Alternative travel experiences don’t get any better than spending time with real farmers on the best farm tours in Portugal. This stunning European country – located on the Iberian Peninsula with Spain to its east and the Atlantic Ocean to its west – is home to an incredible range of landscapes that produces some of the world’s best farms, vineyards and permaculture.
As soon as you head outside of the major cities such as Lisbon and Porto, you start to encounter one spectacular vista after another. A beautifully rugged coastline that stretches for over 800km will entice you into the ocean for a refreshing swim and the lush green countryside of Portugal dotted with charming little villages makes for a captivating road trip.
Perhaps the only thing that tops the scenery of Portugal is the food. Fresh seafood is a given on the coast and world-class wine can be enjoyed in the countryside. Wander through cobblestone villages to find local food artisans and markets, or book yourself a table at a scenic vineyard to enjoy some fine wine. Whatever your preferences, Portugal can deliver.
Connecting people with nature and food is what Portugal Farm Experience is all about – so in this article we will be revealing the 10 best farm tours to enjoy in Portugal that will leave you hungry for more. Why not book a couple of these experiences in order to combine the most popular destinations with some amazing hidden gems well off the beaten path.
10 Best Farm Tours in Portugal
1. Premium Olive Oil Farm Experience, Evora
Evora is a well-preserved town in the south-central Alentejo region. The Historic Centre of Evora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to about 50,000 residents, Evora is small enough to keep its medieval atmosphere alive with architectural masterpieces and ruins found around every corner, and big enough to always find something new to do.
One experience in Evora that you will never forget is a Premium Olive Oil Farm Experience. This two-hour tour takes you to a local olive farm just outside of town where you will learn about native Portuguese olive trees and the process of olive oil production. Sampling Galician extra virgin olive oil on this tour will certainly leave a wonderful taste in your mouth.
2. Portugal Cork Farm Tour, Redondo (Evora)
Located 35 minutes from Evora is the traditional Alentejo town of Redondo. While this village is worth visiting in its own right, the Portugal Cork Farm Tour is a great option for those short on time who want to see the area. The cork farm is set on the foothills of the Serra D’Ossa and is owned by an Anglo-Portuguese family who have worked with cork for generations.
On this short and sweet tour you will get the chance to go hiking through picturesque fields and cork oak forests. It’s a great way to stretch your legs and learn about cork forestry and livestock. The local guide will teach you things you never knew about cork, and if you are feeling up to it you can hike up to the top of a hill for epic views of the farm and countryside.
3. Banana Farm Experience, Funchal (Madeira)
Madeira needs no introduction. This trekking paradise bursts with natural beauty on every hike and trek that you choose to take. Known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic”, Madeira is the ultimate adventure playground where you can plunge into refreshingly cool waters along black sand beaches and summit up a never-ending series of jaw-dropping coastal cliff faces.
But there is another side to Madeira that not many people know about. And on the Banana Farm Experience you will be able to see a more relaxed side to the island. Agriculture plays a big role in the livelihoods of the locals and at this one banana farm you will learn how banana trees are grown and how to harvest your own bananas. The perfect tour for banana-lovers.
4. Cheese Making Classes, Povolide (Viseu)
Who doesn’t like a good slice of cheese? On the Cheese Making Classes with Portugal Farm Experience, guests will get to see the intricate process of cheese making that occurs in the beautiful Serra de Estrela area. With a variety of cheeses to learn about – such as goat cheese, sheep cheese and cottage cheese – this tour will fly by with lots of good times.
Included in the tour is a cheese making workshop, coffee break where you get to taste some traditional products, a fun little walking tour and then to cap it all off lunch at the farm. Lunch is without doubt the highlight of the tour. Enjoy a mouth-watering spread of local cheeses, wine, soup and cake. There is a minimum of two people required for this tour to go ahead.
5. The Winery Brunch, Torres Vedras (Lisbon)
After you have soaked up all the sights and sounds of Lisbon, why not take a day trip out to Torres Vedras (40km north of the Portuguese capital) where the sea breeze can be felt? The Winery Brunch tour transports you to a wonderful winery run by a local producer who creates wines typical of the Atlantic style – fresh and subtly acidic flavors that leave you spellbound.
