Lisbon is the best

[18.01.2017 ]

And the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2017 goes to... Lisbon! Lisbon has won the “Best City" in the world award by the prestigious design and lifestyle publication Wallpaper*. The achievement recognises the incredible cutting edge Lisbon across design, art, architecture, interior, culture, fashion, travel and technology - in particular with the opening of the new iconic Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (inspired by Portugal’s rich material heritage, the building’s skin is made from glazed tiles)! Plus luxury hotel opening, hosting several international design and art biennales and inaugurating a new international cruise terminal, just to name a few! Lisbon is a seriously art&design crush for Absolutely Portugal!

Portugal - dream destination

[10.01.2017 ]

According to the Huffington Post, “Portugal is the country everybody will be visiting in 2017, the destination of your most stunningly beautiful dreams”. It invites us to follow a 'must to-see’ list, including amazing secluded beaches, rich wine regions, gorgeous historic and cultural sites and unique natural wonders! Let Absolutely Portugal guide you on this year’s unforgettable holidays in Portugal!

World Class Golf

[20.11.2016 ]

Portugal has been named the World’s Best Golf Destination for the third year in succession at the second annual World Golf Awards. Absolutely Portugal celebrating excellence in golf tourism! :)

Alentejo's top wine travel destination

[19.01.2016 ]

Alentejo is considered by the 'Wine Enthusiast Magazine' one of the world's top wine travel destinations 2016 and “Portugal’s most relaxed winemaking region". Known by “miles of vineyards and cork oak trees, historic hilltop cities and deserted beaches - not to mention increasingly varied hotels and restaurants - Alentejo has something for every visitor”. A true haven for wine lovers like Absolutely Portugal - join us on an exciting winery visit in Alentejo!

Lisbon unforgettable

[25.12.2015 ]

It's one of the most seductive videos of Lisbon - so so inviting, you'll fall totally in love with Lisbon!

 

 

Look up

[04.11.2015 ]

We’re to blame Brian Cox for making stargazing sexy… So this weekend Absolutely Portugal is inviting you to the amazing Alentejo region - worship the heavens and sleep in total luxury under the stars at L’And Vineyards, or maybe go hot hair ballooning in this stunning area as the sun sets, or even take a romantic midnight boat ride in Alqueva with only stars breaking up the immense darkness. We know which one we’d rather!

Americans in love with Portugal

[01.09.2015 ]

Our fabulous country was crowned the best European country by the USA Today readers! "Much underrated Portugal has all the most desired features of a top European destination: beautiful villages beneath the shadows of medieval castles, sun-kissed beaches, a delectable culinary tradition and plenty of history to explore. Whether swimming in the turquoise waters of the Algarve, sipping a glass of port at a Porto cafe or listening to the melancholy lament of a fadista in Lisbon (pictured here), visitors to Portugal find an understated beauty that often surprises". We, at Absolutely Portugal, are wholly passionate about Portugal!

Natural wonder

[05.08.2015 ]

According to The Condé Nast Traveller (and us at Absolutely Portugal!), Peneda-Gerês National Park in northern Portugal is one of the best National Parks around the world to “drop jaws year-round”. The "unforgettable" Park was carefully hand-picked by the luxury and lifestyle travel magazine for "Garrano ponies might be some of this park’s oldest and most notable inhabitants—they’ve been around since the first millennium B.C.—but humans have also had a long and steady presence. Wander around and you’ll notice a host of ancient manmade structures, including megalithic stone tombs from the third century, Celtic fortifications and two castles (Castro Laboreiro from the tenth century and Castelo do Lindoso from the 12th century)".

Passion for food

[29.06.2015 ]

A must-do tapas tour in Lisbon guided by two top Portuguese Michelin starred chefs - http://highlife.ba.com/…/nuno-mendes-and-jose-avillez-s-ta…/! And already tried, tested and unanimously approved by Absolutely Portugal! Come along with us!

Take me there

[19.04.2015 ]

Experience the beauty of Portugal through this stunning video by Morgan Jouquand - https://vimeo.com/121124509. Absolutely Portugal loves it!

And the World's Tourism Oscars go to...

[17.12.2014 ]

Portugal is once again on the podium of world tourism, having won three major prizes at this year’s World Travel Awards - considered ‘the Oscars of the travel industry’. The Conrad Algarve (Almancil, Algarve) was named the ‘World’s Leading Luxury Leisure Resort’ for the second consecutive year and Vila Joya (Albufeira, Algarve) won the accolade of ‘World’s Leading Hotel Restaurant’, and Parques de Sintra conquered the ‘World’s Leading Conservation Company’. Congratulations!

Alentejo acclaimed internationally

[01.12.2014 ]

Alentejo is superb in simple words: amazing wine, haute cuisine and unique music! In addition to celebrating Reguengos de Monsaraz as the European Wine City 2015 and the exquisite L’And and Vineyards being distinguished with a Michelin star, UNESCO has declared ‘Cante Alentejano’ as 'Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity'! Discover with Absolutely Portugal our love for this stunning region of Portugal!

Portugal is World's Best Golf Destination 2014

[20.11.2014 ]

On the first edition of the World Golf Awards, Portugal was ‘crowned' the ‘World's Best Golf Destination 2014’! The stunningly new Quinta do Lago - North Course won 'Europe's Best New Golf Course 2014’ and the sensational Vidago Palace was awarded 'Portugal's Best Golf Hotel 2014’. The World Golf Awards celebrate and reward excellence in golf tourism through an annual awards programme. The World Golf Awards is part of World Travel Awards, which is heralded as "the Oscars of the travel industry”. Make sure you book your holidays with a swing with Absolutely Portugal!

Leading Hotels of Excellence

[06.11.2014 ]

The Condé Nast Johansens Annual Awards for Excellence 2015 elected five amazing top hotels in Portugal: the ‘Best Newcomer’ is Casa da Calçada (in Amarante), the Yeatman Hotel (in Vila Nova de Gaia/Porto) offers the ‘Best Dining Experience’ and the ‘Best for Meetings’ is the Myriad by Sana Hotels (in Lisbon). Plus the ‘Readers' Awards’ went to Epic Sana Lisboa and Epic Sana Algarve Hotel (in Albufeira). Trust Absolutely Portugal’s exceptional experience to find you the perfect place for every special occasion!

Music from Alentejo

[29.10.2014 ]

The film “Alentejo, Alentejo” by director Sérgio Tréfaut won “Best Documentary” in The Festival Internacional de Cine Documental DocsBarcelona+Medellín in Colombia. It is a wonderful musical journey (known as “Cante Alentejano”) into the picturesque Alentejo countryside of olive groves and vineyards. The “Cante Alentejano”, typically performed by 20 to 30 male agricultural workers or miners, is now a UNESCO candidate to "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” and is a truly authentic expression of cultural identity. We had to share it with you!

Portugal victorious at World Travel Awards 2014

[08.08.2014 ]

Referred to as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’, Portugal won this year 16 European awards and two for the Mediterranean area at the World Travel Awards, including ‘Best Official Tourism Organisation in Europe’ awarded to Turismo de Portugal. Have a look at the prestigious list that makes Portugal a destination of excellence:

Europe's Leading Airline to Africa TAP Portugal

Europe's Leading Airline to South America TAP Portugal

Europe's Leading All Inclusive Resort Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort & Spa, Portugal

Europe's Leading Boutique Hotel Vila Joya, Portugal

Europe's Leading Boutique Resort Choupana Hills Resort & Spa, Portugal

Europe's Leading Cruise Destination Lisbon, Portugal

Europe's Leading Cruise Port Porto de Lisboa, Portugal

Europe's Leading Design Hotel The Vine Hotel, Portugal

Europe's Leading Hotel Residences Pine Cliffs Residence, Albufeira, Portugal

Europe's Leading Island Destination Madeira Islands

Europe's Leading Landmark Hotel Bairro Alto Hotel, Portugal

Europe's Leading Luxury Resort Conrad Algarve, Portugal

Europe's Leading River Cruise Company DouroAzul

Europe's Leading Tourist Board Turismo de Portugal

Europe's Leading Villa Resort Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel, Portugal

Europe's Most Romantic Resort Vila Vita Parc, Portugal

Mediterranean's Leading Boutique Hotel Quinta da Casa Branca, Portugal

Mediterranean's Leading Spa Resort Penha Longa Hotel & Golf Resort, Portugal

Portugal's Leading Boutique Hotel Terra Nostra Garden Hotel

Portugal's Leading Business Hotel Corinthia Hotel Lisbon

Portugal's Leading Conference Hotel Pousada de Cascais Cidadela Historic Hotel & Art District

Portugal's Leading Family Resort Sheraton Algarve at Pine Cliffs Resort

Portugal's Leading Hotel Bairro Alto Hotel

Portugal's Leading Hotel Residences EPIC SANA Algarve Hotel

Portugal's Leading Hotel Suite Presidential Suite @ Myriad by SANA Hotels

Portugal's Leading Resort Hotel Quinta do Lago

Portugal's Leading Serviced Apartments Altis Suites

Portugal's Leading Spa Resort Blue&Green Vilalara Thalassa Resort

Alentejo's glorious beaches

[18.07.2014 ]

The Guardian explains why Portugal’s Alentejo region is home of Europe’s finest beaches. It highlights “the charms of this land of wheatfields, cork oak forests, wildflower meadows and tiny white-washed villages” (...) protected by the South West Alentejo and Costa Vicentina National Park, 100km of coastline, the most stunning in Europe”, plus “spectacular beaches, gentle sands and shallow bays, rock pools and coves”. Let Absolutely Portugal take you, sandy-footed, to the gorgeous Alentejo!

