Tapestry panels of Mary and the Moors, Faro Museum

Among the joys of exploring Portugal and delving into its history are the legends I encounter. I found some intriguing Moorish legends depicted in a tapestry rug and paintings in the Municipal Museum in Faro. The Algarve was the last Portuguese region to be taken from the Muslims; they ruled the area from 711 toRead More →

Traditional woodcraft in Vila Nova de Poiares

One of Vila Nova de Poiares‘ major annual events is Poiartes. As the name suggests, the predominant theme of the fair is arts and crafts so artisans from the municipality and other parts of central Portugal come here to show and sell the results of their skilled work. Vila Nova de PoiaresRead More →

Moinho de Avis, Montejunto 2

Windmills line the hilltops in certain parts of Portugal, especially the Oeste (West) region near Lisbon. Sadly, most have been abandoned and are gradually decaying. Some, however, have been painstakingly restored and not only produce flour using traditional methods, they also host bread workshops and even wine tasting sessions. Moinho de Aviz (AvizRead More →

Chanfana in a black casserole dish

“What do you want?” asked the Juiz (judge). “To eat chanfana!” I chanted, along with the 15 other initiates to the Confraria da Chanfana (brotherhood of goat casserole). We were on the stage in the Vila Nova de Poiares cultural centre wearing long black cloaks and wide-brimmed black hats. A waitress gave us each a tinyRead More →

Ana Silva demostrates the magic ball cane toy, cane workshop, Querença, Loulé, Portugal. Photography by Julie Dawn Fox

The Algarve is best known for its fabulous beaches and top notch golf courses so what’s an inland town like Loulé to do if it wants to entice visitors away from the coast? Get creative, that’s what. Loulé Criativo organises hands-on creative workshops in Loulé city and municipality. Run by local artisans,Read More →

Handpainted ceramic plates with colourful country scenes, Redondo, Portugal

I was drawn to the whitewashed Alentejan town of Redondo for its biennial street decoration festival, Ruas Floridas. As a bonus, I discovered a 500-year-old pottery tradition and had the privilege of meeting some very special people involved in its practice and preservation. Note: Places to stay near Redondo are atRead More →

Love Story azulejos by Hazul and Costah, Porto

Ever since I encountered Portugal’s exquisite filigree jewellery, I’ve been fascinated by one of the most popular designs, the Viana heart. Many Portuguese souvenirs and contemporary designs now sport this distinctively curved heart with its crown-like growth at the top so you’re bound to see it at some point. But what’s the story behindRead More →