Portugal has a gastronomy which is as rich and varied as its countryside and its heritage. However, it is the sea which has made the greatest impression on Portuguese cuisine. A simple charcoal-grilled fish or a plate of fresh seafood is always a guarantee of an excellent meal. When summer arrives, the streets of the cities, towns and villages are flooded by the smell and smoke characteristic of charcoaled sardines and, at the seaside, the esplanade cafés serve a traditional octopus salad, clams and an endless variety of freshly caught fish, in particular rock bass (robalo), gilthead seabream (douradas), scabbard fish (peixe-espada) and horse mackerel (carapaus).  

But meat also forms part of the nation's preferences. And cozido à portuguesa - a succulent boiled mixture of meats, vegetables and stuffed sausages - is one of the most appetising recipes in the world. If you are in the North, you can also savour tripe (tripas) cooked in the style of Oporto, and a type of feijoada, which can also be made à la transmontana in the interior of the region. In the Alentejo, the bread-based açorda and migas are two unmissable delights and if you travel near Bairrada do not miss the opportunity to savour the famous Leitão assado (roast suckling pig). 

Wine and olive oil are also permanent presences on the Portuguese table. Our national wine, considered one of the best in the world, varies from region to region along with the grape varieties. Portuguese olive oil, of great quality, is the base of most of our traditional recipes, and in particular the soups and the more than one thousand recipes for salted codfish (bacalhau) which are said to exist.

And, to finish, let us not forget the delicious national cheeses and desserts, especially those whose recipes were forged in the convents, almost all made with eggs and sugar which make us «give thanks to the Lord». At the end of the meal, if you want to appear a true Portuguese person, always ask for a coffee. Drink a strong espresso. Then you will understand why the Portuguese spend so much time at the table. 

Oporto and North

The Olive Oil Route of Alentejo
The Olive Oil Route  of Trás-os-Montes

Oporto and North

The gastronomy of Porto and the North of Portugal is amongst the most varied in the country and includes fish and seafood from the coast and tasty meats from the countryside. Make a «Portonic» (a mixture of Port and tonic water) as an aperitif and start your meal with a characteristic caldo verde broth. This, the most popular soup in Portugal, has round slices of chouriço, with stuffed or smoked sausages from the northern countryside, along with its famous hams from Chaves and Lamego, its alheiras from Mirandela, or salpicões from Vinhais. You can purchase all of these products at the annual Vinhais market fair.

Caldo Verde soup

There are different traditions along the coast, with fish occupying pride of place in Matosinhos, Leça da Palmeira, Póvoa de Varzim and Viana do Castelo. Some of the best salted codfish (bacalhau) recipes originate from here and the sardine enlivens the coast, as well as the tradition festival of S. João, in Porto. Fish and seafood are washed down with vinho verde in the Minho region; whether red or white, it is always served chilled. A definite choice is lampreia (lamprey), trout and other river fish.


The famous red wines of Douro are best when accompanying pork dishes, which in the north take the form of rojões or arroz de frango, which give off heavenly flavours, or dishes of veal, whether barrosã, maronesa, mirandesa or another kind.

Just room left for a delicious dessert: in Braga it can be the creme caramel «Abade de Priscos», in Amarante «Papos de Anjo» or the universal leite-creme or arroz doce since their presence is always, at least in the north of Portugal, guaranteed. And washed down with a glass of Porto to finish the banquet from Porto and the North.

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The Centre of Portugal has some of the most well-liked dishes in the Gastronomy of Portugal.

This region, with its green forests containing some of the most ancient historical and archaeological remains in the country, is an excellent location to travel in, with one of the main reasons to do so being the quality of its traditional gastronomy.

One good example of the cuisine of the Centre of Portugal is the Leitão (Suckling Pig) from Bairrada, eaten with a sparkling wine from the region.

Leitão from Bairrada

The coast also offers seafood and fresh fish cooked in caldeirada and ensopado dishes, which can also be prepared using fish from rivers and lakes, all washed down with a white wine from Bairrada.

In the sierras, you can try the Dão red wines with recipes for goat, such as chanfana (cooked in red wine) or roast kid (cabrito assado) as well as veal (vitela), cooked to a special recipe of its own in Lafões.


