Douro Valley, Portugal

  • The Douro Valley is Port Wine Country
  • The region is located in the North of Portugal
  • The Douro “vinhateiro” winegrowing area of the Douro Valley is a designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Port and DOC Douro wines are made only with native grape varieties.
  • Authentic port is made at ‘quintas’ (estates) along a narrow river gorge that winds 100 miles through the mountain ranges
  • There are over 200 Quintas in the Douro Valley
  • Port Wine produced in the Douro Valley was once shipped downriver to the city of Porto in sailboats called ‘barcos rabelos’
  • The terraces of vines in the Douro Valley were introduced by the Romans in the third century A.D
  • Spring and fall are mild, with daytime temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees
  • The grape harvest season starts in September
  • The valley was the first demarcated wine-producing region in the world established in 1756
  • The River Douro rises in Spain and flows across Northern Portugal reaching the sea at Oporto


More about Portugal:

Some fascinating facts about Portugal

Fascinating Facts about Lisbon

Fascinating Facts about Porto



Visit the beautiful Douro Valley and more in Portugal on one of our private Portuguese Culture, Food and Wine Tours to see the wonderful vineyards and fascinating culture of this country, taste port wine, local foods and much, much more!

World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, World Heritage Convention, established in 1972. The aim – to protect and preserve National Heritage.  Portugal adopted the convention on September 30, 1980 – before its neighbor, Spain, who  accepted the convention on May 4, 1982.

There are currently 15 World Heritage Sites in Portugal listed by the World Heritage Committee on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  Spain, with 44 World Heritage Sites, is the 3rd country with the most World Heritage Sites behind Italy with 49 and China with 45.


World Heritage Sites in Portugal LIST, with their first year of inclusion:

 14 Cultural World Heritage Sites in Portugal:

  • Alto Douro Wine Region (2001)
  • Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores (1983)
  • Convent of Christ in Tomar (1983)
  • Cultural Landscape of Sintra (1995)
  • Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications (2012)
  • Historic Centre of Évora (1986)
  • Historic Centre of Guimarães (2001)
  • Historic Centre of Oporto (1996)
  • Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture (2004)
  • Monastery of Alcobaça (1989)
  • Monastery of Batalha (1983)
  • Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon (1983)
  • Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde (1998)
  • University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia (2013)


1 Natural World Heritage Site in Portugal:

  •  Laurisilva of Madeira (1999)




Visit Portugal’s World Heritage gems on one of our Private Culture, Food and Wine Tours to see the wonderful historic treasures and fascinating culture of this country and taste fine wine, local foods and much, much more! Portugal is easily combined with Spain so why not enjoy the best of both worlds and customize your private tour to combine both Spain and Portugal!

Evora is a small city surrounded by 14th century walls in the Portuguese wine region of Alentejo which is a vast, sun-drenched area covering around a third of Portugal. Only five per cent of the land is planted with vines though and between towns in Alentejo you can drive for miles passing cork and olive groves, vines, crops and grazing livestock.

 Evora, Portugal

Évora is a walled city with a proud, rich and imposing past. The Romans were here, leaving their 1st century Temple behind, but so were the Moors who occupied the narrow streets with quaint small white washed houses.  Traces of different eras and civilisations have been left virtually untouched in a city where people still walk small cobbled, medieval streets. Large archways give way to picturesque squares where local artisan shops are found next to the modern high-street names and terraced cafés invite you to relax and watch the world go by. The large amount of rich monuments found in this city has led to its UNESCO classification as the ‘the finest example of a city of the golden age of Portugal after the destruction of Lisbon by the earthquake of 1755’.

 Evora streets

There are many great Alentejo wineries that you can visit in the surrounding  countryside so Evora makes a wonderful base for discovering the wine region although in Evora itself don’t miss:

Catedral da Sé – Built in 1186 in Romanesque style and later restored in the Gothic this is the greatest medieval cathedral in the country.  The facade is dominated by two asymmetrical towers flanking a massive doorway, which includes twelve figures of the apostles that are masterpieces of Portuguese Gothic sculpture. Don’t miss the shrine studded with 1,426 precious stones—and a piece of wood thought to be from the True Cross.

