Porto is known the world over as the home of fortified port wine but has several other epicurean delights, including the delicious and slightly sparkly Vino Verde from Amarente. You’ll certainly never be short of something to eat and drink in Porto.
With its origins dating back to Roman times, the drowsy little town of Amarante is wonderfully situated in the Sousa Valley, clamped between the bluff hills of Serra do Marão and the meanders of the Tâmega River, which is a tributary of the Douro. Spending the day in Amarante allows exploration of all the town’s charms and time to taste a glass or two of northern Portugal’s famous young wine, Vinho Verde.
Lying 43 km (27 miles) northeast of Madeira in the wild Atlantic Ocean, Porto Santo makes its big sister island look like a raving metropolis. Often described as a beach with a small island attached to it, this is truly the place to get away from it all. Day trips out to explore Porto Santo from Madeira can be made by ferry, sailing boat or by a short 15-minute place flight.
As one of the lesser-known Algarve resorts, Silves sits in the banks of the River Arade in the southwest extremities of Portugal, a whitewashed town underneath a cheerful jumble of rust-colored rooftops. Although it’s far from a brash, multi-facility resort, getting to know Silves will reveal its Moorish heart, well-preserved fortified castle and charm aplenty.
Most people think of its ancient heart when Porto is mentioned but although many of its buildings are rooted in almost medieval tradition, the architecture of Porto mirrors its development from parochial town to contemporary world-class city.
Fado, the hauntingly melancholic Portuguese folk music, needs to be heard live to be fully appreciated. And paired with traditional local cuisine and an evening walking tour of the Lisbon neighborhoods that made it popular, it brings the full experience alive in a unique and entertaining manner.