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 →

Douro vineyards and quinta from Miradouro de Frei Estevão

The Douro valley in northern Portugal has more than just the perfect climate and soil for cultivating grapes and a wine-producing culture that dates back centuries. The undulating curves of the Douro wine region’s hillsides create a beautiful and dramatic landscape which changes with the seasons and is so specialRead More →

Wooden tram, Porto. How to get around Porto

One thing you need to know about getting around Porto is that it’s hilly. Fascinating and beautiful too, but be prepared for some steep slopes and steps. Maps don’t show where these sneaky inclines are so unless you’re very familiar with the city, your sightseeing route could easily involve an unanticipated workout. That’s why it’s worthRead More →

Pinhão and Douro River through vineyards

The breathtakingly beautiful Douro wine region has become one of Portugal’s must see destinations. Commonly referred to as the Douro Valley, the World Heritage landscape actually extends way beyond the Douro River and is dotted with towns, villages and wine estates. While it’s possible to get a quick glimpse ofRead More →

Guimarães castle. One of the main things to see and do in Guimarães

I’m always looking for an excuse to visit Guimarães. This northern city is known as the cradle or birthplace of Portugal so its wealth of cultural heritage is hardly surprising, nor is its UNESCO World Heritage classification. There are plenty of things to do in Guimaraes and it’s road and rail connections make it aRead More →

Overlapping animals, rock art at Pensacoso, Foz Côa Portugal

Carved into the rugged rocks of the Côa Valley near the town of Vila Nova de Foz Côa you’ll find the very origins of animated art. The two-headed animals scratched into these ancient stones weren’t monsters roaming the Portuguese countryside. The extra heads represent movement, pretty clever for rock artRead More →

What to see and do in Ponte de Lima

Ponte de Lima charmed me at first sight. When I revisited a couple of years later, Portugal’s oldest town nestled itself deep inside my heart and is never coming out. It’s got all the right ingredients for me: plenty of gardens, fancy mansions and other historical buildings, tons of restaurants andRead More →

Walking trail above São Cristovão Do Douro

Knowing how hilly the Douro wine region is, I was a little apprehensive about doing a week-long walking holiday in the Douro Valley. Nevertheless, the promise of spectacular views and the experience of hiking from village to village were enticing enough to push myself beyond my normal comfort zone. (Don’t letRead More →