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With 365 days of cycling possibilities in a year, what was your favorite biking moment or most epic ride so far this year?
If you’ve spent any time exploring the world of cuisine, you probably know that there are few places on earth with as much variety in their food as Portugal. A small country with a big history, this region is home to some of the most amazing dishes from almost every culture and subculture you could imagine.
Whether it’s veggie, beef, pork, fish or chicken, there are so many different types of dishes in Portuguese cuisine that we had to narrow our list down to just ten of the very best ones. Even if you’re not a fan of fish or red meat, these dishes will open your eyes (and your mouth) to a whole new world of tastes and textures.
If you love exploring new flavors and cuisines, then read on for our list of the top 10 best dishes from Portugal you must try!
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Green broth - Kale Soup (Caldo Verde)
I think Portugal is the soup capital of the world. All Portuguese eat soup every day! It's just part of life. If you’re a fan of veggie soups and stews, you’ll love this popular soup dish.
Caldo Verde has been a staple of the Portuguese diet for centuries. The hearty kale soup It became a staple of the national diet during the Great Plague of 1720. When food became scarce, people looked to this dish as a source of nutrients and vitamins to keep them going.
This traditional dish is made from a variety of green vegetables and herbs but, mainly, shredded kale, potatoes, mint, parsley, leeks, and cabbage. The vegetables are cooked in water with a touch of salt and pepper, garlic and a little olive oil, until they’re soft and tender. The result is DELICIOUS!
Codfish Casserole (Bacalhau à Brás)
If you’re a fan of codfish and chips, you’re in for a treat. This traditional Portuguese dish is made from salted codfish shredded and baked in a rich, creamy sauce. The dried cod is first soaked for 24+ hours in water to reconstitute it. It´s then prepared like fresh fish and baked until golden brown.
It's then shredded and served with a rich, creamy sauce made from eggs, milk and a pinch of pepper with a topping of fresh coriander, chopped hard-boiled eggs and a generous helping of Portuguese piri-piri sauce. The salty codfish is accompanied by a crunchy layer of fried potato slices.
Combined with a generous helping of piri-piri sauce, this dish is perfect for lunch or dinner.
Fish Stew (Caldeirada de Peixe)
This traditional Portuguese fish stew is a hearty, heavy dish made from a variety of fish and seafood. Although there are many different recipes for this dish, it’s common for the stew to include a mixture of fish such as squid, clams, fresh mussels, and shrimp.
This fish stew is cooked with potatoes, carrots, onions and parsley in a rich, creamy sauce that gives the dish a unique flavor and texture. Fish Stew is often served with a drizzle of olive oil or sprinkled with a generous helping of paprika.
Cod á Lagareiro (Salted Cod a Lagareiro style)
If you love seafood and are looking for something a little different, this Portuguese dish is one you won’t want to miss. Bacalhaou á Lagareiro Style is a traditional Portuguese dish that’s both simple and delicious.
In this dish, the cod is boiled in water, shredded, mixed with bread and then drizzled with olive oil. It’s then served with slices of toasted bread and a generous sprinkling of chopped parsley and paprika.
This is a great dish to serve as an appetizer at a dinner party or as a meal on its own. It’s simple to make, rich in flavor and full of nutrients. The cod is high in protein and low in calories.
A wonderful hearty, potato-free meal, you’ll love this traditional Portuguese fish and bread stew. This stew is made with a variety of fish, such as codfish, shrimps, clams, and mussels and pieces of bread that are slowly cooked in a rich, flavorful sauce.
This is a great dish to make if you’re looking for something quick, simple, and hearty. Açorda is often eaten as a light meal or a snack, or served as an appetizer at dinner parties and barbecues.
This dish is so popular in Portugal that it’s considered a National Dish. You can find it served at almost any restaurant or bar in Portugal.
Portuguese Piri-Piri Chicken
If you love spicy food, you’ll go crazy for this Portuguese take on a classic dish. The Portuguese Piri-piri Chicken is a popular dish served in many Portuguese-owned restaurants and bars all over the world.
This is a spicy chicken dish made with a variety of spices, including paprika, piri piri and garlic. It’s often served with a side of vegetables, rice or potatoes, and a generous drizzle of olive oil. The Portuguese Piri-Piri Chicken is a quick, easy and cheap dish to make for yourself, family or friends. It’s also a great dish to serve at parties and barbecues.
