Coffee and Castles: Why Your Next Trip Should Be To Portugal

Six months ago my wife and I hopped on a plane and journeyed to Lisbon, Portugal to kick off our honeymoon. It was the best travel decision we’ve ever made, and the most visually stunning, culturally textured, historically rich place I’ve ever seen. Granted, I haven’t ventured too far out of my comfort zone in the 30 years I’ve been alive, but that’s neither here nor there ;). My point is, there are an infinite number of reasons why your next trip should be to Portugal.

The culture in Portugal was really something to behold, and the aesthetic of everything we visited just felt so wise, worldly, and, well, old. Visiting landmarks in Portugal that were from the 13th century reminded me just how old America really is. We’re babies over here in the USA.

Now, so many of you have asked for a detailed rundown of our honeymoon, and I figured this would be the best time to showcase some of the best things about this place. Before we dive in, here are some quick tips, should you decide to make this journey (please do, as it’s insanely affordable and worth it).

  1. Book a direct flight.It’s just under eight hours to fly from Pittsburgh to Lisbon, and it’s well worth the few extra dollars to not have to deal with a layover.
  2. Do not leave your house without planning your trip using the Lonely Planet Travel Guide. (I linked the book! just click on the name!)
  3. Give yourself a day on both ends of the trip to adjust to the time change.

Now, let’s get down to the good stuff, shall we? (This post is three pages long, so be sure to click  the page numbers at the bottom to see all of it!)

Eating and Drinking

100 Maneiras

This is a photo of the first course we received at the best restaurant I’ve ever eaten at, 100 Maneiras. Make reservations, and get treated to a life-changing ten course meal for less than 100 euros per person. The sauces in the dish for this course were chosen to represent the colors of the Portugese flag, and the dried fish skins are hung from clothes pins to represent the way the people of Portugal hang their clothes out to try.

Each course was divine and came with a wine pairing.

When you eat out in Portugal, the employees of the restaurant make it clear that you can spend as much as time you want with your meal. It’s expected for you to have a table to yourself for three to four hours in an evening. The waiters get paid well, so they don’t rely on your tips to make a decent wage. In fact, all of the wait staff share the tables, so instead of being attached to one party, they stand around the perimeter of the restaurant, looking out for a sign that you need something.

We learned about this restaurant in the Lonely Planet book, so here I am plugging it again.

Portugal has officially ruined me for coffee forever. It’s no wonder when you order watered down coffee you ask for an Americano. When you stroll into a cafe in any given day in Portugal, you rarely see a patron sitting around sipping on a huge, steaming mug of coffee. Instead, you see customers approach the counter, take a quick shot of espresso, grab a pastry, and head back out. I still insisted on my leisurely breakfast, but I did adapt to the caffeine levels without looking back.

Just a brief story for you. One morning we went to a cafe for breakfast and had run out of euros, so we handed the cashier a card, which usually works in most places. It wasn’t compatible with her machine, so we told her if she didn’t mind leaving our food and drink behind the counter, we would run and get cash. Instead, she told us to sit down outside and enjoy our meal first, pay later. How many times do you see business owners who are that trustworthy to strangers? Foreigners, no less?

The espresso is absolutely out of this world, and it’s everywhere. You know all of those stopping points you come across at tourist attractions that have vending machines stocked with water? In Portugal, you’ll find one that serves of espresso made to order.

Read More »

Pages: 1 2 3

  • Androgynous fashion
    Fashion & Shopping

    5 Ways to Rock Androgynous Style This Season

    *This post originally appeared on Prime+Set The temps are finally cooling down, in most places that is, and along with a chill in the air, fall and winter come with some of the best fashion trends of the year, no matter your shape, style, sexuality,…

  • November books
    Books, Entertainment

    Stay Lit: 6 Books To Be Thankful For In November

    Fall is finally in full swing! The leaves have changed, settling in on the ground and making that perfect crunch sound under your feet, creating a rainbow of warm shades like a cozy, crisp blanket. This is my favorite time of year, because it’s warm…

  • weddings rings
    Family, Wedding

    How To Survive The First Six Months Of Marriage

    This week marks six months since I married my best friend—happy half-anniversary Jen!— and I’ve never in my life been happier. The title of this post should have been how to thrive instead of survive, because that’s what we’ve done as a couple. They all say every…

  • Travel

    Books, Booze, And Brunch To Try In Denver

    When my wife and I travel together, we find ourselves scouring the internet for various lists that break down the types of local businesses we’re looking to explore. The typical touristy landmarks in most of these cities are a given, such as Breckenridge, Red Rocks,…

  • Family, LGBT+

    My Advice For You On National Coming Out Day

    October 11th has been dubbed National Coming out Day, and in an era where 20% of Millennials identify at LGBTQ+ (that’s almost double the number for all other age groups combined), it’s imperative that the rest of the community is equipped to support this rising…

  • Books, Entertainment

    Stay Lit: 7 Books To Read This October

    October is my favorite month of the year. The weather begins to finally chill, shutting down the heat of summer and giving everything time to freeze and prepare for a cleanse and rebirth. The air is crisp, the leaves are richly painted with shades of…

  • Activism

    Why It’s The Right Time To Talk About Guns In America

    Although no official qualifier for the definition of a mass shooting exists that I know of, the most widely accepted number of casualties that justifies adding the word “mass” in front of a shooting is four. This number was chosen to match the definition of…