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The Portugal Thread


PenelopeWitherspoon

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Spent a week in Portugal last November as part of a San Sebastian / Rioja / Galicia trip.  Really enjoyed it, especially Porto, even though in general Spain has better food.  And even in cases where ingredients are similar in quality, restaurants in Spain seem to treat them better.  If you can sneak north to Galicia for a couple of days, you'll likely have some of the best seafood of your life.

That said, Cervejeria Ramiro in Lisbon was probably my favorite place to eat in Portugal.  Bustling seafood joint with all sorts of fun sea creatures to eat.  If you stick to percebes and various prawn-like things and maybe some Pata Negra, you'll have a blast.  Just be specific with qty, so you don't end up with a nasty surprise at the end of the meal, as some of the creatures are quite pricey.

In Porto, O Paparico was my favorite.  Somewhat modern with a great wine list.  One of the few restaurants with a substantial non-Portuguese list, though after chatting with the somm, we ended up going Portuguese and were happy.

Other places worth checking out: Boi Cavalo, Solar des Presuntos (old school and lots of fun), Gambrinus, O Galito, and maybe one or two of Jose Avillez's places.  Thought DOP was okay but people seem to really like it.

If you have time, Sintra is a fun day trip.

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53 minutes ago, creeper said:

That said, Cervejeria Ramiro in Lisbon was probably my favorite place to eat in Portugal.  Bustling seafood joint with all sorts of fun sea creatures to eat. 

Long ass line , and I don't think it was particularly special for a coastal city.

The best dining is not about eating but the Fado experience.  As Velhas is a great one. 

Lots of cool bars but I particularly like Double9 which is attached to a well priced hotel 9 Hotel Mercy and very good location.  Cocktails are great.

 

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Lisbon has a really cool food hall owned by Time Out magazine on the waterfront. It has something like 40 restaurants and a massive deaft beer and wine self serve island in the middle. The best food I had in Lisbon.

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  • 3 months later...

I am finally trying to narrow down places for Lisbon at the end of March.  My issue is that there are so many places I want to go to and limited time.  Thinking about trying to fit multiple places into an evening.  Doing a sort of progressive supper a couple of nights.  Or just trying to fit in two places, i.e. a light snack around 5 or 6 with a drink or two, then something else later in the evening.  Am I right in thinking that people eat relatively late in Lisbon?  A lot of restos are open until midnight or later.

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  • 1 year later...

I absolutely loved both Lisbon.  Lisbon is on my list of cities to pop to on a long weekend once things are a little more back to normal.  

What it amazing is that is a city with a lot of offer, but it isn't nearly as expensive as other European capitals.  

Definitely go if you can.  I think I posted pictures of my trip back in 2019.

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My trip last July was cancelled and it's not looking good for some of the vouchers I received for this year.  Booked Alaska so f'k it.  I may try to go next year.  I'm definitely going to book some time at http://www.casadashistoriaspaularego.com/en/collection/introduction.aspx because I really dig Paula Rego's work.  It's amazing if you're into pastel-one of the best shows I saw in DC about 10 years ago.  Also, this site looks to have some cool places to check out: https://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to-do/portugal/places 

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On 3/18/2021 at 6:07 PM, elfenix said:

cheap ass fares, thinking about going in september.  lockdowns should be done with by then as europe will finally have decent vax rates, right?

I wouldn't book anything you can't cancel or get refunded.  In the UK, the general message is don't bother planning to go abroad for your summer hols. Vaccine rates should be good by September, but the unknown with travel restrictions, quarantines, etc. is likely to be a factor most (if not all) of this year. This seems to be largely driven by the new variants that keep popping up and a desire to limit travel until things are better under control.

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If I could redo my trip to Portugal, I would stay in Lisbon the whole time so I could hit Cascais and Sintra.  Don't get me wrong, Porto is amazing, and I had the best single day of that whole trip in the Douro, but I should have done that as a second trip, because three days wasn't enough for that region either.  Plus, I tend to like to stay in one place and then do day trips.  Less stressful for me.

