Portugal is about more than just bread and wine (but the bread and wine are fantastic)

In my country Portugal, you can eat and drink quite well at a very reasonable price! As all my friends know I love good food and I'm always opened to try out new Restaurantes and enjoy different menues from the various regions There are multitudes of local restaurants to choose from, even in the tiniest villages; and it doesn’t even matter which one you pick, as they all virtually meet the same expectations in quality, price, service and selection. Portuguese food doesn’t have the same high profile as other European cuisines, with menus usually relying on a traditional repertoire of grilled fish and meat, hearty stews and casseroles, and the ubiquitous salted cod (bacalhau), nearly all served with the same trio of accompaniments – rice, potatoes and salad.There are, of course, blindingly good exceptions to the norm in every town, crispy suckling pig from the local grill house, sardines straight from the fishing boat and slapped on the barbecue, a slow-cooked ragout of wild boar in a country tavern, and these are the kind of simple, earthy dishes that Portugal excels in. Most restaurants are also extremely good value, while Portuguese wine enjoys a growing worldwide reputation – if you’re not yet familiar with them, you’ll soon come to relish a refreshing glass of vinho verde on a hot day, or a gutsy Alentejo red with your grilled meat.

This makes it challenging to have a less than stellar dining experience, which is probably why the Portuguese, and I, eat out so often. However, there are certain cultural tendencies in the local restaurant scene that remain unknown to the average tourist; and a simple miscommunication in one of these mores could quickly sour a dining experience. Therefore, I would like give some important tips to all future visitors of Portugal, in hopes that they will experience nothing less than a great meal out! Deciding what to eat can be hard if you don’t speak the language, don’t understand the menus and can’t ask questions. It’ s usually easier to opt for the simple option of something grilled with salad and chips, than risk trying something else that might turn out to be something you really can’t stomach. In tourist areas, like the Algarve or the city centre of Lisbon and Porto, you will find some translated menus, but the translations are often slightly off or comically wrong. While this is amusing at first, it can soon become just plain irritating.

Leitão (Suckling Pig) is the most important gastronomic tradition in  Bairrada (Bairrada is a Portuguese wine region located in the Beira Litoral Province. It is located close to the Atlantic which ocean currents have a moderating effect on the climate. The boundaries of Bairrada includes the municipalities of Anadia, Cantanhede, Mealhada and Oliveira do Bairro.)

Portuguese cuisine rarely travels well. The cooking of mainland Europe's westernmost country is deeply rooted in the freshest local ingredients. Superlative seafood, sun-ripened fruit, lamb raised on flower-speckled meadows, free-range pigs gorging on acorns beneath oak forests. Without them, it just doesn't taste the same. So while diners worldwide crowd Italian trattorias, French bistros and Spanish tapas bars, Portuguese restaurants abroad generally cater to melancholy emigrants seeking in vain to matar saudades (kill their longing) for mom's home-cooked food. Things are changing, though. The success of Portuguese chefs like George Mendes in New York and Nuno Mendes (no relation) in London is generating a global buzz about the cooking of their homeland. In Europe, only Icelanders eat more fish than the Portuguese. Superstar chef Ferran Adria  says seafood from Portugal's Atlantic waters is the world's best -- and he's Spanish. Markets glimmer with a startling variety, from baby cuttlefish to U-boat-sized tuna. If your food heaven is fresh seabass expertly barbequed with a hint of lemon, garlic and olive oil, Portugal is the place.

Having a traditional Portuguese Grandma as your gastronomic guide, is the best one can wish for in Portugal, she will feed you a variety of dishes rich in meats and seafood. Traditional Portuguese food tends to be hearty, which is my polite way of saying “quite caloric”. Back in the day and, still in the rural areas, families raise their own cattle and slaughter animals to make the most out of every single gram of meat! No wonder Portuguese cuisine has developed a lot of regional “enchidos”, that is, sausage look-a-likes that come in all shapes and flavors and make sure that, at the end of the day, no meat goes to waste. Depending on the region of the country, you will find distinct typical dishes. Cod fish (“bacalhau”) will be a staple no matter where you go. Some say there are more bacalhau recipes than days in a year! Grandmas in Portugal will tend to cook what’s more typical in their region, but a super hero grandma with a love for Portuguese food, would cook you at least these 10 delicious dishes, for a true taste of Portuguese tradition. Please meet the king of all stews! "Cozido a Portuguesa" this Portuguese stew is the perfect example of the importance of using all the meat an animal can provide. This meaty bomb includes beef, pork, chicken and a variety of pork derivatives such as blood sausages and smoked pork parts. There are also some vegetables thrown in the mix, but one must admit this is a dish for meat lovers.

