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10 Best Documentaries About Portugal To Watch

These documentaries about Portugal show its rich history, diverse landscapes, and vibrant culture. From exploring its historic cities steeped in centuries-old traditions to showcasing the breathtaking beauty of its coastal regions, these documentaries offer a lens into Portugal’s past and present.


Documentaries About Portugal

Whether focusing on culinary traditions, architectural wonders, or the daily lives of its people, these films provide an immersive experience, allowing you to discover the unique tapestry that is Portugal.

Lisbon is one of my favourite cities in the world and there are plenty of these documentaries about Portugal that explore the city, as well as many other different regions of the country.


Rick Steves Portugal

Rick Steves is an American travel presenter and author who travels extensively around Europe and the world and is one of the most popular travel hosts out there.

He has many 25-minute episodes on the countries he visits on his YouTube channel about specific destinations and there are normally several episodes on one country. That is true of his Portugal trip where he explored many different parts of Portugal.

Start with this video first where he starts in Lisbon and the rest of the short travel documentaries about Portugal can be found on his channel there.


Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown: Portugal

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown was a travel and food documentary series hosted by the late Anthony Bourdain. The series featured episodes in which Bourdain explored various cultures, cuisines, and locations around the world.

In this episode, he explores the culture and cuisine of Portugal giving you a great insight into the country’s food and its traditions around it. This is one of my favourite documentaries about Portugal.


Portugal: Wild Land on The Edge

Portugal: Wild Land on The Edge is a television documentary that aired on BBC Two in 2022. The series explores the natural beauty and wildlife of Portugal, focusing on its diverse landscapes and ecosystems.

It showcases the country’s stunning coastline, mountains, forests, and unique flora and fauna. If you’re interested in learning more about Portugal’s natural wonders, this is a great watch.

You can watch the full episode for free here:


Tren Atlantico | Part 1: In the Heart of Portugal

This is one of the best documentaries about Portugal that explores the nature of the country. Description from their YouTube channel:

Tren Atlantico explores Portugal’s rugged cliffs, surfing paradises, steep vineyards, and villages with centuries-old traditions: the train takes you from Portugal’s west coast to the Spanish border in the northeast, a journey of discovery characterized by a variety of colours, landscapes, and climates.

The FEVE narrow-gauge railroad takes you through the contrasting landscape of northern Spain. From Bilbao in the Basque Country via Santander in Cantabria to Asturias. The train takes a good eight hours to cover 300 kilometres, a journey at the speed of earlier centuries, through a region that has retained its originality to this day.

This is one of my favourite documentaries about Portugal for travelling across the country.


Portugal Travel Documentary: 4×4 Road Trip

This is an epic road trip through Portugal by a travel blogger. Description from their YouTube channel:

Known for its beautiful beaches and scenic cliffs and its variety of landscapes including ice-covered peaks, rainy forests, and granite hillscapes. For 5 weeks, we drove more than 4,800 km around the country, visiting it from north to south and discovering as much of its beauty as we could in our WorldCruiser 2 from Tom’s Fahrzeugtechnik.


The Battle Against The Sea – Coastal Erosion in Portugal

Portugal has a beautiful coastline, indeed I was stunned by its beauty when I was there. However, it is in trouble due to coastal erosion.

This is a good documentary about Portugal to watch from an environmental aspect and to learn more about the Portuguese coast. Description from their YouTube channel:

The pressure on Portugal’s west coast is mounting by the year. In the north, in particular, many Portuguese are fighting a desperate battle against the advancing sea, which is threatening beaches and coastal resorts.

Every year, environmental authorities have to concede coastal homes to the ocean and resettle their inhabitants. The report shows how people in Portugal are battling rising sea levels and coastal erosion.

Locals such as fisherman Vítor Cacheirho can no longer make a living from coastal fishing. He now works as a counsellor in Esmoriz, promoting a resettlement program which provides affected families with secure housing.


Forging an Empire – The Portuguese Empire

This is a documentary about Portugal that explores the history of Portugal in its role in forming an empire. Personally, I hate anything that involves empires as it means subjugating and conquering other people.

However, it’s an important chapter in Portuguese history so should be learned if you have any interest in the history of the Portuguese. Description from their YouTube channel:

Portugal forged a massive trading empire. It was an incredible achievement for a small country that had a very modest population. In this first part, we review the initial stages where Portuguese sailors and explorers launched themselves into the unknown and took the first steps at exploring.

Men like Prince Henry the Navigator who set the ball in motion, Bartholomeu Dias who was the first to round the tip of Africa, and Vasco da Gama who was the first European to find a sea passage to India.


Travel Man: 48 Hours in… Lisbon

Travel Man is a travel documentary series hosted by comedian Richard Ayoade. In this episode, he explores Lisbon which is a very popular tourist destination with its rich history, culture, and vibrant atmosphere.

This is one of the best documentary episodes showing the capital of the country.


Portuguese Food Tour – by Mark Wiens

Mark Wiens is one of my all-time favourite food bloggers and we have been blogging for around the same amount of time so I have followed him on his adventures for 10+ years now.

In this episode on his YouTube channel, he explores some of the food options in Lisbon. Description from the video:

On Day 27 in Lisbon, Portugal, I made up my mind to eat as much Portuguese food and at some of the best local restaurants in Lisbon. It turned out to be a fantastic day in Lisbon with some seriously good Portuguese food!


The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys: Portugal

The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys is a TV documentary series exploring, as the title suggests, some of the most scenic railway journeys in the world.

There is one episode specifically about Portugal that takes you on a train journey through parts of the country such as Portugal’s Quinta de Vargellas, which is a vineyard that is famous for making port for centuries.

There is also a trip to the city of Porto and the city of Aveiro and of course a visit to Lisbon.

This episode is a little tricky to track down worldwide but if you have an Amazon UK account you can find it on Britbox there here.


Read the 20 best castles in Portugal to visit.


Portugal

As the camera captures the essence of this captivating country, you are transported on a visual journey with these documentaries about Portugal, gaining insights into the country’s heritage and the dynamic forces shaping its contemporary identity.

Whether you plan to visit Portugal or just want to learn more about the country, these will inform you more about it.

For more on the region have a look at the 10 best documentaries about France.

And for more on Portugal have a look at my article about exploring Lagos in southern Portugal.


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