Five reasons to reserve a Portugal cruise today!

Vantage Travel Team July 3, 2018

Been thinking about taking a trip to Portugal? Wait no longer — the delights for the senses abound, whether it’s intriguing music, tasty food, or stunning scenery, this Old World gem is for you. Insights courtesy of Vantage Copy Director Carley Thornell, who visited Lisbon and Oporto last summer:


Unlike the rest of Europe, Portugal — especially capital Lisbon — is super laid-back. Enjoy the ease of walking up and down the hills here for some of the continent’s most stunning vistas while wearing sneakers, and you’re not even out of place as an American wearing shorts. Like Rome, legend has it that Lisbon was born between seven hills. Perhaps you’ll take the tram around, or hike through the charming Alfama neighborhood to the castle, for some of the city’s best views.


Trying new things is always grand, especially when they have such a fascinating backstory as pastéis de nata pastries, a creamy egg custard with a buttery, flaky crust. Not only is it delicious, but back in the day it was said that nuns’ habits were starched with egg whites — hence so many yolks to be used for cooking! Seafood is the name of the game in Portugal, and many varieties of soups and stews featuring the fruit of the ocean abound. Don’t miss out on trying authentic bacalhau, salted codfish.


It’s easy to see why Oporto was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its stunning beauty, location along the shining Douro River, and fun nooks and crannies make for great days of exploring. Besides the historic waterfront’s shops, restaurants and pubs, the Livraria Lello bookstore — one of the world’s most beautiful — inspired that of the Harry Potter series. Perhaps you can take an independent tuk tuk tour and zip around the hills here.


Not only delicious but inexpensive, the red and white vintages of Portugal beckon any oenophile. You’ll visit Mateus Manor House and Gardens a lovely 18th-century historic estate known for its rosé production, and sample some of the country’s best wines at renowned Avessada Winery. Plus, port beckons in Oporto, where any number of cellars open their doors for tours of this sweet fortified wine.


Tuna’s much more than a fish (see the above tip on yummy local cuisine) — it’s an intriguing musical genre that you can’t hear anywhere else other than Portugal. On Portugal & Spain: Treasures Along the Golden Douro, you’ll hear a performance by a local tuna band after a dinner, but you’re likely to hear this music out and about, too. It’s mostly young people attending university who dress up in traditional garb and sing serenades. In Lisbon, don’t miss out on fado, a somewhat melancholic style of tune that’s on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list and features instruments resembling guitars and mandolins (but with a sound all their own!).