The most traditional of Portuguese soups "caldo verde" is as simple as it gets: onions, potatoes and kale cabbage, cooked with garlic and olive oil. Nothing says winter comfort food like a good serving of caldo verde in a traditional clay pot. This soup would normally be served with a slice of "chouriço" (typical smoked pork sausage) and cornbread. Dip it and enjoy!  it is the perfect heart-warming soup for a cold and rainy day. I love learning why we got to where we are based on where we came from, and why particular dishes became so popular. I think what I loved most about this dish is how simple and humble it actually is. From the ingredients alone, you can see how inexpensive it is to make, and how it was likely created out of what people had access to at the time; potatoes and greens go a long way when you need them to! Today caldo verde is a traditional dish and served at celebrations like weddings and birthdays, but I’ve decided to celebrate it for the everyday.A single-pot Caldo Verde Portuguese Soup is a cheap and cheerful dish that is ready in 30 minutes or less.

"Feijoada Trasmontana" Do not eat this on the same day as a Cozido a Portuguesa, unless you have a true desire of exploding!
 Feijoada stands for bean stew, but you know it wouldn’t be a Portuguese stew if you didn’t throw a variety of heavy meats into the mix! All the funny parts of the pig end up here, as the dish was created when people couldn’t afford to waste anything the human body could eventually digest. Meats included may vary, but if you are too picky, ask before you put something in your mouth. It’s not at all uncommon for Feijoada to include delicacies such as pig hocks, knuckles or ears! According to Portuguese gastronomy history this meal originated around the 14th century in the Northern region of Portugal. Generally, Feijoada is made with white beans but in the Tras dos Montes region, red kidney beans are used. During that time beef was scarce, so the poor peasants began using every part of the pig as a staple in their diets along with beans and cabbage which were easily available. This dish is great served with our classic white rice and corn bread. The dish, is shared by all the country’s former colonies from Brazil to Macau, and variations can be found in Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and Goa in India, too. However, Feijoada à Transmontana is considered to be the most traditional of all recipes and the basis for all other feijoadas. It originated in Northern Portugal and has been embraced by Portuguese gastronomes ever since. It’s also a perfect party dish, as the recipe can be expanded to feed any number of guests. This meaty dish combines many Portuguese flavors and spices, this no minute-meal, but your reward for they wait will be a genuine taste of Portugal in a dish that’s bound to impress. It's a fantastic, I love it !!!!!!

Bacalhau is Portuguese for dry, salted cod, and referred to as Bacalao in Spain  or Bacala in Italy. Historically, Bacalhau was the staple for these three predominately Catholic countries during Lent, when meat was considered a forbidden food. And although the recipes have diversified and evolved, it can still be found on the dinner table of Portuguese, Spanish and Italian families in all its glorious forms today. Although my dear friends the  Basques, from the northern region of Spain called Pais Vasco, lay claim to first curing cod, the truth is that the Vikings had traveled to the Newfoundland in the 12th century and were said to have hung it in the brutal winter air until it lost four-fifths of its weight becoming durable as plywood. The obvious lack of refrigeration at the time warranted the drying and salting of meat and fish but this technique was also an ancient way for preserving nutrients in the codfish, whereby making it more palatable. Nicknamed fiel amigo, or faithful friend, the cod has remained an integral part of the Portuguese cuisine for centuries. Bacalhau  is the most popular base commodity in Portuguese cooking. Traditionally there are more than 365 different dishes, one for each day of the year, and the country has a love affair with the pungent smelling fish. The traditional method to salt and dry the cod fish involves the cod cut lengthwise and hung from the caudal fin. To prepare for consumption the Bacalhau cod fish it is soaked in freshwater for a minimum of 36 hours (changing the water 3 times  day). to reduce the levels of salt. The cod is then shredded into one of the numerous dishes or served as sliced stakes. I could fill this page with hundreds of cod fish recipies; but I've decided to inclued my 3 favorite:

"Bacalhau à Minhota" is one of the most traditional and unique Portuguese styles of cooking Bacalhau, originating in Northern Portugal. This dish includes spicing the bacalhau then frying it in extra virgin olive oil slightly along with some potato slices and caramelized onions. The bacalhau is very flavorful when cooked in this style, and is perfect when served alongside some crunchy fried potatoes and delicious caramelized onions on top.

This recipe is called Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, but if you can’t pronounce that, simply call it Salt Cod with Potatoes and Olives. It is a simple dish that uses only a handful of ingredients. Just watch for timing: it can be prepared in advance. José Luís Gomes de Sá, was born in Porto, on 7 February 1851. Gomes de Sá was the son of a rich 19th century cod trader in Porto. The family fortune dwindled as there was a devastating fire in the warehouse. José then had to find a job at Restaurante Lisbonense, a restaurant in downtown Porto where he created this recipe. Gomes de Sá was not only a cod trader but also a food connoisseur. He used a well-known recipe for bolinhos de bacalhau or cod fish cakes and with the same ingredients (minus the flour) decided to create a new recipe. Allways use high quality Extra virgin olive oil and olives. I feel like that, besides the salt cod, the stars in this dish are the olive oil and the olives. Good quality, pungent, rich varieties of olives will work best here. The slightly caramelized onions bring a touch of sweetness, and the potatoes will balance everything out and add sustenance to the dish. The eggs make for a pretty topping – and a delicious one – do not skip it.

