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Madeira Shopping Guide: Where to Shop in Madeira?

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Funchal, Madeira might not be a city known for fashion such as Lisbon or even Porto, but due to the quality of the island’s infrastructures and rich history, there are plenty of large shopping malls, as well as smaller traditional streets that have always played a large role in Funchal’s commerce. From brands such as Zara and H&M to second-hand auction houses and charity shops, living in Funchal allows you to live the island life in style. This shopping guide to Madeira has everything you need to know so you are ready for your next fashion spree, such as the best shopping malls and shopping streets.

Best Shopping Malls in Madeira

Forum Madeira

Located at the entrance of Funchal, Forum Madeira opened on April 5th, 2005, close to a residential area and the best hotels in the city. With 20,000 m2 of commercial area with 60 stores, and three floors, as well as a food court with 6 restaurants and 450 seats. The shopping center has an “outdoor” concept surrounding around a central square and features an extensive green area. You can find stores such as H&M, Massimo Dutti, Zara, and more at Forum Madeira.

La Vie Shopping Center

Located in the heart of Funchal, close to the Casino, La Vie Shopping Center features a large supermarket, an extensive food court, as well as multiple stores from fashion, interior design, and more. The shopping also features a kids club called O Petite La Vie where you can leave your kids to play under supervision while you go shopping. You can find a variety of stores such as Lanidor, Pepe Jeans, Tous, and more.

Madeira Shopping

The largest shopping mall in Madeira, Madeira Shopping is located in Funchal and features 106 stores in an area of around 26,600 m2. The space also features 16 restaurants and 7 cinema rooms. Along with stores, you can find various services such as a post office, laundry mat, and pharmacy. You can find stores such as Zara, Fnac, Bershka, and more at Madeira Shopping.

Anadia Shopping

Located in the heart of Funchal close to the Lavradores market, Anadia Shopping has 48 commercial stores, a cinema, and a large supermarket. You can find stores such as Loja do Vidro, Ale Hop, Rhode Island Surf Shop, and more.

Best Shopping Streets in Madeira

Rua do Aljube

Close to the cathedral, Rua do Aljube once catered to the upper class of Madeira, featuring expensive stores such as Maison Blanche and Phoebus, the latter still being open to this day. Today, the street features a variety of stores such as Zara, Douglas, and more.

Rua do Aljube, 1982. Photo by David Pirmann (Flickr)

Rua Fernão de Ornelas

With 200 meters long, Rua Fernao de Ornelas is one of the most iconic shopping streets in Funchal. There are only a few stores still that are over 20 years, with most of these now gone. You can find stores such as Parfois, Massimo Dutti, Intimissi, Natura, and more.

Photo by Michael Gaylard (Flickr)

Rua dos Ferreiros

One of the longest streets in Funchal, Rua dos Ferreiros was one of the busiest in the XX century. You will find many iconic buildings close by such as Palácio de Torre Bela and traditional stone floors. Today, it is home to various fashion stores such as Catita Kids, Mango, Women’s Secret, Lacoste, and more.

Second-Hand Shopping in Madeira

3 Best Vintage Stores in Madeira

1. Estimei

Estimei is essentially a charity shop that sells second-hand clothing and furniture that has been donated. From winter coats, jeans, and shirts, you can find many clothing pieces at Estimei. The store also features an atelier where materials are transformed and reutilized into products. The prices are incredibly cheap and you can find some real bargains here. The store also sells books that will be exchanged for school textbooks to support young people.

2. Leodecor

Looking for some vintage pieces for your home? Leodocor has everything you could wish for when it comes to antiques, from sculptures, paintings, large clocks, and lighting. Most pieces here are not necessarily cheap, but they are the kind of objects that will brighten and add flare to your home, as well as last you a lifetime.

3. Seculo Passado Leilões e Antiguidades

Founded in 2017, this place hosts multiple auctions for a diverse range of second-hand pieces, from furniture, clothing, watches, and even electrical appliances. The shop hosts auctions both online and in-person and they will also evaluate any piece you own at home if you would like to put it up for auction. Prices will obviously vary on the quality of the product, but you can be lucky enough to find a real bargain.

