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Detours Gay Tours Blog

Gay Travel Guide: Portugal

  • Brandon Folkes
  • Sep 7, 2022

Fast Facts:

  • Capital City – Lisbon
  • Population of Portugal – 10.31 Million (2020)
  • Official Language – Portuguese
  • Official Currency – Euro

Portugal offers the perfect blend of culture, landscapes and rich history. As Europe's most western nation, you will find it is a relatively liberal country with strong LGBTQ+ communities in both it’s major city centers; Porto and Lisbon. From its bustling culinary and nightlife scene in Lisbon to the hip and trendy city center of Porto, it won't be hard to find things to see or do while spending your time in this exciting country.

See the intricate and colorful tiled buildings that line the streets of Porto. Wander through the beautiful terraced valleys of the Douro Valley and try some of its world class wines. Explore the rolling hills of the many districts of Lisbon (especially Alfama where the music style ‘Fado’ was born). Go further south and sunbathe on the famous beaches of Lagos with its naturally made rock archways and warm waters. It will be easy to see why Portugal is a place where millions of people visit every year. 

If you like food (as most do) Portugal is a culinary aficionados dream… Especially if you like seafood. Bacalhau (salted cod) is the county’s national food dish which can be prepared in over a hundred different ways! Everything from fishcakes, sardines, Iberian pork and, of course, Porto’s own special dish – Francesinha (a meat sandwich covered in cheese). Finish your delicious meal with a glass of port or a ‘bica’ and ‘nata’ (Portuguese coffee and an egg cream dessert). There are no shortages of delicious quick eats or exquisite Michelin-star restaurants to get the top culinary experience Portugal has to offer.

Portugal will have you feeling like you are home. From the warmth of its people to its deep history and unique architecture, you will always have much to explore in this beautiful European Atlantic nation.

Top 3 Highlights:

  • Explore the Douro Valley and try world class wines.
  • See a traditional Fado show.
  • Ride the famous Tram 28 in Lisbon.

Top 3 Restaurants:

  • Brasão Coliseu – Porto, Portugal – This beautiful restaurant brings you some of the most modern twists on traditional Portuguese food, with a hip and trendy atmosphere.
  • La Paparrucha – Lisbon, Portugal – This Argentinian restaurant brings some of the best views in the city with high cut steaks and warm atmosphere. The patio is a must see.
  • Time Out Market Lisboa – Lisbon, Portugal– Not a restaurant but one of the more unique and exciting culinary spots in the city. This city market houses some of the best local foods created by the top chef’s in all of Portugal! It’s a popular spot, so we recommend securing a spot to sit before ordering.

Top 3 Bars:

  • The Royal Cocktail Club – high end award winning cocktail bar in Porto.
  • Café Lusitano – busy gay bar/restaurant in Porto with drag shows.
  • Trumps – Two story gay club in Lisbon with multiple dance floors.

Top 3 Optional Activities:

  • Day trip to Sintra – A beautiful trip to a UNESCO Heritage protected town and a visit to Peña Palace.
  • See a traditional Fado show – See an emotional performance of Lisbon’s unique and UNESCO protected music style - Fado.
  • World of Wine Museum – Visit this museum and learn all about the history of Portugeuse wine making and why they are world famous.

The Best Time to Visit

Our favorite time to visit Portugal is in March/April and October. You will find that the weather is usually warm and sunny without the high heat in the middle of summer or cold of winter.  You'll also find fewer tourists crowding the streets as the height of tourist season is over, which means more time to enjoy your destinations without dealing with a high level of crowds.

A Couple Books:

  • 300 Days of Sun -  Deborah Lawrenson
  • Night Train to Lisbon - Pascal Mercier

A Couple Movies:

  • Lisbon Story (Drama)
  • Our Beloved Month of August (Romance)

"Must Try" Local Cuisine:

  • Bacalhau (salted cod)
  • Francesinha (meat sandwich with cheese)
  • Canned Sardines