From the numerous ways to prepare salted cod fish in Portugal, “Bacalhau a Bras” is one of the most popular and I honestly salivate just to think about it. The shredded cod is sauteed in a pan along with plenty of onions and straw fried potatoes. This dish is finished up with beaten eggs that cook as they join the pan, and topped with parsley and black olives. This is the essence of a country inside a plate!

"Ameijoas a Bulhão Pato". Clams Bulhão Pato Style has a fantastic story. Bulhão Pato was a poet from the 19th century. He is better known for a dish that he didn’t even create. Seems curious? Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato, born in Bilbao from a Portuguese father and a Spanish mother, will always remain in history linked to a Portuguese seafood dish with his name: Clams Bulhão Pato Style. Living a bohemian life style, gourmet game and food, he was a regular customer of some restaurants and taverns of the Portuguese capital. It was for sure in one of them, that he first ate what made the dish so popular, not by creating it but by spreading the word about it! We known that the poet lived till his death in Monte da Caparica, near Trafaria in the South Bank of the Tagus river, a place that remains as one of the best spots to catch really good and fresh clams. Although the recipe of Clams Bulhao Pato Style is actually very simple, the quality of the ingredients has an important role in the final result. The poet might not be known for his poems, but once you taste this dish you will never forget it!

More than a meal, Clams Bulhão Pato Style are a snack, best enjoyed with ice-cold beer. It’s very popular as appetizer as well, and a tasty way to get your juices flowing. Clams are cooked until tender in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and plenty of cilantro. Other similar clam dishes might feature this seafood cooked in white whine, butter and herbs, which is as good! Very important: you will need bread to dip into the sauces, as I can guarantee you wouldn’t want a drop to be left on the plate.

“Bolinhos de Bacalhau” or "Pastéis de Bacalhau" are one of the most popular and traditional foods in Portuguese cuisine. They are famous for good reason, they utilize one of the most signature ingredients in Portuguese gastronomy, bacalhau. There are many ways to cook bacalhau, or salted cod, and this is certainly one of the best. They are usually served at room temperature.  I love them as they come out of the fryer when the outside is still crispy.  They make perfect snack/picnic food.The proportion of ingredients will vary from cook to cook depending on personal taste or how much bacalhau they have.  My Aunt Fernanda would make her bolinhos de bacalhau with very little potato saying that, “I want to eat bacalhau.  I can eat potatoes any time.” The higher proportion of bacalhau will give you a harder fishcakes as the cod is dense, but for some that’s what makes their perfect bolinhos. These cod fish fritters can be savored as a starter or snack, or along with rice and salad as main dish.
 The batter behind this fried goodness is made of shredded cod fish, potatoes, eggs and parsley and is cooked until golden crispy on the outside but smooth and melty on the inside.

"Rissois de camarão" (shrimp turnovers), This dish is one of my favorites and In Portugal you are sure to find these prawn delights in almost every bar, bakery. and restaurante, When I make these at home I get filled with so much nostalgia as it takes me back to memories spent in the kitcheen with my late aunt Fernanda. The pastry is slightly crispy and has so much flavour from the herbed bread crumbs and the filling is delicate and creamy from the béchamel like sauce with the prawns. .  Rissóis de Camarão are signature Portuguese Shrimp Croquettes. These are savory seafood treats filled with shrimp and in a delicious filling, deep fried in the signature Portuguese rissóis style. They are perfect to eat as a side or on their own as a meal, but always sure to impress.

Tripas a Moda do Porto. or Tripe in the style of Oporto recipe is a traditional dish from Oporto that symbolizes the famed generosity of the city. Tripas a Moda do Porto or Tripe in the style of Porto recipe is a symbol of the Oporto people’s generosity as according to the legend when Henry the Navigator was preparing his ships to conquer Ceuta in 1415, he asked the people of Oporto to donate supplies to stock the Portuguese navy and they did, in such an extent, that all that was left to eat was tripe. However, that did not mean starvation for the people; instead they used imagination to create this amazing recipe, which granted them the nickname of “tripeiros” or “tripe eaters”. And so tripas à moda do Porto was born. The original dish is legendary, but it has seen some changes over the years. For instance, beans are a key ingredient, but some say they might have arrived here only in the 17th century. Today it is an important regional dish, glorified for its heritage. Every Porto family prefers its own recipe and passes it down from generation to generation. But while it is a weekly dish in some traditional restaurants in OPorto, it is becoming less popular among the city’s rising generation of chefs and restaurateurs, who are more focused on creating new culinary experiences

About Portugal

The Republic of Portugal (Portuguese: República Portuguesa) is a democratic republic located on the west and southwest parts of the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, and is the westernmost country in continental Europe. Portugal is bordered by Spain to the north and east and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. In addition, Portugal includes several island territories in the Atlantic, such as the Azores (Açores) and Madeira and Porto Santo (including the Savage Islands).

