Looking for food trips to take in Portugal? Check out our guide to the best places across the country to eat and drink, from the must-visit cities of Porto and Lisbon to eating on the beach in Comporta, vineyard stays for wine fans and discovering local pastries in the countryside.

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For more travel inspiration, check out our 13 best French food trips or best Spanish food trips, our guide to the best European city breaks or our picks of the best European vineyards to visit.


7 best Portuguese food trips

Lisbon

For a budget-friendly city break

Portugal's buzzing capital has undergone something of a culinary revolution. Time Out Market is a well-known stop on any Lisbon food journey for a reason, with 30 of the city’s best chefs selling small, reasonably priced plates alongside local wines and fresh lemonade, from a gathering of stalls. Another popular spot is Ramiro, serving great-value seafood in a rustic setting with a buzzy atmosphere. For modern spins on Portuguese cuisine, try Mini Bar for contemporary tapas and cocktails or Prado for updated versions of classic Portuguese dishes. For shopping, head out of the centre of the city to LX Factory, where Lisbon’s young creatives have set up shop in dozens of old fabric factories, with a flea market taking place every Sunday.

Check out our full guide to the best places to eat in Lisbon for more ideas.

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Where to stay: North of Lisbon’s botanical gardens, in a 20th-century townhouse in the Praça das Amoreiras area, you'll find Casa Amora. Each bedroom in this charming B&B is inspired by a different Portuguese figure, from poets to Fado singers, actresses and painters. Soak up the charm of dazzling ceramic tiles, private balconies, embellished ceilings and wrought-iron bath tubs. Casa Amora’s cook, Nita, has been there since day one and her homemade breakfasts in the colourful courtyard – featuring pastéis de nata, almond cake and homemade jams to spread onto warm croissants, along with local charcuterie, fresh orange juice and coffee – are legendary.

Doubles from £155, check availability at booking.com or expedia.co.uk

A chef assembling custard tarts in Porto

Porto

For eating like a local

Located in the north of the country, Portugal's elegant second city should be next on your list if you've already ticked off Lisbon. Get stuck into the local tipple with a tasting flight of port at Taylor's Port House, worth the climb up the hill and over the famous Luís I bridge. For more traditional delicacies, Manteigaria is still the must-visit bakery for warm pastel de nata and you'll be queuing alongside locals at A Casa Guedes for loaded pork sandwiches. If you're self-catering or just like to explore a good food market, the 19th-century Mercado do Bolhão dazzles with fruit and veg, cured hams, regional cheeses and freshly caught fish. Check out our full guide to Porto for more inspiration and top restaurant picks.

Where to stay: Rosa Et Al Townhouse is a six-room boutique hotel complete with a dinky walled garden to eat breakfast in the sunshine. Rooms feature original wooden floorboards, cornicing and sash windows that lead to balconies, and are made even more beautiful with claw-footed baths, contemporary furniture and local art. The reception desk even doubles up as a trendy food shop.

Doubles from £111, check availability at booking.com.

Dom Luis I bridge, Porto, Portugal.

Cascais

For a seaside break

Just 30 minutes outside Lisbon sits Cascais, a port town with a sparkling beach that attracts day-trippers and weekenders from the city. Start your day at old-school Sacolinha, a bakery on Cascais' main palm-tree-lined street, for breakfast custard tarts and mini cheesecakes to take to the beach. If you're visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday, take time to explore the traditional market in the morning before it slows after lunch. It's only right to have seafood while you're on the coast – our pick is Marisco na Praça. The bustling fish market sits on the other side of a glass wall partition – head to the counter and choose your catch, then watch as chefs prepare simple dishes from it. For vegetarians, Galeria House of Wonders serves some of the best veggie food in town, including homemade tortilla wraps and cumin-spiked shakshuka. Head up to the vibrant rooftop for the best seats. Pick up an afternoon ice cream from family-run Santini (which also has shops in Lisbon and Porto). For sundowners with ocean views, head to Bago a Vin, with its terrace and panoramic views. See our full guide to Cascais for more ideas.

Passion Fruit and Hazelnut Ice Cream from Santini, Cascais

Alentejo

For exploring Portugal's rural heartland

Field-to-fork and vine-to-glass are ways of life in Portugal’s fertile heartland. Fuel a tour of the region’s hilltop villages and rolling country estates with local delicacies and hearty traditional dishes. Wander the streets of the whitewashed village Monsaraz and stop off at Sabores de Monsaraz for lunch. Pork is king here: you eat every part, cooked just about every way – especially if the meat in question (as in this case) is porco preto, from black pigs fed on the acorns of the oaks that cloak the plains below the village. Next, wine buffs should head south through wildly beautiful landscapes studded with cork oaks and rosette-like rock roses to visit small family-run wine estate Quetzal, owned by the Dutch de Bruins family. Here, a state-of-the-art winery combines viticulture with food and modern art; works from the de Bruins’ collection are exhibited below the estate’s restaurant. Visit the medieval walled city of Evora for traditional pastries at Pastelaria Conventual Pão de Rala, petiscos (Portugal's equivalent of tapas) at Botequim da Mouraria's tiny counter, and the renowned partridge stew at Fialho.