Guide to Funchal

⬇️Please share your favorite places for shopping in Funchal in the comments below ⬇️

37 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Portugal

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There are 37 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Portugal and there are still more suspected cases awaiting results. 35 of these cases have been detected in the region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo. The two other cases have been detected in the North of Portugal and the Algarve. According to the Directorate-General of Health of Portugal  (DGS), the confirmed cases belong to a less aggressive subgroup of the virus monkeypox. Last week, there were only 5 confirmed cases of monkeypox. 

The DGS has said that the 37 confirmed cases in Portugal are being monitored by the health services and remain stable. Those with suspected symptoms should avoid “physical contact with other people and sharing clothes, towels, sheets, and personal objects while having lesions or other symptoms”, according to the DGS.

Monkeypox can be transmitted via broken skin like a wound, the respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth). Margarida Tavares,  the director of the National Program for STDs and HIV for DGS has told the public to look out for symptoms such as fever, myalgia, headaches, and skin or mucosal lesions.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed 85 cases in the European Union on Monday and has recommended that countries update their diagnostic and tracking methods.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the monkeypox virus outbreaks are containable in countries outside of Africa, where the virus is usually not detected. Experts say the overall risk to the broader population is very low, according to the BBC. 

Belgium has been the first country in Europe to introduce a mandatory quarantine of three weeks. The United Kingdom has recommended a three-week quarantine, but this is not mandatory.

Menstrual leave proposal rejected in Portugal

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People Animals Nature’s (PAN) proposal for a menstrual leave for up to 3 days for “people with a uterus that suffer severe pain during menstruation” has not passed in Portugal’s parliament. The Socialist Party (PS), the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Liberal Initiative (IL), and Enough (Chega) voted against the proposal. The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) voted in favor of the menstrual leave, while the Left Bloc (BE) and Free (Livre) abstained.

Ines Sousa Real, the only member of parliament for the party PAN, said that the proposal allows missing work for up to 3 days of the month, without “losing any rights, except for remuneration”. In essence, the menstrual leave would allow people to miss work, but not be paid.

MulherEndo, a Portuguese association that supports people with endometriosis told TSF that although it is a shame the proposal did not pass, PAN’s document did not go far enough. Susana Fonseca, the President of MulherEndo said that “the leave in the proposal by PAN did not include remuneration” and that other parties should reformulate the proposal in a more complete manner.

Moreover, under the failed proposal, to benefit from menstrual leave, workers would need to present a declaration from a doctor, health center, or hospital. Moreover, Ines Sousa Real said that “presenting to an employer a fake medical declaration” would warrant the legal conditions for firing an employee.

A member of parliament for the Socialist Party, Miguel Costa Matos argued on Twitter that the proposal was “redundant” as Portugal already has a medical leave measure with the same terms of three days, without remuneration through a doctor’s note.

The proposal by PAN was one of 1,400 amendment proposals to the State Budget 2022 drafted by parties. The members of parliament began voting on Monday on these amendments.

PAN’s proposal came after the Spanish government approved last week a draft law that grants workers the right to paid sick leave for menstrual pain derived from illnesses such as endometriosis.  The menstrual leave would allow access to leave without a limit of days and be fully paid for by social security. If this leave is enacted, Spain would be the first country in Europe to provide paid menstrual leave. Countries such as Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea already provide paid menstrual leave.

Cost of Living in Lisbon: How Much Money Do You Need to Live in Lisbon

Living in Lisbon has its perks, from its proximity to beaches, delicious restaurants, and iconic culture, but what makes it stand out from other European capitals is the low cost of living. At around 40% less expensive than Amsterdam and London, but a city that has just as much to offer, Lisbon’s quality of life is a no-brainer. However, keep in mind that while for many expats coming from abroad Lisbon is affordable, more and more locals are leaving the capital as they cannot afford to live there with the rise in housing prices and cost of living. How much money you need to live in Lisbon will depend on your lifestyle and situation, but in general, Lisbon is still a cheap city to live in. Let’s take a look at the average monthly budget in Lisbon for expats without children, families, and digital nomads.

