Conde Nast Travel Specialists: Trufflepig’s Magnificent 7

Last week Conde Nast Traveler released its annual Travel Specialists list, kind of like the Oscars of the travel world. And with another record-breaking 7 Trufflepig planners with their names in lights (again), we feel more than usually justified in describing ourselves as the Tiny Company with the Great Big Nose. We are of course […]

The Original Influencer

Twenty something, rebellious, and by all accounts, “randy”. A young English poet named George Gordon Byron (“Lord” to all but those who knew him well) swept through the small enclave of Sintra in 1809, penned a few lines of what would become Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, and sent letters home to friends declaring Sintra the most […]

Unostentatious Comporta is a Frame of Mind

As we move through the last official days of summer, my thoughts turn to the beach, or rather, the beach vacations I didn’t take this year. I’m actually not much of a beach person. Or to be more specific, lying on a beach and a swim among the waves isn’t so much my thing as simply the […]

Sisters of Fate – A Fado Playlist

As I’ve been writing this post, Portugal has been commemorating a special anniversary: the 100th anniversary of Amália Rodrigues. Her name may not mean much outside Portuguese-speaking circles, but here she is revered as the “Queen of Fado”, and her birthday is an appropriate time for me to confess: I am a die-hard fan of this music. […]

An Expedition to the Stars

The story I have to tell begins in Portugal in 1881. A team of scientists from the Lisbon Geographic Society gather to undertake an expedition to the Serra da Estrela mountains some 300km away. The Serra, the highest point in continental Portugal (the peak at Torre clocks in just shy of 2,000 meters) acquired its main […]

The Real Portuguese Deal

I’ve long had a fascination for border towns.  Places of transit.  People and wares on the move.  Constantly changing faces that melt together in memory, dingy train stations that scream “end-of-the-line”. Dimly lit border patrol checkpoints staffed by hard luck, disgruntled customs agents still trying to figure out how they screwed up on the job to […]

Forbidden Love, Portuguese Style

When I travel to places I don’t know, I like finding the threads that bind destinations together. This exercise in dot-connecting led me recently to follow the trail of one of Portugal’s most popular, and bizarre legends. Alcobaça, about an hour or so north of Lisbon, is a quiet town with an outsized history and […]

Olhão’s Metaphysical Graffiti

The end of dictatorship in Portugal in the 1970s, and the ushering in of new found freedoms and economic opportunities, brought with it a sad legacy: a serious drug addiction problem that coincided with an emerging AIDS epidemic. The combination devastated families across Portugal’s social classes. The Algarve, synonymous today with Portugal’s prime beach destination, […]

The Douro Knows

When I’m choosing my preferred wine growing regions, I want more than just great wine, great food, and a decent place to lay my head. I want somewhere that’s going to inspire me. And that’s why, dear friends, should I ever go missing in action, start by looking in the Douro Valley in Portugal. The […]

Let Me Stand Next To Your Praia

Now dig this!  Algarve.  Al-gharb. The name was given by the Moors, and means simply “the west”.  And like the other Jimmy says, the west is the best.  So here’s some tips to find your own castles made of sand. First, and let’s be honest here, the development of the Algarve coast was not Portugal’s […]

A Sandy Love Story

Love is in the air. Mostly because we’re trying desperately to ward off the snowy chill of February, but also because of that heart-shaped holiday awaiting us at the end of the week. Whether you think it’s a perfect time for romance or a total Hallmark sham, you can’t lose if you simply look at […]