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Alminhas restaurant Tomar

Alminhas Restaurant Tomar is one of the nicest restaurants in Tomar, very much loved by locals and internationally known and appreciated.

The kitchen offers many culinary adventures alongside the more traditional Portuguese choices. The menu is varied offering always a good choice of meat dishes, fish dishes and vegetarian dishes.
The menu changes daily which makes it a great restaurant for repeat visits and everyday will be a special experience,

We were suggested this restaurant by just about anybody we asked for the best restaurants in Tomar and who had eaten here and the many times we wanted to try it during the busy summer months it was full.
Reservation is suggested especially for the weekends and lunch time.

The decoration is classical and fits very well the building that houses it. The color scheme is very pleasant and much less bright than most Portuguese restaurants concentrating on creme coloured walls and soft yellow lighting, comfortable seating and a literary touch make this restaurant unique and a dining experience worth waiting for.

When the restaurant is full there is a very pleasant waiting area at the front, where you may try the typical Portuguese drink, Moscatel and read from a selection of books and magazines.

All in all one of our favourite suggestions in Tomar.

Restaurant Alminhas is in the same street as the old Jewish synagogue behind a somewhat subdued entrance but a very noticeable logo!

 

Sopa da Pedra and other culinary greats, Almeirim

almeirim

Sopa da Pedra or Stone soup originated in the town of Almeirim roughly 10 km from Santarem close to the Tagus river and in the wine region of Ribatejo – Central Portugal. Due to it’s fame that can be thanked to the Soup and the many restaurants that offer it, Almeirim has become a culinary centre for regional food incorporating some of the best restaurants in Central Portugal!

Portugal is one of the countries in Europe that got hit the hardest by the bank crisis. Crisis appears to have the tendency to make people contemplate the past and seemingly it causes them to hang stronger on old traditions. Even though driving around Portugal and living in Portugal doesn’t feel like crisis, there is some obvious introspection and solidarity among the people that is becoming more evident throughout the whole society and its bringing old stories back to life and into relevance.

Sopa da Pedra is the Portuguese version of a story that exists for a very long time and has many versions coming from many parts of Europe.

Sopa da Pedra is the story of stone soup. In Portugal The story’s lead role is taken up by a monk. This monk travels to the village of Almeirim with a pan and asks people for a donation for the poor. The people ignore him and are not willing to supply, having too much poverty themselves.

He than goes to the border of the village and picks up a stone, he fills the pan with water and the cleanly scrubbed, round edged stone. He starts up a fire and puts his ‘soup’ to boil.

The villagers pass and they are curious and  ask him “what are you making?” He replies ‘stone soup’ so puzzled by his answer, they ask ‘is it good?
He replies ‘yes it’s quiet good but it’s missing something. It could do with some potato, so the passing villager doesn’t mind to give some potatoes and he gets them from his field.
Another villager passes and asks the same questions, the monk replies, “it’s delicious but to get the real flavour it needs some typically home made Chourico”, this villager also doesn’t mind to go home and get a bit of Chourico. The monk keeps this up the entire night, talking to the villagers and getting them to part with a small part of their produce while the soup cooks steadily and gains more and more ingredients and taste.

When the soup is fully filled, ready  and tasty, he removes the stone and invites all the villagers to share in this amazing delicacy. The people unanimously claim they’ve never tasted anything better!.

Almeirim is the Portuguese origin or ‘home town’ of this delicious and nutritious soup that has many varying and different recipes. Most consist at least of potato and beans in Almeirim it generally comes with three types of meat. Farinheira sausage, pigs ear and Portuguese Chourico.
Because of it’s culinary past, Almeirim has become a real melting pot for traditional cuisine and some amazing restaurants. mostly concentrated on a busy ‘dining out’ stretch close to wine producing cooperative of Almeirim and the old bull fighting ring.
Almeirim is a small wine producing town close to Santarem, the wine that made it famous is the wine of the quinta da Alorna, it’s a busy town that unlike most Ribatejan towns still bustles at night.

