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Cities in the Spotlight: Lisbon, Portugal

Updated: Mar 7

Today we are heading back to Europe. This time we are exploring Lisbon, Portugal.


Lisbon City Information

Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal. About 2.9 million people live in the Lisbon metropolitan area, which extends beyond the city's administrative area, making it the third largest metropolitan area in the Iberian Peninsula, after Madrid and Barcelona as well as the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union. It represents approximately 27.7% of the country's population. Lisbon is mainland Europe's westernmost capital city (second overall after Reykjavik) and the only one along the Atlantic coast, the others (Reykjavik and Dublin) being on islands. The city lies in the western portion of the Iberian Peninsula on River Tagus. The westernmost portions of its metro area, the Portuguese Riviera, hosts the westernmost point of Continental Europe, culminating at Cabo da Roca. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and the second-oldest European capital city (after Athens), predating other modern European capitals by centuries. Established by pre-Celtic tribes before and later Phoenicians, Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding the term to the name Olissipo. After the fall of the Roman Empire it was ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, most notably the Visigoths. Later it was captured by the Moors in the 8th century. In 1147 Afonso Henriques conquered the city and in 1255 became Portugal's capital, replacing Coimbra. It has since been the political, economic and cultural centre of the country.


Lisbon Historical Significance

During the Neolithic period, the region was inhabited by Pre-Celtic tribes, who built religious and funerary monuments, megaliths, dolmens and menhirs, which still survive in areas on the periphery of Lisbon. The Indo-European Celts invaded in the 1st millennium BC, mixing with the Pre-Indo-European population, thus giving rise to Celtic-speaking local tribes such as the Cempsi or Sefes. Although the first fortifications on Lisbon's Castelo hill are known to be no older than the 2nd century BC, recent archaeological finds have shown that Iron Age people occupied the site from the 8th to 6th centuries BC. This indigenous settlement maintained commercial relations with the Phoenicians, which would account for the recent findings of Phoenician pottery and other material objects. Archaeological excavations made near the Castle of São Jorge (Castelo de São Jorge) and Lisbon Cathedral indicate a Phoenician presence at this location since 1200 BC, and it can be stated with confidence that a Phoenician trading post stood on a site now the centre of the present city, on the southern slope of Castle hill. The sheltered harbour in the Tagus River estuary was an ideal spot for an Iberian settlement and would have provided a secure harbour for unloading and provisioning Phoenician ships. The Tagus settlement was an important centre of commercial trade with the inland tribes, providing an outlet for the valuable metals, salt and salted-fish they collected, and for the sale of the Lusitanian horses renowned in antiquity. According to a persistent legend, the location was named for the mythical Ulysses, who founded the city when he sailed westward to the ends of the known world.

Following the defeat of Hannibal in 202 BC during the Punic wars, the Romans determined to deprive Carthage of its most valuable possession: Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula). The defeat of Carthaginian forces by Scipio Africanus in Eastern Hispania allowed the pacification of the west, led by Consul Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus. Decimus obtained the alliance of Olissipo (which sent men to fight alongside the Roman Legions against the northwestern Celtic tribes) by integrating it into the empire, as the Municipium Cives Romanorum Felicitas Julia. Local authorities were granted self-rule over a territory that extended 50 km; exempt from taxes, its citizens were given the privileges of Roman citizenship, and it was then integrated with the Roman province of Lusitania (whose capital was Emerita Augusta). Lusitanian raids and rebellions during Roman occupation required the construction of a wall around the settlement. During Augustus' reign, the Romans also built a great theatre; the Cassian Baths (underneath Rua da Prata); temples to Jupiter, Diana, Cybele, Tethys and Idea Phrygiae (an uncommon cult from Asia Minor), in addition to temples to the Emperor; a large necropolis under Praça da Figueira; a large forum and other buildings such as insulae (multi-storied apartment buildings) in the area between Castle Hill and the historic city core. Many of these ruins were first unearthed during the mid-18th century (when the recent discovery of Pompeii made Roman archaeology fashionable among Europe's upper classes).