Celebrating Port

[07.07.2014 ]

We’re inviting you for a Vintage Port and exquisite gastronomy at the unique Porto Wine Fest (16-20 July) centred in the historic riverside of Gaia. The world’s greatest Port wine festival offers an exciting programme of events including famed Port wine tasting sessions, exclusive cooking demonstrations by renowned chefs, wonderful wine-paring, gourmet products and special performances. We’ll surely be totally converted into Port at the sunset happy hour!

Portugal is 'Best Country for Travelling in 2014'

[25.04.2014 ]

The Condé Nast Traveller, one of the most prestigious magazines dedicated to tourism of excellence, has distinguished Portugal as 'Best Country to Travel to in 2014’ for another consecutive year! Portugal is recognised by the unique combination of culture, gastronomy, “excellent wines”, beaches, golf courses, history and, in particular, “the friendliness, openness and authenticity of the Portuguese”. Absolutely Portugal invites you to discover the excellence and charm that only Portugal and the Portuguese offer!


Easter Fun

[12.04.2014 ]

Fancy going to the theatre like the grown ups in Porto, having a day out at the museum in Viseu or the zoo in Lisbon, riding a pony along the Amado beach, cycling through the Gerês woods, enjoying a Spring stroll in the Alentejo countryside or dancing to the sound of music in Sintra? Absolutely Portugal will make sure your children’s Easter is packed with lots of fun and special moments wherever you are in Portugal!

Ancient Roman Lisbon

[02.04.2014 ]

If you love history and are in Lisbon on 11, 12 or 13 April, head to Rua da Prata and go on an exclusive guided visit to the unexpected underground Roman Galleries which are believed to date back to 2000 years ago! Indeed an unforgettable journey into the past!

More info http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivs6km260Kk

Porto is Best European Destination 2014

[14.02.2014 ]

The charming city of Porto has been elected ‘Best European Destinations 2014’, an initiative of the European Consumers Choice! Hold our hand and discover one of the most exceptional Portuguese cities so rich in history, architecture, culture, gastronomy and so much more. We love our majestic Porto!

More info http://www.europeanbestdestinations.org/top/europe-best-destinations-2014/

Best European Restaurant is in northern Portugal

[31.01.2014 ]

Did you know that the internationally renowned, Michelin-star restaurant Largo do Paço, in Amarante, was elected the ‘Best European Restaurant in 2013’? Housed in a former manor house converted into a Calcada Relais & Châteaux hotel overlooking the river Tâmega in the town of Amarante, the refined Largo do Paço offers a superb Portuguese culinary experience which is second to none! Only Absolutely Portugal’s ‘Chic Heritage Trail’ itinerary guides you to the best of Portugal!

More info http://www.theeuropean50best.com/?SID=48c8639d7c888d623448a51e53ff6771&n=1133

Paths of Faith

[05.01.2014 ]

Portugal has so much to offer when it comes to religious tourism: from the unforgettable pilgrimage to the holy site of Fátima, to exploring fascinating Medieval monasteries and religious landmarks, taking part in colourful religious festivities, it’s all about celebrating heritage and traditions.

Let yourself be inspired by the video by Tourism of Portugal ‘Paths of Faith’ on this subject - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgPU-uvfkP8 .

Portugal emerges victorious at World Travel Awards

[02.12.2013 ]

At this year's World Travel Awards, “the Oscars of the Travel Industry", hosted in Doha, Portugal has triumphed with "World's Leading Golf Destination", whilst "World's Leading Luxury Leisure Resort & Spa" went to Conrad Algarve, Vila Joya was named "World's Leading Boutique Resort", The Vine Hotel was awarded "World's Leading Design Hotel" and Parques de Sintra - Monte da Lua was considered "World's Leading Conservation Company"! Congratulations!

World Travel Awards celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year and is acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade, celebrating those companies, organisations and brands that are pushing the boundaries of industry excellence in product and service.

More info www.worldtravelawards.com

The winner takes it all

[11.09.2013 ]

This year Portugal has ben summing up prestigious awards and distinctions - including 'Portugal as best country for travelling in 2013' (by  Condé Nast Traveller), six hotels and spas are in the '2013 Hot List of  the Best New Hotels and Spas in the World' (by Condé Nast Traveller), Coimbra's University became UNESCO Heritage Site, Porto and Douro Valley are the 'Top European Destination for 2013' (by Lonely Planet), our country was ranked as one of the 'World's Friendliest Nations for Tourists' (by the World Economic Forum), the International Garden Festival in Ponte de Lima was awarded the 'International Garden Festival of the Year' (by the Garden Tourism Awards), the Monte Palace Tropical Garden in Funchal was considered 'one of the most beautiful botanical gardens around the world' (by  Condé Nast Traveller), the Park and Palace of Monserrate Garden in Sintra won the European Garden Award for the 'Best Development of a Historic Park or Garden' (by the European Garden Heritage Network), the wines from Borba and Pico are among the '10 Amazing Wine Towns in Europe' (by SmarterTravel). And to top it all, we conquered nine World Travel Awards (known as the 'oscars' of the European Tourism), including 'Europe's Leading Golf Destination - Portugal', Europe's Leading Beach Destination - The Algarve', 'Europe's Leading City Break Destination - Lisbon' and 'Europe's Leading Island Destination - Madeira'; and among the best hotels are Reid's Palace (Europe's Leading Hotel), Hotel Quinta do Lago (Europe's Leading Resort), Bairro Alto Hotel (Europe's Leading Boutique Hotel), Ria Park (Europe's Leading Business Hotel and Leading Conference Hotel), Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel (Europe's Leading Family Resort), Hilton Vilamoura (Europe's Leading Golf Resort), Tróia Design Hotel (Europe's Leading Hotel Residences), Vilalara (Europe's Leading Spa Resort) and Mercador Apartments (Europe's Leading Serviced Apartments). What an amazing country to experience… with Absolutely Portugal!

UNESCO and Vasco da Gama

[19.06.2013 ]

UNESCO has now included the "Journal of the Voyage of Vasco da Gama to India" in the Memory of World Register, the most prestigious list of the world's greatest documents! Handwritten at the time of the first voyage of Vasco da Gama to India (from 1497 to 1499), the document provides testimony of the pioneer sea voyage to India, which is considered the first globalisation enterprise in the world. As UNESCO has stated, the "journey apart from being one of the greatest pieces of European seamanship of that time, acted as a catalyst for a series of events that would change the course of history". Established by UNESCO in 1992, the Memory of World Register project includes a total of 299 documents and collections from five continents.

Life is a beach!

[08.05.2013 ]

Did you know that Portugal has around 600 miles of Atlantic coast, much of which is sandy beach? And most of them (277 beaches in 2013!) show proudly their Blue Flag - they are top rated for their excellent water quality and other facilities available. It's a beach-goer's paradise! Absolutely Portugal knows just where and how to relax in the sun, so all you have to do is stretch out your towel and enjoy the natural beauty!

Hot list

[22.04.2013 ]

Amongst Conde Nasté Traveller's 2013 Hot List of the best new hotels and spas in the world, six fabulous new hideaways in Portugal are brought to the limelight: Pousada de Cascais, Fazenda Nova (Algarve), Villa Extramuros (Alentejo), Carmo's Boutique Hotel (Ponte de Lima), Lisboa Carmo Hotel (Lisbon) and Cooking and Nature Emotional Hotel (Alvados). Full of charm, stylish, chic - now that the gold list is revealed, Absolutely Portugal will make these gems sparkle in your luxurious escape in Portugal!

More info http://www.cntraveler.com/hot-list/2013/hotels/portugal

Ribeiro Telles wins the Geoffrey Jellicoe Award

[11.04.2013 ]

Portuguese landscape architect Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles is the recipient of the 2013 Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award, by the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), regarded as the Nobel prize for landscape architecture. Ribeiro Telles "has made an outstanding contribution to Landscape Architecture" - he envisioned and gave voice to the development of a landscape policy in Portugal, from large region-wide landscape projects to planning small parks and gardens including the development of the City of Lisbon Green Plan and the magnificent Calouste Gulbenkian Gardens. Absolutely Portugal congratulates Ribeiro Telles and invites you to join us on some of the most attractive garden walks in Lisbon, discovering Ribeiro Telles' remarkable "humanization of the landscape".

