Tips and Suggestions for Trip to Portugal

Hello everyone! I'm currently planning a trip to Portugal for September and would love to hear from the community if anybody has good tips of places to stay, wineries to visit and of course restaurants. Planning to start in Lisbon, stopping in Bairrada on my way to Porto. Also considering heading deep into the Douro Valley to see those beautiful riverside terraced vineyards. All feedback is welcome!

  • Visit Graham's and / or Cockburn's lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from Porto. Graham's has a restaurant, Vinum, that is highly recommended for lunch before or after your tour / tasting. In Douro, don't miss the Dow's winery in Pinao. You can set up tastings, tours, etc on the Symington Family Estates website: https://www.symington.com/

  • Make a reservation to eat at Casa de Chá - it's magical. And make sure to check out Kopke. Niepoort isn't open to the public, but worth contacting to make an appointment.

  • SUGGESTIONS FOR OPORTO, PORTUGAL

    Visit the ‘big tower’ Clerigos

    The cable car is a great way to see things and a nice walk back down to the Gaia side of the river front.

    Walking Tour of Porto

    Start your visit in the upper tier of the Dom Luis bridge, close to the Sé Cathedral (some 100 meters walk from the bridge). Visit the Sé Cathedral, one of the oldest in town. 

    From both places above you can take in a magnificent panorama of the old city. Having lingered a while here, walk downhill past the São Bento train station on the right (stopping to take a glance at the tiled interior) before heading for the city’s main avenue, Aliados, stopping in an outdoor café for coffee or lunch. From here you can head east to Rua Santa Catarina and surrounding streets, the main shopping district – Visit Café Majestic and have a pastel de Nata with an expresso J.

    At the lower end of Rua Santa Catrina, head for the main avenue of the city (Avenida dos Aliados) to see the majestic old buildings including the city hall. Stop fopr an icecream at Santini (Largo dos Loios) and then head up the street to Torre dos Clérigos (one of the oldest monuments in town). Across the square visit Lello Bookstore, a breathtaking old building which is a must-see. 

    If you still have time, head back down through the old streets to the riverfront, passing by the Palácio da Bolsa (the old “stock Exchange”) and spend some time exploring the old streets in the Ribeira (riverside) area. This is the oldest part of town, in fact part of the old Porto fortress where you can still see parts of the original walls including the “Coal Door” where the ships would load the merchandise into the city through the only door of the fortress.

    Recommended Restaurants in Oporto:

    1. Tapa Bento (across from the train station)
    2. Traça Restaurant (close to the Palácio da Bolsa – great spot with a retro/traditional feel)
    3. LSD restaurant (next door to Traça, slightly more modern food but with a great outdoor terrace)
    4. Adega São Nicolau (probably the best traditional food you can get in Ribeira Area)
    5. ODE (more modern approach with traditional ingredients but in an historical building. This is next door to Adega São Nicolau).
    6. Flow Restaurant. It is a great modern bar-style restaurant, quite central and close to the nightlife attractions of the city center.
    7. O’Paparico – opaparico.com, owner Sergio

    Recommended Hotels in Oporto:

    1. Pestana Hotel, request river view, pestana.com
    2. Tiara Park Atlantic Porto, tiara-hotels.com
    3. Hotel Infante Sagres, hotelinfantesagres.pt 

    SUGGESTIONS FOR Lisbon, PORTUGAL

    Recommended Restaurants in Lisbon:

    1. Alfaia, reservations required, 125 Rua Diario de noticias, Owner – Pedro Marques, garrafeiraalfaia@hotmail.com
    2. SeaMe, 21 Rua do Loreto, www.peixariamoderna.com

    Recommended Hotels in Lisbon:

    1. The Beautique Hotel, 16 Praca de Figueira 

    FERREIRA/CF - PORTUGAL

    To set up a tasting/tour at the port lodge, please email Visitas.ferreira@aaferreira.pt& copy Salome.machado@sogrape.pt

    Caves Ferreira:

    Av. Ramos Pinto, 70

    Vila Nova de Gaia

    Tlf: 00351 22 3746106  /07/08 

    SUGGESTIONS FOR MADEIRA, PORTUGAL

    Drink a Poncha!

    RENT A CAR

                Visit Nun’s Valley by car

                Visit the linen factories

    SUGGESTED DAY TRIP

    Drive to the middle of the island to the highest point on the island, Pico de Arieiro at 1,810m.

