Portugal sometimes gets lost among the other many destinations that Europe has to offer, but it is one of most fascinating and foodie-friendly destinations we have for our cooking vacations. Smaller than our other European destinations (Italy, France, Spain), Portugal offers miles and miles of coast, ample sunshine (some 3000 hours of sunshine per year!), and delicious gastronomy.
Portugal is probably most known as a country almost surrounded by the sea, but what you might not have realized is that its cities are wonderfully rich in history and culture. Here is just a taste of what you can discover on our Flavors of Portugal cooking vacation.
Of course, the capital city is the first to come mind, and Lisbon does not disappoint. Culturally famous as a city of cafes, bookstores, and Fado music, it is also rife with history. Not to miss are the city’s characteristic narrow streets and whitewashed houses, the 16th-century Jeronimo Monastery, the “Monument of Discoveries,” the Belém Tower, the Sao Jorge Castle, and the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge.
Known as the “Rome of Portugal,” this city’s religious history is perhaps what it is most known for today, with its Cathedral, the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary, the Tibaes Monastery, and the Gardens of Santa Barbara. It began as an important city during the Roman Empire, as evidenced by the city’s impressive Roman ruins.
After Lisbon, Porto is the most known of the country’s fascinating cities. Its medieval quarter, the Ribeira district, presents a maze of narrow cobble-stone streets and old merchants’ houses and cafes. In addition to the Cathedral and the Palacio da Bolsa, two of the city’s principal monuments, Porto has one other stunning attraction, the outlet of the Douro River.
Of course, this is just the start of what you can see in Portugal’s amazing cities, not to mention in the rest of the villages, countryside, and seaside. You can see all of these during our Flavors of Portugal cooking vacation.
By Peg Kern
Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best cooking vacations.