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12 Amazing Facts About Cristiano Ronaldo’s Workout

Cristiano Ronaldo, born on the island of Madeira, and now considered Portugal’s most famous son, is a global football superstar known for his extraordinary athleticism and dedication to fitness. Rising from humble beginnings, Ronaldo’s journey to football stardom is marked by relentless hard work and an unparalleled work ethic. His workout routine is rigorous and diverse, incorporating cardio, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), strength training, technical drills, and health hacks. Let’s learn more about Ronaldo’s incredible workout regimen to help him maintain his peak fitness.

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1. Ronaldo works out for up to four hours daily.

Incorporating a challenging mix of high-intensity sprints, targeted weights, cardio, pilates, and swimming, CR7 works out five days a week. According to MenofMany, Ronaldo works out for 3-4 hours at a time and targets different muscle groups and different days of the week. When Ronaldo shared his weekend workout, he encouraged everyone to write down their daily exercise plan so they can train without stopping. He also stresses the importance of training your mind as well as your body, so make sure to leave time for this as well.

2. Strength training is a key part of Ronaldo’s fitness routine.

Ronaldo’s remarkable speed and strength are the results of rigorous strength training. His workout regimen integrates bodyweight and resistance exercises along with weightlifting to forge a powerful physique. Key elements of his strength program include compound movements like bench presses, deadlifts, and squats, deadlifts, which are essential for muscle growth and enhanced strength. This disciplined approach to fitness underpins his ability to perform at the highest levels in football, which highlights the importance of strength training in his workout.

Ronaldo working out, Cora Harris, Flickr

3. Cristiano Ronaldo’s diet emphasizes diversity and high-protein, low-fat foods.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s diet is a masterclass in balance and discipline that incorporates a rich variety of foods such as eggs, steak, bread, and what Ronaldo calls “magical chicken,” for being high in protein and still low in fat. Like any good Portuguese, he also eats a lot of fish. His favorite dish is Bacalhau à Brás, a Portuguese dish that consists of salted cod, onions, potatoes, olives, and eggs. If you’re trying to follow Ronald’s diet, you will be pleased to hear that he also occasionally indulges in sweet treats such as chocolate cake.

4. He eats six meals a day!

Ronaldo’s chosen profession requires a huge amount of energy, let alone the work it takes to maintain his chiseled physique. To help with this, Cristiano divides his food intake into six smaller meals spaced 2-4 hours apart, optimizing metabolism and preventing hunger. A personal nutritionist has been helping Ronaldo with his diet since his Real Madrid days, undoubtedly providing a lot of input on his meals and their timing.

5. Ronaldo drinks up to six liters of water a day.

A huge part of staying active and alert, for all of us, is making sure that we drink enough water. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average man should drink about 3.7 liters per day while a woman should consume 2.7 liters. Ronaldo reportedly drinks up to 6 liters per day! Drinking enough water not only helps get rid of waste but also lubricates and cushions joints, just what a world-famous footballer needs.  

6. Ronaldo avoids sugary drinks, famously advocating for water over soft drinks.

Given how much water that Ronaldo drinks in a day, you would probably not be surprised to hear that he avoids sugary drinks. While the sugar in these drinks may give you a brief boost of energy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who regularly drink sugary drinks are more likely to have health problems, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

7. Ronaldo invested €45,000 in a cryotherapy chamber for at-home recovery.

Cristiano Ronaldo once spent €45,000 to have a cryotherapy chamber installed in his home to improve his conditioning, undergoing two three-minute sessions weekly. This method uses temperatures of around -160 degrees °C to help muscles recover and build strength. Operating this cryotherapy chamber requires the delivery of liquid nitrogen canisters to keep the system topped up. Ronaldo discovered this technology at his local gym and is not the first footballer to try this technology. Former Real Madrid hero Raul also reportedly used cryotherapy.   

8. He follows a polyphasic sleep pattern, taking five 90-minute naps instead of one long sleep.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s unique sleep routine involves five 90-minute naps throughout the day instead of one long overnight sleep, following advice from sleep advisor Nick Littlehales. After a 10 pm swim, he sleeps until midnight. He then relaxes until 3 am, takes another nap until 5.30 am, and then goes about his day. He also always sleeps in the fetal position to avoid back issues and improve posture. Littlehales emphasizes the importance of avoiding screens before sleep, always sleeping on the same mattress, and sleeping alone to optimize rest and performance.

9. Ronaldo places an emphasis on cardio training.

Ronaldo prioritizes cardiovascular training to sustain optimal fitness and endurance for football. His regimen features high-intensity interval training (HIIT), along with running, sprinting exercises, and cycling. These activities are central to improving his stamina and energy levels on the field, ensuring he remains in peak physical condition.

This focus on cardio is a key aspect of his training, aimed at maximizing his performance and longevity in the demanding world of professional football. While Ronaldo naturally gets a lot of cardio training during his games, we can replicate his exercise training by making sure we add running or cycling into our workout routines.  

10. Ronaldo paints his toenails black!

When fans first spotted Cristiano’s black toenails, they thought it was quite a curious fashion statement to make. But Ronaldo actually paints his toenails black as a protective measure against bacteria and fungi, according to the German outlet Bild. This practice, common among athletes, involves using nail polish to create a protective layer over the nails, which are often confined in sweaty shoes for extended periods. The polish not only prevents the toenails from cracking by hardening them but also reduces the risk of damage.

11. Ronaldo has the body of an athlete 14 years his junior.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s hard work has paid off over the years. Although he is now one of the older players in the league, he has the body of an athlete 14 years his junior. His remarkable physical condition is characterized by a mere seven percent body fat with lean muscle and minimal excess weight. Additionally, his muscle mass comprises 50 percent of his body weight, which demonstrates his exceptional physical strength and endurance. This combination not only highlights his dedication to fitness but also contributes to his sustained performance and agility on the soccer field.

12. He doesn’t drink alcohol.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s choice to abstain from alcohol is deeply personal, rooted in his father’s struggles with alcoholism. His father actually died at the age of 52 due to alcohol-related issues. This decision is both a tribute to his father and also a strategic move for his health and football career, considering the adverse effects of alcohol on physical performance and heart health. Ronaldo was actually diagnosed with a heart condition at the age of 15 that required surgery, which amplifies his cautious approach toward maintaining optimal health by avoiding alcohol.

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Now, you can pay for your Lisbon transport pass on your phone


No more waiting in line at ticket machines, Lisbon residents! Carris, the public road transport company for passengers, has come to the rescue with the release of its CarrisWay mobile app at the end of February 2024.

Carris created the app with the help of consulting firm DXspark and the Carris Information Technology team, making it the first transport operator in Portugal to design and launch its own app to help users top up their transport cards. The new app can be used on Android and iOS smartphones with compatible NFC technology.   

Only metro cards with embedded chips and antennae inside can be used with the new app, not the paper cards issued from ticket machines. These include Navegante cards, which can be requested from any Fertagus Ticket Office and are typically delivered within 10 days, and Lisboa Viva cards, which can be requested from Carris offices and either delivered to your home or issued directly at the office if you pay more.

How to use the CarrisWay app

To use the app, simply open the app and click “Iniciar Leitura.”

Place your card on your phone for the CarrisWay app to be able to read it, CarrisWay app, Photo by Becky Gillespie

Place your card on the top of your phone screen (not underneath) and hold it there.

You will then be given the option to charge (carregar) your card through Zapping (charging a set euro amount) or one of the monthly passes such as Navegante Municipais (30 € per month) or Navegante Metropolitano (40 € per month). The Navegante Metropolitano includes a wider area of Lisbon stretching all the way to Cascais and Sintra. It includes 18 municipalities and all forms of transportation. It only restarts at the beginning of each month, so if you charge it in the middle of the month, you will only be given 15 days.

Different passes that you can recharge, CarrisWay app, Photo by Becky Gillespie

After you click “Carregar,” you can choose to enter your email address in order to receive a receipt. If you don’t want to enter your email, you can toggle the button to “Desativar envio de fatura para o email.”

Send your email address to receive a receipt, CarrisWay app, Photo by Becky Gillespie

On the next screen, you can choose to enter your NIF number or toggle the button off. Then, you can pay by MBWay or by credit or debit card. Both options will ask you to confirm your phone number before you can proceed and make the payment.

Payment options, CarrisWay app, Photo by Becky Gillespie

With the launch of CarrisWay, in addition to the introduction of contactless bank card payments directly at the ticket gates in June 2023, it has never been easier to use the Lisbon transport system. Hopefully, this means that residents who do not live near ticket machines will no longer have to pay to travel to a machine just to recharge, deal with broken ticket machines, or use machines that only accept change. If you don’t have a smart transport card, now is the time to get one with the introduction of CarrisWay.    