Guide to Lisbon

Cost of Living in Lisbon for an Expat – Less than €1,500

The monthly budget in Lisbon for an expat with no children is naturally more affordable. You can get a one-bedroom apartment in the city center for around €830, although these can go for over €1,000. Utilities including electricity, wifi, etc won’t cost you more than €150 a month and public transportation is extremely affordable at €50 a month. Groceries are known to be cheap in Portugal, especially if you know where to shop, and should not run you more than €200 a month. However, similarly to going out to restaurants, bars, and museums, this portion of the budget is also dependent on your lifestyle.

Moreover, health care could be an additional cost to your cost of living in Lisbon. EU citizens with a valid European Health Insurance Card can use the National Health Service (SNS) for free for up to 90 days in Portugal. This allows them time to get registered as legal residents to continue using the public health system. However, no-EU citizens are only entitled to use the public health systemic they are employed and pay social security in Portugal, having to be registered as legal residents as well. Even if this is the case, before arriving in Portugal and becoming a legal resident, they must purchase private health insurance to cover medical care.

Guide to Renting an Apartment in Lisbon

Cost of Living in Lisbon for a Digital Nomad – €1,000+

The monthly budget for a digital nomad in Lisbon will vary in relation to lifestyle, but it is more affordable than most European cities. Assuming you’re looking to rent a coworking space, this will run you at least €100 a month and transportation passes cost around €50 a month. Accommodation will also vary but for a shared room in a hostel, prices start at €15 a night, amounting to €450 a month. If you are looking for a private room in a hostel this will cost you around €1,200 a month and a private Airbnb is at least €1,500 a month. If you have a kitchen available, you can opt to cook your food, and groceries are around €200 a month. If you want to eat out 3x a day, budget at least €1,000 a month. To explore the city’s museums, clubs, bars, and more, you will need at least €200 a month. Therefore, the cost of living in Lisbon for a digital nomad can be anywhere from €1,000 to upwards of €3,000 if you are looking to splurge.

Cost of Living in Lisbon for a Family of Four – €3,000+

Having kids is expensive in any city. The cost of living in Lisbon for a family of four starts at €3,000 for a monthly budget. Rent for a three-bedroom apartment is around €1700 in the city center but can go way over for larger properties. Utilities start at €160 but if you have two teenagers who spend a lot of mobile data, instead of young children, it will increase.

Budget around €500 a month for eating out in restaurants, taking a family trip to the cinema, going to concerts, and more. Lisbon is incredibly child-friendly and has loads of events and activities for the whole family. This portion of the budget can naturally go way up, depending on your lifestyle. Weekly groceries for a family of four cost anywhere between €120 and €150 a week.

For health care, EU citizens with a valid European Health Insurance Card can use the National Health Service (SNS) for free for up to 90 days in Portugal. This allows them time to get registered as legal residents to continue using the public health system. However, no-EU citizens are only entitled to use the public health systemic they are employed and pay social security in Portugal, having to be registered as legal residents as well. Even if this is the case, before arriving in Portugal and becoming a legal resident, your whole family will have to have private health insurance to cover medical care which costs around €50 per person a month.

Schools can easily be the largest portion of your budget unless you opt for free Portuguese public schools. If you are looking for an international environment and English-speaking schools, private international schools can cost you anywhere between €6,000 and €20,000 a year per child. If you choose a school that costs €20,000 a year, this will cost you €4,000 a month for two kids.

Best International Schools in Portugal

Therefore, the cost of living in Lisbon for family of four can be anywhere from €3,000 (or less if you reduce leisure activities) to over €8,000.

PM Antonio Costa visited Ukraine on Saturday

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Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa arrived in Kyiv on Saturday and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During his one-day trip, Costa announced that Portugal will provide lethal and non-lethal materials to Ukraine, including “military, humanitarian, and financial equipment”. The Portuguese Prime Minister called Zelensky “a leader that inspires the world” and “an example of determination and courage”.