The wine tastings on the agenda are Dory Harvest, Single Variety White, Single Variety Red and Dory Reserva – all superb wines in their own right. These wines are paired with brunch consisting of codfish cake, alheira balls, codfish wrap, tiborna, cheese and ham, scones with jam and fresh fruit. You will definitely notice the proximity of the sea with this brunch set.
6. Shiitake Mushroom Farm Experience, Torres Novas
For something different, the Shiitake Mushroom Farm Experience in Torres Novas (one hour from Lisbon) gives you a glimpse into life on a mushroom farm. This organic farm is run by the Lopes family whose warmth and hospitality is felt by every visitor. The four hour experience is only done in Portuguese but English-speakers are still welcome.
Guests will be personally welcomed by the Lopes family themselves and taken on an exciting tour of the farm. Activities include an inoculation workshop, mushroom harvesting class and of course a mushroom tasting where you will get to try some of the freshest shiitake mushrooms on earth. The texture and flavor of shiitake has made it a world-famous fungus.
7. Hydroponic Farm Experience, Torres Novas
Another unique farm tour in the Torres Novas municipality of Portugal is the Hydroponic Farm Experience. The producer for this tour specializes in horticultural and aromatic plants which are grown in greenhouses – utilizing the innovative system called Nutrient Film Technique (NFT). This technique re-circulates nutrients through a series of streams.
If you are interested in hydroponics and innovative new ways to cultivate plants then we recommend booking this experience. Like all of the tours with Portugal Farm Experience, you will be greeted and guided by the farm owner, and also learn how the harvesting process works in this greenhouse environment. The tour finishes with an offering of hydroponic products.
8. Algarve Farm-to-Table Vineyard Lunch, Lagoa
The Algarve is equipped with everything you need to enjoy a beach holiday. Golden bays, coastal cliffs, sea caves and a scattering of islands – all of this combines to make it one of the most popular destinations in Portugal with over four million visitors taking a trip there each year. But beyond the rugged beaches there is so much more to discover.
One unique experience is the Algarve Farm-to-Table Vineyard Lunch which takes you to a long-standing vineyard with award-winning wines. A three-course meal with three or four different wines to taste will be a nice way to spend the afternoon. Be guided around the estate on a tasting experience where amazing Algarvian wine and fare is showcased.
9. Organic Farm & Tasting Experience, Mafra
A trip to Mafra is worth doing just to see the impressive Mafra National Palace which is the largest edifice in the country. This magnificent palace was built in the 18th century under the orders of King Dom John V. If you are looking to spend the night in Mafra and want another activity to fill up the day then the Organic Farm & Tasting Experience is a good way to go.
Included on the tour is a tasting of some different products: sauces, juices and jams. Running an organic farm certainly has its challenges and so you will learn all about the different ways these farmers keep their produce fresh and up to a high organic standard. Things like weather conditions and seasonality can play a big role when it comes to organic food.
10. Sugarcane Experience, Funchal (Madeira)
For travelers with a sweet tooth this Sugarcane Experience in Funchal, Madeira will be a real treat. What better way to take a break from the beaches and adventure activities of Madeira than with some sugar and honey cake tastings? A tight-knit family operates this little sugarcane farm, so the tour would be a great way for visitors to interact with the locals.
Two hours touring the farm, participating in a sugarcane production workshop and harvesting your own sugarcane – those are the inclusions on this tour. And of course, as already mentioned, there will be plenty of time for tasting the sugar and honey cake with your choice of water or wine. The farm is located 7 minutes drive from the center of Funchal.
Final Thoughts on Portugal Farm Tours
As you can see by the range of Portugal farm tours discussed above, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you gravitate towards wine tastings, love everything about olive oil or want to learn about organic farm practices – these tours will open you up to new experiences and exciting destinations of Portugal that you might have never considered visiting.
Agritourism normally isn’t at the top of most travelers’ bucket lists but that is beginning to change. Travelers these days are more sophisticated and seek authentic local experiences that show them something new. Food is becoming a big part of travel in the 21st century as it can lead people to the rural heart of cultures, discovering traditional ways of life along the way.
Who knows what type of inspiration you will find in these experiences. You might uncover ingenious recipes that you want to introduce into your cooking back home, new products that you will buy or a new way of life that you want to incorporate into your routine. Portugal is a fascinating country with so much history and passion to share with its visitors.