Portugal is having a moment, and why shouldn’t it? Mediterranean culture, budget friendly and lovely. Lisbon is in full-on rebirth mode and gets the most attention, but we suggest you have a look at Porto, its second largest city.
This is a town for small hotels and walks by the seaside. Flattered is a 5-room hotel with great ocean views, more like staying in a lovely town home than a hotel. Rosa et al is our favorite hotel, a passion project of a brother architect and sister asset manager in one of Porto’s hippest neighborhoods. A Vida Portuguesa is a tidy shop filled with all manner of traditional and local made goods. Take Uber or a taxi, everything is close by.
For restaurants, try Cantinho do Avillez, the best Portuguese chef in town. Puro 4050 is fantastic Italian food in the old part of the city. The prices everywhere are a bargain compared to most of the rest of Europe.
But if you want to eat in an utterly amazing spot, check out Pritzker Prize-winner Álvaro Siza’s restaurant by the sea: Boa Nova Tea House. Even if you don’t eat there, it’s worth going. This is in the realm of experience you will never forget. A masterful blending of architecture and nature.