Portugal is not a land of the obvious. We like to think that the Portuguese reveal their greatest secrets only to those who take the time to discover them. And those who do take the time, many of whom don’t know what to expect beforehand, are intrigued by Portugal’s beauty, astonished by its diversity, and enamored with its hospitality.
A LAND OF GENTLE WAYS
Portugal is, as the Portuguese like to say, a land of brandos costumes (gentle ways). Scenic back roads lead to sun-drenched Medieval villages and picturesque towns. Old men play checkers, farmers sell freshly-picked fruit, and kids play in town squares.
AND OF CUTTING EDGE DESIGN
A new generation of talented fashion designers and forward-thinking architects are making their mark. Talented chefs are collecting Michelin stars, and stunning design hotels open every year.
This tiny country once at the edge of the world (the flat world, that is) was for centuries a global powerhouse that dominated the most important trade routes of the day. Famous explorers like Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan mapped the world (round, it turns out). Lesser-known explorers trafficked in gold, salt, and exotic spices.
In its heyday, Portugal’s grasp reached five continents. Its influence extended from the shores of India to Africa; Portuguese was spoken on streets and in markets from Macao to Malaysia to Mozambique.
Portuguese merchants brought tempura to Japan, vindaloo to India, and fish and chips to England. Portuguese architecture colors every city in Brazil, and the Japanese reveal their Portuguese influence every time they say “origato” (obrigado, or thank you).
The multi-cultural vibrancy of today’s Portugal is, in turn, a product of her former colonies all over the world.
Gold and treasures from Asia, Africa, and South America all made their way to this tiny land, bringing unimaginable wealth and prestige to the royalty of Lisbon. It fueled the construction of lavish palaces, massive churches, monasteries, fortified castles, and one of Europe’s oldest universities at Coimbra.
Today’s Portugal plays certainly a smaller role on the world’s stage than it did in its Golden Age. Still, in many ways, the same country of beauty, charm, and a remarkable landscape, Portugal has become Europe’s last secret – in fact, that is one of the reasons we love it so much.
We enjoy nothing more than introducing our clients to Portugal’s secrets through exclusive access to closed-to-the-public historic estates and private homes. Meet humble wine-makers and celebrity chefs. Participate in local life, from Christmas Eve village bonfires to stomping grapes at harvest-time.
Check out our Idea Lab for a sense of what we might do for you.
For so many of our first-time travelers to Portugal, they return completely enamored of this land of gentle ways.