This one is a wildcard, but if you love sandwiches and want to try a dish that’s as different and delicious as it is decadent and indulgent, the Francesinha is a must-try. This sandwich is so popular in Portugal that it even has its own festival, which celebrates this sandwich and the people who love it.
The Francesinha is made from a variety of meat and seafood, melted cheese, and a special sauce. It’s then baked in a sandwich press to create a delicious and unique texture.
If you’re looking for a fish dish that’s a little different, we think you’ll love the Monkfish Rice. This is a delicious firm scale-less fish often served in rice dishes that are typically enjoyed for family lunches or dinners.
The Monkfish Rice is made from a mixture of monkfish, seafood, and a generous helping of rice. It’s then sloly stewed in a rich tomato sauce, flaboured with bay leaves, white white and a pinch of pepper.
This is a simple, hearty and healthy dish that’s quick and easy to make. It’s a great dish to try if you’re new to Portuguese cuisine or if you’re looking for a new type of fish dish to add to your weekly menu.
Pastel de Nata
Portugal’s most famous treat from the bakery! If you’re a fan of desserts, you won’t want to miss out on this unique little tart. The Pastel de Nata is a traditional Portuguese dessert that’s loved around the world.
This little tart is made from a thick layer of flaky pastry and a rich, creamy filling made from eggs, sugar, and cinnamon. It’s often served with a drizzle of honey and sprinkling of cinnamon.
The Pastel de Nata is a delicious pastry that’s rich in flavor and absolutely delicious! It’s a great treat to end a meal with or to share with friends or family over mid-morning coffee.
So much to try, so little time
Well, there you have it! Our list of the top 10 best dishes from Portugal you must try. If you love spicy food, seafood, and rich, creamy sauces, then you definitely won’t want to miss out on these amazing dishes.
If you love exploring new cuisines and want to try something new and different, then why not plan a trip to Portugal? This amazing country offers visitors a taste of history, culture, and cuisine in every bite.
Cycling in hot weather can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to it. It is important to take precautions to ensure you stay safe and healthy when cycling in hot weather.
There are ways to make your cycling experience much more pleasant even during the hottest months of the year! Keep reading for our top seven tips for how you can keep cool when cycling in hot weather...
Table of Contents
Plan your route
Before you head out for your ride, you might want to make sure you know the route you are planning to take. This can be especially important if the weather is extremely hot.
Make sure that you plan a route that will allow you to find cooler and more shaded areas to ride in. You want to make sure you plan to cycle in an area that will be comfortable to ride during your chosen dates.
If you’re not sure where you can find cycling routes that are cooler, we offer some suggested bike touring routes in Spain and Portugal. There are tons of different maps out there that can help point you in the right direction.
Find a route that tells you areas that are the most suitable for cycling in the heat, and what the best months are for that specific destination.
Dress for hot weather
When riding a bike, it's important to always dress for the weather conditions. If it's warm, then you will find it easier to change into more comfortable and breathable clothes.
Wearing clothes that are too thick or heavy can increase your body temperature and make you feel even hotter than you are. You’ll also be more likely to sweat in heavier clothing, which can be uncomfortable and even dangerous in the heat.
When dressing for hot weather, you want to wear light and loose-fitting clothing. I prefer cotton over synthetic material for very hot cycling conditions. More on that later on.
You also want to wear clothing that has a high level of breathability, which will allow your body to release some of the built-up heat. It can be a good idea to wear fabrics that are designed to wick away sweat and moisture from your body, as this will keep you feeling cooler and drier overall.
Ride at the right time of day
You may feel too hot for comfort during the heat of the day in a place with extreme heat. If you can, try to ride during the early morning or late afternoon hours. This will give you a chance to avoid riding in the heat of the day and it will help keep you a bit cooler.
If you have to ride in the heat of the day, it will be beneficial to find shade as often as you can. That might be a shady forest, an old barn or a shaded part of towns and villages you are cycling through.
Avoid cycling at peak heat and sunlight hours. There is a common misconception that the hottest time occurs during midday, while the coldest time occurs at midnight.
The hottest time of the day usually occurs between 3 pm and 4:30 pm, 3-5 hours after noon (when the sun is at its highest point in the sky), when the radiant heat absorbed by the sun is radiated back out from road surfaces and rocks and the like.
When cycling in hot weather, it’s very important to remember to stay hydrated. You may even feel like you have a lower need for water when compared to riding in cooler weather. However, this is not the case. In fact, you may require more that twice as much water as normal when cycling in hot weather.