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Went a few years ago and had a blast. Below is an email I have sent to some friends based on my experience and some others advice before the trip.

Cascais ‚Äď It is a sleepy upscale beach town with casinos, restaurants, golf, and beaches.

I was in Cascais for 2 days. It is a short trip to Sintra from there as well.

The resorts west of the town seem to be more segregated and nicer. There are some nice ones in town as well and towards Estoril.

I had an awesome meal at Restaurante Mar do Inferno. It is a higher end seafood restaurant and will likely need a reservation. The food was really good. All wine is from Douro and reasonably priced. They have menu’s in English if you ask.

http://mardoinferno.pt/en

Golf ‚Äď I played at Oitavos Dunes. It is a nice resort with a pretty cool golf course. The first few holes were not too exciting, but after hole 6 or 7, there were great views of the ocean the entire time. It was very windy the day I played. It was rated as the 58th course in the world recently. They had aerated the fairways when I played, but I could tell why it is getting the publicity.

http://www.oitavosdunes.com/

Sintra ‚Äď Great town in the hills 10 miles from the ocean. Some cool old castles and forests.

Porto ‚Äď did not go, I hear it is pretty cool, but do not need more than a day there.

Douro Valley ‚Äď Wine region that seems nice. We were with some girls that chartered a boat up the river from Lisbon. Some nice hotels with great views.


Lisbon ‚Äď Everything in this town starts later. Many restaurants will not open doors for dinner till 8-9 pm.


Starting with Lisbon - barrrio alto one massive open air party where all the bars merge in one giant outdoor street party.
Some of its tacky with stag do's and some of its not.

Amor pensar- ex whore house turned up market bar very cool- it's down at remorales (Pink Street) and that whole street is pretty good.

Time Out Market ‚Äď Really good lunch spot. Think of the nicest food court you can imagine. Several Michelin chef‚Äôs have places inside. You can try a variety of cuisines, along with tons of portuguse options. It is group seating and you will share tables with people from all over the world. I ate there 3 of the 4 days for lunch. It was that good. I had a I had braised tuna with chives and sweet potatoes that I am still thinking about. Most meals are around EUR 12, and can buy bottles of pretty good wine for the same price. The booths with the chef‚Äôs names are all pretty good.

In Lisbon, the palace on the top of the hill is supposed to have the best views. Instead, we went to the rooftop bar on top of a parking garage over looking the city. I believe it is called the Car Park. It was a very fun crowd with some amazing looking women. Fun atmosphere.

We had an awesome 4 hour lunch at Cantinho do Avillez. You will likely need a reservation. It is a pretty good value for what you get. We had multiple cocktails and shared various plates of food. Highlights were tuna tartare, Some sort of hot cheese baked with prosciutto and honey, Giant Thai Red Shrimp (amazing), an egg appetizer dish was great as well. Everything we tried was good, these dishes stick out.

100 Maneiras ‚Äď This was a very fun, very good dinner. Lots of seafood, good wine, upbeat type of place. Will definitely need a reservation. Amazing tuna tartare, squid dishes, prawns, scallops, etc. Everything was good. We didn‚Äôt sit down till 11 pm and closed the tab at 2:30 AM.

Pavilhao Chines ‚Äď Great spot to grab a drink. Feel like you are in 18th century aristocrats house. The walls are covered with artifacts from various wars over the years. We were there for a few hours before dinner. Not a crazy party spot, but good spot to have a few drinks with friends, worth checking out.


Below is from British / Portuguese couple

The whole of the Algarve is good the eastern side is built up and touristy the western side very rugged and beautiful with less numbers and small villages.

There's a place down from Lisbon below setabul which is supposed to be like Ibiza before it took off. I think it call prai de comporta haven't been their myself but read about it in an article by Conde naste. A friend of mine recommended it to me as well.

There are two big wine regions alentejo and douro. So there would probably be some sort of tours in those regions as well. Don't know never been.

If you like biking surfing or paddle boarding Sagres is the place to go, chilled out very busy in August September is okay and then very quite until June again. Lots of great beaches and rugged coastline.