Templo Romano de Évora ou Templo de Diana (Roman Temple of Évora or Temple of Diana) –  This is one of the city’s most famous monuments and one of the main symbols of the Roman occupation of Portugal. There are 14 columns left of this temple which was originally built in the 1st Century A.D. as a place of worship to emperor Augustus. Legend has it that it was erected in honour of the Roman goddess of the hunt, Diana, and is more commonly referred to today as the Temple of Diana.

Aqueduto Água de Prata (Silver Water Aqueduct) – This is a masterpiece of engineering workdating back to the 16th century and one of Evora’s iconic monuments. Follow the aqueduct inside the walls of Évora and see how homes have been built inside the arches.  It is one of the largest aqueducts in Portugal and  used to bring water from the springs of Graça do Divor, 11 miles (18 kilometres) away, to the center of the town.

Capela dos Ossos (The Chapel of Bones) – Built in the 16th century by Franciscan monks to invite contemplation on the transitory nature of life, to transmit the message that life was just a passage before reaching heaven or hell. Approximately 5,000 skeletons, from 42 local cemeteries, are exposed on its walls and ceilings —ironically, all but the bones of the monks who created the chapel. This intriguing chapel belongs to the Igreja Real de São Francisco (San Francisco Royal Church) and if you are a little sensitive you may have to think twice before you enter the archway that states “We bones lying here await yours”. 

University of Évora – This 16th century university is the second oldest in Portugal and the azulejos that decorate the classroom entrances represent each of the subjects taught.  Opened in 1559 and run by the Jesuits before they were evicted by the Marquês de Pombal in 1759, its elaborate classrooms look onto a serene courtyard with a central fountain. Feel free to walk through its marble cloisters, look in on classrooms with teaching pulpits and 18th-century blue-and-white azulejos (tiles, painted here to reflect the academic subjects) and don’t miss the chapel’s tapestry and the stunning painted ceiling of the library. The students are unfazed by visitors.

Praça do Giraldo –  The center piece of the main square of Evora is a marble fountain,  the fonte Henriquina, that dates from the 1570’s.  This water fountain  marked the original source of the aqueduct of silver water and has eight streams, each representing the eight streets which lead from the Praca do Giraldo.  The square today is a calm and pleasant setting to spend an hour or so doing some people watching but was once the scene for some of the region’s most violent historical events such as the murderous 16th century Spanish Inquisitions for which it was the focal point.

 Evora aqueduct

Discover some of our customized food and wine tours to the most beautiful regions of Spain, Portugal and S.W France Food, Wine & Cultural Tours of Spain, Portugal & S.W France

Our travel agency creates private and high-end wine, culinary and cultural tours in Europe. We understand that everyone’s idea of the ´perfect´ package is unique which is why we work with you to customize your unforgettable experience – with an emphasis on the personal touch. Contact us to receive a quote for your private customized food and wine tour

Portugal is divided into 14 Regional Wine areas : Vinho Verde, Trás-os-Montes, Porto and Douro, Távora-Varosa, Bairrada, Dão, Beira Interior, Lisboa, Tejo, Península de Setúbal, Alentejo, Algarve, Açores and Madeira.

Portuguese wine is then categorized using the ‘DOC’ (Denominação de Origem Controlada) system meaning Controlled Denomination of Origin. Portugal has 31 DOCs/DOPs.  At the moment, both the traditional terminology of DOC and the new pan-European “DOP” are used. DOP (Denominação de Origem Protegida) means Protected Denomination of Origin. The “DOC/DOP” system is similar to the Denominación de Origen “DO” system of Spain, the Appellation d’origine contrôlée “AOC” system of France and the Denominazione di origine controllata “DOC” of Italy.

In the Douro there are separate DOCs  for unfortified wine and for Port, although geographically they both lie within the same  boundaries.

Douro Valley


The Douro Valley, Portugal, is considered one the most spectacular wine regions of the world with its terraced vineyards on sloping hills that meet the meandering River Douro below as it cuts through the mountains. The characteristic terraces of vines in the Douro Valley were introduced by the Romans in the third century A.D and the Douro “vinhateiro” wine-growing area of the Douro Valley is now a designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The soil in which the Douro Valley vines are planted is made up of schist, a slate-like metamorphic rock.  Rich in nutrients, it also has useful water retention properties.