The stuffed sausages (enchidos) of the countryside regions include maranhos, morcelas de arroz and others, each one with its own particular characteristic, such as a particular herb to imbue it with flavour.

There are well-known cheeses, such as the famous Serra da Estrela, Castelo Branco, Alcains or Rabaçal. Creamy or cured, they are all excellent.

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Alentejano bread

The Alentejo cuisine brings creativity to every dish with a characteristic flourish of imagination.

The Alentejo has always been a great wheat region, sprinkled with cork tree areas and large herds of pigs grazing on the plains. As such, bread pork and olive oil are the bases of one of the most delicious cuisines in Portugal, seasoned with herbs which bring the aromas of the fields to the table.

Soup is a main dish, and may be cold when gaspacho, filled with bread in the sopa de cação, or salted codfish (bacalhau) or tomato or the linguiça stuffed sausage. Bread also forms part of the migas dumplings which accompany pork and lamb (ensopado de borrego) or the simple Alentejan açorda. You can try these delights in any restaurant in Estremoz, Évora or Beja, or also a dish of game, which is also very characteristic of the cuisine of the Alentejo and which provides a real taste of pleasure!

Gaspacho soup

This is also the case on the coast, where fish and seafood take on a special flavour. If you have never heard of the quality of the fish of the Southwest Alentejo, then you do not know what you are missing?

Regional dessert

Also not to miss are the regional cheeses and the desserts originating from the religious convents. Cheeses with a particular good reputation are those from Nisa, Serpa and Évora, which is also an appropriate excuse to try a red wine from Borba, Redondo, Reguengos or Vidigueira. The desserts' well, there were many convents in the Alentejo and for all the work of the nuns, beating their eggs with sugar and almonds, we give thanks to God!

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From Sagres to Guadiana, the Algarve is a region of sun, fish and seafood. The quality and variety are so great that a grilled fish or some barnacles eaten on the Vicentine coast can seem a true delicacy from the Gods. There are also the region's own recipes worth mentioning, with cataplanas, caldeiradas, fish soups or starters or hors d'oeuvre (petiscos and acepipes) that provide relief to any day on the beach, playing golf or just fine weather.


Try some horse mackerel (carapaus) or the traditional charcoaled sardines in Portimão. Order them with a Cacela mountain salad, and see that there is nothing finer than tasty simplicity.

Charcoaled sardines

Or tuna steak in Tavira or octopus, from Santa Luzia. The Algarve is an excellent place for this fare, as well as the delicious clams, cockles , razor clams, and oysters from Baleeira, Alvor and the Formosa river or the little squid and cuttlefish ever present in the Algarve - after all, it is a home to the fishermen!

However, the Algarve also has a sierra and recipes coming down from the land such as boiled chick peas, or the fruits which flavour desserts, such as almonds, oranges and figs, as well as the «Morgados» and «Dom Rodrigos» cakes which nobody can resist? Among these fruits are those which provide flavour to the liqueurs and spirits (aguardentes) such as medronho da serra and amêndoa amarga, the latter to be drunk when chilled.
What more do you want for a romantic dinner, afternoon or a chance to set the world on fire?

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Madeira has its own characteristic gastronomy, which mixes the Atlantic with the exotic, which can be sampled in the elegant surroundings of the numerous hotels and resorts.

Right in the Atlantic, the fish and seafood of the archipelago are tasty and cooked in traditional ways, such as fillets of black scabbard fish (peixe-espada preto) or tuna steaks (bifes de atum), served with crispy fried maize; there is also octopus and delicious seafood, such as limpets and winkles.
The most traditional meat dish is the famous beef on a skewer made of a laurel stick, which gives it a unique flavour.
With its exceptional climate, Madeira grows a large variety of crops, in particular sugar cane and tropical fruit (such as the much appreciated banana, pineapple and passion fruit), to be found in the drinks and the delicate desserts.

The famous Madeira wine, whether drunk as an aperitif or digestif, goes well with the traditional honey cake (made with sugarcane honey). Sugar cane is also used to make the aguardente to mix in to the famous punch, to be tried when climbing the Pico do Areeiro.

Finally, we just need to mention the bolo do caco. Except that this is not a bolo (cake) but a type of bread, which, through being baked on a piece of tile, was given this name. It is also worth mentioning that bread is also made from sweet potatoes in Madeira: you will just have to try the appetising ring-shaped biscuits (rosquilhas) made from this sweet-potato.

