Today I bring you a text about the amazing Douro Valley, located in the North of Portugal. Douro is home to one of the most famous wines in the World. You probably have tried or heard someone talking about Oporto Wine. Well that’s it! Oporto Wine is made in the terraces of the Douro Valley, which has un incredible climate an unique characteristics that provide conditions for this delicacy. Although the region offers these unique natural characteristics, to produce wine you need the help of people. Yes, in Douro, due to the natural “stairs” you can admire in the valley, the harvest cannot be done with te help of machinery. So everything is done manually. This means, that, all the grapes are carefully chosen by the workers. Wow, yeah? The quality is amazing and the flavours are unique. Besides Oporto wine there are some wineries that began producing table wine and they have received a lot of good reviews.
I’ve stayed with friends in a charming convent that will soon become a wine lodge, and I can assure you that it will be a breathtaking place to stay during you visit to Douro Valley. I’ll share the location when its ready,
One of the wineries that we visited was Quinta do Crasto which is one of most well known of the area, because of their old history in wine making and because of their undeniable quality. We had a tasty lunch and tried some of their wines. I have to say that I just loved the single syrah. I could live in that wine!
Last but not least our friends took us to a picnic in one of the margins that was a very beautiful experience. Everything was so well put and the atmosphere was instagram kind, if you know what I mean.
I am a southern girl and when the weather starts to get warmer my heart and mind flies directly to the Algarve. This Portuguese region which happens to be my motherland offers a great diversity of beautiful beaches and I can’t take my mind out of all of them. The past weekend, in the Easter festivities I went to the south with a bit more time. I also had the opportunity to catch up with my brother that lives in Oporto. So, we went to visit the city where we lived most of our lives – Albufeira.
Unfortunately, Albufeira became a decharacterized city because of the massive growth of tourism in the ’80s. The buildings were not planned and now they look like a conglomerate of ugly houses. The picturesque and old typical architecture does not exist and the only thing that you see downtown, are neons advertising bad restaurants.
Despite this situation, tourists love to go out in Albufeira. You have a lot of bars with crappy music and most of the people love to drink till they pass out.
For me, the best part of Albufeira is the beaches. Since the popular Fisherman’s beach till the fancy Evaristo beach. In Albufeira, you will find plain beaches, rocky beaches, small and large beaches. You name it, Albufeira has it.
One of my most precious memory is about the smell that embraced Albufeira fisherman’s beach at about 20:30 p.m in August. An amazing smell of sea, sand, and fish that we used to put me high on.
I guess I’m trying to say that although Albufeira is a very touristic place, it also has its charms.
If you’re traveling to Lisbon you will definitely visit one of the most appreciated city’s neighborhood. Alfama is the oldest and one of the most typical hoods of the amazing city of Lisbon. The name Alfama comes from al-hamma which means baths or fountain, in fact, you can still find some hidden little fountains spread along the area. The narrow streets, colored houses and the cozy atmosphere of the neighborhood will make you wanna move immediately to one of the charming Alfama’s cottage. And don’t forget that Alfama is also known for being the house of Fado in Lisbon. If you´re a fan you will surely be pleased with the amount of places where you can hear it.
As if that were not enough, the neighborhood has a varied gastronomic offer which goes from fancy gourmet restaurants till more affordable ones.
1- Lareira do Paraíso
The first one and most affordable has to be Lareira do Paraíso. This one looks like a small cafe but serves very nice meals for an amazing price. Also, Sr Zé, which is the owner, will make you feel like you´re a long time friend. It’s very common to find locals eating in the little room inside and also arguing about football matches. Totally worth it.
2 – Maçã Verde
If you want to try out real portuguese food please don’t hesitate to visit Maçã Verde. They are a Portuguese Tasca and have the most amazing Portuguese dishes at reasonable prices. Also they are a family business and you can taste it. Try the Lagarada de Bacalhau!
3- O Fernando
Eating out in Fernando is like eating at home. They have an amazing terrace in a brand new modern area which is perfect for Summer lunches and dinners. So, I definitely recommend you to try a grilled fish that must be accompanied with a fresh white wine!
4 – Sal Grosso e Salmoura
These are two different restaurants runned by the same owner. They present a kind of innovative cuisine that mixes typical portuguese dishes with new approaches. The menu is always changing and you never know what you’re going to find. Surprisingly one of the dishes that i love the most are often the salads. So, don’t forget to try theseasonal salad!
5 – Bói-Cavalo
If you´re looking for a restaurant that will in awe you, please go to Bói- Cavalo. This one is more pricey but the food is amazing. It will blow your mind or in this case your taste buds! They only have one menu and you will basically be they´re Guinea pig. I trust you will enjoy the experience.
These are only 5 of them but you will find restaurants in every corner. I hope you have a nice stay and experience! Enjoy.