Their is an unexpected multitude of successful and gorgeous restaurants here, they all serve ‘sopa da Pedra’ and their own regional specialities. The restaurants are very busy and it’s a lively dining experience known by most Portuguese but not yet discovered by tourists!

Soon we will be adding some of the best restaurants in Almeirim on Go Discover Portugal

Piri Piri Restaurant Tomar

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Piri Piri restaurant Tomar was a restaurant suggested to Go Discover Portugal by locals and after reading Tripadviser and seeing mainly good feedback, we decided to visit this restaurant.

The outside looks a little touristy and the name restaurant snack bar can be confusing to many foreigners as snackbar is mostly seen as a place to by fast food or chips abroad, in Portugal however it has a different meaning and snackbar are mainly restaurants that serves daily changing dishes at low prices.
Piri Piri offers both a menu and cheaper daily dishes.

Piri Piri is a popular restaurant and inside decor, menu, ambiance and food make it a really nice place ot eat in Tomar.
The menu is very varied but as the name states, the restaurant has been famous for the past 30 years for it’s Piri Piri chicken. Other dishes on the menu are garlic fried shrimps, Regional and traditional dishes like bacalhua and a vegetarian dish consisting of scrambled egg with the regional dish Migas.

Piri Piri Restaurant Tomar offers the best Piri Piri chicken in the region!

Prices are very reasonable for some daily dishes as low as 6 or 7 euro for a half dish (1 person).

Piri Piri also has a nice range of wines.

The food is made a la carte with great care, this is not a fast food restaurant.
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Vacation Portugal

Portugal is a country with an impressive past and an assured future as a tourist destination with a potential that finds few equals anywhere in the world find the perfect vacation Portugal with us!

 Penela castle Vacation Portugal Central

Portugal has one of the most diverse landscapes, climates and history and its diversity is concentrated on a relatively small area span of 92,212 km2 or 35,603 sq miles.

Once it was a remote and inaccessible country due to poor infrastructures and failing public transports.

Nowadays thanks to the large investments in the recovery of roads and the building of new highways in the last few years, a good and affordable public transport network, cheaper flights to the 3 main airports of Portugal and affordable car rent, it has become both the perfect place for short breaks or long luxurious, relaxing or innovative holidays and just plain happy, all-round ‘vacation Portugal’.

Cascais beach vacation Portugal

Portugal is the smaller, greener part of the Iberian peninsula and it’s the most south western point of Europe bordered by Spain to the east and North and surrounded by the Atlantic ocean to the west and south.

Portugal is a country with a rich historic past that reaches beyond the prosperous Roman settlers who’s many sites we can still view today.

The Roman towns, in certain cases, where most certainly built on top of the remains of the older cultures that inhabited Portugal such as the Lusitan people, who where an Indo-European people closely related to the celts, other than that there where celts from different tribes the celts who where originally from Galicia and the Celtici a tribe that inhabited some parts of the central and south of the Iberian peninsula and the Cynetes a southern Iberian civilization, that in Portugal lived mainly in the Algarve region.
On some of the mountains we can still find many marks of these peoples almost untouched.

Tomar Vacation Portugal

The Roman period which came later was bridged by the Moorish invasion which lasted 700 years and it ended with the ‘reconquista’ or reconquering of Portugal, which happened in phases starting with the south and moving upward to the more Northern parts of Central Portugal and the ascent of it’s large Christian heritage that followed when it became a country loose from Spain and the Moorish occupation.
It has always been a country of many cultures that over time have co-existed peacefully in some periods and in other periods led to clashes, wars and expulsions.

The main expulsions in Portugal involved it’s many Jewish citizens in the 15 century, who have helped build a large part of the medieval heritage and gladly they also left monuments that explain their lifestyles and haven’t been destroyed or decayed and the Moorish who even-though they occupied Portugal, they where not always seen as the enemy and they marked much of their culture onto the Portuguese street plans, architecture and language enriching the country in many ways.

As the Jews, the Moors where ex-pulsed in medieval Portugal if they refused to convert to Christianity but their cultures have mixed and are still evident in modern Portugal.

