We had visited Portugal – Porto and Lisbon – as vacationers and left the country feeling torn. We adored Porto, but we couldn’t say the same for Lisbon. Everyone we knew who had been loved it, but we struggled in the city. Everything just seemed to go wrong…we even got ourselves locked in a train station.
After traveling full-time for six months, we made the decision to return to Lisbon. As it turns out: it was us, not you, Lisbon. You are awesome. In our two weeks in Lisbon, where we stayed in the Alfama district, we comfortably navigated our way through the city. We joined locals at scenic viewpoints, visited churches, crossed the river to the Cristo Rei statue, rode the tram to Belem and ate way too many custard tarts.
We loved Lisbon so much we returned again in 2019 and stayed for a month housesitting. Porto drew us back as well, for an amazing month long stay in 2020 and in 2023 we discovered the lush Island of Madeira!
Get Inspired for your Trip to Portugal
With ancient castles, colorful towns and a stunning coastline, Portugal is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit. From the riverside cities - like Lisbon and Porto- to the vineyards to the islands in the sea, we are absolutely smitten by Portugal. Before your trip, get inspired with the best movies, books, food and drink!
Movies About Portugal
The movie, Porto, is a drama film released in 2016 about two ex-pats living in the city of Porto. When the two strangers meet, it ignites an intimate connection that results in a one-night stand.
Books Set in Portugal
Night Train to Lisbon is a book (and also a movie!) about a man who has a chance encounter with a woman. The strange woman – and the book she led him to – encourages him to go on an adventurous journey to uncover a mystery.
Portuguese Food Travel Inspirations
Honestly, it took us awhile to develop a taste for Portuguese food, but now it is a cuisine that we crave! I cannot begin to imagine how to create a sandwich like the Francesinha at home, but a classic fish dish, like Bacalhau a Bras could be made (as long as you can get dried salted cod).
The Portuguese excel at sweet treats, too. The most famous Pastel de Nata – and egg custard tart – is made using basic ingredients…and a lot of time. However, they are delectable straight from the oven, so we think it is worth the effort to try to make them at home.
Drinks From Portugal
The most famous drink from Portugal is the namesake Port. The sweet, fortified wine is a popular after-dinner drink and is made in a variety of styles, including Ruby, Tawny, and Late Bottled Vintage. Port wine is now produced in many regions around the world, but only bottles from the Douro Valley in Portugal (like Taylor’s and Calem) will be marked as being from Oporto, Porto or Vinho do Porto. More recently, Portugal has joined the Craft Beer Revolution and beer from Porto and Lisbon can be found in specialty beer shops.