such as the Portuguese surfer Hugo Vau, who was towed by Garrett McNamara in some respectful waves.

All sessions can be monitored directly on the page of the ZON North Canyon on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ZonNorthCanyon ).

The ZON NORTH CANYON SHOW is a three year project, started in 2010, and is developed by Nazaré Qualifica in partnership with the Town Hall of Nazaré and sponsored by ZON. The project includes surfing, tow-in and stand up paddle aiming to internationally promote Nazaré as a reference tourist destination to the practice of big-wave sports and to shoot three documentaries that record the sports activity of Garrett McNamara and the daily life of this village.

Garrett McNamara is one of the most respected big-wave surfers in the world. During the last decade he has traveled the world in search of new challenges at sea and he was immediately surprised by the waves’ potential of Nazaré, in particular the ones of Praia do Norte, which are under the effect of the phenomenon known as “Canyon of Nazaré”. This is a rare geomorphologic accident, the biggest in Europe and one of the largest in the world, consisting on a failure on the continental plate with 170 kilometers long and five kilometers deep. The “Nazaré Canyon” channels the swell from the Atlantic Ocean to Praia do Norte creating large waves and providing unique conditions to this sports.

Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ZonNorthCanyon ) and on the project website (www.zonnorthcanyon.com ).
Also at:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Garrett-McNamara

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http://www.facebook.com/andrewcottonsurfer
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http://www.facebook.com/FreedivingInstructorsInternational