Terraced vineyards on mountainsides.
Portuguese guys who look like they just stepped out of a Dolce & Gabbana underwear ad.
It’s kinda hard not to love Portugal. Between the scenery – which includes some of the most breathtaking vistas in Europe – and the culture of wine and music, there’s something for every kind of gay person, whether you’re a hiker, an oenophile, a photographer, or you just like underwear models.
Here, then, are some of our favorite experiences:
1) Photograph the gorgeous vineyards lining the Douro River. Their grapevines are laid out in terraces hand-cut into the granite mountainsides. Dramatic stuff. The best views are from a cruise ship on the river. Just sayin’.
2) Ride vintage tram 28 in Lisbon, which takes you up to St. George’s Castle (spectacular views) and through the dozens of Moorish alleyways in the old city. A total step back in time. Wear your best burnous and turban.
3) Sample the sweet and full-bodied port wines for which the city of Porto is named (and renowned). There are dozens of great port wineries to visit, like Ferreira, Croft, Calem, the fabulous Churchill’s, and the contemporary Espaco Porto Cruz, which includes not only wine tastings but chocolate workshops and chocolate and cheese tastings. And really, who doesn’t want to get tanked in a beautiful riverside setting?
4) Check out the Fado music scene in Lisbon. Fado is a lyrical ballad-style of music that is the national obsession of Portugal. You can often have a meal with live fadistas as your backdrop. Check out Sr. Fado de Alfama (home-cooked meals and local wines), or Clube do Fado (perhaps the most popular and well-regarded restaurant/club).
5) Hang out in the Ribeira, Porto’s famed old quarter that borders the waterfront. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it features colorful ancient houses and boats floating quayside on the Douro. Have lunch or coffee at one of the dozens of cafes, bars and restaurants sheltered under medieval arches. Gorgeously atmospheric selfies.
6) And speaking of atmospheric, get lost wandering the winding streets and alleyways of Lisbon’s Alfama district (the city’s Old Town). There are many hidden squares with super charming cafes, as well as the huge, ornate Lisbon Cathedral, and the remains of ancient city walls. A total combo platter of medieval city yumminess.
7) Tour the Monastery of St. Jerome in Lisbon, and just try not to scream “Fabulous!” Another UNESCO site, this 15th century former monastery features incredibly unique and ornate architecture: intricately carved pillars, cloisters and vaulted ceilings. Makes you wanna wear a pair of Prada slippers and canonize saints.
8) Take a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra, where you can see three gorgeous palaces and the 1,200 year old Castle of the Moors. It’s a photographer’s happy place and it’s only about half an hour away from Lisbon. There are many tour companies offering inexpensive day trips. (Portugal is a bargain in general, and day trip excursions are no exception!)
If you’re joining us on Brand g’s Spain & Portugal Douro river cruise, you’ll have an overnight in Porto, and we’ll help you knock off all the great Porto sights over two days. And we offer a post-cruise extension to Lisbon, which includes all the major Lisbon sights.
But whether you tour with Brand g or on your own, don’t miss these opportunities for cultural enrichment, shopping, imbibing and underwear model ogling. The order in which you prioritize those is, of course, totally up to you.