Portugal has witnessed a constant flow of different civilizations during the past 3100 years. Phoenician, Celtic, Carthaginian, Roman, Germanic and Arab cultures have all made an imprint on the country. The naming of Portugal itself reveals most of the country's early history, stemming as it does from the Roman name Portus Cale, a possibly mixed Greek and Latin name meaning "Beautiful Port". During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal was a major economic, political, and cultural power. The Portuguese Empire stretched across the world. After the rise of other colonial powers, Portugal declined.

Modern Portugal has its roots in the revolution that overthrew a dictatorial regime in 1974. Portugal made significant social and economic progress in the subsequent decades, becoming part of the EEC (today's European Union) in 1986.

About Lisbon

Lisbon (in Portuguese, Lisboa) is the capital and largest city of Portugal. It is the seat of the district of Lisbon

Lisbon is situated at 38 degrees, 43 minutes north, and 9 degrees, 8 minutes west, making it the westernmost capital in Europe. It is located in the west of the country, on the Atlantic coast at the point where the river Tagus (Portuguese Tejo) flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The city occupies an area of 84.6 km2. The city comprises 53 parishers. It is important to say that, unlike most major cities, the city boundaries are narrowly defined around the historical city perimeter. This gave rise to the existence of several administratively defined cities around Lisbon, such as Loures, Amadora and Oeiras, which in fact are part of the metropolitan perimeter of Lisbon.

The historic centre of Lisbon is built on seven hills, making some of the city's streets too steep for motor vehicles; the city is served by three funicular services and one elevator. The western side of the city is mainly occupied by the Monsanto Natural Park, one of the largest urban parks in the world.

An ancient Iberian settlement, it was held by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, taken by the Romans in 205 B.C., and conquered by the Moors c. A.D. 714. Reconquered by the Portuguese in 1147, it flourished in the 16th century during the heyday of colonial expansion in Africa and India. The city was devastated by a major earthquake in 1755.

The city and its surrounding area, along the Costa de Lisboa, retains much of its original charm and the Alfama, which is the city's oldest quarter, remains largely unchanged since Medieval times. The imposing St George's Castle is the jewel of this ancient area's crown and is a focal point for the celebrations every June, when the locals come out to hail the saints. This extensive structure is lit up at night and dominates the Lisbon skyline, looking down protectively over the city below it and out toward the sea. It is one of the many Unesco World heritage sites which are based in Lisbon. Due to the sprawling nature of the castle, visitors are advised to take at least a day of their stay to explore the extensive grounds, both inside and out! And if the historical exhibitions covering the castle get a little too much to take, just sit back and relax, enjoying the fantastic panoramic views of the city and River Tagus.

Lisbon is located on the bank of the Tagus, near the mouth where the river enters the Atlantic Ocean. The city's climate is one of warm winters and cool, fresh summers. It also offers a beautiful stretch of beach, providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy the best of both a city break and a seaside holiday all in one.

 

Lisbon Restaurantes

The Portuguese eat much more fish than other Europeans, and we suggest you join them. Trawl Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, near Rossio, or seek out Porto de Abrigo (Rua dos Remolares 16, 213 460 873), nearer the river. Uphill, Cervejaria Trindade (Rua Nova da Trindade 20C, 213 423 506) offers prawns and steaks in a beer hall decked with tile panels.

The stylish Terreiro do Paço (Praça do Comércio, 210 312 850, www.terreiropaco.com) has posher nosh, while tightwads should visit the lunch-only ACISJF Catholic Association (Travessa do Ferragial 1, top floor, 21 324 0910, closed Sat & Sun) and its rooftop terrace. Vegetarians can find a feast at Terra (Rua da Palmeira 15, 707 108 108, www.terra.vg).

You’re spoilt for choice in the Bairro Alto, with restaurants serving everything from the national favourite, bacalhau (salt cod), to curry. It is also a bar crawler’s paradise. Classics include beery Estádio (Rua São Pedro de Alcântara 11, 213 422 716), plush Pavilhão Chinês and the gay-friendly Portas Largas (Rua da Atalaia 105, 213 466 379). Clube da Esquina (Rua da Barroca 30, ) is one of many music-driven bars. Alcântara Café Locals bring visitors here to impress them -- it rarely fails. The café's mix of wood, leather, velvet, and steel elements combine to evoke a Lisbon of the 1920s. Portuguese dishes dominate the menu; try the prawns in lemon sauce. There's a large wine list, too, and a splendid bar if you want to sip an aperitif or stay on after dinner -- drinks are served until 2 AM. The restaurant is near the Ponte 25 de Abril and close to the nightlife of the Doca de Santa Amaro; the kitchen is open until 1 AM.

Addiotionaly I recomend the following Restaurantes to be enjoyed with your spouse or special friends:

Lisboete; Calcada do Marques de Abrantes 94, Lisbon 1200-720, Portugal

+351 21 395 0953

If you are looking for an excellent value good restaurant the this place gets 5 stars easily. Never before have I seen a six course tasting menu, for under 40 Euro's.

