In this blog we post local travel tips and information about
Portugal and the Portuguese culture. Enjoy!
Portugal and the Portuguese culture. Enjoy!
We understand long holidays are usually taken during Summer when warm sunny weather is a given. However, travelling during off peak season has its perks: there are no crowds, the hotel fares are cheaper and the destination is sure to be more authentic.
Plus with the undeniable climate change winter is no longer a marked colder and harsher season, particular near the coast. With an average of 300 days of sun and mild temperatures, our country is a delightful destination during winter time as well. Here we picked a few destinations that have a special charm during Winter.
With the technology boom nowadays games are always charged, plugged and played online. Most kids play alone or with virtual buddies and don't spend enough time outside, specially in the cities.
Luckily there are many old traditional games that are part of our heritage that have been passed from one generation to another. They promote interaction, physical activity and are loads of fun! With simple things such as chalk, ropes, bags and bottle tops both kids and grown ups spend time together, socialising in a fun and healthy way.
Below are some of the most famous ones, which we've organised according to their main skill.
Everyone knows we do not joke around when it comes to food. Portuguese absolutely love meal times and they’re important at a social level. Most celebrations mean gatherings around the table, where food and wine always play a lead role.
Grandmothers are usually the ones responsible for the mouthwatering menus, from the appetisers to the decadent desserts. Main dishes are cooked without rushing following old family recipes and Sunday is the favourite day to have long lazy lunches.
In Trás-os-Montes, the region located in the northeast of the country, there is a peculiar tradition about to take place…
Every year Christmas approaches and we start thinking about the family members that are about to return home from abroad, eating the so awaited cod and roasted turkey, cosy nights by the fireplace and Christmas decorations. And outside the house there’s some kind of a “competition” going on...
From north to south there are several spots on the run for “Sparkly Destination” or “Santa’s Paradise” and other Christmassy titles. Picture everything from trains, to ice skating rinks, massive Christmas trees and even real reindeers!
There are many places worth visiting during this time of the year and here are some of the very best.
Autumn is a beautiful season for many reasons. The leaves turn brown and red, fall down and cover the pavements. Warm jumpers and fuzzy coats finally get to parade on the streets. The coffee and tea consumption increases and keeps us warm. And in the cities the air starts smelling of roasted chestnuts.
Late Summer and beginning of Autumn means it’s vindimas, what we Portuguese call the harvest season. In the main wine-making regions, such as Douro, Alentejo and Dão, producers and local workers are busy cutting the grapes from de vines, bunch by bunch. It’s hard work, but as we start preparing the delicious and world-known Portuguese wine it’s also time to celebrate!
Being Portugal a very catholic country, most of our traditions are strongly related to our religious heritage, particularly in the countryside. It is notorious the presence of religion in all fields, from architecture to gastronomy and, of course, our festivities. When it comes to celebrations the most important one is, without a doubt, Easter, as it represents Jesus ressurrection. Maybe that explains why we suffer in anticipation for so many days and then celebrate it with a bang!
The origin of this festivity dates back to ancient times, when people celebrated pagan gods and the mother nature. Many centuries later, the church recognised the Carnaval as a religious celebration, and it is now seen all around the world.
Carnaval, or entrudo, are the three days before Ash Wednesday. The main celebration is the “Fat Tuesday”, the last day for people to party and eat and drink too much. The word Carnaval has latin roots and means “farewell to meat”, as during Lent (the 40 days until Easter Sunday) devoted catholics give up their main pleasures, including meat.
In Portugal there is a big tradition when it comes to Carnaval festivities, since the Middle Age. Not only from north to south, but also in the islands of Azores and Madeira, Carnaval is celebrated with a bang! Portuguese people tend to believe “No Carnaval ninguém leva a mal”, a saying that means no one takes personally what is said and happens during this time of the year, being a time of excess and revelry.
If you are around in the pre-Len, do not miss the Carnaval celebrations we have picked, as they’ll probably be the highlight of your trip!
Two subjects we don’t play with... Christmas in Portugal means quality time spent with the family: long meals, full tables and happy loud people.
Everyone is well aware we take food seriously, and the sweets we make for Christmas have been part of our traditions for generations. Every family claims to have the best recipe, and it is true. Every single one of them is to die for!
Here are a few (believe me, there are more!) of our favourites: