It was recently inaugurated what promises to be one of the great attractions in Portugal in 2021.

The 516 Arouca Pedestrian Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in the world, integrated in the already famous Passadiços do Paiva, is a fantastic work that promises to attract the interest of many visitors.
We went there and were impressed by the magnificent work of art set in a breathtaking landscape.
It is worth taking some time not only to cross the bridge, but also to cover the 8 km of the Walkways along the Paiva River, considered the most beautiful in Portugal and one of the least polluted in Europe, where, in addition to countless places of extraordinary beauty, allows you to do some radical sports where Rafting stands out.
This whole region is a wealth of photographic opportunities that Pictury Photo Tours is ready to explore with you. Let’s Go!

This report on portuguese TV, gives a “sniff” of what Pictury Photo Tours can offer, not only in the city of Porto, but in any destination in Portugal.

From 1/2 day to 1 day photo tours in Porto, or 1 day photo tours in nearby destinations, but, even better, a Custom Made Photo Tour wherever you want in Portugal.

Ria de Aveiro lagoon, the cities of Braga and Guimarães, the Peneda-Gerês National Park, or even the Magic Village of Drave (see video) currently uninhabited and perhaps because of this, wrapped in a mystique that envelops us as soon as we get there. And so many others pearls to be found in the meatime.

Portugal is waiting for us!


Pictury Photo Tours in Portugal is back.
Now that Portugal is beginning to open its wonders to the world, after the critical period of the Covid-19 pandemic, here we are ready for you to recover Portugal’s (re)discovery through private photographic tours and travels and tailored to your expectations.

Porto, Lisbon, Douro Valley, Ria de Aveiro, Braga, Guimarães, Coimbra, Óbidos, Alentejo, Algarve, are some of the destinations we can explore and photograph together. Join Us!
Here is the invitation and our presentation video

In this interview with the legendary photographer Robert Holmes, Bob was very kind to mention me and the moments that we work together in Porto and Angeiras fishermen harbor last November.

In 2019, the charming city of Porto continued to deserve our special attention with dozens of day and night tours with guests from around the world.

But this year also allowed to travel to other destinations also in Portugal. Lisbon, Sintra, Obidos, Coimbra, Aveiro and the Douro Valley to name a few.

Was an opportunity to meet wonderful people and many national and international partnerships that further enriched our experience.

We are sure that by 2020 we will  discover others and exciting destinations in Portugal, continue to receive fantastic people and will further strengthen partnerships with other outstanding photographers. I sincerely hope you are one of them.

Portugal & Porto Travel Photography are the most amazing places in the world to visit.

Best wishes for a fantastic 2020!

Portugal Tour Picture


























Nothing better to start 2019 than to take off from one of the most fantastic (there are several) viewpoints of this charming city of Porto. And to do so early in the morning, sometimes still with fog over the Douro River that dissipates throughout the morning and reveals fantastic views of the entire historical center, UNESCO World Heritage Site, with particular emphasis on the cathedral, the famous Luis I bridge and the imposing Serra do Pilar.

Portugal-Porto-Photo Tours

The colors of spring in Porto are fantastic and an opportunity to further enrich any and every photo experience in this unique city.

Portugal Tour Picture

In May, we were invited to photograph a student’s event in the beautiful city of Coimbra. A diferent and unique experience that no one will forget.


One of the most stunning place in Portugal is with no doubt Ria de Aveiro. Catch the light of the sunrise or sunset in an experience that no photographer want miss.


A stunning surprise is the Válega church, full of painted tiles inside and outside, not far away from Porto city.

Douro Valley vineyards in Autumn. Just after the harvest, nature give us a outstanding festival of colors. Douro Valley travel photography. You can’t miss it.


In Porto, everyday is a day to celebrate.

Happy New Year 2020

A beautiful journey through Portugal waits for you in the magnificent Douro Valley, situated 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of the Porto city. Amongst all the vineyards in the region, the oldest demarcated area around the world, Douro Valley paints an exceptional and absolutely lovely landscape. 

The cultural and architectural heritage, the wines and food make the destination in northern Portugal more romantic day after day. Take a chance to wander around Peso da Régua, Lamegoto visit the Shrine of Lady of Remedies – Pinhao, Pocinho, Vila Nova de Foz Coa, and Barca d’Alva. 

Though there’s a great availability of sightseeing attractions, taking Porto photo tours make perfect sense. When you have a Porto photographer by your side, you should start your tour in Douro Valley. 

You will find several viewpoints along the way that will make it impossible for you not to stop and enjoy the scenery. Here are some of the viewpoints in Douro Valley you should consider stopping over at:

St. Leonardo of Galafura

When you go near Regua, you will get to the viewpoint of Sao Leonardo da Galafura. There, you can enjoy the Douro Valley and the Marao Mountains.

Quinta do Noval

With pristine destination and colorful geometry of vineyards, Quinta do Noval continues to showcase the ultimate beauty of Douro Valley. Based on the left bank of Pinhao River, the Quinta stands in shale walled terraces, separated by flights of stairs with the same white color you find in houses. Your Porto photographer will capture the beautiful details of this viewpoint.

Blonde couple

It makes an amazing balcony over Pinhao and the Douro Valley. The view is considered as magnificent as the river in the background forming a spectacular backdrop.

Saint savior of the world

Located a few kilometers away from Sao Joao da Pesqueira, it’s a holy and mythical place and is a well-known destination for pilgrimage. From there, you can get to see half of the Douro Valley.

Quinta do Vale Meão

Based on the gentle slope on the right bank of the Douro, up close to Pocinho, this place boasts its greatness and vastness. It has the essence of Douro – the beauty, the dream, the legend and the creativity of a genius man Dona Antonia Ferreira, who has managed to turn the shale of river shores into the arable land.

Bottom line –

Want to be amazed by the delights of Portugal and its breathtaking views? You should book Porto photo tours through Pictury Photo Tours. Our Porto photographer is passionate about traveling and photographing to deliver beautiful images as possible.

At Pictury Photo Tours, we provide custom-made tours and packages to experience the best of Douro Valley, the World Heritage Site and the beautiful manmade landscape around the world. Our Porto photo tours offer you an amazing chance for photographic experiences of clear sunrises, poetic sunsets, surrounded by beautiful, imposing terraces and vineyards producing the best wines around the world. For more information, Please visit our website at

PORTO … Strong Feeling!

And… in the end, that big group of photography lovers, some who repeated, some friends, but mostly strangers gave a round of applause. Worth it!


New Sintra Gardens

Thank you all for your company, good mood and being so genuine in your thanks, my husband deserves it.

We start the photowalk in New Sintra Gardens that is a pearl, one of those pure and little known in our city. Worth the visit. I am sure many will return there to enjoy it with a deserved relax visit. Then we went to the cemetery where many of the illustrious people “rest” and where there are some of the most beautiful graves in the country, true works of art.


We will then walk through the steep old streets that lead us to the Fontainhas neighborhood, where you can feel the soul, the smells and the genuine people of Porto. Here it seems that the city has stopped a little in time and how good it feels!

We go down the Cranes stairs and the movement lifts, we are in the Luis I bridge lower deck where all the tourists are concentrated. It is worth to appreciate some shining eyes, these are welcome.



We are almost discovering the surprise of the afternoon. After crossing the bridge, we turn left towards the Lord of the Beyond chapel. This place is magical, old, damaged, but so beautiful. The location is unique, for those who love this city is a real blessing, the river, the light that is always beautiful, the view… and most surprising, its “guardians”, a human and a dog.

Mr. Alberto and Rox live in this falling chapel in miserable conditions and yet this man gives us a smile and his aching look is so sweet. I felt small and very grateful. After taking a deep breath, we leave with the certainty that we will have to help.

Our tour is almost over, I don’t know if it was just an impression, but I felt the speed of the strides slowed, I don’t think anyone wanted it to end.


As I started at the end, I’ll just talk about the place that has one of the most beautiful views of the city, Jardim do Morro garden.

Thank you for coming, for enjoying and for cheering so genuinely.

To you, my love, I thank you every day for being as you are.

Thank you,

Maria Jose Dias


Scott’s Kelby Worldwide Photowalk 2019
It is already on October 5 that will be held in Porto, the PORTO CAN’T MISS IT Worldwide Photowalk, organized and led by the portuguese photographer José Manuel Santos.
This Photowalk is FREE but you must register here because the number of places is limited.
It is included in the 12th edition of what is the largest event of its kind in the world and is held every first Saturday in October.
Sign up and join the group that will (re) discover the city of Porto in a route almost unknown and explored, but full of moments to get beautiful images.
Take lots of pictures, have fun, compete for the best photo of the event, and who knows, be among the 10 best photos of all the events that will be chosen by Scott Kelby himself.

More information here

See you there!

José Manuel Santos

The popular feasts of S. João are arriving to Porto on June 24.
It is a unique opportunity to live an exceptional day with photographs of unique moments of celebration and fun having as one of the highest moments the fireworks from the river Douro and the bridge Luis I.

It was a big success the first Harry’s Fisch (from Nomad Photo Expedition) trip to Portugal.

Harry invited me to organize his first trip to Portugal that took us to Lisbon – a big thank you to Miguel Helfrich from Lisbon Photo for helping me to prepare this part of the trip – Sintra, Óbidos, Coimbra and Porto, on a memorable trip that allowed us to get to know unique and iconic places, taste the portuguese grastronomy and to experience extraordinary moments like being welcomed by a students Tuna in Coimbra or dine a delicious meal at the home of a typical Porto family and even make a private visit to the fantastic S. João’s National theater of  in Porto with total freedom to photograph it. Moments to remember.

10 Tips To Help You Travel Together Without Killing Each Other

Susan Portnoy
I invite you to take a look to this very interesting and useful article by the stunning travel photographer Susan Portnoy in her website The Insatiable Traveler, and take the opportunity to delight with Susan’s photos and follow on her must-see photography trips around the world. 

Harry Fisch scouting in Porto


I was invited by the spanish travel photographer Harry Fisch, to help him to build the extension to Portugal of his first – SPAIN – From an insider’s point of view. A Very. Special. Trip – a Nomad Photo Expedition organization in April and May 2019.

This two events are almost full, by if you’re interested to know this two stunning countrys by the hand of such marvelous and experienced travel photographer, visit their website fast.

Good photo travels!


José Manuel

Especially dedicated to traveling with family, this article from my friend Eric Stoen, also a fantastic photographer, on his popular blog Travel Babbo is fantastic. I hope to see Porto and Portugal soon in his list, because I am sure he and his family will love it.
Good Travels!

Ryan, a nice young South Korean guy, had a dream and came to Portugal to realize it. He wanted to surprise his girlfriend Jolly with a surprise wedding proposal in a unique place in the world and chose Porto to do so. But, because he did not know the city yet, he needed help, so he contacted Pictury Photo Tours to arrange a photo tour that would culminate in the wedding proposal. It was then that José Manuel entered the scene and became an accomplice of this surprise, proposing to Ryan an itinerary that did not raise suspicions and ended in the idyllic Serra do Pilar, iconic viewpoint over the city of Porto and its river. The rest is history … on video!