Shipping your stuff from the US to Portugal

Moving to Portugal from the US requires a lot of planning and logistics. One important question to consider before you go is whether you will ship some of your belongings to Portugal via a shipping container. The answer for many people is a resounding YES! But then the next question is: how am I going to do it? And how much will it cost? We’ve created a guide below that will walk you through the basics of what to consider when shipping your things from the US to Portugal.

Preparing bins, Hiveboxx, Unsplash

What should I bring to Portugal?

The short answer here is that shipping your things abroad is expensive and requires detailed planning and coordination. You could hire someone to do all of this for you. Maybe you have a family member that you trust to go through all of your things. But a key piece of advice is to first go through your things and take the Marie Kondo approach. If something you own does not spark joy, you should seriously consider giving it away, donating it, or getting rid of it instead of paying to ship it to Portugal. Downsize, downsize, downsize before moving on to the shipping part of the equation. Do you really still need these things in your life?

Which shipping company should I use?

There are a number of shipping companies to consider when sending your stuff over to Portugal. Some of these include BRLogistics, Schumacher Cargo Logistics, PSS International Removals. Due to its high-quality reviews, specialization in self-pack international moving and shipping, and strong presence in the US, Canada, and the UK, we will focus on a company called UPakWeShip for the purposes of our guiding you through the shipping process.   

How long will it take for my stuff to get to Portugal?

Many shipping companies will quote 2-6 weeks, but it can actually take much longer. With all of the disruptions to shipping routes and issues with supply chains these days, your container may take as long as 3-4 months to arrive. Given this, it’s important to plan ahead and make sure that you bring your most important possessions with you on the flight over to Portugal. What do you absolutely need for those first couple of months and will it be enough to be comfortable while you wait?  

Please note that this is never a one-size-fits-all approach, and you will need to do some of your own research to ensure that your shipment reaches your new home in Portugal safely and securely.   

The shipping process

1. Get your shipping quote

Head to the UPakWeShip homepage and click “Ship to the US” at the top. You will need to get your quote based on the US State that you want to ship from.

Let’s use NY as an example. Please note that if your address is greater than 31 miles from the UPakWeShip transit center, you will need to pay about $300 more. You will also need to choose between two different services: U-Crate or Pallet.

  • With U-Crate services, you will be sent a crate in advance. When you are ready, UPakWeShip will collect it and ship it to your curbside overseas. With pallet services, you will provide your own pallet.
  • For an idea about the price differential between crate vs. pallet, we selected the U-CRATE 50, which has a total shipment volume of 50 cubic feet, dimensions of Length: 45 ”/Width: 45 ”/Height: 44,” and a maximum weight of 500 lbs per U-CRATE 50. We received a quote for the U-CRATE 50 of $2,453.

  • For a small pallet, the cubic feet and maximum weight are the same as the U-CRATE 50 but with dimensions of Length: 48 ”/Width: 40 ”/Height: Up To  45.” We received a quote for the small pallet of $2,103 – $350 cheaper than the U-CRATE.

If you don’t know your shipping address in Portugal, you can just put in XXX and update your address later. Please note that UPakWeShip will also need a minimum of two weeks in advance to arrange everything for a move.

Once you order your crate or pallet, you will be asked to pay a refundable deposit and sign a contract. You will also be asked to create an account and be assigned a booking number that you will use throughout the process when you have questions for the company and fill out your labels. UPakWeShip will also provide you with a dedicated shipping coordinator that will help you with everything from customs document preparation to packing tips.

2. Stage your crate

Before your crate gets picked up, you’re going to need to carefully prepare for the pick-up by “staging” your crate. In other words, you’re going to need to measure the dimensions of the crate or pallet and pretend that it is already in your home. We recommend drawing a rectangle on the floor and wall using masking tape to give you an idea of the space that you will have for your things. Even if your bins are empty at the beginning, you can still practice packing within the dimensions to make sure that you have space for everything. Watch packing videos from UPakWeShip to help you see the best way to pack your things.

3. Prepare your packing list

You will need to prepare a detailed packing list for shipping. Here is a tutorial on how to do this. There is also an app that will help, but please speak with your shipping coordinator to ensure that you are using the latest version.

Keep in mind that there are many items that are not allowed for international shipping.

If you have doubts, please contact your shipping coordinator. Also, keep in mind that any last-minute items will need to be added to an existing bin or box. Once you have submitted your packing list, you cannot add any new bins/boxes/items.

There are also weight limits for each pallet or crate, as mentioned earlier in the “Get your shipping quote” section. Excess weight fees of $2.00/lb will be incurred. Check with your UPakWeShip representative if you are unsure. We recommend estimating the approximate of each bin and then multiplying it by the number of bins, or alternatively weighing everything as you go.  

Should I take photos of my stuff?

Finally, take photos of everything you pack per bin. This could be a lifesaver later if you need to file an insurance claim. Also, keep all email correspondence from UPackWeShip. You never know when you will need it along the way.

4. Prepare your labels

For the U-CRATE 50, you will receive a pallet box top and bottom, metal straps, fabric cinch straps, heavy-duty cardboard sides, and a plastic sleeve. Now, you can start packing!

Once you know how many total bins and boxes you will need, you will also need to prepare your labels. UPakWeShip will provide a label-generator template to help you label all of your single items and bins/boxes.

Before you even start creating these labels, get the grand total of how many pieces (single items that need labels + bins/boxes) you have. This should only be done after you have staged your crate and are confident in exactly how your pieces are going to fit into your crate/pallet. After you determine the grand total of pieces, label each item as follows: Box 1 of [Grand Total # You Have].

Attach one label per item, but we recommend putting one label on each side of each box/bin so that customs can see the label from any side of an item if they want to inspect it. You may also want to use stretch film to keep all boxes together and ensure as little movement as possible for your items once they have been packed

It is crucial to state here that the numbers on your labels for each item MUST correspond to the numbers on your packing list. Double- and triple-check this so that you make it as easy as possible for customs. The last thing you want is for further delays in your shipping process. Imagine planning a trip outside of Portugal only to be told that your crate has been rescheduled to be delivered right in the middle of your trip.  

Your packing list and label templates will only be provided once you create an account and become an official customer of UPakWeShip by signing a contract. You will not be able to find these items online.

Boxes ready to load, Markus Spiske, Unsplash

Do I need insurance?

It is important to mention shipping insurance here. UPakWeShip can provide you with insurance. It is also possible to add insurance after you book to make sure that you get the proper coverage for the specific items in your shipment.  

5. Loading the final crate/pallet for pick-up day

When your crate/pallet is picked up, it must be on hard ground so it can be collected with a pallet jack and tail lift truck. A garage, driveway, or curbside is usually the best location to use as your packing location rather than inside the house since pallets and crates are larger than the doors of typical homes.  

6. Tracking your shipment’s progress

You can track your progress through UPakWeShip’s online portal. You will also receive an email once your shipment is on its way including the name of the shipping line. Your shipment will go through customs in Rotterdam, Netherlands and then a local company will contact you to arrange for delivery to your Portuguese residence.

A Certificado de Bagagem (Baggage Certificate) is not needed for your shipment. Once your crate clears customs, it will be delivered via truck to Portugal.

Your shipment on the way, Tiry Nelson Gono, Unsplash

7. Your shipment finally arrives in Portugal

You do not have to be physically present to receive your shipment in Portugal. However, if you arrange for someone to accept the delivery on your behalf, they must be at least 18 years old and be able to provide a Portuguese phone number, as the delivery company will only phone a Portuguese number to arrange the delivery date. You also need to give the name of this person to your UPakWeShip customer service representative in advance.

Before your crate/pallet arrives, it is a good idea to hire someone in advance to help with unloading if you think you’ll need it. The driver may not want to help you beyond opening the back of the truck. It may be ideal to hire at least one person, or even a crew, to help you unload once your crate arrives. Of course, this depends on the size of your shipment.

What do I do with all of those moving boxes and bins?

Last but not least, you must properly dispose of the pallet and any related cardboard on your own. You may also not want to keep all of your bins and boxes that came in your shipment. The easiest way to get rid of these when you are still new to a community is to either contact the local disposal company or try to get rid of your bins using local expat groups on Facebook.

