The 11 best places to visit in Portugal

Regis St. Louis

Nov 17, 2023 • 7 min read

areas to visit in portugal

From the viewpoints of Lisbon to the beaches of the Algarve, here are the best places to go in Portugal © Gabriel Mello / Getty Images

Lisbon and Porto may get a lot of love, but there's so much more to Portugal than its captivating historic cities.

From  golden beaches  and mountainous peaks to lush river valleys, every region has its own diverse highlights across this small Iberian nation.

Finding the best places to go here depends largely on your own interests. If you’re after sun-kissed beaches and aquatic adventures, head to the Algarve ; for historic architecture-filled towns with a rich, traditional dining scene , aim for Évora. Start planning your itinerary now with our 11 favorite places to visit in Portugal.

Best for nightlife

Seven iconic hills overlook  Lisbon 's postcard-perfect panorama of cobbled alleyways, white-domed cathedrals and grand civic squares – a captivating scene crafted over centuries.

The Portuguese capital is packed with things to do , from browsing galleries (including the Museu Nacional do Azulejo with its trove of ceramic tiles) and exploring castles (such as the hilltop  Castelo de São Jorge ) to satisfying your sweet tooth with the city's incredible  pastéis de nata  (custard tarts).

By night, Lisbon’s party people take over, filling old-school drinking dens, brassy jazz clubs and open-all-night clubs that burst into life once the sun goes down.

Planning tip: Lisbon has an emerging craft beer scene that you can experience at the city's breweries and bars .

Read more: Where locals go on vacation in Portugal

2. douro valley .

Best place to drink wine 

One of Portugal’s most beautiful areas lies just east of Porto. Here, the meandering Rio Douro flows past towering hillsides covered by the steeply terraced vineyards that make up Europe’s oldest demarcated wine region. Whether you come by boat, train or car to the Douro Valley , you’ll be rewarded with astonishing views at every turn, especially as you near the lovely village of Pinhão in the heart of the region. 

Planning tip:  Many travelers dash in on a quick day trip, but to make the most of the region, spend the night at one of the vineyard-surrounded guesthouses in the area, such as Quinta Nova or the Casa Cimeira .

An aerial view of the medieval houses, wall and tower of Obidos, Portugal. The street is filled with crowds of people.

Best hilltop village

Wandering the tangle of ancient streets in the historic town of  Óbidos is enchanting at any time of year, but come during one of its festivals and you're in for a special treat. Whether you fancy the idea of a mock-up jousting match at a medieval fair or delving into the written word at Folio – Portugal's biggest international literature festival – you couldn’t ask for a better backdrop.

Best for a fantastical escape

Less than an hour by train from the capital Lisbon,  Sintra feels like another world. It's a great day trip away from the city hubbub. Like a setting from a fairy tale, this historic hillside township is sprinkled with stone-walled taverns and lorded over by a  multicolored palace .

Forested hillsides form the backdrop to this storybook setting, with imposing castles, mystical gardens, strange mansions and centuries-old monasteries hidden among the trees. The fog that sweeps in by night adds another layer of mystery.

Planning tip:  Chilly evenings are best spent by the fire in one of Sintra’s many charming B&Bs.

5. Setúbal Peninsula 

Best for wild, cliff-backed beaches

South of Lisbon, the Setúbal Peninsula has long been the weekend playground of Lisboetas (Lisbon residents). A ferry ride, followed by a short bus or bicycle ride, takes you to the Costa da Caparica, a seemingly endless beachfront that gets wilder and less crowded the further south you go. If you want a surf lesson, some downtime on the sands, or a meal overlooking the lapping waves, this is the place to come. 

If you’re seeking a bit more solitude, head down to the Parque Natural da Arrábida at the southern end of the peninsula. Here, you'll find cliffs covered with thick vegetation, picturesque coves and beaches such as Praia do Portinho da Arrábida, with fine sand, azure waters, and the ruins of an ancient site that dates back to Roman times. 

Street view of the Historic Centre of Evora, Portugal. The street is narrow and lined by stalls, selling their wares outside.

Best for historical architecture 

The heart of the Alentejo region, Évora is one of Portugal’s most beautifully preserved medieval towns, and it's an enchanting place to spend a couple of days. Inside the 14th-century walls, narrow, winding lanes lead to striking monuments, including an elaborate medieval cathedral, Roman ruins and a picturesque town square.

But this isn't a musty museum piece – Évora is also a lively university town, and its many restaurants serve up some excellent, hearty Alentejan cuisine.

Best for urban exploring 

It would be hard to dream up a more romantic city than  Porto . Portugal’s second-largest urban center is laced with narrow pedestrian lanes, baroque churches and cafe-dotted plazas, leading the eye down to the Douro River and its landmark bridges. Needless to say, there's no shortage of  great experiences here . Start in the  Ribeira district – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – then cross the bridge to explore centuries-old port wineries in  Vila Nova de Gaia , where you can sip the world’s best port. 

You can also learn about Porto’s history (both the drink and the city) and other facets of Portuguese identity at the World of Wine , a sprawling complex of museums, restaurants and bars overlooking the city. Though Porto is defined by its air of dignified history, modern architecture, cosmopolitan dining, vibrant nightlife and artistic activity are injecting new life into the city.

8. The Minho 

Best for traditional villages and wilderness trails 

The Portuguese have a special fondness for the Minho , a verdant region of vineyard-covered valleys, mountainous wilds, isolated beaches and picturesque river towns that seem little changed by time. The gateway to the region is Braga , a city with Roman ruins, a fabled medieval cathedral , and tranquil flower-trimmed plazas sprinkled with outdoor cafes and restaurants. 

Further north, you’ll find Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês , a vast, rugged wilderness of dramatic peaks, meandering streams and frozen-in-time stone villages. Dozens of hiking trails crisscross the reserve, taking walkers past old Roman roads, castle ruins or sparkling waterfalls.

Planning tip:  If you're here in summer, cool down in the idyllic swimming holes – these are among the best places to be in Portugal during the hot weather.

Tourist woman enjoying a traditional meal and drinks in an outdoor terrace on a little street of Coimbra in Portugal,

Best for a student vibe

Portugal’s most atmospheric college town,  Coimbra , rises steeply from the Rio Mondego, and its handsome medieval quarter houses one of Europe’s oldest universities. Students roam the narrow streets clad in black capes, while the sound of fado (Portugal’s soulful traditional style of music) drifts through the Moorish town gates towards the stained-glass windows of the historic  Café Santa Cruz .

Planning tip:  Grown-ups may well appreciate the town’s student-driven nightlife and the medieval lanes of the steeply stacked historic center. Visitors with younger kids can keep busy at Portugal dos Pequenitos , a theme park with miniature versions of Portuguese monuments.

10. Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela 

Best for hiking and alpine activities in winter

The Serra da Estrela – Portugal’s  highest mountain range – is the place to come for rugged scenery, outdoor adventures, and glimpses of a vanishing traditional way of life. Hikers can choose from an expansive network of high-country trails with stupendous vistas, and the region's fascinating mountain villages make perfect bases for outdoor adventures.

At the country’s highest point – the summit of Torre, artificially pushed to 2000m (6561ft) by the addition of a not-so-subtle stone monument – you can slalom down Portugal’s only ski slope. Oh, and did we mention the furry sheepdog puppies that frolic by the roadside? You’ll long to take one home.

A young girl gazes down from a cliff towards a sandy beach filled with people and families enjoying the coastline

11. The Algarve

Best for a relaxing family holiday

Sunseekers have much to celebrate in Portugal. Along the south coast, the Algarve is famed for its gorgeous and varied coastline – you can either join the crowds on the people-packed sands at major resorts or find seaside peace on dramatic wild beaches backed by wind-carved cliffs. Days are spent playing in the waves, taking long oceanfront strolls, or surfing some of Europe's most memorable breaks. 

The Algarve is also one of the best places in Portugal for kids . You’ll find family-friendly beaches, water parks and plenty of outdoor adventures (from boating to hidden sea caves to exploring undeveloped islands).

Planning tip:  There’s never a bad time to visit this region, with its 300 days of sunshine each year, though you’ll find the best prices and thinnest crowds in winter. 

This article was first published June 2021 and updated November 2023

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20 Beautiful Places to Visit in Portugal — From Fairy-tale Castles to Charming Beach Towns

Take your pick of hilltop castles, sunny beaches, and time-worn villages.

Lindsay Cohn is a writer, editor, and avid traveler who has visited 45 countries across six continents — and counting. She contributes to Travel + Leisure, Hotels Above Par, InsideHook, Well+Good, The Zoe Report, and more.

areas to visit in portugal

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France and Spain have long taken center stage, with Portugal as a less-visited destination for in-the-know travelers. The tides are slowly turning and the small Iberian nation is, at long last, enjoying its well-deserved moment in the sun. The drawback to this increased attention? More tourists. Though it’s not like contending with a few crowds is going to put anyone off seeing Pena Palace or Jerónimos Monastery. And, of course, there are countless beautiful places to visit in Portugal, from the Azores and Madeira to the sun-splashed Algarve and even popular cities like Lisbon and Porto . This is to say that despite its relatively diminutive size, Portugal offers a treasure trove of natural, historical, and cultural wonders.

Cabo da Roca

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The westernmost point in continental Europe, Cabo da Roca exudes a wild, edge-of-the-Earth mystique. Waves crash against the rocks, tourists standing atop sheer cliffs stare out at nothing but blue to the horizon, and a historic lighthouse guides boats sailing along the rugged coast. 

Lagoa das Sete Cidades

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The majesty of São Miguel never ceases to amaze. Topping the list for many travelers visiting the volcanic main island in the Azores archipelago are the famous and impossibly photogenic twin crater lakes, Lagoa Azul ("blue lagoon") and Lagoa Verde ("green lagoon"). 

Pena Palace

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One of the most beautiful places in Europe , Pena Palace is a hilltop Romanticist castle and the crown jewel of Sintra. Its candy-colored facade and sweeping terraces draw shutter-happy tourists from near and far. The stately interiors are filled with antiques, while the surrounding park provides tree-shaded pathways.

Levadas da Madeira

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The Levadas da Madeira is a system of historic irrigation canals built across the island to carry water from the high-altitude slopes to sugar cane fields, farmlands, and cities. Hiking trails that run along the waterways give travelers a close-up look at the UNESCO-listed laurel forests.

Jerónimos Monastery

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One of the most-visited landmarks in Lisbon and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the late Gothic Manueline-style Jerónimos Monastery stands tall as an enduring symbol of power dating back to the Age of Discovery. The block-long complex continues to impress with its magnificent maritime details, cloisters, and tombs.

Algar de Benagil

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This fantastical seaside cave that’s reachable by boat doesn’t even look real. Sun beams in through the hole on the top, bathing the enclosed beach in light, and turquoise waters lap the sand. 

Clérigos Church

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Clérigos Church is a must-see on any trip to Porto . While the artifacts and organ concerts certainly wow, both are overshadowed by the iconic 75-meter-tall bell tower, which visitors can climb for 360-degree views of the city (and a serious workout).

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Nazaré lures fearless surfers and attracts many curious tourists thanks to the larger-than-life swells that were the subject of the documentary “100 Foot Wave.” The huge breaks mean you’re likely not going to paddle out, but it’s worth the drive to see the enormous waves crash into the rocks and grab lunch at one of the local restaurants.

Vila Franca Islet

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Located off the coast of São Miguel , the Vila Franca Islet looks otherworldly from above and just as pretty up close. The circular saltwater lagoon, which was formed by the crater of an ancient volcano, is ringed by lush vegetation. In the summer, it’s popular for swimming, snorkeling, birdwatching, and cliff diving (if you dare). 

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Situated about an hour from Lisbon, Comporta is a low-key fishing village turned in-the-know summer hotspot with cork trees, rice fields, and blissful beaches. During the warmer months, it’s well worth vying for a spot on the brilliant white sand of Praia Comporta.

Douro Valley

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The oldest demarcated wine region in the world and the birthplace of port, Douro Valley wows viticulture enthusiasts and casual sippers. A mix of rolling vineyards, historic quintas, boat rides along its namesake river, and excellent restaurants means there’s plenty to appreciate besides incredible pours. 

Peneda-Gerês National Park

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Set in northern Portugal near the Spanish border, Peneda-Gerês National Park spans yellow-tinged hills, granite peaks, high-flowing streams, mixed forests, and Roman relics. Native wildlife — including the Pyrenean desman, Iberian frog, and Barrosã cattle — also call this protected land home. 

Cachalote Natural Swimming Pools

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The north coast of Madeira brims with beautiful spots to take a dip, none more iconic than Cachalote Natural Swimming Pools . The Mother Nature-made lagoons off the shore of Porto Moniz were formed by volcanic rocks and filled with the tides of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Poço da Alagoinha

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Majestic waterfalls are one of the many enticements of the Azores. Poço da Alagoinha on the island of Flores is a stunning example with multiple cascades that gush from lush, vegetation-covered cliffs down to a pristine lagoon. 

Parque Natural da Arrábida

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Parque Natural da Arrábida shows off many of Portugal’s best assets. Fine sand beaches fade into blue waters, towering cliffs rise from the sea, verdant vegetation covers the mountain peaks, and scenic hiking trails wind through the spellbinding scenery. 

Azenhas do Mar

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Of all the charming coastal towns in Portugal, Azenhas do Mar deserves special mention. Small in size, with just 800 inhabitants, whitewashed houses, and commanding sea views, it’s a postcard-worthy setting to sip local wine, savor regional seafood dishes, and swim in the natural rock pool. 

Castelo de Guimarães

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Mystery and legend still swirl around Castelo de Guimarães. A major presence in Portuguese history, the castle was built under the orders of Mumadona Dias in the 10th century to serve as a place of refuge from and protection against attacks perpetrated by Vikings and Moors. 

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Sagres sits on a windswept headland at the western tip of southern Portugal. Sunny skies, dramatic sea cliffs, and uncrowded beaches make this tiny fishing village deserving of a detour. It’s also a surfer’s paradise that provides plenty of both beginner-friendly breaks and expert-level barrels.

Quinta do Barbusano

Tucked away in the mountains on the north side of Madeira, Quinta do Barbusano invites visitors to savor the flavors of the island with wine tastings and traditional espetada (beef skewer) meals overlooking the São Vicente Valley. It’s also possible to do a short hike to nearby Nossa Senhora Fátima Chapel for even more breathtaking vistas.

Livraria Lello

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Livraria Lello shows off opulent staircases, an ornate stained-glass ceiling, and towering shelves packed with tomes. Harry Potter fans might notice a connection between the magical interiors of the historic bookstore and some Hogwarts scenes. It’s widely known that J.K. Rowling frequented the shop during her time in Porto.

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Home » Travel Guides » Portugal » 15 Best Places to Visit in Portugal

15 Best Places to Visit in Portugal

Portugal is easily one of Europe’s most visited countries, thanks in large part to its affordability, ideal holiday weather, and its incomparable attractions.

Situated on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal’s geography ranges from lush farmlands and medieval towns in its centre, to gorgeous vineyards and mountains in the north, to the sensational beaches of the Algarve in the south.

Portugal’s history and culture go back to the 16th century, when the country was a major maritime empire; there’s something to see everywhere you look.

Lets explore the best places to visit in Portugal :

Coimbra

Once the capital of Portugal, this quaint and charming town is a treasure chest of stunning gardens, historical sites, fado music, and dynamic culture.

Located near the Mondego River in the centre of Portugal, Coimbra is a city of medieval churches and an intricate maze of cobbled streets that are so stunning; you’ll think you’ve slipped back in time. In fact, many people consider Coimbra to be the most romantic city in the country.

The town gets its energy and influence from the University of Coimbra.  Founded in 1209, and one of the oldest universities in Europe, you can see the entire city from its courtyard.

Azores

Roughly halfway between Massachusetts and mainland Portugal, you’ll find the Azores .  This archipelago is made of nine volcanic islands scattered over several hundred nautical miles and best known for the hot mineral springs, first-class whale watching (named one of the top ten spots on the planet), and lovely seaside towns.

Each island has its own distinct identity, but they’re all  rich with beautiful beaches and green landscapes.  Sao Miguel, “The Green Island,” is the largest of the nine while Pico is home to the tallest mountain in all of Portugal.

If you’re an adventurer, this is where you want to be.  All water sports can be found here as well as cycling and horseback riding; primarily in Vila Franca do Campo, the largest town in The Azores.

Évora

This beautiful town , that sits at the foot of a mountain range bearing the same name, is so marvellous that UNESCO has named the entire place a world heritage site.

The designation is for “cultural landscape,” specially created for Évora and which includes the natural beauty of the mountains as well the historic characteristics of the town.

Évora is 2,000 years old and overflowing with Moorish courtyards, Renaissance fountains, Gothic turrets, medieval squares and a labyrinthine of tiny streets. Visit the Praça do Giraldo, one of the main squares where open-air cafes serve delicious coffees to tourists but which was once the site of public executions.  Don’t forget the Roman baths and the Moorish “Yeborah.”

Aveiro

Set alongside the Ria de Aveiro lagoon, Aveiro (uh-vey-roo) is a lively city whose nickname is “the Venice of Portugal” because of its picturesque humpbacked bridges, high-prow boats, and the charming network of cannels.

In fact, the town is best explored by moliceiro, a traditional boat once used primarily for harvesting seaweed and now converted for tourists. Have your fill of relaxing beaches and fabulous cuisine and feel like royalty here.

You’ll want to be sure to make time for the Sao Goncalinho Chapel, the Averio Cathedral, the Convento de Jesus and the many art nouveau buildings scattered around the town’s old centre.

sintra

Just off the Lisbon coast, in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, and a day trip away from Portugal’s capital, Sintra is simply breathtaking.

Pretty villas, royal retreats, luscious green hills, and fairy tale castles define this beautiful town. The highlight is Sintra’s Palácio da Pena with its German influence and mix of architectural styles. Once the summer home of the Portuguese royal family, the surrounding lands are a nature lovers dream come true – filled with exotic flowers, plants, and trees.

You must also make time for the ancient ruins at the Castle of the Moors with its unbelievable view from Sintra’s highest hill, as well as the subtropical gardens of Monserrate Palace.

Porto

Porto is the city that gave Portugal its name.  But locals will tell you it’s most known for a hearty fortified wine known as port.

This busy city spreads itself across the hills that overlook the Douro River in north Portugal. The historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you’ll find the Ribeira, a wonderful pedestrian zone with cafes, live music, street vendors, and mouth-waters cuisine.

Porto is the second largest city and balances its commercial interests with its romantic history.  Take a sunset stroll along the Douro as the sounds of music drift from the cafes and see if you don’t want to stay forever.

Óbidos

Encircled by several rings of medieval walls with a Moorish castle at its centre, Óbidos sits on top of a hill with astonishing views.

The town’s main attractions are the historic centre and its medieval castle which is now a Pousada (hotel owned by the government). The medieval ambiance of the place makes for a remarkable walk as you wind your way through the crooked cobblestone streets. You’ll pass many small squares full of lively activity, small cafes and shops, and whitewashed private homes decorated with colourful flowers.

Don’t miss out on the Capela de São Martinho, Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria, or the Igreja do Senhor da Pedra. Enjoy the Ancient Music Festival in October and the International Chocolate Festival each March.

8. Funchal, Madeira

Funchal, Maderia

With a nickname like “Floating Garden of the Atlantic,” you know you’re in for a fun and relaxing time. Madeira is an archipelago in the Atlantic located between Portual and North Africa.

It’s one of two autonomous regions in the country (along with The Azores) and is popular for its wines, the must-see Orchid Garden and the Laurissilva Forest.

Funchal is its capital and largest city which manages to balance modern growth and tradition.  This is evident when you look at the well-preserved churches and museums through town.  Funchal is a very walk-able sunny city perfect for nature lovers. When the sun goes down, those that love a fun-filled nightlife will appreciate the nightclubs, casinos, and restaurants.

9. The Algarve

Algarve

If you’re looking for sun, sand, and sea, you’ll want to put Algarve at the top of your life.  Here’s the rundown for this amazing south Portuguese town:  fantastic beaches, Mediterranean climate, 3000 hours of sunlight a year, almost no rain, delicious cuisine, affordable cost of living, world-renown golf courses, picturesque towns, and rich history.

What’s not to love? The capital city of Faro is almost untouched from its 18th century roots and Sagres and Lagos can trace their roots to the Roman period.

You must visit The Fortaleza de Sagre was built in the 15th century and is believed to be the home of Prince Henry’s School of Navigation, and the Cape of São Vicente, a sacred site for the Roman’s who called it Promontorium Sacrum.

Lisbon

Portugal’s capital and largest city stretches along the banks of the Tagus River. Covering seven hills that form an unbelievable destination vacation, Lisbon is full of Gothic cathedrals, distinct neighbourhoods, fantastic weather, crooked alleyways, and fun shopping all with traditional fado music serving as your soundtrack everywhere you go.

The Baixa, Lisbon’s downtown, is the traditional centre of life here.  The Baixa is where you’ll find the old traditional shops – some of the craftsmen have been there for generations.  Alfama, an old Moorish quarter is the oldest district in the city known for its rustic architecture as well as St. George’s Castle.

Take a tour on one of the vintage trams (famously Tram 28) which will take you through all the main attractions, gardens, and historic quarters.

11. Guimarães

Guimarães

This city is overflowing with astounding characteristics.  The historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the city itself was 2012’s European Capital of Culture.

Guimarães has special value for the Portuguese for it was here that the country’s roots began, during the Battle of São Mamede in 1128. Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal was the victor and set in motion the founding of this small but marvellous country.

You must visit not only the 10th century medieval castle, but Ducal Palace as well – built in the 15th century, it’s now a palace and a museum. And for a relaxing afternoon, take a stroll down the city’s most beautiful street, Rua de Santa Maria.

12. Albufeira

Albufeira

This former fishing village is now a major holiday destination among domestic and international tourists. It’s no wonder when you consider the white sand beaches, parasailing, jet-skiing, and dolphin watching.

Three great beaches to consider are Praia da Oura, Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermans Beach), and Praia do Peneco. If crowds aren’t for you but you still want your time on the beach, there are smaller and more secluded beaches full of character and great for families.

When you need a break, head inland to visit the appealing villages and high-quality restaurants on offer.  Oh, and don’t forget the incredible nightlife.

13. Vilamoura

Vilamoura

Vilamoura, considered the heart of the Algarve, has always been known for its absorbing natural beauty and sun and sand holidays.  But these days tourism is booming and it’s becoming more known for luxurious spas, fine golfing, and a paradise for true foodies.  Vilamoura is the place to come to put your feet up and relax.

You’re a quick trip away from the fast-paced night life of Faro as well as the Algarve’s best beaches. In fact, some of Portugal’s best wind-surfing happens on the beaches closest to town.

This is a must-stop for seafood lovers and wine lovers. It’s a perfect way to wind down your time in Portugal.

Fátima

Home to the Sanctuary of Fátima, a sacred pilgrimage site for Catholics, this central Portuguese town is heavily influenced by its patron saint, the Virgin Mary.

You can visit the Capelinha das Apariçoes, where she allegedly appeared in 1917, as well as other sacred sites like Igreja da Santíssima Trindade and the golden angels of Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário.  Over six million people a year come to visit this holy place that now houses two huge churches on a stunning esplanade in the heart of town.

No matter your beliefs, Fátima is an impressive site to see; it’s an interesting look into some of the religious culture of Portugal.

Faro

The entire Algarve region is famous in Portugal, and the Algarve’s most famous destination is Faro . This capital city feels more Portuguese than most resort towns which is too bad because most people just pass through.

There’s a lot to discover here, including a delightful marine, plazas and parks, the historic old town with outdoor cafes and wonderful pedestrian lanes, the archaeological museum and a Renaissance cathedral known as Bishops Palace.

There’s a student population that keeps the nightlife interesting as well.  The medieval quarters are fabulously maintained and hidden within you’ll find unique little museums, churches, and even a bone chapel. The Parque Natural da Ria Formasa lagoons are also nearby and make a great spot for exploration.

15 Best Places to Visit in Portugal:

  • Funchal, Madeira
  • The Algarve

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17 Best Places to Visit in Portugal

Last updated on February 5, 2024 by Kay Pierce and Becky Griswold - 3 Comments

Located on the western coast of the Iberian peninsula, Portugal is one of Europe’s most visited countries due to its idyllic climate, affordable travel costs and exceptional attractions. The richness of Portugal’s heyday – when it used to rule a huge empire from Brazil to Macau in China – is something you can definitely see in its architecture.

Elegant and drenched in opulence, the buildings of Lisbon and Porto – especially in their respective Old Towns – certainly reflect the wealth of Portugal’s imperial days.

The Algarve in southern Portugal is a long stretch of towns and beaches from Lagos to Faro. Hotels and golf courses jostle for space in this famous region of the country. Hiking along the Algarve offers great coastal views, but taking a trip to one of Portugal’s islands – like Madeira or the archipelago of the Azores – is a whole other world of beauty. Plan your trip to this terrific European travel destination with our list of the best places to visit in Portugal.

In this post, we'll cover:

17. Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo

Set in a scenic spot at the mouth of the Lima River, Viana do Castelo lies in the north of Portugal, right next to the Atlantic Ocean . The small city boasts interesting and impressive historical and cultural landmarks and is a popular stop along the Portuguese Way .

As it has long been an important pilgrimage site, numerous centuries-old churches and a gorgeous Gothic-style cathedral can be found dotted around town. Its well-preserved medieval center is also home to fine palaces and manor houses, as well as a couple of small museums.

Overlooking everything from its prominent hilltop position is the beautiful Basilica of Santa Luzia, which was modeled on Sacre Coeur in Paris .

Besides all the divine architecture and magnificent monuments, Viana do Castelo offers astounding views over the surrounding area and is an excellent base for exploring the Lima Valley. Many people visit to hike in the foothills or lounge on its beautiful beaches.

16. Monsaraz

Monsaraz

Fought over and ruled by everyone from the Romans and Visigoths to the Arabs and Knights Templar, Monsaraz boasts a long and illustrious history. The settlement was sought after as it occupies a scenic and strategic hilltop position overlooking the Guadiana River on the border with Spain.

Much of its fascinating past is still visible; within the walls of the medieval village , you can find age-old archaeological sites and awe-inspiring architecture. While its crumbling castle is the main attraction, lovely churches and chapels can found hidden away among its winding cobbled streets and beautiful white-washed buildings.

From the village’s walls and watchtowers, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramas out over the waters of Alqueva Dam and the patchwork of green, brown and yellow fields surrounding it. A magical place to visit, Monsaraz is one of the oldest villages in the whole of Portugal.

Nazare

Located in the historical Estremadura Province, the small town of Nazare is set in a scenic spot, with rugged coastal cliffs and beautiful beaches lying all around. One of Portugal’s most popular seaside resorts, it is famed for the enormous waves pounding its Atlantic coastline.

Due to the ferocious waves flung up by the undersea Nazare Canyon , the town has long attracted surfers to its shores. While riding record-breaking waves is a popular pastime, many people prefer to simply relax on its golden sands or bask in its panoramic coastal views.

Home to lots of charming cobbled lanes, the center of Nazare is full of fantastic seafood restaurants, small boutiques, and peaceful pensions. It also has a couple of chapels, churches, and museums for visitors to check out, as well as a lovely funicular that takes you to the nearby hilltop. While Nazare is packed during summer, it is also a popular place to celebrate both New Year’s Eve and Carnaval.

14. Peneda-Geres National Park

Peneda-Geres National Park

Lying in the northwest of the country on the border with Spain, Peneda-Geres is a lovely place to visit and is Portugal’s only national park . Established in 1971, it protects precious landscapes and ecosystems as well as countless villages set in scenic and secluded spots.

Sprawling over a vast area, the park encompasses everything from sweeping valleys and verdant forests to rolling foothills and fast-flowing rivers . Its mountainous confines are home to diverse fauna and flora species. A number of excellent hiking trails and camping sites can be found dotted around its peaks and plateaus.

Peneda-Geres is also home to more than a hundred granite villages that have a timeless look and feel and are set among the stunning scenery. The small settlements have been around for centuries, so the park not only preserves the peaceful and picturesque nature, but their ancient way of life too.

Braga

The third-largest city in the country, Braga lies in the north of Portugal surrounded by gently rolling hills, sweeping valleys, and fertile farms. Although it is known as the ‘city of archbishops’, it boasts much more than just churches, with a charming old town and lively nightlife for visitors to explore.

While its historical center is full of winding narrow lanes, elegant plazas, and beautiful old buildings, there is a youthful and lively feel about town thanks to its large student population. As such, cheap but excellent cafes, restaurants and bars abound, while magnificent monuments and museums can be found here and there.

As it is home to the Archdiocese of Braga, it is an important stop on the Portuguese Way pilgrimage path , and many people visit during the week-long Semana Santa. This is when religious processions parade around between the city’s staggering number of gorgeous Baroque churches.

In addition, one of it’s (and Portugal’s) most famous tourist attractions is the serene hilltop sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, which provides stunning views over the surroundings.

Tomar

One of Portugal’s most pretty and picturesque towns, Tomar lies in the center of the country, surrounded by fertile farmland. As it was once the headquarters of the Knights Templar , its ancient streets are home to important historical, cultural and religious monuments.

In the center, you can find beautiful buildings that exhibit some exquisite architecture, with Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance styles all displayed. While centuries-old churches, chapels, and palaces abound, its main attraction is the Castle and Convent of the Order of Christ.

Once a Templar stronghold, it was from this sprawling and spectacular citadel complex that Portugal’s overseas expansion and Age of Discoveries began.

Remarkably, it was also in Tomar that the nation of Portugal was founded. For centuries, it was a massively influential city and settlement. This rich history, culture, and heritage is still evident wherever you go, and a number of important festivals and events still take place in the town every year.

11. Guimaraes

Guimaraes

Boasting one of the most beautiful and well-preserved historic centers in Portugal, Guimaraes lies in the north of the country, not far from Braga. The city is often called the ‘birthplace of Portugal,’ as it was here that the nation’s first king Afonso Henriques was born.

At the heart of Guimaraes lies its two main attractions – its majestic tenth-century castle and Grand Dukes of Braganza Palace . Fascinating to explore, they boast exquisite architecture and offer an invaluable look at the city’s rich history and heritage.

Guimaraes

Its magnificent medieval center is also wonderful to walk around and is home to pretty plazas, lovely old buildings, monuments, museums, and art galleries.

Despite all the history, the city has a vibrant and youthful feel due to its large student population. Many lively cafes and bars are dotted about its streets. When visiting Guimaraes, many people head to the top of the nearby Penha Mountain to enjoy fabulous views over the city.

10. Coimbra

Coimbra

A charming city situated by the Mondego River in Central Portugal, Coimbra is home to a treasure trove of historic sites, beautiful gardens, the country’s second style of fado music, and a lively culture that is centered around one of Europe’s oldest universities.

One of the best things to do in Coimbra is to simply get lost and discover the many historic attractions from the stunning Old Cathedral to the Gothic Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, which contains the tomb of Queen Isabel.

No trip to Coimbra would be complete without a visit to the University of Coimbra to admire one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, the Joanina Library .

Coimbra University

Cobblestone squares throughout the city offer quaint shops and cafes to drink coffee and people watch, while lovely city parks and botanical gardens are perfect for leisurely strolls and picnics.

The vibrant culture scene in Coimbra is most noted for its fado music performances and academic festivals, which feature a Tin Can Parade welcoming students at the beginning of the school year and an eight-day “Burning of the Ribbons” party following the end of the second semester.

Azores

Lying in the middle of the Atlantic, the Azores archipelago is located around 1,500 kilometers off the west coast of continental Portugal. Volcanic in origin, its nine islands boast breathtaking landscapes that offer incredible outdoor recreation opportunities.

Hiking around the islands is a delight as verdant valleys and mountains overlook scenic shorelines riddled with rugged cliffs, secluded coves, and pristine beaches. Among its most impressive sights are the towering Mount Pico – the highest peak in the archipelago – and the idyllic crater lake of Lagoa do Fogo.

Azores

As the waters surrounding the Azores teem with life, dolphin and whale watching are popular pastimes, as are scuba diving and sailing. While most people visit the archipelago for its amazing nature parks and marine reserves, it also boasts some lovely seaside cities and towns, such as Ponta Delgada and Angra do Heroismo.

Aveiro

Hugging the country’s Atlantic Coast in Central Portugal, Aveiro is a bustling city often called “the Venice of Portgual” due to its picturesque setting of scenic canals connected by charming bridges and dotted with colorful gondolas and speed boats. Historic sites, gorgeous beaches and tasty cuisine also make Aveiro an attractive travel destination.

The most enjoyable way to experience Aveiro is by walking, but tour boats and a free-use bicycle system are also available for getting around. Aveiro’s many sightseeing gems include the Aveiro Cathedral, the São Gonçalinho Chapel and the Convento de Jesus. These all offer lovely architecture and art works.

Costa Nova

The Forum Aveiro is a shopping mall featuring a wide selection of shops, restaurants and a cinema. Markets like the Fish Market and Central Market are great places to find fresh fish, meat, produce and handicrafts perfect for souvenirs.

Known as the Silver Coast , Aveiro’s coastline is well-loved for its clean, beautiful beaches such as Costa Nova, São Jacinto and Barra, which offer swimming, sailing and kite surfing.

Evora

Evora may be a small town in the Alentejo plains region of southern Portugal, but it packs huge tourist appeal. With a history dating back more than 2,000 years, Evora was once a flourishing city under Roman rule. Today, Evora is the capital of the Alentejo region, regarded for its well-preserved Old Town, which shelters more than 4,000 historic structures including the old Roman walls and temples.

All of Evora’s main attractions lie within close distance of one another, making the city easy to explore by foot. A really enjoyable way to sightsee Evora is by a horse carriage ride, which can be found near the 13th century Cathedral of Evora , one of Portugal’s most important Gothic structures.

Temple of Diana

Other must-see historic sites include the Giraldo Square with its Renaissance fountain, the University of Evora , an eccentric chapel decorated with actual human bones, and the ruins of an ancient Roman temple .

A stroll along the city’s old aqueduct offers a myriad of shops, cafes and houses cleverly tucked between the arches. Not far outside the city is Europe’s largest complex of prehistoric megaliths that are also worth a look.

Obidos

Located on a hilltop in the Centro Region of western Portugal, Obidos is encircled by an old fortified wall. In the 8th century the Moors established a fortification on top of the hill. It was taken from the Moors by the first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, in 1148 and modified in the 14th century.

Besides the wall, the magnificent medieval castle and historic center of Obidos make up the city’s main attraction and can easily be walked. A labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets leads visitors along busy squares, inviting cafes, quaint shops, markets selling local handicrafts, and whitewashed houses spruced with colorful flowers.

Obidos

Elegant old churches like Santa Maria and St. Peter’s, with their hand-painted tiles, ceilings and walls, please the eye. The castle with its commanding edifice, huge gates, towers and battlements, is now a luxurious hotel but a marvel to behold nevertheless.

Every July, Obidos steps back into time with its annual Medieval Festival , which features a costumed parade, jugglers, wandering minstrels, jousting knights, performance shows and a handicraft fair showcasing medieval wares and foods like spit-roasted meat and tasty sausages.

Porto

World famous for its production of fine port wine, the busy city of Porto sprawls along the hills overlooking the Douro River in northern Portugal , prized for both its natural and architectural beauty.

Well-connected to other major cities in Portugal , Porto provides a good public transport system of buses, metro and cable railway. At the heart of Porto is the charming pedestrian zone, the Ribeira , an atmospheric place on the river, buzzing in live music, cafes, restaurants and street vendors. Dominating this popular tourist setting is the Ponte Dom Luis, a metal, double-deck arch bridge that links Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia , well-known for its port wine cellars.

Porto Tiles

Among Porto’s many architectural treasures are beautiful old churches with elaborate interiors, artistic works and gardens such as the Church of Saint Francis and Porto Cathedral . Other landmarks include the Cleric’s Tower and palaces like the Stock Exchange Palace with its remarkable Arab room.

In addition to sightseeing, Porto offers plenty other exciting things to see and do . Distinguished museums and concert halls offer quality arts and culture. The traditional marketplace of Mercado do Bolhão presents choices of fresh fish, vegetables, fruits and handicrafts. Boat cruises on the river and walks along the garden-lined esplanade of the Foz bestow breathtaking views of the city’s natural beauty.

Madeira

Sporting the nickname “Floating Garden of the Atlantic,” Madeira Island is a fertile oasis in the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal and North Africa, popular for its lush green landscapes, flower gardens , wines and annual New Year celebrations, which feature one of the world’s largest displays of fireworks.

One of Europe’s most beautiful travel destinations, Madeira Island is the largest island of the Madeira archipelago, an autonomous region of Portugal. The island’s natural beauty, year-round mild climate and virtually crime-free status attract tourists from all over the world. While Madeira can be reached by plane, cruise ship and ferry, tourists can easily get around the island by bus and rental cars.

Madeira Pico Ruivo trail

Madeira’s main attraction is its wealth of verdant landscapes that range from lush parks, colorful gardens, enchanting forests and nature reserves to lofty mountains and pebbled beaches lapped by blue ocean waves.

Must-see places include the Orchid Garden and the Laurissilva Forest , which harbors the world’s largest concentration of laurel. Other places not to miss are the levadas , an impressive system of canals and aqueducts, which provide walking paths that wind through beautiful scenery.

The island’s coastline offers pebbled beaches, crystal clear water, natural rock pools and activities like fishing, diving, sailing and whale watching.

The capital and largest city on Madeira is Funchal , home to historic churches, fortresses, tourist resorts, museums, restaurants and markets as well as the tree-lined Lido Promenade, which presents spectacular ocean views.

Sintra

Nestled in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains on the Lisbon Coast, just a day trip away from Portugal’s capital city, Sintra presents a spectacular setting of verdant hills, sprinkled with pretty villas, royal retreats, palaces and castles dating as far back as the 8th century. Prized by the Romans, Moors and Portuguese royalty, Sintra’s beauty even enchanted the famous poet, Lord Byron, to write of it in a personal letter, describing it as the most beautiful village in the world.

Sintra’s hills make walking an effort, but the rewards are worth it. For those who don’t wish to walk, there are buses that stop near all of the city’s attractions such as Pena’s Palace , a fantastical castle reminiscent of Germany’s Neuschnwanstein.

Quinta da Regaleira

Built in the mid-1800s and serving as a summer retreat for the Portuguese royal family, Pena’s Palace is surrounded by forested parklands containing exotic trees, plants and flowers. Additionally, the Regaleira Palace and Gardens offers stunning architecture and intriguing Masonic symbols.

Also not to be missed are the impressive ancient ruins of the Castle of the Moors crowning the city’s highest hill, and the romantic Monserrate Palace with its subtropical gardens. For an interesting diversion, the Toy Museum houses more than 20,000 toy items spanning history back to ancient Egypt.

Algarve

Sunny Mediterranean climate, gorgeous beaches , picturesque towns, flower-clad hills, historic sites, fabulous cuisine and affordable costs are just some of the reasons that make the Algarve one of Portugal’s most popular tourist destinations. Located in the country’s southernmost region , the Algarve offers a feast for the eyes, from tranquil landscapes of olive groves, traditional whitewashed villages and lovely villas to the wild, windswept coast with its dramatic cliffs dotted with summer resorts.