Cervejaria Ramiro, Intendente; Avenida Almirante Reis 1, +351 21 885 1024

Nicknamed the seafood temple, Ramiro is a historic Lisbon institution, well discovered by tourists but still loved by locals. This is the place to come to indulge in the country's fantastic seafood:  Originally opened in 1956, Ramiro's is a well-oiled machine with slick, speedy service from waiters who zip about holding giant platters of seafood aloft, but still have time for a joke with regulars.

Cantinho do Avillez, Chiado;Rua dos Duques de Bragança 7, + 351 21 199 2369

José Avillez is one of Portugal's most famous chefs, a trailblazer in the same mould as Ferran Adrià and Heston Blumenthal. Cantinho do Avillez, his bistro, is a small, simple room embellished with industrial chic features – factory lights and a concrete floor. The menu cherry-picks from international cuisines with the likes of lamb tagine, steak tartar with New York potatoes and suckling pig with Asian flavours. The tuna main course is the most tender piece of the fish I've ever eaten, and prawns are sweet and fresh.

Decadente, Bairro Alto; Rua de São Pedro de Alcantara 81, +351 21 346 13 81

The Independente Hostel & Suites is one of the city's impressive crop of stylish hostels and the Decadente is its in-house restaurant, an atmospheric, funky space that appeals as much, if not more, to locals and non-guests as it does to the budget-conscious residents. Big shuttered windows, artfully arranged vintage kitchen finds and low-hanging table lamps create a stylish backdrop for a modern Portuguese menu, including seafood rice (described on the menu as Portugal on a plate), Iberian pork belly and cod with honey and almonds.

 Largo Restaurante:  Rua Serpa Pinto, 1200 Chiado+351 213 477 225

Situated in the cloisters of the former Convento da Igreja dos Mártires, Largo’sinterior successfully combines old and new, creating an atmospheric yet thoroughly modern destination restaurant.

Renowned chef Miguel Castro e Silva creates traditional Portuguese dishes with international flavors, all stunningly presented and combining tradition with modern innovation. Located in the cool Chiado quarter, once a meeting point for the city’s artists and intellectuals, Largo is a perfect example of the area’s current artistic resurgence – a must-see on your visit to Lisbon.

Restaurante Eleven: Rua Marquês de Fronteira, Jardim Amàlia Rodrigues, 1070 +351 213 862 211

Started by eleven friends who wanted to open a truly worldclass restaurant in the heart of the city’s business district, Eleven is Lisbon’s number one destination restaurant for gourmet dining.

Working to Michelinstarred Chef Joachim Koerper’s philosophy of only using the freshest local ingredients, the menu changes seasonally and dishes are carefully prepared to ensure sophisticated Mediterranean cuisine. Eleven’s interior is intimate with candles and soft lighting, as well as generous windows offering views of the entire city and the Tagus, while the walls are adorned with the works of two of Lisbon’s most famous contemporary artists Joana Vasconcelos and Jorge Cruz.Eleven also offers elite travelers a stunning private dining area complete with a terrace; the perfect location for an intimate party or business lunch.

Solar dos Presuntos: Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 150, +351213424253

Managed by its owners, with a good menu selection and very comfortortable setting. Wide selection of traditional dishes and seafood, as well as an excellent wine cellar.  It is one of the most iconic restaurants in Lisbon, always full and whose history can be seen through the various photographs that decorate the place. Very very good! I really like this restaurant. Solar dos Presuntos is one of those restaurantes that always satisfies. Very central and with a very good staff. Highly recommend! one must book in advance.

Furnas do Guincho: Estrada do Guincho. Gps: 38. 72126 -9. 47794, Cascais,+351 21 486 9243
 
The Furnas do Guincho Restaurant offers an experience that goes beyond a meal every day of the year. With a privileged location facing the Atlantic Ocean, a modern and cozy design, the restaurant offers several interior and exterior spaces projected on the sea, Which align the taste, versatility and insolvency, transforming this place into a magical environment.
 
 
My advice is that after spending a great day in Cintra you drive alongside  the coastal road to reach this wonderful restaurant with great views of the Atlantic. The service is faultless with an elegant decor and a great variety of fresh seafood and portuguese typical dishes- It's an oasis to rest after a good walk around Cintra before continuing on to Cascais.

 

 

Sesimbra

From fishing village to vacation spot. In the last decades, Sesimbra has experienced a great growth due to the construction of large hotel complexes in its surroundings, destined mainly for the lovers of aquatic activities like windsurfing or sailing, that. In spite of this influx of tourism the area still retains that particular charm of the old Portuguese fishing villages, accentuated by an unparalleled natural environment, such as: cliffs, long beaches and exuberant vegetation thanks to the natural park of the “Serra da  Arrábida”. It should also be noted that the Sesimbra area has numerous campsites for those who like being on vacation quietly in the middle of nature, in a place far less crowded than an hotel.