    Follow the road north, stop when you come across a trout farm. Continue north towards Porto da Cruz and turn left when you get there towards Santana. Stop in Santana to see the traditional Madeiran houses, triangular houses with thatched roofs. Keep going along the north west coast until Sao Jorge. There are fun restaurant on the north coast, near Sao Jorge, which had two swimming pools and overlooks natural rock pools which are great for jumping in. Stop there for lunch and then take a swim in the rock pools. Post lunch, head on toward the north coast to Porto Moniz. The road follows the coast at close to sea level and there are tunnels which by-pass some of the old cliff hanging roads. Between Sao Vicente and Porto Moniz, stop the car where they’ve got chained off roads and walking a short way along some of the closed roads. PLEASE NOTE, this is hazardous because there is no saying when rocks might fall, so take care. Once you reach Porto Moniz, head south on the west coast. You have two choices. You could fork off left to take one road which goes over the top of the island towards Rabacal which is quite lovely. OR take  the west coast road which has amazin views from the cliffs - NOTE you have to drive off the main route to see them. At Achadas da Cruz there are cable cars which hou can ride.

    If you cboose the west coast road, it is at high altitude and it goes towards Achadas de Cruz, then Ponta da Pargo, then Faja da Ovelha and you go back to sea level at Jardim do Mar. At this point you are back in the land of tunnels. When you reach Calheita, back on the south coast, do not take the tunnels. Stick to the beautiful old road which is preserved and gives you a good idea of what the roads were like which are now closed on the north coast. The coastal road from Calheita to Ponta do Sol is beautiful. We even drove through a waterfall, don’t worry, it is a safe road. I recommend stopping for dinner in Ponta do Sol before returning to Funchal

    SUGGESTED DAY TRIP

    Drive to Câmara de Lobos [Cama de Lobos is known for the best Malvazia vines]. Have a coffee in the pretty little fishing port. Go to Cabo Girão (world’s second highest cliff) and stand on the highest glass viewing platform in the world. Then head to Curral das Freiras (Eira do Serrado) where you can look over the Valley of the Nuns from 1,098m height. Take a drive into the valley of the Nuns. Then head to downtown Funchal. Take the cable car gondola up the centre of town to the top of Funchal. At the top, in Monte, there are Tropical Gardens to see. But, the most exciting thing of all is the Monte Sledges. After your 2km descent in a whicker sleigh, don’t take the waiting taxis [they charge 25 Euros] either walk down or walk until you can flag a taxi or call an Uber. A taxi shouldn’t cost more than 7 euros from there. Madeira is known for embroidery and you can visit the embroidery factory for a keep sake.

    Hiking – check out the ap: WalkMe/Levadas Madeira for recommendations.

    Recommended Restaurants in MADEIRA:

    1. Mare Alta on the beach in Ponta do Sol
    2. Apoita in Madalena for lunch
    3. Lagar
    4. Gaviao Nova – Zona Velha
    5. Quinta do Furao
    6. Taberna da Esquina – Zona Velha
    7. Gaviao Nova– Zona Velha
    8. Donna Maria– Zona Velha
    9. Venda Velha for Poncha– Zona Velha

    Recommended Hotels in Madeira:

    1. The Reid’ Palace Hotel, Estrada Momunental, 139, 9000-098 Funchal, contact Mónica Souto, Reservations Coordinator, Direct Tel.: +351 291 71 70 30/1/06

    General Tel.: +351 291 71 71 71

    1. Melia Madeira Mare Resort & Spa, meliamadeira.com, melia-hotels.com
    2. Pastana – there are several to choose from, avoid the casino property
  • Pretty much everybody already higlighted the mai places in Porto and Lisbon, and the previous post that Stacy pointed out has some other good suggestions on Porto and Lisbon.

    For Bairrada wineries, a must see is Luis Pato. They are very welcoming and they'll pour according to your interest. Filipa Pato and William Wouters(a sommelier himself) do a tasting menu with wines at their place. They have probably the most interist wines in the region but it will be 100 € per person.

    Big name wineries like Bágeiras and Caves Messias are worth checking out, especially the latter if you want to see champagne style tunnels that stretch underground.

    My favorite restaurant is "Pedro dos Leitões" but Mugasa is a popular destination among chef's and foodies.

    If you need any help with these or other suggestion feel free to contact me at: dsanchespereira@gmail.com