The Algarve is occupied by bustling cities and quaint towns alike, offering delights of cobbled streets, historic architecture and beautiful old churches. Faro is the region’s capital, and Lagos is the area’s hot spot for nightlife. Looped by orange groves, Silves is best known for its red sandstone castle, while Tavira is an elegant town packed with Renaissance monuments, bridges and castles.

Binagil grotto

Peppered with Roman ruins, the idyllic countryside also offers a wide range of golf courses, and the strawberry tree-covered Monchique mountain range is great place for hiking, biking and horse riding. The coast is home to beautiful beaches and secret coves, offering water activities like swimming, deep-sea fishing, cave exploring and yacht cruises.

The Algarve’s production of fresh food like fruit, almonds, carob beans and seafood contribute to its delicious cuisine. Distilled from the local strawberry tree berries, Medronho is the traditional drink found throughout the Algarve.

Lisbon

Stretching along the banks of the Tagus River near the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal’s capital and largest city winds upward among seven steep hills, forming an enchanting destination of warm weather, alluring alleys, quaint shops, Gothic cathedrals, impressive bridges and colorful neighborhoods, reverberating in traditional fado music .

One of the world’s oldest cities, Lisbon’s biggest appeal lies in its diverse neighborhoods , or bairros. Among the most popular of these districts is Belém, favored for its royal palaces, gardens and historic monuments and landmarks such as the Jeronimos Monastery, one of Portugal’s most visited sites . The city’s oldest district is Alfama, an old Moorish quarter, distinct for its maze of cobblestone streets, rustic architecture, St. George’s Castle and fado restaurants and bars.

Belem Tower

Chiado is the cultural hub with museums, theaters and concert halls. Featuring glass and steel buildings, commercial establishments and casinos, Parque das Nações is the most modern district, while Bairro Alto is the entertainment zone, buzzing with numerous bars, discos and nightclubs.

Dining in Lisbon is a delight all its own from pastelarias serving up divine pastries to outdoor cafes and bars featuring Portuguese tapas, beer and wine to fine restaurants serving international cuisines.

Lisbon offers a good network of public transportation with buses and metro, but the most exciting way to experience the city is by taking one of the vintage trams such as the well known Tram 28 , which winds along historic quarters, gardens and main attractions.

Map of Places to visit in Portugal

Map of Places to visit in Portugal

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Reader interactions.

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May 10, 2021 at 10:43 am

Having visited all on this list apart from the two island destinations I can fully agree with them all?. The only problem is it makes me want to go back to them all?.

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January 10, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Monsaraz is the best

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December 18, 2016 at 1:53 pm

what about Braga? the city of baroque, the city of the archbishops, the Portuguese Rome, the city of the three P’s, the city with the always open door, etc. etc. It is impossible to understand that Braga is not in this list!

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10 Places You Must Visit on a Trip to Portugal

Of course, there’s lisbon and porto, but there are other places worth visiting too..

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Perched on the Atlantic on the edge of western Europe, Portugal offers a veritable feast for a traveler’s senses (especially when it comes to the taste buds ). From sun-kissed coasts to cobblestone streets and fairy-tale castles, this small country is diverse in landscape and sightseeing offerings.

While Lisbon and Porto are usually featured in Portuguese travel itineraries, there’s much more to fall in love with here: seaside resort towns, mountain peaks, and verdant river valleys where time seems to stand still. Here are 10 not-to-be-missed places to visit on your next trip over the Atlantic.

Up to 30 years ago, this historic capital city was in varying states of disrepair, but today, thanks to a robust revitalization, this is one of Europe’s most charismatic and vibrant cities. Colorful azulejos (ceramic tiles) glisten in its sun-drenched streets as vintage trams rattle up hills. Spectacular sunsets over the city’s red-tiled roofs are cause for saudade —the Portuguese word for a feeling of yearning and nostalgia—which travelers will feel on their return home.

Lisbon is a walker’s delight, so meander through the cobblestone streets to its miradouros —lookout points to take in the city’s views—spread across its seven hills facing the Tagus River. Take the tram to Belém to marvel at Mosteiro dos Jerónimos , and reward your efforts with a delicious Pastéis de Belém , the original pastel de nata (egg custard tart).

Wander through the tangled alleyways of Alfama , where the traditional Portuguese music genre called fado was born. Stop into the Museu do Fado , and linger in the area for a sardine supper and Fado show at one of the many restaurants in this district.

Where to stay

  • Book now: Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa

This five-star hotel on an ultra-posh street includes an outdoor pool surrounded by a tropical garden and a chic rooftop bar with city views.

Blue and white rusty tugboat in the water during daytime

For an Algarve experience away from the crowds, head to the Western Algarve.

Photo by Billie Cohen

2. The Algarve

At the southern end of Portugal, the Algarve region shines with a memorable coastline, golden-hued cliffs, and beaches filled with sea caves. The coastline of Ponta da Piedade in Lagos features sea pillars, rock arches, and grottoes in turquoise waters. It’s breathtaking and surreal. So is the Benagil cave—one of Portugal’s most famous attractions. Sunlight streams through its pierced ceiling, illuminating a gold-sand beach.

  • Book now: Casa Modesta

Alongside the Ria Formosa lagoon, this rural nine-room boutique hotel offers serenity surrounded by nature.

Portugal old town on the Douro River.

Porto is Portugal’s second largest city.

Photo by ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Overlooking the Douro River, Porto is known for its stately bridges, port wine production, and dizzying viewpoints above terra-cotta rooftops. Once a trade village, Porto is now enjoying the fruits of ongoing development with cool cafés, wine bars, and new cultural offerings that reflect the city’s vibrant energy.

Popular sights include the medieval Ribeira district , a UNESCO World Heritage site, where tourists admire the atmosphere. Walk across the city’s iconic Ponte de Dom Luis I bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia to sip a glass of port, then catch a spectacular sunset at Jardim do Morro . Walk on the sea-facing promenade in Foz de Douro, admire the gilded interiors of the 15th-century São Francisco Church, and stop into the 2020-opened WOW (World of Wine), a sprawling complex of museums, restaurants, and bars near the river.

  • Book now: The Yeatman

Wake up to incredible views of the city from this palatial hotel .

Douro Valley, Portugal. Top view of river, and the vineyards are on a hills.

The Alto Douro region became World Heritage Site in 2001.

Photo by De Visu/Shutterstock

4. Douro Valley

For greener pastures, look to the rolling hills of the Douro Valley, one of the world’s oldest and best-known demarcated wine regions, dating back to 1756. Famed for its terraced vineyards, with vines ribbing the contours of steep granite slopes, this valley is the birthplace of port.

You can take a languid boat ride (six–seven hours) from Porto to get here, but the best way to experience the region is to rent a car and visit Quinta do Noval and other wine-growing estates, known as quintas . Most offer public tours with winetastings.

  • Book now: Six Senses

A lavish 19th-century family home turned luxury resort, the Six Senses sits atop a hill, framed by terraced vineyards and the winding Douro River, near the baroque town of Lamego.

View at the monastery Sao Goncalo with old bridge and river Tamega in Amarante. Amarante is situated in Minho region, north Portugal

The lush Minho region borders Galicia, Spain.

Photo by AnaMarques/Shutterstock

5. The Minho

Portugal’s vinho verde hails from this verdant region of vineyard-covered valleys and towns frozen in time. Braga, one of Portugal’s oldest cities, has many baroque churches, and its old center brims with cafés, traditional Portuguese restaurants, and plazas.

A highlight of this region is Peneda-Gerês, one of the world’s few temperate rain forests, which borders Spain. You’ll need a car to head here, and while the curvy roads might make your stomach drop at times, the vistas are well worth the trek: The mountainous terrain with thick woods is punctuated by swift rivers, streams, and waterfalls. Canoe or hike, and meander through the region’s medieval castles or monasteries, which are well integrated into the landscape.

  • Book now: Pousada Caniçada Gerês

In the heart of Peneda-Gerês National Park, this beautiful hotel overlooks the Cávado River. Order the bacalhau (cod) in its restaurant and enjoy the view.

Gold-colored dCathedral of Evora in Portugal in the daytime

The Moors ruled over Évora for more than 300 years.

Photo by Analisisgadgets/Shutterstock

A striking cathedral, cloisters, and the columns of the Templo Romano (near Roman baths) sit inside Évora’s 14th-century walls. Romans began inhabiting the city in the 2nd century B.C.E., and many ruins—including the Temple of Diana—remain, along with palaces and convents built by later occupants, including the Moors and Portuguese royalty. Évora was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986, and the European Commission has designated it as 2027’s European capital of culture .

Tip: An experience travelers shouldn’t miss in this preserved medieval town is a soak in the serene Roman bath In Acqua Veritas.

  • Book now: Octant Évora

Find sanctuary at this countryside getaway with four pools, set on 30 acres.

Pena Palace in Sintra, Lisbon, Portugal.

The Pena Palace of Sintra, located on a top of a hill, was completed in 1854.

Photo by BONDART PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock

Portuguese royals used to spend their summers in Sintra, and it’s easy to see why. This UNESCO World Heritage site has storybook castles and fanciful gardens set in the hills, with imposing mansions and centuries-old monasteries rising from a backdrop of dense forests. The iconic former royal residence, Pena Palace , particularly stands out with its vivid red-and-yellow facade. Monserrate Palace is likewise grand and, like its gardens, is steeped in romanticism.

  • Book now: Tivoli Palácio de Seteais

Originally the 18th-century residence of the Dutch consul, this neoclassical building with frescoed rooms opened as a hotel in 1955.

White buildings are the backdrop of a white bridge over water.

Coimbra served as Portugal’s capital from 1139 until 1260.

Photo by saiko3p/Shutterstock

Coimbra, on the banks of the Mondego River, was once Portugal’s capital and has an Old Town that dates back to Moorish times. It’s also a vibrant university town, with one of Europe’s oldest schools, the University of Coimbra , classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built on the grounds of a former palace, the university is famed for its baroque library, the Biblioteca Joanina, and 18th-century bell tower. Take time to enjoy the lavish Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra or the gardens of Quinta das Lágrimas .

  • Book now: Sapientia Boutique Hotel

Sapientia Boutique Hotel , in central Coimbra, has a lovely rooftop terrace for watching sunsets over the city.

Stonewalled city with medieval fortress, historic walled town of Obidos, near Lisbon, Portugal.

Once a strategic military point, Óbidos Castle now houses a hotel.

Photo by DaLiu/Shutterstock

As a gift to mark their wedding day in 1282, King Dinis gave this town to his queen, hence its nickname “The Town of Queens.” Stroll through the narrow streets of this small town, which is encircled by medieval walls and crowned by a Moorish castle. Travelers can find old whitewashed houses bordered with blue or yellow and historic churches worth visiting.

As a UNESCO Creative City, Óbidos hosts festivals, including the International Chocolate Festival, Óbidos International Literary Festival, and Christmas Town.

  • Book now: Hotel Casa das Senhoras Rainhas

Located within the walls of Óbidos, this boutique hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with a balcony overlooking the castle walls.

Colorful boats mooring alongside the central channel at Aveiro, Portugal

Moliceiros were historically used to collect algae.

Photo by trabantos/Shutterstock

Hailed as the Portuguese equivalent to Venice because of its canals, maritime Aveiro is set along a lagoon called Ria de Aveiro . Brightly coloured moliceiros (traditional boats) float on its waters, and the city offers art nouveau buildings like the Cathedral of Aveiro and the Museu de Aveiro. Plus, Aveiro is known for a sweet made with eggs and sugar: Look for ovos moles (soft eggs) sold in wooden barrels or wrapped in a crisp wafer in different shapes.

  • Book now: Hotel das Salinas

In the historical center of Aveiro, this hotel is great for exploring the city. The works of Portuguese artists and poets are woven into the decor.

The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern and its surrounding gardens

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Algarve Portugal

The 8 best places to visit in Portugal

There’s so much more to Portugal than its two main cities. Get to know the country’s seven stunning regions

Sure,  Lisbon  and  Porto are great n’ all (no really, they are really great), but  Portugal is one of the world’s hottest travel destinations for a reason, and there’s so much more to it then its two main cities. Whether you’re looking for wild parties or wild nature; historic hill towns or sun-scorched beaches; hip bars or rural escapes, you’ll find it in abundance across Portugal’s seven regions – five on the mainland, plus the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores .

And then there’s the food, which goes well beyond piri-piri chicken and pastéis de nata (although let’s face it, these should be on your list). Each of the country’s surprisingly diverse regions takes pride in its unique culinary offerings, from super-fresh seafood and slow-cooked stews to cakes, pastries and cheeses. And did we mention the vinho ? Across the country, wine is impossibly good and dangerously affordable.  There’s a whole lot to discover, so read on for the full lowdown on the best places in Portugal. 

RECOMMENDED:

📍  The  best things to do in Portugal 🏖 The essential guide to Lisbon 🐟 The essential guide to Porto

Lucy Bryson is a writer based in Portugal. At Time Out, all of our  travel guides  are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. See our  editorial guidelines  for more.  This guide includes affiliate links, which have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our  affiliate guidelines . 

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The best Portuguese regions to visit

Northern Portugal

1.  Northern Portugal

Visit for: Stunning natural landscapes and world-famous wines

Northern Portugal is renowned for its friendly inhabitants and their love of a good party. Tourists rarely venture far beyond the ridiculously picturesque city of Porto  (and its equally good-looking sister city of Vila Nova de  Gaia on the opposite bank of the Douro), but northern Portugal is also home to the country’s only national park: the wildly beautiful Peneda-Gerês , where wolves roam and villages are carved from ancient stone. 

The region is also home to historic cities packed with stunning Baroque architecture – there are particularly fine examples in beautiful Braga and in Guimarães , the city known as ‘the birthplace of Portugal – and gloriously unspoiled river beaches such as the pine-flanked sands of the Praia Fluvial da Lomba, on the banks of the Douro in Gondomar .

Then there are the verdant terraced hills of the Douro wine region, where the Douro International Natural Park further contributes to making this one of the most beautiful and diverse regions in the country – or indeed, the whole of Europe .

Central Portugal

2.  Central Portugal

Visit for: Fairytale villages and blissful river beaches set at the foot of snow-capped mountains

Refreshingly untroubled by mass tourism, Central Portugal is a treat for adventurous travellers. You can goggle at the monster waves of Nazaré (and the highly-skilled surfers who dare to tackle them), master your own technique at the lively surf town of Peniche , or tackle hilly hiking and cycling trails between schist stone villages where hearty fare like suckling pig and sugary cakes replenish all that spent energy. 

Here you’ll find Portugal’s highest peaks – the UNESCO Geopark Serra da Estrela sees enough snow in winter to merit its own ski resort – and the gorgeous, forest-flanked river beaches of the interior make a crowd-free alternative to the lively sandy strips dotted along the 174 miles of coastline. Wine lovers, meanwhile, will revel in the robust reds and citrusy whites of the Dão region.

Urban adventurers have plenty to enjoy too:  c enturies-old religious buildings sit alongside buzzing bars and cafes in the handsome university city of Coimbra , while Aveiro (the self-proclaimed ‘Venice of Portugal’) is always impressive with its art nouveau architecture and brightly-painted canal boats.

Lisbon

3.  Lisbon

Visit for: Buzzing city life, sandy stretches and a vibrant surf scene

Portugal’s famously sunny capital, Lisbon requires little introduction – its status as one of Europe’s hottest city destinations is richly deserved. But undiscovered treasures still lie among the hipster hubs and Segway-packed streets: you can s pend a day spotting street art in the maze of streets that make up historic Alfama , seek out the hidden Chinese restaurants ( C hinês clandestinos ) operating from family apartments in the multicultural Martim Moniz neighbourhood, and fill up on huge plates at tiny tascas like Merendinho do Arco .

And if you’ve had enough of city life, you’re never more than a short bus or train ride away from glorious beaches and wild nature reserves.  Hop on a train along the coastline to the popular beach towns of Cascais and Estoril and the adventurous terrain of Sintra-Cascais Natural Park ; cross the river Tagus for the white sand, turquoise waters and pine-covered mountains of Serra da Arrabida , or take an hour-long bus ride to Ericeira – Europe’s first and only World Surf Reserve – for a laidback vibe and beachy lodgings like You and the Sea and Immerso .

📍 The best  things to do in Lisbon

Porto

4.  Porto

Visit for: A seriously good food scene 

Named by us as the best city break in Europe for 2024 , it’s safe to say Porto is one of our absolute faves. And why wouldn’t it be? This city is bursting with great food, galleries, museums and more, and as a bonus, it’s super affordable too. 

Sample some seriously good white port (our favourite way is via a Porto tonic; white port, tonic water and a wedge of lemon), buy enough tinned fish for a year’s worth of date nights and people watch at the Douro river. 

The best part? A new Time Out Market is set to open this year in Porto, so you can try all our favourite restaurants under one roof. Porto is a classic for a reason. 

📍 The most romantic hotels in Porto

Alentejo

5.  Alentejo

Visit for: Sleepy traditional villages, fine food and wine, and celeb beach hangouts

Stretching south of Lisbon towards the Algarve, the sun-blessed Alentejo region (the name comes from the words ‘além Tejo’, or ‘beyond the Tejo’) has been quietly carving a reputation for itself as Portugal’s most chic beach destination. High-end boutique hotels offer ‘barefoot luxury’ lodgings in fashion-press favourites Comporta and neighbouring Melides , and the wines produced here are increasingly well regarded internationally. 

Exclusive beach hangouts aside, this is one of Portugal’s most traditional and least-explored destinations. There are plenty of charming towns to visit, from historic villages like the medieval Monsaraz to slow-paced fishing spots like Vila Nova de Milfontes .  The pretty fishing town of Porto Covo marks the start of the dramatically beautiful Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentin Natural Park , which sweeps for 60 miles down to the Algarve and is notable for its surf beaches and multi-hued cliff faces.

Then there’s the region’s highly attractive capital,  Évora :  as notable for its food scene as its Roman temple and hauntingly impressive Chapel of Bones.

Algarve

6.  Algarve

Visit for: Glorious beaches and picture-perfect fishing villages

Don’t let reports of hordes of lager-swigging ‘Brits abroad’ put you off visiting Portugal’s sunniest region. Not only does the Algarve have a reliably warm climate and some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, but it’s also home to sleepy whitewashed villages – each one seemingly even prettier and more packed with local charm than the last – and all easily reached by a scenic rail journey.

Fresh fish, seafood (and yes, that famously spicy piri-piri chicken) dominate the dining scene, and visitors would be well advised to give the pub grub a body swerve in favour of the local tascas , where you’ll be served a proper feast and a carafe of house wine for a fraction of the price of a fry up and pint of Guinness.

If you’re looking for a big city buzz, you’ll find it in Faro , the region’s lively capital. Want something lively but a little more laid-back? Join the surfer communities of watersports hotspots like Lagos and Sagres .

Madeira

7.  Madeira

Visit for: Warm waters, jaw-dropping views and year-round sunshine

Nobody has ever accused Cristiano Ronaldo of hiding his light under a bushel, and the football legend’s home turf of Madeira really goes the extra mile in celebrating the success of its most famous son – even the airport in the regional capital Funchal is named in his honour. More of a Messi fan? You can bypass the Ronaldo museum, Ronaldo statue, and CR7 hotel, and just revel in Madeira’s breathtaking terraced mountains, sunny sub-tropical climate, year-round warm waters, and vibrantly-hued flowers.

An hour’s flight from the mainland, this archipelago in the North Atlantic is one of Portugal’s two Autonomous Regions. Its volcanic geography makes it a top destination for adventure sports enthusiasts: its towering peaks host a a spectacular Sky Race ultramarathon, featuring 34 miles of gruelling ascents and daring descents across 4,000 metres of elevation.

Mere mortals can bypass the running and enjoy the thrills and spills of Funchal ’s toboggan run: whizzing down city streets in wicker baskets for a mile of fast-paced twists and turns. Finish off your adventures with a glass of  poncha : the island’s  boozy, fruity punch.

Azores

8.  Azores

Visit for: Outdoor adventures, relaxing retreats and a chance to explore wild, untamed nature

An increased number of budget flights have brought tourist traffic to the weather-beaten Azores , but the nine-island archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean remains relatively under the radar.

Each of the islands has its own character, from the sandy beaches and mild climate of Santa Maria  to the volcanic lakes and thermal springs of São Miguel . The Portuguese-owned islands are the perfect place to take a mindful break at destinations like Lava Homes , a wellness-focused ‘village’ carved from volcanic rock on Pico .

The islands are also increasingly talked about among foodies: in particular, the cheeses are a must-try, such as the sharp queijo da ilha from São Jorge , and the mild, creamy queijo vaquinha from Terceira . The Azores’ unique volcanic wines are something to savour too; visitors can find out about the fascinating production process (and taste the resulting wines) at Biscoitos Wine Museum on Terceira .

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The River Gilão and the Ponte Romana bridge, Tavira.

‘Straight out of a fairytale’: Portugal’s best towns and villages, by readers

With river and Atlantic beaches, brilliant architecture and affordable but delicious cuisine, our tipsters have gorged on the country’s beauty

Winning tip: Tavira, Algarve

Even the most cold-hearted atheist cannot fail to be impressed by the 37 churches of Tavira, the small town which, thanks to a slightly inland location, has avoided the overdevelopment of some Algarve resorts. And what could be more appropriate than to stay in a converted convent – Pousada Convento Tavira – in the centre of town, from where ferries run to Tavira island for beach lovers? But it’s hard to tear yourself away from the riverside restaurants and bars with views of the famous Ponte Romana bridge. pousadas.pt , doubles from €123 Malcolm Matthew

Aljezur, Algarve

Aljezur, town and moorish castle ruin

In October, you can smell the woodsmoke twisting and turning in the crisp morning air above the whitewashed cottages of Aljezur. The old town is a cascade of zigzagging narrow streets. They cut through a jumble of buildings – half chic Airbnbs, half crooked cottages stacked with gourds and firewood. A Moorish castle – a ubiquitous feature in the towns of southern Portugal – looms overhead. Go there at sunset to watch the light fade over the Aljezur estuary. During the day, drive through the wildflower meadows to Arrifana Beach to surf and sunbathe. Joseph Francis

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Évora, Alentejo

View from Miradoro do Jardim Diana, Evora.

A beautiful historic city, Évora is a living museum with monuments from Roman times. The landscape is beautiful and surrounded by stunning villages with, I think, the best wine in the world, and typical Alentejo cuisine. It has excellent restaurants and bars as well as several museums and galleries. In summer, temperatures reach 40C but luckily Évora has beautiful pools and several river beaches. There is also a university, founded in 1559; this is truly a cultural city. João Domingues

Elvas, Alentejo

The late medieval Amoreira aqueduct, Elvas, Portalegre District, Portugal. The Amoreira aqueduct. Aqueduto da Amoreira. Built between 1498 and 1622. It is five miles long. Elvas is a U

Elvas is right next to the Spanish border and is full of historical meaning to Portugal, as many battles between Portugal and Spain have been fought in the area. Sites like the town fortress, the castle, the aqueduct and the army museum I found to be very interesting. The local gastronomy is amazing and it’s easy to get an excellent meal at a reasonable price. Accommodation is affordable even during the summer (£50-£70 a nigh with breakfast and outdoor pool), the place is ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities and offers the possibility of a day trip to Spain, a few miles away. Bruno

Piodão, Serra do Açor

Piodao on the slope of the hill with the houses in shale and slate

There is a small village nestled up in the mountains of the Serra do Açor that looks like it is out of a fairytale. This village is called Piodão and is one of 12 classified as Aldeias Históricas de Portugal – Historical Villages of Portugal. Piódão has featured in historical accounts since the 14th century, and was probably used by medieval fugitives hiding in the wild Portuguese mountains. Indeed, on a rainy day you should look from the other side of the mountain to see the village coming out of the fog. We went to Piodão on a rainy day and it couldn’t have been more perfect. We loved exploring all the peculiar alleys made of schist rock, and tasting some the local cajadas – milk tarts. Laura Di Stefano

Monsanto, Castelo Branco

Monsanto, Portugal

Monsanto is a mountain village with houses built into rock formations and a fabulous pousada – inn – with a superb restaurant. It’s a truly atmospheric and ancient village where local traditions are still played out in the streets, especially during religious holidays – and it’s good walking country too. The plains of east Portugal stretch away to the west and from the castle above the village, it seems that you have a view of the whole country. The cost of food and drink is low, even for Portugal, and bars serve simple, local dishes that are as impressive as anything found in more upscale places. A truly magical little town. James David Rattigan

Tomar, Santarém

The Knights Templar Castle and Church, Tomar.

Tomar is truly a hidden gem, home to one of the most significant Templar strongholds, which evolved into the Convento de Cristo, now a Unesco world heritage site, as the extraordinary design of the chapel is unique in the world. It’s a delight to wander the quiet cobbled streets and alleyways of the old town or sit at one of the bars in the main square with views up to the fortifications on the hill above. While you’re there, drop into Le P’tit Français for brunch or coffee and delicious pastries sitting in a quiet sidestreet. Gus MacLeod

Santa Comba Dão, Viseu, central Portugal

Santa Comba Dão is a beautiful small inland city that overlooks the Cris river where it joins the Dão, before the Dão joins the Mondego. The local granite buildings come with a beautifully formed wooden walkway through the old town. The centre of the local municipality, it used to provide a summer retreat for the wealthy. Now the local facilities of the cycle path, the Ecopista de Dão , and the beautiful beach of the Ribeira da Senhora on the Mondego river are available to all. Diana

Traditional moliceiro boats with hand painted bows in Aveiro

After driving nearly the full length of Portugal late this summer, it was picturesque Aveiro that held the most surprises. It was in this historic canal city, sometimes regarded as the “Portuguese Venice”, that we discovered art nouveau buildings, vast and unspoiled beaches lined with distinctively colourful striped houses (originally huts built by local fishermen), and a range of eating options (try the traditional egg sweets ovos moles ) including vegetarian/vegan, sometimes a rarity elsewhere in the country. Just like Venice, there is much to discover beyond just gliding down the canals – in this case in a moliceiro , not a gondola. Victoria Cao

People on Oliveira Square.

Given its claim to be the “birthplace of Portugal”, it’s odd Guimarães isn’t on the regular tourist itinerary. A 55-minute train-ride from Porto and a 10-minute walk bring you to the old town, with elegant understated buildings, quiet streets where people bring their kitchen chairs on to the pavement to chat, royal monasteries, palaces, and the general relaxed ambience of a small Portuguese town that doesn’t flaunt its treasures. A gondola provides an easy route up Penha hill, a huge area of forest and gigantic boulders, with a remarkable mid-20th-century church drawing crowds on Catholic feast days and festivals. From here, the views across the plains to the north are spectacular. Barbara Forbes

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Wander-Lush

22 Most Beautiful Places in Portugal: The Ultimate List

From the historic cities of Lisbon and Porto to the tiny cobbled villages of the north, the vast wine region to the wild Atlantic coast, there is certainly no shortage of beautiful places in Portugal to capture travellers’ imaginations.

This list brings together 22 of the prettiest places in Portugal , each totally distinct but all renowned for their history, charms, scenery, and above all good looks.

If I’ve missed your favourite, please let me know in the comments at the end!

  • Also read: 28 things to do in Portugal – from hot springs to tile hunting

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.

How to see these beautiful places in Portugal

Most of the destinations mentioned here can be easily accessed by train or bus (I’ve included brief details for each one below). But to see more of the country, I highly recommend renting a car and setting off on a Portugal road trip.

As with a Spain road trip , driving in Portugal will give you freedom to explore harder-to-reach areas and stay at more remote, unique accommodations including quintas (farmhouses).

I personally use Discover Cars to find the best rate on a rental car whenever I’m in Europe. Click here to browse their offerings and choose from pickup locations all over mainland Portugal and in the Azores.

22 most beautiful places in Portugal you have to visit

Coloured apartment blocks line a narrow street in the city of Lisbon.

The capital city of Lisbon rightly tops just about every traveller’s Portugal bucket list. One of the prettiest cities in Portugal and in the whole of Europe, Lisbon is a mosaic of winding streets, open plazas, stunning churches and miradouro lookouts waiting to be discovered.

There’s beauty around every corner in Lisbon, whether it’s the slightly ramshackle kind of glamour you find in historic Alfama, the paradisiacal beauty of the Tagus River, or the grand charm of landmarks such as the Tower of Belem, one of the oldest of Portugal’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Despite welcoming more and more visitors every year, Lisbon remains an affordable destination. From browsing the racks at the oldest bookshop in the world for the perfect souvenir , to chowing down on Pasteis de Belem custard tarts, or bar hopping in the trendy Bairro Alto, there’s never a dull moment when visiting this vibrant place .

Get there: Fly into Lisbon Portela Airport or take the train from Porto (4 hours). Where to stay: For a truly local stay, check out my list of the best Lisbon Airbnbs .

2. Sintra – one of the prettiest places in Portugal

The beautiful Pena Palace in Sintra, a day trip from Lisbon.

The charming town of Sintra is nestled in the pine-covered hills of the Serra de Sintra mountains west of Lisbon. This is where every tourist comes to live out their fantasy of wandering through a fairytale.

The area is best-known for its collection of castles, most notably the colourful Palácio Nacional da Pena (Pena Palace) and the more classical Quinta da Regaleira. One of the most distinct palaces anywhere in Europe, Pena especially can’t be missed.

Pretty as it is, there’s a more serious history behind Sinta, including tales of how the nobility were forced to flee on the eve of the country’s bloody revolution. The Initiation Well at the Quinta da Regaleira – a deep hole that resembles an inverted tower – has a dark side too: The design is said to reflect Dante’s nine circles of Hell.

Get there: Sintra is located 30km (19 miles) from Lisbon and can be reached by train within 40 minutes, making it an ideal day trip destination from the capital. Guided day trip: This 5-hour small group tour of Sintra includes hotel transfers from Lisbon. Where to stay: Chalet Saudade is a historic 19th-century property in Sintra with gorgeous period finishings and scenic views.

3. The Algarve

Rock formations under a purple and blue sunset sky on Portugal's Algarve coast.

The Algarve is home to some of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Portugal and what is surely the country’s most dramatically beautiful stretch of coastline.

From the charming streets of old town of Lagos to the cliffy Ponta da Piedade, with its natural sea arches and rock formations that frame picture-perfect Atlantic ocean views, The Algarve may be popular, but there’s a good reason for that.

The beach region and its four major towns draw thick summer crowds, especially in July and August. For those looking to get away from the tourist hordes, there are some stunning secluded beaches to be found – as long as you’re prepared to do some off-track walking.

Get there: Fly into Faro Airport, or take a fast train from Lisbon (3 hours travel time). Where to stay: Refer to my write up of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal for a selection of amazing villas and beachfront apartments in Lagos.

The historic Pousada Palacio de Estoi, a pink palace surrounded by green gardens in Estoi, Portugal.

Located inland from Faro and Portugal’s Algarve coast, the tiny town of Estoi is a bit of a hidden gem. Its biggest attraction is the restored Palácio do Visconde de Estoi, a 19th-century palace with a pretty pink Rococo facade.

Not all that long ago, the palace was in tatters after lying abandoned for several decades. It was recently renovated and relaunched as a Pousada (a luxury historic hotel). The sprawling manicured gardens that surround the palace also received a facelift and today, you can enjoy a stroll here beneath the palm trees, drinking in one of the most romantic buildings in Portugal in all her glory.

Also in Estoi, don’t miss the Roman Ruins of Milreu, which are located a short walk from the palace. Here you can view the remains of an opulent Ancient Roman villa – replete with vivid mosaics and columns – that archaeologists have dated back to the 2nd century AD.

Estoi itself is a typical Algarvian town with tightly woven cobbled streets, whitewashed houses fringed with pastel accents, and creeping bougainvillea trees. The local, laid-back vibe (and lack of tourists) makes Estoi a terrific place to retreat from the crowded coast for a couple of hours.

Get there: Estoi is located 15 minutes by road from Faro. To get there, you can take a taxi or a local bus from anywhere on the Algarve. Where to stay: For an unforgettable experience, stay at the Pousada Palacio de Estoi , a Small Luxury Hotel of the World. For something more affordable, Casa de Estoi is a family home from the 1900s-turned boutique hotel.

A cute corner house decorated with white and yellow paint in Obidos, one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal.

Located in central Portugal’s Oeste region, Obidos is considered by many to be the country’s finest example of a traditional Portuguese walled town. With a history that dates back to Paleolithic times, Obidos has been shaped by centuries of Phoenecian, Roman and Moorish influence.

As soon as you enter through the Porta da Vila, the tiled gateway to Obidos, you know you’re in for a treat. The cobbled streets of the historic centre rise and fall with the gently undulating hills the town is built atop, leading you through clusters of sweet whitewashed houses that huddle together under shared slate roofs.

Sawtooth fortified walls loom in the background, enveloping Obidos like a shining jewel in the palm of a great, rocky hand. The imposing limestone-and-marble Obidos Castle has been turned into a Pousada, offering anyone who overnights in the plush rooms an unforgettable experience. In July, the annual Óbidos Medieval Market takes over the Old Arms Square, which was once used as a training ground for the king’s squires and knights.

There’s little doubt that this is one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal. It’s recommended to stay at least one night so you can explore the streets after the day-trip crowds have departed.

Get there: Obidos is located 85km (53 miles) or roughly 1.5 hours by road north of Lisbon. To get there, take a taxi or opt for a local train (2.5 hours travel time). Guided day trip: This popular 8-hour day trip from Lisbon visits Obidos, Nazare and the Catholic shrine of Fatima. Where to stay: For a totally unique stay, The Literary Man Obidos Hotel is the world’s largest literary hotel. Located inside a former convent next to Obidos Castle, it features a cocktail bar and a huge collection of antique books.

6. The Douro Valley – Portugal’s premier wine region

Vineyards stretch over rolling hills in Portugal's Douro Valley.

Named for the mighty Douro River that cuts across the Iberian Peninsular, the Douro Valley has become one of the most coveted destinations in Europe for wine lovers in recent years.

This exquisite landscape east of Porto – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – includes Barca de Alva, one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Grapes have been cultivated on these steep banks and billowy plains for centuries, and the area’s viniculture heritage flavours everything – from the beautiful tiled railway station at Pinhao which bears elaborate vine designs, to the old rabelo boats, traditional vessels used for carrying wine from farms to the mouth of the river, that still cut across the water.

Wine tastings are available at dozens of cellar doors and in Vila Nova de Gaia, you can visit the lodges where Port wine is fortified.

Apart from wine tourism, Douro Valley promises visitors some of Portugal’s most stunning natural landscapes. Like Port wine, it’s best to sip on the views slowly, ideally while seated on a train chugging along the iconic Douro railway line.

Get there: Peso da Régua makes a convenient base when exploring the Douro Valley. To get there, drive from Porto (1.5-2 hours travel time) or take a local train (2 hours travel time). Guided day trip: This day trip includes transfers from Porto to the Douro Valley where you’ll tour two vineyards, either as a small group or in private, enjoy a traditional Portuguese lunch, and end the day with a scenic river cruise. Where to stay: Check out this list of the best hotels and quintas (farmhouses) in Peso da Régua and elsewhere in the Douro Valley.

7. Porto – one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal

A beautiful historic building reflected in a waterway in the centre of Porto, Portugal.

Portugal’s second-largest city may at first seem to resemble Lisbon in many ways, particularly in the architecture, riverside profile and hilly streets. A great alternative to the capital , Porto is a cultural beacon that shines just as bright and has just as much to offer visitors.

One of the most beautiful sections of Porto is the riverside, where rows and rows of houses bejewelled with Azulejos tiles sit pressed together. Get an overview of the city on a Rabelo boat trip before wandering the plazas and streets on foot, stopping off every now and then for a spot of Fado music and a libation at one of the many Port wine cellars.

Porto’s gardens, medieval castles, cathedrals and palaces are many and varied, each pretty in its own way.

Get there: Fly into Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport or take the train from Lisbon (4 hours). Where to stay: Torel Palace Porto is the perfect choice for the visitor who wants to immerse themselves in Old Porto’s charms. The heritage property is decked out with antique trouvailles and even features an outdoor pool. The location 800m from City Market Bolhao is ideal for sightseeing.

Boats float on the water in front of a grand building in Cascais, Portugal.

A municipality within the District of Lisbon, Cascais is a coastal settlement comprising cute towns hemmed in by a striking coastline of cliffs and sea arches. Spots like the Boca do Inferno bear a resemblance to the rugged formations around Lagos on Southern Portugal’s Algarve .

Cascais was made popular in the 1870s when King Louis I of Portugal chose this spot as his summer retreat. The area still has a feel of old-world glamour and elegance about it, especially in the stunning palaces that dot the coastline. There are no fewer than 17 beaches in the area as well, some suitable for swimming.

One of the most beautiful spots in Cascais is the City Hall Square, which is adorned with typical Portuguese black-and-white paving in a mind-bending pattern that emulates rolling waves. Interestingly, you can see the exact same design a world away in Macau , a former Portuguese colony.

Get there: Cascais is located just 35km (22 miles) from Lisbon, on the coast close to Sintra. To get there, take a local train (1 hour travel time). Guided day trip: This full-day trip from Lisbon to the coast pairs Cascais and the stunning Cabo da Roca coastline with a visit to the nearby Pena Palace in Sintra. Perfect if you’re on a tight timeline. Where to stay: Perched on a cliff overlooking the Estoril coastline and Cascais Bay, The Albatroz is a charming 5-star unit with a sea-view swimming pool and sun-drenched terrace.

9. Madeira – a wild beauty in Portugal

A cascading waterfall on Madeira island in Portugal.

When it comes to natural beauty, there are few places in the world that rival Madeira. Portugal’s four-island archipelago is the star of the North Atlantic and a cornucopia of wild, ruggedly beautiful landscapes.

The largest island, Madeira, offers visitors the chance to sample everything this remote part of Portugal is famed for in one convenient location. Starting at Funchal, wander the exquisite harbour gardens and sample local wines at the Madeira cellars.

The best way to explore Madeira is by car. Circumnavigate the island, stopping to wander the narrow streets of the various fishing villages, soak in the lava pools in Porto Moniz, and spot whales and dolphins in the clear waters off the southern coast (best from April to October).

Remember to venture inland to the vast Natural Park, where easy trails guide visitors around the prehistoric Laurisilva of Madeira forest. The island is crowned with the ominous Pico do Arieiro, a volcanic peak that rises high above the clouds.

Get there: Fly into Funchal Airport (1.75-hour flight from Lisbon or 2-hour flight from Porto). Guided option: No car? Join an Around The Island 2-day trip to see the best of Madeira in 48 hours. Where to stay: If you want to stay close to the action within easy reach of the island’s best restaurants, Funchal is your best bet. ARTS IN Hotel Conde Carvalhal is a restored Madeiran mansion within walking distance of the Old Town with sea views.

10. Coimbra

The city of Coimbra at night.

The ancient city of Coimbra, home to one of Portugal’s oldest institutions, Coimbra University, served as the country’s medieval capital for over two-hundred years and birthed no fewer than six monarchs. Elegant, learned and classically beautiful, it’s more than worthy of a spot on your Portugal itinerary if your travels are taking you to the northern regions.