Long famous as the source of Port Wine, the authentic port wine is made at ‘quintas’ (estates) along a narrow river gorge that winds 100 miles through the mountain ranges and was once shipped downriver to the city of Porto in sailboats called ‘barcos rabelos’. But, the Douro Valley not only produces fortified wine.  Around the same amount of  unfortified wine is produced and is renowned for its fine and rich red and white wine.

The Douro wine region of Portugal is divided into three sub-regions: Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior from west to east respectively. The further east, the drier the climate becomes and the deeper the wines. The Cima Corgo, which includes the towns of Pinhão, São João da Pesqueira and Tua, is the heart of fine port production and where also many of today’s fine unfortified wines are produced.

  • The Baixo Corgo lies at the western end, closest to the Marão mountains, where the rainfall and vineyard yields are highest. This area mainly produces the lighter more early maturing styles of Port intended to be drunk relatively young.
  • The Cima Corgo area is the location of many of the Douro’s finest vineyards and produces more concentrated and long lasting wines.
  • The Douro Superior is the easternmost area and is the driest of all making it the source of many of the finest Vintage Ports.
Douro DOC

Main white Douro Valley grapes:

  • Viosinho, Malvasia Fina, Gouveio, Rabigato, Côdega, Donzelinho Branco, Esgana Cão and Folgazão


Main red Douro Valley grapes:    

  • Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Aragonez), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cão, Sousão, Bastardo, Mourisco Tinto, Castelão, Rufete, Tinta Amarela (Trincadeira) and Tinta Francisca


Just some of the World class Quintas that you could be visiting in the Douro Valley:

Quinta do Crasto –  Sitting in a privileged location in the Douro Demarcated Region, this Quinta is famous for its sophisticated wines as well as for the dramatic views. This single vineyard property dates as far back as the early seventeenth century, long before the Douro became the world’s first demarcated wine region in 1756

Quinta do Seixo – Sandeman’s flagship, and a most exclusive port winery, of the most important Port wine producer. This Winery is beautifully maintained and picturesquely located just down the river from Pinhao, with gorgeous views of Pinhao.

Quinta do Panascal  – This majestic quinta, whose reputation goes back to the 18th century, is located on the banks of the river Távora. It is the most important estate of the prestigious Port Wine Company “Fonseca Guimaraens”.

Quinta de la Rosa – Quinta de la Rosa is unusual in the way that they do everything in the Douro. Most port houses make their port in the Douro but store and bottle it in Vila Nova da Gaia, in Porto. Here, you will be able to see both wine and port making processes side by side.




Port Wine is a wine that was developed in Portugal by the British.  It is a by product of their battles with France through the 17th and 18th centuries. The English finally decided to boycott French wine in the late 17th century  and began sourcing their red wine from Portugal. They started to add a drop of Brandy to the still wine so that it would arrive in England after the long trip on a rocky boat without spoiling. This addition of the brandy not only gave the wine the strength to survive the journey but it also made the wine considerably sweeter when it was added early enough to stop fermentation.

Today, Port wine ferments for only 2 to 3 days, has brandy added, and then is aged in wooden barrels. How long it ages determines the taste and how sweet the wine is.

The base  for Port is made and fortified in wineries in the Douro Valley, then transported to the Port lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia, opposite Porto, at the mouth of the river, for ageing. Here, the ageing and blending of most of the world’s supply of Port wine takes place beneath a sea of red roofs emblazoned with some of the most famous names in wine-making. Rabelo boats were traditionally used to carry the wine down the river from Douro to the lodges in Oporto.

There are generally five different types of port wine – white, ruby, tawny, late bottle vintage (LBV), and vintage. White is aged early and is young and robust.  Ruby is aged for 3 years with a strong grape and pepper taste.  Tawny is aged in smaller wooden barrels and varies from 10 to 40 years (the label will specify how many 10, 20, 30, 40) with a lighter color and a more mellow taste. Late Bottle Vintage is aged 4 to 6 years while vintage is from a single harvest and is bottled after only two years in barrel, keeping it rich and red, then 10 to 30 years in the bottle. All port wines are medium sweet but they do range from a drier, less sweet to very sweet.

