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Art and Music


During the 15th century fine art flourished and this became the first great age of Portuguese paintings. Some of the most exceptional examples from this period are now on display in Lisbon’s Ancient Art Museum.
At the end of the 15th century a great number of Flemish paintings were imported with a consequent influence on Portuguese art, but in the beginning of the following century a unique Portuguese style was developed called Manueline. One of the most popular Manueline painters was Grão Vasco and his paintings can now be admired in a museum in Viseu named after him. The 17th, 18th and 19th century was characterized by portrait paintings followed by the romantic, naturalist and realist movements. Portugal has also made great contributions to the modern and contemporary art scene with names like Paula Rego, arguably the most acclaimed and praised living Portuguese artist, whose work is filled with references to Portuguese life and culture.
Museums and art galleries can be found all over the country with the highest number in Lisbon. One of the many popular art galleries in the capital is The Jose of Azeredo Perdigao Centre of Modern Art where there is a great exhibition of paintings made by Portuguese artists. The National Museum of Historic Art offers a very interesting collection of painting, sketches and ceramics as well as various city artefacts and is also worth a visit.


Portuguese cuisine is very diverse and various from region to region. In particular, and thanks to the easy access to the sea, Portugal has amazing fresh fish and sea food and this is found on virtually every menu. The national dish is dried salted cod called “Bacalhau” and there are many variations – in fact there are said to be 365 different ways of preparing it, one for each day of the year. Grilled sardines, horse mackerel and sea food rice are also popular dishes.
Another traditional dish is called “Cozido a Portuguesa” which is a thick stew of vegetables made with various kinds of meat. The most popular desserts are flan, caramel custard or a cinnamon-flavoured rice pudding.
Portugal also has fantastic bread and many delicious pastries; a particularly tasty pastry is called “Pastel de Nata” and is a small custard tart sprinkled with cinnamon.
Portugal also has a long tradition in wine production with port wine being the best known, today high quality wine is produced all over the country.

Music and dance

The Portuguese are musical people and Portugal has a great and diverse music scene. Internationally Portugal is mostly known for Fado which dates back to the 18th century. It is a melancholic type of music that tells different stories of life. Amalia Rodrigues who died in 1999 was one of the most popular Fado-singers of all time. The group the Madredeus have obtained international recognition for their Fado and folk-inspired music. Regional folk music is still very popular in Portugal and in many cases it has been modernized and updated. Other popular music styles in Portugal are more modern acts like rock, hip hop and metal.
Portugal also has a great tradition for traditional dance, and especially during the many festivals in the summer time you will be able to enjoy Portuguese folk dances like Circle dance, Fandango or Corridinho which is a traditional dance performed especially in the Algarve region.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.