Portugal is a country with a rich history, steeped in culture and blessed with a beautiful landscape. Most people will have heard of Portugal; some may have visited Portugal on holiday; but many do not know some of the more interesting facts about this fascinating and laid-back country. When you spend time in Portugal and get to know its character and colourful nature, it is hard not to get enchanted by it so we thought we’d put the Bowler & Beach spotlight on the country that inspired our swim shorts and now produces our shorts.
History & Culture
Portugal is one of the oldest countries in Europe, with Lisbon being older than Rome, around four centuries older in fact! This, and its coastal position, meant that it used to dominate merchant routes to Africa, South America and the Orient, and half of the ‘New World’ once belonged to Portugal – all the way back in 1494.
It is home to the historic cities of Lisbon and Porto, the latter being a UNESCO Heritage site and one of Bowler & Beach’s all-time favourite places. Lisbon, the capital, is also a fabulous place and a must-visit for its colourful architecture, remarkable views from its steep hillsides, the laid-back cafe culture and superb sea food. It is hard not to fall for its maritime magic and chilled-out charm that pervades ever corner of this city with its alluring beach and vibrant city combo.
Food & Drink
With a lot of Portugal’s buzzing cities centred around the coast, it is not a surprise that Portugal is third only to Japan and Iceland in its annual consumption of fish, with the population eating an average of 76kg of fish a year! Cod is the most popular, with sardine and squid closely following, and are served in many of Portugal’s fresh, fiery and flavoursome dishes. Couple this with the excellent Portuguese wine, particularly the whites, and cap it off with one of their most famous exports, Port, and it is easy to see why a lot of the locals walk around with a jolly disposition! We certainly do when we visit!
Portugal has something to offer almost every taste and every mood, whether it is relaxing on its golden sands that grace the coastline, exploring the rolling hills of the interior on foot, horseback or motorbike, soaking up the sun-drenched history or drinking in the amazing sunsets before setting out to enjoy the party spirit. It is a place that we enjoyed as children on holidays in the Algarve, and have grown to love even more as adults, particularly Porto as we visit the factory that produces our shorts. It is a place to be enjoyed any time of the year, and will provide many special times and memories.
We have only just scratched the surface of Portugal and we shall leave you with an interesting fact; Portugal introduced Britain to a very ‘British’ tradition – tea drinking! When Catherine of Braganza married King Charles II in 1662, she brought with her the art of drinking tea…
On that note, you simply have to visit!
Matt & BJ