Final Thoughts

To truly make your new place in Portugal feel like a home, it’s important to bring your most cherished possessions from the US. Having that special piece of artwork or antique furniture as part of your new life in Portugal will make a world of difference in making you feel comfortable—and it’s certainly not all going to fit in your suitcase. We hope that this brief guide will ease some of the pain that making a big move can incur. Remember, this is one of the hardest parts of the move. Once you get set up with all of your treasured belongings, your Portuguese adventure can truly begin!

All moved in, Weronika Janas, Unsplash

A Day Trip to Marvila, the Beer District of Lisbon

When tourists first come to Lisbon, they head straight for the Praça do Comércio and its surrounding streets. They head up the hills and look out over the Tejo River. They walk along the boardwalk or take bikes from Cais do Sodré to the district of Belém, stopping by Pastéis de Belém for Portugal’s iconic egg custard tart pastry before marveling at the sprawling Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower.

When my friends come to visit me in Lisbon, this is the path we usually take. If we have three days together, I also try to bring them to Sintra early in the morning to beat the crowds to the Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira. Then, I take them to the much quieter Biester Palace next door before a final stop at the Monserrate Palace.

But what if your friends stay for a week and they are not museum people but still have a desire to explore the unique Lisbon landscape? In that case, I always save a day for Marvila and Braça de Prata.

The Not-So-Beaten Lisbon Path

Marvila remains off of the beaten path in Lisbon, primarily due to its inaccessibility to public transport. While it’s easy to reach the area by taxi, rideshare, or bus, it is not on the metro line. The regional Azambuja train line running from Santa Apolónia or Alcântara-Terra to Azambuja also stops here, dividing the district between the wealthier part of town close to the river and the poorer, more neglected area close to the train station.

When I went to Marvila for the first time, I felt like I had landed on a Caribbean island as I walked over rock-paved paths with weeds growing in between. I passed crumbling stone walls and felt like I would turn and see an old cannon sticking out of an embattlement ready to fight off invaders. The path from the Marvila train station takes you from the top of the hill down precarious stairs looking over a gully. A boat was lying sideways in the gully the first time that I came to visit. Marvila felt like it was in an entirely different city, but this is also what makes Marvila appealing. It is different. It seems forgotten and abandoned in so many ways, but there is treasure to be found.

Your Marvila Itinerary

1) Marvila Library

The Marvila Library opened on November 27, 2016, and slowly started to transform the impoverished district. Located in the middle of social housing, the Marvila Library is a 3,000 m2  haven for local residents, particularly students who have been encouraged to play and design their own video games through the library’s innovative gaming events.

With striking architecture by architect Hestnes Ferreira, the library provides an interesting perspective on the way this neighborhood is changing, and how different it will seem once you cross the train tracks. Check out this article for more on the history of Marvila Library’s gaming initiatives.  

2) Café com Calma – The Perfect Lunch Stop

After stopping by the library, which is recommended only if you’re coming by train, grab lunch at Café com Calma at Rua do Açúcar 10. In fact, Café com Calma only serves lunch and is open from 11:00 AM-3:30 PM Monday to Friday.

We recommend that you get here right when they open or no later than 11:30 AM, as this place is very popular, and rightly so. It serves different lunch specials for under 15 which includes soup, a main course, dessert, a drink, and coffee. Guests can choose between vegan or meat options. Expect lots of flavorful and tasty greens along with friendly service and, as the name suggests, a calm and inviting atmosphere.

3) A Beer Crawl Through Marvila

Dois Corvos

When it comes to putting Marvila on the map as Lisbon’s beer district, Dois Corvos, which means “two crows” in Portuguese is where it all began on Rua Capitão Leitão 94. Scott Steffens and his wife Susana Cascais opened Marvila’s first production brewery in 2015. Today, the taproom remains in the same location, but the brewery itself has moved about 1 km away.

Dois Corvos has 17 taps serving their freshest beer and a full kitchen. Known for their creativity and innovation from the very beginning, Dois Corvos produces 3-4 new releases per month in a wide variety of styles including IPAs, NEIPAs, double NEIPAs, mixed fermentation and sours, lagers, and pilseners, to name a few. With its large booths, ever-changing list of beers, and large menu, Dois Corvos is an essential stop on a tour through Marvila. Check their Instagram for their latest events.

Interior of Dois Corvos, Photo by Becky Gillespie
Trying the beer at Dois Corvos, Photo by Becky Gillespie

Musa da Marvila

Fábrica Musa opened its first taproom and brewery in Marvila on Rua do Açúcar, which operated from 2016-2022. Two months after their original location closed, they reopened a ten-minute walk down the street on May 14, 2022, ultimately changing their name to Musa da Marvila.

Musa names all of its beers after the names of songs or bands such as Twist & Stout, Born in the IPA, and Red Zeppelin Ale. Musa frequently plays host to pub quizzes and music events, and you can stay up to date with these on their Instagram. They have a lovely outdoor space so if you can visit Marvila on a sunny day, this would be ideal for a visit to Musa.

Musa Beer from its original location, Photo by Becky Gillespie

Fermentage Brewpub

Fermentage Brewpub rounds out our trio of beer stops along the Marvila journey and is located just half a block down the same street as Dois Corvos at Rua Capitão Leitão 1B. Formerly known as Cerveja Lince, the owners of Fermentage are passionate brewers that also serve great pizza. They frequently hold events including pub quizzes, standup comedy nights, and DJ sets.

You can also play board games and try one of their creative beers on tap. We recommend this as the final stop on your beer tour of Marvila as it is the most geared toward settling in for a while and hanging out with friends or playing board games.  

4) Aquele Lugar que Não Existe – That Place That Doesn’t Exist

Across from the former location of Fábrica Musa lies that place that doesn’t exist. Yes, that is its name translated into English and its interior design can only be described as quirky – the perfect place off the beaten path. By the time you reach Aquele Lugar que Não Existe, you may prefer to order wine, which they’ve got plenty of along with cocktails, pizza, and a variety of starters. Be warned: this place is pretty expensive for what you get and the service can be quite slow on occasion. Go for the nice view on the top floor and the aforementioned funky design. Something different in a different kind of neighborhood.

Sitting on the terrace, Aquele Lugar que Não Existe, Photo by Becky Gillespie

5) Fábrica Braço de Prata

Your last stop on a trip to Marvila should be Fábrica Braço de Prata, once a military factory that was later deactivated in the 1990s, which is now a cultural center pulsating with life. It hosts a myriad of events from live music and art exhibitions to literary talks. Its industrial architecture, combined with artistic installations, creates a unique backdrop. Stay up to date with their weekly events by checking out their website.  

Fábrica do Braço de Prata is one of my favorite places to visit in Lisbon, but it also is currently one of the most endangered cultural spaces in the city, which is obvious the moment you see the brand-new apartment buildings next door.

Fábrica do Braço de Prata is also home to an RV park, which is one of the best deals in the city if you can bring your own RV. Guests can enjoy nightly events right along with visitors coming in from other parts of Lisbon. With gentrification nipping at its heels, Fábrica Braço de Prata is living on borrowed time. Visit as soon as you can.

Storytelling night at Fàbrica Braço de Prata, Photo by Becky Gillespie

Final Thoughts

Marvila may not look like much from the outside. It may not be easy to get to or close to some of Lisbon’s more famous attractions, but this is an interesting study in contrasts between the Lisbon that was and the city that Lisbon is becoming.

I have no doubt that the forces of gentrification pushing Marvila towards dramatic change will continue, but hopefully, this neighborhood can also build more social housing and the richer riverside area can more equitably share some of its profits with the older residents near the train tracks.

How do we keep a neighborhood’s authenticity while also allowing for improvements? Walking through Marvila and seeing the changes that are already occurring may help you form your own answers as you spend a day in this more off the radar corner of Lisbon.  

Luis Montenegro is appointed Prime Minister of Portugal


Luís Montenegro, the head of the Democratic Alliance (AD), has been appointed Prime Minister of Portugal.

Last week, on Wednesday night, the office of the Portuguese President of the Republic announced that, after the counting of the last two electoral circles, which would decide the last 4 seats at the Parliament, the Democratic Alliance coalition attained a relative majority (80 seats versus 78 from the Socialist Party).

Note that after the final counting, both AD and PS got one seat each. The other two available seats went to the right-wing political party CHEGA, which had already become the third biggest political power in the Parliament.

Given the results, the President of the Republic chose to invite Luis Montenegro, head of the Democratic Alliance and leader of the Social Democratic Party, to become the new prime minister of Portugal.