Through the countries natural resources, it’s many wars and victories and its important role as a colonizer during the colonization period, it had gained many riches.

The countries surprising amount of impressive historical buildings, it’s advanced historical city planning and architectural heritage give clear and well preserved evidence of its past, as do the many artefacts, archaeological finds and more recent remaining art of the last millennium.

The modern inhabitants have a more recent history of dictatorship until 1972 and the current crisis which is leaving new marks on the country but it’s current state is that of any other modern country in Europe.

Portugal’s landscapes are as diverse, rich and changeable as its history, from rocky mountains to green lush plains, from rivers, lakes and sea beaches to it’s vineyards, fruit orchards, wildlife and abundant underwater diving paradises. It’s a country that can cater for all.

Portugal has been attracting tourists for many years but the last few years tourism has grown at a fast pace concentrated mainly around it’s capital, Lisbon and the more Southern beach province the Algarve.

Lisbon an old city with a long and rich history has grown to be a modern metropolis full of young and innovative people local and international, a generation that stands loose of Portugal’s relatively recent dictatorship past that are doing interesting things to help generate and accommodate a modern tourist market.

Lisbon city can play with the imagination of any romantic as it has amazing views over the Tagus river from different settings on any of it’s seven hills and it’s visually enticing, much mixed historical melting pot of architectural styles.

The older generations and younger generations cater fully to the traditional heritage which is still there and abundant.

To the south vacation in Portugal are mainly taken in its province, the Algarve, a province of beaches once covered with traditional fishing boats now a popular paradise for beach and sun loving re-creationists.

Go Discover Portugal Vacation Portugal

Both areas are fantastic and each has it’s own character and diversity.

Lisbon is a fast growing city that ranks high as favourite European city for city breaks or short vacations. It has a large range of hotels from budget to very luxurious, a multitude of great restaurants and many cultural and historical points of interest. Its a city build on seven hills with the best views you could get in any city, anywhere.

The Algarve has the cleanest sea beaches in Europe, many resorts and a great climate with almost a 100% guarantee of sun from may to October, nowadays busy in the holiday months, but there are still many great unvisited places to be found.

But both these fantastic places that have made Portugal famous in the modern travel market are just small parts of the huge diversity that Portugal has to offer this makes it one of the best countries for vacationing and Discovery in Europe, because there is still so much more!

Our site will cover the entire country and each area famous or yet unknown has its own uniqueness and charm and we’ll help you find it.

To find the perfect vacation in Portugal, first of all you will need to know what your interest are.

Portugal is famous for it’s beaches, lakes and rivers providing many great summertime activities and beach holidays, the choice is tremendous.

It’s famous for wine and fish. It’s famous for Fado and tradition and all these things are great but that’s just the beginning.

Fishing, horse-riding, sports, parachuting, diving, heavenly country retreats, culinary treats and retreats in noble manor houses or modern resorts.

It’s a country that caters just as well to relaxing, refreshing holidaying or active and even challenging vacations.

Portugal has to much to offer to mention in just one article!

Reasons for visiting or a vacation to Portugal

  • 1. The Climate summers are long and warm and winters mild, wet and short

  • 2. The costs, Portugal is one of the cheapest holiday destinations offering a large range of high class food and accommodation at much lower prices than other European holiday destinations Portugal has a very high price/quality balance

  • 3. It has an old and well preserved history with its many castles, monasteries, museums and historical sites that are unique.

  • 4. It has an incredibly diverse nature and climate on a relatively small area. it’s hot summers can on certain days feel like they could scourge every living thing, generally it’s a short drive to a cooler mountain terrace or a cool dip in some of it’s waters.

  • 5. It’s the greenest and most ‘tropical’ country in Europe and has an abundance off flowers, cactuses, fruit and palms all the year round

  • 6. It’s many music and cultural events and festivals

  • 7. The energetic younger generation that are busily creating a Portugal that also attracts newer generations, just because it’s a really cool place to go.

  • 8. Because you like good food and great wine

Jardim restaurant Tomar

Portugal is a relatively safe country for travelling and it is really home to some of the friendliest people in the world.