Portuguese Business Club

[14.03.2013 ]

Portugal boosts fantastic opportunities for worldwide companies to make valuable international business - watch now the new video "Choose Portugal", by AICEP. Absolutely Portugal is happy to support and encourage business networking too - wherever you are based in the world, talk to us to help you planning a business or corporate VIP event in welcoming Portugal!

With arms wide open

[05.03.2013 ]

The best of Portugal are the Portuguese! Watch the new promotional video by Turismo de Portugal.

Let us fall in love... in Portugal!

[14.02.2013 ]

Live a perfect romantic escape with the amazing travel inspiration from Absolutely Portugal. There's always something exciting and wonderful to share with your loved one here - exploring fantastic fairy-tale castles as you go along holding hands (and a glass of Port!) in a hot-air ballon, enjoying intimate candle-lit dinners al fresco, strolling along unspoilt white sandy beaches at sunset, cruising tranquil rivers sampling gourmet food, gorgeous wine and breathtaking views, sharing exceptionally luxurious spa experiences and so much more. At Absolutely Portugal, we have romance all covered!

Happy New Year!

[31.12.2012 ]

"After all, the best way to travel is to feel" (Fernando Pessoa). Wishing you a Happy New Year from everyone at Absolutely Portugal!

Gourmet stars!

[29.11.2012 ]

In the last edition of the highly anticipated Michelin Red Guide, the Oscars of the foodie world, eleven restaurants across Portugal won the prestigious stars. The 2013 Michelin starred restaurants with a distinguished reputation for delivering outstanding cuisine in Portugal are: Ocean (in Lagoa), Vila Joya (in Albufeira), São Gabriel and Henrique Reis (both in Almancil), Willie's (in Vilamoura), Belcanto and Feitoria (both in Lisbon), Fortaleza do Guincho (in Cascais), Il Gallo d'Oro (in Funchal, Madeira), Casa da Calçada (in Amarante) and The Yeatman (in Vila Nova de Gaia). Unfortunately, in 2013, Tavares (in Lisbon) loses its star, as does Arcadas da Capela Restaurant at Hotel Quinta das Lágrimas (in Coimbra). Absolutely Portugal invites all fine food enthusiasts to experience an extraordinary culinary voyage in Portugal!

Top country marvels!

[11.09.2012 ]

Portugal has been ranked 6th in the "Top 10 Most beautiful countries in the world" by UCityGuides! Highlights include "the pristine natural wonders of the volcanic Azores, the "floating garden" that is Madeira, the dramatic coastline and mystical capes of the mainland, the serene plains of the Alentejo with the stunningly-sited white medieval vilages of Marvão and Monsaraz, the Peneda-Gerês National Park, or the perfect collaboration of man and nature in the magic fantasy of Sintra and verdant Douro Valley". Lisbon and Porto are also stars, as "it's hard to match their scenic beauty with their grand riverside settings". It's definitely "everything is in a small scale but when all combined it's impressive how so much diverse beauty somehow fits in such a tiny country that seems to be a favorite of the sun"! That's Absolutely Portugal!

Siza Vieira wins Golden Lion at Venice Biennale!

[29.08.2012 ]

The Portuguese architect and 1992 Pritzker Prize winner Álvaro Siza Vieira has been awarded the prestigious Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at this year's Venice Biennale - International Architecture Exhibition. The jury’s emphasised the “unique position of Siza in the architectural galaxy", adding that “Siza has upheld a consistent production of works at the highest level. Experimenting with forms of extreme geometry he manages to produce buildings of great rigour. Developing an architectural language that is uniquely his, he seems to speak to all of us". Siza Vieira is known for buildings ranging from the Boa Nova Tea House, the Museum of Modern Art in Porto and the Pavilion of Portugal for EXPO '98 and Hannover 2000 to the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (all in Portugal), as well as international projects such as the Meteorological Centre of Villa Olimpica in Barcelona, the Serpentine Pavillion (2005) in London and the Museum of Modern Art of Naples. Absolutely Portugal admires Siza Vieira's work and invites you on an inspiring tour around some of his extraordinary landmarks in Portugal!

Summer Capital Delight

[16.08.2012 ]

Endless hours of sunshine and stunning starry skies really turn the vibrant Portuguese capital into one of the most appealing destinations every summer. Until 22 Aug, Absolutely Portugal suggests jazz, cinema, urban art, contemporary dance, concerts and so much more during the event "Lisboa na Rua" in such iconic places as the historic Squares of Carmo, São Carlos and Luís de Camões, the fantastic gardens of Torre de Belém, Estrela and Museu da Electricidade, plus the impressive Water Reservoir Mãe d’Água, the Cloisters of Museu Nacional de História Natural and the picturesque Escadarias da Bica. We're fond of Lisbon any season!

Douro's Historic Train

[06.08.2012 ]

This Summer, make sure you enjoy the stunning UNESCO heritage landscape along the Douro River aboard a charming steam train. Celebrate with Absolutely Portugal the craftsmanship inherent in these steam trains and the beauty of the Portuguese countryside through which these locomotives pass, and soak up the genuine atmosphere with traditional folklore, tasty homemade cakes and wonderful Port wine. Hopefully a Portuguese heritage for the enjoyment of generations to come!

New World Heritage Site in Portugal announced!

[10.07.2012 ]

Did you know that Portugal offers in total 14 impressive World Heritage Sites famed for their cultural significance and for their unique natural beauty, including outstanding landmark monuments and even Prehistoric Rock Art sites? In 2012 the World Heritage Committee has added the garrison border town of Elvas and its fortifications to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, considering that it "represents the largest bulwarked dry ditch system in the world. Within its walls, the town contains barracks and other military buildings as well as churches and monasteries. While Elvas contains remains dating back to the 10th century A.D., its fortification began when Portugal regained independence in 1640. The fortifications designed by Dutch Jesuit Padre João Piscásio Cosmander represent the best surviving example of the Dutch school of fortifications anywhere. The site also contains the Amoreira Aqueduct, built to enable the stronghold to withstand lengthy sieges". Absolutely Portugal invites you to discover the fascinating Elvas and its stunning surroundings.

Unspoilt Alentejo

[02.07.2012 ]

Condé Nast Traveller went exploring the "elegant and unspoilt walled town in the heart of the Alentejo wine country, Évora", and found this UNESCO Heritage Site "an ideal destination for lovers of culture and cuisine". The beauty of this region is extraordinary - gorgeous pastureland, wheat fields, vineyards, olive groves, forests of cork oak, amazing neolithic stone circles, charming medieval towns embracing lovely whitewashed houses and monuments, ancestral royal palaces, splendid churches and wonderful local cuisine. Absolutely Portugal is passionate about Alentejo and Évora in particular, so trust us to create your perfect holidays here!

On the rails

[13.06.2012 ]

Making a trip on the no 28 tram is an essential scenic experience in Lisbon. Seeing the places and the people who make up the Portuguese capital city - climbing up the cobbled alleyways of the Bairro Alto, Chiado, Alfama and Graça districts past alfresco cafés, beautiful chapels and churches, vintage shops, gardens, panoramic views and the Moorish São Jorge Castle. For us, this vintage tram is a truly institution! Hold on tight!

Sandy Atlantic Island

[17.04.2012 ]

The Independent Travel discovers why the lovely sandy Porto Santo, the sister island of Madeira, is a delight - "uninterrupted 9km-long beach (reputedly rich in minerals that are good for rheumatism), nice coastal promenades, sperm whales, bottle nose dolphins, the vibrant green Seve Ballesteros golf course, wild conical peaks, rock pools, dunes, pine trees, tentacled aloe vera and prickly pear cacti, terracotta rooftops, rugged valleys and geological folds, tiny pebbled coves, wine-tasting and delicious food, a twinkle of lights adrift in the Atlantic". Pure and idyllic!

Lisbon Open-Air Book Fair

[12.04.2012 ]

From 24 Apr-13 May, enjoy a perfect early evening for yourself or with friends/family and take a relaxing stroll along the charming boulevards of Parque Eduardo VII in Lisbon. The Lisbon Book Fair is an inspiring event with a tradition that spans over more than 80 years, celebrating the best of Portuguese literature. Here's our (quite ambitious!) book selection (some aretranslated into English) - "O Teu Rosto Será o Último" (João Ricardo Pedro), "A Sibila" (Agustina Bessa-Luís), "Poesia de Alberto Caeiro" (Fernando Pessoa), "Abraço" (José Luís Peixoto), "Águas de Verão" (Alice Vieira), "Nas Tuas Mãos" (Inês Pedrosa), "Contos da Montanha" (Miguel Torga), "As Pequenas Memórias" (José Saramago), "De Profundis, Valsa Lenta" (José Cardoso Pires), "Poesia" (Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen), "Manual dos Inquisidores" (António Lobo Antunes), "A verdadeira história da Alice" (Rita Taborda Duarte). We know - so many extraordinary books, so little time!

