Lisbon Zoo celebrates 130 years

Lisbon's zoo, the first to open in the Iberian Peninsula, turns 130 years old today, 28th of May, 2014!

It was on this day, 28 May 1884, that the zoo, which now has one of the highest reproduction rates in Europe, first opened to the public.

Located in the center of the city for 130 years, the Lisbon Zoo is an important park where education and amusement is encouraged.

The Zoo has one of the best zoological collections in the world (almost 2000 animals of 300 species) and offers a whole set of attractions where our visitors can have a lot of funny and relaxing moments, but, above all, they leave with the sense of a day well spent.

The main attractions are: Dolphins Bay, Rainbow Park, Cable Car, Reptile House, Children's Farm, Sea-Lions Feeding and Presentation of Birds and Reptiles - all in a Single Ticket! 

To mark the day, the zoo will be offering free entry to anyone who shares its birthday, along with visitor number 130.

Please check here for
opening times and entry costs.

More information about the Lisbon´s Zoo at:


Portugal: Popular Saints’ Festivals

Festas de São João, Porto 
June is the month of celebrations and festivities for the Popular Saints throughout the country on the nights of St. Anthony, St. John and St. Peter.

The main ones are the Festas de Lisboa, on 12 and 13 June, St. Anthony’s day, and in Porto on the night of 23/24 June when St. John is celebrated. These are enormously vivid celebrations, during which the people take to the streets eating, drinking and having fun in the old neighbourhoods, that are bedecked with arches, colourful balloons and the aroma of sweet basil.

In Lisbon, people from every neighbourhood parade down Avenida da Liberdade, filling this major road with colourful characters in costume, folk music, and throngs of spectators. But the crowds and liveliness also fill the narrow back streets, particularly in Alfama, but also Graça, Bica, Mouraria and Madragoa. In the mediaeval squares and alleyways, people eat cabbage soup and grilled sardines, singing and dancing the whole night long. Another highlight is the procession of St. Anthony, which leaves on the 13th from the church of S. António in Alfama, near the Cathedral, where the saint was born in around 1193.

The festivities are just as colourful and lively in Porto, in the more traditional neighbourhoods that include Miragaia, Fontainhas, Ribeira, and Massarelos. But Porto has other habits and customs: the old tradition was for revellers to beat each other on the head with a leek, but now they use plastic hammers; and besides the firework display at midnight on the River Douro in the centre of Porto, people also release colourful hot air balloons into the sky, making one of the most beautiful spectacles in these popular celebrations. For many, the night ends on the beach, to see the sun rise, and some still follow the tradition of taking an early morning dip in the sea.

St. Peter is celebrated on 29 June, also with popular festivals in various parts of the country, such as Sintra and Évora, both on the World Heritage list. Évora, incidentally, has the distinction of celebrating two popular saints, since it has held the St. John Fair since the 16th century, one of the largest in southern Portugal, as well as celebrating the feast of St. Peter as a municipal holiday.

In all these festivals, there is also the tradition of jumping the bonfire and offering your girlfriend or boyfriend pots of aromatic basil, containing four-line verses often speaking of love, especially because these feasts are linked to the summer solstice and ancient fertility rites.

More information at: de Lisboa de São João


Rock in Rio Lisboa 2014

Rock in Rio Lisbon is back next Sunday, 25th of May. Bela Vista Park will host the fifth edition in Lisbon of the world’s biggest music and entertainment festival.

During a 5-day emotion-packed event, Bela Vista Park will be transformed into a veritable “city of rock”, including over 12 hours of performances per day on the various stages. The “World Stage” will host leading names from international music. The “Electronic Tent” will stage sets by leading national and international DJ’s and VJ’s while the “Hot Stage” will hold alternative concerts by top artists and successful, upcoming bands.

In addition to the concerts, families are invited to spend a pleasant day relaxing in the garden areas and enjoying the entertainment activities , including the “Radical Space” - where more adventurous festival-goers can go snowboarding on the real snow track - and the Kids Space offering many children’s activities.