Main cities of Portugal

Lisbon The countries capital is currently running for best weekend vacation city and it is literally packed with great places to go and fantastic things to do and see.

lisbon

From the bustling Bairro Alto district to the artistic and traditional old Alfama. The royal area of Belem or the luxurious centre of Chiado.

Lisbon has the most confused and mixed street plan I have seen in a city but nicely spread divided

Long noble avenues, winding medieval streets and modern prestigious architectural magnificence all spread through it’s many different neighbourhoods. the gorgeous Tagus river and the close by beaches of Cascais, Estoril and Carcavellos and Oeiras

Porto is a city with a fast growing tourist market.

porto

It is the second largest city of Portugal with an amazing river bordered on the city side by a unique display of medieval ‘piled’ housing that has unpredictable patterns of many styles and colours built over time as the city grew fuller and space became limited, much how I would expect any European medieval city to have looked and only in Porto this image has remained noticably intact.

Some of the building are so anarchic in design that they look like they could fall down at any given time but they where actually built with utmost and possibly natural precision, so the ones we see today wont and some have been standing for more than 800 years.

It has a beautiful waterfront on the Douro river which is submerged with romantic Port wine boats that make it the view look like an old oil painting on any day, when the tourist boats are not causing to much turbulence in it’s deep dark waters.

Port is what made Porto famous and the boats where used to carry the fortified wines from the port cellars to the rest of Portugal and Europe, once it was ripe enough to be Port.

Coimbra the third largest city now competing with the more northern city of Braga, that is expanding fast but not yet on Go Discover Portugal, so we wont mention to much about it yet.

Coimbra vacation Portugal

Coimbra, however is a still a main city, smaller than the first two but with a long and important history, an incredible culture and I would dare to call it the cultural centre of Portugal as it keeps a cultural feel and atmosphere all year round.

It was once the noble capital of Portugal when Lisbon was impoverished and mainly considered a fisherman’s town, after the foundation of Portugal in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Coimbra houses amongst many other interesting historical points of interest the oldest university of Europe that has been in continues operation since it was established and the university is currently a world heritage site.

The castle, sadly, no longer stands as it was ordered for demolition by the famous Marques de Pombal in the 18th century. But Coimbra still has the only truly Roman Aquaduct in Portugal and it’s prime architectural legacy, the gorgeous Coimbra university build on it’s highest point and of which the oldest buildings are open to the public.

Faro The main city of the Algarve is a nice old fisherman’s town now a tourist haven for shopping, dining and holidaying. But not spoiled or overrun.

Other smaller interesting cities and towns

Tomar home to the impressive world heritage castle the convent of Christ the home of the Portuguese Templars that rises high above the cultural medieval centre of Tomar. Read more about Tomar and find the nicest spots

Tomar vacation Portugal

Sintra

A beautiful mountainous city 30 km from Lisbon that is world heritage the city is busily visited by international and national tourist and houses some of the most amazing monuments of Portugal having been home to its kings for many centuries.

Golega famous for its Lusitano horses, its noble centre, horse farms and wine quinta and its yearly horse fair. Read more about it here

Santarem

Santarem is one of the less visited but more romantic and authentic cities of Portugal. It is 70 km above Lisbon build on high plateau above the Tagus. Its centred around many nice city squares that lead up to it’s highest point the porta do sol where once the old castle stood and still has the old city walls and the amazing views over the Tagus river and the small medieval town of Ribeira de Santarem.

And way too many more very nice places that we will be adding over time! read more about Santarem and find the nicest places to eat

Main beach resorts

The west coast of Portugal worldwide know for it’s high waves and surfing events

The Cascais line the French Riviera in a Portuguese surroundings close to the main city Lisbon and the world heritage city Sintra

Cascais vacation Portugal

The Algarve slowly becoming the Costa Brava of Portugal but still with lots of places to hide, eat cheap and good and what the hell most people love it, it has an airport close to much of it’s better known beaches, high rise to fit all and many budget packages, that fit short, cheap and fast breaks to it’s impressive, modern boulevards and large sandy beaches.

