Whenever I say I come from Portugal, I immediately see a light in people’s eyes.
Living in a foreign country, I often come across people who have a trip to Portugal on their bucket list or have some amazing memories of their last visit and can’t wait to go back and delve deeper.
It’s not just the country; the Portuguese language seems to fascinate people too. After clearing up some common misconceptions (“No, I’m not from Brazil” and “No, it’s not the same as Spanish”), I’m usually able to have nice long chats about my country and mother tongue.
Given the huge number of Portugal fans out there, I’ve decided to put together a handy list of gift suggestions that will delight the Portugal lover in your life:
A Portuguese Book
Ever since José Saramago was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1998, Portuguese literature has become increasingly popular around the world. It’s now pretty easy to find an example basically anywhere. Besides Saramago, Fernando Pessoa, António Lobo Antunes or Eça de Queirós are just some of the authors whose books have been translated into numerous languages. They can be easily ordered on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or tracked down in your local bookshop.
Pastéis de Nata
Unfortunately, I personally can’t advise anyone on where to get the best Pastéis de Nata, as I’m not a fan (you can’t like everything, right?). But luckily for you and for the Portugal lover in your life, these custard tarts are a huge trend right now so you’ll find them almost anywhere. Just keep trying different versions until you find the best. Be warned, people get addicted! You soon won’t be able to stand the idea of having your espresso without one of these little traditional Portuguese wonders.
A Bottle of Portuguese Wine
Port, Madeira, Douro or Alentejo wine, red, white, muscatel or rosé… There’s quite a selection. If you’re looking for something more original and want to show you’re really taking an interest in Portuguese customs, you can opt for some of our fine liqueurs such as Beirão, a popular Portuguese liqueur produced from exotic herbs. There’s also Ginjinha, a liqueur made from cherry-like ginja berries fermented in brandy.
People often tell me about how on their visits to Portugal they find themselves crying when listening to Fado, despite not understanding a single word of the lyrics. This powerful music genre can be traced back to the 1820s in Lisbon, Portugal, but its roots go way back beyond that. In recent decades there’s been an explosion of new voices and bold experiments with repertory, instrumentation and ways of singing. You might just be lucky enough to have the likes of Mariza or Ana Moura playing a tour date in your home town.
A Romantic Getaway in Lisbon
If the Portugal lover in your life has reached the level where they just won’t stop talking about going to Portugal, you have only one choice: take them there. Luckily for you, low cost airlines fly to Portugal’s main cities from all over Europe on a regular basis. If they’re a true Portugal nerd, you won’t have to plan the itinerary. They’ll already have a clear idea of everything they want to visit. Whilst a long weekend in the capital is enchanting, there’s so much else to see. From Minho to the Algarve, there are countless interesting cities and unmissable tourist spots. Wherever your trip takes you, enjoy.
Drop me a line if you need any help getting the perfect gift for the Portugal lover in your life.
If you try any of the suggestions above, be sure to let me know how it goes!