The Prime Minister told Zelensky that Portugal is available to participate in the reconstruction of schools and kindergartens in Ukraine and the reconstruction of a “geographic zone”.

Antonio Costa also said the European Union (EU) must remain united in the sanctions against Russia and invest in alternative fuel options for Europe. He also said that Portugal will support Ukraine in its adhesion to the EU, promoting that Ukraine is welcomed “with open arms”. Ukraine took the first official steps to join the EU on April 18, completing an initial questionnaire for its membership application.

The Prime Minister of Portugal also confirmed a 250 million euro financial support to Ukraine and signed an Agreement on Financial Cooperation.

Before heading to Kyiv, Costa headed to Irpin, a city that had 70% of its territory destroyed by Russian troops. Costs said that “seeing it in person is absolutely devastating due to the brutality of the attack, the cruel way cars were destroyed, with people inside. In fact, it is very hard to see”. He says that although we already know war is dramatic, this is not a “normal” war as it involves helpless civilians.

A visit to the Portuguese embassy in Kyiv was also made, with the Prime Minister thanking staff for never closing the embassy in Ukraine, despite uncertain times. Representing the President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Costa also attributed the Order of Freedom to Andrii Putilovsky for his work in the repatriation of citizens during the first days of the war.

Antonio Costa’s visit was accompanied by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Francisco Andre and the ambassador of Portugal in Ukraine, Antonio Alves Machado. Costa accepted the invitation to visit Kyiv at the beginning of May. The Prime Minister of Portugal also visited Romania and Poland this weekend, congratulating Poland for its support for refugees.

Lisbon Music Scene Guide: Best Music Spots in Lisbon

The birthplace of Amália Rodrigues, the iconic Fado singer, Lisbon is rich in culture, history, and striking views. Music has always played a large role in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, from fado singers performing in the streets to mainstream music festivals. There are plenty of music spots that you must discover the next time you visit Lisbon. If you are unsure where to head out to first, this Lisbon Music Guide will show you the best music spots in Lisbon.

Guide to Lisbon

Best Live Music Spots in Lisbon

1. Zé dos Bois Gallery

Founded in 1994, Galaria Ze dos Bois (ZDB) is a large art and musical center in the heart of Bairro Alto. ZDB hosts over 150 art events the year, and offers musical and dance performances. While this place is known as an art center, ZDB is an equally nice place to grab a drink and listen to some live music, along with a more alternative scene. The place features an outdoor terrace for those warmer nights and a large indoor space with plenty of seating area if you need a break from the dancing. The best nights to visit are when a show is on and you can check their program online.

2. Fado in Chiado

Founded around 10 years ago, Fado in Chiado was one of the first places to host a daily live traditional fado show, accompanied by a guitar and viola, with two singers, a feminine and masculine voice. The show is a little less than an hour in the Chiado district and you will get to experience the melancholic vibes of the traditional musical genre of fado. Book this ticket to skip the line to this iconic cultural experience.

Book ticket here to skip the line

3. Armazem F

Located in Cais do Sodre, Armazem F is a one-stop shop for live music, a large entertainment venue for bands and DJs, with a capacity of 1200 people. This place has all the equipment for a quality musical experience, from a ticket office, high-quality sound system, catering, and more. Check out their Facebook so you don’t miss their next show.

4. Hot Club de Portugal

The oldest jazz in Portugal, founded in the 1940s, Hot Club de Portugal is located in Praca da Algeria and hosts concerts almost every day. The magazine DownBeat considered the club one of the best 100 jazz clubs in the world. Several jazz musicians have played here such as Ronnie Scott, Sarah Vaughn, Dave Liebman, and more.

5. MusicBox

Located in Cais do Sodre, MusicBox is one of the best spots for live music in Lisbon. Hosting DJs and live bands, Music Box is an integral part of the cultural life of the capital where guests can enjoy live music from 0:00 to 6:00 in the morning. MusicBox hosts several musical projects, such as the Jameson Urban Routes, the first indoor festival in Portugal boasting urban music.

