Visiting a new destination is about more than just ticking off the bucket list and admiring the sites. Often it’s the people you meet along the way that bring a destination alive. Portugal is one place where you can learn a lot about where to go, what to see and how to live from the locals. It’s why for all our Portugal tours we went straight to the source and asked for tips from the locals. From Be My Guest experiences to little surprises, this is how we at Trafalgar connect our guests with the real, local Portugal.
1. Feel the local culture with Fado
There’s no better way to experience Portuguese culture than feeling it to your core with the power of fado. This traditional style of music might be in a foreign language, but don’t be surprised if the dancing guitars and hauntingly powerful vocals move you to tears. This Lisbon art form covers themes of nostalgia – love, loss, sadness, anticipation – and usually features two guitars and a singer. With Trafalgar you can lose yourself in the emotive melodies with an evening of traditional fado with dinner included.
2. Visit a local stud farm in the Alentejo
Deep in the heart of Portugal’s great farming region, between endless fields of green vines, cork trees and golden fields of cattle we’ll park the coach at a very special stud farm. The hearty aroma of grilled Portuguese peri peri chicken fills the air as we Connect With Locals over a traditional grilled lunch at a Lusitano horse farm. This breed was once reared for the pleasure of King João VI in the 18th century, and while Portugal no longer has a royal family, Be My Guest host Vera and her family welcome guests up to their stables like royalty.
You can watch Vera and more Portuguese locals in the video below…
3. Hear from expert Local Specialists
No one knows a city or destination quite like a local, and in most big destinations we connect Trafalgar guests with a Local Specialist who can the history and magic of each place we visit. Take sightseeing tours in Lisbon and Porto, winding past baroque churches and along winding cobblestone lanes. Soak up knowledge at one of Europe’s greatest and oldest universities in Coimbra, before exploring the city’s ancient streets and squares, and explore Tomar’s Convent of Christ, originally built as a Templar stronghold in the 12th century, with a Local Specialist.
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4. Sweet surprises
If you’ve been on tour with Trafalgar you know every Travel Director likes to do something special and unique to them. Should you be lucky enough to join a tour with Travel Director Pedro then you’re in for a sweet surprise! We know he’s fond of surprising guests with a box of the world-famous Pasteis de Belém, and if you’re a fan of Portuguese custard tarts these are a must-try. It’s the original secret recipe and only a handful of people know it.
5. Taste Port wine in Porto
Heard of port wine? Of course. Did you know this fortified dessert wine comes from Portugal’s second-largest city? There’s a centuries-old tradition of producing local port wine in Porto and going for a tasting is a must. Dive Into Culture while on a Trafalgar tour with us and explore the traditions of port wine, visit the cellars and taste white, ruby and tawny port wines (and learn the differences).
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6. Enjoy local food experiences
There’s no better way to get to know a culture than through its food – and local food in Portugal varies widely. From hearty, rich dishes in the north, to seafood feasts in the south, taste your way through Portugal with Trafalgar. Our Best of Portugal trip is the top tour to join if you want to eat around the country. Add optional experiences such as a traditional cataplana dinner, pair food and wine in the heart of the country, or enjoy a seafood feast as waves crash on the shore and the sun sets into the sea.
That’s how we connect Trafalgar guests with the real, local Portugal. Do you have tips for where to go and what to see in Portugal? Leave us a comment….
This article was created in partnership with Visit Portugal