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That’s a great post/recap

went in nov 2019.

not too much to add.

we hit a lot of the same spots mentioned. You could easily do 7 days with Lisbon as your base and day-tripping around as Penelope mentioned.


Perfect summary of the Algarve. We day tripped the western half and had a great long, lazy day hopping through the villages.

stayed at a resort where there was some euro junior tournament happening for which Justin Rose was a big sponsor.  The night we were there went to a steakhouse/craft cocktail place where we were the only people in the place and in walks Rose /csb

 

Haven’t seen nazare mentioned, but that was absolutely  incredible if you fit it in. I remember it being kind of out of the way for everything else we wanted to do

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  • 1 year later...

Bumping this.

Leaving Friday with the 4 kids for a week in Portugal. Have general plans on locations /hotels but looking for specifics for kids aged 1.5 to 11.

Algarve resort first 2.5 days then resort in cascais the rest of the week.

Gonna do óbidos, sintra, Cascais but any great restaurants or anything else kid friendly that I might not be aware of?

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Ponto Final is pretty great with like a 15 min boat ride out to Almada across the Tagus from Lisbon. Then you dine looking back onto the city from across the river. If i was a kid i would think that was pretty awesome, but ... it is literally on the dock, so i would probably not take kids who couldn't sit for a whole dinner (mine wouldn't, fuckin kids)

ponto-final-lisbon-portugal-pinterest2.j

 

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  • 4 months later...

I'm traveling to Portugal for 12 days in January so been reading through this thread for a second time. Thanks to @PenelopeWitherspoonfor the recs here and in her own travel thread - definitely found some restaurants and bakeries to try. I'm really looking forward to that red door place.

(BTW the Moxy you stayed at in Lisbon is a result of one of the Golden Visa investment vehicles - one of the ways to get residency or citizenship other than by purchasing property directly. Somewhat like a REIT.) 

I'm using points and miles to fly business in UA/Lufthansa Denver-Munich-Lisbon and AA points for a BA flight Lisbon-LHR-DEN on the way back. 60k UA points to get there in UA Polaris, and 55k + $325USD on the return. I was going to spend a few days in Munich but decided my time would be better spent in Portugal. I'll spend two days in Lisbon to start but then I'm going to rent a car to explore the Silver Coast and points North reasonably close to the coast, all the way to Viana do Castelo (perhaps dipping into southern Spain on a day trip if time allows), and then finish up in Porto. Hopefully I'll be able to drop the rental car off in Porto and take the train back to Lisbon.

On a podcast I recently heard a US couple talk about their adventure in Porto trying to find an old building to renovate. Pretty interesting. They of course have a youtube channel and you can see what you'd face in trying to renovate one of those Porto properties. They appear to still be in the looking stage of their venture.  Youtube then served me up a link from another couple who moved to Portugal, this couple happens to be from Austin but are apparently focused on investing in STR-type of properties.

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On 3/14/2023 at 10:22 AM, Gordon Shumway said:

Bumping thread. 

We leave May 19th for a week, fly into Porto and out of Lisbon.  I read through Penelope's travel itinerary, looking for any recs. 

Thanks in advance.  

Penelope has an excellent list of airbnbs in Porto if you dm her. Rick Steves tv show has eps for both Lisbon and Porto on prime. And Somebody Feed Phil (netflix) filmed an episode in Lisbon. Tours By Locals or the Get Your Guide websites each have guides you can hire if you want to go that route. 

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@Gordon Shumway

I asked my new travel agent* to put together a 7 day itinerary that matches your criteria. Whaddya think?

Day 1: Arrival in Porto

  • Explore Porto's historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Visit the famous Porto Cathedral and the Cl√©rigos Tower.
  • Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Ribeira district and try some of Porto's delicious traditional cuisine.
  • Optional: Visit one of the many Port wine cellars and do a wine tasting.

Day 2: Day trip to Douro Valley

  • Take a scenic train ride along the Douro River and admire the breathtaking landscapes of the valley.
  • Visit a vineyard and learn about the wine-making process.
  • Enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the river.
  • Return to Porto in the evening.