Solidarity Photo Tour in Porto with Operação Nariz Vermelho.

Join us in this solidarity event in this charming city with José Manuel Santos as Photo Tour Líder.

See more in:


This is the best way to travel around the world. Think where you would like to go, what kind of travel experience you would love to do, and in Bookmundi you will find the perfect solution,

Visit their site and choose the travel of your dreams

Mary & Kin, a couple from Vancouver, Canada, they wanted to see as much as possible when they were passing through Porto. Unfortunately Mary had a problem with her knee that caused some difficulty to walk. But we did not want them to lose anything to see in Porto, and from there, we spoke with Romeu, PorTuk’s owner and together we created a program as it proved to be the perfect solution for this nice couple to get to know Porto in the best way.

Porto Photo Tour TukTuk mix

We visited the main viewpoints, enjoyed multiple examples of street art, the beautiful and famous tiles of Carmo’s church and S. Bento Railway Station, we cross the most beautiful and hidden streets in the old part of town, we had a  nice coffee in a terrace looking to the Douro’s river, we bought the best Porto’s chocolates in the famous Arcadia and we had a cream cake (pastel de nata) along the way until we finished the photo tour in the “majestic” Café Majestic.

Porto Photo Tour TukTuk mix
This experience went so well that Romeu and I will establish a partnership and create a tour specifically with these characteristics and thus offer more to a greater number of people joining the indispensable photographs to a charming way of traveling.

Porto Photo Tour TukTuk mix


Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk 2018 had an amazing turnout with over 900 walks worldwide and well over 15,000 walkers.

Here in Porto, José Manuel Santos, Pictury Photo Tours leader, organized the Porto Can’t Miss It! Worldwide Photowalk with more than 40 photographers. This photowalk started in Passeio das Virtudes viewpoint, crossed the romantic Jardim das Virtudes, visited the wonderful S. Pedro de Miragaia church, and goes through the very old Rua da Arménia, climb the Monte dos Judeus, saw the sunset on Palácio das Sereias belvedere and finish in the outstanding warehouse Armazém where we said goodbye until next year.

By Elizabeth Gray

If you’re like me, you’ve planned a trip, had visions of coming home with an SD card full of National Geographic images, but ended up with a hard drive full of vacation snapshots. What can you do to better prepare for a trip when you really want to spend some quality time behind your camera? Consider taking a photography tour. You will find yourself among a group of like-minded people, all of whom are excited about spending several days dedicating time to photography. A tour can be a wonderful learning environment. And if you take the time to do some research and planning, you will end up at the right spot, at the right time, and you will come home with some exceptional photographs.

Galapagos Sunset
NIKON D800 + 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm, ISO 400, 1/320, f/10.0

1) Choosing a Photography Tour

Of all the things to consider when choosing a photography tour, the first is location. Not all tours have to be to exotic, distant locations. A tour near your hometown can give you well deserved time to immerse yourself in photography. All too often the best-laid plans to spend a day shooting get interrupted by work, errands or other disruptions. On a photo tour, your time is focused (mind the pun), on photography.

Bachman's Sparrow
NIKON D7000 + 200-400mm f/4 @ 550mm, ISO 800, 1/350, f/6.7
This shot was taken only a few miles from where I was living in Houston while on a birding photography tour. Bachman’s Sparrows are very elusive. Without an experienced photography guide, I never would have found this extremely secretive sparrow which likes to hide in the underbrush.

Cost is a big factor in tour choice. Tours to the same location can vary greatly in price, which makes comparison hard. When you start searching, look closely at the tour descriptions. For most tours you will be responsible for getting yourself from your home to the tour location. However, the costs of accommodation, meals, entrance fees and transportation during the tour may or may not be included.

Another consideration is group size or student/leader ratio. One of the big advantages of a tour, compared to a self-organized trip, is that you get photography instruction. Make sure that the group size is not so big that it becomes hard to ask questions and get help from the guide(s).

No Room on Deck
Canon PowerShot S95 + 6-22.5mm @ 6mm, ISO 320, 1/1600, f/8.0 © Paul Gray
Too many photographers on a very small boat!

I classify photo tours into three categories:

  1. Workshops
  2. Educational photo ops
  3. Photo only tours

Workshops combine shooting time with dedicated classroom teaching time. You can expect some combination of lectures, instruction on post-processing techniques and supportive critiques of your images. Of course, workshops also give you plenty of opportunity to ask questions when you are out in the field.

Hasting Street Reflection
NIKON D7000 + 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm, ISO 400, 1/320, f/10.0
This shot was taken during an architectural photography workshop I participated in. We alternated shooting time with classroom lectures.

Educational photo ops do not offer separate instruction time. However, the leader is readily available in the field to answer questions about composition and camera techniques. Some may offer critiques as well.

Yellow, Red and Green
NIKON D800 + 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 340mm, ISO 200, 8/10, f/20.0
With seven of us on this fall foliage tour in New Hampshire, there was plenty of opportunity to ask questions while we were shooting.

The last type, photo only tours, simply get you to the right place at the right time. This type of tour is to be avoided! If you are paying top dollar for a photo tour, you should not be bankrolling the leader’s trip so he/she can pad their portfolio. Make sure you ask if the guide will be taking pictures too. It is one thing for them to bring a camera to show you how to compose, or how to set up. It is another for the leader to be so busy taking his/her own images that they don’t have time to answer your questions. Two years ago I was fortunate enough to take a photo tour to the Galapagos Islands. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, one of the instructors seemed more interested in taking her own images than helping the paying clients. There were several instances where she asked me (or others) to move because we were in her frame! Luckily the other guide was extremely knowledgeable, and freely shared his knowledge with anyone who had questions.

Fisgard Lighthouse
NIKON D7000 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 15mm, ISO 200, 1/200, f/10.0
Our photography guide got us to the Fisgard Lighthouse in Victoria just as the sun was rising.

If you are a beginner or intermediate photographer, a workshop tour is a wonderful learning experience. If you are more advanced, you may find that it is not worth paying extra for classroom instruction. An educational photo op tour may be best for you. Regardless of your ability, a tour that includes group critiques is invaluable. Having an opportunity to see other photographers’ images can inspire all kinds of creative ideas. Getting your images critiqued by a professional helps you understand your photos’ strengths and weaknesses. This can elevate your photography to the next level.

Dance of the Egret
NIKON D7100 + 200-400mm f/4 @ 550mm, ISO 800, 1/2500, f/6.3

When researching tours, look for detailed itineraries, with some built in flexibility. Be wary of tours that shoot from dawn to dusk. They can be exhausting after a couple of days. Make sure that you pick one that has some down time, usually during mid-day when the light is not at its best. Use some of that down time to process some of your images. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions about composition and technique before it is too late and the tour is over.

Lastly, conduct some research on the professional leading the tour. How long have they been doing this tour or been in business? Do they have their own website? If so, check out their portfolio. Have they posted photographs from past tours? Are these the types of images that inspire you? If they are, then that leader may be a good fit for you. If not, check out some other tours. And of course, read reviews from past clients.

Spoonbill Takeoff
NIKON D7100 + 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 400mm, ISO 400, 1/2000, f/7.1

2) Gear

So you’ve selected your tour and paid your down payment. Now it’s time to figure out what gear you are going to take. Choosing the right gear is a balancing act. You want to make sure that you have enough equipment to get the shots you envision, but not too much that carrying it breaks your back. You may also be limited by airline baggage restrictions. Most airlines allow you to carry on one bag and one small personal item. Personally, I never check my camera gear, the only exception being my tripod and head. So that means my camera, lenses, hard drives, and all the bits and pieces that accompany them, must go in a camera bag small enough to fit in the overhead bin.

Choose lenses based on the type of shots you plan to take. Don’t try and take it all! When I pack for a wildlife trip I bring very different lenses than if I am packing for a landscape or street photography tour. If you will be doing a lot of hiking, you will want to travel lighter. For trips where I know the tour involves short walks, and we won’t be far from a vehicle, I may carry a larger selection of lenses. Will you have the opportunity for close-up shots? Instead of a dedicated macro lens, consider extension tubes or a close-up filter. If weight and space are at a premium, use a versatile all-purpose zoom, such as a 24-120mm or 18-300mm, instead of several lenses that cover the same range. Regardless of which lenses you take, challenge yourself with the gear you have and do not lament the gear you left at home!

Camera Bag New Hampshire
Camera and lenses taken on a recent trip to New Hampshire to shoot fall foliage.

As for cameras, I recommend taking two bodies. There is nothing worse than investing in a photo tour, only to find that your camera has malfunctioned. Even a point-and-shoot can act as second body. And, they have the added advantage of being small enough to keep in your pocket for casual shots, like in a restaurant or on the plane when you don’t want to pull out your full size DSLR. Another option is to rent a second body to take with you. A rental body is a wise investment for those once in a lifetime bucket list trips.

Besides a camera and lenses, don’t forget memory cards, your computer and an external drive(s) for backups. And if your computer does not have SD or CF drives, you will need a card reader as well. Other necessities include:

  • Batteries and charger.
  • Protective filters, circular polarizers.
  • Rain sleeves – the inexpensive plastic ones from Op/Tech work great.
  • Camera strap – I prefer a sling type strap to a neck strap.
  • Lightweight travel tripod, monopod or beanbag if you will be doing any low light shooting or long exposures.
  • Cell phone with PDF copies of all your instruction manuals.
  • Flashlight or headlamp for night shots.
  • Lens blower, lens cloth, lens pens and a microfiber cloth for cleaning your gear.

The best investment I ever made was in a $10 pair of kneepads from the hardware store. They are invaluable if you like to get down low to shoot from interesting perspectives. They are always in my camera bag!

Miscellaneous Gear
All but the tripod and head go in my camera bag.

A flash is another piece of gear that you may want to consider packing. However, today’s cameras have very good high ISO capabilities. I prefer to use natural light and bump up my ISO instead of packing a flash. This leaves me more room for another lens!

Will you have the opportunity to do any underwater shooting? Instead of investing thousands of dollars on a professional housing, use an underwater rated point-and-shoot camera or a GoPro. On our trip to the Galapagos, my husband borrowed a GoPro and I used an EWA marine bag for my DSLR. The EWA bag cost around the same as an underwater point-and-shoot, but much less than a professional housing. It worked very well and let me capture RAW files using my Nikon D7000 and Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 lens.

EWA Marine Bag
EWA Marine Bag with Nikon D7000 and Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6
Fish Crossing
NIKON D7000 + 10-20mm f/4-5.6 @ 18mm, ISO 400, 1/200, f/5.6, Housed in EWA Marine Bag
Sea Turtles
NIKON D7000 + 10-20mm f/4-5.6 @ 14mm, ISO 400, 1/80, f/6.3, Housed in EWA Marine Bag

In addition, check with your tour leader. They have had the advantage of visiting your tour location several times (at least you hope they have). Your guide will have a very good feel for what equipment you will need, and what you need to leave behind. They will gladly provide you with a suggested gear list before you go.