Lisbon Fish and Flavours

[04.04.2012 ]

The noble arcades of Pátio da Pátio will be the inspiring backdrop of this year's Lisbon Fish & Flavours (12-22 Apr). This grand gastronomic event will be a feast of the best of Portuguese fish and seafood and a celebration of culinary creativity and quality of Portuguese cuisine. Highlights include live gastronomic presentations with top Michelin star chefs, cooking classes (for children as well!), wine tastings and pairings, tasting sessions with renowned Lisbon restaurants, a wonderful gourmet market and lots of music. April's in Lisbon!

Porto's the best

[29.03.2012 ]

Porto wins Europe's Best Destination 2012, awarded by the European Consumers Choice, a non-profit organisation focused on testing and rating consumer products and services in the EU. Porto is a perfect mix of "history, authenticity, cosmopolitan, contemporary". Bring on Spring and let Absolutely Portugal guide you on an unforgettable city break in fascinating Porto!

Musical Mafra

[27.03.2012 ]

The Organs of the Basilica of the Palace of Mafra have been awarded with the 2012 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards for its outstanding work in the field of conservation. Supported by the European Commission, these awards highlight every year excellence in conservation, research, education, training and awareness-raising. The jury was particularly impressed by "the restoration of this unique ensemble of majestic organs" and "the provision of an example for future generations of the perfect integration of moveable items into immovable architecture". The six organs are unique, not only because of their number - a remarkable feature in itself -, but because they were built simultaneously and originally conceived to play together. The restoration project aimed to give back to the public one of the most important 19th century sets, unheard for about 200 years. Absolutely Portugal invites you to rediscover the rich tradition of Portuguese organ music of the Baroque and Post-Baroque eras in Mafra!

Night Train to Lisbon

[19.03.2012 ]

In the next few weeks, the wonderful city of Lisbon and Palmela will provide the setting for the film "Night Train to Lisbon". Based on the international best seller by Pascal Mercier, the film will be directed by Billie Auguste and Jeremy Irons plays the role of the protagonist. In a recent press conference in Lisbon, the award-winning British actor said that he was "very happy to be back here" and that "there is something very magical about your country". To get an exclusive glimpse of the most amazing film sets in and around Lisbon, trust Absolutely Portugal to offer you those magical insights!

All aboard in Cascais

[14.03.2012 ]

The chic and picturesque village of Cascais is always ahead of the international sailing season, hosting the famous RC44 Cup 2012 (28 Mar-1Apr). Be delighted with experienced and dynamic sailing teams, meet leading sailors and expect some pretty edge-of-your-seat thrills! By sunset, enjoy the vibrant night-life of Cascais, and, who knows, be part of one of the very exclusive after-sailing parties! After all, Cascais is so much more than a location world-famous for its spectacular sailing conditions…

Lush Sintra

[02.03.2012 ]

The latest edition of Vanity Fair Travel refers to Sintra as "a scarcely credible apparition of natural and hand-made wonders, grand and pristine, glimpsed through swirling sea mists high in the mountains north of Lisbon", adding that "few places in Eastern Europe - perhaps few places on the face of the earth - can match it for otherworldly beauty". Sintra is really a sheer wonder!

Chocolate indulgence

[28.02.2012 ]

Chocoholics - tempt yourself at the Óbidos International Chocolate Festival! The historic Mediaeval village of Óbidos hosts a three week chocolate feast (2-25 March) which will leave you melting for more! Imagine - tasty freshly cooked chocolate pastries everywhere, courses on chocolate making (including diabetic chocolate cake making), demonstrations from renowned Portuguese chefs, creative chocolate sculptures, chocolate body painting and also the much-talked exclusive Chocolate Lounge where the cherry liqueur Ginja d'Óbidos is served in delicate chocolate cups. A definite pleaser for all cocoa-nuts!

Lisbon Fashion Week

[28.02.2012 ]

Get the perfect party look during Lisbon Fashion Week (8-11 March), which showcases the best of Portuguese fashion design! Lots of flashes of sparkle, fabulous look-at-me dresses, ultimate after-hours parties and loads of glamour. Absolutely Portugal goes red carpet and invites you to the front-row of the catwalk shows of Katty Xiomara, Luis Buchinho, Nuno Baltazar and Filipe Faisca. Totally chic!

World class tea

[20.02.2012 ]

Did you know?… Chá Gorreana is Europe's only tea plantation and the oldest remaining family-owned tea company in Europe! Cultivated since 1883 in the idyllic volcanic island of São Miguel (Azores), this internationally recognised "world class" tea is grown and produced through organic methods and harvested and packed following original methods. Be sure to enjoy sweeping ocean views at the estate's tearoom while tasting a wonderful cup of tea which you won't find fresher anywhere else in Europe!

Treasure hunt

[17.02.2012 ]

Our tip for a great outdoor weekend (25-26 Feb) with lots of pre-Spring sunshine and fun - geocaching! Surrounded by beautiful pinewoods and waterfalls, the picturesque Vila de Rei (literally the King's Village!), also known as mainland Portugal's geodesic centre, hosts the National Geocachers gathering. Appreciate spectacular panoramic views while debating about this often described as a "game of high-tech hide and seek", and taking part in a photo competition, an ancient walking trail, and unmissable gourmet experiences. We, at Absolutely Portugal, are big fans of the tasty regional dishes, especially the wonderful fish soup, the "bucho recheado" and the sweet honey cakes.

Be part of it

[24.01.2012 ]

In 2012 Guimarães is Europe's greatest cultural attraction - the European Capital of Culture! The Guardian highlights that the "buzzy little university town has an exquisite medieval centre – a Unesco World Heritage Site – of ancient mansions, churches, squares and a couple of museums, all overlooked by an impressive 10th-century castle with seven castellated towers". Absolutely Portugal shows you a different side to Guimarães by creating exciting cultural holidays tailored to your wishes.

I do

[20.01.2012 ]

The 'I dos' have been said - time for the honeymoon! Looking for the perfect honeymoon destination? Whatever the season there's a perfect honeymoon waiting for you in Portugal, according to Condé Nast Traveler Magazine: "hilltop castles and whitewashed villages, a bounty of fresh hotels"… Whether you're planning your wedding, or just feeling loved up, trust AP to hand-pick exclusively for you a luxury romantic honeymoon in idyllic Portugal.

Under a starry sky

[11.01.2012 ]

UNESCO and the World Tourism Organisation certified the Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve as the first Starlight Tourism Destination in the world! The unique sky of this Reserve - with an area of 3000km2 surrounding the great Alqueva lake through Alandroal, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Mourão, Portel, Moura and Barrancos, will simply amaze you. Be enchanted by the fabulous spectacle of planets, constellations and stars during the night, and why not joining an exciting after-hours walking trail, or even trying horse riding, birdwatching or wildnightwatching under the stars? Rare wonders of the universe!

For food aficionados

[05.01.2012 ]

Who would say that after a very foodie festive Christmas, January would become the gourmet month in Portugal? From 13 to 23 January, talented world famous Michelin-star chefs promise an absolute epicurean feast at the luxurious boutique resort Vila Joya during the prestigious International Gourmet Festival. The superstar chefs will be presenting exclusively their tasting menus combined with superb wine pairings and other unmissable gourmet experiences! Gourmet days!

Best of 2011

[29.12.2011 ]

For Absolutely Portugal, revisiting 2011 has been truly exciting: post Porto, magnificent Lisbon, characterful Algarve, authentic Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, nature wonders of the Azores and so much more… Plus such outstanding honours! - Faial Nature Park as European Destination of Excellence, quintessential Fado as UNESCO's World's Intangible Cultural Heritage, Berlengas and Santana as UNESCO's World Biosphere Reserves, Ericeira becoming World Surfing Reserve, the Pritzker Prize awarded to Eduardo Souto de Moura, Moscatel de Setúbal Reserve 2006 considered the world's best Muscat, amazing gourmet Michelin-star restaurants, top luxurious hotels like Aquapura! Countless reasons to be proud of and to discover Portugal. LET'S GO PORTUGAL in 2012!

Take me there

[22.12.2011 ]

Guimarães, the Portuguese Capital of Culture for 2012, is bursting with life! According to The Observer, "it has all the makings of a hot new cultural destination - a medieval centre, distinctive gastronomy and a lively nightlife and arts scene". Celebrate Guimarães' trendy cultural buzz in style with Absolutely Portugal - an unmissable New Year's resolution!

Food for thought

[14.12.2011 ]

Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity American chef at Brasserie Les Halles (New York), and his take on Lisbon's culinary scene and culture - including fishing octopus with local fishermen, tasting delicious "bifanas", admiring how the new Portuguese cuisine honours its culinary traditions, and appreciating a night of wonderful food and Fado in the company of the Nobel-in-waiting novelist António Lobo Antunes.

