Lisbon & Porto Update?

Interested in hearing tips and suggestions from people who have been there in the past year or so. ‘Non-fussy’ restaurants, wine-centric experiences, activities, day trips, etc.

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Only in Lisbon and Porto? Not going up the Douro?
In Lisbon, go to the Jeronimos monastery in Belem. Visit the Gulbenkian museum. The Lisbon Oceanarium is one of the best aquariums in Europe. To try José Avillez’s food, try Mini Bar, the casual offshoot of Belcanto. Cervejaria Ramiro has terrific fresh seafood.
In Porto, go across the river to Gaia and visit the World Of Wine (WOW). Not kitschy at all and some interesting museums. Visit one of the Port lodges. Have one of the high end Port tastings at Grahams and eat at Vinum restaurant. Go to my favorite wine bar, Bacchus Vini, and ask Maria Fonseca to show you some interesting wines. Go to Kopke and try some very high end Colheita Ports. Try to get a seat at Taberna Dos Mercadores, but remember it’s a tiny place and very popular so a seat might be difficult. In Porto, the shop and restaurants say traffic is increased over the prepandemic era so things are busy.
These are just off the top of my head.


Thanks for these, Eric. The current “still in progress” plan also includes 2 nights in the Duoro and a night in Coimbra.

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We leave the 2nd week of October for Lisbon, Algarve, Coimbre, Duoro and Porto.

I’ll report in.

What a coincidence!
We are in the process of putting together a ten-day trip starting around Oct 17. We haven’t pulled the trigger on the flights yet, but our ‘penciled in’ itinerary is Porto, Duoro, Coimbra and Lisbon. Already have lodging booked, subject to change/cancellation. First trip to Portugal for us. Hope to make it happen.

I was in Porto last month but sadly only for two nights. My wife and I had our 9yo and 7yo with us, and we all fell in love with the place. I’m itching to return. I don’t have much to recommend because we did all the obvious tourist stuff. But I can say that the Yeatman is bar none one of my favorite hotels on earth. We also had a brilliant meal at Semea.

On the same trip we spent two nights in Lisbon at the Lumiares hotel. Stunning city. Great recs up in the thread. All the tourist stuff is great and we loved Belem. Take a tuk tuk tour.

Were there in August, a few notes:

-Our hotel made a reservation for us at taberna dos mercadores. Absolutely worth a stop, but i wouldnt wait in line for 2 hours to eat there.

-Uva by Calem was enjoyable for lunch on the water in Vila Nova de Gaia. On the pricier side.

-I did a short write up about a wine shop in Lisbon called Garrafeira de Campo de Ourique. Absolutely worth your time to pick up a bottle or a case of their recommendations. My favorite was a 20 year old white for 8 eur. THANKS @Tomas_Costa for the rec!

-My favorite pateles de nata were at Fabrica de Nata in Lisbon.

-Brunch at BAHR was good, and the views made it worth every penny. Might have been my most relaxing meal of the trip.

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Eric, I have been taking a look at some of your ‘off the top of my head” recs and they are right in line with what we enjoy. Any tips for the Duoro or additional ideas for Porto & Lisbon would be very appreciated. Obrigado.

Sorry for the slight drift, but have been toying with a June trip with my own 8 and 9 year olds. How was Portugal with kids? I am resigned that there will be less wine time for dad, but think it could be cool to get them exposed to another culture and see some neat things. Porto and Lisbon both relatively accessible from DC.

Was just in Lisbon and Porto last week.

In Porto, definitely spend some time doing port tasting in Villa Nova de Gaia.

-I definitely recommend a stop at Vasques De Carvalho. We had no problem walking in, it’s a much smaller place than most out there and their Tawnys are absolutely worth a stop.

-I’ll also second the rec for Taberno de Mercadores. We didn’t have a reservation but stopped by for lunch about 15 minutes before they opened at 12:30 and had no problems getting in right away.

-Miss’Opo was a really fun dinner, kind of funky place with a single, handmade collage menu. A much younger/hip vibe to it but some interesting plays on Portugese dishes.

As for Lisbon:

-Taberno Do Mar up in the Graca neighborhood was a lot of fun. Small, casual place with a 10 course Japanese-ish tasting menu using all Portugese ingredients for €30 (love the sardine nigiri)

-Antiga Wine bar was a great mid afternoon stop for plenty of BTG choices and some snacks

-Probably the highlight of our trip was a tour booked through We did the photo panoramic tour in their classic Land Rover. Had a full day with a driver through Sintra, Caiscas and some breathtaking off-road routes along the coast high up on the cliffs over the ocean.


If you have an entire day, visit Sintra from Lisbon. Visit the Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle
Visit the Alfama. Eat somewhere in the Barrio Alto. On the Douro, eat at Quinta do Portal. For high end food, go to DOC. During harvest, there are a few places you can foot tread grapes. Harvest just finished this year so treading would have to wait until 2023.