3) Conclusion

Taking time to research your tour options, and discerningly choosing the gear you want to take with you are the first steps to a successful photo tour. In Part II of this article, I will discuss things that can be done pre-tour and during your tour, that will improve your odds of coming home with more than just snapshots.

Panga Ride
NIKON D800 + 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 80mm, ISO 1600, 1/160, f/5.6You are excited about your upcoming photo tour and have narrowed down the equipment you want to take with you. But what should you do next? How can you load the odds in your favor so that you come home with winning images? On the previous page, I talked about how to choose and pack for your photography tour. In this section, I would like to suggest some ideas for pre-tour preparation and on-tour tips. These suggestions will help you come home with photos worthy of a place on your wall.

About Elizabeth Gray

Elizabeth grew up in Vancouver, on the beautiful West Coast of Canada. In 2012 she relocated to Houston Texas for two years and then moved to Gautier, Mississippi in July of 2014. She loves the gulf coast and all the photographic opportunities it offers. Elizabeth’s areas of interest are widespread and include street, wildlife, nature, architecture, macro and long exposures. She is particularly passionate about black and white images. You can see more of her work on her website at or on Instagram at photosbyelizabethgray

Worldwide Photowalk Porto Can't Miss It
Worldwide Photowalk Porto Can’t Miss It

Announcing Scott Kelby’s 11th Worldwide Photowalk®, the world’s largest Photowalk. The event is happening October 6, 2018 in thousands of cities all over the world.

I invite you to come to the one that I’ll leader in Porto city.


See here the details:

What a wonderful day with my guest Rachel Garnick!

This moments of pure joy is the most important reason that we exist. See for yourself. Porto, Can’t Miss It!


One year later, during the S. João popular feast in Porto, there is the reencounter between two Josés, Santos (me) and Castelo, the man who made the “cascade” of “Ilha do Senhor Doutor”, on Rua de S. Vitor (which has the largest number of “islands” in the city). The moment is surprising, even for me, because I was not expecting to find this nice figure with such different look!

The 1st Hit The Streets Porto group

“Bem hajam!” (This expression so Portuguese and so little used is my favorite to thank).

I can not help but write a few words after this tour that despite the rain (and, maybe, so) went so well. All the participants maintained their good mood and joy, as if it were a radiant sun. I felt it was worth it, thank you for the generosity.
I hope you have enjoyed it and keep it as a good memory.
We are always here, available to share the best moments and the best photos that this old and worn city, but always so beautiful, provides.
Until forever.

Maria José

Of course, there can’t be only 7 reasons to visit and photograph Porto. There are so many and so good reasons that it was not possible here and now to list them all. It is, therefore, that we suggest “only” these 7 that already justify a visit that is a delight not only for photographers as for all people. But (even here there’s a “but”), you may like it so much that you risk being in the mood to come here to live. It would not be the first !!!

1 – The People
Portugal has long been recognized as a country that enjoys receiving visitors, but Porto, even more! The writer Manuel de Sousa in his book Porto D’Honra said: “… the strong neighborhood and the unserpassed hospitality.” Photographing Porto’s people are portraits for life.

D. Manuela, owner of a small and old grocery store in Rua Escura

2 – The Douro River

Born in lands of Spain, it enters in Portugal through the province of Trás-os-Montes and leaves its mark on the way to the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. He brings with him many stories of achievements and it is to looking at him that Porto was born and lives every day. It is on the banks of the Douro that extends the most characteristic and the most beautiful area of Porto, the Ribeira. Photographing the Douro River is a stream of inspiration.

Porto seen from the viewpoint of the Serra do Pilar

3 – The Bridges

There are six bridges that cross the Douro River and connect the banks of the two neighboring cities, Porto and Gaia.

Starting at the oldest, the D. Maria Pia railway bridge, designed by Eng. Gustave Eiffel (the same of the Paris tower), inaugurated in 1877, now deactivated and replaced by the S. João bridge in 1991, passing through the modern bridges of Freixo and Infante, by the fantastic and imposing bridge of the Arrábida and ending in the iconic and singular bridge Luis I with its double-deck metal arch. It is a feast for any photographer whose most difficult task is to have the courage to stop taking pictures.

Cruise on the river Douro under the railway bridges of D. Maria Pia and S. João

4 – The Arquitecture


There are buildings whose architecture crosses much of the city history, from the Tower of Rua do Baixo of the thirteenth century, in Ribeira, passing through the innumerable projects by the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, the most emblematic without a doubt the Church and Tower of Clérigos, the S. João National Theater built at the beginning of the 20th century and designed by the Portuguese architect Marques da Silva, to the modernist House of Music, designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, as part of the European Capital of Culture event in 2001, and the headquarters of Vodafone, designed by the architects José António Barbosa and Pedro Guimarães, in the top 20 of the most spectacular creative offices in the world, is a journey that enchants and unveils the rich history. Making a photographic itinerary with architectural motifs is for it self a great story.













Vodafome headquarters building

5 – Parks and Gardens
The “Parque da Cidade”, Portugal’s largest urban park, stretches out to the sea and consists of a sophisticated landscape of lakes, varied flora and fauna, the Palacio de Cristal gardens with multiple viewpoints of the city and river, the magnificent gardens of the House and Museum of Serralves, the romantic gardens of Cordoaria and Botânico, and many others that can not be listed here. They are all pearls to be photographed.

Porto’s Botanic Gardens

6 – The Monuments


This city of Porto is also rich in monuments such as the ex-libris Torre dos Clérigos with its 75 meters of height that we can rise by its 240 steps and where you can see splendorous views of the city, the several stretches of medieval walls where there are still some of the old city gates, the imposing cathedral that dominates the city, the luxuriant S. Francisco church, the magnificent church of S. Clara, the almost unknown but fantastic church and museum of S. Pedro de Miragaia, the Palace of the Stock Exchange with its miraculous Arabic Salon, S. Bento Railway Station with its interior covered with more than 20.000 magnificent tiles that depict important episodes of Portugal’s history as well, excerpts from the 19th Century life in Portugal, and so many others that only a leisurely visit to the city will allow to know. Any of them is an attraction for any photographer who wants to add his story to the Porto´s history.












Porto’s Cathedral at night

7 – The Viewpoints

It is for many people, the most beautiful city in Europe and one of the most wonderful in the world. One of the reasons that contribute to this conviction has to do with its multiple viewpoints of the city. From the Serra do Pilar, on the south bank already in Gaia city, the perspective that is enjoyed there is splendorous, perhaps one of the most impressive images about a city that can be had. From the Vitória viewpoint you can see the all historical center, the Luis I bridge and the Serra do Pilar, and from the Virtudes Promenade, the sunset over the sea is unforgettable. And they are just some of the many who wait for you there. You may say that the beauty is so great that the cameras do not need the photographer.

Pictury Photo Tours - Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, Porto, Portugal
Viewpoint of “Palácio de Cristal” gardens

Porto, Can’t Miss It!

Photos & text:
José Manuel Santos


What my dearest friend and famous photographer Trey Ratcliff says about Porto… (and Pictury Photo Tours!)

Last year, our 80 Stays tour around the world took us to beautiful Porto, Portugal! My friend Jose took us all around…

Publicado por Trey Ratcliff em Quarta-feira, 2 de maio de 2018

Pictury Photo Tours is crossing borders in the company of my friends Ugo Cei from Italy and Ralph Velasco from the USA, great photographers and Photo Tour international leaders who have been kind enough to interview me recently.
You can listen below and follow us at

TTIM 126 – José Manuel Santos in Porto

Primeiro Passeio Fotográfico da Pictury Photo Tours
First Pictury Photo Tours photowalk in Porto, Portugal

So says Sérgio Godinho’s song, singer-songwriter of Porto that I admire. Music is part of our lives, has an extraordinary effect on the awakening of emotions and the words sung in Portuguese are blessed.

Today I write with a peace and a feeling that from now everything will go well. It feels so good …

Yesterday we officially inaugurated Pictury Photo Tours, joining a group of friends for a small photo tour through Porto, that city of cobbled, narrow and old alleyways that is always there for us and we feel how much it likes to be shared. We start at Virtudes Garden, always different in each visit, but where we feel always free.

Next stop, the Church of S. Pedro de Miragaia, with its magnificent altarpiece, beautiful! We were greeted by D Zulmira, whom I thank for the generosity and sympathy with which she made known to us the whole filling of this church that is well worth the visit.

Now let’s all be (when I say everyone is really everyone, because me and our children did not know what was going to happen, everything was prepared by my husband) surprised (always liked to surprise and did not lose the way …) by our guide. We have a 5D movie session about Porto that I highly recommend. It’s a different and fun way to see Porto.

The ride is almost over. We are going to walk along a narrow street that ends in a staircase leading to a small square where there are only 3 doors, we have to go back. Very curious and unusual.

A wonderful dinner is waiting for us at Espiga, which is a really nice space with a concern to promote cultural initiatives that for me are important to the city and where we eat well.

We finished the day with the presentation of a beautiful video (I know I’m suspicious, but I really like it) with compliments from renowed international photographers who know about my husband’s work. Thank you all.

Finally, I want to thank all those who were present and those that can’t but are “cheering” for us since the beginning

I still want to say that, despite giving a lot of work, it has been a pleasure for me to collaborate in this project that, even though it is not mine, has all my love. I will always be willing to welcome you with my biggest smile.

Until forever.

Maria José Dias


Another sweet dawn and I’m sure that I will have a very well spent day and it will end in the best way, to see another theater play.

Today our tour will be to the cradle of the nation, the city of Guimarães. For those who are lovers of the country, of this wonderful Portugal, this city is always an inspiration. It is a city with a glorious historical past that is associated with the foundation of the national identity and the portuguese language. It is certainly one of the most important historical destinations in the country. Ancient Roman city, was chosen by D. Afonso Henriques (our first king) to be the capital of the kingdom, after the victory in the battle of S. Mamede, in 1128. It was classified as World Heritage of Unesco in 2001.

When you arrive in Guimarães there is always a good feeling that I can’t explain, but I think it’s because I’m portuguese. I want to shout very loudly “Viva Portugal”. We start at the hill where two remarkable examples of the Vimaranian heritage stand: The castle and the Ducal Palace. BEAUTIFUL!

The Castle of Guimarães was built in the 10th century , being extended in the 11th century. Says the legend that D. Afonso Henriques was born here. In 1910 it was classified as a national monument.

The Ducal Palace dates back to the 15th century, and it has, in its interior, a set of Flemish tapestries and Persian rugs, superb. Both are well worth a visit.

Then we continue our journey right through the main square, the Oliveira Square.

It’s so nice to go down calmly enjoying the surroundings. A real labyrinth of winding alleys, flanked by old houses, decorated with statuary.

Suddenly we see the Salado Pattern in the center, which is a Gothic pearl (style that I like so much) and on the left side is the beautiful church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira. This church was founded by D. Afonso Henriques and underwent a restoration in the reign of King João I in 1835, after the victory in the battle of Aljubarrota. The tower is Manueline (a style that is only portuguese).