Wish list

[06.12.2011 ]

Be inspired by our specially selected top 5 festive ideas! 1. Treat yourself to a glamorous Tenente dress or fine suit to get the party started, 2. be pampered beyond belief enjoying inner peace at the luxurious Wellness Spa Resort in Monchique, 3. set off to an epic Douro river cruise admiring the stunning scenery of the historical Douro valley, 4. take a relaxing nature walking trail along the coastal wonder of Arrábida Natural Park, 5. be delighted with a fascinating night swim in the Azorean Caldeira Velha hot waterfalls surrounded by exotic plants… or simply go local appreciating the authentic warmth of the local people around an open-air log fire in a little picturesque village, sharing stories with new friends and family, after a traditional Christmas Eve feast of delicious cod-fish and irresistible sweets, singing Fado altogether and washing it all down with a magnificent Vintage Port under a starry sky! Christmas is the time for sharing with the people we love, wherever they are - and for us it's definitely in Portugal! Merry Christmas from all of us at Absolutely Portugal!

Palmela is European Wine City 2012

[03.12.2011 ]

Did you know that Palmela has been nominated the European Wine City of 2012 by the European Network of Wine Cities? This honour is a recognition of Palmela's wine excellence - including the award-winning Moscatel de Setúbal. And this renowned wine region combines it wonderfully with exciting local gastronomy, stunning countryside and coastal landscapes, rich historical heritage and traditions. Portugal and high-quality wines go hand in hand and, at Absolutely Portugal, we're well placed to hand-pick for you unforgettable wine experiences in Portugal!

Quintessential Fado honoured by UNESCO

[28.11.2011 ]

Fado, the truly quintessential Portuguese music genre, has just been honoured by UNESCO with the status of World's Intangible Cultural Heritage, i.e., it is protected as "intangible cultural heritage of humanity"! Believed to result from a multicultural blending of songs by Portuguese homesick sailors, African slave songs and ancient Moorish ballads, Fado is definitely a symbol of Portuguese identity. Fado songs are usually performed by a solo singer, male or female, traditionally accompanied by a wire-strung guitar and the Portuguese "guitarra" - a pear-shaped lute with twelve strings, unique to Portugal. At Absolutely Portugal we love listening Amália Rodrigues, the greatest Fado diva of all time, and highly recommend a visit to the Fado Museum in Lisbon followed by an intimate Fado performance in a small Fado house at candlelight. Proud to be Portuguese! 

Michelin stars 2012

[25.11.2011 ]

We all know that Michelin stars are a hallmark of fine dining quality, and this year's guide recognises 12 restaurants throughout Portugal. The outstanding restaurants offering "very good cuisine" (i.e., one star) are Feitoria/Altis Belém and Tavares (in Lisbon), The Yeatman (in Vila Nova de Gaia), Henrique Leis and São Gabriel (in Almancil), Largo do Paço/Casa da Calçada (in Amarante), Fortaleza do Guincho (in Cascais), Arcadas da Cappella/Quinta das Lágrimas (in Coimbra), Il Gallo d'Oro (in Funchal), and Willie's (in Quarteira). The awarded two-star restaurants, representing "excellent cuisine, worth a detour", are The Ocean/Vila Vita Parc (in Lagoa) and Vila Joya (in Albufeira). Absolutely Portugal is proud to guide you to the country’s crème de la crème cuisine!

Emmy award for Portuguese production

[23.11.2011 ]

Portuguese production "Laços de Sangue" ("Blood Ties" in English) from Portugal's SIC & Brazil's Globo TV won this year's Emmy Award for Best Soap Opera at the 39th Annual International Emmy Awards ceremony in New York. If you didn't have the chance to watch this primetime drama, we unveil some of the wonderful sites in Portugal where the big action took place - Viana do Castelo, Alqueva and Lisbon. With Absolutely Portugal, be sure that your holiday episodes end with a promise that the storyline is to be continued in another even more exciting episode!

Images of Portugal

[22.11.2011 ]

We know Absolutely Portugal's friends have a keen eye for all that is special around Portugal, and we're calling on you to create more show-stopping images of Portugal. We are inviting you to share images which make travelling in Portugal memorable and that represent the following categories: nature, places and people. To enter, please send us a high resolution digital image to info@absolutelyportugal.com, with your name and email. Label the photo with the category name. You may send up to three entries, but no more than one for each category. The deadline is 31 December 2011. After this date, we will draw up a shortlist and you will be notified if you have made it on there. The lucky shortlisted will see their images reproduced on our website and showcased on Facebook and Absolutely Portugal's holiday postcards. We can't wait to see your pictures!

Lisbon named European City of the Year 2012

[19.11.2011 ]

Portugal's charismatic capital city was voted the European City of the Year 2012 by the Academy of Urbanism Awards, based in London. Lisbon was singled out for its local character and distinctiveness, environmental and social sustainability, and most improved urban environments - in particular the architectural projects such as the renovation of Mouraria and the urban projects along the riverside. According to the Academy, Lisbon is a city which has endured for more than two millennia and has faced enormous challenges. Lisbon provides a unique setting for the expression of Portuguese culture and comprises many influences, reflecting the city's ability to draw on Atlantic and Mediterranean traditions as well as its links to Brazil and Africa.

Braga, European Youth Capital 2012

[01.11.2011 ]

Braga is the European Youth Capital in 2012! Situated in the heart of the spectacular Minho region in north-western Portugal, Braga is one of the youngest European cities (about 35% of its population is under 26) and is famed for its outstanding Baroque and Renaissance churches, its archaeological heritage, splendid gardens and nearby wild beaches. The 2012 event offers a challenging programme of activities around the theme of active participation of young people in society - including sports, culture, music, sustainability, social inclusion, entrepreneurship and human rights. Countless reasons to visit Braga in 2012, whatever your age!

Countryside charm

[18.10.2011 ]

Autumn is the perfect time to discover the magnificent Montesinho Natural Park (Braganca). Enjoy the glow of colour combinations of the abundant chestnut and oak trees, observe amazing wildlife (such as the rare Iberian Wolf and Iberian Lynx), walk along ancient rural roads, explore picturesque little villages dotted around huge mountains and experience the rich gastronomy and warm hospitality of the local people. Then just stop in your tracks and go quiet as you take in the superb views. And if you're there in late October, don't miss the Fish & Game Fair, a celebration of some of the best countryside traditions.

Straight from the horse's mouth

[12.10.2011 ]

If you have a passion for horses, ride to the pretty rural town of Golega during the National Horse Fair (4-13 Nov) to see a fine and noble spectacle of the Lusitano horse. Taking place since the 18th century, the oldest Lusitano festival in Portugal offers the chance to admire an old and traditional horse culture in action, including breed and dressage classes and shows of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. It's no secret that the Lusitano horse is a noble and beautiful animal - no wonder the Lusitano is Portugal's pride!

Nature sanctuary

[08.10.2011 ]

Did you know that Naturtejo Geopark Meseta Meridional, located in the centre inland of Portugal and member of the UNESCO European and Global Geopark Network, has a landscape that hides 600 million years of a highly diversified geological history? The Park is known for its rich geological and paleontological heritage, as well as its remarkable historic, cultural, ecological and human components. Wonders include the amazing fossils of Penha Garcia, impressive quartzite gorges like Vale Mourao, huge Roman gold mines, the gigantic meanders of the Zêzere river, fantastic granite morphologies like Monsanto and Palaeolithic settlements. Go birwatching, geokayaking and enjoy beautiful trekking trails, thermal spas, Templar castles, great food, water sports and genuine hospitality!

Faial Nature Park-European Destination of Excellence

[28.09.2011 ]

Home of great diversity of flora, fauna, geological structures, culture and local traditions, the Faial Nature Park becomes the first Portuguese destination to obtain such distinction and joins the European Network of Destinations of Excellence for Sustainable Tourism. EDEN is a EU project promoting sustainable tourism development models across the European Union. The winning non-traditional tourist destinations are awarded for their commitment to social, cultural and environmental sustainability. In Faial, Absolutely Portugal recommends a tranquil walk in Faial's Botanic Gardens, a visit to the extraordinary Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre and an exciting whale watching expedition.

Let's celebrate World Tourism Day

[27.09.2011 ]

This year under the theme "Linking cultures", Absolutely Portugal offers some attractive suggestions of activities throughout Portugal: stunning nature walking trails in the Azores, enjoying the freshness of Vinho Verde in the Solar do Alvarinho (Moncao), multicultural open air concerts and evening fireworks in Albufeira, sailing at sunset in traditional boats in Aveiro, folklore shows and free entry at the Botanical gardens in Funchal, wine tasting the unique Moscatel de Setubal and horse riding in the beautiful Serra da Arrabida. Let's bring cultures together!

And the 7 Portuguese Gastronomic Wonders are...