“Having the President of the Republic proceeded with the hearings of the political parties and coalitions of political parties that stood for the March 10 elections for the Assembly of the Republic and obtained mandates, with the Democratic Alliance winning the elections in terms of mandates and votes, and having the secretary general of the Socialist Party recognized and confirmed that he would be the leader of the Opposition, the President of the Republic decided to nominate Luís Montenegro as Prime Minister…”, reads the note published on the Presidency website.

Montenegro said yes, and considering that he was going to have a meeting with the President of the European Commission on Thursday morning, he requested the nomination to be communicated to the public by the Head of State on Wednesday night.

Even though it was already announced, Luís Montenegro will only take office on April 2. First, he must present, to the Head of State, his proposal for “the organics and the composition of the XXVI Constitutional Government”.

Only then, with a Government that has been approved by the President of the Republic, can he officially take the office of Prime Minister.

Casa Fernando Pessoa and Other Landmarks for Pessoa Fans

If you’re a bibliophile coming to Lisbon (even more so if you’re a bibliophile passionate about classic authors!), you’re probably planning to learn about Fernando Pessoa, Portugal’s most famous and loved author, as much as you can.

If so, you’ve arrived where you’re expected! We’ve prepared a complete guide for tourists who want to overwhelm themselves with details of Pessoa’s life, thoughts, and books!

We’ll start with some information about Fernando Pessoa, then continue our journey by discussing the iconic Casa Fernando Pessoa and other places that will retrace his steps throughout Lisbon – from the cafe where he had his daily coffee to where Fernando Pessoa is buried.

Who Was Fernando Pessoa?

Before discussing Casa Fernando Pessoa, why not travel back in time and meet Fernando Pessoa ourselves?

Born in Lisbon in 1888, Fernando Pessoa had quite a tragic childhood. When he was only five years old, his father died of tuberculosis. Less than a year later, Pessoa lost his younger brother.

After these losses, Pessoa and his mother, who had remarried, moved to South Africa in 1896. The fact that his stepfather was the Portuguese consul in Durban ensured that Pessoa received a good education, particularly in learning English.

Fernando Pessoa’s classmates recalled that he was a very pale, thin, and ill-looking boy, yet a very clever pupil, possibly the cleverest in their class. Although he had never spoken English before arriving there, Pessoa learned it quickly, achieving a higher level than his classmates.

Over the time spent at the Durban High School, Pessoa started showing interest in English literature. Some classmates recall that he spent all his spare time reading, never showing interest in sports or anything else popular among other pupils.

While in Durban, Pessoa tried his hand at writing short stories in English. His first poem entitled “Hillier did first usurp the realms of rhyme…” was published in 1904. Over the next year, Pessoa published other pieces. The young writer was already using pen names, including Charles Robert Anona, David Merrick, Chevalier de Pas, and Horace James Father. These “exercises” paved the way to constructing his famous heteronyms.

Pessoa did not stay in Durban for too long. Only ten years later, when he was 17, the poet decided to return to Lisbon to study and, since then, rarely left the city. However, his studies were cut short as a consequence of a student strike, so Pessoa turned to self-teaching.

Over the years, he set up his own publishing house, founded an art journal, and published his works extensively, earning his sacred place in the literary world of Lisbon.

The writer moved from one place to another in Lisbon quite frequently. In 1920, however, he settled in what would soon become the Fernando Pessoa Museum, also known as Casa Fernando Pessoa. He and his family lived on the first floor of a building located at 16, Rua Coelho da Rocha, Campo de Ourique. According to historians, this was the 16th place he lived in! He remained there until his death in 1935.

Casa Fernando Pessoa History

After Fernando Pessoa’s death, his apartment and others in the building were rented or owned by several people. However (and luckily for us, book lovers!), the Lisbon Municipal Council decided to purchase the building at the end of the 1980s and transform it into a museum.

At the time, the building was on the brink of collapsing. Considering that it had been Fernando Pessoa’s last address and the place where he had put his creativity at work, the city did not want to risk the building being demolished, so they purchased it and made it into a place that commemorates Pessoa’s work.

The Lisbon Municipal Council reconstructed the whole building, except for Pessoa’s apartment, which was left unchanged. The original facade and the stairs leading to Pessoa’s apartment were also preserved. An auditorium, a library, and a multimedia room were established.

Casa Fernando Pessoa was inaugurated on the 30th of November 1993, 58 years after the writer’s death. The building is now considered a National Treasure of Portugal, and it welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world who have already read or are about to immerse themselves in Fernando Pessoa’s writings that explore the depths of the human being in a rather melancholic manner.

Casa de Fernando Pessoa. Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões (Flickr)

Why Visit Casa Fernando Pessoa?

Whether you’ve read anything about Pessoa, are a dedicated fan of his writings, or never even heard about him – you’ll probably enjoy Casa Fernando Pessoa if you’re a bibliophile.

Stepping inside the museum will absorb you into an enchanting journey through time that will instantly take you back to the 1920s, wandering through Pessoa’s mind, trying to grasp even a little bit of what he thought, saw, read, and wrote.

Fernando Pessoa’s Personal Library

What book lover won’t enjoy seeing the very books that Fernando Pessoa owned? This is, in fact, the museum’s largest and most sacred collection that helps visitors get lost in the writer’s inner world while guessing which was his favorite and least favorite book. You’ll also be able to see the comments and marks Pessoa left in his books.

In addition, the museum has on display multiple translations of Pessoa’s works. So, if you’ve never read his poems, now you have the chance to see if his style is something you may enjoy. Who knows, maybe you’ll be on your way to discovering your next favorite writer?!

Long-Term Exhibition

Casa Fernando Pessoa has a long-term exhibition equipped with informative material in English that allows visitors to delve into the writer’s life. The museum’s cultural mediators invite everyone to discover Pessoa’s universe in English, Spanish, German, and French.

The long-term exhibition offers a more intimate glimpse into the life of the poet known as the master of heteronyms. The exhibition spans over three floors, each shaped as a chapter. The staff recommends visitors to start the journey from the third floor and then go downstairs to the other rooms.

The most iconic room that can impress any bookworm is dedicated to Pessoa’s heteronyms – a comprehensive representation of Pessoa’s masterful play with names and characters. This particular room is also home to the most famous painting executed by Pessoa’s friend – the Portuguese painter Almada Negreiros.

If you think that’s exciting enough for you to buy your plane ticket right now, wait until you hear this: the exhibition allows visitors to listen to the poems written by Pessoa. How amazing is that?! What better way to fully get lost in Pessoa’s reality and explore his universe if not by actually listening to a skillful reciting of his texts?!

Photo by Chuck Moravec (Flickr)

Fernando Pessoa’s Personal Objects

Seeing your favorite writer’s personal objects from up-close is any reader’s dream, isn’t it?! It feels like you’ve stepped onto an otherworldly realm, being overwhelmed by the rapid passage of time – are you still in the present, or have you left for the 1920s, sitting next to Fernando Pessoa and asking him about some of his most precious possessions?

The Library

Casa Fernando Pessoa isn’t only a museum. It also has a library open to those who want to read and study in a more special atmosphere.

The library focuses on Pessoa’s writings, having an extensive collection of his books and their translations. You’ll also find sections dedicated to other poets from around the world.

The library is open from 10 am to 6 pm every day except weekends and Mondays.

The Shop

Are you about to leave Portugal, but you haven’t found the perfect souvenir yet? You’ll probably find something at the shop in Casa Fernando Pessoa.

It has all his books in several editions and languages, as well as themed bags and cork-made products created by the museum’s exclusive line.

The shop is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm.

The Restaurant

Nothing beats enjoying a Portuguese-flavored espresso or maybe even a lunch filled with the country’s gastronomic secrets at the Flagrante Delistro restaurant. Is there a better way to finish your tour through Pessoa’s house?!

The restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm. On Mondays, the restaurant is open only until 6 pm.

Lisbon Revisited: Poetry Days

If you’re lucky enough, your trip to Lisbon may match the dates of the literary festival promoted by Casa Fernando Pessoa – Lisbon Revisited: Poetry Days.

The first edition of the festival took place in 2018. Since then, it has returned yearly, offering literary enthusiasts the perfect atmosphere to grasp the guest poets’ inner worlds, learn about their writing processes, and listen to their poems.

In 2023, the festival invited Simon Armitage, Kwame Daws, Halyna Kruk, Chus Pato, Andreia C. Faria, Hélia Correia, Pedro Mexia, and João Luís Barreto Guimarães.

Casa Fernando Pessoa Hours and Prices

Casa Fernando Pessoa is open every day except Monday from 10 am to 6 pm. You’ll need to dedicate approximately an hour for the tour.