The city prospered as piracy was eliminated and technological advances were introduced, consequently Felicitas Julia became a center of trade with the Roman provinces of Britannia (particularly Cornwall) and the Rhine. Economically strong, Olissipo was known for its garum (a fish sauce highly prized by the elites of the empire and exported in amphorae to Rome), wine, salt, and horse-breeding, while Roman culture permeated the hinterland. The city was connected by a broad road to Western Hispania's two other large cities, Bracara Augusta in the province of Tarraconensis (Portuguese Braga), and Emerita Augusta, the capital of Lusitania. The city was ruled by an oligarchical council dominated by two families, the Julii and the Cassiae, although regional authority was administered by the Roman Governor of Emerita or directly by Emperor Tiberius. Among the majority of Latin speakers lived a large minority of Greek traders and slaves. Olissipo, like most great cities in the Western Empire, was a center for the dissemination of Christianity. Its first attested Bishop was Potamius (c. 356), and there were several martyrs during the period of persecution of the Christians: Verissimus, Maxima, and Julia are the most significant examples. By the time of the Fall of Rome, Olissipo had become a notable Christian center.

Following the disintegration of the Western Roman Empire, there were barbarian invasions; between 409 and 429 the city was occupied successively by Sarmatians, Alans and Vandals. The Germanic Suebi, who established a kingdom in Gallaecia (modern Galicia and northern Portugal), with its capital in Bracara Augusta, also controlled the region of Lisbon until 585. In 585, the Suebi Kingdom was integrated into the Germanic Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo, which comprised all of the Iberian Peninsula: Lisbon was then called Ulishbona. On 6 August 711, Lisbon was taken by the Muslim forces of the Umayyad Caliphate. These conquerors built many mosques and houses, rebuilt the city wall (known as the Cerca Moura) and established administrative control, while permitting the diverse population (Arabs, Berbers, Muwallad, Mozarabs, Saqaliba, and Jews) to maintain their socio-cultural lifestyles. Mozarabic was the native language spoken by most of the Christian population although Arabic was widely known as spoken by all religious communities. Islam was the official religion practised by the Arabs, Berbers, Saqaliba and Muwallad.

The Muslim influence is still visible in the Alfama district, an old quarter of Lisbon that survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake: many place-names are derived from Arabic and the Alfama (the oldest existing district of Lisbon) was derived from the Arabic "al-hamma". For a brief time, Lisbon was an independent Muslim kingdom known as the Taifa of Lisbon (1022–1094), before being conquered by the larger Taifa of Badajoz. In 1108 Lisbon was raided and occupied by Norwegian crusaders led by Sigurd I on their way to the Holy Land as part of the Norwegian Crusade and occupied by crusader forces for three years. It was taken by the Moorish Almoravids in 1111. In 1147, as part of the Reconquista, crusader knights led by Afonso I of Portugal besieged and reconquered Lisbon. The city, with around 154,000 residents at the time, was returned to Christian rule. The reconquest of Portugal and re-establishment of Christianity is one of the most significant events in Lisbon's history, described in the chronicle Expugnatione Lyxbonensi, which describes, among other incidents, how the local bishop was killed by the crusaders and the city's residents prayed to the Virgin Mary as it happened. Some of the Muslim residents converted to Roman Catholicism and most of those who did not convert fled to other parts of the Islamic world, primarily Muslim Spain and North Africa. All mosques were either completely destroyed or converted into churches. As a result of the end of Muslim rule, spoken Arabic quickly lost its place in the everyday life of the city and disappeared altogether.

