What’s new (other than Portugal winning the 2019 Nation’s Cup)?
New trails connecting Sagres to Lagos add to Rota Vicentina in the Southwest Coast of Portugal
Over 185 miles of trails were added to Rota Vicentina, a coastal path in the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina Natural Park that is now expanding into the Algarve. The new sections of the “Fisherman’s Trail” extend from Cabo São Vincente in Sagres to Lagos, encompassing some of the most beautiful and unexplored beaches of the Algarve region.
New Boutique Resort opens in Comporta, the Hamptons of Portugal
Located about an hour away from Lisbon by car, Comporta has been compared to the Hamptons of Portugal due to its pristine beaches, luxurious accommodations and high-end boutiques. The new resort Quinta da Comporta is a sustainable project set in the heart of this idyllic beach town. The property offers 73 rooms and pool villas with a predominantly white and natural boho-chic aesthetic, a heated outdoor infinity pool, spa, cinema, cocktail bar and a restaurant that uses local produce from the resort’s organic garden.
Monte Mar restaurant opens new facility in Tróia peninsula
Currently operating in Cascais, Lisbon and with a smaller unit in Lisbon’s Time Out Market, Monte Mar is opening a fourth location in the Troia peninsula, only a few minutes away from the exclusive community of Comporta, mentioned above. The restaurant brand owned by Group Onyria is known for offering fresh fish and seafood and charming beach vistas. A must-try for luxury travelers.
There’s a special train route from Lisbon to the Algarve this summer
The Algarve has recently been named Europe’s Leading Beach Destination by the World Travel awards, so the additional summer trains connecting Lisbon to Faro couldn’t have had better timing. Between June 7th and September 1st, a special service will operate on Friday and Sunday afternoons. Each trip lasts approximately 4h.
Did you know?
Portugal is simplifying its visa programs to attract more international students
Portugal has built a reputation as an emerging tourist destination and is becoming more popular among younger travelers, who like its year-round warm temperatures and sunny weather, affordable prices, tasty food, and the variety of settings, ranging from miles of beaches to rustic retreats in the countryside, including hip cities with vast cultural offerings. But if the younger generations like Portugal so much, why don’t they just live there?
The Portuguese government has recently introduced new measures to the SIMPLEX+ visa program, first launched in 2006, aimed at facilitating visa access to foreign students wishing to study in Portugal.
Portuguese universities offer over 200 English-taught programs and the fees don’t even come close to those charged by American universities. The average annual tuition fee is around $4.000 dollars per year in a private university, and even less in a public institution.
The top choices are NOVA University of Lisbon – with a new business school campus across from the beach, the University of Porto – which has very good science programs, the Catholic University of Portugal, with several campuses across the country, the University of Coimbra, the oldest in Portugal, or the University of Algarve, in the southern region.
According to this source, 13% of the total number of students enrolled in higher education in Portugal are foreigners. Most come from Europe, but the changes to the visa process as well as affordable tuition, inviting climate and good quality of life, could make Portugal the next study abroad destination for American students.
Fall in Love with Fall Events
Portugal is often associated with summer escapes, sunny days and stunning beaches, but the end of the ‘silly-season’ brings several fall fairs and events that celebrate the season’s harvests, national cuisine and rural traditions. Here are some of the local’s most beloved events taking place between late September and November:
1. Dia de São Martinho
Observed on November 11th, Dia de São Martinho (St. Martin’s Day) is an autumn festivity dedicated to roasted chestnuts, new wine and unexpected warm weather. The legend goes that St. Martin, a soldier, was riding through a storm and came across a beggar who was out in the cold. He cut his cape in half and shared it with the man, and in that moment the skies cleared and the sun came out.
This gave rise to the so-called St. Martin’s Summer, when temperatures are unusually high for November. The day is celebrated all over Portugal with a magusto – a feast of roasted chestnuts and jeropiga, a drink made from partially fermented wine.
2. National horse Fair in Golegã
Every year in the first weeks of November, horse-lovers gather in Golegã, about an hour from Lisbon, where the equestrian tradition is strong. The National Horse Fair (Feira Nacional do Cavalo) is where breeders present their finest horses, and contests and pageants are also held – often featuring the distinct Lusitanian breed. This fall highlight attracts people from all over Portugal and even abroad, and this year it takes place between November 1 and 11, wrapping up with St. Martin’s festivities.
3. National Cuisine Festival in Santarém
Holding its 39th edition this year between October 24th and November 3rd, the National Culinary Festival (Feira National de Gastronomia) in Santarém is the country’s biggest food fair. Visitors can explore the stands and taste almost all the Portuguese flavors, from herbs and spices to fresh fish, cheeses, meats and chorizos, to traditional breads, pastries and confectioneries.
4. National Traditional Confectionery Fair in Abrantes
The last weekend of October is typically a very sweet one in Abrantes, where the National Traditional Confectionery Fair (Feira Nacional de Doçaria Tradicional) takes place. Confectioners from North to South and the islands bring their best regional treats, ranging from traditional egg-based pastries to cakes and meringue, and unusual recipes like bean tarts. This year’s edition takes place October 25-27 and will also have workshops and musical entertainment.
5. St. Matthew’s Fair in Elvas
Located near the Spanish border, Elvas holds one of its most popular festivities during the last week of September, usually lasting for 10 days as it coincides with other religious celebrations. The program of St. Matthew’s Fair (Feira de São Mateus) usually includes live music by local and national artists, fireworks shows, special bullfighting events, philharmonic band performances and processions.
Eat at a Local’s: Authentic dining experiences in Portugal
The online platform “Eat at a Local’s” could be described as an AirBnB for meals. Locals from all over Portugal sign up and open their kitchens and dining rooms to tourists seeking to try traditional Portuguese food. Some offers include additional experiences like a cooking class or bike tours. The only thing visitors have to do is pick an option and one of the available dates, then show up to be delighted with an authentic Portuguese meal.
Portuguese restaurant Belcanto among the World’s best 50
Belcanto, owned by Portuguese chef José Avillez has been listed as one of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. The two-Michelin star restaurant offers a contemporary take on Portuguese cuisine and is located in the heart of downtown Lisbon.
Sanctuary in the North of Portugal added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites
The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga, in the North of Portugal, along with the National Palace and Convent of Mafra, a monument in the outskirts of Lisbon that reflects the opulence of King Joao V, are now considered UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Sites. The UNESCO committee was responsible for choosing which destinations should be added to a portfolio that already includes 1.092 heritage sites in 167 countries.
New York Jewish Travel Guide