Coimbra has a large student population and a colourful cafe and nightlife scene as a result. The historic university complex – which has been around in one form or another since the 1200s – adds to the heritage charm. Be sure to take a walk around the university’s Jardim Botânico, one of the oldest and most important botanical gardens in the country.

Then there is Coimbra’s ancient aspect, attached to the city’s Gothic structures and Moorish fortifications to which many tales and legends are attributed. Enjoy an authentic Portuguese dinner and watch an intimate Fado performance before strolling through Coimbra at night – lit up by candle-like lights against an inky blue sky, the city takes on a whole other kind of surreal beauty.

Get there: Fly into Coimbra Airport or take a train from Porto (2 hours travel time). Guided day trip: For an intimate experience, this full-day tour from Porto includes a walking tour of Coimbra and a visit to the sacred pilgrimage site at Fatima. Where to stay: Trendy Sapientia Boutique Hotel is located 1.5km from the university and features gorgeous designer rooms, an onsite bar and restaurant, and a spectacular rooftop terrace overlooking Coimbra.

A blue-and-white tiled train station in the beautiful Portugal town of Aveiro.

Often called ‘The Venice of Portugal’, Aveiro is located on the coast south of Porto. Like the Italian city, Aveiro has a lagoon (the Ria de Aveiro) and a network of canals that serve as water highways not for vaporettos , but for Portugal’s own colourful boats known as Barcos Moliceiros . Traditionally these vessels were used to harvest seaweed. These days, captains are used to transporting other types of precious cargo, including tourists!

Parts of the Aveiro lagoon are ringed by stout, square Art Nouveau buildings painted in a rainbow of pastels. Paired with the colourful boats and palm trees, it’s quite a sight to behold indeed.

Aveiro is located close to the coast and the iconic fishermen’s houses at nearby Costa Nova – more on those later.

Get there: Aveiro is located 75km (47 miles) south of Porto, making it a convenient day trip from Porto. To get there, take a local train (40 minutes travel time) or join a guided day trip. Guided day trip: This half-day trip from Porto includes hotel transfers and a trip on a traditional boat to see the best of Aveiro. Where to stay: Aveiro 5 Estrelas Palace is a comfortable self-contained apartment with easy access to both the historic city centre and nearby hiking trails.

12. The Azores

A walk path leads to a beautiful mountain landscape in the Azores islands.

The autonomous region of Azores is made up of nine islands located off the coast of Portugal and North Africa. Known for their dramatic landscapes and outdoor activities, the Azores serve as a dedicated destination for nature tourism. 

Each of the nine islands – spread over 600km from Corvo to Santa Maria – is of volcanic origin. Extinct craters and basin-like lakes, towering waterfalls and hiking paths set atop verdant ridges are some of the most recognisable landscapes associated with the Azores.

Activities on offer range from whale watching and diving to canoeing and kayaking. You can hike inside the volcanoes or explore the islands by car. Sao Miguel, the biggest and most beautiful Azores island, also features several pretty whitewashed towns. It’s main city, Ponta Delgada, is a great place to base your explorations.

Get there: Fly into João Paulo II Airport on the island of São Miguel (2.5-hour flight from Lisbon or Porto). Where to stay: On Sao Miguel, Furnas Boutique Hotel is located in Vale das Furnas – home to one of the largest concentrations of thermal waters anywhere in Europe – and features a natural spring spa alongside luxe rooms.

13. Sortelha – one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal

The Portuguese village of Sortelha viewed from above.

Seated in the foothills at an elevation 760 metres and completely surrounded by formidable fortress walls, Sortelha has managed to retain its medieval appearance until this today. A series of castles built across the borders of Sortelha provide a clue as to this area’s strategic importance to defend the border east of Guarda.

The entrance to Sortelha is via a Gothic gateway. Gaze up at the balcony from where projectiles were hurled at those who dared to attack the village. Inside, streets, plazas, houses and the castle all conform to a similar shade of stone – a strategic decision that adds to the town’s low-key profile.

Walking through the quiet streets of Sortelha is like treading on the cobblestones of history. Not only is this one of the prettiest places in Portugal, it’s also one of the most historically captivating, with all the charm of a medieval hamlet.

Get there: Sortelha is located 175km (109 miles)  inland from Coimbra. To get there, travel by road from Coimbra (3 hours travel time) or from Porto (3.5 hours travel time). Because of its close proximity to Serra da Estrela, it’s an ideal stop-off or side trip when visiting the park. Where to stay: O Cantinho da Ana is one of the most unique accommodations in all of Portugal. Located in the heart of historical Sortelha village, the property offers three rustic stone-walled houses, all with modern kitchens and bathrooms, comfortable furniture and antique fittings.

14. Peneda-Geres National Park

A beautiful lake fringed by forets and villages in Peneda-Geres National Park in Portugal.

Portugal’s one and only Parque Nacional (national park), Peneda-Geres is the oldest protected biosphere in the country. It extends over some 700-square-kilometres in the north of Portugal, hugging the Spanish border.

Peneda-Geres is a veritable wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether it’s walking through temperate broadleaf forests, summiting one of the park’s granite massifs, enjoying water sports on the fast-flowing streams or the glassy Vilarinho das Furnas Dam, or hiking through glacial valleys, you can try it all right here.

The nature reserve also has a fascinating human history, having been inhabited from as early as 6000 BC. Megalithic tombs can be spotted in some areas. For a unique experience, hike a section of the old Roman Road that once criss-crossed the park’s territory. Stone millenarium markers still stand today as a reminder of The Roman Geira, a trade route that stretched 320km from Braga to Astorga.

Get there: Peneda-Geres National Park is located 75km (47 miles) from Braga, or roughly an hour by road. It can also be visited as a day trip from Porto (under 2 hours by road). Guided day trip: This full-day program with transfers to and from Porto includes hiking, hot springs and a picnic lunch. Where to stay: Soajo is the largest village within the park and has a nice selection of traditional country house-style accommodations. Casa de Pereiró is a gorgeous stone abode with cosy rooms and easy access to nearby hiking trails.

15. Serra da Estrela Natural Park

A river surrounded by mossy rocks in Serra de Estrala Nature Park.

Spread over 100,000 hectares, Serra da Estrela Natural Park is a place of exceptional beauty. The first parque natural in Portugal and the largest of its kind in the country, it’s a must-visit for hikers and nature buffs.

The park’s geographical isolation has produced a rich flora and fauna, resulting in the designation of Biogenetic Reserve status, while the high elevation means conditions are cool year-round, ideal for hiking.

Trails of varying difficulty thread their way through the park’s glacial valleys, green meadows and rocky outcrops, leading visitors to one stunning viewpoint after another. Not all trails are well signposted so it’s best to go with a local guide.

Get there: Serra da Estrela is located inland from Coimbra, close to Sortelha. To get there, travel by road from Coimbra (2 hours travel time) or from Porto (2.5 hours travel time). Where to stay: If you want to wake up to majestic mountain views each morning, Casa das Penhas Douradas design hotel is situated in Manteigas in the heart of Serra da Estrela Nature Park.

16. Costa Nova do Prado – one of the most colourful places to visit in Portugal

Candy-striped houses on Portugal's Costa Nova.

A short drive from the town of Aveiro, the Costa Nova do Prado is a patch of rugged beachfront favoured by the area’s surfers.

But it’s not the windswept sand dunes nor the cresting waves that makes this area one of the most beautiful places in Portugal – rather it’s the cute wooden houses that can be found along the shore.

Originally built by local fishermen to store their equipment between sea voyages, the huts – or ‘haystacks’ as they’re known to locals – are each painted with vertical candy stripes in a different shade of pink, blue or green. Some have since been transformed into holiday homes.

Get there: The Costa Nova is located 85km (53 miles) south of Porto. The easiest way to get there is by road from either Porto or Coimbra (1 hour travel time from either direction). Where to stay: Ilhavo is an ideal base on the Costa Nova, being just a short walk from the shoreline. Montebelo Vista Alegre Ílhavo Hotel features luxury rooms and an outdoor pool and spa centre close to Aveiro.

A close-up of the architectural details on Braga cathedral.

Capital of the northern Minho region, Braga was once the seat of the Romans and is steeped in architectural treasures and ancient history. One of the oldest cities in Portugal, its biggest drawcard is the iconic Bom Jesus do Monte Basílica, fronted with a stunning set of 630 zig-zagged steps.

While visiting the third-largest city in modern day Portugal, don’t miss seeing the country’s oldest cathedral, Braga Cathedral. The golden interior and the various side chapels – one of which hold the mummified remains of Dom Lourenco Vicente and the tomb of Archbishop Geraldo – are more than worth the ticket price.

When you’re finished sightseeing, kick back in the main square with a glass of vinho verde ‘green wine’, a refreshing beverage associated with this part of Northern Portugal.

Get there: The city of Braga is just 55km (34 miles) north-east of Porto. To get there, take a train or local bus from Porto (1 hour travel time). Guided day trip: This day trip from Porto includes private transfers. Over the course of 8 hours, you’ll discover the best of the city’s architectural and religious heritage, and also visit the nearby city of Guimarães where the first king of Portugal was born. Where to stay: Located in the centre of Braga footsteps from the cathedral, The Arch – Charming Apartments in the Historic Center pairs the elegance of a historic building with all the modcons required for a comfortable stay.

18. Amarante

A round stone bridge across the bright-blue river in the beautiful town of Amarante, Portugal.

‘Amar’ means love in Portuguese and it’s hard not to fall for this softly-spoken beauty at first sight. Located in the rich agricultural Minho province, Amarante straddles the river Tamega.

Countless restaurants and cafes have sprung up to take advantage of the picturesque water views with the arched stone bridge, Ponte Sobre o Tamega, reflected in its glassy waters. The tomb of Sao Goncalo, the town’s revered Saint, lies in the chapel of the church by the same name and shouldn’t be missed.

Dating back to the 4th Century BC, Amarante is all charm and yet another fairytale-like beauty in Portugal.

Get there: Amarante is located 60km (37 miles) east of Porto, making it another great day trip destination. To get there, travel by local train (40 minutes travel time). Where to stay: For an immersive stay in the wine region, Vila Coura is a gorgeous agroturismo with wood-burning fireplaces and an outdoor pool for summer.

Striking Roman ruins in the town of Evora in Portugal.

Capital of Portugal’s southern-central Alentejo region, Evora is the kind of city whose beauty grows and grows the more you learn about it. That’s because Evora has one of the oldest and most interesting histories of any town or city in the country – even by Portuguese standards, which is saying a lot.

A member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network, it’s home to one of the world’s oldest universities, The University of Evora, which was founded in 1559. The heart of downtown is built around the ancient Roman Temple of Evora (AKA the Temple of Diana), and it’s this structure’s columns that frame the Evora of today.

A Gothic cathedral, Baroque architecture, whitewashed houses built under the arches of an old aqueduct, and finally the strange yet beautiful-in-its-own-way Chapel of Bones are among the other things to see here.

The Alentejo countryside around Evora holds yet more beauty in its olive groves, fortified villages and sun-bleached plains.

Get there: Evora is located 135km (84 miles) inland from Lisbon. To get there, take a train from Lisbon (1.5 hours travel time) or from Faro (4 hours travel time). Guided day trip: This full-day tour to the Alentejo Region from Lisbon combines a wine tasting with a walking tour of medieval Evora. Where to stay: The incredibly atmospheric Convento do Espinheiro is a historic 5-star hotel housed in a 15th-century convent. Find it on a leafy property just outside Évora, with free parking onsite.

Aerial view of Mafra Palace near Sintra in Portugal.

There are several important royal palaces scattered around the outskirts of Lisbon. Sintra might be the most famous royal outpost, but few rival the scale and grandeur of the Palacio Nacional in Mafra.

Also known as the Palace-Convent, Mafra National Park has a rich history and served both the monarchy, and as a monastery! Its design combines Baroque and Neoclassical elements, with a facade fashioned almost entirely from local limestone. Inside, you’ll find lavishly decorated king’s apartments and salons, a Carrara marble basilica, Rococo library, and workshops belonging to the seminal Mafra School of Sculpture.

The palace was constructed between 1717-55 under King John V and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sweet municipality is a wonderful place to escape from Lisbon for a day – and because of its great location, you can easily pair it with other attractions in the surrounding area: Hiking or biking in the Tapada Nacional de Mafra (the former royal hunting grounds), or watching the big waves at the World Surf Reserve at Ericeira.

Get there: Mafra is located 41km (25 miles) north-west of Lisbon and is serviced by the frequent Lisbon-Ericeira bus route, making it easy to reach from the capital city in under an hour.

Guided day trip: A must for history buffs, the Palaces of Portugal Private Tour visits Sintra, the National Palace of Queluz and the Palacio Nacional de Mafra, with an option to extend the route.

Cloisters and white sanctuaries in the lovely Portuguese town of Fatima.

An alternative day trip from Lisbon, the small town of Fatima has a big reputation amongst the world’s Catholic community. In 1916, three shepherd children from the area experienced a sighting of the Virgin Mary here. Five more apparitions occurred later, prompting Fatima to become recognised as an important pilgrimage site.

The events that occurred are memorialised at the Chapel of the Apparitions hermitage. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima remains the town’s principal attraction, with dozens more sanctuaries, churches and Stations of the Cross having been added in the intervening years.

The sprawling complex of white-stone structures, Holy statutes and flower gardens inspires reverence and awe, especially among the 6-8 million religious pilgrims who journey here every year. A number of sweet house museums remember the apparitions and their impact on different townsfolk. When visiting Fatima from Lisbon, be sure to make a stop in Valinhos, where the original visions occurred.

Get there: Fatima is located 125km (78 miles) from Lisbon. To get there, take a local bus or the train to the nearby town of Chao de Macas.

Guided day trip: This guided Divine Fatima Full Day Private Tour from Lisbon is suited to those looking for an in-depth tour of the sacred site and its surrounding history.

Where to stay: A 2-minute walk from the sanctuary, Hotel Santa Maria is a modern accommodation with a long standing reputation for great food and quality service.

22. Azenhas do Mar

A village of white houses on a sheer cliff above the Atlantic Ocean in the pretty Portuguese town of Azenhas do Mar.

The coastal town of Azenhas do Mar floats above the Atlantic in Portugal’s Colares Parish, part of the community of Sintra. If you’re looking for the perfect add-on to your Sintra palaces day trip from Lisbon, this could be it.

Arriving in Azenhas do Mar, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had made a wrong turn and ended up on the Mediterranean. A collection of pretty white fisherman’s houses bundled together on the edge of a steep cliff wall sets the scene. Further out, you can gander at sumptuous summer homes owned by elite families from Lisbon and Sintra.

Azenhas do Mar is one of Portugal’s natural wonders. The name means ‘Watermills of the Sea’, a nod to the raucous stream that once ran through the area and powered a set of waterwheels. More ruggedly beautiful scenes can be found in the sequence of wild beaches that run up and down the coast, none more sought-after than the popular Praia do Magoito.

For the best views of the seaside town, head to this marked viewpoint on the northern shore.

Get there: Azenhas do Mar is located 10km (6 miles) from Sintra and is easily reached by local bus.

A definitive list of the most beautiful places in Portugal, from pretty cities and cute Portuguese towns to the best beaches and national parks. #Portugal #Europe #Lisbon #Porto #Sintra #Algarve | Where to go in Portugal | Portugal travel | Things to do in Portugal | Portugal guide

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11 Comments

As a local from Porto I can confirm that Porto IS truly a city of vibrant colors, incredible history and marvelous food, as you’ve highlighted. The charm of Alfama, the energy of Bairro Alto, and the magnificence of the Tower of Belem are among my personal favorites too.

Your article is a great resource for those seeking to discover the diversity and beauty of Portugal. I wholeheartedly agree that renting a car can provide an enhanced experience, but for those who prefer public transportation, it’s very reliable and efficient here.

Looking forward to seeing more of your insights on other parts of our beautiful country!

It’s not bad, really not bad at all. – very good choices. It brought back some really nice old memories… Then in Convent / Monastery of Mafra and Headquarters of the Portuguese Armies, where I began my military service, there are many things to discover everywhere around, especially on Friday nights and Saturday evenings, then often there are even small parties (rather in the pagan sense, but still all extremely open-minded) in some small alleys. Passing through Lisbon, you have to be careful not to go out at night alone, then even if the streets are full of all kinds of people, you have to be wary of those who hide in dark places and streets that are much too narrow. – Unfortunately, thefts and assaults by offenders are frequent there. On the other hand, almost the entire northwestern part of the country is pure paradise on Earth. -then there is everything, the Serra da Estrela which is almost all year round with snow (avoid in summer then it can be dangerous), there are natural waterfalls, lakes, mountains, etc. , etc… And traditional cuisine is the richest in food diversity. Otherwise, for those who like a good atmosphere in the very old American Faroese style, the two Alto-Alentejo and Baixo-Alentejo are ideal. – even the cuisine of the region is somewhat in this kind of context. Take good care of yourself. LOVES

Wonderful post! I recently got my visa for Portugal and was looking for some places to visit there. That’s when one of my friends shared about your blog. Some of the places that you shared in your blog might just end up in my travel itinerary.

you folks forgot the alto minho region. Beautiful hilly landscapes, geres national park, and braga.

Fantastic recommendation, thank you Manuel!

You left out the 7 time most beautifully place to visit, Madeira Island.

Fantastic suggestion, thank you!

Soo much love Portugal

Thank you! We are planning a trip to Portugal in November and this has been a great help!

This is the first Portugal destination blog I’ve seen that has included the Azores, so thank you! I personally think Flores Island is stunning – perfect for explorers and those that don’t want the typical Portugal Beach holiday!

Esqueceram Guimarães o berço de Portugal, uma cidade com muita história onde tudo começou.

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PlanetWare.com

22 Best Places to Visit in Portugal

Written by Paul Bernhardt , Michael Law , and Lana Law Updated Sep 29, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

For such a small country, Portugal packs a punch. From cosmopolitan cities and out-of-the-way towns and villages to lively beach resorts and spectacular national parks, this diminutive nation offers an incredibly diverse range of visitor attractions .

View over Sesimbra

Occupying a wedge of Iberia and sharing a border with Spain and a fantastic coastline with the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal's location in this sun-kissed corner of Western Europe lends it a singular appeal.

Its southern reaches remain a compelling vacation destination, renowned for gloriously sandy beaches and world-class golf courses . The country's interior, meanwhile, offers a wealth of contrast: rolling plains; broad rivers; deep, verdant valleys; and remote mountain ranges.

More far-flung parts of Portugal, namely the Azores and Madeira offer off-the-beaten-track destinations showcasing nature at its best and a different cultural and gastronomical experience.

Defining Portugal's history is an amazing collection of monuments and historic buildings, many of them recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. And underpinning the country's personality is its people - open, friendly, and hospitable. Spend some time traveling the country, and you'll be enamored by the color, flavor, and warmth of its character.

For help planning your trip, see our list of the best places to visit in Portugal.

7. Parque Natural da Ria Formosa

9. parque natural da serra da estrela, 11. guimarães, 12. madeira, 14. parque nacional da peneda-gerês, 15. bragança, 16. mértola, 18. the azores, 22. parque natural da arrábida.

Lisbon

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is one of Europe's most alluring cities. Set on the banks of the River Tagus, this vibrant Atlantic port is scattered over a series of hills that heighten its splendid waterfront location. Exploring the city's historic core is a journey into its fascinating past - a heritage exemplified by celebrated visitor attractions , such as the mighty Castelo de São Jorge and Alfama , the oldest part of Lisbon.

A collection of world-class museums extends the cultural experience. To the east, away from the city center, you can marvel at the modernity of Parque das Nações and its crowd-pulling sites such as the brilliant Oceanário.

Funiculars in Lisbon

Across to the west in Belém , Portugal's golden Age of Discovery is mirrored in the magnificent Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the quirky Torre de Belém , both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In between, you can amble across handsome tree-lined squares; stroll along broad, riverfront esplanades; or take in jaw-dropping panoramas from the various miradouros, or viewpoints, dotted across the city.

Sintra

Enchanting Sintra is one of the gems in Portugal's glittering sightseeing crown. Recognised by UNESCO for its remarkable cultural landscape, this historic and captivating town is definitely worth putting aside a full day to absorb. It's one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon .

Clustered under the lip of the wooded Serra da Sintra hills, the town is dominated by the landmark Palácio Nacional , its signature twin chimneys looming over a pretty square edged with houses painted in a palette of pale pink and ochre with splashes of yellow.

Peering down over this picture postcard setting is the ancient Castelo dos Mouros , seemingly hewn out of the granite escarpment it runs along. Crowning the highest hill is the bewitching Palácio da Pena , used in the 19th century as a summer retreat by the Portuguese royal family.

Sintra offers plenty of hiking trails for the avid walker, but you'll need a stout pair of legs to conquer the demanding hills surrounding the town. The highest points of the serra offer breathtaking views across the Atlantic coastline and distant Cascais .

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Sintra

Porto

With its robust granite architecture and commercial disposition, Oporto (or "Porto"), Portugal's second city, rewards visitors with a very different experience to that of the capital.

Sited at the mouth of the River Douro and blessed with a waterfront - the Ribeira - acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Porto is a destination endowed with Baroque churches and Neoclassical buildings that number some of the best examples of their kind in the country. Of particular note are the needle-like Torre dos Clérigos and the imposing Sé , the city's cathedral.

Another landmark structure is the iconic Ponte Dom Luís I , the spectacular double-decked iron bridge that spans the Douro and connects the city with Vila Nova de Gaia . A leisurely stroll along the Ribeira delivers a tangible sense of history, where you can breath in the briny atmosphere of the place.

The river provides a scenic route to the Douro Valley , a verdant landscape of terraced hillsides dotted with hamlets and villages. A popular sightseeing option is to join one of the many cruises that ply the meandering waterway.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Porto

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Porto

Évora

Deep in the heart of the Alentejo is Évora, one of the most beguiling destinations in Portugal. Renowned for its amazing ensemble of well-preserved monuments, Évora deserves close and unhurried scrutiny.

Its medieval walls enclose centuries of history, a timeline illustrated by the impressive Templo Romano , which dates from around the second century, and the brooding but compelling 12th-century Sé (cathedral). Another tourist highlight is the 16th-century Igreja de São Francisco, with its morbid Capela dos Ossos, where the walls are lined with skulls and bones.

Capela dos Ossos

The historical significance of Évora and the unspoiled condition of its architectural treasures has won it coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site status. But you'll also be taken with the city's delightful market-town ambience and down-to-earth personality: it's a pleasure to wander and shop through its Moorish alleys; browse engaging museums; and lunch in attractive squares, where you're considered a guest rather than a tourist.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Évora

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Évora

Óbidos

What does a king give his queen for a wedding present? For the lucky queens of Portugal, it was the achingly pretty town of Óbidos , a custom that prevailed for hundreds of years. These days, it's gifted to the general public, and it's certainly worth the hour's drive north out of Lisbon to reach it.

Óbidos is an artist's dream. An assortment of whitewashed cottages, cafés, and handicraft stores lining a series of narrow, cobbled streets are completely enclosed by sturdy medieval walls.

There's also the Igreja De Santa Maria , which features a wonderful interior of blue and white 17th-century azulejos (tiles).

A museum on the town's attractive square includes rare works of art by the 17th-century painter, Josefa de Óbidos.

You can walk along the top of the battlements for lovely views over the terra-cotta rooftops and the lush plains beyond. The fortifications form part of the landmark castle , whose keep looms guardian-like over the charming scene below. The castle itself is now a pousada, an upscale period hotel.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Óbidos

Tavira

Cited by many a guidebook as the most captivating town in the Algarve, Tavira does indeed tick all the scenic boxes. The Rio Gilão cuts a smile through this pleasantly laid-back town, with a Roman footbridge connecting one side with the other.

The waterfront makes for a wonderful walk, before or after you've uncovered the rest of Tavira's historic treasures. The castle walls provide glorious views across the old town and the nearby coast. You can also explore the Igreja de Santa do Castelo , the grandiose church where warrior knights are entombed.

The town also boasts a fascinating museum, the Núcleo Islâmico . Highlights include a rare 11th-century figurative vase.

An appealing option, especially during the hot summer months, is to visit the offshore Ilha de Tavira , an enormous beach that, even in high season, has plenty of room to spare. It's reached by passenger ferry from a jetty at Quatro Águas.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Tavira

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Tavira & Easy Day Trips

Parque Natural da Ria Formosa

The Algarve is justly famous for its pristine coastline, and one of its natural wonders is the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. This protected marine habitat constitutes a 60-kilometer stretch of marshland, saltpans, shallow water lagoons, and sand dune islands that run from Quinta do Lago east past Faro all the way to Cacela Velha .

A haven for an abundance of flora and fauna, the park is crisscrossed by a series of nature trails with proximity to some of the animals associated with this region of Portugal. From observation hides built on the lakes, bird-watchers can spy species like the rare purple gallinule, while out on the mudflats, flocks of greater flamingo can be admired. On land, look out for the delicate sea daffodil and flourishing goosefoot and, if you're lucky, the Mediterranean chameleon.

One of the walks passes the renowned San Lorenzo golf course , itself a draw for all sorts of birdlife. The park's headquarters are near Olhão , where visitors can pick up maps and information leaflets.

Parque Natural da Ria Formosa - Layout map

The historic hilltop university in Coimbra is just one reason to visit this venerated Portuguese city. But the wealth of additional visitor attractions , much of them clustered around the Velha Universidade , classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, merits a full day's sightseeing.

The undoubted highlight of a tour of the old university campus is the stunning Biblioteca Joanina , a Baroque gem of gilded and marbled wood and frescoed ceilings. You can also climb to the top of the 18th-century clock tower for a giddy perspective over the entire area. Your exploration should include the imposing late 12th-century Se Velha (old cathedral).

Back in the old town below, there are further historic buildings to discover, among them two former convents and the Igreja de Santa Cruz , consecrated in 1131, which contains the tomb of Portugal's first king, Afonso Henriques.

Elsewhere are a number of interesting museums; a botanical garden; and the fun-filled Portugal dos Pequenitos , a park containing scale models of the country's most prominent traditional buildings.

And the river itself is a pleasant diversion, with a broad esplanade flanking both banks - great territory for long, lazy walks.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Coimbra

Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela

For good reason, the highest peaks on mainland Portugal, the Serra da Estrela , are called the "star mountains." Rising to 1,993 meters above sea level at its highest point, the range, or more precisely the plateau, is a dramatic natural feature of central Portugal. It is often snowcapped in winter, when opportunistic skiers take advantage of what is probably the shortest ski season in Europe.

Otherwise, the granite escarpments and glacier-cut valleys are classic hiking country, with a network of signed long-distance paths and tracks covering the terrain. Along the way, walkers can take in some absolutely stunning countryside and absorb the traditional character of the place, epitomized in villages like Linhares and Valezim .

The mountains are home to the Serra da Estrela sheepdog, a breed unique to Portugal. You are bound to come across proud locals walking one of these powerful but mild-mannered dogs. The area is also known for the deliciously rich and creamy Serra cheese - arguably Portugal's finest cheese. Look for it on sale in the stores that serve many a local village.

Aerial view of the star-shaped fortress in Elvas

The heavy, star-shaped walls that make up the military fortifications surrounding Elvas are among the best-preserved examples of military architecture in Europe. In fact this frontier town, set on a hilltop in the Alentejo, 15 kilometers from the border with Spain, is so remarkable for its mid-17th-century defences that UNESCO has declared Elvas a World Heritage Site.

It's a long drive east (and should perhaps be combined with a visit to the nearby Spanish city of Badajoz ), but those making the effort to reach this fascinating destination will be rewarded with a truly imposing circuit of walls, deep moats, and star-shaped ramparts. Within this impregnable ring lies a warren of steep, cobbled streets and a number of worthy visitor attractions, notably the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolação , whose nondescript façade belies a truly glittering interior.

A castle, set on the north wall, affords fine views over the area and takes in two smaller outlying forts and the Aqueduto da Amoreira , the town's impressive 16th-century aqueduct.

Elvas Map - Tourist Attractions

It's fitting that the old center of Guimarães is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, given that this noble city was once the capital of Portugal. That was during the 12th century, when the country's first king, Afonso Henriques, proclaimed this northern city the birthplace of the nation.

A hugely evocative place, Guimarães is the location of a number of important historic monuments, not least the castle , where Afonso was reputedly baptized. The equally significant Paço dos Duques , the royal palace, houses an engaging museum, although the Museu de Alberto Sampaio , which is in the Romanesque cloister of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, on Largo da Oliveira, has a no less outstanding collection of artifacts.

Actually, Guimarães's famous main square appears straight out of the Middle Ages, with its elaborately carved granite facades; ornate statuary; and the Padrão do Salado , a 14th-century shrine standing in front of the monastery.

After re-living all this history, you should browse the medieval quarter by exploring on foot the maze of narrow cobbled streets past several wonderfully preserved old town houses.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Guimarães

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Guimarães

Aerial view of Seixal, Madeira

The Madeira Archipelago is a set of four volcanic islands located off the northwestern coast of Africa that have long drawn visitors to their sunny shores. Known by the nickname "Pearl of the Atlantic", the islands are striking, with rugged coastlines, razorback mountains, and subtropical vegetation.

Discover the wonders of the islands, where gastronomy reigns supreme. Indulge in the freshest vegetables and seafood, thanks to the unique microclimate and abundance of the ocean. The capital city of Funchal is a true gem , full of charm and excitement. Wander through its cobblestone streets, admire the old homes and vibrant public gardens, and soak up the lively atmosphere of the harbor.

A delight for outdoor adventurers, hiking trails (or levadas as they are known locally), follow historic irrigation channels to dramatic lookouts. Other more traditional hiking trails wind their way back into the mountains through dense forests to hidden waterfalls.

Although the islands may conjure up visions of golden sand beaches, be aware that Madeira has black pebbly shorelines that are not conducive to strolling in your bare feet or laying out on a towel.

Madeira is a popular port of call for cruise ships and can also be easily accessed by plane in less than two hours from Lisbon or less than four hours from the United Kingdom.

Travelers often ask if they should go to the Azores or Madeira. One big advantage Madeira has over the Azores is its mild year-round climate due to its southern position. While the Azores are a great summer destination, winters are cool and wet. Madeira's daytime highs in winter are around 20 degrees Celcius, and upper 20s in summer.

Braga

Braga is one of Portugal's grandest cities. Located in the north of the country, the destination has a long history as a religious and commercial center. To wander Braga's historic quarter is to enter a predominantly 18th-century world of handsome mansions, imposing churches, and striking palaces . A number of spruce parks and gardens break up the austere granite veneer that characterizes much of the architecture.

Begun in the 11th century, Braga's cathedral, the Sé , is an obvious visitor attraction and symbolizes the fact that the city remains the ecclesiastical capital of Portugal. The city's central square is a wonderfully atmospheric place to linger, perhaps in one of the cafés housed under the arcades. The adjoining 14th-century Torre de Menagem is all that remains of Braga's original fortifications.

A worthwhile diversion is the Bom Jesus do Monte, the spectacular religious sanctuary located 1.5 kilometers east of the city. Pack a picnic and expect large crowds at weekends.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Braga

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Braga & Easy Day Trips

Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês

Portugal's only national park, the magnificent Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês is one of the country's greatest natural wonders. Occupying more than 700 square kilometers in Portugal's northeast Minho region, near the border with Spain, the rocky terrain encompasses dramatic mountain scenery; lush, yawning valleys; tumbling waterfalls; and deep, crystal-clear lakes.

Traditional villages, hamlets cut from granite and even an old spa resort, Caldas do Gerês , add personality to this bleak but beautiful landscape.

Wolves and wild boar still roam the park's more remote regions, while above, golden eagles spiral effortlessly on mighty thermals rising over dramatic peaks.

The park is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts. Waymarked trails offer plenty of hiking opportunities, from two-hour romps to day treks. Scattered rural guesthouses and a few designated camping sites provide basic accommodation, though there are hotels in larger towns.

Spring is an ideal time to visit, with the countryside already bursting into full bloom. But even in midwinter, this outstanding destination remains a very special place.

Peneda-Geres National Park - Layout map

The most remote city in Portugal is also one of its most enticing because you literally do have to travel to the farthest corner of the country to get to Bragança . The old town is especially compelling in that it's completely enclosed by a ribbon of imposing granite walls.

By exploring this walled Cidadela , or "citadel," which dates from 1130, you can glean a tangible sense of the Middle Ages. The ancient streets are lined with squat, whitewashed cottages, and the church of Santa Maria features a striking painted ceiling. But it's the brooding castle and its sturdy keep that really catches the imagination.

Another highlight is the Domus Municipalis , an odd pentagonal council chamber that dates from the 15th century. It's the only surviving example of Romanesque civic architecture in Portugal. Because of the distances involved, it's worth planning an overnight in Bragança, and while the Cidadela is the obvious attraction, the outlying Parque Natural de Montesinho , a 70,000-hectare reserve lying between the city and the border with Spain, is an enticing alternative.

Mértola

The Alentejo has its fair share of hilltop towns, but few are as appealing as Mértola . Furthermore, this whitewashed smudge of a community sits over the River Guadiana, and the scene is quite idyllic. But what really sets this destination apart is the fact that the whole place has been designated a Vila Museu - a museum site.

Mértola's origins date back to the Phoenicians, who created a bustling river port, a facility later used by the Romans and then the Moors. This diverse and colorful timeline is the basis for the cluster of excellent mini-museums dotted in and around the old town, with each one devoted to a separate epoch.

Helping to illustrate the Arab's residency is the landmark 13th-century castle strategically perched on the top of a hill. The views from the keep command a glorious panorama of the surrounding countryside.

The castle grounds feature an excavated site, where you can admire evidence of Moorish, Roman, and Christian occupation. Not surprisingly, Mértola's church, sited just outside the castle walls, used to be a mosque.

Lagos

One of the premier resort towns in Portugal, Lagos basks in the warmth of the Algarve sun and is the preferred vacation destination for thousands of visitors, who flock to the country's south coast every year.

Known for the fabulous beaches that flank the town either side of its international marina, Lagos is also home to some truly magical rock formations, sandstone cliffs that tower over a series of sea caves and weirdly shaped grottoes. If you can lure yourself away from the sand, these can be visited as part of a fun-filled sightseeing cruise, among numerous other water sports options.

Back on terra firma, Lagos' cultural draws include the remarkable Museu Municipal and its adjoining Igreja de Santo António , the interior of which is one of the most lavishly decorated in the entire region.

And if you appreciate sunsets, you'll love Ponta da Piedade : the lighthouse is a favorite spot to watch the sun dip below the Atlantic horizon.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Lagos

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Lagos

Ponta Delgada's city hall in the Azores

The Azores archipelago is a hidden gem of nine volcanic islands located in the mid-Atlantic. They boast a breathtaking landscape of verdant mountains, meandering rivers, thermal hot springs, crystal-clear crater lakes, and magnificent coastlines.

It's a nature lover's playground with an almost endless array of things to see and do ranging from terrestrial pursuits like birdwatching, hiking, road biking, canyoning, and visiting volcanoes, right through to aquatic options including diving, swimming, fishing, and whale watching.

Layer on top of all that the warm and hospitable Azorean culture of enjoying dining, festivals, and even bullfighting, and it's a heady mix of fun. The epicenter of the good times is the capital city of Ponta Delgada with its lively waterfront, the historical quarter full of beautiful 18th- and 19th-century buildings, and the 16th-century Forte de São Brás.

The Azores are easily reached via a two-hour flight from Lisbon. It's also possible to do a free stopover here from North America on your way to mainland Europe via Azores Airlines. The Azores are also a major cruise stop for trans-Atlantic and European operators.

Faro's Old Town

The largest city in the Algarve and the regional capital, Faro has more to offer the visitor than often meets the eye. With its international airport, imposing shopping mall, and sea of concrete high-rises, first impressions are of a nondescript urban sprawl. But peel away the modern veneer, and this is a city with lots to see and much to tell.

Faro's Cidade Velha (Old Town) is the historic core and where tourists should head for. Ringed in part by 16 th -century walls built on Roman foundations, the Old Town's centerpiece is the impressive Sé (cathedral) . Dating back to the 13 th century, this venerable building boasts a dazzling Baroque interior of gilded and lacquered woodcarvings, inlaid marble, and fine azulejo tiling. A highlight is climbing the narrow staircase to the top of the medieval tower , where you can admire sweeping views across the quarter and the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa.

Other Old Town standouts include the fascinating Museu Municipal de Faro , itself set within the hallowed confines of the serene Convent of Our Lady of the Assumption. Beyond the walls is Igreja do Carmo . The church is known for its spooky Capela dos Ossos ( Bone Chapel ), lined with the skulls and bones of more than 1,000 monks.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Faro

Traditional boats on the canal in Aveiro

Not for nothing is Aveiro called the " Venice of Portugal ." This attractive city set in the country's Beira Litoral region lies on the edge of a system of coastal lagoons and is crisscrossed by a series of canals that have become the destination's distinguishing feature. Colorful gondola-like boats called barcos moliceiros , traditionally used to harvest seaweed but today used as novel sightseeing vessels, navigate these narrow waterways.

The city is famed for its Art Nouveau architecture - embellishing the picturesque waterside are dozens of shops, restaurants, and houses featuring this early 20 th -century decorative style. In fact, there's a museum dedicated to this artistic expression, the Museu Arte Nova.

But for a broader picture of the city's culture and heritage, spend time browsing the Museu de Aveiro . Occupying the 15 th -century Convento de Jesus , the museum's fascinating collection includes exhibits relating to Santa Joana, a daughter of King Afonso V who lived in the convent from 1472 until her death in 1489.

Luring visitors beyond the city center is the Vista Alegre porcelain works. Established in 1842 and a hallmark of fine craftsmanship, Vista Alegre exports its products around the world. A museum, the founder's palace, and a shop selling discounted merchandise are all worth discovering.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Aveiro

Beja Castle

Rural sun-drenched Beja is the main town of the Baixa Alentejo (Lower Altenjo). Commanding a strategic position in the center of a vast region of golden plains, Beja was founded as Pax Julia by Julius Caesar in 48 BC and grew into an important and prosperous city.

Roman influence is still evident today in and around the destination, notably at the Ruinas Romanas de São Cucufate, the ruins of a villa complex located to the north of Beja.

Most of Beja's monuments, however, are clustered together in the historic old town. A rewarding introduction to the city's illustrious past is to visit the Museu Regional . Housed in the impressive Convento de Nossa Senhora da Conceição , the museum is noted for its Roman artifacts and Flemish paintings. History buffs should also spend time in the Museu Visigótico , set outside the castle walls within the Visigoth-era Igreja de Santo Amaro.

The castle itself is always worth a detour, not least for its 40-meter-high keep, the Torre de Menagem. You can climb a steep flight of stairs to reach the top and admire a truly inspiring panorama.

Parque Natural da Arrábida

The Arrábida Natural Park is just 40 kilometers south of Lisbon but a world away from the urban clamor that is the Portuguese capital.

Hugging a wedge of coastline between the city of Setúbal and the town of Sesimbra , this verdant swathe of scrub and woodland blankets the craggy slopes of the Serra da Arrábida mountain range, a stunningly beautiful environment separated from the Atlantic Ocean by ribbons of golden sand.