[24.09.2011 ]

With such a rich and diverse cuisine and gastronomic heritage, the Portuguese have now elected the top delights of all. If you want to taste the best the country has to offer, next time you're in Portugal start a divine lunch with a delicious smoky sausage Alheira de Mirandela and a distinctive Serra da Estrela cheese, followed by the famous Caldo Verde Soup, a wonderful Arroz de Marisco (seafood rice), perfectly grilled Sardines, a succulent Leitao da Bairrada (suckling pig) and one or two crispy sweet Pasteis de Belem. Tempting enough?! More on www.7maravilhas.pt

Ceramics drama

[15.09.2011 ]

The centenary Portuguese ceramics of Bordallo Pinheiro star in the most recent film of Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar "La Piel que Habito". The Telegraph considers the new storytelling, premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, "the work of a master near the top of his game"! And we're certain that the iconic Bordallo Pinheiro works of art add more drama, colour and style to this film!

Heritage treasures

[13.09.2011 ]

Celebrating the European Heritage Days (23-25 Sep) throughout Portugal promise to be really unique! Here are some exciting suggestions: a guided visit to the lighthouse of Contentas (Terceira, Azores), an archaeological tour in Cabeco do Vouga (Agueda), a peddy paper in the Alcobaca Monastery and surroundings followed by a classical music concert, a visit to the 16th century caravel Dom Fernando II e Gloria in Cacilhas (Almada), a circuit of churches accompanied with traditional Alentejo songs in Almodovar, an Art Nouveau tour in Aveiro, a night walk discovering Palaeolithic engravings in Barcelos, a beautiful night serenata in Coimbra, walking around the Mediaeval castle walls in Evora, a concert of Iberian church organ in Guimaraes or even a workshop for families "Architects for one day" at Palacio de Sao Bento (Lisbon)! How amazing!

Top awards

[06.09.2011 ]

The Conde Nast Travelers' Awards have now confirmed what we already knew: the Aquapura (in the Douro Valley) was voted one of the top hotels in the world, and among the favourite spas in overseas hotels are the Wellness Spa, Choupana Hills Resort & Spa in Funchal (Madeira island) and The Spa, Four Seasons Hotel Ritz in Lisbon. Well done!


It is harvest time!

[01.09.2011 ]

There is never a bad time to visit a vineyard, but one of the best is harvest time, when there are harvest festivals, wine tasting events and even the chance to hand pick the grapes. Absolutely Portugal invites you to experience the thrill of the very traditional hand picking process of wine grapes in some of the country's best wine producing regions and to take part in the crucial process of winemaking. Paying homage to many of the prestigious wine producing regions, "our" harvesting celebrations include intimate winemaker dinners, unique gourmet experiences, wine seminars, local winemakers opening their private cellar doors and estates, picturesque shows, traditional dances and yummy food stalls in truly spectacular surroundings. Join us in the excitement of the annual grape harvest!

Train gems

[24.08.2011 ]

The Travel and Leisure magazine has considered the Sao Bento Train Station, in Oporto, one of the world's most beautiful train stations! "While the exterior is certainly beautiful, it is the front hall that will make you gasp. The walls are covered with 20,000 spendid azulejo tin-glazed ceramic tiles, depicting the history of transportation as well as historic battles and artistic renderings of the 14th century King Joao I and Queen Philippa of Lancaster. Simply monumental!

Vintage journeys

[20.08.2011 ]

Until the end of September, every Saturday, our top tip is to step aboard a magical train journey running through the spectacular scenery of the Douro River Valley, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Listen to the echoes of an old steam locomotive between Regua, Pinhao and Tua and gaze out over the majestic views of endless vineyards and picturesque quintas (farms) at the sound of traditional songs, enjoying a delightful Port and delicious food. Then take your time in this relaxing journey back in time and combine it with a countryside walk, a gourmet luch at a local restaurant and a wine tasting in a charming Quinta. A celebration of history and heritage!

Berlengas and Santana are World Biosphere Reserves

[05.08.2011 ]

The International Coordinating Council of UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB), has added the Berlengas archipelago and Santana (in the island of Madeira) as new sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), which now numbers 580 sites in 14 countries. Biosphere Reserves are places where local communities are actively involved in governance and management, research, education, training and monitoring at the service of both socio-economic development and biodiversity conservation.

The Berlengas Reserve consists of three island groups home to fantastic marine life and maritime reserve - ideal for nature lovers, and is located just 10km from mainland Peniche, well-known for its long beaches, wonderful seafood, white windmills and picturesque chapels. Santana, although a more touristic site in the Madeira archipelago, is an area famed for its natural beauty and rich flora and fauna, as well as for its traditional homes constructed with sloping triangular rooftops and protected with straw, which are definitely worth visiting.

Top wine

[04.08.2011 ]

Moscatel de Setubal Reserve 2006, a Muscat wine produced in the Setubal region, has just been considered the best Muscat in the world! This world recognition took place at the 11th annual Muscats du Monde wine competition in Frontignan-la-Peyrade (France), where 210 wines from 23 different countries were represented. We're proudly raising our glasses - here's to Moscatel de Setubal!

This month's event

[03.08.2011 ]

Contemporary art and design fans should head to Vila Nova de Cerveira, where the 16th Biennial of Cerveira is showcasing the work of great Portuguese and international designers and artists. Open to artists from around the world in areas such as sculpture, literature, theatre, dance and graphic arts, expect to see studios, exhibitions, performances, workshops, debates with curators, guided visits to creative industries and concerts. Marvel at not only what artists like the sculptor Jose Rodrigues has done, but also at the incredible beauty of this northern region of Portugal.

Going back in time

[26.07.2011 ]

What if we were to go back in time and experience life in Mediaeval times? Travel backwards with your feet firmly in the battle field grounds - you might encounter HRH King Afonso Henriques greeting you at the castle gate or even be part of his allegiance to conquer a hostile enemy and, after victory, celebrate together with wine and beer at the local tavern. Don't miss the exciting Mediaeval Voyage in the magical village of Santa Maria da Feira until 7 August (www.viagemmedieval.com). 

Hot and summery science

[17.07.2011 ]

We are proposing you a very trendy sci-summer, and you know what? - it's great fun! With the local support of specialists, Ciencia Viva (literally "Science Alive") offers you incredible science-related experiences this summer throughout Portugal. Join us visiting the wonders of an underground mine, watching a beautiful starry sky with your friends and family, discovering where dinosaur fossils have been found, walking along estuaries filled with amazing species of flora and fauna, exploring the magic of a lighthouse in breathtaking coastal areas, or wondering around the historic walls of a Mediaeval castle. These holidays, bring science in your luggage!

Summer is calling

[22.06.2011 ]

Wouldn't you rather be on holidays? You could be in Portugal, in the Alentejo coast soaking up a little culture with sunshine; or in Obidos for the Mediaeval Festival, one of the biggest and most vibrant festivals of this kind; or navigating along the splendour of the Douro River and its meticulously cultivated vineyards; or taking a countryside trek in the stunning Geres National Park, exploring its mesmerising landscape, waterfalls, woods and wildlife. We've offered you four good reasons, so just pack up and go!

Summer book club

[20.06.2011 ]

What books by Portuguese authors should travel addicts be packing? Absolutely Portugal hand-picks this summer's must-reads exclusively for you: "Poems" by Fernando Pessoa, "Selected Poems" by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, "Inhabited Heart: Selected Poems" by Eugenio de Andrade, "The Land at the End of the World" By Antonio Lobo Antunes, "The Elephant's Journey" by Jose Saramago, "Blank Gaze" by Jose Luis Peixoto, "Sibyl" by Agustina Bessa Luis and "Ballad of Dog's Beach" by Jose Cardoso Pires. Enjoy and please share your views!

Pure art bliss

[17.06.2011 ]

It's the prestigious Sintra Festival, from 24 June to 10 June, one of the most awaited cultural events of the summer season in the cherished UNESCO Heritage Site of Sintra which is simply a treasure in itself! This year's edition celebrates the work of Liszt and Mahler, and the amazing programme features some of the world's most talented musicians and dance companies in sublime settings like the Royal Palaces of Queluz and Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira and the Colares Wine Cellars.

Passionate about Portugal

[15.06.2011 ]

The US Ambassador to Lisbon, Allan J. Katz, explains to UP magazine why he fell in love with Portugal and the Portuguese. "Portugal has everything, the historical heritage of one of the oldest and most important empires in the western world, fantastic beaches which are still wild and well preserved, great food and wine, a small country that's easy to get around, an excellent gateway to Europe, and an essential humanity in the Portuguese, something that my intuition tells me derives from the role Portugal had in the world and global history". And that's all so true!

One hundred years of art

[14.06.2011 ]

A charming neighbourhood like Chiado could only have a gem like the Chiado Museum of Contemporary Art (www.museudochiado-ipmuseus.pt), this year celebrating 100 years of existence. Housed in a splendid former Mediaeval convent, it's really a must see place for all art lovers. You'll find excellent examples of Portuguese and international modernism of post-1850 art and sculpture, extending to 1950, including Silva Porto, Soares dos Reis, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, Almada Negreiros and Rodin. And the museum cafe, garden and terrace are ideal to chill out overlooking beautiful Lisbon.

