Sun, Sea and Skills in Lisbon

From salt cod to surfing, the Portuguese capital offers an intriguing choice of learning experiences

With the number of UK travellers looking to learn something new on holiday continuing to rise, Lisbon is the perfect place to combine a relaxing beach holiday or city break with a learning experience. With the guidance of local experts, visitors can decide whether they want to discover the secrets of Portuguese gastronomy, learn to horse ride or take to the waves in one of the world’s top surfing destinations.

Here are some of the enlightening experiences on offer:

Traditional Portuguese Cooking

Visitors can explore Lisbon’s rich gastronomic history with Portugal on a Plate’s food and wine tours and culinary walks. Local cooking experts share their knowledge and passion for Portuguese ingredients and regional flavours, as well as revealing what shaped Portugal’s food culture, and how Portuguese gastronomy has influenced the world. Guests will learn how to order in a traditional Lisbon restaurant and how shop to locally, including the chance to pick up some great ingredients to take home.

For visitors wanting a real “hands on” cooking experience, the five-hour “Cooking with 6 Hands” tour is the perfect choice. Starting at the famous Mercado da Ribeira, guests will choose the catch of the day before moving on to work alongside innovative chefs Tiago Feio, David Eyguesier and Hugo Brito in their respective restaurant kitchens Leopold, Os Gazeteiros and Boi Cavalo. Finally, guests will get the opportunity to taste the final meal and other delicacies that they have helped to prepare during this unique food experience. For more information:

Fado Performance Workshop

Haunting and poetic, fado is considered as one of the purest expressions of Lisbon’s ‘soul’, and is believed to have originated from the sorrow felt by the sailors and their families who were separated by Portugal’s explorations around the globe in the 19th century. The narrow streets of Alfama, the city’s oldest district and most associated with this iconic song, is home to numerous “fado houses” as well as the Fado Museum, which is the best place to discover everything about this unique art form. Here, visitors can take part in a one-hour group workshop, which concludes with participants singing their own fados – no embarrassment allowed.

If they are confident enough, then visitors can then head to the Mouraria neighbourhood, next to Alfama, and try one of the houses offering “fado vadio” or ‘amateur’, where anybody can stand up and start singing! For more information:

Horse Riding

Set in a vast pinewood forest in Sintra, and certified by the Portuguese Equestrian Federation, “O Paddock” trains riders of all ages and skill levels, from international athletes to amateur riders. With a capacity for more than 100 students, the club also offers the opportunity to explore the region from a different point of view. Its location makes every ride calm and picturesque, as well as giving visitors the opportunity to visit some of Lisbon’s most historical monuments, country estates, golden sandy beaches and rugged cliffs, whilst on horseback. For more information:


The Lisbon region offers some of the best surfing in the world, and visitors do not have to be experienced to enjoy the best that the destination has to offer. From Ericeira, Europe’s first World Surfing Reserve, to the Costa da Caparica and the Estoril/Cascais coast, there are locations that are perfect for beginners, intermediates and advanced surfers. Lisbon Surf Tours, Carcavelos Surf School and Guincho Adventours all offer multi-lingual tuition for all ages and skill levels.

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Get into the Swing of Golfing

The Golf Academy of Lisbon, set within the Lisbon University Campus, offers teaching programmes for all ages, from kids from 5 to 8 years old and youngsters from 9 to 16 to adults. The purpose-built facility features a six-hole course, pitch & putt course, putting green and a two-floor driving range equipped with Pro-Tracer technology. For more information:

Discover the Wines of Lisbon

Visitors to the region can learn all about the history of Portuguese wine and its grape varietals, on a wine journey that begins at the converted wine cellar, Rota de Vinhos. From a lesson with a local wine taster in how to choose and taste wines, to a wine cruise along the Sado Estuary, everyone from the wine beginner to the wine connoisseur will enjoy a visit. For those looking to get their hands dirty, there is even the chance to take part in traditional wine treading. For more information:

For more information, ideas and inspiration on visiting Lisbon go to

From the UK, direct flights to Lisbon operate from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Bristol with TAP Portugal, British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Monarch.

From Ireland, direct flights to Lisbon operate from Dublin with Aer Lingus and Ryanair.