The park is a haven for wildlife and perfect for biking, hiking, and other outdoor pursuits . Meanwhile, the truly adventurous can indulge in coasteering - climbing, walking, jumping, and swimming Arrábida's rocky coastline.

In fact, the coast is dotted with a number of superb cove beaches. Praia do Ribeiro do Cavalo is especially scenic, framed as it is by outcrops of limestone rock formations and ideal for swimming, diving, or snorkeling.

Inland, cultural curiosity can be satisfied by advance booking a tour of the Convento da Arrábida . Hidden away in dense shrubland, this enigmatic convent was built by Franciscan monks in 1542. Tours take in the monastery building, gardens, shrines, and cells.

To recuperate from a busy day's sightseeing, head for the achingly pretty harbor village of Portinho da Arrábida . Here, you'll find a cluster of quaint waterfront restaurants that face the crystalline waters of the Bay of Setúbal.

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Planning Your Portugal Itinerary: Once you have figured out what you want to see and the places you want to visit, it's time to start thinking about a routing and what's practical. Depending on the amount of time you have, you may want to focus on just one or two areas, or you may decide to see it all. For help planning, see our article on Where to Go in Portugal: 7 Great Itineraries . If you simply want to relax on your vacation, see our list of the Best Holiday Resorts in Portugal.

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Top 100 of the best places to visit in Portugal

Once, there was a small corner in Europe of 92 090 km 2 , a place which became known as  Portugal  (1139 A.D.) – D. Afonso Henriques was the founder of this kingdom and its first king.

In the 15 th  and 16 th  centuries, during the Age of Discoveries, the Portuguese went on several voyages and maritime explorations, in search of new trade routes.

The Kingdom of Portugal colonised territories in Africa, Asia and South America, becoming the world’s first political, economic and cultural power. The Portuguese discoveries played a major role in shaping the world map. The Kingdom of Portugal was the first global empire and the longest of the modern European colonial kingdoms.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning i get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Thanks to the Age of Discoveries, Portuguese is one of the most spoken languages in the world: Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe and East-Timor. Furthermore, there are also Portuguese language speakers in Macao (China) and in Goa (India).

areas to visit in portugal

Portugal is a country where the sun shines 300 days in the year, a country with an amazing history, an extraordinary culture, a delicious gastronomy, magnificent landscapes, beautiful beaches, mountains greater than you can imagine and warm people that will make you feel at home.

Despite being a small country (in size), when visiting Portugal, you will not have time to get bored, because there are many wonders (monuments, landscapes, beaches, culture, gastronomy).

Portugal is also one of the few countries in the world that, once visited, is never forgotten. This country awakens in us a very unique feeling, Saudade , when we are far from this wonderful paradise.

In this article, I will show you the 100 most beautiful places to visit in Portugal and an itinerary so that you can easily discover these wonders.

Information: the places below refer only to mainland Portugal. To discover the wonders of the Portuguese islands, I invite you to read the article with the best places to visit in the Azores archipelago and the best places to visit in the Madeira archipelago .

Here are the top 100 of the best places to visit and things to do in Portugal:

1. santuário de santa luzia.

Santuario de Santa Luzia - Viana do Castelo - Portugal

The Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (also known as the sanctuary Santuário de Santa Luzia), built at the western end of Monte de Santa Luzia, in Viana do Castelo, is undoubtedly one of the most famous and emblematic monuments in the country .

This temple is an excellent example of neo-Romanesque and neo-Gothic architecture. The construction of the sanctuary at the top of Monte de Santa Luzia began in 1904 and was completed in 1959, due to the initiative of the brotherhood Irmandade de Santa Luzia.

To reach the Santa Luzia Sanctuary, you can choose to drive there, climb the many steps or use the Santa Luzia elevator , which can transport up to 24 people. The trip is 650 metres, with an inclination of 160 metres and a total duration of six to seven minutes.

For more details about the sanctuary and the city, I suggest you read the article Top 20 of the places to visit in Viana do Castelo .

Apulia - Esposende - Portugal

Located in the Protected Landscape Area of the Esposende Coast (35 km from Viana do Castelo), the small town of Apúlia is a very pleasant place due to its natural beauty and authenticity.

Apart from being able to enjoy some relaxing moments on the large beach, take the opportunity to admire the fishermen and their boats and do not hesitate to take a short walk on the wooden walkways to admire the windmills on the dunes .

Porto - Portugal

Porto is the city that gave Portugal its name (Portucale) and the famous Portuguese wine with the same name (Port wine). But the city is not just that, and it is no wonder that it was chosen in 2012, 2014, 2017 as the best European tourist destination .

When visiting Porto , you will discover an amazing city, where the old and new live in perfect harmony, a city that is both cosmopolitan and intimate at the same time.

Porto is a source of inspiration, where visitors always come back!

Here are the places not to be missed during your visit to Porto:

  • Clérigos Tower
  • Porto Cathedral
  • São Bento Train Station
  • Bolsa Palace
  • São Francisco Church
  • Luis I Bridge
  • Serra do Pilar Monastery
  • Port wine cellars
  • Bolhão Market
  • Santa Catarina Street
  • Ferdinand Wall
  • Church of Santa Clara
  • Ribeira District
  • Lello Bookshop

torre-dos-clerigos-porto-portugal

In addition to these wonderful places, there is much more to visit! Read this article for a detailed tour of the city of Porto .

4. Praia do Senhor da Pedra

areas to visit in portugal

The Senhor da Pedra beach has as its main attraction the chapel Capela do Senhor da Pedra, from the 18th century, built on some rocks by the sea. On days when the sea is more agitated, the beach is the ideal place for water sports such as surfing and bodyboarding.

5. Castelo de Santa Maria da Feira

Castelo-de-Santa-Maria-da-Feira-Portugal

Built before the 11th century, the castle of Santa Maria da Feira is older than the Portuguese nation. According to history, it was here that the battle of São Mamede (Guimarães) was prepared, a battle that put the future first Portuguese king Dom Afonso Henriques and his mother Teresa de Leão, who was fighting for present-day Spain, face to face.

During your visit, walk along the ramparts, admire the beautiful keep with 4 towers and the chapel in honour of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação.

Castelo-de-Santa-Maria-da-Feira-Portugal

Known in Portugal for its delicious Pão de Ló (similar to the English sponge cake, or even the French Savoy cake), the municipality of Ovar hides other wonders that I suggest you discover during your visit to Portugal.

In the north of the municipality you’ll find Barrinha de Esmoriz , a lagoon where you can admire the beautiful flora and fauna while walking on the 8 km wooden walkways, created to allow people to explore this natural wonder.

Barrinha de Esmoriz - Portugal

Back to the city of Ovar, you will find many beaches. The most famous are: Esmoriz beach, Cortegaça beach, Furadouro beach and in the south of the city, you will find the Ria de Aveiro (45 km lagoon).

Apart from these natural wonders, this municipality hides two treasures built by human hands, the sumptuous church Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria de Válega and the church Igreja Matriz de Santa Marinha de Cortegaça.

Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria de Valega - Portugal

Known as the Portuguese Venice , Aveiro is a thousand years old, of which two hundred and fifty as a city. It was founded due to salt production and maritime trade.

At the end of the 16th century, the instability of vital communication between the Ria and the sea led to the closure of the channel, preventing the use of the port and creating unhealthy conditions, caused by the stagnation of the water in the Ria.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the channel was finally reopened (Barra), beginning a period of great development there.

Aveiro has some incredible places that will make your eyes glow and your visit to this city be worthwhile.

During your visit to the city, do not hesitate to take a short detour to discover the Costa Nova beach and its beautiful fishermen’s houses painted with vertical and horizontal stripes and in different colours, which brings a special charm to this place.

Aveiro - Portugal

Read my article and discover the top 10 of the places to visit in Aveiro .

8. Umbrella Sky Project

Agueda - Umbrella Sky Project - Portugal

Present in Águeda , from July 1 to September 30 since 2012, the Umbrella Sky Project is a project created by the agency Sexta Feira that aims to bring colour and joy to the city.

In addition to the beautiful umbrellas hanging on the streets of the historic centre (Rua Luís de Camões, as well as on the adjacent streets), the benches, posts and facades are covered with beautiful works of urban art.

This project is such a success that the agency Sexta Feira was invited to recreate it all over the world.

If you come to Águeda during winter, know that in December, the city is lit up with the colours of Christmas with its umbrellas!

9. Pateira de Fermentelos

Pateira de Fermentelos - Portugal

The Pateira de Fermentelos lagoon started to form in the 15th century, after the numerous floods of the Certoma and Águeda rivers, which spread through the neighbouring fields.

Currently, it is the largest natural lake in the Iberian Peninsula, with about 5 km2.

Before visiting this place, I did some research and saw some pictures on the internet. At first glance, it was a beautiful place, but nothing special.

As soon as I visited it and after a few seconds of admiring the Pateira de Fermentelos lagoon, I was speechless with the natural beauty of this place!

Much of the lake had disappeared under a huge carpet of purple flowers, giving this place a breathtaking view.

I don’t remember seeing another place as romantic as this. It has become one of my favourite places across the country !

Do not hesitate to stroll along the banks of the lagoon to the gazebos to contemplate this wonder.

For more information about Pateira de Fermentelos and the Umbrella Sky Project, read the article What to visit in Águeda, the city of the colourful umbrellas .

10. Mata Nacional do Buçaco

mata-nacional-do-bucaco-portugal

The forest Mata Nacional do Buçaco is a protected place, located on the hills with the same name and close to the thermal town of Luso.

This forest was planted by the Order of the Carmelites in 1644 and today has an area of 400 hectares. There, you will find the convent Convento de Santa Cruz do Buçaco, which housed members of this Order from 1628 to 1834, when religious orders were disbanded.

In 1888, construction began on the Royal Palace (which destroyed part of the convent), a sumptuous monument that today houses the 5-star Palace Hotel do Bussaco .

mata-nacional-do-bucaco-portugal

Apart from visiting this magnificent monument, I suggest you explore the gardens and the park that surrounds it, where there are many hermitages and chapels that date back to the time of the Order of the Carmelites. End your visit at the Cruz Alta viewpoint to admire this wonder at sunset!

11. Figueira da Foz

Figueira da Foz - Portugal

Well known in Portugal for its magnificent beaches, Figueira da Foz will surprise you with its wonders still little known, such as the sumptuous Sotto Mayor Palace .

Figueira da Foz started to be populated in the 11th century by the monastery Mosteiro de Santa Cruz de Coimbra and grew little by little over the centuries. It became a town in 1771. In the 19th century, Figueira da Foz doubled its population thanks to the port and shipbuilding, as well as the arrival of many tourists to enjoy the magnificent beaches.

To accommodate so many people, a new neighbourhood (Bairro Novo) has emerged facing the sea, inspired by the French resorts of Arcachon and Biarritz. It is in this area that the casino and most hotels, restaurants and bars are located.

In 1882, Figueira da Foz went from being a town to being a city, and today it houses more than 62 000 inhabitants (city centre and neighbouring villages).

You can visit this city just to enjoy its beautiful beach, but when you discover the treasures that Figueira da Foz hides, you will discover a city that will surprise you with its authenticity and beauty.

Here are the places you shouldn’t miss:

  • Sotto Mayor Palace
  • Parish of Buarcos
  • Bandeira viewpoint, located in the hill Serra da Boa Viagem
  • Costa de Lavos

To discover the wonders of this city in detail, read the article Top of the places to visit in Figueira da Foz .

12. Coimbra

Universite de Coimbra Alta & Sofia

Known in Portugal as the city of students , Coimbra has an incredible history and monuments that you should definitely not miss when visiting Portugal!

One of these monuments is the University of Coimbra Alta & Sofia, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO . Founded in Lisbon in 1290, it was permanently transferred to Coimbra in 1537 and today it is considered one of the oldest universities in Europe.

One of the points of interest that you should not miss when visiting the University of Coimbra is without a doubt the Biblioteca Joanina , considered one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

To discover the other beautiful places in the city, please read the article Top 10 of the places to visit in Coimbra .

When visiting Coimbra, don’t miss the opportunity to make a detour and discover the best preserved ancient Roman city in Portugal. Conímbriga is located 16 km from Coimbra and offers the possibility to see what a Roman city was like 2000 years ago!

As a curiosity, know that Coimbra adopted its current name, after the abandonment of the city of Conímbriga by its inhabitants, who left to take refuge from the attacks of the Sueves (Germanic people) in the 5th century.

13. Schist Villages

areas to visit in portugal

The schist villages are located mainly in the mountain ranges of Lousã and Açor, close to the cities of Coimbra and Castelo Branco.

These villages were built with local materials (schist) that give them a very special character. In addition to being able to admire the beautiful houses and streets, you will find countless walking routes, mountain bike trails and river beaches.

Of the 27 villages belonging to the schist village network, I recommend you discover Talasnal, Casal de São Simão, Cerdeira, Chiqueiro, Candal, Aigra Nova, Álvaro, Pena and Sobral de São Miguel .

For more information and photos of each village, visit the official website of this network (in Portuguese).

14. Buracas do Casmilo

Buracas do Casmilo - Portugal

Located 24 km from Coimbra, Buracas do Casmilo is a geological formation that corresponds to what remains of several rooms in a huge cave that collapsed.

This place is very photogenic and it is worth taking a detour when visiting Coimbra. To get there, leave your car at the village of Casmilo and walk 1.5 km on a dirt road. Take the opportunity to enjoy the scenery and take beautiful photos.

15. Penedo Furado

areas to visit in portugal

Located in the municipality of Vila de Rei, very close to the N2 road (the longest road in Portugal with 739 km – I will talk a little more about that below), Penedo Furado is a place where you can admire hills covered with pine forests, the Codes creek, the Castelo do Bode dam reservoir, thanks to the viewpoints of Penedo Furado, Fragas de Rabadão and Cristo Rei.

Aside from being able to admire these beautiful landscapes, you will find a river beach very popular amongst those who visit this place and a waterfall accessible by wooden walkways more than 500 metres away.

16. Castelo de Almourol

Castelo de Almourol - Portugal

Located on a small island on the Tagus river, this castle was built in the 12th century and belonged to the Knights Templar and the Order of Christ. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful castles in Portugal !

To visit the Castle of Almourol, you must board a small boat located on the left bank of the river, in the municipality of Praia do Ribatejo. To take beautiful pictures, I suggest you go to the Almourol viewpoint , located on the right bank of the Tagus river.

17. Museu Nacional Ferroviário

areas to visit in portugal

The National Railway Museum presents visitors with 160 years of railway history in Portugal. Here, you will find more than 36.000 objects large and small, like locomotives and wagons of the presidential train used for more than a century by presidents, heads of state, kings and popes!

18. Convento de Cristo

Convento de Cristo - Tomar - Portugal

Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983, the convent Convento de Cristo is today one of the most beautiful Portuguese monuments. It has benefited from the influence of various architectural styles, over several centuries, including Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance styles.

The person responsible for the construction of Convento de Cristo and the castle that surrounds it was the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Gualdim Pais, in the 12th century. This inheritance was later handed over to the Order of Christ before it became property of the Portuguese state.

The monument offers its visitors several points of interest, such as the castle , the Gothic and Renaissance cloisters , the charola (see picture above) and the Manueline church .

For more information about this monument and other places to visit in Tomar, read the article Visit Tomar and discover the magnificent city of the Knights Templar !

19. Santuário de Fátima

Santuario de Fatima - Portugal

Located in Central Portugal, the small city of Fátima (11.596 inhabitants) has, over the years, become the fourth biggest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, after the apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1917 to three young shepherds.

On May 13, 1917, Lúcia and her cousins ​​Jacinta and Francisco, 12, 9 and 7 years old, were taking care of their sheep in Cova da Iria, Fátima, when they saw a bright light appear in front of them.

They first thought it was lightning, but then a brighter light illuminated the place. It was then that they saw close to a small tree (holm oak) a lady brighter than the sun.

This lady asked them to come to Cova da Iria on the 13th of each month, at the same time, for 6 months. She promised them to reveal her identity as well as the purpose of her coming.

Throughout the apparitions, this lady made some revelations , such as the end of the First World War, that Francisco and Jacinta would soon go to heaven (Francisco died in 1919 and Jacinta in 1920, due to the Spanish flu).

As the months passed, the crowd grew larger and larger. During the second apparition, 50 people were present; on October 13, during the sixth apparition, there were more than 50.000 people to witness the miracle promised by this lady.

It was on that occasion that the young shepherds discovered that this lady was Our Lady of the Rosary (Nossa Senhora do Rosário).

As nobody saw Our Lady of the Rosary (except for the young shepherds), on October 13, 1917 a miracle occurred so that the crowd could see and believe in the apparition of the Virgin Mary.

This day was very rainy, when suddenly the clouds disappeared to make way for a bright sun with a blue sky.

Then a light phenomenon occurs in the sky called hereinafter “the miracle of the sun” or “dance of the sun”. Do not hesitate to click on the link above to learn more about the “miracle of the sun”.

To discover the places to visit in and around Fátima, I suggest you read the article What to visit in Fátima, the fourth biggest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world!

20. Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros

Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros - Portugal - Grutas de Mira de Aire

The mountain ranges Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park, with an area of ​​approximately 35.000 hectares, was created in 1979, covering more than two thirds of the Estremadura limestone massif, which is the most important limestone area in Portugal.

The park consists of two mountain ranges, of which this park was named after, and the plateaus of Santo António and São Mamede.

As you walk through the park, you will see several small stone walls, called “chouços”, which are used to divide properties or to gather herds. You can also find small houses in the middle of the fields, which were previously used to protect the shepherds from the elements.

Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros - Portugal

Apart from the beautiful authentic landscapes, you can discover some of the 1500 incredible caves in the park.

Here are the places you can’t miss in the park:

  • Rio Maior Salt Pans
  • Porto de Mós Castle
  • Mira de Aire Caves

To get to know this park better, I invite you to read the article Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park: the 9 places you can’t miss!

21. Mosteiro da Batalha

mosteiro-da-batalha-portugal

The monastery Mosteiro da Batalha is one of the most beautiful works of Portuguese and European architecture and a World Heritage Site . After the victory against the Kingdom of Castile (region of present-day Spain) in Aljubarrota in 1385, King Dom João I decided to build this monastery to thank the Virgin Mary for having won the battle.

Construction began in 1386 and was completed more than a century later, in 1517. The monastery was donated to the order of the Dominicans who remained there until 1834, the year the religious orders were disbanded in Portugal.

Since then, this magnificent monument belongs to the Portuguese state, which decided to open it to the public.

22. Castelo de Leiria

Castelo de Leiria - Portugal

Built in the 12th century to protect the land recovered from the Moors, the Leiria castle is without a doubt one of the most beautiful medieval castles in Portugal!

After numerous attacks over the centuries, the last of which was carried out in the 19th century by Napoleon’s troops, the castle fell into ruins and was abandoned for more than 100 years.

From 1915 onwards, the ruins were rebuilt and today you can visit the keep , the church Igreja de Santa Maria da Pena , the Royal Palace and walk along the ramparts that offer a 360º view of the city.

After visiting the castle, you can also take the opportunity to lose yourself in the streets of the historic centre of Leiria and discover its beautiful monuments, such as the cathedral.

23. Mosteiro de Alcobaça

mosteiro-de-santa-maria-de-alcobaca-portugal

After the capture of the city of Santarém from the Moors, King Dom Afonso Henriques promised the Order of Cistercians to build the monastery Mosteiro de Alcobaça to thank them for their support.

The construction of the monastery began in 1178, following the model of the Abbey of Clairvaux, the mother house of the Order of Cistercians in France, and was completed in 1252, the year of its inauguration by King Dom Dinis.

In 1810, Napoleon’s troops stole much of the monastery’s wealth and what was left was stolen in 1834, when religious orders in Portugal were disbanded.

Discover, during your visit, the dormitory, the chapter house, the refectory, the Dom Dinis cloister, the incredible kitchen, the Hall of Kings and the church (free part).

Nazare - Portugal

The beautiful Nazaré is a city unlike any other in Central Portugal! From traditions that have endured for many years and which are intrinsically linked to fishing, to the giant waves that have made this city such a great tourist spot, there are many reasons why you should visit this place.

Although considered a municipality since the 16th century, it was only in the 20th century that the current name was first used. Until then, the municipality was called Pederneira , currently a neighbourhood in Nazaré. There, traces of the medieval period can still be found.

In fact, Nazaré is divided into three distinct areas: the lower part, by the sea, Pederneira, the inner part of the city, and the Sítio, located on the Nazaré promontory .

Although Nazaré owes a lot to fishing, this city developed mainly from the 20th century onwards and especially in the 21st century, thanks to tourism and its beautiful and pleasant beaches. In addition, the city became world famous after Garrett McNamara broke the world record for the biggest wave ever surfed in 2011. This record was broken by 61 centimetres in 2017 by Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa, setting the record at 24.38 m.

To discover this city and its surroundings, I invite you to read the article Top 20 of the places to visit in Nazaré and its surroundings .

25. Peniche

Fortaleza de Peniche - Portugal

Considered the westernmost city on the European continent , Peniche is one of the places to visit during your stay in Portugal.

This town is located on a peninsula with a small piece of land that connects it to the continent, making it unique in Portugal.

Although it was recently elevated to the category of city (in 1988), Peniche has always been of particular importance in the country, especially at the maritime and fishing areas. The port of Peniche remains one of the most important Portuguese fishing ports.

One of the places that you should not miss during your visit is the city fortress, which dates back to the 16th century. Located on top of cliffs, this fortress was considered by King Dom João IV as the “main key to the kingdom by the sea” due to its location, one of the westernmost points in Portugal.

The Peniche Fortress was the main fortification of the defensive complex called Praça-Forte de Peniche , which was listed as a Portuguese monument in 1938 due to its historical importance.

Apart from the defensive functions it performed until the end of the 19th century, this fortress fulfilled several functions, some of which are more worthy than others.

The fortress served as a political prison during the dictatorship of the Estado Novo (a dictatorship that only ended in 1974, after the Carnation Revolution). It temporarily hosted Portuguese families who came from the former African colonies. Since 1984, it houses the City Museum of Peniche .

To discover all the places to visit in Peniche, read the article What to visit in Peniche – from the paradise of Berlengas to the fantastic beaches .

26. Arquipélago das Berlengas

forte-de-sao-joao-baptista-das-berlengas-peniche

Listed in 2011 as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, the Berlengas Natural Reserve was the first protected area in Portugal , decreed by King Dom Afonso V, who banned hunting on the largest island of this archipelago, Berlenga Grande (1.5 km long and 800 m wide).

The human occupation of this island began several centuries ago with the passage of Viking and Muslim navigators, as well as French and English privateers.

In the beginning of the 16th century, Queen D. Leonor asked some monks of the Order of São Jerónimo to settle on this island in order to facilitate navigation and help the victims of the frequent shipwrecks that occurred there.

Despite the good intentions, the truth is that the monks did not stay long due to the constant attacks by the privateers and the unfavourable conditions of the island.

During your visit, you can enjoy the beautiful beach for a few hours, stroll through the Bairro dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Quarter), admire the lighthouse of Duque de Bragança and enter the most photogenic place in Berlenga Grande, the fort Forte de São João Batista das Berlengas .

In the article about the city of Peniche, you will find all the information about this archipelago, as well as the necessary information to get there.

Obidos - Portugal

The beautiful village of Óbidos is very touristy, but definitely worth visiting. It was conquered from the Moors by the first king of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques.

One of the most interesting places in Óbidos is without a doubt the ramparts and the castle that protect the citadel .

While there, take the opportunity to explore the citadel, admire the castle, walk along the ramparts, the alleys with their beautiful houses and travel back in time imagining being a resident of this town during the Middle Ages, a unique experience!

Do not leave Óbidos without trying the famous ginjinha de Óbidos , a very popular liquor in this region and throughout the country.

Outside the citadel, admire the beautiful Usseira Aqueduct , which was originally 3 km long, and also the sanctuary Santuário do Senhor da Pedra .

28. Santarém

Jardim-das-Portas-do-Sol-Santarem-Portugal

With several centuries of history, Santarém is a city that was occupied by several peoples. The city was populated by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Moors until 1147, when the city was finally conquered by the Portuguese, led by their first king, Dom Afonso Henriques.

Once known as the Gothic capital of Portugal , in the historic centre of Santarém, you will find several architectural styles that make this city a place not to be missed.

Currently, Santarém is not as important as it was a few centuries ago, but its heritage is immense and, in that sense, I invite you to discover this city during your visit to Portugal.

To discover the wonders of this beautiful city, read the article What to visit in Santarém, capital of the Gothic in Portugal .

Palacio Nacional de Mafra - Portugal

Located just 39 km from Lisbon, the municipality of Mafra has many treasures that are worth visiting during your stay in Portugal.

The most notorious is the National Palace of Mafra , listed in 2019 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (palace, basilica, convent, garden of Cerco and the hunting park, better known as Tapada Nacional de Mafra).

The palace is an old royal residence built during the reign of King Dom João V, in 1717, following a promise made by the king. The building occupies an area of ​​approximately 4 hectares, with 1200 rooms, 4700 doors and windows.

palacio-nacional-de-mafra-portugal

During your visit, discover, in addition to the palace , the basilica , the convent , one of the most beautiful libraries in Europe and the garden of Cerco , located at the back of this wonder.

Palacio-Nacional-de-Mafra-Biblioteca-Portugal

Another place to be discovered in the municipality of Mafra is Tapada Nacional (entrance located 7 km from the centre of the town), an 833-hectare forest protected by a 21 km wall, created in 1747 by King Dom João V after the construction of the convent and palace. The forest was used as a leisure and hunting park by Portuguese monarchs.

When you visit Tapada Nacional de Mafra  (paying entry), you’ll have the opportunity to admire the flora but also wild animals like deers, boars, eagles and much more.

30. Ericeira

Ericeira-Portugal

Located 8 km from Mafra, the small town of Ericeira is basically a fishing village that has grown over the years thanks to its quality of life and its magnificent beaches , very popular amongst surfers.

Ericeira-Portugal

Aside from discovering the beautiful beaches, lose yourself in the alleys of the historic centre to experience the authenticity of the town and its inhabitants

Historical fact: it was from here that the last Portuguese king, Dom Manuel II, fled on October 5, 1910 to Gibraltar on board the royal ship Amélia, after the proclamation of the first Portuguese Republic.

31. Azenhas do Mar

Azenhas do Mar - Sintra - Portugal

Located 14 km from the historic centre of Sintra, the picturesque village of Azenhas do Mar is one of the most photogenic places in Portugal!

There, you can enjoy the natural pools and viewpoints that offer stunning views of the village and the Atlantic Ocean.

Do not hesitate to eat at the restaurant just above the pool to enjoy a good Portuguese dish while enjoying an incredible view.

Sintra - Portugal

Visiting Sintra is like entering a romantic kingdom, where majestic palaces, a fairy tale castle and fascinating mansions emerge between hills and lush forests.

Sintra - Portugal

Even though this town is very touristy, I recommend you explore it, as this place is full of wonders not to be missed, such as the Pena National Palace , Quinta da Regaleira and the Monserrate Park and Palace . It’s not by chance that the cultural landscape of this town has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

For more information about this town, I invite you to read the article Top 10 of the places to visit in Sintra .

Lisboa - Portugal

Capital and biggest city in Portugal, Lisbon appears at the top of the list amongst the most popular tourist destinations in Europe .

The city of the seven hills has won the hearts of visitors from all over the world, thanks to a sumptuous blend of tradition and modernity. Ideally located, you can visit Lisbon and discover its many faces during a weekend.

Here are the places you should not miss during your visit to Lisbon:

  • Alfama quarter
  • Bairro Alto
  • Bica Elevator
  • Mouraria quarter
  • Viewpoint of Senhora do Monte
  • Praça do Comércio square
  • Jerónimos Monastery

To discover all the wonders and have all the necessary information for an unforgettable stay, I invite you to read the articles Top 20 of the places to visit in Lisbon and Weekend in Lisbon: discover the places to visit in 2 days .

34. Cristo Rei

Cristo-Rei-Lisboa-Portugal

Located in the municipality of Almada , on the south bank of the Tagus river and facing Lisbon, Cristo Rei is a sanctuary and religious monument that represents the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Inspired by Christ the Redeemer, in Rio de Janeiro, this 110 metre high building was inaugurated in 1959.

This sanctuary and the statue, in particular, welcome those who wish to visit Lisbon and its region with open arms. Here, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the beautiful Portuguese capital.

35. Costa da Caparica

Costa da Caparica - Portugal

The city of Costa da Caparica is a place you can’t miss when visiting the surroundings of the Portuguese capital.

Known in Portugal for its beautiful beaches , the city hides a natural treasure that completely fascinated me, the Protected Landscape of the Fossil Cliff of Costa da Caparica ( Paisagem Protegida da Arriba Fóssil da Costa da Caparica ).

If, like me, you enjoy big sandy beaches, walk in the midst of stunning landscapes, admire the fishermen working and discover their authentic villages, Costa da Caparica will surprise you!

To discover its wonders, read the article Costa da Caparica, Lisbon’s paradise .

36. Parque Natural da Arrábida

Praia-do-Creiro-Serra-da-Arrabida-Portugal

The Arrábida Natural Park is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Portugal . It’s not by chance that I consider it a Portuguese paradise!

When visiting this park, you will discover paradisiacal beaches (you don’t need to go to the Caribbean), viewpoints that offer breathtaking views and ancient castles with many stories to tell.

To discover its wonders, read the article Serra da Arrábida, the Portuguese paradise!

37. Cais Palafítico da Carrasqueira

areas to visit in portugal

Carrasqueira’s Palafitic Pier, located very close to Comporta, a fishing village very popular amongst the international jet set, is a very photogenic place used since the 50s and 60s of the 20th century by fishermen to reach their boats without being conditioned by the tides.

38. Praia da Galé – Fontainhas – Melides

praia-da-gale-fontainhas-do-mar-alentejo-portugal

Located 10 km from the town of Melides, Galé beach is one of the most beautiful in Portugal! With several kilometres of extension, this beach has incredibly beautiful cliffs !

The main access is through the campsite Parque de Campismo da Galé, but if you pay attention, you will find another access next to the houses. So that you can discover this wonder, I put here the exact location of the path to be used .

Once there, take the stairs on the left side of the house and walk along the campsite wall. You will find stairs that will take you to the beach. Don’t forget to turn around to admire the magnificent cliffs.

39. Praia da Samoqueira

Praia da Samoqueira - Portugal - Alentejo

Samoqueira beach is composed of a small mantle of sand covered with stones, which creates almost intimate environments. It is located in the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, less than 3 km from the parish of Porto Covo.

To admire the same landscape in the photo above, leave your car in the beach parking lot and walk 500 metres towards Porto Covo.

40. Rota Vicentina

Rota-Vicentina-Portugal

The Rota Vicentina is a 400 km network of walking trails that can be covered on foot.

This network of walking routes is part of the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park and is divided into 3 parts: the Historical Way , the Fishermen’s Trail and the Circular Routes .

The Historical Way begins in Santiago do Cacém and stretches all the way to the cape Cabo de São Vicente, in Algarve (230 km), through mainly rural paths, passing through towns and villages with several centuries of history.

Unlike the Historical Way, the Fishermen’s Trail is a 120 km route that follows the cliffs, the sea and the sandy paths that locals use to access beaches and fishing locations.

The Circular Routes (departure and arrival at the same location) are ideal for those who want to discover the wonders of the Rota Vicentina without travelling many kilometres.

Information: the best time to hike in the Rota Vicentina is from September to June. The months of July and August are very hot (temperatures above 30 °C). In these 2 months of intense heat, I suggest you choose a circular route and hike early in the morning.

To have all the necessary information to prepare for your next hike in the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, visit the Rota Vicentina website .

41. Praia de Monte Clérigo

praia-monte-clerigo-algarve-portugal

Monte Clérigo beach is one of my favourite places across the country! Located 8 km from Aljezur, it offers magnificent landscapes. Before heading to the beach, stop at the top of the hill to enjoy the view and take beautiful pictures.

Do not hesitate to take the road on your right for 800 metres to the bar / restaurant Taberna do Gabriel II to enjoy the view of Amoreira beach. Even though you can drive there, I recommend that you go on foot to enjoy this magnificent place.

42. Praia da Bordeira

Praia da Bordeira - Portugal

Never crowded, Bordeira beach invites you to spend relaxing holidays away from touristy places. Three kilometres long and located in the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, the beach is very popular amongst nature lovers and families.

The best access to the beach is located south of the beach. Next to the parking lot you will find a wooden walkway that will allow you to cross a small creek by the beach without any problem.

Lagos - Portugal

Lagos is a city with a great historical richness, which has kept its authenticity and which has natural wonders considered to be amongst the most beautiful in the world!

As in other places in southern Portugal, the first peoples settled here more than 2000 years ago and there have been many influences since then. The most important peoples to occupy this region were the Carthaginians, the Romans and the Moors until it finally became a Portuguese city in the 13th century.

Since then, due to its great economy and privileged location, Lagos has undergone an enormous development and was considered the “ capital of Algarve ” for two centuries.

In fact, Lagos played an important role during the Portuguese Discoveries , as it was from this city that many boats left in search of new worlds and in which navigators such as Gil Eanes became famous.

The city went through a period of great changes until 1755, when Lagos was devastated by an earthquake. It was at this moment that it lost the status of “capital of Algarve” to Faro.

In addition to the historic side, Lagos will surprise you with its magnificent beaches considered as some of the most beautiful in the world!

To discover its historic centre and magnificent beaches, read the article What to visit in Lagos, one of the most beautiful cities in Algarve!

44. Ferragudo

areas to visit in portugal

This small town has a charm like few in Algarve. Stroll along the river and enjoy the beautiful beaches where you can admire the small, but beautiful Castle of São João de Arade , built in the 15th century.

Apart from the castle and the beautiful beaches, enjoy your visit to Ferragudo and lose yourself in the beautiful typical streets that will surely amaze you!

To get to know this small town better, read the article What to visit in Portimão, one of the wonders of Algarve!

45. Percurso dos 7 Vales Suspensos

areas to visit in portugal

If, like me, you enjoy beautiful landscapes, you can’t leave Algarve without taking the 7 Hanging Valleys Route.

areas to visit in portugal

This pedestrian trail follows the cliffs between Marinha beach and Vale Centeanes beach for 5.7 km (11.4 km round trip), which will allow you to admire incredible landscapes and you can even take a break on one of the 3 beaches (Marinha, Vale Centeanes and Benagil).

46. Praia da Marinha

Praia da Marinha - Portugal - Algarve

Marinha beach is of great natural beauty, considered one of the most beautiful in Portugal and is also amongst the 100 best beaches in the world . Before heading to the beach to appreciate the beauty of the rocks and natural tunnels, be amazed with the view from the top of the cliff.

47. Praia da Falésia

areas to visit in portugal

Like Galé beach in Melides, Falésia beach will surprise you with the beauty of its cliffs. It is located in Olhos de Água, in Algarve (between Vilamoura and Albufeira).

To be amazed by this place, go to the Falésia viewpoint at sunset. That’s when the cliffs offer their most beautiful colours!

Alte-Portugal

Located literally in the centre of Algarve, the village of Alte is another little-known treasure to discover during your visit to Algarve.

Lose yourself in the narrow streets of this town and admire the whitewashed houses until you reach the beautiful church Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção , built in the 13th century and remodelled over time. Here, you can admire the Manueline style window and its interior with beautiful glazed tile panels.

If you visit this village in the summer, know that 500 metres from the church you can enjoy the refreshing waters of the waterfall Queda do Vigário or, at the other end of the village, the river beach of Fonte Grande .

Faro - Algarve - Portugal

The city of Faro is the gateway for those visiting Algarve by plane, but it is often ignored by visitors who go directly to seaside resorts.

Located just 6 km from the airport, the historic centre of Faro will conquer you with its narrow and timeless streets and its beautiful cathedral from which you will have an incredible view of the Ria Formosa Natural Park.

The picturesque Old Town and medieval walls, the winding pedestrian streets, the attractive marina, the well-kept parks and squares, the museums and the churches are reason enough to visit Faro and discover this unknown city.

For more information about this city, read the article Top 16 of the places to visit in Faro .

50. Parque Natural da Ria Formosa

Parque Natural da Ria Formosa - Algarve - Portugal

Natural reserve since 1978 and natural park since 1987, Ria Formosa has a significant biodiversity that extends for more than 60 km and more than 18 000 ha in total. This place, formed mainly by islands, swamps and canals, offers a unique show in the world.

For more information on each island and how to get there, read the article Ria Formosa: come and visit the natural paradise of Algarve .

Tavira - Portugal - Algarve

Tavira is without a doubt the most picturesque city in Algarve . Of Roman origin, it was during the Moorish occupation that it gained importance and until the 17th century, when Portugal had to give up its possessions in North Africa.

When visiting Tavira, you will discover a city with 21 churches, an old Moorish quarter, the ruins of a castle with a beautiful view of the city, a bridge of Roman origin and alleys where you will enjoy to lose yourself.

52. Mértola

areas to visit in portugal

The beautiful town of Mértola is located in the Guadiana valley, in Alentejo, and just 20 km from the Spanish border and Algarve.

Mértola is a town with centuries of history, with traces dating back to the Neolithic period. During your visit, you will be able to see traces of Roman, Visigothic and Muslim times. For several centuries, it was an important river port and was the capital for some years, in the 11th century, of a small independent Islamic emirate, Taifa de Mértola.

Lose yourself in the beautiful alleys of the town to admire the view over the Guadiana river, visit the castle , the church Igreja Matriz de Mértola built in an old mosque and the town museum .

On the outskirts of Mértola, discover one of the most relevant waterfalls in southern Portugal, Pulo do Lobo , as well as the São Domingos mine , used until 1965 for copper extraction. There, you can go for a hike on the 14 km circular route of Rota do Mineiro to admire this place.

53. Castelo de Beja

areas to visit in portugal

Improved over the centuries, the Castle of Beja owes its origin to the Roman occupation. During your visit, walk along the ramparts and go to the keep to have a beautiful view of the city of Beja and its surroundings. Take the opportunity to discover the historic centre of Beja (cathedral, Évora gate, pillory), a city founded in 400 BC.

54. Viana do Alentejo

Viana do alentejo - Portugal

A town since the 14th century, Viana do Alentejo will take you to the deep and authentic Alentejo. You will discover a colourful town with white houses with yellow edges, a pentagonal castle with five cylindrical towers, several churches (the most beautiful is inside the castle), incredibly beautiful fountains and a sanctuary like few in Portugal ( Santuário de Nossa Senhora d’Aires ).

55. Cromeleque dos Almendres

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Located 17 km from the historic centre of Évora, the Cromeleque de Almendres is the most important megalithic complex in the entire Iberian Peninsula and one of the most important in Europe. Its construction took place between 6000 and 3000 BC.

Evora - Alentejo - Portugal

Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1986, Évora is also considered a “museum city” because of its monuments, some of which dating back to Roman times.

Évora lived several lives: Roman until the 5th century, belonged to the Visigoths until the 8th century, to the Moors for four centuries and, finally, to the Portuguese since 1165.

Click here to discover my visit to the sublime city of Évora and discover the places not to be missed.