10 June, it's Portugal's National Day

[08.06.2011 ]

Join the Portuguese in celebrating this special day, also known as "Camoes Day" (Camoes is considered Portugal's greatest poet, who eloquently wrote the modern epic poem of national identity "Os Lusiadas"). This year, the official celebrations happen in Castelo Branco, with open air military shows and a few concerts. The city offers interesting sights, such as the 16th century castle walls, the outstanding Baroque style gardens "Jardim Episcopal" and the Francisco Tavares Proenca Junior Museum, where you can appreciate some of the finest examples of rich silk-embroided bedspreads that are a trademark of the region. But our hit tip is really the fascinating village of Monsanto (only 53km away), where many of the traditional buildings have been built out of granite stone and small houses are constructed between massive boulders in the beautiful narrow granite cobbled streets. One of Portugal's most magical places!

Let's go partying in Lisbon

[06.06.2011 ]

If there is a right time to "live" Lisbon, it's definitely June! The famous Festas de Lisboa bring high doses of colour and excitement to the Portuguese capital. The party peaks on the eve of St Anthony's Day with the grand Avenida da Liberdade parade and parties in the traditional districts like Alfama, Bica and Mouraria. Celebrations are everywhere - cultural events, music (especially Fado), religious prayers and processions, street day & night parties, lots of dancing and singing. And of course, no way you'll end up your day without fresh grilled sardines on bread and great wine while mingling with friendly locals. Another tradition is offering your loved one a charming little pot of basil and paper carnations with a love poem on it... We're already there! 

More on www.festasdelisboa.com

The finest jazz fests

[30.05.2011 ]

If you're a big jazz fan, don't miss two superb jazz festivals in Portugal. Until 5 June, let yourself be seduced by an amazing international and Portuguese line-up of jazz musicians and groups in the ever so glamorous and cosmopolitan Estoril (www.projazz.pt) and in the charming city of Coimbra (www.jazzaocentro.pt).

Kids rule!

[28.05.2011 ]

It's Children's Day on 1 June and we've got lots of brilliant ideas for your little ones to enjoy this very special day throughout Portugal. Pick some of their favourites: face painting, belly dancing, hip-hop classes, traditional games, visit the zoo, surf lessons, swimming with dolphins, yoga, theatre, picnics, group sing-alongs, science and environmental workshops, karaoke, flying, puppet shows, recycling activities, crafts, book fairs and so much more. Absolutely Portugal promises to treat them sweetly with ice-creams, popcorn, biscuits and cotton candy - they deserve it, children are the greatest love of all! 

A weekend feast of contemporary art in Serralves

[24.05.2011 ]

It's all happening - it's the unparalleled contemporary art festival "Serralves em Festa" (28-29 May, www.serralves.pt) in the lively city of Oporto. It's 40 hours of non-stop amazing events, activities, exhibitions, visits, concerts, dance, circus, theatre, cinema, video, photography and workshops celebrating contemporary art. Absolutely Portugal is particularly curious to see the fascinating circus by the Akoreacro company, the colourful puppet show "Make love not war" and the contemporary dance "As far as the eye can hear". We wouldn't miss these for anything!

Amazing nature

[22.05.2011 ]

When celebrating European Day of Parks (24 May), it's really worth thinking about the urgent need to protect our natural and cultural heritage. And did you know that Portugal has 13 National Parks? Their diversity is tremendous - form the beautifully hilly north-eastern Montesinho National Park to the world-famous Douro Internacional (home of the precious Port wine) or the magnificent Arrabida National Park by the sea, you'll explore breathtaking landscapes, find unique species of animals and rare flora and experience the local culture. It's the call of the wild, the freshness and the beauty of nature. At Absolutely Portugal we're committed to support sustainability and each tailor-made itinerary has this principle in mind - http://www.absolutelyportugal.com/index.php/call-of-the-wild.html.

Celebrating gourmet loving

[18.05.2011 ]

It's true - the Portuguese love to celebrate every occasion at the dining table, surrounded by friends and family! Turismo de Portugal has just launched "Taste Portugal", an exciting programme dedicated to the rich world of Portuguese gastronomy. Have a look at the appealing promotional video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95-Cul6Qhvg). Then take a peek at www.taste-portugal.com and discover all about the finest Portuguese wines, cheese and olive oil, learn how to cook delicious national and regional dishes using fresh local products, be invited to the best restaurants, get to know our chef's irresistible masterpieces, find out brilliant gastronomic guides and so much more. You're definitely on a fascinating culinary journey! 

Delightful culinary travel

[10.05.2011 ]

Sharing a taste of Portugal is a delicious way of understanding its culture. From the plains of Alentejo to the Estremadura coast, and on to the mountains of Tras-os Montes, the cuisine of Portugal offers a rare opportunity to explore the wealth and spirit of a nation through its love of food. So when in Portugal, discover the pleasures of Portuguese cuisine, the finest artisanal foods and amazing regional specialities, and try a few national treasures - like the beloved salted cod (which the Portuguese are said to have 365 ways of preparing), traditional caldo verde soup, the prized Alentejo's black pig, tasty dry-cured ham (presunto), wonderful smoked sausages (like chourico, linguica, salpicao, morcela, farinheira, just to name a few), distinctive olive oil, rich seafood and fish (oh, the fresh grilled sardines!), world-class varieties of cheese (such as Queijo da Serra, Serpa and Azeitao), mouth-watering conventual desserts and, of course, the country's namesake wines! Make the most of your stay and say it happily - "Bom apetite"!

Director Oliveira - still making films at 102!

[03.05.2011 ]

Did you know... Manoel de Oliveira is the world's oldest living active film director! Honoured for his life achievements such as those of the Cannes, Venice and Montreal film festivals, Oliveira is a truly veteran film-maker. He sees cinema as "a mirror of life, a reflection of life, a record of life" and continues to direct movies for the sheer pleasure of it". Outstanding!

 

Garden of Eden

[02.05.2011 ]

Flowers, flowers everywhere - it's the famous Flower Festival in Funchal (Madeira), from 5-8 May! The festival is a feast to the eyes, celebrating all things floral, including colourful street displays of floral designs, pavements beautifully decorated with exuberant flower carpets, delightful grown-ups and children's flower parades along the seafront promenade, lots of flower garlands, flags and banners, flower exhibitions and traditional folklore music. Portugal in perfumed bloom!

Lisbon festival of literature

[01.05.2011 ]

Writers, thinkers, speakers, novelists, poets, story tellers, plus performances, talks, readings, workshops, discussions, plenty of activities and inspiring music. This is the way it is at the Lisbon Book Fair at King Edward VII Park, the enjoyable open air festival of literature this Spring. For the full at-a-glance festival diary, see www.feiradolivrodelisboa.pt. Let’s celebrate things well thought, well written, and well said! Read on, and come along.

Habanos Day

[30.04.2011 ]

The countdown to the II Habanos Day has started. Taking place at Quinta de Paulos in Lisbon on 7 May, this is one of the most awaited events by the Cuban cigar aficionados and Portuguese wine lovers in a perfect combination of flavours and know-how. Under the sponsorship of the Embassy of Cuba, the Habanos Day (www.habanosday.com) is a day dedicated to Cuban cigars (Habanos), wines and digestives, as well as workshops on "how to roll your own cigar" and tasting sessions of cigars, red wine, Whisky, Aguardente and Rum led by renowned experts. Book your place now in this exclusive event with Absolutely Portugal.

Hot Summer

[28.04.2011 ]

Portugal is in the spotlight! The National Geographic Traveler hand-picked the unspoilt Azores archipelago for the top best Summer trips in 2011 - think green volcanic mountains, mineral hot springs, hydrangea-covered hills, rambling vineyards, secluded blank and white sand beaches, white-washed seaside towns, ornate chapels and churches, cobblestone lanes, traditional Flemish and Moorish windmills, unique gastronomy, fantastic whale watching... No wonder, it's Portugal!

More on http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips-summer-2011-photos/#/best-summer-trips-portugal-azores_34551_600x450.jpg

Top this!

[27.04.2011 ]

The World Travel Guide (www.worldtravelguide.net) has just ranked Portugal as the best tourism destination in the world! Our stunning country is described as "one of Europe's unspoilt gems, with historical treasures and natural and cultural wonders". We couldn't agree more!

The oldest bookshop in the world is in Lisbon

[20.04.2011 ]

Did you know... the Bertrand Bookshop, located in the iconic Chiado district (73-75 Rua Garret), in Lisbon, is the oldest bookshop in the world! Founded in 1732 by Pedro Faure, Bertrand has been a truly literary club over the years and a place of exclusive tertulia, ie, literary gatherings of the most renowned Portuguese writers, poets, philosophers, intellectuals and politicians (such as Alexandre Herculano, Oliveira Martins, Eca de Queiros, Antero de Quental, Ramalho Ortigao, Aquilino Ribeiro, Fernando Namora, Jose Cardoso Pires) and even royalty (including the late King and Emperor Dom Pedro II himself, known for defending freedom of speech and the abolition of slavery). With a reputation of attracting high-profile authors, Bertrand continues to organise traditional tertulias, as well as book signings, book launches and cultural debates. It is a must in any cultural travel agenda!

