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January 12, 2024

Picture-perfect Portugal


Portugal is a must-see destination if you love culture, cuisine, and picturesque landscapes. From the mountain regions to long, golden beaches and cottages perfectly nestled within the clifftops, the beauty of Portugal is easy to see. Its culture comes to life within its medieval castles, Roman ruins, and cobblestone streets. Cafes, markets, and pastry shops offer unique and extremely fresh Portuguese delicacies like the pastel de nata (a Portuguese custard tart). Not to mention, Portugal has vast wine regions where you can find unique wines for every palate.


If you're a lover of port wine, a stop in Porto should definitely top your list. Port wine lodges, bars, shops, and cellars are plentiful throughout the city. That's not all the city has to offer though. Beautiful monuments and historic buildings like the Cathedral and the Tower of Clerics are popular attractions for visitors. While you're there, make sure to try a Francesinha, the Portuguese version of the French croque-monsieur (better yet, book a cooking workshop with a local chef and learn to make one yourself)!


Travel a little further north to the Minho region, and you'll find green landscapes as far as the eye can see. Many wineries use of the land to harvest grapes to make Green Wine (Vinho Verde) known for its more acidic taste. Taste it for yourself while visiting one of many wineries or sip on a glass at one of the many family-owned restaurants while they also serve up generations-old recipes using the freshest ingredients. This region is also known for its beautiful golden sand beaches.


If history and architecture are what you are after, the city of Coimbria is an excellent stop with medieval churches and monuments. Here, you'll also find narrow streets, beautiful arches, courtyards, and the world-renowned Biblioteca Joanina (The Johannine Library). Don't leave the city without trying it's signature dish Chanfana, a goat stew in red wine.portugal3

Old fishing towns line the western coast of Portugal. Here, there are so many opportunities for unique experiences like learning how to pick sea urchins and use them in local dishes and recipes. Sun-drying fish at the beach before preparing them is another tradition along the coast.


Another very popular spot is Fátima in central Portugal. Catholics and many other Christians come to see the sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, the site of apparitions of Virgin Mary to three little shepherds in 1917. A small chapel sits there and many come to pray the rosary or participate in mass celebrations. Within the sanctuary, you'll also find the basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Portugal is barely the size of the state of Indiana, but holds so much history and culture that make it a wonderful destination for many travelers.

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