This thread makes me want to go back. Great recs.

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Reminder that if you’re doing a day trip out to Sintra area, it’s pretty easy to add on a stop at Viuva Gomes… not sure if they still have plenty of older stock available to taste, but it is a worthwhile stop regardless.

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I second the rec on Jeronimos monastery. It was really great. We also stumbled into the National Coach Museum, a 10 minute walk from the monastery. It was full of ornately carved carriages and can be enjoyed over an hour or so.

If you want to experience European soccer, both Benfica and FC Porto have home matches in October. I’m not a soccer fan, but experiencing it live was really cool.

The National Palace in Sintra is fabulous, and the views are amazing. Do take time to walk around grounds. Take a taxi up, and a tuk tuk down. The town itself is touristy, imo.


We did this same tour today. We probably lingered and drank too much at lunch ( which was our choice), but it was a great full day and the weather delivered a beautiful blue sky. The coastline / beaches part was spectacular.
BTW Jake, do you recall the name of your driver on your tour - ours was Tiago and he added to the enjoyment for us.


Yes! We had Tiago as well, he definitely kept us entertained all day. That reminds me, he actually reached out to me to connect me with his cousin who has an art exhibit near me in Brooklyn.

Sounds like we had a similar time, we too opted for a longer lunch and a bottle of wine during our day there. Hope the trip is treating you well.

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Heading home right now from Porto airport. Lots to write up when I land.


Okay - let me start with random observations since this was my first trip to Portugal.

The People - every where - very nice. we were treated extremely well. Almost too nice! Example: we randomly bumped into the gal from our Lisbon (Lisboa) hotel in the metro heading to pick up our car. She ran over and grabbed by wife’s luggage and helped get on and off the train. Sweet kid. That hospitality was repeated everywhere.

There’s a lot of Brazilian people that live in Portugal. I mean a lot. Makes sense but I didn’t know the two countries were that closely aligned, still. Every Brazilian loves living in Portugal.

The Language - uhh… let’s put it this way. The Portuguese natives joke that they’re still learning the language. Brazilians complain they can’t understand Portuguese speaking and Portuguese complain they can’t understand the Brazilians. The both say the other speaks too fast. The pronunciation of words is not obvious if you know English or a romantic language. It sounds like Russian or a slavic dialect to me. Good news: you can get away with english everywhere and spanglish if in a jam.

Portugal is the playground or long weekend destination for Europe. Seville is a couple hours drive to the Algarve and Madrid is maybe 3 hours to Porto. And a two hour flight, or less, gets to just about every major EU city. Luck dogs! It wasn’t quite that easy flying from California. Doh!

Getting around - really easy. you don’t want a car in Lisbon or Porto. The city is covered by trams, trollies, and the metro. And it’s cheap. We purchased a Lisbon metro card at the station at the airport and charged with $15 and that lasted use 4 days but we walk a lot. A metro ride is about $1.50. In Porto we didn’t even use the metro, we walked everywhere. We covered a lot attractions and probably never put in more than 3 miles. My kind of town. LOL

Driving the country - Easy. First, Google Maps and navigation is your best friend. download the offline map for the country and you’re good to go. We turned our phones off and just wifi hopped when needed whatsapp or look stuff up. The autoestrade is much like the ones in Spain. Very nice, easy driving and very rarely any traffic. If you get off the autoestrade then your mileage may vary but it’s still super exciting to get off the main roads and roll through the small towns.

If you walk be prepared. Lisbon and Porto are “hilly”. Think San Francisco hilly. Your calves will get a work out and good shoes are important because you’ll be walking on a lot of cobblestones. Cobblestones aren’t just an “attraction”, the roads and sidewalks are made of it everywhere in the country. Sidewalks are art pieces.

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Safety? - we felt very safe everywhere. In fact, for the first 10 days we didn’t even see a police car in Lisbon and The Algarve. Odd. We did see the occasional police officer in high touristy areas but that was rare. Porto, another story. There are police cars and officers everywhere. We saw more police in the first two hours in Porto than the previous 10 days combined. I guess Porto has a pickpocket problem, which tourist place doesn’t, but we always felt safe even late at night.

I loved Portugal, highly recommend everyone visit. So now I’m going to say something that might chaff some people but worth sharing so you’ll be a little more flexible on your trip. Portugal is a bit rundown. Random stuff doesn’t work so just be ready. It’ll be an escalator in the metro so you have to haul your luggage up 3 stories to the street or the bathroom doesn’t work some place or the credit card machine doesn’t work so need to pay cash. (you need cash in Portugal as a backup at all times). There are these amazing sites and majestic building and next to them are bombed out buildings with collapsed roofs. The good news is there’s lots of construction going on everywhere. In Porto I counted 24 crains over the city and just about every important tourist site is getting a facelift. My wife is pissed because she is a photog.

I describe it as “gritty”. It’s all good but be flexible.