More information at:

2 Porto Bay Hotels in Madeira among the 100 Best Hotels by TUI

Porto Mare Hotel, Madeira
The Cliff Bay hotel and the Porto Mare won the Holly Award– awarded by TUI

This annual prize is awarded to the top 100 hotels around the world. Just six Portuguese hotels received this award.

• Hotel Albergaria Dias (FNC11056)
• Hotel Alisios (FAO16054)
• Hotel Casabela (FAO17011)
• Hotel Madeira Regency Cliff (FNC11022)
• Hotel Porto Mare (FNC11007)
• Hotel The Cliff Bay (FNC11080)

The Hollys reflect the opinion of approximately half a million guests that stayed in around 5 thousand hotels that work with the operator TUI. 

The tour operator awards the hotels that get the best results based on feedback from guest experiences. TUI is one of the world's biggest tour operators. 

The Holly awards distinguishes the best hotels in several countries in Europe as well as in Egypt, Dominican Republic, Maldives, Thailand, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.

Source: Porto Bay Hotels

Algarve Chefs Week: From May 23rd to 30th, 2014

From May 23rd to 30th, the "Algarve Chefs Week" returns to southern Portugal, gathering 8 Executive Chefs from high end restaurants to showcase the very best of this region.

The "Algarve Chefs Week" is back for the 4th edition of a unique gastronomic week, from May 23rd to 30th. This initiative gathers 8 Executive Chefs from high end restaurants based in the best Algarvian hotels for an exclusive event, with menus inspired in the regional rustic gastronomy fundamentals.

During one week, Chefs from 8 luxury hotels will be responsible for developing novel menus, based on the more traditional and rustic flavors of the Algarve, prepared with sublime mastery and originality.

The 4th Edition of the "Algarve Chefs Week" will journey to the roots of the traditional Algarve cuisine with dishes prepared by:

-Chef Andrew McGie - Louro Restaurant, Conrad Algarve;
-Chef Miguel Lourenço - The Olive Tree Restaurant, Hotel Vale d'Oliveiras;
-Chef André Simões Cilantro Restaurant, Hilton Vilamoura;
-Chef Jan Stechemesser - À terra Restaurant, Praia Verde Boutique Hotel;
-Chef Osvalde Silva - O Pescador Restaurant, Sheraton Algarve Hotel
-Chef José Leitão - Moonlight Restaurant, Salgados Grande Hotel;
-Chef Ricardo Ferreira - Pepper's Steakhouse Restaurant, Hotel Tivoli Marina Vilamoura;
-Chef Bruno Rocha - EMO Restaurant, do Hotel Tivoli Victoria.

The "Algarve Chefs Week" official launch took place yesteday, May 22nd, in the arrivals zone at Faro International Airport, where the 8 Executive Chefs will presented some of their creations prepared especially for this culinary event.

The "Algarve Chefs Week 2014" menus will be available from May 23rd to 30th , exclusively for dinner service, from 07h30PM to 10h30PM, in the restaurants from the selected hotels, with the price of 30 € per person, drinks excluded.

For the true lovers of the Algarvian cuisine, in this edition will still be available a passport to access the 8 restaurants of the event. Visitors who complete their culinary journey through 3 of the participating restaurants, will be eligible to draw for a weekend in one of the "Algarve Chefs Week" hosting hotels.

As with the previous edition, the "Algarve Chefs Week 2014" will be supporting the Charity Institution - CASA, Centre for Homeless, with 1 € of the total value of each meal reverting to this institution. This year will also be offered throughout the entire event, 4 covers in each of the restaurants for mailers of this nonprofit association.
Intended not only to guests of the hotels involved, but also to all gastronomy lovers, the "Algarve Chefs Week" is promoting for over 4 editions, the best of the Algarve, by showcasing the traditional products of the region. This edition has the full support of the ERTA (Algarve Regional Entity of Tourism), ANA Airports and Quinta do Barranco Longo.