57. Monsaraz

Monsaraz - Alentejo - Portugal

Located on the top of a hill, Monsaraz is one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal . Apart from admiring the splendid view over the valley and Lake Alqueva, one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe, you can also stroll through the picturesque streets lined with white houses.

Conquered by the Moors in the 8th century, later reconquered in 1232 by King Dom Sancho II, this town became definitively Portuguese in 1640, when it was fortified.

58. Castelo de Évora Monte

areas to visit in portugal

This castle dates from the Portuguese reconquest of Évora Monte from the Moors in 1160 and is one of the most unusual in Portugal.

Located at the top of the mountain range Serra de Ossa, in Alentejo, it presents a square shape with 4 circular towers at each end. Its Gothic style is mixed with elements of the Italian inspired Renaissance style.

59. Estremoz

areas to visit in portugal

Estremoz is undoubtedly one of the cities to visit in Alentejo, due to the old city that surrounds the castle. Its 28 metre high keep is one of the most beautiful in Portugal! This castle was built with marble extracted in large quantities in the region (Portugal is the second largest exporter of marble in the world).

In the old city, located inside the ramparts, visit the fortress (don’t forget to climb to the top to have a superb view of the surroundings), the castle that dates from the 12th century and where you can sleep ( Pousada do Castelo de Estremoz , affiliated link ), the chapel Capela de Santa Isabel , the church Igreja Matriz de Estremoz and the palace Paço do Concelho .

cidade-velha-estremoz-alentejo-portugal

In the “new city”, visit the Centro Ciência Viva de Estremoz , an interactive and educational museum located in a former convent.

Admire the beautiful façade of the church Igreja do Convento dos Congregados de Estremoz and that of the Águias d’Ouro café / restaurant .

60. Vila Viçosa

Vila Vicosa - Portugal

The princess of Alentejo became a museum town in 1910 with the proclamation of the First Republic and the end of the monarchy.

First Roman, then Muslim until 1217, Vila Viçosa became one of the most important towns in Portugal from 1461 onwards, with the arrival of the Dukes of Bragança, the most powerful noble family after the Royal House.

It is also known worldwide for its marble extracted from dozens of quarries in the region.

During your visit, make sure to go to the majestic palace Paço Ducal , former residence of the Dukes of Bragança, the Castle of Vila Viçosa , built in the 13th century, the sanctuary Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Conceição and the beautiful church Igreja de São João Evangelista .

areas to visit in portugal

Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Elvas is for me one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal . It was heavily fortified after 1640, during the restoration of the Portuguese independence, to protect itself from attacks from neighbouring Spain.

To withstand a long siege and supply the city with water, an aqueduct composed of 843 arches and 7 km long was built by the same architect who built the Torre de Belém in Lisbon.

To discover all the wonders of Elvas, read the article Discover Elvas, the biggest fortified city in Europe .

62. Coudelaria de Alter

coudelaria-de-alter-alentejo-portugal

The Alter Stud Farm, located very close to the town of Alter do Chão (hence the name), was founded in 1748 to develop the Lusitanian breed of horses. It is the oldest Portuguese stud farm and the oldest active stud farm in the world.

When you arrive at the stud farm, you can learn more about its history, visit the stables, the museum, take horseback riding lessons and see the daily tour of the mares that go to the pasture.

For visiting hours, prices and exact address, click here .

Marvao - Alentejo - Portugal

This small town is one of the postcards of Alentejo! Marvão is proudly high on the cliffs of the mountain range Serra do Sapoio, at an altitude of 860 metres. With a unique history and rare beauty, this place is on the list of candidates for UNESCO World Heritage .

During your visit, lose yourself in the narrow streets, protected by ramparts. Explore every corner and go to Marvão Castle . Here, you can admire the landscape that stretches for tens of kilometres and imagine what it would be like to live in this place hundreds of years ago.

Information: take the opportunity to discover one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Portugal, the Cathedral of Portalegre.

64. Castelo de Vide

Castelo de vide - Alentejo -Portugal

The beautiful town of Castelo de Vide is a jewel of the Alentejo, an incredible place where you will find traces of medieval times.

With centuries of history, this village has several points of interest that are worth your visit. Do not hesitate to spend some time walking through the narrow streets of the city and visiting these places:

  • Judiaria (old Jewish quarter)
  • São Roque Fort
  • Renaissance fortifications (17th century)

areas to visit in portugal

Located on the north bank of the Tagus river, the village of Belver is a very photogenic place. To fully enjoy Belver, leave your car on the river beach of Alamal and stroll along the wooden walkways placed by the river, over a 2 km stretch.

While hiking, take beautiful photographs of the river and the Belver Castle , built in the 13th century. Get back in your car, cross the Bridge of Belver and explore the village. Visit the castle, the soap museum ( Museu do Sabão ) and the Belver Museum of Tapestries ( Núcleo Museológico das Mantas e Tapeçarias de Belver ).

66. Historic Villages

Piodao - Historic Villages -Portugal

Visiting the historic villages means discovering a network of 12 villages dating back to medieval times , where part of Portugal’s history unfolded.

These villages are the result of the resettlement by the Portuguese of lands recovered from Muslims and to protect the borders with neighbouring Spain.

Aside from discovering part of the Portuguese history, when visiting these villages, you can admire an authentic Portugal, houses built with material from the region, often protected by a castle, and greet the elderly who live there!

If you don’t have time to visit the 12 villages, I recommend that you visit at least Monsanto, Sortelha, Marialva and Piódão .

For more information on these villages, read the article Discover the 12 historic villages of Portugal .

67. Penha Garcia

areas to visit in portugal

Located very close to the Spanish border, Penha Garcia has, like many villages and towns near the border, a castle built in the Middle Ages to protect the population from attacks by the kingdom of León (today Spain) in the east and Muslims in the south.

From the castle, you will have a beautiful view over the village that you should also visit, the dam on the Pônsul river, the water mills and the river beach (pool) of Pego.

68. Serra da Estrela

Serra da Estrela - Portugal

The Serra da Estrela Natural Park is the largest protected area in Portugal, with 101.000 hectares. When visiting the park, you can go hiking in the midst of incredible landscapes, discover the highest point in mainland Portugal with 1993 m (Torre) and ski on the only ski slope in Portugal.

Be sure to try the cheese Queijo da Serra and discover places like Sabugueiro, Linhares da Beira, Loriga , the cities of Covilhã and Guarda and natural wonders such as Lagoa Comprida, Covão dos Conchos and the Zêzere Glacier Valley .

Viseu - Portugal

Viseu is a city unknown to tourists (foreigners), but it has added value that few cities have in Portugal! It is not by chance that it was chosen as the best city to live in Portugal on several occasions.

Viseu is a city with origins that go back to the Iron Age. It was conquered by the Romans, after strong resistance from the Lusitanians (the ancestors of the Portuguese people).

After a few years under the control of the Visigoths, Viseu became part of the Muslim empire in the year 716.

The city became Christian again in 1058, with the victory of King Fernando I of Leão, and in 1123 Viseu became part of the Portucalense County. After this integration, the city was attacked several times by troops from Castile (Spain).

To protect the city, King Dom João I of Portugal built a defensive wall throughout the city, of which two of the original seven gates still remain (Porta do Soar and Porta dos Cavaleiros).

As you can see, Viseu has a rich history, but the city does not live only from its past, it was able to modernise and today offers an exceptional quality of life. It is no coincidence that the population went from 33.000 people in 1801 to more than 99.000 in 2011 (last census).

During your visit, admire the Cathedral of Viseu , the Porta do Soar and Porta dos Cavaleiros and enjoy the many works of urban art scattered throughout the city.

During your visit to Viseu, take the opportunity to walk or cycle in the Ecopista do Dão , located on the old Dão railway line (deactivated in 1988). You can discover 49 km (98 km round trip) of beautiful landscapes, old stations, tunnels, bridges, the Dão and Paiva rivers and a steam locomotive from 1885.

For more information about this city and the places to discover in the surroundings, read the article What to visit in Viseu, the best city to live in Portugal .

areas to visit in portugal

Close to several historic villages (Almeida, Castelo Rodrigo, Trancoso), Pinhel deserves a small detour to discover the historic part of the city located within the ramparts built in the Middle Ages (at the same time as the castle) to protect Portuguese borders from attacks by the Kingdom of León.

71. Castelo de Penedono

Castelo de Penedono - Portugal

This castle, located in the town of Penedono, is for me one of the most beautiful castles in Portugal! Even though it dates back to the 10th century, its current structure was built in the 14th century.

72. Freixo de Numão

areas to visit in portugal

Just 12 km from the Douro , Freixo de Numão is a parish in the municipality of Vila Nova de Foz Côa , surrounded by beautiful landscapes composed of vineyards, olive and almond trees.

During your visit, lose yourself in the alleys of the village where you’ll find a beautiful pillory, visit the Casa Grande Museum , located in a beautiful 18th century mansion (manor house), once inhabited by the region’s nobles.

You can admire many objects used in the local culture and economy (pastoralism, wine, olive oil, almonds) and a section dedicated to archaeology.

In the vicinity you can visit Castelo Velho , an archaeological site where the ruins of a fortified building from 3000 to 2000 BC are located and the archaeological site of Prazo , where you can admire the ruins of a Roman city.

areas to visit in portugal

73. Parque Arqueológico do Vale do Côa

Parque Arqueologico do Vale do Coa- Portugal

Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the prehistoric rock art site of the Côa river valley is the most important outdoor Paleolithic rock art site in all of Europe.

This exceptional place was almost submerged by the waters of a dam that was going to be built nearby. Decided in 1991, it was only in 1995 that the Portuguese government stopped its construction to save this historic treasure.

During your visit to the Vale do Côa Archaeological Park, start by going to the Côa Museum , inaugurated in 2010, to show in detail the rock art. In this modern building, which combines perfectly with the surrounding nature and offers stunning views of the Côa and Douro rivers, you can see the permanent exhibition and temporary exhibitions on this special art.

In addition to your visit to the Côa Museum, you can and should take a guided tour to discover one of the three rock art centres (website in Portuguese): Penascosa (departing from the village of Castelo Melhor), Ribeira de Piscos and Canada do Inferno (departing from the museum).

Information: in the Côa Museum building, there is the Côa Museu restaurant, where I suggest you have lunch or dinner while enjoying a superb view over the Douro and Côa valley.

74. Miradouro de Penedo Durão

Miradouro de Penedo Durao - Douro -  Portugal

For me this viewpoint is one of the most beautiful in the Douro Valley ! Here, you can enjoy the beautiful Portuguese and Spanish landscapes (on the other side of the river) of this beautiful valley, a dam and, without a doubt, you will have the opportunity to see many birds of prey (Egyptian vulture, golden eagle, peregrine falcon).

While in this region, take the opportunity to discover the town of Freixo de Espada à Cinta, located about 12 km from the viewpoint of Penedo Durão. There, explore the historic centre, in particular:

  • Tower Torre do Galo
  • Ramparts of the old castle
  • Church Igreja Matriz

75. Miradouro de Picote

areas to visit in portugal

The Picote viewpoint is another viewpoint that offers magnificent views over the Douro valley. It is located in the village of Picote, in the Douro International Natural Park , 18 km from Miranda do Douro, a city with 2 official languages: Portuguese and Mirandese .

76. Bragança

Braganca - Portugal

Founded in the 2nd century BC, Bragança is a city to visit during your stay in Portugal, especially for its beautiful citadel. There, you will find the church Igreja de Santa Maria , the Domus Municipalis built in the 12th century, which was used as a cistern and later as a city hall, the pillory , the beautiful castle of Bragrança , in addition to the Iberian Mask and Costume Museum ( Museu Ibérico da Máscara e do Traje ).

Outside the citadel, in the current city centre, visit the Abade de Baçal Museum , the church Igreja de São Vicente , then take the N217-1 road and stop at the Cidadela viewpoint to take beautiful photographs of the citadel of Bragança.

77. Parque Natural de Montesinho

Parque Natural de Montesinho - Portugal

The Montesinho Natural Park is one of my favourite places in Portugal due to its authenticity, beautiful landscapes and villages frozen in time .

With more than 75.000 hectares, the park is home to approximately 9000 inhabitants dispersed in 92 villages, of which one ( Rio de Onor ) is divided in two by the Spanish border.

In addition to Rio de Onor, visit the villages of Montesinho, Gondesende, Dine, Moimenta, Guadramil and the Biological Park of Vinhais , where you can admire around 23 breeds of animals, such as deer, wild boar, eagles, donkeys, etc.

78. Favaios

Favaios - Portugal

Favaios is a wine-growing village located in the Douro Wine Region (listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) that I invite you to visit when you come to this beautiful Portuguese region.

The village is known for its delicious muscat wine , a grape variety originally from Greece or Egypt, produced in Portugal on the Setúbal peninsula, south of Lisbon, and in Favaios.

During your visit, go to the Capela de Santa Bárbara viewpoint to have a beautiful view of the valley, visit the village centre surrounded by vineyards, the Museum of Bread and Wine (Núcleo Museológico de Favaios, Pão e Vinho) and also the Adega Cooperativa de Favaios .

There, you will discover how muscat wine is produced, where it is stored and you will also have the possibility to taste this delicious wine.

79. Miradouro do Ujo

Miradouro do Ujo - Portugal

From this viewpoint, you’ll have a breathtaking view over the Tua Valley and the river that will flow into the Douro river.

80. Miradouro Olhos do Tua

Miradouro Olhos do Tua - Portugal

On the south side of the Tua valley, this viewpoint also offers incredible views of the river and the valley. During your visit to this region, go to the Interpretation Centre of Tua Valley ( Centro de Interpretação do Vale do Tua ), located at the Tua train station, facing the Douro river.

Be sure to try the Calça Curta or Tua Mercearia, very popular restaurants amongst those who come here!

Pinhao - Douro - Portugal

In the centre of the Douro Wine Region, Pinhão is undoubtedly one of the most famous villages in the Douro Valley , due to its beautiful train station, with 24 tile panels representing Douro’s landscapes and scenes of the vintage.

Surrounded by vineyards, there are also wine estates where Port wine is produced and which you can visit to discover all the details of the production process of this amazing wine. Amongst other wine estates, I recommend you visit Quinta do Bomfim , Quinta do Seixo or Quinta das Carvalhas .

Do not leave Pinhão without taking a cruise on the Douro river in a traditional boat that used to transport wine to Porto. This cruise takes at least 1 hour and will introduce you to the most beautiful part of the Douro Valley from a different perspective.

The village is also surrounded by fabulous viewpoints, such as the Casal de Loivos viewpoint and the Torguiano de São Cristóvão do Douro viewpoint .

If you want to discover all the secrets of this magnificent valley, I invite you to read the article Itinerary to visit the Douro Valley and Porto in 7 days .

82. Miradouro de São Leonardo de Galafura

Miradouro de Sao Leonardo de Galafura - Douro - Portugal

Located about 20 km from Peso da Régua, the São Leonardo de Galafura viewpoint offers exceptional views . From here, you can admire the Douro river, terraced vineyards and the rest of the landscape – the characteristics of which make Douro Wine Region a World Heritage Site .

83. Palácio de Mateus

areas to visit in portugal

This magnificent 18th century palace , designed by Nicolau Nasoni, is characterised by the Baroque style and the surrounding beauty of its gardens, lakes, forests and vineyards. While visiting the Douro Valley don’t miss the opportunity to discover this national monument, as well as its winery and chapel.

Site:  www.casademateus.com

84. Estrada Nacional 2

Estrada Nacional 2 - Portugal

The 739 km long Estrada Nacional 2 is the longest Portuguese road and the only one in Europe that crosses a country along its entire length (there are only 3 in the world: Route 66 in the United States, Route 40 in Argentina and N2 in Portugal).

Its route starts in the city of Chaves, close to the Spanish border (northern Portugal) and crosses the countryside to Faro, capital of Algarve.

By following this route, you can discover many places mentioned in this article, see the different landscapes of northern and central Portugal, admire the plains of the Alentejo and go all the way to Algarve.

areas to visit in portugal

A millenary city, Lamego is located in the Douro Wine Region and has many monuments to visit when exploring this part of Portugal.

In the city centre, visit the beautiful cathedral Sé Catedral de Lamego , built in the 12th century, the Lamego Museum , the castle from which you will have a beautiful view of the city and the surrounding alleys.

Climb to the sanctuary Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios , built from 1750 to 1905 with characteristics of the Baroque and Rococo style. Drive there or go up the long and beautiful tile-decorated stairs that start in the city centre.

areas to visit in portugal

The village of Drave is one of the most isolated in the whole country . It is located at the bottom of a valley between several mountains 35 km from the city of Arouca.

Inhabited for many centuries, the village of Drave is now abandoned (the last inhabitant left in 2000) and to get there, you need to walk 4 km (2 hours) from the village of Regoufe .

To the south of the village, there is a forest dirt path that will take you a few metres from the village, but I do not recommend that you drive the 3 km of that path. Do this only if you have a jeep.

87. Miradouro Frecha da Mizarela

Miradouro-Frecha-da-Mizarela-Portugal

The Frecha da Mizarela viewpoint offers an incredible view of the 60 metre high waterfall with the same name. If you want to get close to the waterfall, you can take the PR7 walking route of approximately 9 km (6 hours).

You can also admire this waterfall and have a panoramic view of this beautiful part of Portugal if you climb to the top of the Arouca weather radar.

Miradouro-Frecha-da-Mizarela-Portugal-Radar-meteorologico-de-Arouca

88. Miradouro do Detrelo da Malhada

Miradouro-do-Detrelo-da-Malhada-Portugal

Located in the Arouca Geopark , like the previous viewpoint, the Detrelo da Malhada viewpoint  offers an amazing panoramic view of the Freita mountain range and the Arouca valley.

89. Passadiços do Paiva

Passadicos-do-Paiva-Arouca-Portugal

The Paiva Walkways are an 8 km walking path located 14 km from the city of Arouca. Most of the route is made on wooden walkways (hence the name of the route) in the valley that accompanies the Paiva river, a river that flows into Douro.

Passadicos-do-Paiva-Arouca-Portugal- Ponte 516

This walking route was inaugurated in June 2015 and has since become one of Portugal’s main attractions . In the first year, almost 8000 people visited this site every day.

To avoid the harmful effects of a very large number of people going there, the route is now limited to 3500 people per day and an entrance fee of at least 2 euros must be paid to be used to pay for the maintenance of the route.

On the way, you will find SOS terminals, 3 river beaches (one in the middle and the other two at the ends), a bar on each side and, of course, fabulous views.

The route is considered difficult, remember that if you cannot make the round trip (16 km), you will find taxis that will take you to the starting point for around € 15.

I invite you to visit the official website to obtain all the necessary information (GPS coordinates, map, timetables, purchase of tickets).

Information: in late 2020 or early 2021, the largest suspended pedestrian bridge in the world, 516 metres long and 175 metres above the Paiva river, will be inaugurated. Without a doubt, it will be a must-see attraction for years to come!

90. Igreja de São Martinho de Soalhães

At first glance, the church Igreja de São Martinho de Soalhães, located 20 km from Amarante and the Douro river, is nothing out of the ordinary, but don’t be fooled by appearances!

Built in the 12th century, in a Romanesque style, the interior of the church will impress you, especially if you like beautiful tiled decorations.

It can be visited by appointment or during the two weekly masses (17:30 on Saturdays and 21:15 on Sundays). For complete details about the church and to schedule a visit, visit the Rota do Românico website .

91. Amarante

Amarante - Portugal

At this beautiful city, I suggest you take some time to explore the historic centre, as it is full of must-see places:

  • São Gonçalo Church and Convent
  • São Gonçalo Bridge
  • Church of São Pedro
  • Church of São Domingos
  • City Museum of Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso

In addition to the places mentioned above, stroll through the alleys of the historic centre and take a walk along the Tâmega river; also enjoy the typical sweets of the region and enjoy a nice meal in one of the restaurants overlooking the river.

92. Parque Natural do Alvão

lamas-de-olo-parque-natural-do-alvao-portugal

Located near the city of Vila Real and the famous palace Palácio de Mateus , the Alvão Natural Park is one of the smallest Portuguese natural parks (72.2 km2), but also one of the most authentic!

When exploring this site, take the opportunity to visit the villages of Ermelo and Lamas de Olo (located 1000 metres above sea level), which maintains an atmosphere of peace and simplicity, with its small traditional granite houses covered with culm.

The most famous place in the park is the Fisgas do Ermelo waterfall , located 6 km from the village of Ermelo. To admire this natural beauty, head to the Fisgas do Ermelo viewpoint .

fisgas-do-ermelo-parque-natural-do-alvao-portugal

For those who like adventure and hiking, follow the 12 km circular route PR3 (4h30), which starts in the village of Ermelo and passes through the most beautiful places of the Olo river.

Departing from the natural park and to the next point, make a small detour and go to the sanctuary Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Graça in Mondim de Basto , more than 1000 metres above sea level, known for being one of the most difficult stages of the Volta a Portugal de Bicicleta (Portugal Bicycle Tour).

93. Guimarães

Guimaraes - Portugal

Known as the “ birthplace of the Portuguese nation “, Guimarães is a city full of history that will surely surprise you!

Here, in 1128, there were some of the main political and military events that led to the independence and the birth of a new nation: Portugal.

Guimarães is one of the most important historic cities in the country, and its historic centre, listed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is one of the most beautiful in the whole country!

To discover the wonders of this city, read the article Top 10 of the best places to visit in Guimarães .

Braga - Portugal

Braga was founded by the Romans over 2000 years ago, under the name Bracara Augusta. It is the oldest Portuguese city and one of the oldest Christian cities in the world .

Braga is known as the Portuguese Rome because of its many beautiful churches, but it hides other treasures that should not be missed, such as beautiful monuments, gastronomy, handicrafts, traditions and festivities.

During your visit to the third city of Portugal, do not miss the opportunity to explore the historic centre , the sanctuary Santuário Bom Jesus do Monte , listed in 2019 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the sanctuary Santuário do Sameiro .

For more information about Braga, read the article Top 20 of the best places to visit in Braga .

95. Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês

mata-da-albergaria-via-romana-geira-parque-nacional-da-peneda-geres-portugal

Created in 1971, the Peneda Gerês National Park is home to more than 100 granite villages that have changed little since the creation of Portugal in the 12th century.

Older villages remain isolated from modern life. Oxen are still taken through cobbled streets by women dressed in black, and shepherds still leave their herds grazing for long months.

In the most isolated areas of the park, you can still find wolves as well as wild boars, badgers, otters, deer and wild horses.

In addition to wild animals , you can also see domesticated species that are more easily observed, such as oxen with long horns, goats, sheep, as well as the rustic Castro Laboreiro, a sheepdog.

But you won’t find just villages frozen in time . When visiting the Peneda Gerês National Park, you can admire the magnificent landscapes , thanks to the many viewpoints, bathe in one of the many waterfalls , enjoy the different monuments with a long history of several centuries and you can even rest in a spa town!

If you like nature and authenticity, the Peneda-Gerês National Park is the place for you when you visit Portugal!

To discover the wonders and information necessary to visit this paradise, read the article Top of the best places to visit in the Peneda-Gerês National Park .

96. Sistelo

areas to visit in portugal

Very close to the Peneda-Gerês National Park, the village of Sistelo is one that you cannot miss during your visit to Portugal!

Located on the banks of the Vez river, at the bottom of the Peneda valley, the village has an exceptional landscape that was listed a national monument in 2017 by the President of the Portuguese Republic. This was the first landscape in Portugal to have this distinction (normally this title is only given to important monuments in the country).

There, you will have the opportunity to admire the terraced fields, known as the small Portuguese Tibet , where corn is produced, food for the livelihood of the inhabitants and grass for cows, which are the main source of income for the village (apart from tourism).

After admiring the landscapes from the Socalcos viewpoint , the granaries and the chapel Capela de Santo António, head to the centre of the village to see the castle of the viscount of Sistelo .

If you love hiking, know that Sistelo and its beautiful region have many walking routes. The best known is the Ecovia do Vez , that starts in the village and stretches along the Vez river for 32 km. A large part of the route is made on wooden walkways, which allow you to walk very close to the river.

There are several entrances along the way, so you can just hike part of the route. I suggest you do the part between the town of Arcos de Valdevez and Sistelo (20 km) or between the medieval bridge of Vilela and Sistelo (12 km). Finish your hike in the village to have the option of taking a taxi to get back to the starting point.

97. Branda da Aveleira

Branda da Aveleira -  Portugal

Right at the entrance to the Peneda-Gerês National Park, Branda da Aveleira is a small village that has been particularly inhabited for a long time, only 6 months a year.

In this mountainous region where it snows in winter, the inhabitants were forced to go down the valley to find food for the animals. They stayed there until spring in their second homes and then moved back to Branda da Aveleira, once the mountains were discovered again.

Information: the villages used in the summer are called “brandas” and those used in winter are called “inverneiras”.

During your visit, you can see the small granite houses, some of which have been restored for residential tourism where you can also sleep when you arrive in this authentic region of Portugal.

This village is just one example of the many villages used by the local population. Between Sistelo and Castro Laboreiro, in the Peneda-Gerês National Park, you will have the possibility to discover several.

98. Melgaço

areas to visit in portugal

Melgaço is one of the most beautiful towns located on the banks of the Minho river and on the Spanish border. It is well known in Portugal for its delicious Alvarinho green wine , but the village is not just that!

During your visit, lose yourself in the alleys of the beautiful historic centre located around the 12th century castle , built to defend the city and the border against attacks from the Kingdom of León.

After admiring the view from the fortress, visit the Museum of Cinema , the church Igreja Matriz de Melgaço and the church Igreja da Misericórdia , and don’t leave without tasting the region’s wine at Solar do Alvarinho .

When you leave Melgaço, stop at the thermal park of Peso , created in the 19th century, after discovering the therapeutic properties of its waters.

There, you will find a beautiful garden, the river Peso, a spa and the beautiful pavilion in Art Nouveau, where you can find the main source of the park.

99. Valença

areas to visit in portugal

40 km from Melgaço, on the banks of the Minho river and on the border with Spain, there is another city worth visiting in the Alto Minho region.

Valença, also known as Valença do Minho, has the third largest fortress in Portugal . Within the 5.5 km of ramparts built from the 13th century onwards, is the beautiful historic centre, with many churches, museums and, of course, many shops.

Information : the Portuguese route of the Way of St. James (Santiago de Compostela) leaves Portugal through the city of Valença.

If you like walking or cycling while discovering beautiful landscapes, know that the old 16 km trail that connected Valença to Monção was transformed into a bike path ( Ecopista do Minho ).

Along the route accessible to all, you can admire the region’s vineyards, fields, river, old stations and villages, such as Lapela and its beautiful keep, from where you will have an excellent view of the Minho river, the village and Spain.

100. Ponte de Lima

Ponte de Lima - Portugal

Founded in 1125 by Countess D. Teresa de Leão, mother of the first Portuguese king, Ponte de Lima is one of the oldest towns in Portugal and one of the most beautiful !

Fortified in the 14th century due to its strategic position, the medieval village was protected by ramparts with 9 towers and the entrance was made through one of the six gates.

In the 18th century, the town grew and a large part of the ramparts was destroyed. From this period, there is a gate, two towers, one of which served as a prison, but Ponte de Lima has retained its medieval charm and authenticity.

When visiting the north of Portugal, know that Ponte de Lima is a must-see for its history, beauty and incredible authenticity.

To discover the hidden gems of Ponte de Lima (my home town), read the article Top of the places to visit in Ponte de Lima .

Itinerary to visit the top 100 of the most beautiful places in Portugal

To help you prepare your itinerary, in this article I talked about the 100 places to visit in Portugal in the order I think it’s best.

The itinerary I present below is circular, which means that you can start in Viana do Castelo, as presented in this article, or in Porto, Lisbon or Faro, if you arrive in Portugal by plane or by one of the land borders.

areas to visit in portugal

To visit the 100 most beautiful places in Portugal, you need to travel just over 4300 km and a stay of at least 2 months.

If you cannot make a 2-month stay in Portugal all at once, you can divide this itinerary into several stays or create your own itinerary based on the number of days available and the places that interest you most.

In addition to this top 100, you can be inspired by other itineraries to visit Portugal for 2 to 15 days, which I created for you.

As you can imagine, in this article I did not present all the Portuguese beauties, but when visiting the 100 places mentioned above, you will discover more than 90% of the incredible places in Portugal (not to mention the Madeira archipelago and the Azores archipelago )!

Are you going to visit Portugal ? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room, your car or the best activities by clicking the links below . This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal . Thank you !

What will also interest you:

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  • Top 10 of the best beaches in Portugal
  • Things to do in Portugal in 15 days
  • Portugal in a new perspective: Portuguese customs and authenticity
  • Discover the 15 most beautiful villas in Portugal and plan your holidays!
  • Discover the 7 Wonders of Portugal
  • Best places to Stay in Portugal – discover amazing rooms and breathtaking views!
  • Discover the wonderful Portuguese festivities and pilgrimages
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  • Best golf courses in portugal – discover the world’s best golf destination!
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  • Discover the most beautiful cities in Portugal
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Daniela Santos Araújo

15 Best Places To Visit In Portugal (Besides Lisbon)

Are you looking for the best places to visit in Portugal? Search no further, as I’ve rounded up the top destinations to see in Portugal, whether you’re traveling by car, train, or bus. From Lisbon to Porto – not to mention Évora and Sintra – get ready to discover amazing, beautiful, and jaw-dropping sites!

Portugal is one of the best countries to visit in Europe and has destinations for all types of travelers. Whether you’re looking for a seaside city, a medieval town, a large cosmopolitan center, or a mountainous landscape, there’s no shortage of stunning and enchanting places to explore in Portugal!

So, do you want to know more about the 15 Best Places To Visit In Portugal (Besides Lisbon)? Keep reading!

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Please read my  disclosure & privacy policy  for more information.

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Best Places to Visit in Portugal

15. Douro Valley (Northern Portugal)

Best places to visit in portugal, 1. lisbon (lisbon metropolitan area).

Lisbon (in Portuguese, Lisboa) is, undoubtedly, one of the best places to visit in Portugal and one of the best cities to visit in Europe . Located in the south-central part of the country, the capital of Portugal and the Lisbon Metropolitan Area region (in Portuguese, Área Metropolitana de Lisboa) is a perfect destination for art lovers, cultural travelers, and collectors of UNESCO World Heritage Sites !

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Lisbon include:

  • Aqueduto das Águas Livres
  • Avenida da Liberdade
  • Castelo de São Jorge
  • Elevador de Santa Justa
  • Oceanário de Lisboa
  • MAAT – Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia
  • Miradouro das Portas do Sol
  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia
  • Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
  • Museu Arqueológico do Carmo
  • Museu Calouste Gulbenkian
  • Museu Coleção Berardo
  • Museu Nacional de Arqueologia
  • Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
  • Museu Nacional do Azulejo
  • Museu Nacional dos Coches
  • Padrão dos Descobrimentos
  • Palácio Nacional da Ajuda
  • Panteão Nacional
  • Parque das Nações
  • Parque Eduardo VII
  • Pastéis de Belém
  • Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Centro Ciência Viva
  • Praça do Comércio (Terreiro do Paço)
  • Praça D. Pedro IV (Rossio)
  • Rua Augusta
  • Sé de Lisboa
  • Time Out Market Lisboa
  • Torre de Belém

2. Porto (Northern Portugal)

Porto is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, besides Lisbon, and one of the best cities to visit in Europe . Situated in northern Portugal, the capital of the North Region (in Portuguese, Região do Norte or Região Norte) is a perfect destination for architecture lovers, food enthusiasts, and collectors of UNESCO World Heritage Sites !

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Porto include:

  • Avenida dos Aliados
  • Cais da Ribeira
  • Capela das Almas (Capela de Santa Catarina)
  • Casa da Música
  • Estação de São Bento
  • Fundação de Serralves – Casa de Serralves, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Parque de Serralves
  • Igreja de São Francisco
  • Igreja do Carmo
  • Igreja e Torre dos Clérigos
  • Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
  • Livraria Lello
  • Mercado do Bolhão
  • Mercado do Bom Sucesso
  • Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar
  • Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis
  • Paço Episcopal do Porto
  • Palácio da Bolsa
  • Ponto D. Maria Pia
  • Ponte Luís I
  • Sé do Porto

3. Évora (Alentejo)

Évora is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, other than Lisbon. Located in southern Portugal, the capital of the Alentejo Region or Alentejo is a perfect destination for archaeology lovers, cultural travelers, and collectors of UNESCO World Heritage Sites !

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Évora include:

  • Aqueduto da Água de Prata
  • Capela dos Ossos de Évora
  • Cromeleque dos Almendres
  • Museu Nacional Frei Manuel do Cenáculo
  • Palácio de D. Manuel I
  • Palácio Duques de Cadaval
  • Praça do Giraldo
  • Sé Catedral de Évora
  • Templo Romano de Évora (Templo de Diana)

4. Sintra (Lisbon Metropolitan Area)

Sintra is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, besides Lisbon. Situated in the south-central part of Portugal, the town in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area region (in Portuguese, Área Metropolitana de Lisboa) is a perfect destination for architecture lovers, cultural travelers, and collectors of UNESCO World Heritage Sites !

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Sintra include:

  • Câmara Municipal de Sintra
  • Capela de São Lázaro
  • Cascata de Pisões
  • Castelo dos Mouros
  • Chalet da Condessa d’Edla
  • Convento dos Capuchos
  • Fonte da Sabuga
  • Fonte dos Pisões
  • Fonte Mourisca
  • Igreja de Santa Maria
  • Igreja Paroquial de São Pedro de Penaferrim
  • Miradouro da Vigia
  • Museu Anjos Teixeira
  • Museu de História Natural de Sintra
  • Palácio Biester
  • Palácio de Monserrate
  • Palácio de Seteais
  • Palácio Nacional da Pena
  • Palácio Nacional de Queluz
  • Palácio Nacional de Sintra
  • Parque da Liberdade
  • Penedo da Amizade
  • Quinta da Regaleira
  • Vila Sassetti

Read my complete guide to Sintra , one of the best places to visit in Portugal!

5. Aveiro (Central Portugal)

Aveiro is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, other than Lisbon. Located in the north-central part of Portugal, the city in the Central Region (in Portuguese, Região do Centro or Região Centro) is a perfect destination for architecture lovers, fish and seafood enthusiasts, and cultural travelers!

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Aveiro include:

  • Biblioteca da Universidade de Aveiro
  • Cais dos Moliceiros
  • Capela de São Gonçalinho
  • Escadaria “I Love Aveiro”
  • Fábrica Centro Ciência Viva de Aveiro
  • Farol da Barra
  • Jardim do Rossio
  • Monumento aos Ovos Moles de Aveiro
  • Museu de Arte Nova
  • Museu de Aveiro
  • Parque Infante D. Pedro (Parque da Macaca)
  • Ponte Laços de Amizade (Ponte dos Namorados)
  • Praia da Barra
  • Praia da Costa Nova
  • Sé de Aveiro

6. Braga (Northern Portugal)

Braga is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, besides Lisbon. Situated in northern Portugal, the city in the North Region (in Portuguese, Região do Norte or Região Norte) is a perfect destination for archaeology lovers, food enthusiasts, and collectors of UNESCO World Heritage Sites !

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Braga include:

  • Antigo Paço Arquiepiscopal
  • Arco da Porta Nova
  • Avenida Central
  • Fonte do Ídolo
  • Igreja de Santa Cruz
  • Igreja e Convento do Pópulo
  • Jardim de Santa Bárbara
  • Mosteiro de São Martinho de Tibães
  • Museu de Arqueologia D. Diogo de Sousa
  • Museu dos Biscainhos
  • Museu Nogueira da Silva
  • Palácio do Raio
  • Praça da República
  • Rua do Souto
  • Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Sameiro
  • Santuário do Bom Jesus do Monte
  • Sé de Braga – Tesouro-Museu da Sé de Braga
  • Termas Romanas do Alto da Cividade
  • Torre de Menagem

7. Coimbra (Central Portugal)

Coimbra is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, other than Lisbon. Located in central Portugal, the capital of the Central Region (in Portuguese, Região do Centro or Região Centro) is a perfect destination for beach lovers, fish and seafood enthusiasts, and collectors of UNESCO World Heritage Sites !

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Coimbra include:

  • Aqueduto de São Sebastião
  • Convento de São Francisco
  • Igreja de São Tiago
  • Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra
  • Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Nova
  • Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha
  • Mosteiro de Santa Cruz
  • Museu Nacional Machado de Castro
  • Portugal dos Pequenitos
  • Praxis – Museu da Cerveja de Coimbra
  • Quinta das Lágrimas
  • Ruínas de Conímbriga
  • Sé Nova de Coimbra
  • Sé Velha de Coimbra
  • Universidade de Coimbra – Biblioteca Joanina, Paço das Escolas

8. Funchal (Madeira)

Funchal is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, besides Lisbon. Situated in the Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Portugal, the capital of the Madeira island and autonomous region (in Portuguese, Região Autónoma da Madeira) is a perfect destination for beach lovers, fish and seafood enthusiasts, and collectors of UNESCO World Heritage Sites !

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Funchal include:

  • Blandy’s Wine Lodge
  • Complexo Balnear do Lido
  • Fortaleza de São Tiago
  • Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte
  • Jardim Botânico da Madeira – Engenheiro Rui Vieira
  • Jardim Monte Palace Madeira
  • Mercado dos Lavradores
  • Museu de Arte Sacra do Funchal
  • Museu Militar da Madeira
  • Museu Quinta das Cruzes
  • Parque de Santa Catarina
  • Praia Formosa
  • Sé Catedral do Funchal
  • Teleférico Funchal-Monte

9. Ponta Delgada (Azores)

Ponta Delgada is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, other than Lisbon Located in the Atlantic Ocean, west of Portugal, the capital of the São Miguel island and the Autonomous Region of the Azores (in Portuguese, Região Autónoma dos Açores) is a perfect destination for nature lovers, food enthusiasts, and cultural travelers!

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Ponta Delgada include:

  • Centro de Interpretação da Cultura do Ananás
  • Farol de Santa Clara
  • Forte de São Brás – Museu Militar dos Açores
  • Gruta do Carvão
  • Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião
  • Jardim Botânico António Borges
  • Jardim Botânico José do Canto
  • Mercado da Graça
  • Museu Carlos Machado
  • Portas da Cidade

10. Faro (Algarve)

Faro is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, besides Lisbon. Situated in southern Portugal, the capital of the Algarve region is a perfect destination for beach lovers, fish and seafood enthusiasts, and cultural travelers!

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Faro include:

  • Arco da Vila
  • Capela dos Ossos de Faro
  • Centro Ciência Viva do Algarve
  • Doca de Faro
  • Ermida de Santo António do Alto
  • Igreja da Ordem Terceira de Nossa Senhora do Monte do Carmo
  • Museu Municipal de Faro
  • Parque Natural da Ria Formosa – Ilha da Barreta, Ilha da Culatra (Ilha do Farol), Ilha Deserta, Ilha de Tavira
  • Parque Ribeirinho de Faro
  • Sé de Faro (Igreja de Santa Maria)

11. Óbidos (Central Portugal)

Óbidos is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, other than Lisbon. Located in central Portugal, the town in the Central Region (in Portuguese, Região do Centro or Região Centro) is a perfect destination for architecture lovers, food enthusiasts, and cultural travelers!