If you travel to Porto Santo, the other island in the archipelago equally blessed with a seaside life, let yourself be rocked by the memory of the meals and good moments experienced on Madeira.

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The Azores

The gastronomy of the Azores includes some species of fish and seafood which are unique in Portugal.

In the nine islands of the archipelago, the seafood is amongst the tastiest, and there are barnacles and limpets to offer a gastronomic delight on all the islands. Fish can be grilled freshly caught, or cooked in caldeiradas or fish soups. Stewed octopus is another common delicacy.

The rump of beef from Terceira island is well known throughout the islands as well as the much enjoyed boiled meat dish cozido das Furnas, on the island of S. Miguel, where hermetically sealed containers are placed under the earth and the food is cooked in the natural heat present in the ground. And there is also the traditional recipe for yams with the linguiça sausages from the various islands.

Cozido das Furnas

The islands are home to excellent cheeses. The most famous of these is that of the island of S. Jorge, which in continental Portugal is simply known as «cheese of the island» (queijo da ilha).

Any talk of wines requires mention of verdelho, the Pico variety being the most well known, with the picturesque patchwork countryside of the wine growing region having received the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site, not to mention Biscoitos wine, from Terceira Island.

As regards desserts, pastries are the most common, but there are also tasty queijadas from the island of Graciosa and other desserts on each island. But do not forget to try the pineapple from the Azores; the sweet taste  will leave you will an excellent souvenir of your stay on each island.

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The Olive Oil route of the Alentejo 

Olive oil of Alentejo

Light density, fruity, with the colour of gold and sometimes with a light green tone. That is the olive oil of the Alentejo, an essential ingredient of Portuguese cuisine and one of the local gastronomic treasures. The Olive Oil Route of the Alentejo includes the Protected Designation of Origin (DOC) areas and leads visitors through the aromas and flavours of the olive oil produced in Moura, Serpa, Portel, Vidigueira, Cuba, Alvito, Viana do Alentejo, Ferreira do Alentejo and Beja.

In Moura, visit the Olive Oil Museum - the Lagar de Varas do Fojo, dating from the 19th Century, and get to know how oil was made 100 years ago. At the end of the visit, you can satisfy your stomach in Serpa with a few pieces of coriandered port with a generous amount of that nectar and discover the true meaning of the phrase «as fine as the olive oil from Moura».

Keep on the Olive Oil Route further into the Alentejo region and follow it until Beja. Any district you pass through will have a cooperative with its doors open so you can try an olive oil made from ripe olives, and the slight bitterness of apples or figs.

You should also visit one of the oil presses in the Northern part of the Alentejo to sample the more perfumed olive oil which is produced there.

To know more:
Azeites do Alentejo

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The Olive Oil route of Trás-os-Montes

The olive oil from Trás-os-Montes is a balanced nectar, with a smell and taste of fresh fruit, sometimes with a flavour of almonds, and a notably sweet, green, bitter and spicy sensation. It is produced between Mirandela and Vila Nova de Foz-Côa, taking in the various parishes and districts of Valpaços, Murça, Torre de Moncorvo, Mogadouro, Vimioso and Bragança. The olive tree plantations of this DOP occupy an area of approximately 40,000 ha.

Olive oil of Trás-os-Montes

The label the Olive Oil Route of Trás-Os-Montes is not an exact geographical designation, as it takes in the areas of Trás-os-Montes and the  Alto Douro, but from the fact that the product has a DOP (it is certified as coming from a region with a Protected Denomination of Origin). Olive oils which wish to use the label have to be produced in accordance with the rules which have been laid down for this label.
Those included in this route come from olive trees planted in the schist terrain, which is characteristic of the region.  The geographical and climatic conditions enable the olives grown to have an exceptional quality which, when harvested at the right moment, and selected and cleaned, produce pure olive oil.

The Olive Oil Route of Trás-Os-Montes was designed with the concern to reencounter what is the most genuine and authentic in the Trás-Os-Montes and Alto Douro region, such as the wild but beautiful countryside and a gastronomic tradition linked to the art of great hospitality which all of those involved in the Route share.


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