The staff recommends visitors to buy their tickets beforehand online to avoid wasting too much time waiting in line. Tickets can be bought from blueticket.meo.pt.

The full ticket costs only 5 EUR – a somewhat insignificant fee for an experience that will imbue your travel journey with lifetime memories!

If you’re visiting Portugal with your children, they can enter without any fees as long as they’re under 12. Visitors between 13 and 25 years old pay only 2.5 EUR.

In addition, if you’re a journalist, researcher, or teacher visiting for professional purposes, you do not have to pay the entrance fee.

Remember that people asking for a reduced fare or free admission have to present proof.

Photo by Vitor Oliveira (Flickr)

How to Get to Casa Fernando Pessoa

Casa Fernando Pessoa (Rua Coelho da Rocha, 16-18, Campo de Ourique) is located close to Jardim da Estrela. You can get there either by using the yellow metro line, stopping at the Rato station. From there, it will take you approximately 15 minutes by foot to arrive at the museum. You won’t have time to get bored though! Lisbon is full of (hidden) surprises!

You can also take bus 709 from Restauradores Square, tram 25 from Figueira Square, or tram 28 from Martim Moniz Square.

However, if you’re not staying too far away, we’ll always recommend going by foot, even if it takes an hour. Lisbon is a charming city in itself – the buildings, the uniform architecture, and the gems no one talks about on the Internet because they’re only visible to the present eye.

Reaching Casa Fernando Pessoa by foot will be a tour in itself that will show you the most authentic parts of the city – some of them seen and enjoyed by Pessoa himself!

Other Landmarks in Lisbon for Fernando Pessoa Fans

Have you enjoyed Pessoa’s house and want to explore the depths of his universe further? Luckily, the city of Lisbon has guessed you may want to! Portuguese people take great pride in their writers’ work, which is why Lisbon is a rather extensive Fernando Pessoa museum. So what else is there to visit? Let’s see!

Cafe A Brasileira and Pessoa’s Statue

After visiting Casa Fernando Pessoa, head to the district of Chiado to see his statue next to the Cafe A Brasileira – one of Lisbon’s oldest and most iconic cafes that once was the primary meeting point for the Portuguese artists, writers, and free-thinkers.

Cafe A Brasileira was also the gathering spot of the Orpheus’ Group, which Fernando Pessoa was part of. Their goal was to subvert and scandalize Portuguese social conventions. Today, the coffee shop has become one of the most famous tourist spots in the city, which is why it’s usually quite crowded and you may have to wait in line to get a table. However, it’s absolutely worth the time!

If you choose to enjoy your coffee and pastel de nata outside, you’ll delight in the building’s exterior and intricate facade. If you get a table inside, your eyes and aesthetic buds will thank you just as much after unraveling its beauty – mosaicked floors, marble tiles, square pillars along the walls, sculpted wood, and mirrors in between pillars.

Just outside the cafe, Fernando Pessoa’s statue sitting at a table invites the visitors to have a coffee with the poet who lives within his readers’ hearts.

Statue of Fernando Pessoa in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões (Flickr)

Largo de São Carlos Fernando Pessoa Statue

Another statue honoring Fernando Pessoa is located on Largo de São Carlos 16 because the poet was born in a flat right across the São Carlos National Theatre. The statue was inaugurated in 2008 to commemorate Pessoa’s 120th birthday.

It is located right next to Simpli Coffee Chiado. You can order a cappuccino, espresso, or any other drink of your preference, open Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet, and explore its universe alongside the author’s statue. Quite a poetic atmosphere, don’t you think?

Largo do Carmo

Fernando Pessoa lived at number 18 on Largo do Carmo Square, possibly between 1908 and 1912. At the time, he started translating English and Spanish books into Portuguese for Biblioteca Internacional de Obras Famosas.

Nowadays, Largo do Carmo is one of the most popular spots in Lisbon – it was even the scene of several film and documentary shootings!

In the spring, Largo do Carmo is adorned with mesmerizing blossoming purple jacarandas, a beautiful tree species that awakens the country with its vibrant colors! No wonder Pessoa chose to live there!

Largo do Carmo. Photo by Jean-François Gornet (Flickr)

Basílica de Nossa Senhora dos Mártires

If you want to return even further back in time, you should definitely visit Basílica de Nossa Senhora dos Mártires (Basilica of Our Lady of the Martyrs), where Fernando Pessoa was baptized on the 21st of July 1888.

Located on Rua Serpa Pinto 10D, this Catholic church stands as proof of the country’s resilience. It dates from 1147 when it was only a small chapel meant to house the image of the Virgin and commemorate the soldiers who had died in combat.

In 1755, it was completely destroyed by the most destructive earthquake Lisbon had ever registered. Thirty years later, the church was reconstructed in a baroque and late neoclassical style.

Martinho da Arcada

Located in Praça do Comércio, Martinho da Arcada opened its doors to locals in 1782 (officially, because the local had been in place since 1778, known as Cafe do Gelo).

Since its official inauguration, the cafe acquired various names – Casa do Cafe Italiano, Cafe do Comercio, Cafe dos Jacobinos, Casa da Neve, and Cafe da Arcada do Terreiro do Paco. Today, Martinho da Arcada is considered Lisbon’s oldest, still-operating cafe and is classified as a property of public interest by the Portuguese Institute of Architectural Heritage.

Like Cafe A Brasileira, Martinho da Arcada was a popular gathering spot for Lisbon’s artists and writers. However, Fernando Pessoa stands out among all, as he was the most frequent customer – today, he has a permanently reserved table in the restaurant.

It is believed that Pessoa served his coffee there regularly until he died in 1935. Apparently, he had had his last coffee at Martinho da Arcada with Almada Negreiros, a Portuguese artist, only three days before he died.

Photo by Chuck Moravec (Unsplash)

Jeronimos Monastery

Jeronimos Monastery, located in Belem, is the region’s most iconic landmark and the country’s most representative building of the Portuguese Manueline style.

It is now the resting place of Fernando Pessoa. Vasco da Gama, Alexandre Herculano, and Luís de Camões are also buried there.

As such, we definitely recommend adding this landmark to your must-visit list – coming to Portugal without delving into the intricacy of the building’s ornamentations and history makes for an incomplete trip!

Jeronimos Monastery. Photo by Amanda Yeung (Unsplash)

Where have all the bus shelters gone in Lisbon?


Have you noticed something different about Lisbon’s streets lately? If you’ve found yourself wondering, “Where have all the bus shelters gone?” you’re not alone. Many visitors to the city have been left puzzled as they join crowds waiting in the sun for buses around roped-off holes in the ground or standing in the shadows far from the formerly shaded bus stops. Of course, the obvious answer is that the bus shelters are getting replaced as part of a larger plan to modernize the city’s public transport facilities. Let’s explore the reasons behind the removal of these shelters and what the future holds for commuters in Lisbon.

Photo by Becky Gillespie

In September 2022, a new strategic partnership between Lisbon’s City Council and JCDecaux was finalized, with the agreement to subcontract the company MOP (Multimédia Outdoors Portugal) to supply a portion of the new bus shelter equipment. According to the new contract, 1,760 bus shelters will be replaced and 240 new bus shelters will be erected.

The city of Lisbon does not directly invest in building bus shelters itself, but instead concessions out the service to private companies. The expiration of previous contracts in 2015 prompted an extensive search for a fresh face in outdoor advertising. JCDecaux’s selection in 2018, after overcoming legal hurdles, set the stage for this urban renewal.

Their plan not only includes the aforementioned shelter upgrades but will also see the renovation and a doubling of the number of automatic public toilets in addition to a 50% reduction in the number of billboards.

These new shelters promise to enhance the commuter experience with modern amenities like USB charging ports, Wi-Fi networks, and real-time information panels, among others. This move towards a more connected and convenient public transport system is also reflected in the improvement of public toilets. The upgrade from 39 to 75 toilets, with at least 10% accommodating individuals with disabilities, demonstrates a commitment to accessibility and public service.

Moreover, the contract stipulates a significant aesthetic overhaul, which will also reduce the number of different bus shelter designs from around 30 to just five. This streamlining effort aims to make Lisbon more visually appealing. The current mishmash of designs, some over 25 years old, will be replaced by modern, technologically-equipped bus shelters that better serve the city’s needs and environmental goals.

JCDecaux’s approach aims to not only replace current bus shelters but also take a sustainable approach through the use of LED lighting, material recovery processes, and solar power. The company’s global pledge to reduce carbon emissions aligns with Lisbon’s greener, cleaner vision for its public spaces.