There is a curious legend associated with this square that I think is worth telling here. There was an olive tree in front of the church, which olives were used to provide oil to the altar lamps, but dried up and died. Later, a merchant put a cross on the exact spot where the olive tree once existed. Miraculously the tree came back to life. Unfortunately the one that exists today is not the original.

It is lunch time and there are many good restaurants in Guimarães. We chose one that, apart from eating very well, is a happy recovery from an old building, Papa Boa. I recommend.

Our afternoon will be spent on the mountain of Penha to enjoy all the nature and the best views over the city.

We will climb the cable car, probably the first to start operating in Portugal, in 1955. The climb is very pleasant and allows us to have an aerial perspective.

The mountain of Penha, although it goes back to the prehistoric period, its occupation took place in the last three centuries, was when the relation of the men with the space happened. The men wanted to build a place of worship here and “faith moves mountains”. Today there is a very important sanctuary for the Catholic religion and that is a true place of pilgrimage. It’s a fascinating place where granite rocks predominate. There are a set of caves, gorges, fountains, cliffs, large trees, all ready to be discovered and appreciated.

The devotion of men does miracles. Man with nature and faith leaves a valuable legacy.

It’s time to go down to dinner in Oliveira Square, on a terrace where you feel like sitting and taking more time than necessary, looking without haste for every detail. We had dinner calmly, but now we have to go to the Alberto Sampaio Museum where we will have the real privilege of seeing a play. I think it’s an unbeatable duo, a good play in an unlikely and so beautiful place.

The Alberto Sampaio Museum has one of the most valuable collections of tiles and sculptures in the country. I emphasize a beautiful triptych in silver, that represents the visitation, the annunciation and the birth of Christ. But the ex-libris of this place are, for me, the cloisters, gorgeous.

Here we go up an ancient staircase that takes us to a small wooden room, cozy, where we feel special. The historical play was very well performed, with a fantastic wardrobe. Congratulations!

It’s time to say goodbye and it looks like we miss it already. We’ll come back soon!


   Maria José Dias

Pictury Photo Tours

Nothing better than getting up in the morning with the joy of thinking that the end of the day will be toasted with another play, Cheers to the Theater (on this day that is his I have to celebrate it)!

Thus, we have a good excuse to go early to Braga and enjoy the day in this small and beautiful city.

Braga is, beyond a city full of history, the city of creativity, despite its interiority, it feels the bubbling.

We start the tour in the Sé (catedral) that still exists before Portugal is a country and that is the most emblematic building.

Located in the historical center, as we know it was projected at the end of the 12th century by Bishop D. Pedro. It is thought to have been built where there once existed a Roman temple dedicated to the goddess Isis (goddess of motherhood and fertility, protector of nature and magic – this building is even magical). It offers a range of styles, from the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque styles.

Inside are the tombs of the most important “fathers” of Portugal, those of D. Afonso Henriques, our first King. Let us appreciate.

Whenever I go to Braga I like to walk the old streets, to enjoy the details calmly, but also the people with all their sympathy and generosity.

One of the buildings I like most is the Palácio do Raio, sublime!

It has everything that in my imagination a palace must have, so full of details, with all the magnificent tiles (that so much taste and that so well represent Portugal), sumptuous and so different. It’s really special.

I can not fail to make reference to the architect to whom we owe his existence to our delight, André Soares.

André Soares and Carlos Amarante are two of the most important architects for the city of Braga. Already someone said that architecture is the greatest art.

Continuing our tour we have to pass in the so-called New Door Arch that never had a door, but which is worth appreciating, especially the top sculptures. This bow will connect to a square with a very beautiful fountain where a fish market was once held. It is always interesting to imagine ourselves in other times.

There is still a curiosity that has to do with the authorship of this arch, there are doubts about if it was  André Soares or Carlos Amarante who built.

It’s lunchtime and hunger tightens. We still have a long afternoon, but it sure will be worth it.

Lunch at S. Frutuoso, one of Braga classics restaurant retemper and is always so good.

Let’s go to one of the favorite places, Bom Jesus do Monte or Braga.

As the name implies it stands on a hill and has one of the most curious buildings I know, it is a staircase with 573 steps where the five human senses are represented in each fountain with enchanting details, whose authorship is the architect Carlos Amarante.

I recommend climbing on foot, for the bravest it’s worth it, when we got there above we felt some conquerors.

There is the possibility of getting on the funicular (you have to try climbing or descending) which was inaugurated in 1882 and is the oldest in the world in activity. It is an extraordinary work of engineering of the Portuguese Raul Mesnier de Ponsard, moved by water by counterweight, constituted by two cabins, both with water deposits and connected by a cable. Truly ingenious.

The conquerors have arrived and will now feel these gardens that alone are worth the visit. Nature at its best, whatever the time of year.

To those who are believers, nature is indeed a gift from God and to me these gardens are proof of that. We are in a set of extensive gardens, lakes, grottos, rails and coretos, a true feast. It is worthwhile to let yourself to be inebriate  and envolved with nature, discover all the nooks that are always surprising. A very rich afternoon.

Let’s get down on this fantastic funicular that I told you about (yes, do not forget that the climb was on foot).

We had dinner in a restaurant in the historic area that I really like, both for its beauty and for the food it offers. Modern, but in an old building that has been recovered in the best way.

My heart is “running” fast, I see the entrance to Theatro Circo.