With its central location, Lisbon became the capital city of the new Portuguese territory in 1255. The first Portuguese university was founded in Lisbon in 1290 by King Denis I; for many years the Studium Generale (General Study) was transferred intermittently to Coimbra, where it was installed permanently in the 16th century as the University of Coimbra. In 1384, the city was besieged by King Juan I of Castille, as a part of the ongoing 1383–1385 Crisis. The result of the siege was a victory for the Portuguese led by Nuno Álvares Pereira. During the last centuries of the Middle Ages, the city expanded substantially and became an important trading post with both Northern European and Mediterranean cities. When the Spaniards expelled the Jews from Spanish territory, many of the Jews fled to Lisbon. Although acknowledging the central importance of the Jews to the city's prosperity, Manuel I decreed in 1497 that all Jews must convert to Christianity, only those who refused being forced to leave, but not before the expropriation of their property. In 1506, an anti-semitic movement among the Old Christians of Lisbon culminated in a massacre lasting four days in which some 1,000 to 4,000 New Christian men, women and children, converted descendants of Sephardic Jews, are estimated to have been killed. The king was at Évora when these events occurred, but angered when he received the news, he ordered an investigation which resulted in two of the instigating friars being excommunicated and burned alive. Most of the Portuguese expeditions of the Age of Discovery set out from Lisbon during the period from the end of the 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century, including Vasco da Gama's expedition to India in 1498. The following years of the 16th century began Lisbon's golden era: the city was the European hub of commerce between Africa, India, the Far East and later, Brazil, and acquired great riches by exploiting the trade in spices, slaves, sugar, textiles and other goods. This period saw the rise of the exuberant Manueline style in architecture, which left its mark in many 16th-century monuments (including Lisbon's Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, which were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites). A description of Lisbon in the 16th century was written by Damião de Góis and published in 1554.

The succession crisis of 1580, initiated a sixty-year period of dual monarchy in Portugal and Spain under the Spanish Habsburgs. This is referred to as the "Philippine Dominion" (Domínio Filipino), since all three Spanish kings during that period were called Philip (Filipe). In 1589, Lisbon was the target of an incursion by the English Armada led by Francis Drake, while Queen Elizabeth supported a Portuguese pretender in Antonio, Prior of Crato, but support for Crato was lacking and the expedition was a failure. The Portuguese Restoration War, which began with a coup d'état organised by the nobility and bourgeoisie in Lisbon and executed on 1 December 1640, restored Portuguese independence. The period from 1640 to 1668 was marked by periodic skirmishes between Portugal and Spain, as well as short episodes of more serious warfare until the Treaty of Lisbon was signed in 1668. In the early 18th century, gold from Brazil allowed King John V to sponsor the building of several Baroque churches and theatres in the city. Prior to the 18th century, Lisbon had experienced several significant earthquakes – eight in the 14th century, five in the 16th century (including the 1531 earthquake that destroyed 1,500 houses and the 1597 earthquake in which three streets vanished), and three in the 17th century.

On 1 November 1755, the city was destroyed by another devastating earthquake, which killed an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Lisbon residents of a population estimated at between 200,000 and 275,000, and destroyed 85 percent of the city's structures. Among several important buildings of the city, the Ribeira Palace and the Hospital Real de Todos os Santos were lost. In coastal areas, such as Peniche, situated about 80 km (50 mi) north of Lisbon, many people were killed by the following tsunami. By 1755, Lisbon was one of the largest cities in Europe; the catastrophic event shocked the whole of Europe and left a deep impression on its collective psyche. Voltaire wrote a long poem, Poême sur le désastre de Lisbonne, shortly after the quake, and mentioned it in his 1759 novel Candide (indeed, many argue that this critique of optimism was inspired by that earthquake). Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. also mentions it in his 1857 poem, The Deacon's Masterpiece, or The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay. After the 1755 earthquake, the city was rebuilt largely according to the plans of Prime Minister Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the 1st Marquis of Pombal; the lower town began to be known as the Baixa Pombalina (Pombaline central district). Instead of rebuilding the medieval town, Pombal decided to demolish what remained after the earthquake and rebuild the city centre in accordance with principles of modern urban design. It was reconstructed in an open rectangular plan with two great squares: the Praça do Rossio and the Praça do Comércio. The first, the central commercial district, is the traditional gathering place of the city and the location of the older cafés, theatres and restaurants; the second became the city's main access to the River Tagus and point of departure and arrival for seagoing vessels, adorned by a triumphal arch (1873) and a monument to King Joseph I.