Although around thirty grape varieties can be used to make Port Wine, the five red grape types now generally considered to produce the finest port wine are: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão.

Just some of the fantastic Port Wine Lodges  that you could be visiting in the Porto:

Taylor’s Port Wine Lodge –  One of the oldest of the founding Port houses was established over three centuries ago in 1692. For many, Taylor’s is the archetypal Port house and its wines the quintessential Ports.  It is dedicated entirely to the production of Port wine and in particular to its finest styles. The history of the firm is in many ways the history of the Port trade itself.

Graham’s Port Wine Lodge  – For almost two hundred years W & J Graham’s has been an independent family business renowned for producing some of the finest Port wines. Wine Spectator Magazine voted Dow’s 2011 as the best port Wine in 2014. Dow’s Lodge in Porto is not open for visitors, but Graham’s is their sister company and you can buy the awarded Port here.

Sandeman Port Wine Lodge –  Founded in 1790 the Sandeman Lodge is housed in a former 16th century convent with a small museum. The Sandeman Porto Cellars are a landmark spot and the building boasts one of the best views of Porto.

 Port Wine, Portugal

Join us on a Private Tour of Portugal (or a combined tour with Spain) like our  Luxury Tour of Portugal – Wine and Culture  to experience the beautiful Wine Regions of Portugal in Alentejo and the Douro Valley, among others, to enjoy winery visits and tastings as well as a relaxing picnic in a vineyard and a cruise along the Douro River.



7 years ago to the day, on the 7th of July (the 7th month) in 2007 the 7 Wonders of Portugal and the NEW 7 Wonders of the World were announced. There are many Wonders of the World but officially there are only 7.  Seven is the magic number and Portugal is no different with a list of national cultural wonders named The Seven Wonders of Portugal.


On July 7th 2007 and after a six month long public election to select the top seven wonders of Portugal (votes could be cast by internet, phone or SMS) the results were announced at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.

From the initial 793 proposed monumental candidates, in the first round a board of experts reduced the number to 77 and then further reduced it to 21 finalists.

The Seven Wonders of Portugal are:

  • Castle of Guimarães, 10th century – Guimarães, Braga
  • Óbidos Castle, 1195 – Óbidos, Leiria
  • Batalha Monastery, 1385 – Batalha, Leiria
  • Alcobaça Monastery, 1153 – Alcobaça, Leiria
  • Jerónimos Monastery, 1502 – Santa Maria de Belém, Lisbon
  • Pena National Palace, 1838 – Sintra, Lisbon
  • Belém Tower, 1521 – Santa Maria de Belém, Lisbon


The Seven Wonders of Portugal announcement was held just before the global New Seven Wonders of the World contest, organized by the New7Wonders Foundation, which was  celebrated on the same day and in the same place on July 7th, 2007 in Lisbon.

The New7Wonders Foundation was established in 2001 with the initiative to choose the New 7 Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing World monuments. When the 21 finalists were finally announced the Egyptians were upset that the only surviving original wonder of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World, their Great Pyramid of Giza, would have to compete with “new kids on the block” like the Statue of Liberty, the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower. In response, Giza was named as an honorary Candidate and the Giza Necropolis in Egypt 2589 BC, was granted an honorary title.

The NEW Seven Wonders of the World elected by more than 100 million votes

  • Great Wall of China – 700 BC – China
  • Petra – 312 BC – Ma’an Governorate, Jordan
  • Colosseum – 70 – Rome, Italy
  • Chichen Itza – 600 – Yucatan, Mexico
  • Machu Picchu – 1438 – Cuzco, Peru
  • Taj Mahal – 1632 – Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Christ the Redeemer –1926 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Still Wonders of the World, even though not under the “7” title, some of the finalists included: the Acropolis of Athens 447 BC, the Alhambra in Granada 1333, the Eiffel Tower in Paris 1887, Stonehenge in the UK 2400 BC, Moscow’s Red Square 1561, New York’s Statue of Liberty 1886 and Sydney’s Opera House 1959.