Guide to Bars in Lisbon

Best Clubs in Lisbon

1. Lux Fragil

Lux Fragil is one of the most exclusive clubs in Lisbon and is renowned in Europe for its selection of electronic music DJs. Located in Santa Apolonia, major DJs from all over Europe play in Lux every week and the club mostly plays techno and house music. Lux offers views of the Tagus river from its balcony, as well as a rooftop terrace that opens in the summer. The dress code for Lux is not formal so no need to wear heels and a dress – you’ll be the only one. However, you should try to dress nice, even if you´re wearing sneakers. Men wearing shorts will probably not be allowed in. Even then, you might still be denied entrance at the door.

2. Trumps

Founded in the 80s, Tumps is the most iconic gay club in all of Lisbon and an integral player in the capital’s queer history. Located in Principe Real, the club is mostly full on Saturday nights and plays house and dance music, as well as pop. Known for its quality drag queen nights, Trumps welcomes all and is actually quite popular with straight women.  Internationally renowned artists have performed at Trumps including Fergie and Conchita Wurst, as well as queer Portuguese icons such as the one and only António Variações. The club has its own productions, dancers, DJs, and drag queens and has also co-hosted events around the world such as World Pride.

Photograph: Marta Ribeiro. Provided by establishment.

3. Kremlin

Founded in 1988 in Santos, Kremlin was once named the third best club in the world during the 90s. Kremlin plays electronic music and hosts world-famous artists of the techno scene. The club boasts stunning stone floors but has also elevated the space to reflect the modern times with an updated light and sound system, as well as a VIP area, three bars, and a large dance floor. At Kremlin, you can dress as you wish and are free to express yourself.

Guide to Clubs in Lisbon

Top Music Festivals near Lisbon

1. Nos Alive 6 – 9 July 2022

Located in Alges, a 10-minute train ride from Lisbon, NOS Alive is known to have the most well-known line-up in Portugal, along with Rock in Rio, adding to its international popularity. In 2009, the British magazine NME named NOS Alive one of the top 12 European festivals. The 16th edition of NOS Alive welcomes The Strokes, The War On Drugs, Florence + The Machine, Alt-J, Metallica, Stormzy, Jorja Smith, Two Door Cinema Club, Phoebe Bridgers, and much more.

2. Rock in Rio 18 – 26 June 2022

Originating in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Rock in Rio branched out to Lisbon in 2004, with over 350,000 people in attendance. After four years without Rock in Rio, Lisbon will host its 9th edition at Bela Vista Park. This edition was initially meant to take place in 2022 but was postponed two years in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s edition welcomes the Foo Fighters, The National, the Black Eyed Peas, Ellie Goulding, Post Malone, Anitta, and more.

3. Super Bock Super Rock 14 – 16 July 2022

Founded in 1995, Super Bock Super Rock is named after its main sponsor, Super Bock, the iconic Portuguese beer brand. Located in Meco, Sesimbra, less than an hour from Lisbon, the festival has altered its focus on rock throughout the years, now welcoming a variety of music genres. From The Cure to Metallica, as well as more recently artists such as Mac DeMarco and Tom Misch, Super Bock Super Rock seems to satisfy plenty of music lovers. This year’s 26th edition of Super Bock Super Rock welcomes the one and only ASAP Rocky, as well as Nathy Peluso, Leon Bridges, Filipe Karlsson, and more.

Guide to Festivals in Portugal

⬇️What are your favorite music spots in Lisbon? Let us know in the comments below⬇️

Graça Freitas asks population in Portugal to wear a mask

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The Director-General of Health Graça Freitas has recommended that people wear masks indoors and in high frequented places, as Covid-19 cases increase. On April 22, the government announced that masks were no longer mandatory in most situations. However, in the face of a sixth wave of the pandemic, Freitas has asked people to once again wear a mask, although this is not mandatory.

Confirming the predictions of the National Institute of Health (INSA), Freitas argued that Portugal would potentially reach 60,000 daily cases by the end of May, as well as 50 daily deaths. A new variant of the omicron is behind the increase in cases that “is more contagious than the original omicron” and causes harsher symptoms. She told the media that “reinfections can happen and we know of people infected for the first time with omicron that have been infected with the new variant”.