In the first years of the 19th century, Portugal was invaded by the troops of Napoléon Bonaparte, forcing Queen Maria I and Prince-Regent John (future John VI) to flee temporarily to Brazil. By the time the new King returned to Lisbon, many of the buildings and properties were pillaged, sacked or destroyed by the invaders. During the 19th century, the Liberal movement introduced new changes into the urban landscape. The principal areas were in the Baixa and along the Chiado district, where shops, tobacconists shops, cafés, bookstores, clubs and theatres proliferated. The development of industry and commerce determined the growth of the city, seeing the transformation of the Passeio Público, a Pombaline era park, into the Avenida da Liberdade, as the city grew farther from the Tagus. Lisbon was the site of the regicide of Carlos I of Portugal in 1908, an event which culminated two years later in the establishment of the First Republic. The city refounded its university in 1911 after centuries of inactivity in Lisbon, incorporating reformed former colleges and other non-university higher education schools of the city (such as the Escola Politécnica – now Faculdade de Ciências). Today there are two public universities in the city (University of Lisbon and New University of Lisbon), a public university institute (ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute) and a polytechnic institute (IPL – Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa).

During World War II, Lisbon was one of the very few neutral, open European Atlantic ports, a major gateway for refugees to the U.S. and a haven for spies. More than 100,000 refugees were able to flee Nazi Germany via Lisbon. During the Estado Novo regime (1926–1974), Lisbon was expanded at the cost of other districts within the country, resulting in nationalist and monumental projects. New residential and public developments were constructed; the zone of Belém was modified for the 1940 Portuguese Exhibition, while along the periphery new districts appeared to house the growing population. The inauguration of the bridge over the Tagus allowed a rapid connection between both sides of the river. Lisbon was the site of three revolutions in the 20th century. The first, the 5 October 1910 revolution, brought an end to the Portuguese monarchy and established the highly unstable and corrupt Portuguese First Republic. The 6 June 1926 revolution ended the first republic and firmly established the Estado Novo, or the Portuguese Second Republic, as the ruling regime.

The Carnation Revolution, which took place on 25 April 1974, ended the right-wing Estado Novo regime and reformed the country to become as it is today, the Portuguese Third Republic. In the 1990s, many of the districts were renovated and projects in the historic quarters were established to modernise those areas, for instance, architectural and patrimonial buildings were renovated, the northern margin of the Tagus was re-purposed for leisure and residential use, the Vasco da Gama Bridge was constructed and the eastern part of the municipality was re-purposed for Expo '98 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama's sea voyage to India, a voyage that would bring immense riches to Lisbon and cause many of Lisbon's landmarks to be built. In 1988, a fire in the historical district of Chiado saw the destruction of many 18th-century Pombaline style buildings. A series of restoration works has brought the area back to its former self and made it a high-scale shopping district. The Lisbon Agenda was a European Union agreement on measures to revitalise the EU economy, signed in Lisbon in March 2000. In October 2007 Lisbon hosted the 2007 EU Summit, where an agreement was reached regarding a new EU governance model. The resulting Treaty of Lisbon was signed on 13 December 2007 and came into force on 1 December 2009.

Lisbon has been the site for many international events and programmes. In 1994, Lisbon was the European Capital of Culture. On 3 November 2005, Lisbon hosted the MTV European Music Awards. On 7 July 2007, Lisbon held the ceremony of the "New 7 Wonders Of The World" election, in the Luz Stadium, with live transmission for millions of people all over the world. Every two years, Lisbon hosts the Rock in Rio Lisboa Music Festival, one of the largest in the world. Lisbon hosted the NATO summit (19–20 November 2010), a summit meeting that is regarded as a periodic opportunity for Heads of State and Heads of Government of NATO member states to evaluate and provide strategic direction for Alliance activities. The city hosts the Web Summit and is the head office for the Group of Seven Plus (G7+). In 2018 it hosted the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time as well as the Michelin Gala. On 11 July 2018, the Aga Khan officially chose the Henrique de Mendonça Palace, located on Rua Marquês de Fronteira, as the Divan, or seat, of the global Nizari Muslim Imamate.


