Portugal

As like Spain and Morocco, we breezed through Portugal alongside on the same tour, so much of our experience was tied to that, but we do have a few tips we’d like to share if you find yourself there.

Must know – interesting facts

  • Portugal is the largest and most popular producer of cork in the world, which is derived from the cork oak tree. Once harvested, it will take 9 years before the tree can be harvested again.
  • The Portuguese introduced tempura to Japanese.
  • The Portuguese introduced chili to India (and from that, stemmed curry).
  • The Rooster of Barcelos is said to be the lucky symbol of Portugal. The myth goes that a man who was to be hung, claiming his innocence the entire time, said to a group of royalty that to prove he was innocent, the rooster on their plates would come alive before they ate it, and luckily enough it did!
  • Portugal produces most rice in Europe.
  • Crows are the protector bird of Lisbon. The lamp posts within the city have small golden ships on the top which each have two crows on either side.
  • Much of Lisbon had to be rebuilt after the destruction from the earthquake of 1755.
  • Pastel pink is the signature color most commonly associated with Portugal.
  • Sidewalk mosaic tile design is a hallmark of Portugal.
  • Two Portuguese pilots flew across the southern Atlantic 5 years before Charles Lindberg!

Must Eat

  • National Dish, Bacalhau. This is a salted cod fish. The cod is farmed in Norway and brought to Lisbon.
  • Pasties de Belem for the famous egg custard tarts.
  • Portugal’s own hot sauce, Piri Piri.
  • Sardines

MustĀ imbibe

  • Port. This is fortified wine which can only be called a Port if it comes from Portugal.
  • Sweet Cherry liqueur
  • Vino Verde. Known as “green wine”, it comes from the north of Portugal. It’s slightly sweet and slightly carbonated.
  • Beer. Try Sagres, Superbock or Cristal.

Must Visit

  • Sanctuary of Fatima. This is a pilgrimage site for many Christians. Crawling/kneeling pads are available for sale on site, as well as wax replicas of body parts where you or a loved one may be facing an ailment, that you can throw into the holy fire. A daily mass is also held outside at 10am.

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