The Minister of Health Marta Temido has also said: “Wearing a mask is not mandatory, but that does not mean it’s not recommended. I have people around me that have tested positive and I have been wearing a mask. I have never tested positive and will continue to wear a mask while cases are at this dimension”.

Similarly, Freitas said that she has a mask in her pocket at all times. “If I am sitting in my office alone, with the window open, I do not wear a mask. If someone walks in, I put on my mask”.

The government has said that vaccination will accelerate in the next few weeks. Over 12,000 people over the age of 80 have received their second boost vaccine.

So, are face masks required in Portugal? Not in most places, but they have now been recommended. However, face masks are still mandatory in mainland Portugal, Madeira, and the Azores in public transport, taxis, as well as when visiting nursing homes and health facilities.

Entering Portugal: Covid Restrictions & Current Measures

Portugal’s Ministry of Education confirms cyberattack

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The Ministry of Education confirmed on Wednesday to CNN Portugal that a cyberattack occurred where the National Examinations Jury platform was targeted by a Portuguese hacker. However, the ministry has said that all personal data related to national exams are safe and that the information hacked was already public information. Multiple public infrastructures were hacked and the police warned the government.

The Portuguese hacker responsible for the cyberattack is known as Zambrius who accessed multiple pages of critical infrastructures such as Health, Education, and Defence. The hacker had alleged accessing over 100 systems of the Ministry of Education and sent documentation and photographs to CNN Portugal with evidence.

Nuno Mateus Coelho, a specialist in cybersecurity and professor at Lusofona University told CNN that “all the photos published by the hacker show that it is possible to hack into essential infrastructures of the state which is incredibly dangerous”.

The 21-year-old hacker accessed a platform that manages the financial resources of the national health service (SNS), the Garcia de Orta Hospital, a transport service, the National Examinations Jury platform, and other infrastructures. At 16 years old, Zambrius had already hacked some of the largest companies and infrastructures in Portugal and Brazil.

There have been multiple cyberattacks in the last few months in Portugal, particularly against essential services. For example, there were cyberattacks against the telecommunication service Vodafone which suspended essential services.

The government already announced in early May that measures to fight cyberattacks against the state are already underway. However, it is unclear what these are.

In February 2022, in a report on the countries most affected by cyberattacks conducted by S21sec, Portugal ranked 31st place, in a total of 101 countries. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada were the top 3 countries on the list.

Trás-os-Montes Wine

Photo by Gonçalo Costa

On the interior of the North of Portugal stands a beautiful region that is still very unknown outside of the country. It’s Trás-os-Montes, its name coming from its location: behind the mountains.

The region’s borders are the mountains of Marão and Alvão and the Douro River, standing on the top eastern corner of Portugal, surrounded by Spain on its North and East. It’s known for its amazing food and natural places, but also as the mother region of the other official language of Portugal: Mirandese.

The wine from this region, with the designation ‘Transmontano VR’ (VR meaning ‘Vinho Regional’, or Regional Wine), is also relatively unknown. However, it was still the first Portuguese wine to get to Nepal!

The region houses around 10.000 hectares of vineyards, divided through 110 producers, and generates nearly 3 million bottles of certified wine, one of the lowest productions in the country.

Some areas inside of the Trás-os-Montes wine region are also classified as a DOC, or ‘Denominação de Origem Controlada’ (Controlled Origin Denomination), but not all the wine region.

The region has vineyards standing in soils with a lot of schist and granite, and at an altitude of 200 to 700 meters, Montalegre has the highest vineyard in the whole of Portugal! The different altitude in which the grapes are grown creates different wines, with the ones produced in cooler high altitude places being more light-bodied, while the lower altitude ones are more full-bodied and high in alcohol percentage.

This lesser known wine is starting to get more and more recognized, both throughout the world and inside of Portugal itself, with lots of recently graduated young people investing in producing wine in the region. So learn more about this wine to get ahead!