Without a doubt Sesimbra is a photogenic village, that makes both Lisbon habitants and tourists fall in love with it every time they visit. This city, engaged in fishing for centuries, features a well-organized but still typical Portuguese fishing port. From this point one can contemplate various types of  boats also fine and golden sand next to beautiful turquoise waters beaches. Sesimbra is an ideal place to taste good seafood plates. Along its promenade you’ll find excellent restaurants with the best fresh fish in the region. In summertime the Sesimbra Beach is usually crowded, but the city still keeps the simple charming style of its narrow streets, its beautiful houses and its promenade adorned with palms that invite you to go out for a relaxing walk.

he last Sunday of September, the town celebrates the Espichel Cape Fair to commemorate the appearance of the Virgin Mary in the 15th century, with which people go on procession from church to church until they arrive to the cape. Another interesting celebration is the Senhor Jesus das Changas, at the beginning of May, when several feast take place.

What to see : Sesimbra enjoys many cultural attractions, thanks to its historical importance as a port and center of supply. The fortress of Santiago, a defensive construction dating from the seventeenth century, is the most visited monument of Sesimbra. From there one can observe great views of the full coast line.The Espichel Cape, where you will contemplate dinosaur fossils and the Nossa Senhora do Cabo Sanctuary also with impressive cliffs is a must to see especially the beautiful sun sunsets. The Porto de Abrigo, the old fishing port and one of the most typical postcards of Sesimbra, with colorful boats moored on the shore, is also well recommended. The Lagoon of Albufeira is a lagoon of crystalline waters where diving, snorting and swimming  also with children can be enjoyed without danger, since it does not have a direct entry to the sea. The last Sunday of September, the town celebrates the Espichel Cape Fair to commemorate the appearance of the Virgin Mary in the 15th century, with which people go on procession from church to church until they arrive to the cape. Another interesting celebration is the Senhor Jesus das Changas, at the beginning of May, when several feast take place.

How to get to Sesimbra; By car, crossing the 25 de Abril Bridge and continuing along the A2 until the turn of to Sesimbra on the N378. In summer it is best to leave early from Lisbon, since parking in Sesimbra in high season can be complicated.By bus from the Plaza de España in Lisbon; The buses to Sesimbra are No. 207 and 260 of the company Transportes Sul do Tejo. The first one has daily departures practically every hour (the weekends are less frequent) and is the fastest, since it goes directly on the highway.

Where to eat in Sesimbra: Sesimbra is very well known for its gastronomy, it is an ideal place to taste good seafood plates. Along its promenade you’ll find excellent restaurants with the best fresh fish in the region. In fact, many locals escape from Lisbon or nearby towns for a day to enjoy a walk and a good meal in Sesimbra.The sardines - ubiquitous in Portugal -, octopus and swordfish are some of the specialties that you will find in most restaurants. Eating well in Sesimbra is not difficult, and not expensive either. In addition, Sesimbra is an area with a great wine tradition, so you should not miss the opportunity to try some of their local wines. Around the Avenida 25 de Abril there are many restaurants and at night, the area with the best atmosphere is the area around the fort. Below I indicate my favorite restaurants in Sesimbra:

Casa Mateus: Largo Anselmo Braamcamp, 4. +351 963 650 939

A very cozy restaurant that has already become a classic of Sesimbra. Traditional dishes with a sophisticated touch (do not miss the octopus rice, its terrific). Good quality, good atmosphere and very friendly service make it a great option to eat in Sesimbra.

Taberna Isaias: Rua Coronel Barreto | nº 2, +351 914 574 373

A simple place to eat very well and economically priced grilled fish, accompanied by a white wine and some tasty roasted potatoes. A good tavern in the center of Sesimbra for those who want to try the local fresh fish without sacrificing the wallet.

Lobo do Mar Restaurante: Av. dos Náufragos Porto de Abrigo, +351 21 223 5233

In the direction of the port you will find this restaurant in which it is convenient to reserve, because it fills up quickly. In my opinion one of the best place in Sesimbra to eat fish, very good value for money, unbeatable deal, you choose the fish before you sit at the table and you are billed according to the weight and price.

O Rodinhas: Rua Marques de Pombal 25. +351212231557

Very professional place to eat or dine seafood first. The quality of the products they offer is perfect and the service excellent. In summer one must reserve a table the previous day; But worth it.

 

Zambujeira do Mar

Zambujeira do Mar is a beautiful fishing village located on top of a cliff, it’s clean and cared for with beautiful houses, which are facing the Atlantic Ocean. Situated in the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and the Costa Vicentina of Portugal.

There are fantastic beaches to visit, such as Nossa Senhora, Tonel, Arquinha or Alterinhos. One thing that I can say is that  the tranquility of the area is breathed in every corner, despite being more crowded in summer due to the inflow of tourism. The beaches of Zambujeira do Mar are surrounded by high cliffs that offer great views of the coast and the ocean. One of the best known is the Do Brejão which is also called Playa da Amália in honor Amália Rodrigues, the famous fado singer who used to spend long periods in the area. Full of fishing boats Amália beach is an excellent place to carry out for spearfishing. Alteirinhos Beach is one of the most famous in Portugal both for its undeniable beauty, and the fact that this is one of the very few beaches in the country where the practice of nudism is allowed. Nudism in Portugal does not enjoy the same level of acceptance as in France or Spain, but the police usually turn a blind eye, unless there are complaints and then they have to act.