Photo by Becky Gillespie

Financially, the city stands to gain significantly from this new contract, with annual revenues expected to jump from just over €2 million to €8.3 million. Lisbon will also gain a suite of digital advertising tools for institutional communication, including removable and digital advertising posters, and large-format digital panels. This will enable real-time dissemination of information on news, events, or emergencies, further embedding technology into the fabric of city life.

The sweeping changes to Lisbon’s public transport shelters, while largely positive, come with their own set of challenges for the city’s residents. The removal of existing shelters in preparation for the new installations has temporarily left many waiting areas without any protection from the elements. This situation poses a significant inconvenience as Lisbon moves into spring, making the wait for buses an uncomfortable, even potentially hazardous, experience for passengers.

The absence of shelters means direct exposure to the sun, which can lead to heat-related illnesses among vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Moreover, the construction and installation process for the new shelters can lead to disruptions in the usual flow of pedestrian traffic. Sidewalk closures or diversions, which are necessary for the safe installation of new shelters, may force pedestrians to take longer routes or navigate through less familiar areas. This will add to the daily commute time and potentially lead to confusion.

Photo by Becky Gillespie

Additionally, the construction work may temporarily reduce the accessibility of certain bus shelters, which can complicate travel plans and cause frustration among regular users of public transport. These inconveniences underscore the importance of strategic planning and communication from the city council and JCDecaux to minimize the impact on Lisbon’s residents. It remains to be seen how smooth the transition to newer, more modern public transport amenities will actually be. Hopefully, before the beginning of the summer, Lisbon will be able to enjoy its bus shelters once again.

Let’s learn about Portuguese folk dance!

Portuguese folk dance is a vibrant expression of the country’s rich cultural heritage. Each region has its own unique style that reflects local traditions and histories. These dances tell stories of everyday life, work, and celebration accompanied by traditional Portuguese music.

The costumes worn by dancers add a colorful visual element to the performances. These are usually region-specific and historically accurate, enhancing the authenticity of the dance. Through these dances, Portugal preserves and celebrates its diverse cultural identity, passing traditions from one generation to the next.

Without further ado, let’s delve into the history of Portuguese folk dance and the most popular festivals that showcase it.

The Roots and Evolution of Portuguese Folk Dance

Portuguese folk dance, or “danças folclóricas,” traces its origins back to ancient rituals and celebrations evolving over centuries to incorporate influences from various periods in Portuguese history. From the Minho region’s lively “vira” to the solemn grace of the Algarve’s “corridinho,” these dances encapsulate the geographical and cultural distinctions across Portugal.

The evolution of these dances mirrors the broader currents of Portuguese society, absorbing elements from Roman, Moorish, and later, global influences. This blend of traditions underscores the dynamic nature of folk dance, adapting to changes while preserving core elements that define its character.

A Minho Ranchos folk dancer, Suresh Krishna, Flickr

Cultural Significance and Regional Variations

Folk dances in Portugal often coincide with festivals and religious celebrations and mark significant moments in the agricultural calendar, saints’ days, and historical events. They bring together people of all ages to celebrate their heritage and pass it on to future generations.

The regional variations of Portuguese folk dance display the country’s rich tapestry of cultural influences. In the northern regions, dances are energetic and robust, characterized by rapid footwork and intricate patterns, reflecting the Celtic heritage of the area. The “vira,” for instance, is renowned for its lively tempo and complex choreography, which symbolizes the Minho’s lively community life.

Conversely, the southern regions, influenced by centuries of Moorish rule, exhibit dances that are more reserved and graceful. The “Corridinho,” a popular dance from the Algarve, features a slower pace and fluid movements that embody the laid-back essence of southern Portugal.

The Role of Music and Costume

Music plays an indispensable role in Portuguese folk dance, with traditional instruments like the guitarra portuguesa (Portuguese guitar), accordion, and tambourine setting the rhythm and mood of the dances. The melodies range from the exuberant sounds of celebration to the melancholic tunes of longing and love. This passionate music tells a story conveying the emotions and themes inherent in the dance’s origins.

Costumes are another critical element of Portuguese folk dance, a visual feast that enhances the dance’s storytelling. These garments are meticulously crafted and reflect the regional characteristics and historical periods they represent—from the colorful skirts and shawls of the northern regions to the intricate embroidery and hats of the south.

Folk Dance in Different Regions of Portugal

Northern Portugal is known for its “Vira,” a lively dance with a quick tempo. Central to the Vira dance is its performance by couples, who engage in the dance without the customary hand-holding found in many other dance forms. This adds an element of individual flair and independence to the shared dance experience.

The dance also accommodates solo performances, typically by women, which allows for a varied expression of the dance’s core movements and rhythms. The organization of dancers into a circle facing each other before the dance commences is a hallmark of the Vira, fostering a sense of community and collective joy among the participants.

The vira painted on the bow of a traditional Portuguese watercraft known as a moliceiro, A. Davey, Flickr

Central Portugal showcases the “Bailinho da Madeira.” This is a traditional folk dance from the Madeira archipelago, a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean that is an autonomous region of Portugal. The Bailinho da Madeira is emblematic of Madeira’s rich cultural heritage, reflecting the island’s history, traditions, and the joyful spirit of its people.

The Bailinho da Madeira is characterized by its lively tempo and cheerful melody, typically performed to the accompaniment of traditional Madeiran instruments. These include the “braguinha” or “machete” (a small stringed instrument similar to a ukulele), the “rajão” (a five-stringed instrument), and sometimes percussion instruments like the “brinquinho,” a unique Madeiran creation that adds a distinctive rhythm to the music.

Dancers usually form pairs and engage in a series of steps that include quick movements, turns, and sometimes playful interactions between the partners. The dance often involves a sequence of choreographed movements that tell a story or depict scenes from daily life, which adds a theatrical element to the performance.

It is a dance with movement and a lot of life, in which the dancers take turns and jump with great speed. There are also those who call it the ball of eight, for being danced by four pairs that form a square.

The Bailinho da Madeira, Diogo Gualter, Flickr

Southern Portugal, particularly the Algarve, offers the “Corridinho.”

The Corridinho combines cultural influences from Eastern Europe with local Portuguese traditions. Originating in the 19th century, the dance is believed to have been introduced to the Algarve region of Portugal by the Spaniard Lorenzo Alvarez Garcia, who used it as a romantic gesture to court a Portuguese lady. This dance quickly gained popularity alongside the introduction of the accordion to Portugal, becoming a staple of local culture.

Central to the Corridinho is its nature as a couple’s dance, emphasizing partnership and coordination. Dancers form two concentric circles, with women in the inner circle and men in the outer, engaging in a dynamic and interconnected performance reminiscent of Eastern European dances like the Polka or Mazurka. However, the Corridinho distinguishes itself with unique steps and choreography, which have evolved over time to incorporate more complex and intricate movements.

Accordion music, Guimarães Folk Dance, Donald Judge, Flickr

Traditional Folk Dance Festivals in Portugal

Festa de São João in Porto is one of Portugal’s most exciting festivals and celebrates Saint John the Baptist. The party starts in the early afternoon of June 23 and usually lasts until the morning of June 24. The streets come alive with music, dance, and festivities. Traditional folk dance is a highlight, with groups performing throughout the city.

The Feira de São Mateus in Viseu is one of the oldest fairs in Portugal, dating back to the Middle Ages. Running from August to September, it features a wide range of cultural events. Folk dance performances are a central part of the festivities, showcasing the region’s rich traditions.

Romaria de Nossa Senhora d’Agonia in Viana do Castelo: Held in August, this festival is famous for its grand parade of traditional costumes. Folk dance groups perform against the backdrop of beautifully decorated streets, celebrating the region’s cultural heritage.

Festa das Cruzes in Barcelos: Taking place in early May, the Festa das Cruzes marks the beginning of the Portuguese festival season. It features a variety of folk dances, including the vira, malhão, and chula, with performers donning traditional costumes, parading through the streets, and showcasing the local folklore.

Festa de São Gonçalinho in Aveiro: Celebrated in January, this festival honors São Gonçalinho with a unique blend of religious ceremonies and popular festivities. Traditional folk dance performances are a highlight and reflect the maritime heritage of the region.

Feiras Novas in Ponte de Lima: Held in September, this historic fair dates back to the 19th century. It’s a vibrant celebration of Minho’s cultural traditions, with folk dance performances, parades, and music filling the streets of Portugal’s oldest village.

