Family Holiday Guide to Porto and Lisbon
Portugal is an excellent destination for a multi-generational trip. Its principal cities: Porto and Lisbon, are predominantly walking cities with plenty of history, classical architecture and unique local dishes. While Portugal may be best known for its soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, there is more to the nation than football. Discover the country’s obsession with tiling as well as its love for custard desserts and, of course, its Japanese influence. Both cities are a great option for a week-long holiday in western Europe.
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Where to stay
Santa Clara 1728 - Silent Living
São Lourenço do Barrocal
Stunning 200-year-old estate where the unspoiled meadow and vineyard scenery takes center stage.
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Torel Palace Porto
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Things to do
When in Portugal, take pictures in front of the magnificent tiles at Porto's Sao Bento Railway Station. It is a lovely spot to get a true feeling of the country and its love for ornate tiling. You can also get inspired at the National Tile Museum and even paint your own tile in a workshop.
The most famous custard pastry from Portugal is the Pastel de Nata. Order one just about everywhere you go! If you want to delve further into the local culinary scene, embark on a street food tour and taste-test the country's best bifana sandwich and fried cod poppers.
Wander the expansive and multi-leveled gardens of the Fundação Serralves art foundation to discover unique pieces within the majestic space. After, consider a bike along Porto's Douro River. Then you can visit curator Filipa Almeida's studio for unique pottery to tote home (she doesn't ship, so choose wisely!) Finally, the country is full of individual family-owned stores in Lisbon and Porto. Amongst the stand-outs is the oldest candle shop and one with a selection of the prettiest tin fish. Indulge in some good, old-fashioned shopping!
A note from Zoe
Monsaraz in Alentejo, is an unexpected and delightful visit to an all-white, hill-top castle town dotted with sweet little shops that sell beautiful chocolates and pretty bottles of gin. There's an art gallery in an old church and insane countryside views. Your pictures will look like you stepped into a fairytale, especially if you luck out on a misty day.
Eat & drink
Cantinho do Avillez: This Lisbon restaurant hails from one of the country's famous chefs, Jose Avillez. The food is top-notch, and the dining room is charming and cozy. It serves some of the best baked cod in town.
Cervejaria Ramiro: You cannot visit Portugal without a trip to a locals-favorite, Ramiro, for the most extraordinary shellfish of your life (expect to see five different species of prawns on the menu).
Tasca Kome: Portugal has strong ties with Japan and takes their Japanese food seriously. This Japanese restaurant is a sweet down-home spot in downtown Lisbon that offers straightforward food with little twists like sushi rolls in brown rice.
Prado Restaurante: This restaurant hosts one of the best meals you will have in Portugal. Housed in a minimalist room draped with greenery, the food is uniquely Portuguese. (Think: calamari in ham broth) and simply fabulous. Expect to order way too many plates!
Sao Lourenço do Barrocal: This restaurant in Alentejo serves the best breakfast in town with everything from honey-seed bars to homemade honey and sourdough, locally cured meats and even grilled vegetables. Plus, you can order omelets with herbs grown in the garden if the spread is simply too overwhelming.
BOA-BOA: A cool chain restaurant that serves up kid-friendly (but elevated) bao and all kinds of curry and kimchi.
Tapisco: An outstanding choice for lunch when you want some shared plates. Enjoy the tuna tartare, braised peas and grilled octopus.
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