One of the first questions we are asked when people learn of our upcoming trip is: “Why Portugal?” For some reason this surprises me. Almost every time. Isn’t it a given? Really?! They have to ask? I guess after hours of reading about a country steeped in tradition and unspoiled for the most part by tourism, several reason are obvious to me. Here are our top eight reasons to visit Portugal:
1. Child friendly. The Portuguese love children. They are welcome in all but a few restaurants. You can order half-size meals or children’s meals. I was surprised to learn that we can even take them with us to enjoy an evening of Fado!
2. Climate. Temperatures in February are on average a comfortable 13 degrees, March bumps up to a 15 degrees average (Celsius). Not cold at all AND… no sunburn for this ginger!
3. Seaside cliffs and golden beaches. Ocean. Ocean. Ocean. It will be too cold to swim while we’re there but I don’t care. I am excited to be near the water!
4. Architectural interest. Medieval castles, a Roman bridge, ornate Moorish structures, cobblestone villages. Its all there.
5. Fascinating History. From the first inhabitants, Celtic tribes, Roman and Moorish invasions, to the Golden Age of Discovery, Portugal’s History makes for an interesting read.
6. The Food of course! We’re excited to try the sea food, sausage, pastries and a variety of cheeses. “Despite being relatively restricted to an Atlantic sustenance, Portuguese cuisine has a lot of Mediterranean influences.” (read more)
7. Good wine. Portugal is famous for its Port, a fortified wine that is typically red and sweet, often served as a dessert wine. Port is produced in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. In recent years Portugal’s table wines have become internationally renown for their quality.
8. Fado. Fado as a music genre is “characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a characteristic sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia.”
Enjoy a listen to these modern day Fadistas:
Viviane (influences of fado)