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Óbidos include:

  • Aqueduto de Óbidos (Aqueduto da Usseira)
  • Castelo de Óbidos
  • Chafariz da Vila
  • Igreja da Misericórdia
  • Lagoa de Óbidos
  • Muralhas de Óbidos
  • Museu Municipal de Óbidos
  • Museu Paroquial de Óbidos
  • Parque Cinegético de Óbidos
  • Porta da Vila
  • Porta do Vale (Porta da Senhora da Graça)
  • Rua Direita
  • Santuário do Senhor Jesus da Pedra

Read my complete guide to Óbidos , one of the best places to visit in Portugal!

12. Guimarães (Northern Portugal)

Guimarães is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, besides Lisbon. Situated in northern Portugal, the city in the North Region (in Portuguese, Região do Norte or Região Norte) is a perfect destination for architecture lovers, cultural travelers, and collectors of UNESCO World Heritage Sites !

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Guimarães include:

  • Campo de São Mamede
  • Capela de São Miguel do Castelo
  • Castelo de Guimarães
  • Estátua da Condessa Mumadona Dias
  • Estátua de D. Afonso Henriques
  • Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolação e Santos Passos
  • Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo
  • Largo do Toural
  • Muralhas de Guimarães – “Aqui Nasceu Portugal”
  • Museu de Alberto Sampaio
  • Paço dos Duques de Bragança
  • Praça da Oliveira – Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, Padrão do Salado
  • Praça de São Tiago
  • Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Carmo da Penha
  • Teleférico de Guimarães

13. Serra da Estrela (Central Portugal)

Serra da Estrela is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, other than Lisbon. Located in central Portugal, the famous natural park in the Central Region (in Portuguese, Região do Centro or Região Centro) is a perfect destination for nature lovers, food enthusiasts, and cultural travelers!

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Serra da Estrela include:

  • Celorico da Beira – Castelo de Celorico da Beira, Igreja da Misericórdia, Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria, Museu do Agricultor e do Queijo, Solar do Queijo da Serra da Estrela
  • Covilhã – Igreja da Misericórdia, Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria Maior, Museu da Covilhã, Museu de Arte Sacra, Pelourinho da Covilhã
  • Gouveia – Capela de São Miguel, Igreja Matriz de São Pedro, Museu da Miniatura Automóvel, Museu Municipal de Arte Moderna Abel Manta, Praça Doutor Alípio de Melo
  • Guarda – Museu da Guarda, Porta d’El-Rei, Sé da Guarda, Torre de Menagem, Torre dos Ferreiros
  • Manteigas – Capela de Santa Luzia, Capela do Senhor do Calvário, Igreja de São Pedro, Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria, Praça Luís de Camões
  • Seia – Centro de Interpretação da Serra da Estrela (CISE), Centro Interpretativo de Seia e seu Centro Histórico, Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, Museu do Brinquedo, Museu do Pão

14. Lagos (Algarve)

Lagos is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, besides Lisbon. Situated in southern Portugal, the city of the Algarve region is a perfect destination for beach lovers, fish and seafood enthusiasts, and cultural travelers!

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in Lagos include:

  • Castelo de Lagos
  • Forte da Ponta da Bandeira
  • Igreja de Santo António
  • Igreja Paroquial de Santa Maria
  • Mercado Municipal de Lagos
  • Muralhas de Lagos
  • Ponta da Piedade – Farol da Ponta da Piedade
  • Ponte Romana de Lagos
  • Porta de São Gonçalo
  • Praia de Dona Ana
  • Praia de São Roque
  • Praia do Camilo
  • Praia do Pinhão
  • Praia dos Estudantes

The Douro Valley (in Portuguese, Vale do Douro) is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, other than Lisbon. Located in the north and northeast of Portugal, the famous valley of the North Region (in Portuguese, Região do Norte or Região Norte) is a perfect destination for nature lovers, wine enthusiasts, and collectors of UNESCO World Heritage Sites !

areas to visit in portugal

The best things to do in the Douro Valley include:

  • Alijó – Estação Ferroviária do Pinhão, Igreja de Santa Maria Maior, Miradouro Casal de Loivos, Ponte do Pinhão, Quinta do Bomfim
  • Armamar – Capela de Santa Bárbara, Igreja Matriz de São Miguel, Miradouro da Fraga da Ola, Miradouro da Misarela, Miradouro de São Domingos
  • Carrazeda de Ansiães – Castelo de Ansiães, Igreja Matriz de Santa Águeda, Miradouro Rota do Douro, Museu da Memória Real, Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Graça
  • Lamego – Castelo de Lamego, Museu de Lamego, Quinta da Pacheca, Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, Sé de Lamego
  • Mesão Frio – Igreja de São Martinho, Igreja Matriz de São Nicolau, Miradouro do Imaginário, Museu do Triciclo, Parque Fluvial do Rio Teixeira
  • Murça – Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria, Mosteiro de São Bento, Passadiços do Tinhela, Ponte Romana, Porca de Murça
  • Peso da Régua – Igreja Matriz de São Faustino, Miradouro São Leonardo de Galafura, Museu do Douro, Ponte Metálica de Peso da Régua (Ponte Pedonal de Peso da Régua), Quinta do Vallado
  • Sabrosa – Castro de Sabrosa, Espaço Miguel Torga, Igreja Matriz de São Salvador, Quinta de La Rosa, Quinta do Crasto
  • Santa Marta de Penaguião – Capela de Santa Marta de Penaguião, Miradouro de São Pedro de Lobrigos, Miradouro do Fial, Museu das Caves de Santa Marta de Penaguião, Pelourinho de Santa Marta de Penaguião
  • São João da Pesqueira – Igreja Matriz de São João Batista, Miradouro de São Salvador do Mundo, Miradouro de Vargelas, Museu do Vinho de São João da Pesqueira, Museu Eduardo Tavares
  • Tabuaço – Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, Miradouro “Alto da Escrita”, Miradouro do Fradinho, Museu do Imaginário Duriense (MIDU), Quinta do Seixo
  • Torre de Moncorvo – Basílica Menor de Torre de Moncorvo, Castelo de Torre de Moncorvo, Ecopista do Sabor, Igreja da Misericórdia, Museu do Ferro e da Região de Moncorvo
  • Vila Nova de Foz Côa – Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora do Pranto, Miradouro de Santa Bárbra, Miradouro do Caminho da Costa, Parque Arqueológico do Vale do Côa, Parque de Santo António
  • Vila Real – Casa de Mateus, Museu da Vila Velha, Museu de Arqueologia e Numismática, Passadiços do Corgo, Sé de Vila Real

Map of the Best Places to Visit in Portugal

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The Best Destinations to Visit in Portugal

Dont miss the Atlantic-shouldered shores of Sintra

Despite its boundless popularity, Portugal continues to be one of the best-value destinations in Europe. It has it all – a rich history, innovative art, stunning views and friendly, laid-back locals. Visiting has also become easier since TAP Portugal, the country’s main airline, has increased its stopover programme to five days. But which part of the country is right for you? Well, here’s our guide to the best destinations to visit in Portugal.

A Tale of Two Cities: Exploring Northern Portugal – From Porto to Lisbon , our nine-day trip whisks you off to Douro Valley vineyards, secret beaches and Jurassic-age headlands.

1. Lagos, for a charming getaway in the Algarve

Natural Feature

A woman walking down a street along the whitewashed buildings of Lagos

Framed by twin crescents of golden sand and set behind a cape of caramel-coloured cliffs, Lagos is quintessentially Algarve. But unlike many of the region’s towns it hasn’t lost its original charm. The old centre, which clusters around the boat-bobbing Bensafrim river, is filled with 18th-century townhouses and Baroque churches (rather than concrete condos), and the bars and restaurants that fill the higgledy-piggledy alleys behind the medieval castle still feel as local as they do touristy.

2. Albufeira, for spectacular beaches

Turquoise-green clear water and a hidden sandy beach among the golden cliffs near Albufeira in Portugal

Twin bays separated by sea-arches, coves cut from crumbling cliffs, golden swathes of sand that seem to stretch for eternity, it’s no surprise that Albufeira draws the hordes. They cram the beaches and golf courses in high summer, but come in spring (when the surrounding hills bloom with wildflowers), or autumn (when the sea is still warm), and the whitewashed, Moorish village at its heart is as quiet as birdsong.

people cheering on a mountain

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4. Funchal, for the best of Madeira

Colourful plants around a pond in the Funchal Botanical Gardens, with views over the city of Funchal, Madeira

The narrow streets and leafy squares of Madeira’s capital clamber up a hill from the sparkling Atlantic. There are wonderful views at every turn, especially from the sub-tropical Monte Palace gardens and the hulking fortress that crowns the city. Columbus and Cristiano Ronaldo (who has his own museum) are former residents, and the city bursts with historical sights – the cathedral and Colégio church (with magnificent gilt interiors), opulent Quinta das Cruzes mansion and the bustling art deco Lavradores market.

5. Évora, for Roman history

The columns and stone ruins of the Temple of Diana in Evora, Portugal

The capital city of Portugal’s sweltering Alentejo rises up a hill – in whitewash and terracotta – to a magnificent ruined Roman temple. Ancient aqueducts bridge crumbling Moorish walls, narrow alleys ring with the peal of bells from an array of ancient churches (including St Francis, with its grisly chapel of human bones) and the city makes the perfect access point for the stone circles, vineyards and castle villages which litter Portugal’s forgotten interior.

6. Madeirã, for exotic island life

White houses with terracotta rooftops in a mountain village on the hillside of Madeira, Portugal.

Exotic flowers, balmy climate and, OK, quite a hair-raising approach by plane: there’s something special about Portugal’s subtropical island offcut, 1078km (670mi) southeast of the mainland in the Atlantic Ocean. Traditionally a winter retreat for older people seeking sunshine, it’s grown into the trendiest of Portuguese destinations – the capital, Funchal, offers one of the best New Year’s Eve parties in the world. Make sure to take the ferry to nearby Porto Santo Island, where you’ll find one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in Portugal. A visit at any time of year is worth your while.

7. Porto, for foodies and port lovers

Historical Landmark

The city skyline of Porto at night, lit up across the river

Don’t miss Portugal’s second city. Like the capital, Porto unfurls beside a major river and possesses its own old, colourful townscape. Love azulejo tiles? You’ll adore nosing around São Bento station, where walls are gleamingly surfaced with these beautiful ceramics, as far as the eye can see. The pleasure of Porto is its digestibility – a long weekend is easily enough time to saunter about its gardens, medieval palaces and cathedrals before thoughts turn to dinner. The cuisine is widely held to be the best in the country, and even the simple francesinha – a ham and steak sandwich baked with cheese – is ambrosial. With Culture Trip, you can enjoy a culinary walking tour of Porto on our specially curated nine-day Portugal adventure . Visited not least for its celebrated port, Porto is also your gateway to the Douro Valley, where vineyards race away in braided expanses, to the horizons and beyond.

8. Lisbon, for chic neighbourhoods and top attractions

Colourful buildings in the Alfama district lit up at twilight in Lisbon, Portugal

It’s for good reason the capital sits at the top of a zillion must-visit lists: it is a seduction of the senses, whether you’re loving the custardy sweetness of pasteis de nata , the savoury salt-fish zing of bacalhau , or the beauty of the calçadas (traditional mosaic walkways). Lisbon remains one of the most affordable, tranquil capitals in Europe. By day, it draws you up steep and winding alleyways to phenomenal lookout points. By night, mouthwatering aromas and wistful, melodic vocals (known as fado ) drift from intimate restaurants lining the cobbled labyrinths. In trendy Chiado, discover the oldest bookshop in the world. And in boho-chic Bairro Alto, prepare to down a few crisp, cold Sagres beers as the neighbourhood becomes livelier with each passing hour.

9. Ericeira, for the best surfing

Waves crashing into the shore and the Atlantic coastline of Foz do Lizandro between Ericeira and Cabo da Roca

Surfing is as good as a religion in Portugal, and the little fishing village of Ericeira has acquired a near spiritual status among incurable wave-riders. North of Lisbon, it’s no trouble to get to – you can be there by bus in barely more than an hour, for a smattering of Euros – and while it’s not the closest beach town to the capital, it is certainly one of the busiest. If surfing isn’t how you roll, that’s not a problem: in Ericeira it has evolved into something of a spectator sport these days, with eager crowds admiring the athletic antics. Ericeira’s restaurants major in fresh, delicious seafood . Pick your table, load up on sardines and octopus salad and graze away the days until late-night escapades in Lisbon beckon you back.

10. Algarve, for a warm weather escape

Fishing boats on beach in Carvoeiro village, with colourful buildings in the background in the Algarve

The Algarve is one of the best places to go if you like your weather warm, your hiking adventurous and your beaches trendy. Portugal’s southernmost region is a postcard of whitewashed settlements, manicured golf courses and expensive, expansive resorts. Sure it’s touristy, but it’s also a place of escape, with tiny fishing villages and coves where jewel-bright waters are cradled by dramatic cliffs. Whether you like it or not, everyone speaks English – handy if you need directions and can’t muster a word of Portuguese. After all, the Algarve has long been synonymous with retired Brits abroad, hence the air-brushed feel around such places as Albufeira and Vilamoura. Don’t lose heart if you want to break away from the tourist crowds : there is much still relatively undiscovered, and tranquil towns include Sagres, Tavira and Aljezur, to name but a few.

11. Alentejo, for bone churches and top wine tasting

Cathedral, Museum, Natural Feature

Spacious interior with bone-laid walls and frescoes on the ceiling in the Chapel of Bones in Evora, Alentejo, in Portugal

12. Sintra, for the best castles in the country

Botanical Garden, Building, Ruins, Natural Feature

The brightly coloured Pena Palace, with turrets and towers, in Sintra, Portugal

Poking up in the foothills of the eponymous mountain range, Sintra appears almost cartoonish at first sight, with its vividly coloured walls, its bottle-green gardens and its Disney-like crenelated castles. No wonder kids love it – and so many people day-trip out from Lisbon, 30km (19mi) or so to the southeast. You’ll need to stay overnight to take it all in, and you won’t regret investing 48 hours – or even more – in a hotel sojourn. From the romantic 19th-century Pena Palace to the medieval Castle of the Moors, this is a destination with all the fairytale appeal of Camelot or Westeros. So it comes as no surprise to learn that Hans Christian Andersen once lived in a house in the woods of Sintra. You may well stumble upon it as you bowl back downhill from the palatial sights.

13. Óbidos, for a picture-perfect visit

Terracotta rooftops and a view of the castle and stone walls in Obidos, Portugal

14. Serra da Estrela, for outdoorsy nature lovers

A cluster of buildings in the mountainous village Piodao in Serra da Estrela, Portugal, surrounded by greenery and trees

Portugal isn’t all beaches, which brings us to Serra da Estrela, home to the highest mountain peak in continental Portugal (the highest being in Pico Island, the Azores). North of Lisbon, sharing its latitude with the Spanish capital, Madrid, it’s not the simplest destination to get to, but believe us, a visit more than repays the effort. This is Portugal for nature lovers and winter-sports enthusiasts: the remote mountain range of Serra da Estrela has plenty to see and do, and is a magnet for skiers in winter. Sparsely speckled with tiny villages, including one of the seven wonders of Portugal , the mountain feels deliciously remote, with the natural world the obvious attraction. But epicureans won’t be left in the lurch: the local homemade honey and creamy, pungent cheese are memorably delicious.

15. Coimbra, for the academics and library fans

The ornate entrance and clock tower in the university, Torre da Universidade de Coimbra, in Coimbra

In the very heart of Portugal is a city that attracts more visitors than most of the others put together. The reason? Coimbra is home to a significant number of Roman and medieval ruins and has further historical pedigree, having once served as the capital of the country. Among the most visited tourist attractions is the University , which is one of the oldest continually operating, degree-seeking institutions in the world. But Coimbra’s greatest claim to fame is its library; the Baroque-styled Biblioteca Joanina has been listed numerous times as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

16. São Miguel, for stunning natural scenery

Volcanic hot springs, each surrounded with a ring of rocks, letting off steam in Furnas

Nearly halfway between the American and Portuguese coasts is the Azorean archipelago, each island as deserving of your holiday time as the next. The largest, São Miguel , is the easiest to reach by air, and is a wonderful rolling green oasis with plenty to absorb you for a few days. This is a thoroughly Azorean experience, helped by hiking trails, waterfalls and beautiful twin lakes called Lagoa das Sete Cidades. An absolute must-visit is the small village of Furnas: as the last word in volcanic power, here you’ll discover the natural, mineral-rich hot springs and calderas in the ground.

17. Monsanto, for a mountainous retreat

The pretty buildings and terracotta rooftops of Monsanto nestled into the mountains

Here’s one for wannabe time travellers: Monsanto, near the Spanish border, has been known nationally as the most Portuguese village in Portugal since 1938, when the title was voted in. Occupying some challenging terrain, it derives its name from the 750m-high (2461ft) mountain about which it clusters, Mons Sanctus, and its fame stems from its unique looks. Like something from a children’s storybook, it was built to accommodate gigantic boulders already lying around, and its little granite homes appear in places to be almost squashed by them. Come to savour the atmosphere of an earlier century or era, wandering alleys barely wide enough for donkeys, let alone cars, and pass through little squares where elderly people chatter.

18. Peneda-Gerês National Park, for forest camping

Park, Natural Feature, Forest

Forest and greenery in Peneda-Geres National Park, looking down to a large body of water at the bottom of the mountainous valley

19. Guimarães, for royal Portuguese history

Church, Museum, Natural Feature, Historical Landmark

Tables and chairs under umbrellas on a pretty cobblestone street with historic buildings in Guimaraes, Portugal

20. Braga, for a vibrant and youthful city break

Building, Church, Monastery, Ruins, Natural Feature

Blurry people walking down Rua do Souto, a traditional shopping street, in the evening in Braga, Portugal

Still not sure what to do in Portugal? Read our guide to the most stunning seaside towns , or – if history is more your thing – see our rundown of the most beautiful castles . And if you need somewhere to stay, let Culture Trip be your guide. We’ve unearthed the top places to stay in Portugal, from the best boutique hotels in Lisbon (don’t forget to try pastéis de nata while you’re there) to the most incredible hotels in the Alentejo wine region .

Alex Robinson contributed additional reporting to this article.

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Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled

Top 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Portugal

One of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe, visitors flock to Portugal for affordable food and wine, ancient history and architecture, and of course, its famously beautiful beaches.

Portugal is also entering a new era of cool and I’m personally a big fan of the country! From my many trips, here are my favourite spots I’d love to share with you…

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  We can book your trip to stay in Portugal ’s beautiful places through our top-rated travel planning service !

1. Praia da Marinha

Praia da Marinha - most beautiful beach in Portugal

There are many beautiful beaches in Portugal but I think this place is famous for a reason! However because of its proximity to the crowded Algarve region, many dismiss the gorgeous beach at Praia da Marinha.

Located on the Atlantic coast in Caramujeira, Lagoa Municipality, Algarve it’s one of the top attractions in Portugal and is considered by many to be the best beach in Portugal and is classed as one of the Top 100 beaches of the world .

Honestly, though, it really is a seriously spectacular stretch of sand, ideal for snorkelling, and the striking rocky cliff faces set it apart from other beautiful Mediterranean beaches.

My must-do highlights

  • Explore the incredible and unique rock formations , cliffs , caves, and rock pools .
  • Go snorkelling – the water quality and clarity here is exceptional and many different species of marine life can be spotted. Snorkelling equipment can be hired or alternatively, you can go diving .
  • Explore the coastline , caves, and grottoes and even go dolphin-spotting by boat or for a unique trip charter a luxury boat, or even a pirate ship ! 
  • Swim , sunbathe or just soak up the rays – summer temperatures reach 35°C in the Algarve but with a cooling sea breeze to keep things bearable!

A video showing the beauty of Praia da Marinha in 4k 

YouTube video

Lisbon - the most beautiful places to visit in Portugal

Being the capital of Portugal, Lisbon is an obvious place to start. It receives around half the fuss of other European capitals, but I honestly think it can easily equal them in beauty and charm! A lot of its appeal probably lies in its deep-rooted history, coming second only to Athens in the oldest European capital stakes.

The Portuguese City is a beautiful mix of old and new, and alongside the city’s endearing old-fashioned qualities, I love that there is also plenty to please the boutique crowds.

Visit the Gothic cathedrals, historic cafes, vintage trams, and the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets, and don’t forget the vibrant alfresco coffee bars and fabulous restaurants.

The city is built on a series of hills, meaning that everywhere you venture within Lisbon you are practically guaranteed to have a gorgeous view.

  • Explore the delightful maze of narrow cobbled streets and ancient houses of Alfama (one of Lisbon’s oldest areas) which are lined with shops selling traditional crafts and cafes .
  • Explore the magnificent Mosteiro dos Jeronimos dating from 1502 a masterpiece of Manueline and Gothic architecture .
  • Wander the steep cobbled streets of bohemian Bairro Alto .
  • Take in the incredible panoramic views of Libson at the highest point in the city – Miradouro da Senhora do Monte .
  • Taste a custard tart at Manteigaria , where many of the locals admit this is where the best custard tarts in Lisbon are made.

Cascais - one of the best places to visit in Portugal

Once a sleepy little fishing village, Cascais is now a chic coastal resort (just west of Lisbon) and one of my personal favourite holiday spots in the country.

Famed for its glorious beaches, sophisticated nightlife, water sports, and adventure pursuits the area has an elegant cosmopolitan, quality that is hard to beat.

It’s also eternally popular with artisans, writers, and artists, due to its exquisite scenery, it boasts a remarkable selection of art, proudly displayed in The Conde de Castro Guimares Museum. Another of the town’s attractions is the smart new marina filled with yachts that shimmer and glisten in the bright sunshine.

  • Take a wander around Centro Historico de Cascais which is filled with wonderful architecture , shops , eateries, and a lovely atmosphere .
  • Discover Boca do Inferno a striking chasm located in the seaside cliffs close to the city.
  • Laze around on Praia do Tamariz a wonderful beach with soft golden sand.
  • Visit the cosmopolitan Caiscia Marina where yachts and boats gently bob.

4. The Algarve Region

The Algarve Beach - where to go in Portugal

Yes it’s developed and touristy but it’s also popular for a reason! 

Not only is the weather mild here all year round but when you come to the Algarve you are going to be treated to the most stunning golden beaches stretching as far as the eye can see. It also offers some of the best golf in the country!

My must-do highlights 

  • Relax on one of the region’s wonderful beaches – Praia da Marinha Falesia Beach, Praia Da Cordoama, Odeceixe Beach and Praia dos Tres Irmaos are some of the most beautiful.
  • Go on a wild dolphin watching boat tour .
  • Discover the region’s best-hidden secrets and most scenic spots in a fun jeep safari .
  • Explore the caves and grottos by boat .
  • Discover Portuguese Guitar and music.
  • Go wine tasting at a vineyard .
  • Explore Ponta Da Piedale , a headland with a group of striking yellow-golden coastal rock formations that are up to 20 meters high (located along the coastline of the town of Lagos). They are one of the most famous attractions in Portugal.

Beautiful view of Porto, Portugal

With its 14th-century walls, medieval winding streets, colourful picturesque houses, bell tower and ornate tiles there is much to see in the newly fashionable city of Porto. It’s the country’s second-biggest city, located on the coast in the Northwest. 

Sit under the arches at Placa da Ribeira (the riverfront square) and watch the boats float past and then take a visit to the palatial 19th-century Palácio de Bolsa. Most apartments in the area have terraces that overlook the tranquil waters.

The Portuguese City has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, it’s a combination of old-world charm with cobbled streets and a bustling metropolitan culture, making it a very intriguing travel destination indeed!

  • Explore Rua das Flores a wonderful pedestrianized street filled with newly restored buildings, unique shops, and independent eateries , bars, and cafes.
  •  Take a stroll down the dock of Ribeira do Porto where you can gaze at the river Douro or just enjoy one of the most beautiful and liveliest districts in Porto’s historic centre.
  • Discover Praia de Matosinhos a beach sought beloved by adrenaline lovers since it’s known for its strong waves, perfect for surf-related activities.
  • See the exquisite Palacio da bolsa a historical building in Porto, Portugal. The palace was built in the 19th century in Neoclassical style and is now a designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO .
  • Drink wine at the Miradouro Ignez which has a deck overlooking Porto’s red-tiled rooftops and the Douro River .

6. Douro Valley

Douro Valley - stunning places to visit in Portugal

The River Douro winds through Spain and Northern Portugal. It was once a wild turbulent river, but the clever introduction of eight vast dams has tamed its spirit and it is now very tranquil and peaceful.

The beauty of the area isn’t limited to these still and shimmering waters, though. Bordered by stunning sweeping hills and expanses of delicate almond blossoms, it is a beautiful part of the world.

The area remains, for the most part, unspoilt, with roads zigzagging through the mountains and cruise boats softly pressing through the water.

This gorgeous place is famed for supplying grapes to the best Port companies. You can see all of the major names proudly displayed on the hillside vineyards, which change colour through the seasons as the vines mature.

  • Visit the wonderful Mateus Palace   – both the palace and the grounds are breathtaking! 
  • Go for a hot air balloon ride at sunrise.
  • Take a boat trip or a river cruise on the beautiful Douro River.
  • Go on a wine and food tour – the vineyards and cuisine are one of the highlights here!
  • Go for a scenic train journey on their historic steam train .

Sintra Portugal - great places to visit in Portugal

Located in a privileged position in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains, near the capital, Lisbon, it’s said to be one of  Lord Byron’s favourite Portuguese haunts.

It’s an exceptional village and easily one of the top-rated attractions in Portugal – ripe with richly coloured buildings and breathtaking architecture.

Palaces, turrets, a romantic Moorish castle, and a misty dense forest are all part of this sweet little place. The vegetation is lush and exotic due to the microclimate.

There are a host of historic buildings to take a look at, as well as clusters of leafy mansions with immaculate lawns and stunningly decorative features.

  • Spend a good part of the day exploring the beautiful Quinta da Regaleira built at the turn of the 20th century and classified as World Heritage by UNESCO this is a very romantic architectural complex made up of a wonderful Palace, a Chapel, and gardens with grottos.
  • Visit The Moorish Castle Castelo dos Mouros which is steeped in the wonderful history and offers fantastic views.
  • Take a scenic ride on the Sintra Tram .
  • Discover the hidden beautiful beach of Praia da Ursa.

Aveiro - the best places to visit in Portugal

Set along a lagoon – Ria de Aveiro – this is a fabulous easy-on-the-eye destination to take a trip to if you’re touring Portugal.

A truly maritime city, it is no surprise that Aveiro is a great place to head to if you love the idea of walking along some truly charming quays and beautiful canals navigated by colourful boats.

Other things are great to do in this city too, including popping to the museum to take in the religious art, gaze at Art Noveau buildings, or head to the sandy beaches for a spot of fun in the sun.

My must-see highlights

  • Go on a Moliceiro boat ride – easily one of the best highlights of a trip here, these are colourful gondola-type boats traditional to the area.
  • Explore the beautiful Nova Beach, a lovely sandy beach lined with colourful houses .
  • Gaze at wonderful Art Nouveau in downtown Aveiro.
  • Eat at Salpoente – a unique Michelin-star restaurant and art exhibition serving up fantastic Portuguese cuisine.

Sagres beach - lovely places to explore in Portugal

This place is located in the Algarve but is much less over-developed than the towns further east. It’s a place popular with beachgoers, surfers, digital nomads, hippies, and people who just want to kick back for a while.

It has a secluded end-of-the-world feel (very different to the rest of the Algarve) and is home to a gorgeous sandy beach, great surf, and sea-carved cliffs. It has a cool, laid-back vibe due to its proximity away from the crowds in the rest of the region.

  • Go surfing ! – the west coast of the Algarve has gained a reputation as being one of Europe’s best surfing destinations , and Sagres is its surfing capital !
  • Explore Cape Saint Vincent a headland that is one of the southwesternmost points of Portugal and mainland Europe.
  • Check out the wonderful beaches – Martinhal Beach and Mareta Beach are some of the best.

Obidos - one of the prettiest towns in Portugal

One of the most picturesque locations in Portugal. This is an ancient fortified town located in the Estremadura Province. In the 13th century, Portuguese Queen Isabel was so enchanted by the village of Obidos that her husband, King Denis I, gave it to her as a present.

This prompted a tradition of Portuguese kings buying this picturesque village for their queens, which lasted for many centuries. When you visit this beautiful spot, you’ll understand exactly why Isabel fell in love with it!

  • Wander around the historic village just soaking up the sights!
  • Visit Castelo de Obidos the well-preserved medieval castle which offers stunning views .
  • Explore Rua Direita a road filled with lots of shops and restaurants to explore
  • Discover Lagoa de Obidos , a lagoon that extends between the municipalities of Óbidos and Caldas da Rainha.

Marvao - beautiful attraction in Portugal

Nestled peacefully between Castelo de Vide and Portalegre, and only a few kilometres from Spain this idyllic place is perched on the highest crest of the Serra de São. The beautiful medieval mountainside town in Alentejo still has its original 13th-century walls and is perfectly preserved.

The streets wind seductively between the surrounding walls, making Marvao a beauty spot! As you can imagine, the views from across the town are not to be missed.

The lovely hotel Pousada do Marvao, Santa Maria, is the ideal place to stay here – it consists of two of the village houses that have been converted, ensuring it is in keeping with the rest of the town.

My favourite highlights

  • Visit the Centro Cultural de Marvao which is a well-preserved example of medieval architecture and also a very important part of Portugal’s military past.
  • Explore the pretty  Aglomerado urbano Intra-muros a picturesque village filled with 150 whitewashed houses set in narrow streets with a castle above it.
  • Check out the Cidade Romana de Ammaia  the Roman ruins of Ammaia.
  • Take a tour of the Lagar Museu António Picado Nunes  a Heritage museum in Portugal telling the history of Castelo De Marvao Olive Oil. 

Salema - top places in Portugal

Situated three hours South of the capital, near Cape Sagres, Salema is a beautifully tranquil beach resort and one of the best spots in Portugal, especially if you want to be near the coast.

Although located in the package holiday favourite the Algarve, this pretty village remains comparatively untouched by the ravages of tourism, offering just a scattering of eating places, a traditional outdoor market, one small main street, and clusters of pretty white stucco houses.

This peaceful fishing village is located between two sharp cliffs with a glorious sandy beach rolling between.

My favorite highlights

  • Hang out at Lagos Marina a lovely a harbour full of speedboats and yachts.
  • Sunbathe on Porto de Mos Beach a long sandy beach with gorgeous views of the blue-green ocean. 
  • Explore Portimão Marina a large spot with super large yachts.
  • Relax on beautiful Rocha Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the Algarve.

13. Evora 

Evora - best places to visit in Portugal

Évora is a Portuguese city in the municipality of Évora and the capital of Portugal’s south-central Alentejo region. The beautifully preserved historic town has been classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and when you visit, you’ll soon discover why.

Encircled by white-washed houses, it’s home to a 2000-year-old Templo Romano, a 16th-century aqueduct that can be followed by foot for five miles and the incredible Capela da Ossos – a sinister crypt – which displays the full skeletons of over 5000 Evora residents.

  • See Sé (Cathedral) a Romanesque and Gothic cathedral which was built in 1204 .
  • Take photographs of the Roman Temple believed to have been erected in the 2nd or 3rd century AD.
  • Explore the Palácio dos Duques de Cadaval a 14th-century Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval.
  • Gasp at the Capela dos Ossos . The Bone Chapel is lined with the remains of 5,000 monks making it the most macabre tourist attraction in Portugal . 
  • Hang out in the pretty town square which is a favourite meeting place where locals mingle with tourists.

14. Sado Estuary

Sado Estuary Portugal - stunning landscapes in Portugal

If being up close and personal to some rather fascinating creatures is your idea of a great way to spend a day, then this nature reserve should be a destination on your Portugal itinerary.

A little off the beaten track, it has a home between Alcácer do Sal, Comporta, and Setúba.

Not only is it home to a multitude of different birds, but if you are lucky enough you may also see a dolphin or two as well. With marshes, sandbanks, woods, reeds and so much more, this is the place to head to soak up some of the wildlife that calls the area its home.

  • Take a boat tour and a camera 
  • Spot wildlife including flamingos
  • Take a Full-Day Dolphin Watching Tour from Lisbon.

15. Coimbra

Coimbra - most beautiful places to visit in Portugal

History is something that you are going to find in this wonderful city as this was Portugal’s former capital. Based on the banks of the River Mondego, Coimbra is home to one of the oldest universities, not only in Portugal but across the whole of Europe too.

So prized is the university that it has actually made its way onto the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list and when you get the chance to explore the city you are likely to see why this is.

Also visit its 18th-century bell tower, the famous baroque library and Romanesque cathedral.

  • The University of Coimbra was actually founded in Lisbon before being transferred to Coimbra in 1537. 
  • Relez in Parque Verde do Mondego which is a lovely green space that is the perfect place to relax.
  • Explore Monastery of Santa Cruz which is well-preserved and founded in 1131.

16. Amarante

Amarante town in Portugal - an amazing place to visit in Portugal

Found in the northern part of the country, this is a handsome and elegant riverside town which has origins as far back as the 4th century BC.

Here picturesque balconies overhang a river, and unique striking bridges stride the water. Amarante and the other parts of the Minho region are also famous for their grapes.

It is in this area that the unique green wine is made. Aside from being a great place to drink some wine, Amarante is an attractive riverside town to visit in Portugal and ensures no matter where you are going you’ll get the very best in a picture-perfect view!

Azores Islands - best places in Portugal

Made up of nine different islands and located way off the coast of Portugal in the mid-Atlantic, The Azores may be the ideal place for those who are looking for adventure, however, they are also a great place for those who are searching for beauty and awe-inspiring scenery too.

An unusual travel destination, every single one of the islands has its charm to bring and to absorb it, we advise you to try and discover as much as you can. Expect vineyards, dramatic landscapes, fishing villages, green pastures, and lake-filled calderas, and don’t forget your walking boots and surfboard!

  • See our post on the most beautiful places to visit in the Azores

18. Praia Da Amoreira

Praia Da Amoreira, pretty beach in Portugal

Part of the Algarve, Praia Da Amoreira is a beach that is thought of as being a best-kept secret. However, once people realize just how beautiful it is, that will change things soon.

A stunning beach with the perfect combination of clear waters and golden sand, you can choose this beach if you are a fan of lazing around in the sunshine, or equally choose it if you like the idea of being able to explore rock pools and discover wildlife.

It really can offer you everything that you need.

19. Guimaraes

Guimaraes - a beautiful city to visit in Portugal

A historic city based in the North of Portugal this place is filled with fantastic medieval buildings like the hilltop, and 10th-century Guimarães Castle, with its panoramic city views.

If there is one thing that you will soon realise about Guimaraes is that it has a definite royal air about it.

Perhaps it is the history and culture of the city (its old town has World Heritage Site status), or maybe it is the stunning castle and palace. Either way, if you want to be able to capture some amazing photos, then this particular city is a great Portuguese destination to add to your list.

20. Tavira Island

Tavira Island Portugal

Found off of the coast of Portugal and only accessible by boat (from the town of Tavira, a small city on Portugal’s Algarve coast), those who make the trip over to Tavira Island will be rewarded with not only a beautiful, peaceful place but also a stunning beach too.

Thought to offer one of the best beaches in the entire Algarve region – an accolade which is hard to achieve – not only will you see the sun here, but you will also be likely to see a wealth of nature and wildlife as well! 

We also have posts on…

  • Places to visit in Spain
  • Places to visit in Madeira
  • Places to visit in the Canary Islands
  • Places to visit in the Azores

Emma Clair Kelly

Emma-Clair Ni Clearaigh – writer and photographer

With itchy feet, an inquisitive nature and an ardent wanderlust, Emma Clair has always been a traveller at heart. Hailing from the Emerald Isle she calls a small coastal town near Dublin home, but has lived in a few countries including Saigon, Vietnam where she resided for over a year, now she balances travel and travel writing with teaching and a passion for vintage interior design. She counts supping on Bloody Marys on a rooftop in Manhattan, downing Singapore slings at the Raffles Hotel, daring a paraglide on the Grand Cayman, spending an exotic Christmas in Malaysia and exploring the Angkor Wat, Cambodia as her all time favourite travel moments. Although, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the city where she makes her annual pilgrimages – Paris, her true city of lights. Find Emma-Clair on Instagram or Facebook .

Hotel Reviewing Experience – Asked by tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including the Catalonia Tourist Board ,  Visit Finland, Visit Zurich and Atout France. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos .

24 thoughts on “Top 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Portugal”

I liked Lisbon and LOVED the Algarve. Every beach is so photogenic!

Looks like such an amazing country. Thanks for the list. I’m actually planning to visit Porto next month! 🙂

Pleeeaaase add Cabo da Roca to the list, it’s one of my favourite places in the world ❤️ It’s stunning, i promise

Great choices would love to visit Portugal one day!

Don’t forget the gorgeous Madeira Island when visiting main land Portugal.

This island loated aboud 550 miles south west of Lisbon is one of the most beautiful places in the World. it’s absolutely stunning.

We unfortunately never got to Portugal after seeing so much of Spain over a 6 week period. After reading your post I think we missed out. Will definitely have to get there.

Add it to the list!

I agree with this list but I would add a place: Gerês. To me is THE most beautiful place 🙂

We have to admit we didn’t see it on our trip but when we go back we’ll be definitely checking it out!

I agree with you. I already consider myself Portuguese and go there once a year. I always go to Geres one of my favorite places.

I love Portugal and I totally agree with your choices! Lisbon is a beautiful capital city.

As always some stunning photos of places I’ve not heard of but immediately want to see. I especially like the Douro valley shot and the one of Sintra, fabulous architecture quite unlike any I’ve seen. That long-dreamed-of Iberian peninsula trip just jumped up another notch.

Couldn´t agree more but would add Tavira. A magical historic city with great beaches, food and people

Great pictures! To many, Portugal is still a hidden gem that needs to be discovered with useful and scenic posts like this one. As we portuguese would say “sejam bemvindos” (you are welcome)!

Great post, I’ve been to a few of these places but would definitely like to go back and see some more. Lisbon is a great city.

Seeing these pictures I’m soooo looking forward to my Portugal trip this summer! Of the things on your list i’m planning to do: Sintra, Lisbon, possibly Cascais, Porto, Douro Valley and Obidos. Jeej!:)

Let us know how you get on!

My friends went to Praia da Marinha the other day and they really enjoyed the place. Stunning beaches, hospitable locals and yummy food. I would definitely go for it as well.

As Portuguese Im proud to read this article and be living in Óbidos, is really a destination to visit that you will not be disappointed, all the other places selected are a fantastic choice of so much beauty that you can discover in Portugal, visit us we welcome you with a big 🙂

desperate to get to Portugal. hoping i can tag along with Mrs. O during one of her visits!

Oh you would love it, especially Lisbon and Cascais 🙂

I was secretly worried that you’d feature a place I hadnt been to!! I have indeed to alllllll of them and can attest how stunning they are!

So pleased you like our choices! Posting this definitely makes us want to go back! 🙂

I made only the briefest visit to Lisbon when I was a teenager. After reading this and seeing the pictures, I know I need to go back for more!

