“Any Portuguese town looks like bride’s finery: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.” ~ Mary McCarthy
Often when thinking about travel, we think about places that are recognized worldwide such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Colosseum, Vatican, Tower of Pisa, etc in Italy. If in Spain it’s always Madrid and Barcelona, and when in Portugal most contain their visit to Lisbon. We forget that there is a myriad of places to explore and experience other than the usual landmarks. So today, I will give you a little more about Portugal and what to see and do elsewhere besides Lisbon.
Exquisite Wines & Tours
As a wine lover, I make sure to book a few winery tours in every country we visit. My research took me to Portugal’s wine routes. There are many wine routes within the north, central and south of Portugal. The Vinho Verde Wine Route in the north is the most recognized as the tourist region. It houses palaces and manors with vineyards growing on trellises and beautifully landscaped sites. This region is also the birthplace of Portugal’s most prized Alvarinho variety wine with its own route to explore.
Portugal is not all about wines alone. Museums are wide-spread in Portugal. In fact, the Alianca Underground Museum can be visited at the Alianca Vinhos de Portugal wine cellar. Years of history reside in this museum with exhibits ranging from archeology, ethnography, mineralogy, paleontology and ceramic tiles. I love my geodes, crystals, and quartz so I highly recommend visiting this museum. Therefore, while enjoying your wine tour make sure to make a stop at this wonderful museum.
Castles & Palaces
Just like other countries in Europe, Portugal has beautiful castles to visit as well. One of them is the Castelo Alter do Chao in Alentejo in the south-central region of Portugal. There’s also Castle of Viana do Alentejo, Almourol Castle, Belver Castle, Castle of Evoramonte, the National Palace of Pena, Castle of the Moors, Belém Tower, Guimaraes Castle, Obidos Castle, Tomar Castle, Marvao Castle, Sao Jorge Castle, Alcoutim Castle, Porto de Mos Castle, Santa Maria da Feira Castle, Sabugal Castle, and Dona Chica Castle. Take your pick and explore their uniqueness.
Nature & Ecosystems
How about a trip to the biggest island in the Portuguese Azores archipelago? Sao Miguel Island is home of the blue and green twin crater lakes of Sete Cidades. In Sao Miguel, you can also visit the 16th century Fort of Sao Bras, the 18thcentury City Gates, and the Gothic St. Sebastian Church.
Part of the Portuguese gastronomy identity is the Mediterranean Diet, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. One of the top local ingredients are olives and there is no shortage of olives in Portugal. Olive trees are part of Portugal’s landscape with a great variety of olives produced. Portuguese olive oil range from fruity, gold or greenish yellow, bitter, spicy or sweet, mild and intense. Local producers organize routes where you can try a tiborna, warm bread dipped in olive oil. Check out their olive tours.
So Much More to Explore
Portugal is a beautiful country offering a lot more than what I have mentioned above. From exotic beaches to breathtaking mountain views, it is a must-see on everyone’s bucket list. Do you have a favorite place in Portugal, other than Lisbon?