Where to stay: the São Lourenço do Barrocal estate has been owned by the same family for 200 years. Its farming traditions live on but are now combined with five-star hospitality; cowsheds and old farmworkers’ quarters have been turned into simple but stylish hotel accommodation with brick floors and locally woven fabrics. Don't be fooled by the simple decor – there's also a glamorous 20-metre pool, spa and impressive hotel bar and restaurant.

Doubles from £491, check availability at booking.com or mrandmrssmith.com

Green rolling vineyards with a striking blue cloudy ski

Comporta

For undiscovered natural beauty

For a weekend of local wines, fresh seafood and earthy rice dishes head an hour south of Lisbon to the wild sand-fringed coastline, pine forests and stylish beach retreats of Comporta. The area has long been protected by its status as a nature reserve (at its northern end is the Sado estuary, home to bottlenose dolphins, flamingos and storks). Add into the mix a handful of hippie-chic shops and galleries, local vineyards, upmarket horse riding and kayaking operators, a smattering of rustic rice and seafood restaurants – plus a couple of more elegant options for craft cocktails and finer Portuguese dining – and you have a recipe for the perfect summer weekend away. Comporta itself is a small, pretty village lined with cobbled streets, blue-and-white-painted rice barns, shuttered low-rise buildings and sweet-scented Indian neem trees. Cavalarica is a beautifully elegant restaurant and cocktail joint set in an old stables right in the centre of town. Join the locals at Cegonha, a simple roadside restaurant specialising in grilled meat and fish cooked over coals, served in huge portions. Rumour has it that local chefs eat at Dona Bia, which serves traditional regional fare including porco Alentejana (a classic dish of pork and clams).

Home to one of Comporta’s best stretches of pale gold sand, Praia do Pego draws visitors for another reason too: walk to the beach from the car park and the first thing you see is Sal Restaurante, a cute little beach bar at the top of the dunes, overlooking the sand. Bag a table on its terrace in the early evening with a glass of wine, then choose from an enticing selection of fish and seafood dishes.

Where to stay: the 17-acre estate of Sublime Comporta, its rooms, suites and cabana villas peppered among umbrella pines, cork trees, frangipane flowers and olives, is a blueprint for low-impact hotel design – stylish and subtle rather than dominating the surrounding landscape. Inside all is minimal and white, with the odd pop of polished concrete or warm wood. Though not directly on the beach (the closest is a five-minute drive away), the vibe is that of a grown-up, romantic beach retreat. There’s also a dedicated spa, using organic Amala products for its range of soothing treatments, and a yoga pavilion.

Doubles from £561, check availability at booking.com or mrandmrssmith.com

pego beach (food at sal restaurant)

L’and Vineyards

For wine buffs

This elegant 26-suite spa hotel combines contemporary design and gourmet cooking, set among vineyards in Portugal’s Alentejo region, an hour’s drive from Lisbon. A meal in the futuristic, pendant-hung restaurant, whose glass walls frame the vineyards, is the big draw. Chef José Tapadejo was born nearby in Castelo de Vide and trained in Portugal, but he’s also worked in Scandinavia, so his dishes are creative interpretations of regional classics, often using fermented and foraged ingredients – local black pork, scarlet prawns and pike-perch, on a cushion of Alentejo’s must-eat migas.

Being surrounded by six hectares of organic vineyards, you’ll want to taste L’and’s own wines, made from a blend of native grapes, such as Touriga Nacional, and international varieties such as Alicante Bouschet and Syrah. Pick of the bunch is L’and’s full-bodied Reserva Red 2016. On site you can do tastings, and vineyard and winery tours, and the hotel can arrange visits to neighbouring vineyards too.

Doubles from £197, check availability at booking.com or mrandmrssmith.com

A striking white angular building against a blue sky

The Algarve

Fringed by limestone coastline and sandy coves, Portugal’s Algarve region is a stunning foodie destination. Seafood is a highlight, but black pork, sheep’s cheese, olives, oregano, tomatoes and oranges are also cultivated locally – and are easily found at local farmers’ markets, beach shacks and restaurants. Homemade piri piri chicken or shrimp, an Algarve speciality, is everywhere, and in the mountains beyond the coast, you’ll find aromatic pork stews, slow-cooked wild boar and honey cake.

Where to stay: Vila Vita Parc is a five-star resort on the coast at Porches, 40 minutes’ drive west of Faro. The sound of birdsong and fountains complement the hotel’s Moorish slant – a lantern here, a rug there, 180 balconied bedrooms with azulejo blue-and-white tiles and, outside, a verdant mosaic of palm trees and lawns. Even fully booked, the hotel is serene, as guests enjoy its 54 acres of land.

On the hotel’s café terrace, sip chilled vinho verde – a wine from Portugal’s north with characteristic minerality. Munch on tapas of olives, 30-month cured acorn-fed pork from the hotel’s own farm, fresh clams or são jorge cheese. Ocean is the hotel’s gourmet beacon, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant with Austrian chef Hans Neuner at the burner. Go for a three- or four-course taster menu, rather than six, as there’s an abundance of amuse-bouches. Highlights include ray with parsley and jerusalem artichoke, and stuffed octopus with limpets and black pudding. Neuner’s Instagram-ready creations are full of flavour and key ingredients shine.

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Doubles from £313 per night, check availability at booking.com or britishairways.com


Authors

Lucy RoxburghEcommerce and Reviews Editor

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