Each of these festivals gives visitors a chance to experience Portugal’s diverse regional traditions and the universal language of dance. If you are lucky enough to catch one of these lively festivals, prepare to experience not only the beauty of Portuguese folk dance but also the warmth and hospitality that Portugal is renowned for.

Final Thoughts

Portuguese traditional folk dance offers a glimpse into Portugal’s soul. Festivals across the country provide a platform for these traditions to continue flourishing. Through them, the spirit of Portuguese folk dance will endure, connecting past, present, and future generations. We hope you can catch one of Portugal’s beautiful folk dances or even try a dance yourself!

Amarante – One of Portugal’s Most Beautiful Small Towns

Amarante, located in the Tâmega e Sousa region of northern Portugal and set against the Serra de Marvão, is a town rich in history and culture. Known for its picturesque setting, it sits on the banks of the Tâmega River and its narrow streets are lined with 17th-century houses with wooden balconies.

Dating back to the 4th century BC and originally named Turdetanos, it was renamed in honor of Governor Amarantus. Dating back to the 4th century BC, this town has witnessed numerous invaders and visitors alike. The beautiful surroundings and lush vineyards were a true inspiration for poets like Teixeira de Pascoes and painters like Amadeo de Souza Cardoso.

Amarante is also a hub for traditional Portuguese gastronomy and wine, particularly Vinho Verde, and is also famous for its religious significance, specifically the São Gonçalo Church and Monastery, a holy site that dates back to the 16th century. Conventual sweets are a real treat here served in various forms including…one in the shape of a phallus.

The first weekend of every June, Amarante celebrates São Gonçalo with a festive procession that attracts visitors from across Portugal. Things get more than a little suggestive during the festival when young and unmarried couples exchange provocative phallic-shaped cakes (known as bolos de São Gonçalo), which symbolize their passion and love.

The town’s gorgeous bridge, Ponte de São Gonçalo, played a major role in the Napoleonic invasions and is one of the most beautiful sites in the city. With an interesting blend of religious, historical, and natural beauty, Amarante is a must-visit destination in northern Portugal.

Where Is Amarante in Portugal?

Amarante is located approximately 58 kilometers away from Porto. It can be easily reached by a short bus ride of around 1 hour from Porto, 1 hour and 20 minutes from Braga, or Guimarāes (50 minutes).

From Porto, Amarante can be reached by car in around 45 minutes, making it an accessible destination for those looking to explore beyond Porto’s city limits. For travelers coming from Lisbon, Amarante lies about 350 kilometers away, which translates to around a 3-hour and 45-minute drive, offering a scenic journey through Portugal​​.

The closest airport to Amarante is in Porto, providing a convenient gateway for international visitors to this charming town. For those considering flying into Lisbon for better flight options or prices, the capital city is also a viable option, albeit a bit farther, yet still accessible for a beautiful road trip to Amarante.

What to Do in Amarante

Along the banks of the Tâmega River, Amarante is a charming town that appeals to visitors with its picturesque bridges, beautifully preserved 17th-century buildings, and peaceful river views. One can’t miss the São Gonçalo Church with its baroque architecture and the Sāo Gonçalo Bridge that leads to its doors.

Amarante is also an interesting stop for food lovers. If you want to get cheeky, you can try a phallic cake which is served all year round and has made the town famous. The tradition that sparked this phallic cake tradition has its roots in an ancient pagan ritual of fertility.

The town is famous for its sweet treat, the “papos de anjo” (angel’s double-chins), a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. Dining by the river provides a memorable experience with the flowing river and the Sāo Gonçalo Bridge in the background adding to the romantic atmosphere.

If you’re looking for adventure, Amarante does not disappoint. The surrounding area is ideal for outdoor activities including hiking, canoeing, and golf. The Amarante Water Park promises a day full of fun for families or those simply looking to cool off.

Meanwhile, the Marão Mountains nearby beckon hikers with their beautiful views and challenging trails. With its blend of culture, cuisine, and adventure, Amarante is a destination that offers something for everyone.

Lu Gar Lu, Ponte de São Gonçalo, Amarante, Flickr

3 Best Tours & Experiences in Amarante

Douro Valley: Wine Tour with Lunch, Tastings, and a River Cruise

Embark on a captivating journey from Porto through the Douro Valley, starting with a  coffee break in Amarante to admire its church, convent, and pastry shops. Visit two wine estates, one in Sabrosa for a guided tour, tasting, and a wine-paired lunch with vineyard views, and another renowned estate in the afternoon for more wine exploration. The tour includes a photo stop at São Cristovão viewpoint, a scenic river cruise from Pinhão, and a return to Porto via the picturesque N222.

Book a river cruise along the Douro including lunch and a stop in Amarante

2. Inside Amarante

Discover the charm of Amarante, a northern Portuguese town renowned for its rich musical traditions. Let a local expert escort you to key historical landmarks, including the Sao Gonçalo Church and the Sao Gonçalo Bridge. Delve into the storied past marked by Roman and French occupations. Stroll by the serene Tamega River and enjoy peaceful park scenery. Drop by the Amadeo de Souza Cardoso Museum, which you’re welcome to revisit post-tour. Enjoy a leisurely guided walk through Amarante sipping coffee or tea.

Go on a walking tour of Amarante

3. Wine Safari in the Vinho Verde Region

Begin your adventure in Porto in a classic Land Rover bound for Amarante, the heart of the Vinho Verde wine region. Known for its crisp and refreshing wines, this area is especially popular during the summer months. Following a brief coffee break, venture through the gorgeous scenery to a vineyard where you’ll sample three distinct wines. Relax and enjoy a carefully prepared picnic featuring top-notch, local produce amidst the vineyard’s picturesque setting.

Go on a wine safari in the Vinho Verde region with a stop in Amarante

Things to Do in Amarante

1. Walk over the Ponte de Sāo Gonçalo and explore the Sāo Gonçalo Church

The Ponte de São Gonçalo and the Igreja de São Gonçalo are central to Amarante’s identity and history. The original Ponte de São Gonçalo bridge was constructed in the 13th century but was destroyed by a flood in 1763.

A new bridge made of granite was erected in its place in 1790. This bridge became a battleground during the Peninsula War in 1809, when Portuguese and French forces clashed. Today, a commemorative plaque at the bridge’s southeastern end honors the memory of this battle.

Nearby, the São Gonçalo Church and Convent is undoubtedly the crown jewel of Amarante. Standing out with its impressive red dome, it is prominently visible against the town’s skyline and boasts a strategic position above the bridge. Started by Dom João III in 1540, the construction spanned over four decades.

Adjacent to the monastery, a splendid Mannerist portal adorned with tall niches showcases granite statues from the 17th century. Foreground figures include St. Francis and St. Domingos de Gusmão, while St. Gonçalo, St. Peter the Martyr, and St. Thomas Aquinas grace the background, all under the watchful eye of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Iglesia de San Pedro de Amarante, albolm911, Flickr

Atop this ensemble sits the royal emblem. São Gonçalo, the town’s guardian saint known for helping single women with finding husbands, has his limestone sarcophagus within the monastery. Legend has it that touching the tomb could bring marriage more quickly.

Over time, the saint’s effigy has been smoothed by countless hopefuls seeking love. Additionally, the church’s interior houses the Santa Rita Cássia chapel, featuring a gold-leafed wooden altar and an exquisite 18th-century organ, upheld by three golden, bearded mythological figures.

Ponte de São Gonçalo, Vítor Ribeiro, Flickr

2. Relax at the Parque Florestal de Amarante

The Parque Florestal is a beautiful escape within the city and offers a verdant landscape ideal for relaxation and recreation. This park, with its well-maintained trails, is perfect for a leisurely walk, jog, or picnic. It has a peaceful ambiance and is a favorite spot for nature lovers and families. The playgrounds and open spaces are particularly popular among children.

Parque Florestal, Amarante, nmmacedo, Flickr

3. Enjoy a wine tasting tour in the Vinho Verde region

Amarante lies in the heart of the Vinho Verde wine region known for its unique green wines. Visitors can try a number of wine tastings to explore local vineyards and learn about the wine-making process. These tours often include visits to historic wineries and often include a boat cruise in the world-famous Douro Valley.

White wine, Iva Mananquil, Flickr

4. Experience the thrill of water sports on the Tâmega River and cool off at Amarante Water Park

The Tâmega River, with its clear waters and natural beauty, is an ideal spot for water sports enthusiasts. Activities like kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding are popular here, offering a fun and adventurous way to explore the river’s surroundings. The river’s varying currents cater to both beginners and experienced adventurers, making it a great destination for a day of aquatic fun.

