Chasing the sun in the Norte Region of Portugal

“Is your first time in Portugal?” I traveled to Portugal twice, both road trips because there is so much to see and explore. In 2007 a quick tour from Vila Nova de Milfontes to Aveiro. Last time in 2014 from Algarve up to Lisbon and – photo tour was published soon after on Food & Wine.
In between I met Nelson Carvalheiro, a really successful Portuguese travel blogger, in London during a photography class with Anthony Webb. We both liked each other work and we stayed in touch since then. Thanks to him I had the opportunity to go back to Portugal this winter: I was looking for some sun but I’ve found lot of food instead!

Day 1 – Matosinhos. If you like me have a passion for art and architecture this is the hometown of Alvaro Siza. A quick walk and then off for a wine tasting at Garage Wines, awarded as the best wine shop in Portugal. As soon as you meet Ivone, the owner, you understand why her garaffeira is so famous. With the best smile she could share with us she explained everything we needed to know about Portuguese wines for that area: from vinho verde to all the different variations of Porto. The good news is she ships abroad!
Right after that, dinner at Eslapanada Marisqueria A Antiga. A minute of silence for me. And sorry in advance to all the vegetarian people who follow this blog. But I come from an island and if you grew up surrounded by the sea, in summer you have sea urchins and bread for merenda because your dad just fished them. So you can understand my excitement when I saw on display fresh seafood straight from the shore. And yes, I tried for the first time percebesor dinosaur feet as Marcela used to call them! So. Good. We stayed at Casa do Godinho and it’s a shame we spent there just one night. I’ll go back, for sure!

Day 2 – The day started with a visit at Conservas Portugal Norte where Claudio led us into a tour to see how fresh fish is turned into cans and shipped worldwide, with a strong attention to quality.
A coffee at L’Kodac before the best lunch we could ask for by Chef Rui Paula at Casa do Cha, designed by Siza.

Day 3 – Póvoa de Varzim
Joseph Flores, from the Ethnography and History Museum was our guide for the day. His passion for his town and his job won us over! We started from the fish market. Meeting Maria Irene was the chance for me to start a new project on instagram I was thinking about in the last weeks #PhotoAudioON.
Off to the coast, a walk in the harbour and then up on the top of the lighthouse. Lunch and off for a visit at the Museum, before a canned fish tasting.

Day 4 – Espinho
A visit at the local museum and then off to Oporto Golf Club, the oldest in the entire Iberian Peninsula. After lunch Sandra Duarte, a local glass artisan welcomed us in her workshop with a good bottle of Porto wine as a perfect auntie would do – and with her smile and skin colors she reminds a lot of my auntie Mirella!
The truth is you cannot leave Portugal without trying Bolas de Berlim, fried donuts filled with custard or… nutella! I had both of them because I’m greedy. And another glass of Porto, please!

Unfortunately we had no time to visit the city of Porto this time and the sun was a bit shy. But I’m pretty sure I’ll go back soon because there is so much more to see, visit and taste!

A special thanks to Turismo do Porto e Norte, all the local Tourism Boards who helped us planning this trip and last but not least Jose Manuel from Madomis Tours.

If you want to know more about Portuguese food, Nelson published The Portuguese Travel Cookbook, perfect to read before planning your trip and right after when you miss some of their delicacies.

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lauraChasing the sun in the Norte Region of Portugal