The ORIGINAL Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were:

  • Great Pyramid of Giza
  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  • Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  • Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  • Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  • Colossus of Rhodes
  • Lighthouse of Alexandria


In 2007 The New7Wonders Foundation launched the New7Wonders of Nature, which was the subject of voting until 11 November 2011 and is a list of natural wonders and includes:

  • The Amazon Rainforest and River
  • Ha Long Bay – Vietnam
  • Iguazu Falls – Argentina and Brazil
  • Jeju Island – South Korea
  • Komodo National Park – Indonesia
  • The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park – Philippines
  • Table Mountain – South Africa


The current project of the New 7 Foundation is the New7Wonders Cities, with the results due to be announced in December 2014.


Discover the Wonders of Portugal on a Private Food, Wine and Cultural Private Tour of Portugal with a chance to visit the delights of Lisbon as well as the National Pena Palace in Sintra.

Are you passing through Lisbon on your Portuguese Vacation?  Do you have free time to explore on shore while your Cruise is docked for the day?  If so, we would be delighted to welcome you on a Private Gourmet and Historical Tour of the city with our Officially Licensed Guide.

Here’s what can you expect on a Gourmand Breaks Day Tour in Lisbon:

Your experienced, Officially Licensed guide, will be waiting at your hotel, or will meet you from your cruise ship, to take you on a Private Gourmet and Historical Tour of the city.  You will be introduced to the Portuguese culture, cuisine and its incredible mix of Mediterranean tradition and exotic influences from all corners of the World.  Get ready to see the sights and excite your taste-buds!

You will start with Lisbon’s great Cafés and Portugal’s strong café-culture. You will have the chance to take a look at delicious and exotic products, from dried, salted Bacalhau to sausages, hams and cheeses. Learn the history of Portugal’s famous fortified wine, Port, and then try some with the delicious Azeitao cheese.  Discover the local sweets and pastries and sample the famous custard tart, Pastéis de Belém.  Hear about the only tea produced in Europe that is grown in the Atlantic Island of Sao Miguel, in the Azores.  

Try some Portuguese Beer in the beautiful Rossio Central Station and finally make a visit to the Moorish St George’s Castle, renamed after the Moors were conquered in the late 14th century.

After taking in the impressive views over the sea, you will venture on down from the castle to the river, crossing the Alfama, Lisbon’s salty sailors’ quarter.   Its tangled street plan is one of the few aspects of Lisbon to survive the big quake, making the Alfama a cobbled playground of Old World color.  Urban-jungle roads are squeezed into a maze of confusing alleys, designed to frustrate invaders on their quest to get to the castle.  What was defensive then is atmospheric now.  Gnarled houses snuggle together in their romantic shabbiness; the air drips with laundry and the smell of clams and raw fish fill the air.You will pass by some interesting wine shops on your journey where arrangements have been made for you to taste not only the very special famous ports from Douro, but also Portuguese wines, such as Vinho Verde de Minho (the famous green wine of Minho).

Port Wine, Portugal


Our Gourmet and Historic Tour of Lisbon features in many of our Portuguese tours.  Join us in Lisbon as part of your Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tour of Portugal, as a combination with Spain or as a Luxury Shore Excursion. 


You may also like to read  “If Lisbon had a Sister ……”

Cruise ships are, today, bigger and better than before, so it’s no surprise that cruise vacations are more popular than ever!  Whether your cruise vacation in Europe is with MSC, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Crystal or Costa Cruises, the chances are you’ll be docking in Spain and/or Portugal!  Make the most of your free time in port with a Luxury Private Offshore Excursion!

Port of Barcelona

Whether you’re meeting your cruise ship in Lisbon and want to spend a few days, pre-cruise, before setting sail, in the Portuguese capital, or you’ve got 10 hours to kill in Cadiz, Malaga or Barcelona and want to stretch your sea legs on land, we’ve got a luxury private shore excursion for you!

Our excellent officially licensed guide and/or chauffeur will meet you off your Mediterranean cruise ship and take you on a private guided tour to discover the best of your European port destination.

Make the most of your limited time in port by visiting historical and cultural sites and immerse yourself in the local life with gourmet food and wine tastings.  Here’s a few ideas for some private luxury offshore excursions in Spain and Portugal:

Barcelona Port, no 4 worldwide, is Europe and the Mediterranean’s leading cruise port  with 2.6 million passengers embarking or disembarking in 2013.