The Amarante Water Park is a 15-minute drive from the center of Amarante. You will find various types of water slides along with toboggans and swimming pools for adults and children.

Amarante Water Park, Ana Matias, Flickr

5. Discover the art of Amarante at the Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso Museum

Dedicated to the renowned Portuguese painter Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, this museum showcases an impressive collection of his works, along with pieces by other contemporary artists.

Located in a historic building, the museum caters to lovers of both art and architecture. Its exhibitions provide insight into the modernist movement in Portugal and Amarante’s contribution to the arts. Please note that the museum is closed for lunch every day from 12:30 pm – 2 pm, with admission closing at 12:00 pm for the break.

Untitled (c.1913) – Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, Pedro Ribeiro Simões, Flickr

Where to Eat in Amarante

Amarante offers a diverse and rich culinary landscape that reflects the town’s deep cultural heritage and its location in the fertile Douro region. Visitors to Amarante can indulge in various dining experiences, from traditional Portuguese cuisine, showcasing local specialties such as Vinho Verde and succulent meats, to more international offerings such as pizza.

The town’s charming riverside provides a gorgeous backdrop to its array of eateries, ranging from cozy, family-run taverns to upscale, gourmet restaurants. This variety ensures that Amarante caters to all tastes and preferences, making it a gastronomic destination worth exploring. Don’t miss its unique local conventual sweets and, if you dare, one of its phallic pastries.

Here are our 5 favorite restaurants in Amarante.

1. Casa Herédio

Casa Herédio stands out as a restaurant with one of Amarante’s most beautiful locations with fantastic views of the Tâmega River. The main courses here are not very big and are served tapas style.

Try the queijo no forno or the suckling pig sandwich. There are balcony seats facing either the church and the square or the river and both options really capture the feeling of the town while you are enjoying delicious food. Wash it all down with a glass of Vinho Verde, which this region is famous for. Lunch on the weekends can get crowded so please try to arrive early or book ahead. 

Expect to spend around €50 for a meal for two, but the exceptional location and service justify the price.

2. Taberna do Coelho

Taberna do Coelho is a quick 7-minute drive from the center of Amarante and the standout dish here by far is the cabrito assado no forno (oven-roasted goat). Feijoada is another favorite, which is a stew of beans with beef and pork.

Dishes are served in traditional clay cookware and meat is usually roasted along with potatoes, a Portuguese classic. Keep in mind that Taberna do Coelho is only open Friday, Saturday, and to Sunday until lunchtime so plan accordingly if you’d like to visit this charming restaurant. A meal for two here averages about €60.

3. Pobre Telo

Despite the name, this restaurant offers a rich dining experience with easy parking nearby and another gorgeous location where the elegant and the rustic merge. You will feel like royalty when you walk through these doors and your stomach will feel the same as you treat it to traditional Portuguese served with flair.

Try the octopus, cod, and veal steak. Be sure to finish off your meal with traditional sweets from Amarante (see the next two places on our list). Service can sometimes be a little slow, but relaxing in this sumptuous environment makes up for the wait. Prices are higher (around €75 for two), but the culinary experience is unparalleled.

4. Confeitaria da Ponte

Confeitaria da Ponte, near the iconic São Gonçalo Bridge, is the perfect spot for a casual meal or a refreshing drink. Known for its friendly atmosphere, it serves a wide range of snacks, sandwiches, pastries, and excellent coffee. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the scenic view of the Tâmega River. Take the opportunity here to try local sweets such as the Papos de Anjo (translated as “angel’s double-chin), a traditional Portuguese conventual sweet made from whipped egg yolks, baked, and then boiled in sugar syrup.

You can also find Lérias, small sweets made from egg yolks, almonds, and sugar. Finally, look for the Brisas do Tâmega, stuffed with almond kernels and egg jam. So much goodness in one charming place. Depending on how many sweets you go for, you may end up spending as much as €10 per person if you also add in a coffee.

Sweets from Amarante, Photo by Becky Gillespie

5. Doçaria Mário

Sweets, sweets, and more sweets. If Confeitaria da Ponte isn’t enough for you, make another sugar stop at Doçaria Mario. With lovely wooden interiors and an incredible view of the river including a generous terrace, time slows down to the pace of the river here and you may find yourself ordering a second coffee as you forget about the busy life in Portugal’s larger cities.

The previously mentioned Confeitaria da Ponte is a common stop for tour groups coming through the area so you may want to come here to avoid the crowds. Prices here are a bit high and you can expect to pay about €10 per person here with coffee, but you may find that it’s worth it for the exquisite location.

Getting around in Amarante

Renting a car in Amarante offers flexibility to explore this picturesque city and its surroundings. Amarante is less congested than Porto or Braga, making driving enjoyable.

Prices vary, starting from approximately 20 euros per day, depending on the car model and rental duration. Booking in advance online can secure better deals and ensure availability. Amarante’s roads are well-maintained, offering a smooth driving experience through its scenic landscapes.

Once in Amarante, a car allows easy access to local attractions such as the São Gonçalo Church and the Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso Museum. Parking is readily available in the city center and near major tourist spots. For those planning to explore the Douro Valley or the smaller towns in the region, a car is invaluable for flexibility and convenience.

Rent a Car in Porto

If you are staying near Porto in northern Portugal, then you can book this tour to the Douro Valley that stops in Amarante on the way for €89.10. This tour gives you a more premium small group option that includes visits to two prestigious wine estates paired with a 3-course lunch starting at €130. There is also another tour of Amarante itself exploring the art and gastronomy for €75.

Final Thoughts

Amarante, Portugal, captivated me from my very first visit, which I first visited on a tour of the Douro Valley. From the moment I emerged from the car, I marveled at the beauty of the city and how it had preserved its historic charm. Except for the tourists who get dropped off for 30-minute stops on their Douro Valley tours, the town is still relatively undiscovered by tourists. 

The city’s compact size makes it perfect for visiting its historic sites or quickly disappearing into the leafy parks beyond its center or the Marão Mountains beyond. Its narrow streets, flanked by traditional houses and cafes, lead to delightful discoveries at every turn. Amarante’s culinary scene is a celebration of Portuguese cuisine, with local pastries and wines that are a must-try for any visitor.

The best time to visit Amarante for a first-timer is the first weekend in June for the Festival of São Gonçalo, one of Portugal’s most bizarre and colorful festivals. This is when young and unmarried couples exchange phallic-shaped cakes known as Bolos de Sāo Gonçalo. Some of these cakes sold in the market stalls can reach up to one foot in length (most impressive indeed).

The scene is unique, featuring phallus-shaped flags and church group parades. Local grandmothers sell home-baked willy cakes in various sizes. When the clock strikes midnight on the second day of the festival, the people of Amarante are treated to a spectacular fireworks display.

Phallic cake from Amarante, Will Richards, Flickr

In conclusion, Amarante is a destination that deserves more than a fleeting visit. If you’re drawn to places where arriving feels like stepping back in time to a place with its own distinct culture surrounded by nature, Amarante will surely enchant you.

If you would like to check out some other towns nearby, visit Porto, Braga, or Guimarāes.

⬇️Please share your favorite activities and things to do in Amarante in the comments below ⬇️

New contactless Portuguese citizen card coming in June


The new contactless citizen card will start being issued on June 10, 2024. The new European card will be safer than the previous one, and in the future, it might be used as an electronic ticket for concerts and shows.

The software, developed by three Portuguese public entities, will enable the European citizen card to have more functionalities, including from the private sphere. In fact, at the moment, the possibility of using it for public transportation is also being worked on. Notwithstanding, there is no release date for these more advanced features.

Even though it was announced in 2023, the new card will only start being issued in June. It will be a soft release, so there won’t be a massive shift all of a sudden. New documents will have the new technology, and old documents will be replaced as they expire.

The day, June 10th, is the day of Camões, Portugal, and the Portuguese Communities. Symbolically, it was chosen for the release of this new identification mechanism.

This modernization came as a result of European regulation. The regulation mandates the modernization of the citizen card services, and will also lead to the upgrade of the public biometric kiosks. When it comes to funding, it will also rely on the funds of the recuperation and resilience plan (PRR).

Moreover, the new technology will also enable the citizen card system and the passport system to exist. Both will be able to be seen simultaneously.

It is relevant to note that since 2021, it has been possible to renew the citizen card online instead of needing to go physically to the public entities and wait. Also, the citizen card became free for babies last summer.

Apart from the technology, the design will also change considerably. The chip will be on the back, the text and the picture will be bigger, and it will have Portuguese patterns as background decoration.