Wine Tasting (For Less) in Portugal
Portugal doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves as a culinary and wine destination. In Western Europe, it’s often overlooked for Spain, Italy, and France. But what many people don’t realize is that wine-lovers – especially those on a smaller budget – should be flocking here in droves. Portugal is one of the cheapest destinations for wine tasting, producing a diverse array of quality wines all over the country.
Thanks to a struggling economy and a lower cost of living, travel in Portugal is relatively cheap. If you can find cheap flights to Lisbon or Porto (check flights to Madrid and then look for a low cost flight to Portugal) you can get by a pretty small budget. Hostels in major cities can be had for under 20 euros per night, while mid-range hotels are available for around 70 euros per night. Prices in off season and in smaller towns can even be less. Public transport in the cities is excellent and cheap, and the rain network efficiently connects many of the smaller towns with Lisbon and Porto, making it easy to plan a wine tasting trip to some of the smaller regions even without a rental car.
Though Portugal deserves its own trip, many people choose to add it as a side-trip to Spain. The flight from Madrid to Porto or Lisbon is only an hour and can cost as little as 40 euros each way, so you can jaunt into the country even for just a long weekend if you like. There’s also a 10 hour train from Madrid to Lisbon; getting from Seville to Lisbon takes about seven hours on an overnight train.
From the vinho verde wines produced in the northern Douro region to the ports of Porto to the moscatels of Setúbal to the Alentejo wines of southern Portugal, the wines of Portugal are gaining notoriety for their quality as quickly as Portugal is gaining recognition as a world-class wine tourism destination. In other words, the secret is out, and this low-cost, low-crowd destination won’t remain so for long.