You might need to carry additional water with you when cycling in hot weather to avoid dehydration, this is especially ture if you are covering long sections, far from towns or villages, as can happen alongparts of the Camino de Santiago.
Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water before, during, and particularly after your ride.
Drinking smaller quantities more frequently at shorter intervals is more effective than drinking large amounts infrequently.
On very hot days, you will loose more salts through increased sweating, so you must also replenish electrolytes, and often the fastest way to do so is with a good isotonic product.
I prefer adding isotonics to a separate water bottle, either as a powder or tablets. So if you do choose to carry a sports drink, do make sure to drink plenty of plain water as well!
Don’t be afraid to take a break
If you are cycling in hot weather, you may find that you need to take breaks more often than you do when cycling in cooler weather. This is completely normal and you should never feel ashamed or embarrassed to take breaks when you need to!
If you are feeling really hot and dehydrated, you might want to consider taking a break more often than usual and even hold off finishing the ride util later in the day when the temperature has dropped.
There is no shame in stopping for water, food, or to take a break from the heat. If you don’t take breaks when you need to, you could end up passing out and getting seriously hurt. This happens to the best.
Taking breaks when you need to can help you avoid passing out from dehydration or overheating. It can also allow you to start your ride fresh and energized.
Pack for the heat
If you plan to cycle in a place that experience really hot weather, then you pack accordingly, with supplies that can help you stay cool. There are a number of things you can pack in your bag to keep you cool and comfortable when cycling in hot weather, I personally favour cotton over synthetic material for very hot cycling conditions, as it allows sweat and water to evaporate more slowly, prolonging the cooling.
You can check out our brief article on packing for the the Camino, which offers a good outline of what to pack for a bike tour with all weather conditions.
When cycling, you will likely sweat and may even become dehydrated. If you don’t carry a water bottle with you, you may not get the hydration you need and you may start to become overheated.
You can also pack a snack or two in your bag, consider fresh rather that dried fruit for very hot rides. Eating can help to keep your energy and hydration levels up, and it can also help to keep you cool.
Certain foods, such as watermelon and fruits and veggies that hold a lot of water will help hydrate you and help cool you off. Hot days are also great excuses to treat yourself to some gelato - I certainly do!
It's also best to lay off the alcohol during the day, and save up for a post-ride glass of crisp white or green wine, a G&T or an ice cold beer as a reward for you efforts!
While hot weather can be challenging and uncomfortable, it doesn’t have to end your cycling season. With the right precautions, you can easily stay safe and healthy when cycling in hot weather.
The most important thing you can do when cycling in hot weather is to remember to stay hydrated. You can also wear light and loose-fitting clothing, ride in the morning or late afternoon hours, and find shade as often as possible.
Stay cool and comfortable by packing your bag with supplies that can help you stay cool, and don’t be afraid to take a break when you need to.
The Rota Vicentina is one of the most enjoyable cycling routes in western Europe. It combines country roads, small towns and wild Atlantic seascapes with outstanding Portuguese food and hospitality.
Matt Halfmann recently cycled from Setubal to Sagres along the Rota Vicentina and shared his experience in his own words.
Day one, Portugal.
Arrived Lisbon. Special thanks to the charming young couple, originally from São Tome, without whom obtaining a train ticket from the vending machine might’ve taken a bit of time.
Perfect weather. Today’s mission, acclimate to my rental bicycle, which will take from here to Sagres over the next five days.
Portugal day 2:
Nice cycle out to Wine country, lunch in Azeitao. Then cycled (mostly) up, along and down the Arrabida ridge. Great views of the sandy point across the bay that is tomorrow’s starting point.
Realized I would need to find something to do other than biking, eating and drinking, so per Dan Chartrand I sought out the local book seller (not always easy to find).
Dinner, a Setubal specialty choco fritos (fried cuttlefish and chips). No idea the cultural significance of the multicolored dolphin statues or the pigeon boy mural, but made for a nice after dinner walk.
Portugal Day 3:
Started by catching the ferry from Setubal to Troia. 40 mile cycle initially flat through dunes and rice fields with a nice stop to dip the feet in the Atlantic at the lovely beach Praia Comporta, then rolling hills through vineyards and cork trees and finishing with grueling last leg uphill to Santiago da Cacem.
Stretched my legs with a hike up narrow cobblestone streets to the medieval castle. Sorry Pop, no cannons sighted.
Portugal Day 4:
Everything I’d hope for in the cycling trip and more all in one day.