 

 Zambujeira is a village that belongs to the municipality of Odemira and is very famous for the Music Festival do Sudoeste. Now days its called The MEO Southwest music festival and is one of the best kept secrets of European festival circuit, without a doubt one of the biggest music events in Portugal. Its well known for its great atmosphere and eclectic bands; a mix of urban music, electronic, pop, rock, indie, reggae and even Portuguese fado, MEO Southwest guarantees a variety for tastes which takes place  every summer from the 1st to the 5th of August and brings together hundreds of young people. This village has kept the charm and is known as the "Nazaré alentejana".

 

One of the main attractions of this Portuguese region is its gastronomy: its seafood, fresh fish, cheeses and tradition dishes, rich in meats and also special dishes such as feijoada de choco –which is elaborated using beans and cuttlefish. One can also enjoy lamb, a sucking pig, seafood platters, accompanied by a wine of Alentejo  which is a must to taste when one visits the Alentejo. The Alentejo region occupies more than one third of the mainland area and is one of the largest wine regions of Portugal, enjoying a warm and dry climate, with an excellent "terroir", that propelled numerous investments in the wine sector, resulting in the production of some of the best Portuguese wines and, consequently, in the international recognition of Alentejo wines. Demarcated region in 1988, it is divided into eight sub-regions: Reguengos, Borba, Redondo, Vidigueira, Évora, Granja-Amareleja, Portalegre and Moura.The most important white grape varieties in the region are the Roupeiro, Antão Vaz and Arinto. Regarding the red varieties, I must stresses the importance of Trincadeira, Aragonez, Castelão and Alicante Bouschet (French variety). White wines from Alentejo DOC are generally mild, slightly acid and with aromas of tropical fruits. The reds are full-bodied, rich in tannins and with aromas of wild and red berries. In short, the Alentejo wines offer tremendous pleasure, be they white, rosé or red wine. They are full of strong aromatic exuberance, round and smooth, with a unique ability to be drunk while young, but knowing how to age with distinction.

 

Enjoy a sunset at the small beach of Zambujeira do Mar and then go to the village for dinner at one of its terrace restaurantes, I must recommend and emphasize that without a doubt that this is one of the greatest pleasures that one can enjoy in the area. But that's not all, take a drive along the road bordering the Atlantic to Cape Sardao, were  the famous marine storks can be seen, rather than in steeples, here they  build their nests in soaring rocks emerging from the ocean a stone's throw from the coastal cliffs. offering a unique and unforgettable scenery. Further north, one last point. You have to visit Vila Nova de Milfontes. It would be considered a crime to be so close and miss the beautiful site of the fields that surround the estuary of the River Mira and its magnificent beach. You can also drive from Zambujeira do Mar on the N-120, to reach the towns of Aljezur, Rogil and Odeceixe and other small villages that follow for at least 20 kilometers, always following the coast and with the  certainty of finding beaches and cliffs even more amazing than the previous ones. Alentejo extends to the south of the Tagus and to the Algarve. It has wheat fields, olive trees and vineyards as well as castles like Marvao or historic cities like Evora ,Beja, Elvas and many more….

From Lisbon to Zambujeira do Mar by Bus:

Zambujeira do Mar lies 220km south of Lisbon, 60 km south of Sines the largest city of the region and 65km north of Lagos the major resort town of the western Algarve. If travelling in July and August pre-book all travel arrangements as seats sell out quickly, especially at the weekends and Sunday evening. Public transport throughout the Alentejo region is very limited but there are regular bus service to and from Lisbon. There are no train services along the western coast of the Alentejo with the main north-south railway running through the centre of the country. Therefore all tourists reliant on public transport must use the express bus services, luckily these bus services are inexpensive and reliable and the buses themselves are clean and safe.

The Zambujeira do Mar to Lisbon bus service is direct and is operated by Rede Expressos the main intercity bus operator of Portugal. The bus service is a seasonal with many more departures during the summer than winter months. In the low season there is just a single departure in either direction per day with an additional service at the weekends. In the summer the number of buses increases to four services per day but it is advisable to book in advance due to popularity of the route which covers most of the coastline. A single bus ticket costs €17.50 and the return fare is €31.60. Tickets can be purchased from Lisbon bus station (Sete Rios) or on line from www.rede-expressos.pt. The website has an English section and the bus tickets can be purchased up to 30 days in advance but these online tickets cannot be altered or transferred.

The Zambujeira do Mar bus service departs Lisbon from the Sete Rios bus station which is the main hub for Rede Expressos and one of the largest bus stations of the capital. Sete Rios bus station is served by the Jardim Zoológico metro station on the blue Metro line. In the bus station there are the expected range of facilities including ticket offices, shops and cafes but it is not a place made for waiting long. The Zambujeira do Mar bus start from Sete Rios so they always depart on time so ensure you arrive at the bus station with plenty of time. For those visitors who are travelling directly to Zambujeira do Mar from the airport catch the red metro line from the Airport and change on the blue line for the Jardim Zoological metro station. Zambujeira do Mar bus station is to the west of the town on the Avenida do Mar road, approximately 300 meets from the cliffs and sea front. The bus station is very small consisting of two bays and a small ticket office and shop. There are services to the Algarve and regional routes but bus travel in the Alentejo region is very limited.

