Indulging in the Sweet Red Wines of Portugal

Indulging in the Sweet Red Wines of Portugal!

It was kind of embarrassing that I had never been to Portugal before. The few Portuguese friends I happened to make while living in New York would inevitably ask if I’d visited the country upon learning that I had traveled around Europe pretty extensively, and I was always ashamed to tell them I’d never ventured that far west on the Iberian Peninsula.

It was shameful.

I had studied abroad in Spain, venturing south to its many famous coastal towns, but if I were a real traveler I would have gone to the Basque country or even over to the lesser-visited country of Portugal.

Perhaps it was for the best that I spent most of travels as a young 20-something elsewhere: tasting the best beer in Europe by living in Prague, for instance, before I’d developed more sophisticated taste buds and learned to appreciate wine.

It turns out that I was just saving Portugal for when I was really ready for all it had to offer.

I didn’t realize I could love sweet red wine as much as I did, but I fell in love with Port wine and promised myself to keep exploring the tastes of Porto even after the vacation ended.

Having talked my best friend into traveling after she graduated from her master’s program, I figured I might as well take part in the adventure. We met in Milan after both traveling solo and went off from there. We had considered going to Greece or Croatia because of their centrality but decided against those plans (she’d already been to Greece, and we figured Croatia would be packed with tourists). We wanted to go to the beach, drink wine, and relax. In fact, we also wanted to go somewhere neither of us had been before.

Indulging in the Sweet Red Wines of Portugal

Portugal rose up from the collection of possibilities, catching our imagination and promising a relaxing locale with lots of delicious wine. So we went.

It did not disappoint. We stayed in Airbnbs the whole time, taking advantage of having a local tour guide and making new friends in every city. Our first stop was Porto, where we planned to go on wine tours and cruise around the Douro river between feasts of seafood and pão de queijo. I didn’t realize I could love sweet red wine as much as I did, but I fell in love with Port wine and promised myself to keep exploring the tastes of Porto even after the vacation ended. (It’s pretty easy to find Port wine: Tesco has several great brands to choose from.)

Indulging in the Sweet Red Wines of Portugal

We took a 10-euro bus down to Nazare, where we lounged on the beach for a few days, subsisting on cherries and ice cream. In Cascais we roamed the city streets, sampling the cuisine of local restaurants before settling down for the evenings in pubs-cum-dance clubs. We ended the trip in Lisbon, marching up and down its hills and taking in its many vistas.

Portugal has so much to offer, far beyond being a haven for traveling surfers. To get a little taste of the country without putting a dent in your bank account, I would recommend trying some of the local wine. Take it outside, enjoy the evening, and relax with a glass of Port in hand. Soon enough, you’ll be able to hear the ocean waves yourself.

Indulging in the Sweet Red Wines of Portugal

Indulging in the Sweet Red Wines of Portugal photo credits: Jessica Shen.

Have you traveled to Porto, Portugal? How was your trip? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

About Lauren Krzyzostaniak

Lauren KrzyzostaniakLauren Krzyzostaniak lives in New York, where she works as a freelance writer. Find her online and follow her on Twitter.

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