Portugal is small country of ancient navigators.
In the 15th century, our people crossed oceans to explore new worlds, different populations, cultures, and traditions.
All of this knowledge is embedded in our culture today and makes us unique.
Come discover this magnificent country that will amaze you with its cultural diversity.
Los « Azulejos »: From Arabic « azzelij », these blue and white faience mosaic tiles date back to the Moors occupation of the Iberian Peninsula.
They used pretty tiles to adorn their homes.
Artisans simplified and adapted them to Occidental tastes. This decorative material could be seen in convents, palaces and churches. Later, it was used to cover the walls of new structures built after the 1755 earthquake.
Come admire the diverse ways in which the portuguese used these faience tiles over the years.
Calçada Portuguesa : The Portuguese roadway is a heritage of roman constructions that dominated the 16th century.
It evolved overtime and, in the 19th century, took the shape that we know today.
In several cities of Portugal you can admire these black and white “art works”. Here are a few examples.
Cuisine: Our Mediterranean cuisine where bread, wine and olive oil were the main elements, was highly influenced by major maritime discoveries.
During our explorations we discovered that there were other foods that could make our cuisine much richer in flavors. We imported pumpkins, peanuts, pineapple, vanilla, cacao, beans, tomatoes and other products from the Americas.
From Asia, we brought back spices, ginger, clove,and from India, nutmeg, pepper, and cinnamon. The latter is a key ingredient of our traditional desserts.
Portuguese cuisine is mostly centered around sea products.
But the queen of all dishes, from North to South of Portugal, is the codfish, of course!
Did you know? Portuguese navigators were the first in the 15th century to fish for the « bacalhau » near the North pole. It was crucial for them to find a non-perishable food that could endure months of travel during their maritime conquests. They had the idea of soaking it in salt and sun-dry it on their ships.
In this way, Portuguese navigators invented a conservation technique.
During your visit in Portugal, here are some unmissable foods to try:
- All the different blood sausages (especially in the North of Portugal)
- The soups: the typical green cabbage soup with « Chouriço »
- Codfish, that according to the Portuguese can be prepared in 365 ways (equal to the amount of days in a year)
- Grilled sardines
- Desserts whose origins are mostly “conventual”. With lots of sugar and eggs… (not great for the diet but delicious for the tastebuds)
These are just a few examples because Portuguese cuisine is very diverse. Each region has its specialties. You must come to Portugal to taste all of these equally delicious dishes that will whet your palate!
Wines: And since good food must be paired with great wine, you must taste our wines. We recommend to try the green wine of which we are the only producer in the world. Ideal to drink with a light meal, such as fish, salads, or aperitif.
The Douro, Alentejo and Dão wines are also impressive high-quality wines.
Time of aperitif? The Portuguese area also known for a wide range of national products served for aperitif or as a digestif. The Porto and Madeira wines are certainly the most famous. But be tempted by the flavors of the other typical liquors that we have to offer. In this respect, on your trip, do not forget to try the “moscatel” (from the Setubal region), the « amendoa amarga » (from the Algarve region), the « licor de Beirão » (from the Lousã region), the « Ginginha » (tart cherry liquor), and many more.
Did you know? We have the most ancient wine naming system in the world.
The Fado : The Fado is the soul music of Portugal. Its name originates from latin “Fatum” (destiny) and its origins remain a mystery.
The Fado is mostly known for its nostalgic and sad style but there are also the “corrido” fado and the Fado de Coimbra, that differ in terms of themes and rhythms.
Academic Music: In Coimbra, you can listen to a “Serenata” written by university students to young women.
They are mostly songs about love and student life adventures.
But the most famous academic songs are sung by the “TUNAS”, musical groups of mostly students who usually play cord instruments (guitar, mandoline, ukelele, bass etc.) and whose spirit is to perpetuate the academic tradition of the love of music through songs. Students sing while wearing traditional costumes.
Rancho: Our folkloric danse accompanied by popular songs.
This music is festive and unites participants of all ages.
Groups wear very colorful clothes, that differ based on the regions.
Play along by learning some dance moves!
Portugal conceals many more artisanal (cork, lace, filigree jewelry, the famous Barcelos roosters, embroideries, pottery), culinary (pasteis de belem, Portuguese bouillabaisse, grilled suckling pig…), authentic and unique specialties (tramway, cruises in typical boats depending on the regions) that will fill you with wonder.
All of these wonders and traditions that come from our past and that lived on for centuries through monuments, landscapes, traditions and the warm hospitality of the people make Portugal a small country size-wise but a gigantesque Nation for its diversity.
IN TOUR Portugal offers its know-how to help you elaborate a program to discover the hidden treasures of Portugal and its islands.