Sunny Portugal has created quite a buzz in recent years, as word has finally gotten out about its excellent wine and food, and rich culture and history. Somewhat surprisingly, given its location next to Spain, Portugal has been largely underappreciated for decades – but those days are gone. Today, it has well and truly found its feet and is delighting visitors with its epicurean excellence.

The New Wine Destination Favorite

Western Europe – home to France and Spain – has long been wine lovers’ region of choice, however its neighbor Portugal was often overlooked. Partly as a result of this, Portugal’s wine industry developed very distinctly from its neighbors. In fact, most of the grape varietals that are grown in Portugal are not found anywhere else in Europe.

This makes Portugal an extremely interesting place to discover. Here, you’ll find many types of wine that you may not be familiar with – and even those that you have tasted before, are likely quite different in Portugal.

Though it’s an emerging wine region, that’s not to say the region doesn’t have credentials – in fact, it’s been producing wine for thousands of years. For example, the terraced hills of the Douro Valley, famous for its port, are UNESCO World Heritage listed thanks to their historic importance.

It’s no wonder Portugal was a wine lovers’ favorite just waiting to happen.

Savory Seafood and Sweets

Of course, every good wine needs a good dish to accompany it – and Portugal offers plenty of those. In particular, the country’s long coast means that it’s famous for its exquisitely fresh and delicious seafood. There’s a mouthwatering variety, but cod in particular is extremely popular – it’s said there are more ways to prepare cod in Portugal than days in the year.

In addition, the country’s varied history means that many different spices feature prominently in its dishes; fiery piri piri is particularly popular. Don’t miss the Portuguese desserts, many of which were originally crafted by monks and nuns; treats like the classic Portuguese tart are certainly divine. They also happen to pair beautifully with a sweet, fortified wine.

It’s certainly no surprise that Portugal’s popularity continues to rise, as more and more people are drawn to its incredible tastes, sounds and sights. While it’s an increasingly trendy destination, it’s still authentic – so visit while you can.