Portuguese Wine

History of Trás-os-Montes Wine

This region standing ‘behind the mountains’ of the North is huge and with special characteristics. You can find everything in this place, from lush green valleys, passing through olive groves and other fruit trees, until you get to the long stunning vineyards.

Paradoxically, the most recent DOC in the country is one that has a really ancient history. The production of wine in Trás-os-Montes started millennia ago, with wine presses of both the Romans and Pre-Roman peoples being found carved into several of the region’s rocks. The existence of old vineyards with century-old wine varieties also demonstrates the region’s quality and winemaking tradition.

In 2006, the ‘Indicação Geográfica Transmontano’ (Transmontano Geographical Identification), or IG Transmontano, was recognized, referring to the whole Trás-os-Montes region and making all wines grown there able to have this identification. In that same year, based on the altitude of the vineyards, their solar exposition, climate and the soils composition, subregions were delimited and the DOC Trás-os-Montes was created, composed of only the best quality lands.

The control and protection of both the DOC and the IG is made by the ‘Comissão Vitivinícola Regional de Trás-os-Montes’ (Regional Wine Commission of Trás-os-Montes), created in 1997, that has the goal of protecting and ensure the quality and authenticity of the wines produced in the region. This Commission helped develop the region and make the Trás-os-Montes wines known throughout the country and the world.

The wines are one of the less known in Portugal and the world, but still around 20% of its wines are made for export to countries with a large Portuguese presence, mainly Brazil. This is because this region is one of the historical provinces that has the biggest number of emigrants and that suffers the most with loss of population. This wine, known and consumed by the people from the region, is therefore bought by the emigrant population worldwide.

Subregions of Trás-os-Montes Wine

The DOC Trás-os-Montes is made out of 3 subregions. These were chosen with the criteria that we’ve mentioned before, due to the regions multiple microclimates, soil difference and the adaptability of the different grapes to the conditions of each place.

The name of these subregions can be found on the label, next to the region’s name. These are:

  • Chaves: Right on the northern border with Spain, on a region famous for its thermal waters, the vineyards here are usually on the hills of small valleys of the Tâmega River. The soils are mainly granitic with several schist areas and the altitude is usually of 250-300 meters above sea level. Here, there are high levels of rainfall and humidity.
  • Planalto Mirandês: Placed on a plateau in the Mogadouro Mountain, on the southwest part of the region, the Douro River is the one that bathes these vineyards. The terrain is mainly made out of schist, with an altitude of around 350 to 600 meters. There are many variations of temperature and low levels of humidity and wind. This, together with the traditional way of conducting the vines, named ‘cabeça de salgueiro’ (willow head), allows for a better vine control and the protection against several vine diseases, creating a more biological type of agriculture.
  • Valpaços: On the center of the so-called ‘Terra Quente’ (or Warm Land) of Trás-os-Montes, this subregion is very rich in water. Its wine production definitely dates back to the Roman times, since this is the region with the most wine presses dug on rocks. The soils have a bigger incidence of schist, but there are still many granitic terrains, and the vineyards are anywhere from 450-650 meters high. As for the climate, there are higher temperatures and lower humidity in the summer, as well as less rainfall.

The ‘cabeça de salgueiro’ method consists of conducting the vines at 30 centimeters, with 4 to 5 small beads. The grapes are protected inside the vines, avoiding getting burned by the sun and secured from the morning winds and the humidity. The morning moisture stays outside the plant and the grapes stay dry.

This makes so that the good hygiene of the vines requires little to no treatment. This is why agriculture is more biological here, with the General Directorate of Agriculture and Rural Development affirming that 36% of the total area of biological agriculture in Portugal exists in Trás-os-Montes.

Overall, the region’s climate is dry and hot in the summer and bellow 0ºC in winter. This allows for a slower aging process, with enough time to develop aromatic precursors and less acid degradation. The soils being of poor quality, as we’ve seen, essentially granitic and schist.

Grape and Wine Types

Photo by Antonio Sessa on Unsplash

The grape type that is planted the most in the region is Tinta Roriz, used in all of the 3 subregions, with the second one being Tinta Amarela, or Trincadeira, and the third one, Tinta Gorda, being exclusive to the Planalto Mirandês area. All of these are red wine grapes.

