Portugal is emerging as one of the most popular vacation destinations in Europe, and that shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, Portugal has a pleasant – and diverse – climate, a remarkable digital infrastructure, and also puts a lot of emphasis on maintaining the integrity of the environment. Newly built eco-settlements dot the country, and the Portuguese government has been pursuing a consistent course in environmental protection for years. An ideal destination for ecological and sustainable vacations? Yes – but not only! Portugal is also becoming increasingly popular for so-called digital nomads, people who can work mainly remotely. Let's start with some numbers that already tell us a lot about Portugal and then look at topics like flora and fauna, sustainable projects as well as the topic of organic accommodations in Portugal.
Let's take a look at the topics of flora and fauna, something that usually interests us in our country overviews. And here, too, we can see that Portugal is a very diverse country. Many tourists may only know the Portuguese south coast with its picturesque towns, beaches and cliffs. But the country has much more to offer than the Algarve.
The north of Portugal is relatively cool and humid and, simply put, consists of two traditional landscapes:
If you like winter sports, you will probably love Central Portugal. This largely hilly to mountainous region offers a number of opportunities to get active in the winter months. And the south of Portugal is mainly composed of the landscapes Terras do Sado, Alentejo and the already mentioned Algarve. In general, it can be said that the climate there is very dry and hot; the surface of this southern region is also either flat to somewhat hilly.
If you are familiar with the fauna of Spain, you basically already know almost everything there is to know about the animal world of Portugal. The pardelluchs, which is still known in Spanish parts of the Iberian Peninsula, is most likely already extinct in Portugal; wolves, on the other hand, are no longer found in Spain, but still in parts of Portugal. It is interesting to note that Portugal lies on some important migratory bird routes leading from Eastern, Northern and Central Europe towards Africa. So for passionate ornithologists, Portugal would have to be very high on the list of possible vacation countries, especially seasonally.
In this section we take a look at sustainable, ecologically meaningful projects that have aroused our interest in the respective country presented. As far as Portugal is concerned, we do not want to present you a single initiative, but a whole group of diverse projects. These are eco-settlements, as we also know them in Western Europe, but in Portugal they have become so popular that one can speak of a real movement.
Eco-settlement in Portuguese is called ecoaldeias (very similar to “ecoaldeas” in Spanish) and today there are numerous ecoaldeias all over Portugal. The Ecoaldeia de Janas settlement is just one example of many.
But why are so many Portuguese interested in living in an ecoaldeia? This is where the aforementioned problem with Portugal's increasingly aging population comes into play again. Many of the oldest people are drawn to more urban environments because the options for care and healthcare are simply better there. Farms and, in some cases, small settlements are left behind. But growing old together and “taking care of each other” is also returning and is once again high on the agenda. Old and sometimes abandoned villages are being rebuilt and repopulated with young families. Many of these projects offer so-called “turismo rural”, that is, what we like to call “farm vacations”: Feeling, experiencing and – if desired – helping out are on the program here.
Of course, ecoaldeias each have different ideals, goals and programs; but for the most part they are based on clear ecological principles, on mutual social responsibility between generations, and on traditional agriculture and the preservation of old handicrafts.
We have been running some organic accommodations in Spain for a while now, such as this fascinating organic hotel in Andalusia, which is very close to the border to Portugal. Soon you can look forward to exciting organic accommodations in Portugal, some of which are also attractive for digital nomads. Just keep following our blog and you won't miss anything.