In Barcelona, on your luxury private shore excursion, you can marvel at Gaudi’s inspiring architecture or feast on delicious tapas in a shaded pavement cafe; explore the city’s many churches and cathedrals or hit the shops for a shot of Catalan style. With our excellent officially licensed guide beat the queues to savor the wild and wonderful cathedral, Sagrada Família, Gaudi’s unfinished symphony, discover La Boqueria Market, explore the Gothic Quarter and indulge in Gourmet Tastings e-route before a delicious delicatessen lunch.


Malaga Port, on the Costa del Sol receives around 900,000 passengers who dock in or embark on cruises in Picasso’s city each year.

In Málaga, on your luxury private shore excursion, you can visit nearby Granada to see the world-famous Alhambra Palace, a masterpiece of Moorish art.  Learn about this fascinating city with our officially licensed guide who will take you through Grand Granada on a private tour.


Cadiz Port, gateway to the South of Spain, received a total of just over 370,000 passengers in 2013 on cruise liners and regular shipping lines (to/from the Canary Isles).

In Cadiz, on your luxury private shore excursion,  you can visit Seville,  a beautiful area with a wonderfully joyous atmosphere, where flamenco, bullfighting and fiesta are a way of life. Explore the old city to admire the Cathedral and Giralda Tower, the orange scented Barrio de Sant Cruz and do as the locals and enjoy a fun tapas hopping lunch.


Lisbon Port is the departure port for many European cruise itineraries, with over 250,000 cruise passengers passing through the Portuguese capital each year.

Lap up the Portuguese life in Lisbon, on your luxury private shore excursion,  with a great private tour of the history, sights, food and wine of Portugal’s capital city.  Hear of the terrible earthquake in 1755 that brought the city to its knees and how if Lisbon had a sister it would be San Francisco.  Visit the fantastic St Georges’ castle and the salty sefarers district of Alfama, indulge in Portuguese and try the famous Port Wine.

If you are planning a cruise in Europe around Spain and/or Portugal why not see if you can squeeze the most out of your day in dock  by joining us for your day shore excursion to Lisbon, Barcelona, Seville or Granada .  Our local officially licensed guides are true experts who, love to show off their cities and, promise to take you off the beaten track to see a different side of these enchanting cities.

Alternatively, if you have a few days free pre-cruise, before embarking on your cruise, or after desembarking, after your cruise, make the most of the city with a private short break such as our Lisbon Getaway Tour or our Barcelona Food and Wine Tour.

  • Porto is Portugal’s second largest city, after Lisbon, and is an important Atlantic port.
  • Porto is located in Northern Portugal on the Douro river estuary and follows the river up until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Porto is approximately a 320km drive from Lisbon.
  • The Country Dialing Code is 00 351 and Porto’s Area Code is 22.
  • In Portuguese the name of the city is spelled “o Porto (with a definite article) which translates into English as ‘the port’.
  • The English name of the city  – Oporto – evolved from a misinterpretation of the Portuguese oral pronunciation.
  • The Latin name for Porto is Portus Cale from which the country, Portugal, takes its name.
  • Porto’s most famous export is Port Wine, to which the city gives its name. Although, most Port wine that is exported from Portugal is exported from Vila Nova de Gaia, in the Greater Porto area which is actually across the river from Porto.
  • Cork, fruits, olive oil, and building materials are also exported.
  • Porto is one of the oldest European cities, and was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, for its historic buildings and outstanding monuments.
  • The first evidence of settlers in Porto emerged at the end of the Bronze Age, in the 8th century B.C., situated near the present Morro da Sé. This ancient village is known as Cividade, but any traces left of this area were demolished in 1940.
  • One of the most traditional dishes of Porto is the ‘Tripas à Moda do Porto”. In the 15th century, the people of Porto gave a great quantity of meat to the military forces, keeping only tripe (tripas) for themselves. This is the reason why the people of Porto are called ‘Tripeiros’
  • In 1958 and 1960, Porto’s streets hosted the Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix on the Boavista street circuit.
  • In 1807 Porto suffered a violent invasion by Napoleon’s troops but, with the help of the British, the city banished the general. In 1809 Napoleon invaded Porto again and during these invasions the terrible Bridge of Barques disaster took place, resulting in the loss of hundreds of panic-stricken people, trying to escape from French soldiers, and drowning in the Douro.
  • The most striking landmark of Porto is the Torre dos Clérigos (1754-1763), a baroque tower.
  • Other highlights of Porto include the formidable 12th century Sé cathedral, the two-storied Dom Luis Bridge (1881-1887), the Crystal Palace (1865), the Serralves Museum of Contempory Art (1999) Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (1999) and the prominent Port wine lodges dominating the hillside of Vila Nova de Gaia.