The main red grapes used in the region are Bastardo, Tinta Gorda, Tinta Roriz, Marufo, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira. These wines are usually very fruity and a bit astringent. The texture is very structured and has the right acidity, not being overly nor poorly acid, besides its usually high alcohol content. They are robust but very nice and balanced wines.

As for white grapes, it’s Côdega do Larinho, Malvasia Fina, Fernão Pires, Gouveio, Rabigato, Síria and Viosinho. The white wines are smoother and flower scented, with a balanced aroma between fruity and floral. They also have just the right amount of acidity.

These characteristics will change slightly according to the subregion and grape type which they are made out of, but overall can be found on all the wines from the region.

Out of the 3 million bottles per year that are produced in Trás-os-Montes, 70% of this is red wine and only 30% is white. This explains why the main 3 grape types are red.

Trás-os-Montes Wine Suggestions: Best Wines in Trás-os-Montes

According to the Regional Wine Commission of Trás-os-Montes, responsible to awarding the best wines from the region, in 2021, these were some of the most awarded brands:

  • Casal Cordeiro
  • Encostas de Vassal
  • Encostas de Sonim
  • Persistente
  • Quinta Sobreiró de Cima
  • Adega Cooperativa de Valpaços
  • Casal D’Ermeiro
  • Quinta Valle Madruga

Trás-os-Montes Wine Tasting Tour

Book this tour to explore both the region of Douro and Trás-os-Montes in this trip starting from Porto. Experience the typical food and wine from these regions with a food and wine guide. Listening to the history and culture from these places while having a taste of a Douro sparkling wine and a Trás-os-Montes regional wine will make you fall in love for these stunning regions on the interior of Portugal.

Book Tras-os-Montes, Douro Touro with Food and Wine Tastings

Monkeypox: DGS admits there is an outbreak in Portugal

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The Directorate-General of Health of Portugal (DGS) has told CNN that the five cases of monkeypox identified in Portugal constitute an outbreak. Margarida Tavares, the director of the National Program for STDs and HIV for DGS said on Wednesday in a press conference that “we can use the word outbreak because we can mention an outbreak anytime there is an increase in cases above what we expected. We did not expect any case in Portugal. If we have 5 confirmed cases we can mention an outbreak”.

The 5 cases of monkeypox in Portugal were confirmed in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo. The authorities do not yet know the origin of the infections and the cases are not related. According to Margarida Tavares, the cases were all identified in STD clinics and all those infected are men. The cases are all mild and none of the infected men have been hospitalized.

Although only 5 cases have been confirmed, DGS has confirmed that there are over 20 suspected cases in the month of May in the region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo.

Monkeypox can be transmitted via broken skin like a wound, the respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth). Margarida Tavares has told the public to look out for symptoms such as fever, myalgia, headaches, and skin or mucosal lesions.

According to the WHO, within 1 to 3 days after the appearance of fever, infected people often begin developing a rash. Monkeypox usually lasts between 2 to 4 weeks.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by the infection of the monkeypox virus and was first discovered in 1958 in colonies of monkeys. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Monkeypox cases have been confirmed in other countries in Europe. Seven cases have been confirmed in the United Kingdom and eight men have shown symptoms in Spain.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) was the first to report a case of monkeypox in Europe. They have stated that those infected all self-identify as gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men. Dr. Susan Hopkins, the agency’s chief medical adviser, has said “we are particularly urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay”.

However, many Portuguese LGBT+ activities have criticized this framing, stating that monkeypox can spread in humans regardless of sexual orientation and many are making references to the media’s rhetoric during the AIDS crisis. Renato Duarte from Renascença Radio posted an Instagram post that said “establishing a cause and effect relationship between the virus and the LGBTQIA+ community is dangerous, irresponsible, and immoral. It has no scientific backup and contributes to the stigma… No type of infectious virus is exclusive to individuals from a sexual orientation”. He also argued that it is in fact dangerous to send this message, allowing for a false sense of immunity among heterosexual individuals.