Travel to Lisbon

*taken from Lonely Planet*

Seven cinematic hillsides overlooking the Rio Tejo cradle Lisbon's postcard-perfect panorama of cobbled alleyways, ancient ruins and white-domed cathedrals, a captivating scene crafted over centuries.


Must See Sites

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos; Belém’s undisputed heart-stealer is this Unesco-listed monastery. The mosteiro is the stuff of pure fantasy: a fusion of Diogo de Boitaca’s creative vision and the spice and pepper dosh of Manuel I, who commissioned it to trumpet Vasco da Gama’s discovery of a sea route to India in 1498. Wrought for the glory of God, Jerónimos was once populated by monks of the Order of St Jerome, whose spiritual job for four centuries was to comfort sailors and pray for the king’s soul. When the order was dissolved in 1833, the monastery was used as a school and orphanage, until about 1940.

Castelo de São Jorge; Towering dramatically above Lisbon, these mid-11th-century hilltop fortifications sneak into almost every snapshot. Roam its snaking ramparts and pine-shaded courtyards for superlative views over the city’s red rooftops to the river. Three guided tours daily (in Portuguese, English and Spanish), at 10.30am, 1pm and 4pm, are included in the admission price (additional tours available). These smooth cobbles have seen it all – Visigoths in the 5th century, Moors in the 9th century, Christians in the 12th century, royals from the 14th to 16th centuries, and convicts in every century.

Alfama; Wander downhill (to save your legs) through Alfama's steep, narrow, cobblestoned streets and catch a glimpse of the more traditional side of Lisbon before it too is gentrified. Linger in a backstreet cafe along the way and experience some local bonhomie without the tourist gloss. As far back as the 5th century, Alfama was inhabited by the Visigoths, and remnants of a Visigothic town wall remain. But it was the Moors who gave the district its shape and atmosphere. In Moorish times this was an upper-class residential area. After earthquakes brought down many of its mansions (and post-Moorish churches) it reverted to a working-class, fisher-folk quarter. It was one of the few districts to ride out the 1755 earthquake. With narrow lanes of residential houses and grocery stores, it has a distinct village atmosphere; you can quickly feel like an intruder if you take a wrong turn into someone's backyard. Early morning is the best time to catch a more traditional scene, when women sell fresh fish from their doorways.

Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga; Set in a lemon-fronted, 17th-century palace, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is Lapa’s biggest draw. It presents a star-studded collection of European and Asian paintings and decorative arts. Keep an eye out for highlights such as Nuno Gonçalves’ naturalistic Panels of St Vincent, Dürer’s St Jerome and Lucas Cranach’s haunting Salomé, as well as period furniture pieces like King Afonso V's ceremonial 1470s armchair and an elaborate lacquered wood, silver-gilt and bronze late-16th-century casket. Other gems include golden wonder the Monstrance of Belém, a souvenir from Vasco da Gama’s second voyage, and 16th-century Japanese screens depicting the arrival of the Namban (southern barbarians) – namely big-nosed Portuguese explorers.

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian; Famous for its outstanding quality and breadth, the world-class Founder's Collection at Museu Calouste Gulbenkian showcases an epic collection of Western and Eastern art – from Egyptian treasures to Old Master and Impressionist paintings. Admission includes the separately housed Coleção Moderna. The chronological romp kicks off with highlights such as gilded Egyptian mummy masks, Mesopotamian urns, elaborate Persian carpets, Qing porcelain (note the grinning Dogs of Fo) and a fascinating Roman gold-medallion collection. Going west, art buffs admire masterpieces by Rembrandt (Portrait of an Old Man), Van Dyck and Rubens (including the frantic Loves of the Centaurs). Be sure to glimpse Rodin’s passionate Eternal Springtime sculpture. The grand finale is the collection of exquisite René Lalique jewellery, including the otherworldly Dragonfly.