Normally if I were to look through a collection of travel photos I think to myself which would be the best or most beautiful place to go. Here it’s be a hard choice.

The old architecture is just so different than anything I’m use to seeing in real life. Never having been to Portugal or, for that mater, anywhere in southern Europe I guess I’ve missed out on a good deal in my life.

Thank you for sharing with us,

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areas to visit in portugal

Millions of tourists travel to Portugal every year, but it can be hard to figure out where to go. Luckily, this 1-Week Portugal Itinerary guides you on where to spend 7 days in Portugal. 

The itinerary starts in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon and then heads south. You can enjoy the journey fully through public transport, but when leaving Lisbon to head to the Algarve, we do recommend renting a car.

When renting your vehicle, you can select to pick up the car at Lisbon airport and return it at the end of your trip at Faro airport, where this itinerary ends.

While both Central Portugal and the north have a lot to offer, this 7-day itinerary is perfect for a first-timer who hasn’t yet visited the country. 

For everything you need to know before traveling to Portugal, check out our  Portugal Survival Guide.

1-Week Portugal Itinerary: Where to Spend 7 Days in Portugal

Day 1: Arrive in  Lisbon

This 1-Week Itinerary in Portugal starts in the capital of Lisbon. Many cities around the world fly directly to Lisbon. You can fly directly to Lisbon from many US airports, including Miami, Boston, Washington, San Francisco, and New York. 

One of the oldest cities in western Europe, Lisbon has seen a boom in tourism due to its unique beauty, historical attractions, and affordability.

The birthplace of Amália Rodrigues, the iconic  Fado  singer, Lisbon is rich in culture, history, and striking views. 

1-Week Portugal Itinerary: Where to Spend 7 Days in Portugal

Guide to Lisbon

For your visit day in Lisbon, start your day off in Alfama. The oldest neighborhood in Lisbon and the home of fado. Explore the neighborhood and look out for Fado spots, as well as historical monuments such as the Lisbon Cathedral, the Convent of the Grace, and more.

For lunch, take a look at our  favorite restaurants in Lisbon. 

For a traditional Portuguese meal, we recommend Alfaia, one of the oldest restaurants in Lisbon that opened in 1880.

If you are vegan but still want to try Portuguese food, we definitely recommend Ao 26 Vegan Food Project.

For the best pizzas in Lisbon, head to Casanova in Santa Apolonia to take some pizzas cooked in a large wood-burning stove and enjoy views of the Tagus river. 

Then head to Miradouro da Graca, one of the most iconic viewpoints in Lisbon. At the top of the seven hills of the city, you get to see historic neighborhoods and take photographs of the surroundings. 

Then take the iconic 28 tram from Miradouro da Graca that passed by Praca do Comercio and other locations. Hop off in Chiado.

Chiado is well known for being home to the best stores a nd luxurious cafes, located in the heart of the city. The 1700s Bertrand book store is located here, as well as the emblematic cafe A Brasileira. 

Take a 15-minute walk to Praca do Comercio, the city’s central waterpoint front. The large square used to be the site of the former royal palace that was destroyed in the Great Lisbon Earthquake in 1755. 

There are multiple shops and restaurants in the square. You can also climb the Rua Augusta Arch for 360 views of the city and the square. 

For dinner, head to 1 de Maio in Bairro Alto for an affordable Portuguese meal. This hidden restaurant offers delicious fresh seafood that you can see from the window and a variety of meats like lamb. 

After dinner, head to Pink Street in Cais do Sodre. The street features pink pavement and was once Lisbon’s Red Light District. Today, it is a nightlife hotspot.

Many bars today still reflect the Red Light District such as the iconic bar Pensao Amor which has memorabilia from the time. Walk around to experience the nightlife which often fills the street, locals bringing their drinks outside. 

Best Hotels in Lisbon

  • Inspira Liberdade Boutique Hotel:  Awarded the Best Luxury Green Hotel in 2019, Inspira Liberdade provides a relaxing Feng-Shui vibe for its guests. The hotel has a SPA, fitness room, bar, and a restaurant with Portuguese food called Pen Brasserie Mediterrânica.
  • Selena Secret Garden :  The hostel also has a rooftop deck, CoWork space for professionals, and a movie room. In the heart of Cais do Sodre, you are close to contemporary art galleries, bars with riverfront views, and within walking distance to Chiado.
  • Bairro Alto Hotel:  This hotel is situated in the best location in Lisbon, between Bairro Alto and Chiado in an 18th-century building in central Lisbon. The hotel features a restaurant with award-winning Chef Nuno Mendes and Executive Chef Bruno Rocha.

Day 2: Lisbon

For your second day in Lisbon, we recommend exploring Belem. Belem lies along the Tejo Estuary and is home to two UNESCO sites, Torre de Belem and Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. 

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is a former monastery in Belém constructed in Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style and you can visit the church for free. 

Torre de Belem is a 16th-century fortification that once served as an embarkation spot for Portugal explorers. It features a Manueline style and has been a World Heritage Site since 1983.

1-Week Portugal Itinerary: Where to Spend 7 Days in Portugal

A 2-minute walk from the monastery, head to Pasteis de Belem where the traditional Portuguese custard tart was first invented.

In the afternoon, we recommend booking a sightseeing tour. Since you only have 2 days in Lisbon, this is a great way to see as much of the city as possible. Here are our favorite guided tours of Lisbon:

  • Lisbon 3-Hour Sightseeing Tour by Tuk Tuk : This tuk-tuk tour rides up and down the hills of Lisbon, going through the city’s oldest neighborhoods and main attractions.
  • Lisbon Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour:  Book a 24-hour ticket which includes an audio guide. This affordable ticket allows you to visit different routes and hop in as you would like. 
  • Lisbon 3-Hour Tour by E-Bike:  This tour allows you to cycle through Lisbon on comfortable e-bikes with a guided tour. You will get to visit different viewpoints and historical attractions.

At night, walk to Bairro Alto, the most popular area for drinking outdoors. Tons of locals and tourists line the streets of Bairro Alto with a beer in hand. We recommend Ze dos Bois Gallery, a musical center that has live music and serves tasty drinks. 

Best Restaurants in Lisbon

  • Ze dos Cornos: For a Portuguese person, this place is like arriving at your Avó’s (grandma´s) house for dinner. Everything off the menu hits the spot, but try their codfish with potatoes or their rabbit. You can have a large full meal here with wine for under €15. 
  • The Green Affair: Open since 2018, the Green Affair serves Portuguese and international dishes. The restaurant offers lunch menus for less than €11 including a starter, main, and drink. For dinner, you’ll pay around  €30 for two people. 
  • Alma: Henrique Sá Pessoa’s, Alma also has two Michelin stars. The menu includes Portuguese dishes with influences from his worldwide travels. The menus start at €145 per person and do not include drinks. The wine tasting menu costs €80 per person. 

Day 3: Day Trip to Cascais & Sintra from Lisbon

Book Sintra & Cascais Tour

The great thing about Lisbon is its proximity to quaint coastal towns. Our favorites: Sintra and Cascais. We recommend either driving to these locations (both around 30 minutes from Lisbon), booking a guided tour , or taking a 30-minute train to each town. 

In Sintra, we recommend heading to Piriquita for the staple deserted called a “travesseiro”. After this energy boost, head to the Castle of the Moors. This is a medieval castle that sits on a hilltop and was built by the Moors in the 8th century.

Then, head to Pena Palace, one of the most iconic palaces in all of Portugal. The palace has a Disney-like feel, painted in beautiful colors in a romanticist style. You can also wander around the castle and see the beautiful green area that surrounds it. Tickets cost around €15.

1-Week Portugal Itinerary: Where to Spend 7 Days in Portugal

Guide to Sintra

We recommend having lunch at a seafood restaurant in Cascais. Our favorites are Furnas do Guincho and Baia do Peixe, the latter being a more affordable alternative.

Then it’s time to explore Cascais, the richest municipality in the country! Head to “Praia da Rainha”, a secluded  beach  with a wonderful view, perfect for a family photograph.

Find Frederico Arouca street, a high street with major stores selling Portuguese souvenirs. Then walk to the City Hall in Praca 5 de Outubro, a beautiful building surrounded by cobblestoned streets.

To wrap up your day, head to Guincho beach,  a 10-minute drive from the center of Cascais, to watch the sunset. If the weather is nice, take a dip! But be careful with the waves as they can get quite high. 

1-Week Portugal Itinerary: Where to Spend 7 Days in Portugal

Guide to Cascais

Day 4 & 5: Tavira

A 3-hour drive from Lisbon, drive south to Tavira, in the beautiful region of the Algarve. Alternatively, you can catch a train to Faro or a bus directly to Tavira. 

Tavira was built alongside River Gilão and features some of the best beaches in the Algarve, as well as picturesque narrow streets with traditional houses. Along with the stunning beaches, the town has multiple attractions such as shops and historical buildings.

Your two days will be more slow-paced than the past days in Lisbon. You will be spending most of your time at the beach.

Our favorite beach is Praia do Barril. The beach features a wooden path over golden sand which provides a gorgeous contrast with the dark blue waters. Due to the large size of the beach, you will rarely feel like it’s too busy, despite its popularity.

Praia de Tavira and Praia da Terra Estreita are also great alternatives in Tavira. If you want to discover multiple beaches this affordable  4-hour boat tour  takes you on an octopus tour and stops at multiple beaches.

In between resting at the beach, we recommend exploring Tavira. Take a walk through the city and explore the Chapel of Sao Bras, castle, and convent. Book this 100% electric 1-hour tuk-tuk tour  if you want a guided tour of the city from a local’s perspective. 

Tours in Tavira

1-Week Portugal Itinerary: Where to Spend 7 Days in Portugal

Best Hotels in Tavira

  • São Paulo Boutique Hotel:   São Paulo Boutique Hotel is located less than 5 kilometers from the beach and features an outdoor swimming pool, bar, shared lounge, and large garden for guests to enjoy. 
  • OZADI Tavira Hotel:  A 4-star hotel AZADI Tavira Hotel is 3 kilometers away from the beach and features a large outdoor pool, a fitness center, and two restaurants. 
  • Quinta Dos Perfumes:  An 8-minute walk from the beach, Quinta dos Perfumes is an 88-acre farmhouse that features beautiful orange groves and a salt-water outdoor pool.

Guide to Tavira

Day 6: Day trip to Benagil Caves

Benagil is a fishing village known for its stunning beaches and sea caves. The Benagil caves are a must-see if you head to the Algarve. We recommend booking a guided tour, many of which start in Albufeira. Here are the best day tours to Benagil Caves.

  • Dolphins and Benagil Caves from Albufeira : This boat tour allows you to discover dolphins, marine life, and Benagil caves in an inflatable boat. A stop for a swim is included!
  • Caves and Coastline Cruise from Albufeira to Benagil : This catamaran cruise takes you on a scenic route between Albufeira to Benagil. You will get to explore the sea caves and go for a swim. 
  • Boat Tour to Benagil Caves from Armacao de Pera : A boat cruise from Armacao de Pera that takes you to see the Benagil Caves with a crew that will tell you about the region.

1-Week Portugal Itinerary: Where to Spend 7 Days in Portugal

Benagil Tours

Day 7: Morning at the beach and travel home

Enjoy your last day at your favorite beach in Tavira. Again, we recommend Praia do Barril. Then travel back home from Faro Airport, only a 30-minute drive away from Tavira.

1-Week Portugal Itinerary: Where to Spend 7 Days in Portugal

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10 Day Portugal Itinerary: 5 Amazing Ideas for Your Trip to Portugal

Julie Last updated: February 21, 2024 Itinerary , Portugal 4 Comments

10 Day Lisbon Portugal Itinerary

If you are planning your trip to Portugal, this is a great place to start. There are many different ways to play your “perfect Portugal itinerary,” depending on your interests. Visit the highlights, spend a good chunk of your time on the beach, go off-the-beaten-path, or explore Portugal’s long list of historic sites and castles. If you have 10 days in Portugal, we have five itinerary ideas for you.

For first timers to Portugal, Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve usually make the “must-see” list. With 10 days in Portugal, you have just enough time to visit these three places. How to do this is spelled out in our “Big Three” itinerary.

A classic 10-day itinerary is to visit Lisbon and Porto, Portugal’s two largest cities, visiting a few small towns and landmarks along the way. We lay out two ways to do this: one using public transportation and the other with a rental car.

Our fourth 10 day Portugal itinerary is less busy, with your time spent in Lisbon and the Algarve. You get a lot of time in the Algarve on this itinerary, perfect for beach lovers, sun seekers, and families.

The final itinerary covers Porto, the Douro Valley, and small, incredibly scenic towns in northern and central Portugal. This one is great for wine lovers, foodies, and those who want to venture a bit off-the-beaten-path.

Which one will be your favorite?

Table of Contents

About These Itineraries

These itineraries work all year. The best time to visit Portugal is in the spring and fall, when the weather is pleasant and crowds are low. Summer, in particular July and August, is very hot and crowded. Expect much higher hotel prices, packed beaches, and you will need to plan your trip far in advance to reserve hotels, rental cars, and tours. In winter, Portugal gets chilly, but it is still warmer than much of Europe, so it still makes a decent wintertime destination.

Several of these itineraries require a rental car for the best experience. There is a great network of trains and buses in Portugal but some smaller towns are challenging to get to, so having a car gives you more freedom and flexibility. We list the specifics of this in each itinerary.

All of these itineraries are on mainland Portugal. They do not include Madeira or the Azores.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Here are five different ways to plan your 10-day Portugal itinerary:

  • #1: The Big Three: Lisbon, Porto & the Algarve
  • #2: Lisbon and Porto by Public Transportation
  • #3: Lisbon and Porto by Rental Car
  • #4: Lisbon and the Algarve
  • #5: Porto, Douro Valley & Monsanto

10 Day Portugal Itinerary #1

The Big Three: Lisbon, Porto & the Algarve

Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve are what we are calling “the big three.” These are the most popular destinations on mainland Portugal and on a very busy 10-day itinerary, you can visit them all. You will also have enough time to day trip to Sintra, another must-visit place in Portugal.

This itinerary moves very fast, so if you can, add another day or two, which gives you more time in Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve, depending on your preferences.

It starts and ends in Lisbon. We chose Lisbon because there are a lot of flight options to Lisbon, so it makes the perfect start and end point. To save a travel day back to Lisbon, you could look into flying from Faro (in the Algarve) on day 10.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary: Lisbon, Porto & the Algarve

Day 1: Lisbon Day 2: Lisbon Day 3: Sintra day trip from Lisbon Day 4: Travel to Porto Day 5: Porto Day 6: Porto or Douro Valley day trip Day 7: Travel to Algarve Day 8: Algarve Day 9: Algarve Day 10: Return to Lisbon

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map Algarve

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map: Lisbon, Porto & the Algarve

Days 1 & 2: Lisbon

Arrive in Lisbon, ideally as early in the day as possible. This gives you almost 2 full days to visit the main sights in the city.

Some of the essential places to visit include Jerónimos Monastery, Belém Tower, the Alfama and Bairro Alto neighborhoods, São Jorge Castle, Praça do Comércio, and visiting the viewpoints throughout the city. Dine at the Time Out Market or at one of Lisbon’s long list of highly rated restaurants.

For the full list of things to do, read our Lisbon Bucket List.

In the future, we will be publishing itineraries for Lisbon. Until then, if you have questions, let us know in the comment section below.

Lisbon Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Bica Funicular, Lisbon

Day 3: Sintra

Visiting the palaces and castles in Sintra is the #1 day trip from Lisbon. In one day, you can visit 3 to 5 palaces and castles, or split your time between the palaces and the coastal sites.

Pena Palace Sintra Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Pena Palace, Sintra

Palace of Monserrate Sintra

Palace of Monserrate, Sintra | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

This day trip is very easy to do with public transportation, so there’s no need to rent a car.

Learn how to plan your day trip in our article One Day in Sintra and we cover what to do in our Things to Do in Sintra.

Day 4: Travel to Porto

Porto is located 300 km north of Lisbon. It is smaller than Lisbon, home to hilly scenic streets and amazing views of the Douro River. Porto is where port wine is aged. Visiting the wine lodges for port wine tastings and tours is one of the most popular things to do in Porto.

You can get to Porto by car and by train. In about 3 hours, the high-speed train (the Alfa Pendular) connects Lisbon and Porto. You can travel directly to Porto using this train, which gives you time in the morning for Lisbon or time in the afternoon for Porto.

By car, it takes just over 3 hours to drive to Porto. As with the train, you can drive directly to Porto, or stop and a handful of historical sites or landmarks on the journey.

Top Places to Visit between Lisbon and Porto

If you plan to rent a car, here are a few places you can visit on the drive to Porto.

Óbidos. This small, walled medieval town is super fun to explore. Walk the castle walls, go shopping, and have lunch. If you want to visit Óbidos, it is best to have a rental car.

Obidos Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Nazaré. This seaside town is famous for its giant waves. The best time to see these waves is between October and March. I think it is only worth adding on Nazare if you will be in Portugal in the winter, when you have the best chances of seeing these waves.

Nazare Waves

Nazaré | R.M. Nunes/shutterstock.com

Alcobaça Monastery, Batalha Monastery and Fátima. These three sites are located relatively close to one another, just east of Nazaré.

Alcobaca Monastery Cloister | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Alcobaça Monastery

Coimbra. Coimbra is an ancient Roman city and it is famous for its university, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is easy to add on to the journey between Lisbon and Porto by train and rental car.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Of the places listed above, Óbidos is the most interesting, in our opinion. If you are interested in historical sites, you could also quickly visit Alcobaça Monastery or Batalha Monastery. However, I think it is worthwhile to get to Porto by mid-to late afternoon so you have enough time to have dinner and see a little bit of the city.

Days 5 & 6: Porto

Spend the next 2 days in Porto OR spend one day in Porto and use the second day to either day trip to the Douro Valley (great for wine aficionados) or Braga and Guimarães.

Plan your time in Porto with our 2 Day Porto Itinerary. In the future, we will be publishing information about the Douro Valley, so stay tuned (if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section below).

Porto Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Porto | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 7: Travel to the Algarve

Today is a big travel day. You have three options for getting to the Algarve: car, train, or plane.

The train is fast, budget friendly, and eco-friendly. It takes about 6 hours to travel from Porto to Faro on the high-speed train. Once in Faro, you can rent a car for the next three days and then get settled in your hotel.

Flights are also relatively cheap. There are direct flights between Porto and Faro. If you account for travel time (direct flights take just over one hour) and airport check in time, it takes about 4 hours to get to Faro. It’s the fastest option but it has the highest carbon footprint.

Finally, you can drive to the Algarve, which takes about 5 hours. You have the option to stop at one of the places listed on day 4 of this itinerary but I recommend heading directly to the Algarve. If you leave early, you can spend part of the afternoon on the beach, giving you a little more beach time.

For suggestions on where to stay, take a look at our Algarve Hotel Guide.

Days 8 & 9: The Algarve

Spend two wonderful days in the Algarve. Relax on the beaches, take a boat tour of Benagil Cave, walk the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail (one of the most beautiful walks in Europe), and/or visit Ponta da Piedade.

Best Algarve Beaches

The Algarve | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 10: Return to Lisbon

It’s worth researching flights home from Faro, as this could give you more time in the Algarve, versus driving back to Lisbon.

But to come full circle, it is roughly a 2.5-hour drive or a 3 hour train ride from Faro to get to Lisbon. Spend the day on the beach and then drive/take the train to Lisbon in the evening, if you want more beach time. Or make the drive first thing, if there is more you want to see and do in Lisbon.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary #2

Lisbon & Porto by Public Transportation

This itinerary moves a little slower than the one above since it doesn’t include the Algarve. It gives you more time in Lisbon and Porto and the ability to take several great day trips.

This 10-day Portugal itinerary is done 100% using public transportation (aside from any tours you may add on), so there is no need to rent a car.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary: Lisbon & Porto by Train

Day 1: Lisbon Day 2: Lisbon Day 3: Lisbon Day 4: Sintra day trip Day 5: Lisbon day trip Day 6: Travel to Porto Day 7: Porto Day 8: Porto Day 9: Douro Valley day trip Day 10: Braga & Guimarães or return to Lisbon

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map Lisbon Porto Train

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map: Lisbon to Porto by Train

Days 1, 2 & 3: Lisbon

On this itinerary, you have three days in Lisbon. This gives you plenty of time to visit the city sights. If you are arriving from outside of Europe, the first day can be a bit rough because of jetlag, so you can take it easy on day 1 and then spend 2 days exploring Lisbon.

For a list of things to do, take a look at our Lisbon Bucket List.

You will spend 5 nights in Lisbon.

Day 4: Sintra

On a day trip from Lisbon, visit the palaces and castles in Sintra. On this list are Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, Monserrate Palace, the Moorish Castle, and the National Palace of Sintra. Visit all five or pick your favorite three.

Sintra is very easy to visit using public transportation. Plan your day with our guide One Day in Sintra.

Sleep in Lisbon.

Day 5: Second day trip from Lisbon

There are still many nearby places to visit on a day trip from Lisbon.

Cascais is a lovely seaside town just a short train ride from Lisbon.

Óbidos is a small, walled medieval town and it is one of our favorite small towns in Portugal. You can get here by bus in about an hour. Check the bus schedule here (buses leave from the Campo Grande station in Lisbon).

Alcobaça Monastery and Batalha Monastery are two of Portugal’s top sights (they are both on the list of the Seven Wonders of Portugal). They are located relatively close to one another and a short drive from Nazaré and Fátima (an important pilgrimage destination). The best way to visit these places is on a tour from Lisbon. This 8-hour tour from Lisbon includes several great destinations, including Batalha, Nazaré, Fátima, and Óbidos.

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Here are more day trip tours from Lisbon.

Day 6: Train to Porto

Today, travel to Porto by train. It takes 3 hours to travel between these two cities on the high-speed Alfa Pendular train. Here is the link to the official website for the Portugal railway and Rail Ninja also has useful information about traveling by train in Portugal.

Once in Porto, check into your hotel and spend the afternoon in Porto. A good introduction to the city is visiting Cais da Ribeira, the riverfront along the Douro River, having drinks and dinner. You will spend 4 to 5 nights in Porto.

Days 7 & 8: Porto

On this itinerary, you have a full 2 days in Porto. This gives you plenty of time to visit the top sights in the city as well as spend a half to a full day port tasting in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Plan your time with our 2 Days in Porto Itinerary.

Livraria Lello | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Livraria Lello, Porto

Day 9: Day Trip to the Douro Valley

The Douro Valley is the oldest wine region in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On a Douro Valley day trip, you will visit a few wineries, have lunch, and have the option to cruise on the Douro River. There are lots of tour options that include your transportation and fees, so it is easy to plan your day trip, without researching which wineries and restaurants to visit.

On this full day tour , you will taste wine at two wineries, have lunch, and cruise the Douro River. This tour gets glowing reviews and is one of the top tours of the Douro Valley. It’s also one of the cheapest.

This small group tour is a little more expensive, but you visit two prestigious wine cellars, have a 3-course lunch, and cruise the Douro River.

If you want to take a private tour of the Douro Valley, take a look at this tour that includes two wineries and a Douro River cruise.

How to Visit the Douro Valley

Douro Valley | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 10: Porto Day Trip or Return to Lisbon

Today you have two options: take a second day trip from Porto OR travel to Lisbon, if you will be flying home from Lisbon rather than Porto.

Guimarães and Braga are two small towns that sit side-by-side about an hour from Porto. In one day, you can visit both of them. Take the train to Guimarães and spend the morning in Guimarães, visiting the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza and the very picturesque city center.

Take the bus to Braga, have a late lunch, and spend an hour or two in town. In the afternoon, visit Bom Jesus do Monte, a place famous for its zigzagging staircase, basilica, and views from Mount Espinho. It’s easy to get to taking the bus from Braga.

Return to Porto by train from Braga.

Bom Jesus | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga

Alternatively, if you have to return to Lisbon for a flight home, travel by train to Lisbon. When planning your itinerary, it is worth researching flights home from Porto because this could give you a little more time in Porto.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary #3

Lisbon & Porto by Rental Car

This itinerary is very similar to itinerary #2. Renting a car gives you more flexibility to visit the small towns, historical sites, and beaches between Lisbon and Porto.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary: Lisbon & Porto by Car

Day 1: Lisbon Day 2: Lisbon Day 3: Lisbon Day 4: Sintra day trip Day 5: Day trip from Lisbon Day 6: Travel to Porto Day 7: Porto Day 8: Porto Day 9: Douro Valley day trip Day 10: Braga & Guimarães or return to Lisbon

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map Lisbon Porto

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map: Lisbon to Porto by Car

Days 1 through 4: Lisbon and Sintra

This itinerary is the same as itinerary #2. To visit the sites in Lisbon and to day trip to the Sintra palaces and castles, there is no need to rent a car.

Day 5: Day Trip from Lisbon

Having a car opens up a few more options for your day trip from Lisbon.

Our #1 recommendation would be to spend a few hours in Cascais followed by the rest of the day visiting Cabo da Roca (the westernmost point in mainland Europe), a few incredibly beautiful beach towns (Praia das Maças and Praia das Azenhas do Mar), and having lunch at Moinho Dom Quixote. Many of these sights are challenging to get to by public transportation, which makes having a rental car an advantage. Learn more about these places in our Guide to Sintra.

Azenhas do Mar | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Azenhas do Mar | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 6: Travel to Porto

Today, drive to Porto. Without stops it takes just over 3 hours to make this drive. However, you can turn this into a full day of sightseeing.

Having a car also allows you to visit a few places on the drive between Lisbon and Porto. Since you have a rental car, it’s easy to travel with your luggage and still do some sightseeing.

Óbidos is our #1 recommendation of places to visit between Lisbon and Porto. Tim and I loved exploring this small town and it only takes a few hours of your time.

Historical sites that are worthwhile include Mafra National Palace, Alcobaça Monastery, Batalha Monastery , and Fátima . If you visit Óbidos, you can also visit two to three of these.

Mafra National Palace | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Mafra National Palace

Alternatively, if it is late fall to very early spring, you could spend an hour or two in Nazaré and keep your fingers crossed that the giant waves are pounding the coastline.

Coimbra and Aveiro are closer to Porto. They are nice but, in our opinion, the other towns and sites already listed are more interesting.

In the late afternoon/early evening, check into your hotel and have dinner in Porto.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: What about theft? We have heard from other travelers of instances in Portugal where cars were broken into and things stolen. We drove a fair amount throughout Portugal, leaving our luggage in the car unattended for hours at a time and never had an issue. We were very careful to keep all of our bags in the trunk with nothing sitting on the back seats or floor. It really helps to pack light to make sure all of your bags can be stowed in the trunk.

Spend two days in Porto. Plan your time with our 2 Days in Porto Itinerary.

Day 9: Douro Valley Day Trip

Today, you can visit the Douro Valley on a tour or visit it independently, since you have a rental car. For a list of things to see and do, take a look at our Guide to the Douro Valley (coming soon) or ask us any questions you may have in the comment section at the end of this article.

Day 10: Guimarães & Braga Day Trip or Return to Lisbon

Today, day trip to Guimarães and Braga, either using public transportation or your rental car. Having a rental car will save you a little bit of time. Plan your day trip using the recommendations in our Guide to Braga.

If you have to return to Lisbon for a flight home, it is roughly a 3-hour drive.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary #4

Lisbon & the Algarve

This 10-day Portugal itinerary is the most leisurely on the list. After a few days sightseeing in Lisbon, travel to the Algarve, where you get to spend five full days on one of the most beautiful coastlines of Europe.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary: Lisbon & the Algarve

Day 1: Lisbon Day 2: Lisbon Day 3: Sintra day trip Day 4: Travel to the Algarve Day 5: Algarve Day 6: Algarve Day 7: Algarve Day 8: Algarve Day 9: Algarve Day 10: Return to Lisbon

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map Lisbon Algarve

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map: Lisbon & the Algarve

Arrive in Lisbon, ideally as early in the day as possible. This gives you almost 2 full days to visit the main sights in the city. If you want more time in Lisbon, you can add another day (taking one from the Algarve), since you have so much time in the Algarve.

Some of the essential places to visit include Jerónimos Monastery, Belém Tower, the Alfama and Bairro Alto neighborhoods, São Jorge Castle, Praça do Comércio, and visiting the viewpoints throughout the city. Dine at the Time Out Market or at one of Lisbon’s long list of highly rated restaurants

Day 3: Sintra Day Trip

On a day trip to Sintra, you can visit 3 to 5 palaces and castles, or split your time between the palaces and the coastal sites.

Castle of the Moors Sintra Portugal

Castle of the Moors, Sintra | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

This day trip is very easy to do with public transportation, so there’s no need to rent a car (yet).

Tonight, sleep in Lisbon.

Day 4: Travel to the Algarve

Today, make your way to the Algarve. You have the option to do a little more sightseeing in Lisbon before traveling to the Algarve, but if you prefer as much beach time as possible, go first thing in the day.

To get to the Algarve, you have a few options.

In Lisbon, you can rent a car and drive to the Algarve. This is a bit faster than using public transportation and you can go directly to your hotel to get settled. It takes two and a half hours to drive to the Algarve, a little more or less depending on the town you choose to make as your home base.

You also have the option to travel by public transportation. From Lisbon, you can travel by train to Faro, Albufeira, and Lagos. High-speed trains (the Alfa Pendular) leave from the Lisbon Oriente station and go through Tunes. From Tunes, the Alfa Pendular continues to Albufeira, Loule, and Faro. If you plan to travel by train to Lagos or Portimão, you will board a regional train in Tunes.

It takes 3 hours to travel from Lisbon to Albufeira and Faro on the Alfa Pendular. It takes about 4 hours to travel to Lagos and Portimao by train. Check timetables on the official website.

Once you arrive in the Algarve, pick up a rental car and then check into your hotel. If you don’t plan to rent a car, then hire a taxi or Uber or Bolt (or another ride share app) to get you to your hotel.

Get recommendations on the best towns to stay in the Algarve and the top hotels in our Algarve Hotel Guide.

Days 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9: The Algarve

On this 10-day Portugal itinerary, you get to spend 5 glorious full days in the Algarve. This gives you plenty of time to relax on the Algarve’s best beaches, take a boat tour of Benagil Cave, hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail , explore the small towns, go surfing or golfing, and explore this region’s fabulous food scene.

Camilo Beach Best Algarve Beaches

Camilo Beach | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Marinha Beach Algarve

Marinha Beach

Today, return to Lisbon, either by car or by train. Alternatively, you can look into a flight home from Faro, which would save you the journey back to Lisbon, giving you even more time on the coast.

Portugal Travel Guide

10 Day Portugal Itinerary #5

Porto, Douro Valley, Monsanto & Central Portugal

This itinerary explores a few of Portugal’s must-see places as well as some smaller, off-the-beaten-path towns and castles. This is a great itinerary for foodies, wine lovers, those that prefer smaller, less touristy sights, and those on a second or third trip to Portugal.

For those with more than 10 days in Portugal, you can combine this itinerary with itinerary #4, getting a bigger tour of continental Portugal.

You will need to rent a car for this itinerary, which makes it easier to visit the Douro Valley and many of the small towns that come in the second half of the itinerary.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary: Porto, Douro Valley & Monsanto

Day 1: Porto Day 2: Porto Day 3: Porto Day 4: Braga & Guimarães Day 5: Douro Valley Day 6: Douro Valley Day 7: Serra da Estrela Nature Park & Monsanto Day 8: Monsanto to Nazaré Day 9: Nazaré Day 10: Nazaré to Porto or Lisbon

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map Douro Valley

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map: Porto, Douro Valley and Central Portugal

Days 1, 2 & 3: Porto

Three days in Porto may look like a lot, but this town is packed with charm, fantastic sights to see, wine cellars and places to go port wine tasting, and some amazing restaurants.

If you are arriving from overseas, the first day can be challenging, so with 3 days, you can take your time and recover from being jetlagged, without feeling like you are in a race.

Take a look at our article 2 Days in Porto to help you plan your time and our Porto Bucket List for a big list of things to do in Porto.

RENTAL CAR: Pick up your rental car on day 1 at the airport (most expensive but also the most convenient option, but it will be parked for the first few days in Porto), on the morning of day 4 (to use it on the day trip to Braga and Guimarães), or on day 5 (the day you leave for the Douro Valley).

Day 4: Braga & Guimarães Day Trip from Lisbon

Today, day trip to Guimarães and Braga, either using public transportation or your rental car. Having a rental car will save you a little bit of time. Plan your day trip using the recommendations in our Guide to Braga and Guide to Guimarães.

Guimarães Portugal

Guimarães | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Days 5 & 6: Douro Valley

On the morning of day 5, check out of your Lisbon hotel, pick up your rental car if you don’t have one yet, and drive to the Douro Valley (100 km, 1.5 hours).

You have today and tomorrow for sightseeing and wine tasting in the Douro Valley.

We will be publishing guides to the Douro Valley, but in the meantime, some of our favorite experiences were lunch at Quinta do Tedo, lunch at Quinta de la Rosa, the views from Quinta do Seixo (Sandeman), and wine tasting at Quinta da Pacheca and Quinta de Santa Eufemia.

The Six Senses is the best place to stay in the Douro Valley. This 5 star hotel is located inside of a renovated 19th century manor house. They have an onsite spa, multiple restaurants, an outdoor pool, and wine tastings. We ate dinner several times at the Vale de Abraão Restaurant.

Douro Valley Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Six Senses, Douro Valley

We had a long stay in the Douro Valley and we also stayed at Quinta da Pousada . This very small property is located in the hills above Peso da Régua. We also had an excellent experience here and recommend it for those who want more of a local experience. You can have a home cooked dinner, which we opted for, and it was very good.

Day 7: Serra da Estrela Nature Park & Monsanto

Today is a day of scenic drives, ancient castles, and hilltop medieval towns.

The day starts with a scenic drive, as you leave the Douro Valley. The amazing views continue with another scenic drive through Serra da Estrela Park to the highest point on mainland Portugal. Spend an hour or two in the tiny hilltop town of Sortelha and then continue to Monsanto. You have the options to add on visits to a few more castles.

Castle of Penedono

This is optional, but from the Douro Valley, you can make the Castle of Penedono your first stop. This small medieval castle is fun to explore and takes less than 30 minutes of your time. Adding on the castle adds 45 minutes of driving time plus additional time to visit the castle. For those who like visiting castles, it is worth it. But there is a second castle on the list plus two really interesting hilltop towns, so you could skip this to save your time.

Penedono Castle

Castle of Penedono | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Serra de Estrela Park

Serra da Estrela is the highest mountain range in mainland Portugal. You can drive to the highest point (1,993 meters/6,539 feet) to the Torre, a wide plateau that sits at the summit of the highest mountain. It’s a scenic drive as you cross over the mountain range. At Torre, there are a few cafes where you can get a snack or lunch, but don’t expect anything fancy.

Nossa Senhora da Boa Estrela | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Nossa Senhora da Boa Estrela, Serra Estrela Nature Park

Castelo de Belmonte

This castle is located in the town of Belmonte, which sits to the east of Serra da Estrela Park. Again, this is optional and very quick to visit. We liked the Castle of Penedono more, so if you only want to visit one castle today, we recommend Penedono. The town of Belmonte is a good place to get a bite to eat.

Belmonte Castle

Castle of Belmonte

Sortelha is a hilltop medieval village located 25-minutes from Belmonte. We loved exploring this town, with its medieval walls you can walk and views from the highest tower. A visit here lasts about an hour. We were here mid-afternoon and not much was open in the way of food, so if you haven’t had lunch, make sure you get food before leaving Belmonte.

Sortelha Castle | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Sortelha Castle | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Sortelha Portugal

Walking the castle walls in Sortelha

The big finale of the day is Monsanto. This tiny town is famous for its gigantic boulders. Stone houses are sandwiched between and under these boulders, making this one of the most unique villages to visit in Europe.

Get settled in your hotel, have dinner, and enjoy exploring the quiet streets. We recommend staying in Old House or Sun Set House (both of these are in town) or Bode Country House (outside of town).

Monsanto Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Monsanto | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Monsanto Castle

Monsanto Castle | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 8: Monsanto to Nazaré

Spend the first part of today exploring Monsanto. Midday, drive west to Nazaré. Before getting to Nazaré, you have the option to visit Tomar, Fátima, Batalha Monastery, and/or Alcobaça Monastery.

In the late afternoon, check in to your hotel and have dinner in Nazaré. For hotel and restaurant recommendations, and a list of things to do, read our Nazaré Guide. You will spend two nights in Nazaré.

Day 9: Nazaré

You have a full day in Nazaré, which gives you plenty of time to explore the town and see the giant waves. A full day gives you time to relax on the beach or day trip to nearby places, such as Batalha and Alcobaça Monasteries or even Óbidos.

Praia da Nazare

Nazaré | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 10: Nazaré to Porto or Lisbon

Today, travel to Porto, completing the loop, or to Lisbon. This sets you up for your flight home or your next destination.

How to Get Around Portugal

There is a very handy network of buses and trains in Portugal. You can get to most towns and cities using public transportation. There are a few areas where having a car is ideal, such as the Douro Valley, the Algarve, and eastern Portugal, where the public transportation network is not as extensive.

There are two types of trains in Portugal: the high-speed Alfa Pendular trains and the slower regional trains. The Alfa Pendular train is a great way to connect cities that sit far apart, such as Lisbon to Porto, Lisbon to the Algarve (Albufeira and Lagos), and Porto to the Algarve.

Learn more about the trains on the official website (which is very easy to use) and Rail Ninja (which has a lot of useful information about using the trains in Portugal).

The regional buses are very useful for day trips from Lisbon and Porto as well as getting around the Algarve if you don’t have a car.

Having a rental car is great for exploring the areas outside of Lisbon and Porto. These two cities are challenging to drive in, and a car is not necessary to get around these cities, so if you will be spending most of your time in Lisbon and Porto, there is no need to rent a car. Having a rental car is beneficial if you plan to visit the Algarve, the Douro Valley, and eastern Portugal.

For information on renting a car, including rental car fees, drop fees, and things to know ahead of time, take a look at our article Important Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Europe.

Designing Your Own Portugal Itinerary

These Portugal itineraries are a great starting point for designing your own custom itinerary. For more tips and tricks to help you plan the perfect trip, consider reading this article:

7 Things to Know When Planning Your First Trip to Europe

To see all of our articles about Portugal, take a look at our Portugal Travel Guide. For more great itineraries in Europe and around the world, visit our Travel Itineraries page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days do you need in Portugal?

At a minimum, plan on spending 7 days in Portugal. This gives you just enough time to visit Porto or Lisbon, to visit one city plus do a few day trips, or to visit one city and spend a few days in the Algarve. Adding 3 days, for a full 10 days in Portugal, makes a big difference and you can see and do a lot more with that extra time. If you want to thoroughly explore continental Portugal, plan on spending 3 to 4 weeks here.

When is the best time to visit Portugal?

The best time to visit Portugal is late April to early June and mid-September to early November. During this time, the weather is pleasant and crowds are manageable. Summer is peak season with the busiest months being July and August. During this time, expect high prices for hotels and crowded beaches and landmarks. Winter is the off season. Crowds are low and hotel prices are cheap. If you don’t mind cool temperatures and cloudy skies, this is still a very nice time to visit Portugal.