Day 3: Beach day in Matosinhos

  • Take the metro to Matosinhos beach and enjoy a day in the sun.
  • Taste some of the freshest seafood in the area.
  • Visit the nearby Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves.

Day 4: Day trip to Braga and Guimar√£es

  • Visit the historic city of Braga, known for its Baroque architecture and religious landmarks such as the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary.
  • Continue to Guimar√£es, the birthplace of Portugal and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to see the Castle of Guimar√£es and the Palace of the Dukes of Bragan√ßa.
  • Return to Porto in the evening.

Day 5: Travel from Porto to Lisbon

  • Take a train from Porto to Lisbon (approx. 3 hours).
  • Check in at your Lisbon accommodation.
  • Take a walk around the city center and explore the Baixa and Chiado neighborhoods.

Day 6: Explore Lisbon

  • Visit the historic Bel√©m district, home to the Tower of Bel√©m and the Jer√≥nimos Monastery.
  • Take a tram ride through the winding streets of Alfama.
  • Visit the S√£o Jorge Castle and enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
  • Optional: Take a day trip to Sintra and visit the Pena Palace and the Quinta da Regaleira.

Day 7: Departure from Lisbon

  • Explore the vibrant Bairro Alto district, famous for its nightlife and Fado music.
  • Visit the colorful Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon's famous food market.
  • Depart from Lisbon and head to the airport for your flight home.

Note: This itinerary is just a suggestion and you can adjust it to your preferences. Also, consider booking any tours or activities in advance to ensure availability.

*ChatGPT Mar 14 Version. Free Research Preview.

Edited by Chopper
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36 minutes ago, Chopper said:

@Gordon Shumway

I asked my new travel agent* to put together a 7 day itinerary that matches your criteria. Whaddya think?

Day 1: Arrival in Porto

  • Explore Porto's historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Visit the famous Porto Cathedral and the Cl√©rigos Tower.
  • Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Ribeira district and try some of Porto's delicious traditional cuisine.
  • Optional: Visit one of the many Port wine cellars and do a wine tasting.

Day 2: Day trip to Douro Valley

  • Take a scenic train ride along the Douro River and admire the breathtaking landscapes of the valley.
  • Visit a vineyard and learn about the wine-making process.
  • Enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the river.
  • Return to Porto in the evening.

Day 3: Beach day in Matosinhos

  • Take the metro to Matosinhos beach and enjoy a day in the sun.
  • Taste some of the freshest seafood in the area.
  • Visit the nearby Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves.

Day 4: Day trip to Braga and Guimar√£es

  • Visit the historic city of Braga, known for its Baroque architecture and religious landmarks such as the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary.
  • Continue to Guimar√£es, the birthplace of Portugal and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to see the Castle of Guimar√£es and the Palace of the Dukes of Bragan√ßa.
  • Return to Porto in the evening.

Day 5: Travel from Porto to Lisbon

  • Take a train from Porto to Lisbon (approx. 3 hours).
  • Check in at your Lisbon accommodation.
  • Take a walk around the city center and explore the Baixa and Chiado neighborhoods.

Day 6: Explore Lisbon

  • Visit the historic Bel√©m district, home to the Tower of Bel√©m and the Jer√≥nimos Monastery.
  • Take a tram ride through the winding streets of Alfama.
  • Visit the S√£o Jorge Castle and enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
  • Optional: Take a day trip to Sintra and visit the Pena Palace and the Quinta da Regaleira.

Day 7: Departure from Lisbon

  • Explore the vibrant Bairro Alto district, famous for its nightlife and Fado music.
  • Visit the colorful Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon's famous food market.
  • Depart from Lisbon and head to the airport for your flight home.

Note: This itinerary is just a suggestion and you can adjust it to your preferences. Also, consider booking any tours or activities in advance to ensure availability.

*ChatGPT Mar 14 Version. Free Research Preview.

Thanks so much, I really appreciate this.  I will take a look. 