Tram 28E; Don't leave the city without riding popular tram 28E from Largo Martim Moniz. This rickety, screechy, gloriously old-fashioned ride from Praça Martim Moniz to Campo de Ourique provides 45 minutes of mood-lifting views and absurdly steep climbs. With its polished wood panelling, bee-yellow paint job and chrome fittings, the century-old tram is like the full-scale model of a fastidious Hornby Railways collector.

Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira; This 17th-century former hunting pavilion is in the Benfica neighbourhood. Italian Renaissance influences are blended with Portuguese-inspired blue-and-white tiles throughout the palace and extraordinary gardens. The official residence of the Marqueses de Fronteira – who still live on premises – is one of the most unique and well-kept examples of baroque architecture in Lisbon. An ornate entrance fountain, Persian carpets you can walk on, 18th-century globes and stucco works, 17th-century antiques and tile work – it's all here in a fascinating lived-in palace.

Oceanário de Lisboa; The closest you’ll get to scuba diving without a wetsuit, Oceanário is mind-blowing. With 8000 marine creatures splashing in 7 million litres of seawater, no amount of hyperbole does it justice. Huge wrap-around tanks make you feel as if you're underwater, as you eyeball zebra sharks, honeycombed rays, gliding mantas and schools of neon fish. Keep an eye out for oddities such as filigree sea dragons, big ocean sunfish, Portuguese sardines, otherworldly jellyfish, frolicsome sea otters and squiggly garden eels. You’ll also want to see the recreated rainforest, Indo-Pacific coral reef and Magellan penguins on ice. In light of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, entertainment aquariums have fallen out of favour, but for what it's worth, this conservation-oriented oceanarium offers no entertainment shows, it reproduces, as opposed to capturing, in the wild wherever possible, and runs the largest environmental education program in Portugal. It was also building a more sustainable restaurant and cafe at the time of research.


Must Try Food & Drink

Bacalhau à brás; Bacalhau à bras is a simple Portuguese dish consisting of cooked and shredded salt cod, fried potato strips, onions, eggs, and olives. A delicious combination of flavors and textures results in an incredibly satisfying dish that is popular throughout the country. It is usually garnished with parsley and served hot, while the potatoes are still crispy. Believed to have originated in the Lisbon quarter Bairro Alto, today bacalhau à bras is one of the most famous Portuguese salt cod dishes.

Pastel de nata; Pastel de nata is a traditional Portuguese egg custard tart that is popular throughout the world. It is believed that for the best result, the filling should not be too sweet and should not have flavors of lemon nor vanilla. Instead, the tarts should be sprinkled with cinnamon and, ideally, paired with a cup of coffee. Originally, this treat was made before the 18th century by Catholic monks and nuns in Santa Maria de Belém in Lisbon. The tart was made from leftover egg yolks that were used in the clearing of wines and starching of clothes. Later on, the clerics made a deal with a nearby bakery to start selling pastel de nata commercially, and the product was a huge success. It is still hugely popular, and the fact can be supported by long lines of people who are waiting on their pastel de nata in front of numerous Portuguese bakeries. However, pastel de Belém's recipe is kept secret, and only the ones produced at the Fábrica Pastéis de Belém can be called pastel de Belém, while all the other egg custard tarts from other producers in Lisbon are called pastel de nata.

Açorda de camarão; Though similar to the traditional shellfish bread soup, açorda de camarão is prepared exclusively with shrimps. The flavorful seafood broth is combined with bread, sautéed onions, cooked shrimp, and olive oil into a creamy mash that is thickened with eggs and generously seasoned with cilantro. The soup is typically garnished with shelled shrimps, and it is recommended to serve it warm and freshly prepared.