Source: Algarve Chefs Week website


UEFA Champions Festival in Lisbon

The UEFA Champions Festival brings the excitement of the UEFA Champions League final to the streets of Lisbon.

 UEFA Champions Festival: Running from Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 May

Many activities as football on a mini-pitch, or at skills stations as well as the chance to get close to the most famous trophy in club football and meet some of the game’s top stars. The central Praça do Comércio – also known as Terreiro do Paço – will stage the four-day event, which offers an array of free activities to suit fans and families alike.

During the daytime there will be great things to do and see, not least the famous UEFA Champions League Museum – the travelling exhibit that celebrates the best of the best – while there will be some tremendous events in the evenings, too: on Thursday, the world premiere of the “Champions” movie, and on Friday the Ultimate Champions match where an all-star Portuguese side will take on a selection from the rest of the world.

Gallery: 6 to 25 May

The UEFA Champions Gallery will be another exciting attraction during Champions Week in Lisbon, with the exhibition of over 150 images running from Tuesday 6 to Monday 25 May at the Praça do Município.

The collection tracks the history of Europe’s top club competition all the way back to the first edition of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1955, with photographs of some of the most celebrated figures in football – including Eusébio, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luís Figo and Lionel Messi – going some way to capturing the excitement, despair, euphoria and passion of the UEFA Champions League.

Unseen behind-the-scenes pictures will also offer another perspective on the competition, which gives a stage not just to the great men but also fans that follow their dream into Europe and create legends of their own.

Museum: 6 to 25 May | Sala do Risco, Rua do Arsenal, 21, Lisboa
The UEFA Champions League Museum opens its doors, celebrating the history of the competition. Just one of the highlights is a 2002 UEFA Champions League final ball signed by Zinédine Zidane – who struck an extraordinary goal against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in that match as Real Madrid CF won the trophy for a record ninth time.

Lionel Messi’s boot from the 2009 final in Rome, when he scored in FC Barcelona’s 2-0 victory over Manchester United FC, will also be behind glass, as will a programme from the 1960 final (where Madrid famously beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3), a 2010/11 ball autographed by Raul González (still the competition’s top scorer) and Eusébio’s shirt from the 1963 final.

Ladies first: 22 May | Estádio do Restelo
Lisbon’s Estádio do Restelo, just 5km from the Champions Festival at Praça do Comércio, will stage the2014 UEFA Women’s Champions League final at 19.30 local time on Thursday 22 May.

The 19,300-capacity home of CF Os Belenenses in the Belem district was opened in 1956, and has staged Portuguese internationals as well as providing Italy’s training base at UEFA EURO 2004.

The multi-purpose arena is also a music venue, and after the final and cup ceremony, R&B singer Anselmo Ralph – a judge on Portugal’s The Voice – will perform, with fans given access to the pitch in front of the stage.

The €10 ticket is valid for both the match and the concert and is available from Continente stores across Lisbon while stocks last.

Shuttle buses to Estádio do Restelo from the Champions Festival (Praça do Comércio) will be running from 17.30 on matchnight. Signs will indicate the direction of the bus stops. Spectators are required to be in the stadium 30 minutes before kick-off

More information here and at Visitlisboa website


Visit Lisbon for the final of the UEFA Champions League

Lisbon and the River © ATL
If you're a football fan, don't miss the final of the UEFA Champions League which takes place on 24 May at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon. 

In addition to watching a great sporting spectacle, you'll also have the chance to get to know the Portuguese capital, a city full of light bordered by the river Tagus and the sea.
The Estádio da Luz, home of Sport Lisboa e Benfica, was opened in 2003 in time to host the final and other matches in the UEFA EURO 2004. It’s located in the north of Lisbon, in an area well served by public transport that provides rapid connections to all parts of the city.

