Portugal tends to take life slowly and many of the best pleasures are humble. Traditional folk festivals, simple food with plenty of olive oil, markets overflowing with fish, fruit and flowers and music that pulls he heartstrings. Its location on the Atlantic Ocean has influenced many aspects of its culture: salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes, the Algarve’s beaches are a major destination and much of the nation’s architecture dates to the 1500s–1800s, when Portugal had a powerful maritime empire. The landscape is a patchwork of olive groves and vineyards with plenty of opportunity to discover beautifully preserved hill-top villages. Lisbon, the capital, is an architectural time warp, with Moorish, medieval, Manueline and Art Nouvea buildings to admire.