The Best Countries in the World: 2021 Readers' Choice Awards. The places inspiring your return to travel.
It’s not difficult to see why our readers love Portugal, which has spent the past decade transforming from a budget-minded underdog destination to a major player that can rival the likes of Spain and Italy. From the start, and even as it suffered under a forty-year authoritarian regime and a flailing economy, Portugal was brimming with delights that bordered on sensory overload: the intricate blue-and-white patterns of its traditional azulejo tiles, the intoxicating aroma of oven-fresh pastéis de nata, the mournful chords of live fado music, the bracing chill of a crisp vinho verde or the nectary sweetness of a port. With its jaunty yellow trams and hilltop São Jorge Castle, Lisbon is an easy-to-adore starting point for first-timers, but an increasing number of direct flights to Porto from the United States are inviting travelers to explore the second city’s contemporary cultural scene, including the newly opened World of Wine district. And then? Portugal rewards repeat visitors with a choose-your-own-adventure that might include the terraced hillsides of the Douro Valley, the underrated wineries of the Alentejo region, the surfer havens of the Algarve, and even the Hawaii-like volcanic landscapes of the Azores.
Source: Condé Nast Traveller