Portugal by rail: take the train and discover Portugal at your own pace. You can pick the speed and comfort as you gaze at the country’s fabulous landscapes. Besides the scheduled journeys, there’s a whole range of special offers designed to help you explore Portugal by train. With so many suggestions to choose from, you’re sure to find one you’ll really enjoy. Just imagine riding on a steam train that’s been running for over a hundred years! And then add to this the beautiful scenery of the Douro valley!
Lisbon’s Fernandina Wall is a medieval defensive line. Construction of a series of walls began in 1373 in the reign of King D. Fernando I. Due to 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the wall mostly disappeared… until today….
Summer in Portugal is marked by two great street foods--popcorn and fried dough. Rest assured these items are a bit different than you might experience at a typical American fair. Pipocas, or popcorn, is usually very colorful with red, blue or bright yellow kernels. Pipocas is served lightly coated with a salty-sugary glaze that hardens. It is quite addictive, especially since you can find it everywhere and it is quite inexpensive. Another ever-present treat is farturas or malassadas, a fried dough that ends up being rather crisp but not oily. High quality oil and excellent dough make the treat stand out from what you might expect of fried dough at an American carnival. Look for it in most any seaside resort town, city square or fair in Portugal.
"Quinta da Cabreira" cheese, produced by Lactibar Dairy of Sabugal, was voted the "Best Goat Cheese" by the National Association of Industrialists of Dairy Products (ANIL). Not a surprise, it is a great cheese.
The semitropical Portuguese island of Madeira lies in the Atlantic Ocean, 750 milessouthwest of Lisbon. This paradise‘s climate is always warm in winter, but never too hot in summer, and with usual abundance of sun.
In the foothills of the Centro de Portugal Region lies an ancient secret. The town of Belmonte there was the center of community life for “crypto” Jews a people who, for centuries, practiced their religion in secret after it had been banned by the Inquisition. Judaism was abolished in 1496 in Belmonte and other Portuguese towns, but the Jewish people kept their rituals and faith alive in secret for centuries. As generations died away, the origins of these rituals were lost to memory.
The discovery of a 400,000-year-old half skull in Portugal has offered tantalizing hints about a possible ancestor of the Neanderthals. The discovery, unearthed at the Aroeira cave site, marks the oldest human cranium fossil ever found in Portugal, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Portugal has gone to the dogs… Well, actually almost a dozen dog breeds hail from Portugal. Some, like the Portuguese Podengo and the Cão de Água are becoming very well known in the US, and others like the Barbado da Terceira are still undiscovered. Others are emerging on the dog show scene. Here is your guide to the Dogs of Portugal!
On the coast, you have some amazing places, washed by the Atlantic Ocean – Nazare, with its beaches, colorful fish boats, and high cliffs is delightful any day of the year, but is also offers the biggest wave\s and the most intense surfing. Up the coast you have beach resorts like Figueira da Foz and Mira. And the city of Aveiro, with is canals and bright boats is a must visit, as is its sandy coastline-with saltpans and some of the freshest fish anywhere.
As for meat, local favorites include the Serrabulho, which begins its cooking process as boiled pig's blood before blending it with rice. There is also the crackling pork (Rojões) and leg of pork à Clara Penha.