Portugal is hotter than ever. Europe’s economic crisis left the country on the brink of bankruptcy, and government funding for the arts dried up during the crash. But young entrepreneurs took matters into their own hands, drawing on local talent and resources—resulting in a rich cultural scene. A party shift in 2011 has led to calm political waters, and today tourism is on the rise, helped along by Portugal’s affordability and year-round warm weather. Thanks to added flights (you can now travel nonstop from eight U.S. cities) and great new hotels (40 openings this year), American visitors are up 20 percent from last year. You can feel the energy everywhere—read on for everything you need to know about the country, and the exciting changes happening in this landmark year.