advertisement

Head here if you're looking for a relatively fair and unbiased presentation of all of the ports in the region. Within the Quinta de Macieirinha, an elegant 18th-century villa ringed with roses, you can sample glasses of every port produced in Portugal in a setting that evokes an upscale private home. Glasses of port cost 1.50€ to 25€ each; bottles go for 8€ to 200€ each. Don't expect anything approaching a nightclub or even a bona fide restaurant (it's more like an upscale cocktail bar where the only drinks happen to be port). A short list of simple foods (cheese, olives, breads, almonds, pistachios) that go well with port is served. The staff is prepared to offer educational insights into the port-making process.

While you're here, make it a point to drop into the Museu Romântico (tel. 22/605-70-33), which occupies the same 18th-century villa as the Solar do Porto. It's open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 12:30pm and 2 to 5:30pm, and Sunday 2 to 5:30pm. It charges 2€ for adults and is free for students and for persons under 18 during the week. Admission is free for everyone, regardless of age, every Saturday and Sunday. Inside you'll find a collection of 18th- and 19th-century furniture, paintings, porcelain, and portraits that evoke the monarchical history of Portugal.