Started with a quick ride up to the Roman ruins of Mirobriga, circa 1-4th century AD. Then an enjoyable , mostly coasting ride downhill to the ocean through rolling hills passing by pastures with Burmese herding goats, big bulls, horses and even a couple windmills.
The last stretch, an idyllic unpaved road leading to Portugal’s equivalent to a lobster on the rocks facing Nubble light, that being arroz linguierao (rice with razor clams in a tomato sauce) and (more of course) fried cuttlefish facing Ilha Do Pessegueiro.
Next a short but amazing ride along the coast, then onward to the next destination, Vila Nova de Milfontes.
But wait, to top it off, tonight‘s accommodations include a shared kitchen stocked with free beer, wine and a cordials bar as well as, get this, homemade chocolate cake in my room
Forgetting to charge the GPS helped to make the decision to “not” for today as a “biking optional” day, so now what to do?
Breakfast (sorry generally trying to not show photos of food but both meals were spectacular). A mix of exploring beaches (a half dozen nestled between the cliffs nearby with all save one offering easy access stairs, paths etc), streets, alleys, hidden gems such as the Italian artist who came to Portugal for a short stay, 25 years ago and is still here, a short paddle board session (thankfully no pictures).
Then retreated to a shaded perch here at the casa to feign reading and totally enjoy an uncharacteristic moment of peace, stillness and pure amusement watching the small birds deftly maneuver the white plaster canyons topped with terracotta tile.
Dinner, bream seasoned with salt and grilled over charcoal, amazing food and setting, and yes, the first realization I am on the WEST coast of Portugal, the sun will set over the sea and that might be worth checking out.
How I met chef Hugo Nascimento
(Yes Ray, this is a best effort at a concise version). Today, another great cycle, country roads, beaches, cliffs etc (pics to follow) GPS works great until reaching the destination, Odeceixe.
Going in circles, long uphill walk over cobblestones, found sign for hotel, where’s lobby, ok #113, another uphill climb, but the sign say Naperon, not Casa Moinha.
Staff acknowledges yea, check in here but not till 4pm (it’s 230). I plunk down in lobby with book and water, and soon nice guy says, I can check you in, cool Nice lady confirms room is ready. I go to room, start googling restaurant options.
One is too fancy, naperon, big time chef Hugo Nascimento, but pic looks a lot like the guy who checked me in, and his nice colleague, yup, his wife.
Suffice it to say, I had the surprise four moments à la carte menu at Naperon, with the chef himself chatting and presenting, spectacular!
Portugal Day 6:
Fairly long cycle from Odeceixe to Sagres (60km), however all paved road. Pic of bike fully loaded.
Kudos to the bike and the travel company, not one hitch the entire trip. More auto traffic, occasionally heavy, but the good news was the two long uphill climbs were gradual, “pedal-able”, and busier sections actually had narrow, but welcome breakdown/bike lanes.
More rolling hills, vineyards citrus trees, windmills! (No bird carcasses at their bases, perhaps Portuguese birds are smarter, or at least smarter than those who post such “news” ).
Much as I wanted to stay ahead of the potential of rain (as it turns out clouds, no rain) I was very conscious this would be the last day of something I’d waited so long for, so took the time to enjoy, occasionally laugh or hoot to myself when out of earshot and “take it all in”.
Arrived in good time, made the trek to the SW tip, then rewarded myself with a local delicacy, a very messy burger, beer and fries at 3 Little Birds (yup named after the Bob Marley song).
Portugal, Day 7, Lagos:
Hands-down the memorable moment was a group kayak trip thru caves, then catching big swells out to and around Ponta da Piedade. In addition more cliff walks, beaches, old city labyrinth streets, amazing cobblestones everywhere, great food etc.
First impression Lagos is bigger, busier, more construction, more touristy (played golf with 3 Scotsmen) less what I thought I was looking for, but as I was walking back after a great meal on my last night, I had a strong feeling, glad I was able to spend three days here, I like this place.
All text and photos © Matt Halfmann
Have you got an interesting bicycle touring story to share? Don't be shy! We would love to hear from you too! You can share you bike touring tales right here.
If you want to tour, but you’re not sure which type of bike is right for you, you’re not alone. Choosing the perfect bike for your trip can be an overwhelming task. There are so many options and variables to consider. Are you looking for a gravel bike, a mountain bike, a hybrid bike, a touring bike, a trekking bike, or a road touring bike?
Read on to understand the differences and make an informed decision on how to pick the right touring bicycle for you!
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How Do You Want to Tour?
