With a 20 percent increase of American visitors, chances are you’ve already seen Portugal popping up on your social media newsfeed. Friends posing in front of enviable vistas in Porto’s charming Old Town, fresh seafood dishes enjoyed on the scenic banks of the Tagus river in Lisbon. Recently named Travel + Leisure’s 2017 Destination of the Year, Portugal is having a major moment right now.
According to Travel + Leisure, the reason for Portugal’s rising popularity rests in Europe’s economic crisis that brought Portugal close to bankruptcy.
As the country floundered amidst financial troubles, funding for programs like arts were dried up. “Young entrepreneurs took matters into their own hands,” explains Travel + Leisure. “[Portugal’s young people] drew on local talent and resources—resulting in a rich cultural scene.”
Likewise, 2011 saw a party shift in the country that calmed the formerly volatile political climate making the country more welcoming to travelers. The final ingredient to Portugal’s tourism boom is, of course, affordable airfare. With roundtrip flights starting at $460 USD from the United States, Portugal is not only more accessible but cheaper to both fly to and enjoy.