Arroz doce; Arroz doce is a sweet rice pudding made with rice, milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, and salt. The first arroz doce was made in Portugal, but today it is a popular dessert throughout the world, with a very wide range of variations in the recipe, from the use of condensed milk to the exclusion of eggs. It is said that the best arroz doce should be crispy on the exterior and custard-like and soft on the interior. The dish is usually served after the main course as a dessert, leaving a sweet taste in the mouth. It is typically served chilled, flavored with lemon peel, and sprinkled with cinnamon on top in a lattice pattern.

Arroz de pato; Arroz de pato is a traditional Portuguese dish consisting of a combination of flavorful duck meat and rice. Primarily, the whole duck is cooked in a seasoned stock alongside smoked meat and sausages. Shredded meat is then placed in a clay pot and topped with rice which was cooked in the same broth. Before baking, the dish is usually topped with sliced sausages or pieces of smoked meat. Arroz de pato is a popular lunch option in many traditional restaurants, and a common main course that is reserved for special occasions.

Polvo à Lagareiro; This classic Portuguese dish is made in the style of Lagareiro, hence the name. Lagareiro refers to a cooking style with numerous varieties, but it usually ends in dressing grilled or roasted fish and seafood with extra virgin olive oil. In this case, octopus is boiled, then cut into pieces, grilled, then brushed with olive oil. The dish is often additionally dressed with a combination of garlic, corainder, lemon juice, and salt. It is traditionally served with small, roasted potatoes with their skin intact.

Canja de galinha; Canja de galinha is a comforting Portuguese chicken soup with many regional varieties. It consists of a hearty chicken broth that is enriched with sautéed onions and garlic, rice, or orzo pasta, and occasionally diced root vegetables such as celery and carrots. Depending on the region and tradition, the soup is sometimes thickened with beaten egg yolks and seasoned with lemon juice, chopped parsley, or mint leaves. Simple and easy to prepare, canja de galinha is commonly eaten throughout the year, but it is also a staple dish served on many special occasions such as weddings and holiday feasts.

Galão; This Portuguese coffee combines 1/4 espresso with 3/4 of foamed or steamed milk and is typically served in a tall glass. Galão is rich and creamy, though the coffee flavor is not overpowering. A slightly stronger variety of galão is escuro, while a lighter version with more milk goes as galão claro. This coffee style is almost synonymous with breakfast and is best paired with classic Portuguese pastries.

White Port; White port is a fortified wine made just like red port—by adding brandy during fermentation—but using white grapes instead of red. The blend most commonly includes native varieties such as Viosinho, Malvasia Fina, Códega, and Rabigato, and it comes as a dry and sweet wine. White port is mainly intended for early consumption, but oak-aged styles are also common. Most examples will have some amount of residual sugar. Their final character will depend on vinification, but they are generally lighter than red varieties. The aroma is reminiscent of citrus and stone fruit, along with nutty nuances that are usually found in golden, oak-aged styles. Because of its character, dry white port is mainly enjoyed as an aperitif. It should always be served slightly chilled. Another common option is to mix it with tonic water to create a popular bubbly spritz known as portônica. Dry wines will pair with appetizers, snacks, and regional specialties such as Douro almonds. Sweet styles are best paired with desserts.

Ginjinha; Ginjinha (Ginja) is a traditional Portuguese sour cherry liqueur that is mostly associated with Óbidos and Alcobaça, but the drink is enjoyed throughout the country, and it is also especially popular in Lisbon and Algarve. The creation of the liqueur was inspired by the ancient recipes of Cistercian monks, and only fresh, natural products should be used, with no artificial preservatives. The liqueur is typically ruby red, subtly sweet with strong cherry aromas. It is best served as an aperitif or a digestif, preferably neat, in shot cups, and with or without the alcohol-soaked cherry. Ginja can also work well in cocktails and remains a true hallmark of the region. It is greatly appreciated by locals and foreigners alike.


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