 

 

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Going in July but for 5 nights only, trying to decide if going up the coast for a couple nights is worth it or just spend all 5 in Lisboa. Anyone have an opinion?

Mercado da Ribeira food market and a few other places already on the agenda. This thread is great.

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I posted about this on another thread but I spent the entire month of June, 2021 in the Algarve in southern Portugal. My uncle had died and I had to go rescue my elderly aunt. 
 

Honestly, I didn’t get to see very much. She was in ill health herself so I saw no museums, toured no castles or vineyards or olive groves. I never even got down to the beach a few hundred feet below their condo. 


I only ate at a handful of restaurants but did a lot of cooking and loved the local grocery store.

I DID get to visit the emergency room in Portimao, the hair place in Lagos and the skin treatment place in Luz.


 

I say all that just to get to this:  I LOVED Portugal. I loved the people I met. I loved driving the roundabouts. I loved the food, the wine, the climate. 
 

We spent the last couple of days in Lisbon but again, I didn‚Äôt see much and there was much to see. ¬†If I ever ‚Äúcross the pond‚ÄĚ again, it will be to get back to Portugal.

Oh yeah, my point - spend a week in Lisbon. Take an overnighter somewhere if you want, (Porto/Douro), but Lisbon is awesome. 
 

I look forward to your travelogue and photos.

 

One caveat, the trains are constantly on strike. I had two train rides planned, one from Lisbon to Faro on my arrival, and one from Faro to Lisbon on our departure. Both cancelled due to strike. I still get alerts from the Portuguese railroad when there’s a strike planned. It happens a lot. Just something to keep in mind.

 

 

 

 

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On 3/20/2023 at 5:38 PM, McCroskey said:

Going in July but for 5 nights only, trying to decide if going up the coast for a couple nights is worth it or just spend all 5 in Lisboa. Anyone have an opinion?

Mercado da Ribeira food market and a few other places already on the agenda. This thread is great.

Keeping Lisbon as your base and just taking short day trips would probably be easiest because there's plenty within an hour or less. Among your choices are Sintra, a UNESCO world heritage city, which has a pretty amazing castle, even by castle standards; Cascais, a seaside village to which you can take a short train ride. It's one of the most chic residential areas around Lisbon and is filled with expats. Set√ļbal is a more natural coastal area and has an estuary.

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When we were in Luanda and the kids were in school in the UK, we met them in Faro and toured by car for three weeks.   Outside of the Algarve we stayed at Posadas, which are owned by the State, and are typically castles, old convents, hunting lodges, etc.  We reserved these way in advance.  We toured all the way to the northern border, listening to local Radio Nostalgia, and a triple Taj Mahal cd.   Spoke a fair amount of Portuguese so could operate most anywhere so didn’t need to restrict where we wanted to explore.

Definitely visit Cintra if one is in Lisbon. 
 

Espanol speakers will have no problem.  Go to ground for as long as you can.  Folks are wonderful in Portugal and any attempt to deal with them in Portuguese is rewarded.  

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  • 3 months later...

Got back from Potugal two weeks ago.  Finally went, after two prior cancelations: covid and wife's cancer.  Should have paid more attention to this page but wanted to explore.

2 day in Colares/Sintra
1 day in Evora
3 days in Algarve (Lagos base)
2 days in Lisbon

Rented a car and had a great time.  

Would like to travel north on another trip, but didn't want to rush things.  Lots to see and do. Most everybody spoke English but my wife is a fluent Spanish speaker and went on a walking tour in every city/town visited.  Great food, super affordable and recommended trip.  Can go into more depth and images if anybody wants.  

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On 3/19/2021 at 9:31 AM, PenelopeWitherspoon said:

I absolutely loved both Lisbon.  Lisbon is on my list of cities to pop to on a long weekend once things are a little more back to normal.  

What it amazing is that is a city with a lot of offer, but it isn't nearly as expensive as other European capitals.  

Definitely go if you can.  I think I posted pictures of my trip back in 2019.

Lisbon is a mutated cross between Paris, NYC and SF.  Absolutely love that city. 

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