Cork oak trees with harvested bark, Marvão

If, like me, enjoying a nice glass of wine is among your favourite hobbies, chances are you’ve held a bottle stopper made from Portuguese cork. Even if you prefer a fancy French champagne, the stopper is probably made of, you guessed it, cork from Portugal. Stroll down the high streetRead More →

Paper windmill, Ruas Floridas 2013

Every two years, the white-walled Alentejan town of Redondo becomes awash with colour and creativity during the Ruas Floridas (Flowered Streets) festival. Don’t be fooled by the name; there much more to this event than paper flowers. The forty-three participating streets are filled with themed displays ranging from football toRead More →

Inside Lisbon's Christmas tree. Image by Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal

If you’re going to be spending Christmas in Portugal, or New Year, and don’t know what to expect, this post is for you. Find out how and where to celebrate, how the Portuguese do things and what events are going on during the festive season. Click one of these linksRead More →

Souvenir Barcelos cockerels

If you visit any tourist destination in Portugal, you’ll undoubtedly find at least one version of the cheerful Barcelos cockerel dominating most souvenir shops. But what on earth does a cockerel have to do with Portugal? I hear you ask. Well, there’s a legend about that… As the story goes, backRead More →

Colourful embroidered appliqué hanging, Museu do Oriente, Lisbon

Like most cities, Lisbon is steeped in history and even has an interactive museum dedicated to its story. While the Lisbon Story Centre certainly helps you understand the background to the enticing blend of old and new that shapes Portugal’s capital, it’s not one of the best Lisbon museums. There are many others thatRead More →

Portuguese gold wedding bands, engraved with names and wedding date

I’d never been particularly interested in gold jewellery until a visiting friend of mine dragged me round every jeweller’s in Coimbra. She was convinced that Portuguese gold is of better quality than what’s readily available in the rest of Europe (she’s right, by the way). In doing so, she introducedRead More →

Esparto mats, Alte, Loulé, Algarve, Portugal. Photography by Julie Dawn Fox

The charmingly rural village of Alte makes for a very pleasant day trip in the Algarve. As well as a riverside picnic area, cobbled streets and architecture with character, it also has a rich heritage of traditional crafts, especially those involving esparto grass. You’ll see evidence of local ceramic and pottery work in theRead More →