The Algarve also has luxury travel but more on that later or from another site!

Main Lakes and Rivers

The internal Portugal is lesser known but no less great. Portugal has invested greatly in it’s infra structures but less in publicity making the internal Portugal the biggest place for surprise, joy and really spoiled holidays. It’s the best place to find private beaches, the best traditional food, great manor house hotels still authentic, not overrun by tourism and with cleaner and warmer waters than both Cascais and the Algarve.

Castelo do Bode Lake beach Vacation Portugal

The Tagus is the main river in Portugal reaching over 1000km after starting in Spain, much polluted in the past but to the point of not anymore killing its fish, shell fish used to be abundant but is still hard to find. A majestic river, great for canoeing in it’s narrower parts and boat trips in its broader parts and home to the longest European bridge, the Vasco da Gama Bridge with a length of 17,2 km

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The Zezere

one of the nicest, longer rivers in Portugal. It offers great fishing, canoeing, boating and and gorgeous views of the surrounding landscape

Castelo do Bode

One of the lakes caused by the damming of the Zezere, its the second largest lake in Portugal with the strictest anti pollution laws. The water are the cleanest in Portugal and boats are allowed but only those of the least polluting. The water is warm right up to October, it has a wonderful landscape surrounding the lake, nice historical and cultural towns and is all in all one off the most amazing places to have a real swimming, sunbathing, cultural, culinary, active or relaxing vacation, that will make you want to come back for more Portugal vacations!

Main mountains

Serra de Estrella

The highest mountain on the Portuguese mainland. Ancient, rocky home of the Guarda and Viseu districts. In the winter a place where the Portuguese go skiing and throw snow balls in the summer its great for tracking, walking and sightseeing.

As time goes by we will be adding each district and informing you on it’s character, the best places to go and the foods to taste.

We want you to come and have the best possible vacation in Portugal!

Read more about Portuguese history on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Portugal and climate, population and lanscape http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal

Alvora Restaurant, Vale Florido, Tomar

The Alvora restaurant, formely Fatima restaurant, close to Tomar, is in a small village with a very special name, Vale Florido – Flower valley we found it by surprise because some of our friends asked us to go there to see and taste what makes it special.

It’s a restaurant just a few kilometres out of Tomar set in one of the beautiful and unique landscapes you will find around Tomar.

The restaurant is typical Portuguese family restaurant and its one of the better ones, when it comes to traditional food and customer service. It’s a family run business owned and run by a very friendly family in a typically Portuguese setting.
Grape vines and fruit trees all co-existing with a, no longer used car garage.
It’s a restaurant and bar.

A complete meal including drinks and desserts cost roughly 6 – 7 Euro and consists of regional and traditional dishes that are in season as an example of the menu they serve the local Fataca fish, fished in the nearby river or an exceptionally good beef steak or one of it’s most popular dishes, chicken Piri Piri and many  call it Piri Piri Saturday as this is the busiest and most popular day.

They open everyday for lunch and dinner, for groups they prefer a reservation and for Sunday dinner reservations are always required.
The restaurant is not luxurious but it’s very special and if your not looking for candle light ambiance but you really like good food or a traditional extended country meal ambiance this is one of our best suggestions close to Tomar!

A Tijela Restaurant, Golega

A Tijela is a friendly, family run restaurant close to the brand new equestrian centre of Golega and a few minutes walk form the historical centre.

The restaurant is one of our budget finds that offers great family meals at very reasonable prices. Family run, friendly and typically local and as we where eating there we met the owner of another Golega restaurant owner that we already represent having lunch there and he suggested it with full convince.

They have a changing menu with local and national dishes  and a large terrace for warmer days.

The restaurant is a typical Portuguese style lower priced restaurant, with a bar and refreshments area on one side and the  restaurant is divided by a screen on the other.
The restaurant is clean, has a nice light ambiance and decoration and good home cooked traditional Portuguese food.
No smoking inside and plenty of free parking space.

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