 

Where to stay in Zambujeira do Mar: Casa da Seiceira, This type of accommodation is Tourism in the Country; This rural tourism unit has 3 one bedroom apartments and 4 rooms to offer, including a pool, a play ground for the children and other amenities.Casa da Seiceira is located in a truly privileged spot of the Alentejo Coast, between the famed locations of Zambujeira do Mar and Odeceixe and very near Carvalhal beach. The house is part of a 50 acre estate that used to include the legendary property of the Portuguese diva: fado singer Amália Rodrigues, who used it as a retreat by the sea and hence the name Amália’s Beach.

Address:

Brejão 7630-569 S. Teotónio

Telephone:+351 96 506 43 20

 
Where to stay in Zambujeira do Mar: Herdade do Touril: This type of accommodation isTourism in the Country just about 4 km from Zambujeira do Mar and 20 km of Vila Nova de Milfontes, in the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina. The Herdade Touril offers a new concept of tourism, set on 365 acres, at the same time to enjoy the comfort and tranquility of a rural environment and the privilege of the proximity to the sea. The property offers 9 double rooms with a traditional Alentejo decoration, trying to maintain a rural cozy atmosphere, to ensure maximum comfort. All have LCD's, DVD, free internet access, heating, air conditioning and private terrace. Throughout the year, breakfast is served until midday and the bar stays open until midnight. Guests can enjoy various activities such as hiking or biking, boating also massages on request.
Address:
Herdade do Touril 7630-734 Zambujeira do Mar
Telephone:+351 93 781 16 27
 
Where to stay in Zambujeira do Mar: Sunset Beach House is a holiday home set in Zambujeira do Mar, 13 km from Aguas Park. Guests benefit from terrace. Free WiFi is featured throughout the property. The kitchen features a dishwasher, an oven and a toaster, as well as a kettle. A flat-screen TV is offered. Other facilities at Sunset Beach House include a barbecue. With broad windows over the Atlantic and the local beach – the best urban beach in Portugal, according to tourist guides –, the house has everything that is needed to feel at home while on holidays.
 
Located just a few footsteps away from the main town square, the local shops and restaurants are even within viewing distance. The bakery is 200 meters away, the local market is 100 meters and the grocery store just 50. Anyone can enjoy their stay to the fullest without ever needing a car. The nearest beach is almost unbelievable 3 minutes away on foot but there are others to the north or to the south just around 15min away and less crowded, one of them a known nudist spot.

As for the house, it is built on 4 interconnected floors: The basement with 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a winter garden with natural lighting coming from the upper floor; the main floor with an additional 2 bedrooms and a bathroom; the social floor with a big living room area with a mdern kitchen and a WC; and finally the terrace with its amazing views over the ocean and the surrounding fishermen village which has a barbecue set up, a WC and a shower outside. All the bedrooms have big wall-to-wall closets.

The 3 main floors are heated and the kitchen is fully equipped with washing machines (laundry and dishes), gas stove and electrical oven. There is no air conditioning installed but the house is so well built that there's no need for it, the inside temperature never goes above 22/23C even on the hottest days of august. Also, because it's a coastal town, the Atlantic keeps the air fresh and the temperatures moderate both inside and outside.

Beco das Andorinhas 2 7630-766 Zambujeira do Mar,

 

Where to eat in Zambujeira do Mar:

 A Barca: Seafood in Zambujeira Do Mar

The owner’s father once cooked lunch for the local fisherfolk after they came into port; these days, the former kiosk is an upmarket restaurant that serves great fish and marisco (shellfish) dishes to discerning diners. Lovely outdoor area and view of the sea, but (of course) expect the odd seagull.

 Location:
Entrada da Barca, Porto de Pesca

 Restaurante Sacas; Seafood in Zambujeira Do Mar

A family team add colour to this fun, laid-back ‘cabana’ – Dona Ana Maria even creates her own seafood dishes. The fresh fish and shellfish more than make up for the car-park view (many years ago the cabana was at the base of the cliffs, but it was destroyed by rough seas).

Location:

Entrada da Barca, Porto de Pesca
 

i Brewery Seafood Restaurant:

At the iBrewery Seafood Restaurant you can enjoy the best seafood, with the sea as a backdrop.Located in Zambujeira do Mar, right in the center of the pedestrian zone, we are a reference in our region and have acquired a wide range of seafood and fresh fish from waters of the Algarve Coast.If you prefer meat, you will not miss delicious proposals.

Curiosity about the restaurant's name is common ground for all those who arrive here. The answer is simple, the name results from Emanuel's nickname, which was among friends known as ‘i’.

 

Location:

 

Rua Miramar 14
7630-789 ZAMBUJEIRA DO MAR

+351283 241 237