Take a deep breath, let’s get into one of the most beautiful theaters in the country and maybe in the world. The inauguration of this theater took place on April 21, 1915, a project by the architect João Moura Coutinho, because there was a need to provide the city with a large cultural space. After years of decline, it has been completely restored and today is a true cultural icon.

It is difficult for me to describe how much I am moved by all the place surroundings, it is really to go to tears. So beautiful that it hurts! (A good pain, of course.)

The piece lived up to expectations and all the palms they received were well deserved. Thanks.

The time has come for me to return to “my” sea, which is so dear to me. Even though it’s night, let it light up in a sweet moonlight, I see it greet me a warm welcome.

Until always Braga, I promise I’ll come back more often.


   Maria José Dias

Pictury Photo Tours

Oporto’s Winter Sun

From the narrow balcony
I feel the sun invade me.
With eyes closed
I see this beautiful city.
The tower, of Teixeira de Pascoaes, arises proudly:

“Oporto squeezed up”.


We descend the precious staircase lined with stained glass that leads to the street. Let’s start our crusade of accidental tourists.

First visit, the house of the photo in front of the garden with the “my” trees that, although ill, grew and became gorgeous. We enjoy, with eyes wide open, all the exposed images, because they are worth it. We continue our walk along the steep streets, winding and full of history of this city towards the viewpoint that is of the virtues, it will be, perhaps, by the stunning view. But for me, what most fills my soul is the wonderful sculpture of the master José Rodrigues (I miss him…), horses and men from / to iron that so well symbolize the beauty and strength of these people (tripeiros).

Must stop at the tavern Sto. Antonio of Mr. Vitor whose sympathy is so captivating that makes you eat or drink even without hunger or thirst. The tour is not over yet, some old, worn stairs that end up right next to the S. Domingos square are waiting for us and where there is a guy so typical that he gives me a humorous phrase: “It’s good that there is no lift.” Separation of group, I continue with the youngers, street of flowers above and another unmissable stop in what is perhaps the most charming and precious tea room, as the name indicates, the goldsmithing Alliance. What a pleasant and surprising conversation!

We are almost at the end of this journey, but we are still going up the street of Clérigos, that of the tower that I spoke at the beginning and from which one can not look away, although we have to do it in order not to lose all the balconies of twisted iron, a masterpiece. So good! I finally love this city, which, being not mine, I feel, breathe and live as if it were.


    Maria José Dias

Pictury Photo Tours

The choice of the winning city never has been so unanimous among travellers from all other the world. It is with the votes of worldwide travellers from 174 countries that Porto wins this European title again for the third time (2012, 2014, 2017). Travellers from the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, South-Africa, South Korea, Ireland and Canada, among others,… voted Porto in the first place in this competition.

Porto is exceptional in more ways than one and the “Cidade Invicta” (unvanquished city) is history, is architecture, culture, gastronomy, trade, encounters and discoveries, will seduce you.

Porto has all the charm of towns which happily cohabit with their river. You can stroll along the River Douro (river of gold) in Cais da Ribeira, fly over it by helicopter or discover Porto’s architecture, its amazing landscapes and magnificent bridges by taking a cruise on this majestic river. Porto is also a sea city and in the briefest of time a tram will bring you to Foz do Douro’s gentle beaches face to face with the Atlantic.

Enter the sumptuously cool Palacio da Bolsa, and walk through history with Portuguese adventurers, follow the country’s trade routes and be stunned by the treasures which they brought back. Remarkable buildings such as the Sé Catédral and its terraces offer superb viewpoints over a bustle of markets, grocery stores, bars, restaurants…




Once upon a time… get ready; I will try to tell our story of many years traveling around the country, one that was once so deep that no one could be seen. Now, it remains isolated, but despite everything, more known and accessible.

I hope you like it because this cannot be done in a few words, we spent too many years, just the two of us.

Let’s start then… We usually say, “Do you remember when we were little, and we went to Pena village?” Yes, in fact, we were two youngsters, and one of our biggest pleasures was to travel around the  country, getting to know it, so that we could celebrate it, as we did in these amazing and unforgettable guides “The most beautiful villages in Portugal” and “Time and the Soul.”

We ran across Portugal, even though we knew that once we got there, there would be no one with us, just walking around, and even the places to see were very few, always with such rich and poor “stories,” harsh stories, but always told with sweet smiles on exhausted faces.

They talked to us with a generosity that is so Portuguese, so real, so ours. They showed us their treasures, which were their cows, sheep, goats, and dogs; always the dogs, because these apparently rude people have a very strong bond with their animals, which is reciprocated.

It is very hard for a city person to realize that that villager who doesn’t know how to read or write knows all their sheep, and that all of them have a name (they are all the same to me…+ reading is not enough).

A legend is told in this village that seems very peculiar to me and I want to tell you. Pena is close to S. Pedro do Sul (Beira Alta), in a “hole,” and the access road is made of dirt. Imagine how hard it is to get there. But there is a narrow canyon that could only be crossed by foot, which is really dangerous, but that connected them to a nearby village more quickly.

In this other village, there was a cemetery (Pena is so small they don’t have their own cemetery). So the legend says that one day, one of their few inhabitants died, and their friends decided to carry the coffin through the canyon. But they lost balance and fell, and of course, they died.

As of this day, the canyon was known as “the canyon of the dead man who killed the living.” Despite its name, it is worth visiting it, very carefully. The view is amazing. Time to come back home after another busy day, Porto awaits us. The return was always through the top floor of the Luis I bridge (even though that is not the fastest way home), because the “S. Joanina waterfall” is always different and unforgettable.


   Maria José Dias

Pictury Photo Tours