Aveiro was born from salt, fed with fish, and groomed with sweets. Located close to the Atlantic coast, Aveiro is the second largest city in the center region of Portugal. Historically connected to salt harvesting and fishing, Aveiro is also home to one of the most iconic Portuguese sweets: “ovos moles” (literal translation: soft eggs).
Its history goes back to the 10th century when it was known as “Alavarium et Salinas” meaning literally “a gathering place or preserve of birds and of great salt". Salt indeed defined the region not only economically but also in terms of landscape and ecosystems. Straight-lined ponds populate the river banks and are connected by small channels creating what some refer to as ...continue reading
Located in Southern Portugal, Olhão (pronounced "oll-yow") is known by many as a “cubist village” for its white cubic houses largely influenced by Moorish and 19th century Northern African architecture.
Occupied by Romans until the 4th century, then Arabs later until the 12th century, and even French until the 19th century, Olhão is nevertheless defined mostly by its Moorish influence. With buildings and churches dating as further back in time as the 17th century, one thing is common through its history though: its connection to the sea and fishing.
Olhão is ...continue reading
According to a 14th century romantic tale, two lovers Robert Machim and Anna d’Arfet fled England during the reign of King Edward II of England because their love was forbidden as they came from very different social standings. During their journey, their ship was hit by a storm and the legend says that the two crashed along the coast of an island which some say was Madeira, Portugal. The first recorded settlers found two crosses one with the name Machim so they decided to name that population Machico. Legend or not, Machico is to the day the oldest town in Madeira.
Naming legends aside, the truth seems to be that ...continue reading
For such a small country, Portugal has a pretty long résumé and history. As such there may be some controversy about where the country was actually started. Most nevertheless agree that Guimarães is the birthplace of Portugal.
You see… Portugal was occupied multiple times by different people, including: Celts, Romans, Suevi, Visigoths, and Muslim Moors. With this, the borders of what constituted Portugal changed many times over the last two millennia.
Guimarães is referred to as the “cradle of Portugal”: because it is associated with several key ...continue reading
Many countries around the world have some version of the Easter Bread or Easter Cake. These usually exhibit similar patterns: a crisscrossed shape and whole eggs meant to represent respectively, crucifixion and rebirth. As probably many other countries, Portugal has a legend around its version of the Easter Bread: Folar da Páscoa in Portuguese.
According to the legend, a long time ago in a small Portuguese village, lived a young woman whose main wish was to marry young. Her devoted and persistent prayers to St. Catherine, got her ...continue reading