What Makes Portugal Unique

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Portugal Unique

Portugal is an unparalleled destination captivating its every visitor, and for a reason! It’s not only the beautiful weather that keeps them smiling and content, but also the people, the views, the food, and so much more! Listing it all would be impossible, but here are at least four things that make Portugal unique.

  1. Celebrations and festivities that makes Portugal unique 

It is no surprise that every country has a unique culture and peculiar traditions; however, Portugal boasts not only exceptional customs, but also some of the most unique celebrations as well. For instance, have you ever heard of a festival dedicated to artwork made from sand? Well, the Portuguese sure have! Every year the municipality of Pêra in the sunny Algarve region holds the International Sand Sculpture Festival (also known as FIESA), which gathers artists from all over and requires tens of tons of sand! 

Another extraordinary festivity, taking part in the lovely city of Aveiro, is the Festival of São Gonçalinho. A unique sight to witness, the festival requires people catching cavacas, a specific kind of pastry, that are thrown from the rooftop of one of the local churches. That is already quite a view on its own, but it gets even better as people get creative using catchers from upside-down umbrellas and nets of all sorts. 

The list does not stop here as you go further south to reach Coimbra, another significant stop on the Lisbon to Porto train itinerary. Bustling with students, the city is home to the oldest university in Portugal and to some of the oldest traditions for student festivals likewise. One of the most celebrated ones is Queima das Fitas, a celebration that lasts for eight days – one for each of the faculties in Universidade de Coimbra. There are events and music taking place all over the city and the streets become flooded with cheerful people creating an unforgettable time for every visitor. These are just some examples of unique Portuguese celebrations, but you are ensured to find more once you delve deeper into this beautiful tradition.

  1. Traditions and culture

Festivals and celebrations are far from the only traditions worth exploring while in Portugal. Make sure to also uncover the beautiful scene of Portuguese music, including the one-of-a-kind Fado music. Traced back to the 19th century, it is believed to have been born in Lisbon; however, the aforementioned Coimbra is considered to be home to Fado as well, as it is a genre performed by the students quite a lot. Fado music comprises of often quite painful lyrics, accompanied by the melancholic sound of a Portuguese guitarra, adding up to a breathtakingly beautiful performance. 

Another significant component of the world of Portuguese music is the Cante Alentejano genre, which, together with Fado, is listed as UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. While getting acquainted with Portuguese culture, don’t miss the chance to marvel at the beautiful Azulejo tiles or maybe even take part in a workshop yourself to get a hands-on experience of this lovely tradition. Found in towns and cities all over Portugal, the tiles often represent various historical events or depict important people and places with the usual blue and white coloring. Some other marvelous parts of Portugal’s cultural identity include colorful traditional clothing, various folk tales, as the one of the Barcelos Cockerel for instance, and, of course, traditional food.

  1. Portuguese cuisine

Every country takes pride in their local dishes and Portugal is no exception. What makes Portuguese cuisine stand out from all the rest? After visiting the country and trying out some of its mouth-watering dishes, you will be sure to find the answer on the bottom of your empty plate. 

Some of the must-tastes specific to the area include but are not limited to a hearty stew locally known as Cozido à portuguesa, cod fish in all shapes and forms, Posta mirandesa for steak lovers, and Peixinhos da horta for people not so fond of meat. In addition to all that, Portugal is a paradise for those who enjoy a good sandwich! With so many to choose from, getting acquainted with this part of Portuguese cuisine alone might take quite some time. Some of the musts sandwich-wise include Francesinha, Sande de Leitão, Bifana, Prego, and Sanduiche de pernil. Can you already hear your heart calling out to Portugal? 

If not, the desserts specific to this beautiful country will definitely win over your heart with Pastel de nata being the flagship without a doubt. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, filled with custard, and covered in cinnamon… It doesn’t get better than that!

  1. Unparalleled wine and spectacular vineyards

Even though Portugal might not be the number one destination when you think of wine, it should appear among the top ones on the list for sure. Providing a vast array of excellent wines, Portugal has had a somewhat segregated wine culture when it comes to grape varieties, allowing it to produce wines like nowhere else in the world. Whether it’s a vinho tinto (red wine) or a vinho branco (white wine), your palate is definitely in for a treat! 

Another exceptional component on Portugal’s wine list is its pride and joy – Port wine. The exceptional sweet red wine, locally known as vinho do Porto, is made in other countries of the world as well; however, only the one made in sunny Portugal can be called Port wine. 

In addition to splendid flavors, the winemaking tradition provides some awe-inspiring views as well. Vast vineyards located on hilly terrains leave a lasting impression to every visitor; thus, once you’re in the country, hop on one of the Portugal trains and make your way to marvel at the spectacular views with your own eyes. Hence, keep in mind that the best way to get to these festivals is by taking the Alfa Pendular train, the most comfortable and fastest way to travel.

Depicting Portugal unique charm with words is close to impossible; it is best to experience it all firsthand. Be that as it may, certain parts can be enjoyed while anticipating your future travels to the beautiful destination; thus, put on some Fado music, open a bottle of Douro Valley wine, and start packing for a vacation to remember!

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