If you already have a ticket for the game and have some free time... why not take the opportunity to get to know something of what Lisbon has to offer? By Metro, you can get to Baixa, the heart of the city, in about half an hour, and here you can relax in a terrace on the beautiful Praça do Comércio, right next to the river, or wander through its grid of streets between the old buildings. There’s nothing like climbing up to the São Jorge Castle to enjoy the views, or take the Santa Justa Elevator to reach the other viewpoints such as São Pedro de Alcântara, Graça and Senhora do Monte. Or take a ride on the number 28 tram, and let yourself be astounded by the different perspectives of the houses and the Tagus that you discover around every corner.

If you like to get a feeling for the local culture, visit the typically local neighbourhoods of Alfama or Mouraria and listen to some fado, which has been recognised by UNESCO as “intangible heritage of humanity”. And don’t miss a visit to Belém in the western part of Lisbon, where the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower also enjoy World Heritage status. This area along the river has many other attractions too, such as the National Coach Museum, the Belém Cultural Centre, and some delicious pastries that are an absolute must to taste. And at the opposite end of the city, to the east, is the Parque das Nações, an area that was renovated for Expo ‘98, and which is a fine example of modernity, with squares, gardens and one of the largest oceanariums in Europe.

For shopping, the best stores are between Avenida da Liberdade and Chiado, in Princípe Real and in the shopping centres that can be found throughout the city, of which the largest is Colombo, located right opposite the Estádio da Luz.

We know that’s a lot of suggestions for just one day... so why not stay a few more days? You certainly won't regret it!


Madeira Islands launches new websites

The Madeira Promotion Bureau, a destination marketing organization committed to promoting Madeira Islands, is pleased to unveil its visually-led interactive two new websites: 
Madeira Spas and Active Tourism Madeira.

Madeira Spas
The is part of the Wellness & Spa Project, that Madeira Promotion Bureau has been developing in recent years with a group of affiliates. 

The project comprises 11 hotels, which have joined together to promote the destination as well as their infrastructures, by organizing press visits, participating in fairs, workshops, and developing specific web marketing campaigns.

The creation of the new site aims to raise awareness on the Madeira Spas product and also promote the hotels associated with the project and its Spa offer.

The new brand Madeira Spas was created by the Portuguese agency Ativism, whereas the new site is authored by GuestCentric, presenting a strong commercial design. It is available in Portuguese, English and German, and is planned a French version.

Active Tourism
The Active Tourism is a new project of the responsibility of Madeira Promotion Bureau that joins on the same platform all activities that can be done in the Region, whose services are offered by associated companies.

With the aim to promote the Madeira Archipelago as an active tourism destination, the Bureau created the website  where one can choose from a huge variety of activities, on sea, land or air, indicating the company offering the services.

With simple navigation, intuitive, user-friendly and dynamic, the website includes links to external platforms, Ex: YouTube, acting as an interactive road map to guide people through the island and places, enabling them to discover the variety and offer of the existing activities.

A new brand has also been created that identifies Active tourism and the range of activities associated to it. Both brand and the website were created by the Portuguese agency Ativism.  is available in Portuguese, English and German, and is planned a French version.

Source:  Associação de Promoção da Madeira 


Ready for another edition of 10 Fest Azores?

10 Fest Azores – 10 days, 10 chefs will be a landmark event for all who have the opportunity to visit the Anfiteatro Restaurant between the 19th and 28th of june. During 10 days, 10 chefs will prepare 10 different dinners.

After the success of the first two editions, this gastronomy festival has asserted itself both locally and across borders, and is now among the most relevant in Portugal. Once more the Azores will host, distinguished chefs, sommeliers and barmen from Portugal and various countries both European and North American. For the first time in the history of the festival, more than half of the dinners will be prepared by international Chefs.

It will be a once in a lifetime experience to taste the Azores in 10 extraordinary dinners, prepared by Chefs from Portugal, Spain, France, England, Denmark, USA and Canada.
10 Fest Azores – 10 days, 10 chefs, is an outstanding event that synthesizes the Schools vision for Azorean gastronomy in the XXI century, and it’s relevance to the Region’s tourism. We believe it is essential to give more importance to the enhancement of our products and flavors in a contemporary perspective.