Easter kids delight

[17.04.2011 ]

Are you running out of ideas on how to entertain your children this Easter? Absolutely Portugal is happy to suggest a few exciting activities for the little ones this Easter throughout Portugal. Let their (your) imagination wander - combined workshops of painting, drawing, masquerades and laughter and Roman-inspired games in Braga; the traditional egg hunting and royal theatre workshops playing with puppets and shadows in Guimaraes; adventure sports such as swimming, rafting, athletics, archery, treasure hunts, treehouse games and horse riding in various locations; radio and TV broadcasting sessions in Lisbon; creative gardening and environmental awareness in Loule;  recycling musical experiences in Vila Nova de Gaia; scientific workshops at the Visionarium in Santa Maria da Feira; Easter story-telling and creating scarecrows in Viseu; hands-on workshops discovering the secrets of chemistry and molecules at the Science Museum in Coimbra; fancy cooking lessons in Cascais... They'll love every minute!

Days of enchanting music

[14.04.2011 ]

Let yourself go by musical excellence during the renowned annual festival "Dias da Musica" at Centro Cultural de Belem in Lisbon (www.ccb.pt). Under the theme "From Europe to the New World", this year's performances offer something for everyone - from classical music and jazz to blues and tango, with more than 60 concerts just over 3 days! The little ones are also welcome: story-telling concerts, musical workshops and conversations with musicians will certainly keep them entertained. As always, piano has centre stage during the festival and you're even invited to play one of the many pianos scattered around CCB... waiting just for you.

A day at the museums

[08.04.2011 ]

Join us to celebrate the International Museums Day (18 April), a day set aside to encourage awareness of the role of museums in the development of society. In Portugal, this year's celebration is under the theme "Water - culture and heritage". And the choice is really abundant - from from a free tour at the historic Vasco da Gama Aquarium (Alges) and a visit to the beautiful lighthouse maritime collection of Sao Vicente Cape (Sagres) to a fun photo marathon in Santarem, a zen feng shui afternoon at the Oriente Museum (Lisbon) or a rustic countryside walk along the water mills in Redondo (Carregal do Sal). Discover with Absolutely Portugal that Portuguese museums are alive and kicking!  

Grand, magnificent Fado seeks UNESCO recognition

[05.04.2011 ]

Did you know that Fado is Portugal's most vivid musical art form? Meaning "fate" Fado usually tells of unrequited love, an intense longing for days gone by. As a truly national heritage, Portugal is now seeking to obtain world recognition of Fado as UNESCO "intangible heritage" - cultural and traditional arts and practices. The decision about Fado being placed on the UN heritage list will be known in November 2011. And Absolutely Portugal is proudly flying the flag!

Absolutely Portugal suggests visiting the Museum of Fado in Lisbon (www.museudofado.pt) and listening the sublime voice of Mariza, the singer who represents a new generation of contemporary "fadistas" exploring new expressions of the traditional song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaTjzSTSVL0).

From Portugal with love

[02.04.2011 ]

Discover why Portugal is the ultimate destination! We help you to unlock the endless secrets and the spectacular hidden gems in Portugal - take a look at the latest promotional tourism film about Portugal (by Turismo de Portugal) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIkUmzLFVio. Simply inspiring.

Destination style!

[30.03.2011 ]

Hooray - it's Spring! And that means it's time to put away your heavy Winter clothes and lighten up. We went behind the scenes at the latest Portugal Fashion, which showcases the best of Portuguese fashion, to bring you some sunny fashion trends and those hot must-buys. If you want to see what the fuss is about, take a look at the amazing catwalk collections at www.portugalfashion.com - we love Alves/Goncalves, Anabela Baldaque, Ana Salazar, Filipe Oliveira Baptista, Katty Xiomara, Luis Buchinho and Miguel Vieira.

Have the most stylish season ever with Absolutely Portugal's top tips for a very chic and stylish holiday in Portugal!

And the 2011 Pritzker Prize goes to...

[28.03.2011 ]

The Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has been awarded the 2011 Pritzker Prize, architecture's most prestigious honour! Having worked on his earlier years at Alvaro Siza Vieira' office, another Pritzker Laureate (1992), Souto de Moura has completed over sixty buildings, most of them in Portugal, and also in Spain, Italy, Germany, UK and Switzerland. Along his works are iconic projects such as the impressive Braga Stadium (2004) and the recent Paula Rego Museum Casa das Historias (2008) in Cascais. The Pritzker jury praised his "body of work that is of our time but also carries echoes of architectural traditions. His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics - power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and a sense of intimacy - at the same time".

More on http://www.pritzkerprize.com

Go gourmet for charity in Lisbon

[24.03.2011 ]

It's Lisboa's Restaurant Week from 31 March to 9 April! A number of very exclusive restaurants in Lisbon have created special menus at incredibly affordable prices and are donating one euro per person for charity. Absolutely Portugal highly recommends the chic "Eleven" and "Tagide" restaurants. Contact us now to book some unmissable gourmet experiences!

Spring whale watching in the Azores

[17.03.2011 ]

The sea of the Azores is an authentic sanctuary - more than 25 species of whales live in these Atlantic waters! The stunning Blue Whale, the biggest living animal on the planet, is a regular visitor of these Portuguese islands, in its migration route to the north in early Spring and to the south in the Autumn. The season of the giants has started and the sightings are unbelievable! So it's just about time for you to go on a exciting whale watching adventure!

Chocolate delight

[08.03.2011 ]

Imagine a charming medieval village filled with chocolate everywhere - from glamorous catwalk shows, gigantic cakes, surprising sculptures and jewellery, tempting gastronomic treats, choco-workshops and liqueurs... and this magical atmosphere is all very real, in Obidos, during the International Chocolate Festival, from 17 March to 3 April. We just can't resist but sharing!

More on www.festivalchocolate.cm-obidos.pt

Countdown to Carnival

[03.03.2011 ]

This year's 31st edition of the International Science Fiction Film Festival offers you a chance to enter into a science fiction atmosphere this Carnival. The so-called "Vampires' Ball", on the night of 5 March in Oporto, couldn't be more fantastic - expect a burlesque masquerade ball, amazing prizes, a unique multimedia show, lots of sci-cocktails and non-stop music! Dress code: movie stars!

More on www.fantasporto.com

Surfing paradise

[26.02.2011 ]

The surf mecca of Ericeira in Portugal has just become one of the first World Surfing Reserve (WSRs), joining Malibu (California) and Australia's Manly beach. This international designation recognises the quality and consistency of waves, the importance to surf culture and history, environmental characteristics and the support from the community. Surf's up!

More on www.worldsurfingreserves.org

Destination Lisbon

[24.02.2011 ]

The New York Times recently presented the highlights of Lisbon in 36 hours. "Lisbon is getting fancier every month. By day, ambitious upstart museums and renovated industrial districts offer an infusion of contemporary art and design. By night, a fledgling wave of neo-Portuguese restaurants, stylish night spots and innovatively designed hotels provide happening places to play". Waste no time to experience Lisbon yourself! 

More on www.nytimes.com

Guimaraes goes cultural!

[16.02.2011 ]

The New York Times elected Guimaraes, the birthplace of Portugal as a nation, one of the best destinations in 2011. Guimaraes, also a UNESCO Heritage Site, was considered "one of the emerging cultural destinations in the Iberian Peninsula". Ah, and don't forget to book Guimaraes in your European travel agenda - the city will be European Capital of Culture in 2012, with lots and lots going on!

More on www.guimaraes2012.pt 

Northern gastronomic delights

[08.02.2011 ]

Enjoy a rich gastronomic feast one of these winter weekends in the north of Portugal. During the festival "Gastronomic weekends 2011", running from January to June, a fantastic selection of restaurants open their doors to offer the best of Portuguese traditional cuisine, including famous dishes using local products and wine tasting experiences from the northern region. Bom apetite!


More on www.portoenorte.pt/gastronomia/2011

Romantic Valentine

[31.01.2011 ]

If you're looking to impress her/him this Valentine's, Absolutely Portugal has exciting ideas for that perfect romantic break in Portugal - from a candle-light dinner on a river cruise to the glamorous spa boutique hotel that we only know about, call us now!

Science for beginners

[15.01.2011 ]

Every Saturday until March, Coimbra's Science Museum hosts special science workshops for young children, including funny activities such as "Fungus: heroes or villains?", "Exploring rocks and minerals", "Hide & Seek", "Ecological orchestra" and many more cool experiences.

More on www.museudaciencia.pt

National Geographic hits Lisbon

[05.01.2011 ]

Don't miss in January at the Independência Palace a great National Geographic's exhibition - a collection of unique photographs representing people, places and nature in Portugal. And it's free!