Before you start looking at bikes, you’ll want to determine how you want to tour. Do you want to ride long distances? Are you interested in more challenging climbs? Do you want to experience different terrains? Do you want to ride through cities and towns? Or do you want to ride away from main roads on unpaved or gravel roads?
Whether you’re interested in gravel biking, mountain biking, or a hybrid bike, there are specific features to look for depending on what type of bike you’re interested in, and I have tried to break down the differences as clearly as possible below:
Touring bikes are characterized by their more upright riding position, wide rims, and drop, flat, riser or butteryfly handlebars. Usually, such touring bicycles come in men's and women's specific frames. They are most often equipped with wider tires suitable for paved and unpaved roads. Many touring bikes also feature front suspension for a more comfortable ride, and all touring bikes must include mounting points for racks to carry panniers and other accessories.
Although a typical touring bike weighs around 15 kg unloaded, they usually feature a wide range of gears to make cycling on hilly and flat terrain equally accessible. Touring bikes are designed to be versatile and durable, ideally using mid-range componenents which are easy to replace anywhere in the world, which makes them ideal for long-distance touring on mostly paved roads.
Trekking bikes are essentially touring bikes, with a more off road design - and largely a marketing designation. Just like touring bikes, they are designed to provide support for heavy loads, or for riders that want a bike that will be able to handle their camping gear or other supplies.
They have a sturdy frame and wide, mixed surface or off-road tires to handle both paved and unpaved surfaces. Trekking bikes also feature racks and front or rear suspension and usually also include mudguards.
Mountain bikes are designed to ride over a variety of terrain and tackle steeper hills and mountains, thanks to generously low gears. They feature wide rims, knobby tires, and suspension, which improve handling and maneuverability off road and increase the comfort of the off road ride. Mountain bikes are commonly equipped with suspension forks and additionally rear shocks for increased control and smooth riding on uneven surfaces.
Mountain bikes are typically heavier than road or hybrid bikes, but can easily be equipped with pannier racks make great touring bicycles, for comfortable use on all types of terrain from cobbled roads to forest trails, even when fully loaded. This makes them ideal for bike tours with over 50% unpaved roads.
Gravel bikes are specifically designed to ride on unpaved and gravel trails. They are essentially road bikes, with wider, off-road tires and wider handlebars, and a slightly reinforced frame. While gravel bikes are normally slightly heavier than road bikes, they provide a bike that’s perfectly suited for a long-distance ride or for touring on and off paved roads.
Gravel bikes have a wide, low stance for increased stability and the ability to tackle all types of terrain. They feature wider rims, knobby tires, and wide handlebars to reduce vibration and provide a comfortable ride when riding over rough trails. Gravel bikes are normally equipped with more rack and accessory mounting points than road bikes, making them the right choice for riders exploring smoother unpaved roads on their bike tour.
Road Touring Bikes
Road touring bikes, also known simply as “touring bikes”, are essentially road bikes that are configured for bike touring. They often come equipped with slightly wider wheel rims to accomodate wider tires that make long distance cycling more comfortable - and allow for riding on rougher roads if needed.
Road touring bikes feature lightweight, durable frames, and faster rolling tires. They feature drop handlebars, which provide a more sporty riding position, and should also feature heavier-duty disc brakes and derailleurs to handle the rigors of riding with additional cargo on paved roads.
Hybrid bikes are a combination of mountain, road, and gravel bikes. They have a hybrid frame and components, which combine the best qualities of different types of bikes to create the perfect, light touring bike. Hybrid bikes feature a rigid frame and ridgid fork, which aim to reduce weight. They also feature wider rims and mixed surface tires.
Hybrid bikes typically offer a more comfortable upright seated position for long-distance touring, and are ideally suited to paved roads and smoother terrain. We designate our hybrid bikes as "Light touring bikes", and they are popular for their lower weight and comfortable ride.
Choosing the Right Bike for You
To make an informed decision on which bike is best for you, you’ll need to consider where you want to ride and what style of bike touring suits you best. The best way to do this is to think about what type of touring you want to do and what type of bike you think will best suit your needs.
As you consider your options, keep in mind that not all bikes are made for every type of bicycle touring. For example, if you’re interested in riding through cities, you may prefer a road bike or a hybrid, light touring bike. If you’re looking for a bike that’s best for long-distance touring off the beaten track, however, you want to look at mountain or suspension touring bikes instead.
If you're still not sure what bike is best for you, don't worry, we are here to help, so just reach out below!