It is in a festive atmosphere that employees and students engage all their dedication and enthusiasm  in an event that is the culmination of the year long team effort of the Anfiteatro Restaurant/Lounge, the School’s training facility.

10 Fest Azores – 10 days, 10 chefs is already a significant part of the training course for the students, concluding an intense and demanding school year, of class participation and project work which the students have been involved.

The EFTH (Escola de Formação Turística e Hoteleira) is now a reference in the Azores, with the School’s  strong investment in youth training and continuing education of current professionals, and has established relevant national and international partnerships, bringing a unique dynamic to the archipelago, with thousands of hours of training in different areas, taught by some of the best Portuguese professionals.

In addition, the School has also developed numerous activities such as workshops, consultancies and gastronomic events in almost all the islands of the archipelago, a collaborative effort with several  organizations and business associations.

The EFTH is also a strategic partner in promoting the region, having performed in recent years several projects in Portugal and abroad in close cooperation with the Azores Tourism and SATA.

The School aims to continue to lead a movement to bring a modern approach to the Azorean gastronomy, through the involvement of youth, professionals and companies in innovation.

10 Fest Azores 2013 - 10 days, 10 chefs. To taste and enjoy!

More information at:

Source: Turismo dos Açores


NOS Primavera Sound 2014

From 5-7 June, come to Nos Primavera Sound, which brings a wide selection of national and international artists to Porto.

Billed as the Portuguese twin to the San Miguel Primavera Sound open-air festival that has taken place in Barcelona since 2001, Nos Primavera Sound boasts a variety of styles and new bands, highlighting not just the local music scene but also respected artists with well-established careers.

The programme will be spread out over various different stages. To highlight, in addition to the main 'NOS' stage, is also a stage dedicated to electronic and dance music with dj's and concerts, as well as one which belongs to the British promoter All Tomorrow's Parties (ATP), the creator of festivals with the same name that take place in the United Kingdom, the USA and Australia.

The festival is being staged in the Parque da Cidade, a huge urban park right on the Atlantic coast and with the capacity to take around 30,000 people per day. On the first and last day of the festival, Nos Primavera Sound will put on various performances in Oporto, with the aim of bringing music and the spirit of "Primavera Sound" closer to people and the city centre.

Download here the Press Kit from the Nos Primavera Sound 2014

More information at: Primavera Sound

Vila Joya Restaurant in the Algarve is one of the "The World's 50 Best Restaurants" for 2014

In the The World's 50 Best Restaurants list for 2014, No.22 Climbing 15 places is the Portuguese restaurant Vila Joya! Congratulations :)

The restaurant at this luxury spa and beach resort on the Algarve truly is a ‘house of joy’ thanks to the culinary talents of executive chef Dieter Koschina. 

Originally from Austria, he honed his skills in leading establishments in Vienna and Germany before settling in his adopted country of Portugal more than two decades ago. These countries’ contrasting food cultures continue to inspire Koschina with fabulous Portuguese produce combined with northern European cooking techniques to create truly original and delicious dishes.

Overlooking the rugged Atlantic coastline, the dining room plays host to artfully arranged plates of guinea fowl stuffed with black truffles and artichokes, and roasted goose liver with tamarind and salted caramel, but it’s the chef’s skill with local seafood that is most impressive. Stand-out dishes include ‘cataplana’ – a modern take on a traditional Portuguese stew with pork, cockles and lobster – and confit ‘bacalhau’ (salt cod) with beetroot coulis and yoghurt.

The only restaurant in Portugal to feature among The World’s 50 Best list, Vila Joya has also become a destination for international chefs, who attend its annualInternational Gourmet Festival. Top names, including Joan Roca, Björn Frantzén and Nuno Mendes, joined Koschina at last year’s event.

Source: The worlds 50