More about Portugal: Some fascinating facts about Portugal

Visit Porto and Portugal on one of our private Portuguese Culture, Food and Wine Tours to see the wonderful historic treasures and fascinating culture of this country, taste port wine, local foods and much, much more!

  • Lisbon is the Capital City of Portugal.
  • Lisbon is situated on the north bank of the estuary of the Tagus (Tejo) River.
  • The Country Dialing Code is 00 351 and Lisbon’s Area Code is 21.
  • The Moorish castle, now called São Jorge (St. George) was built in honor of the English alliance of 1386.
  • The Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon is 10.5 miles (17 kilometers) long, making it the longest bridge in Europe.
  • The world record for the largest dining table was set when some 15,000 people were served lunch on the Vasco da Gama bridge as part of the inauguration celebrations. Construction began in 1995 and the bridge was opened to traffic in 1998, in time for Expo 98.
  • The Tagus is Iberia’s largest river and its estuary at Lisbon, which is up to 14km wide, is thought to be big enough to hold all the warships in the world.
  • Lisbon was struck by an immense earthquake (approx.  9.0 magnitude) on the 1st of November, 1755.  It was followed by a tsunami and fires that brought the city to rubble! The tremors were felt as far away as Scotland and Norway!
  • The Alfama area of Lisbon is the city’s oldest district and was the only area of Lisbon to survive, relatively unscathed, in the 1755 quake.
  • Fado (fate in Portuguese) is a music genre that originates in urban Lisbon. It’s a type of mournful and heart-touching folk music sung by the common people. The music genre was recently added to the World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
  • Lisbon’s trams were originally called “americanos” and the first operational route was inaugurated on 17th November 1873.
  • Lisbon is also known as “the town of seven hills” which are comprised of the seven hills: Castelo, Graca, Monte, Penha de Franca, S.Pedro de Alcantara, Santa Catarina and Estrela.
  • ‘Sport Lisboa e Benfica’ or simply, Benfica, holds the Guinness World record, since 2006, for the most widely supported football club in the World.
  • The Santa Engrácia church is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the church that took the longest time to construct:  started in the 17th century, the last dome was completed  in 1966.


 More about Portugal: Some fascinating facts about Portugal

Visit Lisbon and Portugal on one of our private Portuguese Culture, Food and Wine Tours to see the wonderful historic treasures and fascinating culture of this country, taste port wine, local foods and much, much more!

  • Portugal is named after its 2nd largest city, Porto


  • The capital city of Portugal is Lisbon


  • The Portuguese language is spoken by about 230 million people and is the official language of 9 countries


  • The dialing code for Portugal is (00) 351


  • June 10th is Portugal’s National Day


  • The country of Portugal was founded by Alfonso Henriques, in 1152


  • The main religion in Portugal is Roman Catholic


  • Portugal abolished slavery in 1761


  • Portugal is a democratic republic and joined the EU in 1986


  • Before the introduction of the Euro, Portugal’s currency was the Portuguese Escudo


  • Portugal is most famous for its Port Wine, Azulejos (tile painting and glazing) and Salted Cod


  • As of 2014, Portugal holds NO Michelin 3* restaurant, but does have two Michelin 2* restaurants and ten Michelin 1* restaurants


  • As of 2013, Portugal has 15 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list, of which 14 are cultural sites and 1 natural


  • Over half the World’s cork is produced in Portugal


  • The most popular sport in Portugal is football (soccer) with Benfica holding the Guinness World record for the football club most widely supported in the World


  • Portugal is one of the world’s top surf spots with a coastline of 800 kilometers


Visit Portugal on one of our private Portuguese Culture, Food and Wine Tours to see the wonderful historic treasures and fascinating culture of this country and taste port wine, local foods and much, much more!