What are the best things to do in Portugal?

The top 3 places to visit in Portugal are Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve. Sintra is the most popular day trip from Lisbon. The Douro Valley is a famous wine region in northern Portugal. There are also many towns and historical sites to visit, such as Óbidos, Nazaré, Fátima, Coimbra, Braga, Guimarães, Monsanto, Évora, Cascais, Cabo da Roca, and Alcobaça and Batalha Monasteries.

If you have any questions about how to play your 10 day Portugal itinerary, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Portugal & Europe

EUROPE ITINERARIES: Check out our article 10 Days in Europe: 10 Amazing Itineraries for 10 different ways to visit the best places in Europe. And if you have less time, check out our guide to 25 Ways to Spend One Week in Europe.

EUROPE TRAVEL INSPIRATION: For more great ideas on where to go in Europe, check out our article 30 Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: For more information about the camera gear we carry, check out our Travel Photography Gear Guide.

Read all of our articles about Portugal in our Portugal Travel Guide.

More 10 Day European Itineraries

If you are looking for more ideas on how to spend 10 days in Europe, these itineraries may interest you:

  • 10 Days in Europe: 1o Itineraries for Your Next Trip
  • 10 Days in Italy: Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre & Venice
  • 10 Days in Greece: Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos & Athens
  • 10 Days on Iceland’s Ring Road
  • 10 Days in Central Europe: Budapest, Vienna & Prague
  • 10 Days in Northern Norway & the Lofoten Islands
  • 10 Day Scotland Itinerary: Edinburgh, Glasgow & the Isle of Skye
  • 10 Days in Ireland: The Ultimate Irish Road Trip

10 Day Lisbon Portugal Itinerary

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Guimaraes Travel Guide Portugal

Love reading about your travels and seeing all the beautiful photos.

We are a group of 6 adults and we’re planning a 2 week road trip from the north to south of Portugal from about 20th of May. We will probably use your 10 day itinerary from Porto to Algarve as a starting point.

Do you have any recommendations for rental cars from Lisbon airport? Also do you have any information about health spas there?

Thank you so much, Yvonne

Avatar for Julie

Hello Yvonne. That’s great that you will have 2 weeks in Portugal! We rented our car for our trip at the Lisbon airport with Avis (Avis has been our go-to lately). You could also price out the other major rental car companies, such as Hertz, Sixt, National, etc. We don’t have experience with health spas in Portugal, however, we did spend one wonderful day at the spa at the Six Senses in Douro Valley. If you have plans to visit the Douro Valley, you could look into staying a night or two here, wine tasting and getting your spa time. Let me know if you have more questions. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Michael

Hi, can you advise if it too aggressive to cover ponta da piedade and cabo de Sao Vicente the same day?

Hello Michael. I think it is very doable to visit both on the same day. If you spent two and a half hours at Ponta da Piedade , walking the trails and spending a short amount of time on Camilo Beach, and started at 8 am, you would have the entire afternoon and evening at Cabo de Sao Vicente. That’s a great place to watch the sunset so the timing would work out. But for Ponta da Piedade, you’d have to choose between walking the trails or taking a boat tour; you wouldn’t have time for both (we liked the trails more). Cheers, Julie

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Groups Are A Trip

21 Most Beautiful Cities in Portugal for a Group Trip

D espite being a relatively small country, Portugal is one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe. Here you can find many spectacular things to see and do. Even if you were to travel the country for an entire year, there are enough gorgeous locales to visit a different pretty place every day! Cities built with colorful tiled streets, volcanic islands where nature reigns supreme, charming wine regions, coastal villages that feel like fairytales, and centuries-old castles are just a few of the landscapes you can expect to find in this beautiful country. Here is the ultimate list of the most beautiful cities in Portugal to include on your itinerary.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. Please check out our  disclosure policy  for more details. Thank you for your support!

Most Beautiful Places in Portugal

1. the algarve.

Millions of tourists visit the Algarve region of Portugal every year and for good reason. While technically not a city, this region on the coastline of southern Portugal is famous for its sandy beaches, clear waters, and white-washed beach towns. Faro is the biggest city in the Algarve and Lagos is also a gateway city. Many travelers like to stay in the resorts and villas in smaller villages during the summer months for their big annual vacation.

Spend your days lounging at the beach or by the pool or rent a car and take a road trip along the dramatic coast. Enjoy the scenic, spectacular views along the cliffs, hike around the sea stacks, try water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, and hit up a vineyard or two. 

It’s impossible to list the most beautiful places in Portugal without including Lisbon! Located on the Tagus River, the Portuguese capital city is a wonderful example of how picturesque the cities are in this country. Despite its many hills (like Rome and Athens, there are at least seven), Lisbon has a fairly compact and walkable historical center which you will fall head over heels in love with.

Lisbon’s striking architecture spans the centuries, but it’s the vibrant Moorish-tiled buildings along the narrow streets of the Alfama neighborhood that will captivate you. City squares like Praça do Comércio and Praça Dom Pedro IV will also make an impression. And of course there are the charming old yellow trams that maneuver through the city center. 

Although you may not be a fan of Lisbon’s hills, the city offers many incredible vantage points. Don’t miss an opportunity to witness spectacular views out to sea. Head to Castelo de São Jorge and ride up the Elevador Santa Justa to see across Lisbon’s rooftops.

A day trip to Sintra should be on your Portugal itinerary . It is only a short drive or bus ride on a guided tour from Lisbon . You can easily visit two of the most beautiful places in Portugal on the same vacation!

Located on the coast, Sintra is a gorgeous small town in a natural park. It’s the perfect blend of seaside charm and fairy tale architecture. It feels as though you’re walking inside the pages of a storybook.

Sintra is famous for its many medieval castles and palaces, including the Royal Palace of Pena, a stunning 19th-century palace that is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. Its bright yellow and red facade makes it a true gem and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Aside from visiting the Palace of Pena, there are plenty of other gorgeous things worth checking out in Sintra during your visit. The Quinta de Regaleira is another jewel, especially if you love architecture and wouldn’t mind spending several hours exploring the mansion and its perfectly manicured gardens and secret passageways.

For Moorish architecture, make sure to visit the Castelo dos Mouros, which is hidden away in the mountains and boasts the ruins of an Arabian palace.

As the country’s second-largest city, Porto is one of northern Portugal’s most important cultural hubs and one of the most beautiful cities. This city on the Atlantic coast is a great place to visit as an alternative to Lisbon if you’ve already visited the capital. The city of Porto is small and easy to navigate, which makes it a treat to visit for those who love strolling through picturesque streets and alleys. 

The main attractions include the Clérigos Church with its landmark bell tower, the bridges over the Douro River to Vila Nova de Gaia, and several other historical monuments that date back to the Middle Ages.

Some of the best things to do in Porto include exploring the Igreja de São Francisco, the Sé Cathedral, and the Mercado do Porto Belo. Porto is, unsurprisingly, the home of port wine so you’ll also find many dark and cozy port wine cellars dotted all around the historic center.

5. Douro Valley

If you  really  love wine and port, you should visit Portugal’s most famous and beautiful wine region. The Douro Valley encompasses Porto and Douro around the River Douro where the region gets its name. They are two of the biggest wine-producing areas in the country. Only port produced in either of these gorgeous locations can be labeled port wine! It’s a lush, green landscape with acres of wine terraces stretching along the rolling hills as far as the eye can see.

Aside from port, the vineyards at Douro Valley also produce rich, unfortified wines. Rabigato, Tinta Cao, Viosinho, Tinta Barroca, and Touriga France are just a few of the varietals that hail from the area. You can tour the vineyards , go wine tasting, and soak up the views.

Some of the most beautiful places in Portugal aren’t the major cities or anywhere on the mainland, they’re the gorgeous Portuguese Islands! Madeira is an archipelago of four islands off the coast of Morocco. The largest island is a popular coastal destination known for its subtropical climate and volcanic landscapes with lots of rugged high cliffs and beautiful beaches. Some of the best places to visit in Madeira include the island’s largest city Funchal and Porto Moniz. 

On the coast of Porto Moniz, you’ll discover natural, volcanic swimming pools that were formed when strong tides hit the cliffs. Bathing in these waters is a truly unique experience.

The hillside town of Funchal is known for the beautiful garden of Jardim Botânico da Madeira and Monte Palace Tropical Garden high in the mountains. This beautiful city is the best base for nature lovers to explore the rest of the natural wonders of Madeira on day trips.

7. Azores Islands

Speaking of islands and nature lovers, the Azores is a beautiful bucket-list destination for all adventurous travelers. While officially part of Portugal, the Azores is an archipelago of nine volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They sit halfway between Europe and North America.

Despite some architectural influences, it’s worlds away from the Portuguese mainland. The Azores is perfect if you love lush green yet rugged landscapes and outdoor activities. If you find beauty in built-up cities and skyscrapers, this is not the destination for you!

Some of the amazing things to do in the Azores include caving, whale watching, dolphin spotting, snorkeling, swimming in volcanic hot springs, and hiking. São Miguel Island is the largest island in the Azores and two of the best hot springs to check out are Poca da Dona Beija Hot Springs and Terra Nostra Hot Springs. Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores archipelago, is a great base for exploring the island.

8. Peneda-Gerês National Park

Spanning a whopping 175,000 acres on the northern Spanish border, Peneda-Gerês is the only national park in the country. This is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal and a good place to visit to escape the cities and heavy tourist crowds in the summer.

Hiking, rafting, rock climbing, zip-lining, and waterfall hunting are just some of the outdoor activities you can try at Peneda-Gerês National Park. Wildlife here is spectacular as you can spot wolves, deer, boar, badgers, otters, and wild horses. Always keep your eyes open while hiking or find a local guide who will be able to show you all the hot spots.

Peneda-Gerês National Park is also a fantastic place to discover a unique side of Portuguese village life. It’s home to dozens of granite villages that haven’t changed much since the 12th century.  These villages are inhabited by residents who live a traditional way of life and you’ll see most women wearing black and shepherding farm animals without heavy machinery.

Not as popular as Porto or Lisbon, Coimbra is another important city in Portugal. Its rich history and beautiful architecture make it a worthy addition to this list. It’s a little more off the usual tourist trail but its student population keeps it lively.

Coimbra was the capital of Portugal from 1139 until 1260. It is home to the University of Coimbra which dates to 1290, making it one of the oldest universities in the world. While newer parts of this Portuguese city look fairly plain and industrial, stick to the labyrinthine streets of the Old Town and you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.

This small city is also famous for being the final resting place of the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques. You can visit his tomb (as well as the tomb of his successor) at the Santa Cruz Church. This 12th-century Catholic place of worship boasts intricate stonemasonry and examples of Portugal’s famous blue and white tiles. Coimbra’s two cathedrals – Sé Velha and the New Cathedral – are also incredible examples of architecture from different periods. 

Located on the Costa do Prata, Nazaré is a popular seaside resort town known for its namesake beach and Praia do Norte beach. It draws thousands of tourists every summer who want to sunbathe on Nazaré’s white, soft sandy beaches and surf on the enormous waves. Its strong current is due to an underwater geomorphological phenomenon known as the Nazaré Canyon which creates epic waves.

Although this is a popular destination for water sports lovers, there are many other things to do in Nazaré and dozens of reasons why it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal.

This former fishing village has retained its charm despite the many resorts. Hike up to Farol da Nazaré to find a photogenic red lighthouse and sensational views along the rugged cliffs and coastline. Many visitors love hiking up Monte de São Bartolomeu for views over the entire town and visiting the sea cave of Forno de Orca. 

Founded by the Romans in 16 BC, Braga boasts over 2,000 years of history. It is one of the oldest cities, if not  the  oldest city, in Portugal. It’s located just north of Porto and is known for its beautiful Catholic chapels, cathedrals, and religious art museums. 

One of the must-see religious structures is the Bom Jesus Staircase climbing up to the church on top of Bom Jesus do Monte. This is an incredible viewpoint across the city and countryside. There’s also a manicured formal garden next to the staircase and an elevator if you have limited mobility.

The staircase itself is made up of stone with parts painted white and has 577 steps in a zig-zag pattern. It’s supposed to depict the ascent to heaven and it’s quite a beautiful sight.

Are you looking for another tourist attraction to visit in Braga? Arco da Porta, Jardim de Santa Barbara, Igreja Misericordia, and Braga Cathedral are also well worth visiting.

12. Serra da Estrela Natural Park

While not technically a national park, Serra da Estrela Natural Park is a nature reserve. It is the largest area of protected land in the country. This mountainous region boasts the highest point in mainland Portugal, Torre Trig or Torre Serra da Estrela, which is 6,538 ft tall. It’s not a mountain peak but rather a stone marking the highest point of a plateau. 

While you might think the best time to visit Serra da Estrela Natural Park is in the summer when the flowers bloom and the hiking trails open, that’s not necessarily the case. This is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal because it’s high enough for snowfall in winter and there’s even a ski resort! Granted, it doesn’t have the dramatic slopes of the Swiss Alps but with the lakes and the clear sky, it’s a unique and gorgeous part of the country.

Sintra is a fantastic day trip destination from Lisbon but Óbidos is another great choice. For centuries, it was owned by the reigning queen of Portugal, until 1282 when it was gifted to Queen Isabel upon her marriage. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal because it’s one of the best examples of walled medieval towns in the country.

Because it’s a walled city, there are naturally lots of grand gates like the Porta da Vila. Castelo de Óbidos is a medieval castle that sits on a hill in Óbidos dating back to the 9th century. It’s been so well-preserved that you can book hotel rooms to stay in this castle ! Wander around Óbidos and you’ll love the cobblestone lanes, traditional white townhouses, and flower boxes on every window.

14. Peniche

Open up Google Maps, search for Peniche, and you’ll instantly understand why this coastal town  must  be one of the most beautiful places in Portugal. It’s practically all coastline with dreamy sea views in every direction.

Historically, it was a fishing village but today it draws beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts looking for surfing, windsurfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, and diving opportunities.

One of the most beautiful parts of the town is the well-preserved Cabo Carvoeiro Lighthouse which sits next to the rocky cliffs. Peniche’s best beaches are those on the north coast: Praia da Gambôa, Praia de Peniche de Cima, and Praia Baleal Norte. Take the ferry out to the UNESCO-certified Berlengas Islands where you may be able to spot octopus and manta rays.

Portugal has 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Évora Old Town is one of them. This partially-walled medieval city is home to several historic buildings from different periods, including a Roman temple.

Traditional white townhouses surround the 18th-century cathedral with an accessible roof where you can gaze out at this pretty city. This church is next to Templo Romano Évora which is a ruined temple built for Emperor Augustus 2,000 years ago. The chilling Chapel of Bones and a 16th-century aqueduct are among the varied collection of beautiful structures in Évora.

Just because Fátima is most famous for its connection to a certified miracle, doesn’t mean that it’s not also beautiful! In 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared to three peasant children on a pasture just outside of this village. In Portugal, the Virgin Mary is known as Fátima hence the name of the village. 

Unsurprisingly, there are lots of picturesque religious statues, churches, and sanctuaries as this is a popular place of pilgrimage. The Parish Church of Fátima is a quaint but well-cared-for church, although it doesn’t hold a candle to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Nettle on top of the mountain outside of the village.

For a country with so much coastline, you would think that there would be more canals like those found in the Netherlands and Belgium. Aveiro, just south of Porto, is one of the most distinguished canal-laden cities so it’s also a unique and one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal.

Make the most of the waterways by traveling in style on a  barco moliceiro.  This is a colorful boat used for harvesting seaweed but also for ferrying tourists up and down the canal. The Cathedral of Aviero has a beautiful bell tower, and the city center is characterized by the most grand Art Deco buildings. Aviero is a mish mash of such different styles and eras, but it pulls it off!

18. Cascais

Just south of Sintra and west of Lisbon, Cascais is a coastal resort city known for its beaches, and marina, and for being one of the most expensive areas to live in Portugal.

Cascais made a name for itself in the fishing industry but today it’s all about real estate. You can lap up the opulence of Cascais by strolling along the harbor and admiring the expensive yachts. Make time to enjoy the fountains, palm trees, and beautiful beaches like Praia da Ribeira de Cascais.

19. Amarante

Located between Porto and the Douro Valley, Amarante is one of the oldest settlements in Portugal (founded in 360 BC) and is surrounded by lush, green vineyards. It’s a small city of only around 11,000 people, yet has some of the most stunning medieval, Roman, and Renaissance architecture.

The  pièce de résistance  of Amarante is the Ponte de São Gonçalo bridge over the Tâmega River. It connects the southern half of the city with the incredible Baroque 16th-century church, Igreja de São Gonçalo. 

Forget the Palace of Versailles and Buckingham Palace, Mafra boasts one of the most extravagant and largest palaces in Europe. It’s the most important example of baroque architecture in Portugal measuring almost 4 hectares with 1,200 rooms. This 18th-century building alone is one of the reasons you should visit Mafra. It even has its own colony of bats!

The reason why Mafra has such a grand palace is because it’s located in the countryside, not far from Lisbon, next to prime hunting locations. The monarchy built Mafra National Palace as a second home for the monarchy and included a Franciscan Friary as well as a library and church. 

Ask anyone who has visited Marvão and they will tell you that this is one of the most impressive, spectacular villages in the country. Located on a hill in the Alentejo region of Portugal , this village is protected by a medieval wall and an intact fortress built in the 8th century by a Muslim knight. This place is a fantastic stop-off during a road trip through Portugal if you’re looking for tranquility, beautiful gardens, and incredible hilltop vistas. 

Don’t Miss the Most Beautiful Cities in Portugal on Your Next Trip

As you can see from this long list, there are lots of absolutely stunning cities, towns, and regions in this country. It includes only the most beautiful cities in Portugal but it wouldn’t have been difficult to keep going!

Whether you’re looking for beautiful beaches, vibrant, historic, and colorful cities, or the most dramatic areas of lush natural beauty, Portugal has you covered. You should have plenty of inspiration for your Portugal itinerary to help you plan your next trip to the Iberian peninsula!

The post 21 Most Beautiful Cities in Portugal for a Group Trip appeared first on Groups Are A Trip .

Whether you are looking for quaint vineyards or vibrant cities, Portugal doesn't disappoint. These are the most beautiful cities in Portugal you will want to visit on your next trip!

Carnivals in Portugal: the best places to celebrate in 2024

Carnivals in Portugal:

Carnival in Portugal is a lively and colourful celebration that takes place in the days leading up to Lent, usually in February or March. The exact dates vary each year as they are determined by the Catholic liturgical calendar. Carnival is a time of revelry, music, dance, and elaborate costumes, marking the last chance for people to indulge in festivities before the more solemn period of Lent begins. When is carnival in Portugal in 2024? Celebrations are set to take place during the first 2 weeks of February this year.

This means that everyone is getting ready to celebrate Carnival and so should you. Even though the weather in Portugal is still quite cold, the temperatures will rise thanks to the music, samba dancers , outrageous costumes and the famous caricatures, Cabeçudos and Matrafonas that fill the streets during these festive days and weeks. You don’t have to go to Rio de Janeiro, Venice or Tenerife to enjoy some of the best Carnivals in the world because Portugal has a lot to offer.

Stick around and find out more about these 5 Carnival destinations in Portugal and get ready to party in 2024!

  • Carnaval do Funchal, Madeira
  • Carnaval de Loulé, Faro
  • Carnaval de Ovar, Aveiro
  • Carnaval de Alcobaça, Leiria
  • Carnaval de Torres Vedras, Lisbon

Carnaval do Funchal , Madeira

Madeira

Carnaval do Funchal in Madeira is one of the most famous and vibrant Carnival celebrations in Portugal. Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal located in the Atlantic Ocean, is known for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and lively festivities. The Carnaval do Funchal is an annual event that attracts both locals and tourists, featuring a unique blend of traditional and contemporary elements. So, if you are willing to hop on a plane, Funchal is an amazing destination to celebrate Carnival in the sun. The weather is warm , the city is full of life and everyone gets involved in the festivities.

One of the highlights of Carnaval do Funchal is its spectacular parades. Elaborate floats, colorful costumes, and lively music characterise the processions that wind through the streets of Funchal. The parades often feature a mix of traditional themes, modern designs, and cultural representations, the most famous ones being the Grande Cortejo Alegórico (The Big Parade) and the Cortejo Trapalhão (Clumsy Parade). 

And while you're there, make sure you try the local wine , Vinho da Madeira , and the famous ponchas and the local espetadas (meat skewers). 

  • Dates : 7th - 18th February 2024
  • Find property for sale in Funchal, Madeira
  • Find long-term rentals in Funchal, Madeira

Carnaval de Loulé , Faro

In the south of the country you can find one of the most important Carnivals in Portugal. Since Loulé is located in the Algarve region, the weather is usually a bit more party-friendly but, nevertheless, no matter what the weather, people will always go outside to celebrate.

Each year, Carnaval de Loulé adopts a specific theme that sets the tone for the celebrations. The themes can range from historical and cultural references to more whimsical and imaginative concepts . Participants, including local groups, schools, and organisations, incorporate these themes into their costumes and floats, showcasing their creativity and artistic flair.

If you are planning a visit to Loulé’s Carnival, make sure to save a few days for a quick trip to some of the other cities in the Algarve such as Vilamoura, Albufeira and Portimão.

  • Dates : 9th - 13th February 2024
  • Find property for sale in Loulé, Faro
  • Find long-term rentals in Loulé, Faro

Carnaval de Ovar , Aveiro

Ovar

Carnaval de Ovar, located in the city of Ovar in the Aveiro District of Portugal, is renowned for being one of the most traditional and authentic Carnival celebrations in the country. Ovar's Carnival has a long history, and its festivities are deeply rooted in local customs and cultural heritage.

The Carnival in Ovar is also known locally as "Carnaval Entrudo." The term "Entrudo" refers to the pre-Lenten Carnival period, emphasising the festive nature of the celebration before the more solemn season of Lent begins.

Ovar's Carnival often incorporates satire and social commentary . Floats, costumes, and performances may feature humorous and satirical elements, providing a platform for locals to express their opinions on current events and societal issues.

  • Dates : 20th January - 13th February 2024
  • Find property for sale in Ovar, Aveiro
  • Find long-term rentals in Ovar, Aveiro

Carnaval de Alcobaça , Leiria

The Carnaval de Alcobaça is known has the “most Brazilian” Carnival in Portugal . In a giant tent, set up in front of the Alcobaça Monastery, thousands of people gather to dance and enjoy the sound of samba concerts and famous DJs that attract loads of tourists.

If you are going to go to Alcobaça for Carnival, make time to visit Leiria, Óbidos and Caldas da Rainha, beautiful destinations not far from the city.

  • Dates : 8th - 14th February 2024
  • Find property for sale in Alcobaça, Leiria
  • Find long-term rentals in Alcobaça, Leiria

Carnaval de Torres Vedras , Lisbon

Lisbon

Carnaval de Torres Vedras in the Lisbon District is one of the most renowned and lively Carnival celebrations in Portugal. Torres Vedras is known for its unique and exuberant Carnaval that blends traditional elements with contemporary creativity. Only 40km away from Lisbon, this is known as the biggest and “most Portuguese” Carnival in Portugal. The Matrafonas or Maria Cachuchas – men dressed in drag – are the stars of this party that is unparalleled in the country.

Carnaval de Torres Vedras is famous for its satirical and humorous approach. The festivities often include social and political commentary through the use of elaborate floats, costumes, and performances. Participants use the celebration as an opportunity to express opinions on current events with a touch of humor.

The celebrations date back to the 19th century and mix thousand-year-old satirical traditions with Christian costumes to put on the best show possible. Aside from the Matrafonas or Maria Cachuchas , you can also see the famous Cabeçudos , people dressed in costumes with giant heads.

  • Dates : 9th - 14th February 2024
  • Find property for sale in Torres Vedras, Leiria
  • Find long-term rentals in Torres Vedras, Leiria

Braga, Portugal in the top 10 European cities with the best quality of life

Braga, Portugal in the top 10 European cities with the best quality of life

Braga is one of the 10 European cities with the highest quality of life. A study coordinated by the European Commission reveals that 94 per cent of people living in the municipality consider the city to be a good place to live.

The best places to live in Portugal 2024

The best places to live in Portugal

Where is the best place in Portugal to live? This is the big question on the mind of many people considering making the move in 2024. Portugal is an expat-friendly country with spectacular beaches, charming and safe cities, pretty beach towns and historical fishing villages, and Portugal continues to grow in popularity among expats worldwide. 

Cherry Blossoms in Portugal

Portugal cherry blossoms: visit Fundão Cherry Festival 2024

The arrival of spring is just around the corner and bring with it a burst of life as trees and flowers begin to blossom. If you're a fan of cherry blossoms, you'll be pleased to know that you don't have to journey to Japan to see them. Cherry blossom in Portuguese translates as "flor de cerejeira", and the Portuguese town of Fundão in Castelo Branco boasts a stunning display of cherry trees in full bloom, surrounded by picturesque landscapes, including rolling hills, forests, and rivers. D

Porto

Living in Porto: a complete guide

Known for its historical charm, vibrant cultural life and delicious gastronomy, the city of Porto is an increasingly popular destination. If you're thinking of moving to Portugal's second city, or simply want to know more about it, then you're in the right place. In today's article, we've put together a complete guide with everything you need to know about living in Porto: from living costs, the best areas, activities to do in your free time and all the tools you need to make the most of this ma

Valentine’s Day history and traditions in Portugal

Valentine’s Day history and traditions in Portugal

When is Valentine's Day in Portugal? Around the world, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th of February, Portugal included. Even though this festive day is now viewed as a popular culture festivity which revolves around consumerism, Valentine's Day has a historical background that most people don’t know about. Dia de São Valentim (Valentine's Day in Portuguese) or more commonly Dia dos Namorados is just around the corner. Do they celebrate Valentine's day in Po

Discover Portugal month by month

Discover Portugal month by month: unique activities and experiences all year round

Portugal, with its diversity of landscapes and climate, offers a unique experience every month of the year. From the snowy peaks of Serra da Estrela in January to the vibrant summer festivities and the serene off-season beaches, each moment has its own particular charm. Join us as we explore Portugal month by month, immersing in the rich tapestry of activities and experiences this country has to offer.

Madeira

Living in Madeira: Everything you need to know

An oasis in the Atlantic, Madeira Island has won the hearts of many who are looking for an idyllic place to call home. Located south-west of the Portuguese coast, this is a pearl of the European Union, with stunning landscapes, a mild climate and a rich cultural heritage.

10 Affordable Places To Retire In Portugal

Looking for an affordable retirement destination? From Braga's historic beauty to Setubal's coastal charm, Portugal has you covered!

  • Portugal is a top European destination for budget-friendly retirement, offering a low cost of living and tax benefits.
  • Popular towns like Cascais, Sintra, and Madeira provide scenic, affordable living options for retirees.
  • From beaches to historic sites, Portugal's diverse locations cater to the desires of budget-conscious retirees seeking an enriching lifestyle.

The golden years beckon, promising a well-deserved respite from the daily grind. For many, this translates into a desire for a simpler, more affordable life where relaxation and enjoyment take center stage. Enter Portugal, a sun-drenched destination offering precisely that – a low-cost haven for retirees seeking a high-quality yet budget-friendly lifestyle. From charming small towns to historic cities, Portugal has something for everyone.

Located on the Iberian Peninsula, it boasts over 1,700 kilometers of stunning coastline, a temperate climate, and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. But the allure doesn't stop there. Portugal consistently ranks among the most affordable retirement destinations in Europe, with a low cost of living and favorable tax benefits for retirees. Prepare to be whisked away to picturesque towns, each boasting unique features that cater to the desires of the budget-conscious retiree dreaming of a fulfilling Portuguese adventure.

Cost of living: $1,689, according to LivingCost

A sandy beach next to a body of water in Cascais, Portugal

Located on the scenic Portuguese Riviera, Cascais offers retirees a luxurious and affordable retirement lifestyle. With a monthly cost of living averaging around $1,700, Cascais provides a high-quality living experience without sacrificing leisure and comfort. Retirees in Cascais can enjoy beautiful beaches, visit the stunning Cascais Citadel , and explore the charming historic center. The average rent price in Cascais is $1,200 per month , and affordable neighborhoods include Carcavelos and São Domingos de Rana.

  • Population : 214,124 via CityPopulation
  • Median Age : 44.7 years, according to AdminStat
  • Crime Rate : Low at 23.12 via Numbeo
  • Average Home Price : Between $5,200 and $7,200 per square meter via Numbeo

Cost of living: $1,540, according to NomadList

A mountain with greenery in Madeira, Portugal

Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, offers retirees a unique island lifestyle with average living costs. While the monthly cost of living in Madeira is around $1,500, it is an attractive option for retirees seeking a peaceful and scenic environment. Retirees in Madeira can explore the island's lush landscapes, enjoy mild temperatures year-round, and indulge in local cuisine . Madeira is also known for its vibrant festivals and cultural events . The average rent price in Madeira is $650 per month , and affordable neighborhoods include Funchal.

  • Population : 253,259 via DREM
  • Median Age : 47 years, according to ZhujiWorld
  • Crime Rate : Low at 22.1 via Estatistica
  • Average Home Price : $300,000 and above via MyDolceCasa

Pack layers and waterproof clothing. Madeira's weather can change quickly!

Cost of living: $1,463, according to LivingCost

Sintra medieval town near Lisbon with Mountain View

Sintra medieval town near Lisbon with Mountain View

Nestled in the mountains just outside of Lisbon, Sintra offers retirees a picturesque and affordable retirement destination. With a monthly cost of living averaging around $1,460, Sintra provides a peaceful and historical setting. Retirees can explore the stunning Pena Palace , check out the mystical Quinta da Regaleira , and enjoy the beautiful views from the Moorish Castle . The average rent price in Sintra is $900 per month , and affordable neighborhoods include Agualva-Cacém and Rio de Mouro.

  • Population : 385,606 via CityPopulation
  • Median Age : 42.2 years, according to AdminStat
  • Crime Rate (for Sao Martinho) : Low at 32.39 via Info-Travel
  • Average Home Price : Between $2,600 and $3,700 per square meter via ProperStar

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

How To Spend 2 Days In The Portuguese Resort Town Of Sintra

Cost of living: $1,353, according to livingcost.

An empty street in Mafra, Portugal

Nestled in the countryside just north of Lisbon, Mafra offers a peaceful and affordable retirement option. With a monthly cost of living averaging around $1,350, Mafra provides retirees with a tranquil lifestyle surrounded by nature. Mafra is famous for its stunning Mafra National Palace , a baroque masterpiece, and the nearby Tapada Nacional de Mafra , a nature reserve perfect for leisurely walks and bird watching. The average rent price in Mafra is $823 per month , and affordable neighborhoods include Malveira and Ericeira.

  • Population : 86,515 via CityPopulation
  • Median Age : 42 years, according to AdminStat
  • Crime Rate : Low at 27.3 via Sinteses Estatisticas
  • Average Home Price : Between $2,500 and $3,200 per square meter via Tagus Property

The National Palace of Mafra and other major attractions can draw large crowds, especially during the peak season (summer and holidays). Guests should be prepared for queues and limited space, especially if they travel with young children or have mobility limitations.

6 Setúbal

Cost of living: $1,352, according to livingcost.

Arrábida, hills in Setubal, Portugal

Located just south of Lisbon, Setúbal is a picturesque coastal town that offers a lower cost of living compared to the capital city. The monthly cost of living in Setúbal is around $1,352, making it an affordable option for retirees. Setúbal boasts beautiful beaches, a charming historical center, and easy access to the stunning Arrábida Natural Park . Retirees can enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and exploring the park's diverse flora and fauna. The average rent price in Setúbal is a little over $820 per month , and affordable neighborhoods include Azeitão and Palmela.

  • Population : 123,496 via CityPopulation
  • Crime Rate : Low at 39.7 via Numbeo
  • Average Home Price : Between $2,025 and $2,335 per square meter via Numbeo

5 Guimarães

Cost of living: $1,250, according to livingcost.

A large brick building sitting on a green field in Guimarães, Portugal

Known as the birthplace of Portugal, Guimarães is a historical city that offers retirees a blend of rich heritage and affordable living. With a monthly cost of living averaging around $1,250, Guimarães provides retirees an opportunity to enjoy the country's history and culture without breaking the bank. Guimarães is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites , including the Guimarães Castle and the Dukes of Braganza Palace . The average rent price in Guimarães is $760 per month , and affordable neighborhoods include Azurém and São Sebastião.

  • Population : 156,830 via CityPopulation
  • Median Age : 44.4 years, according to AdminStat
  • Crime Rate : Low at 23.57 via Numbeo
  • Average Home Price : Between $1,500 and $1,950 per square meter via Numbeo

Vatnajokull National Park, river Jokulsa a Fjollum, Northeast Iceland

These 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites Will Leave You Mesmerized In 2023

Cost of living: $1,246, according to livingcost.

An aerial view of Barcelos, Braga, Portugal

Located in the north of Portugal, Braga is a vibrant city with a rich history and a lower cost of living compared to larger cities like Lisbon and Porto. The monthly cost of living in Braga is around $1,246, making it an affordable option for retirees. Retirees in Braga can explore the city's historic center, visit the impressive Braga Cathedral , and enjoy the peaceful Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary. The average rent price in Braga is $750 per month , and affordable neighborhoods include São Vicente and Maximinos.

  • Population : 193,324 via CityPopulation
  • Median Age : 43 years, according to AdminStat
  • Crime Rate : Low at 36.14 via Numbeo
  • Average Home Price : Between $1,750 and $2,800 per square meter via Numbeo

Finding parking in the city center, especially during peak hours, can be challenging. Guests should consider alternative options like public transportation or parking garages if they plan to drive.

3 Portimão

Cost of living: $1,238, according to livingcost.

An ocean in Portimao, Portugal

For retirees seeking a sunny coastal lifestyle, Portimão is an excellent choice. Situated in the Algarve region, Portimão offers beautiful beaches, a mild climate, and a lower cost of living compared to other Algarve towns like Faro and Lagos. The monthly cost of living in Portimão is a little over $1,200, making it an affordable option for retirees. Retirees can enjoy long walks along the beach, indulge in fresh seafood, and explore the historic Portimão Museum . The average rent price in Portimão is $780 per month , and affordable neighborhoods include Alvor and Mexilhoeira Grande.

  • Population : 49,218 via CityPopulation
  • Median Age : 44.2 years, according to AdminStat
  • Crime Rate: Very low at 18.31 via Numbeo
  • Average Home Price : Between $2,500 and $3,000 per square meter via Numbeo

Cost of living: $1,179, according to LivingCost

A scenic river surrounded by trees in Coimbra, Portugal

Home to one of the oldest universities in Europe, Coimbra combines a rich academic heritage with an affordable cost of living. The monthly cost of living in Coimbra is around $1,200, making it an attractive option for retirees. Retirees in Coimbra can explore the historic university buildings, visit the beautiful Joanina Library , and enjoy the scenic views from the University of Coimbra Botanical Garden . The average rent price in Coimbra is $680 per month , and affordable neighborhoods include Santo António dos Olivais.

  • Population : 408,551 via CityPopulation
  • Median Age : 46.6 years, according to AdminStat
  • Crime Rate : Low at 21.16 via Numbeo
  • Average Home Price : Between $1,500 and $3,000 per square meter via Numbeo

Aerial view of Tower of Belem at sunset, Lisbon, Portugal on the Tagus River.

This Country Is Top-Rated For Retirees Based On Its Incredible Health Care Options Alone

1 caldas da rainha, cost of living: $1,098, according to livingcost.

A concrete cathedral in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal

Caldas da Rainha, located in the central-western part of Portugal, offers retirees an affordable and laid-back lifestyle. With a monthly cost of living averaging around $1,100, Caldas da Rainha provides a comfortable retirement option. This destination is famous for its thermal baths, where retirees can relax and rejuvenate. The town also hosts a bustling daily fruit and vegetable market and is known for its ceramics industry. The average rent price in Caldas da Rainha is $585 per month , and affordable neighborhoods include Nossa Senhora do Pópulo and Santo Onofre.

  • Population : 30,442 via CityPopulation
  • Median Age : 46.7 years, according to AdminStat
  • Crime Rate : Very low at 19.2 via Sinteses Estatisticas
  • Average Home Price : $2,300 and above via Numbeo

Portugal offers a range of affordable places for retirees looking to enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling retirement on a budget. Whether guests prefer the coastal charm of Setúbal and Portimão or the historical richness of Guimarães and Sintra, each destination offers a unique blend of affordability, safety, and quality of life !

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COMMENTS

  1. 11 best places to visit in Portugal

    1. Lisbon Best for nightlife Seven iconic hills overlook Lisbon 's postcard-perfect panorama of cobbled alleyways, white-domed cathedrals and grand civic squares - a captivating scene crafted over centuries.

  2. 20 Best Places to Visit in Portugal

    Take your pick of hilltop castles, sunny beaches, and time-worn villages. By Lindsay Cohn Published on May 5, 2023 Photo: Roberto Moiola/Sysaworld/Getty Images France and Spain have long taken...

  3. 28 Unforgettable Things to Do in Portugal: The Ultimate List

    Kayak through the Benagil sea cave Swim in a natural hot spring in the Azores Go hiking at sunrise on Madeira Island Ride a moliceiro boat in the quaint town of Aveiro Go azulejo hunting in Porto Browse the beautiful Livraria Lello bookshop in Porto Explore Tomar, Batalha and Alcobaca, the trio of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Central Portugal

  4. 15 Best Places to Visit in Portugal (Our Picks for 2024)

    The best places to visit in Portugal include Lisbon for its vibrant culture, Porto for its rich history and port wine, and the Algarve for stunning beaches and outdoor adventures. Sintra, known for its fairy-tale palaces, and the Azores, with their breathtaking natural beauty, are also top destinations.

  5. 15 Best Places to Visit in Portugal

    Lets explore the best places to visit in Portugal: 1. Coimbra Source: leoks / shutterstock Coimbra Once the capital of Portugal, this quaint and charming town is a treasure chest of stunning gardens, historical sites, fado music, and dynamic culture.

  6. 17 Best Places to Visit in Portugal (+Map)

    17 Best Places to Visit in Portugal Last updated on February 5, 2024 by Kay Pierce and Becky Griswold Located on the western coast of the Iberian peninsula, Portugal is one of Europe's most visited countries due to its idyllic climate, affordable travel costs and exceptional attractions.

  7. 10 of the best places to visit in Portugal, chosen by readers

    Cabo de São Vicente near Sagres. Photograph: Jacek Sopotnicki/Alamy The dramatic landscapes and pristine beaches of the Sagres peninsula, at the western tip of the Algarve, are a draw throughout...

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    19 Best Places to Visit in Portugal Lisbon Porto Madeirã Nazare Setubal Lagos Faro Braga Sintra Evora Coimbra Portimão Aveiro The Azores Sortelha Vila Real Cascais Amarante Peniche FAQs About Portugal Destinations What is the most beautiful area of Portugal? What part of Portugal should I visit? What is the most beautiful town in Portugal?

  9. 10 Best, Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Portugal

    8. Coimbra. Coimbra, on the banks of the Mondego River, was once Portugal's capital and has an Old Town that dates back to Moorish times. It's also a vibrant university town, with one of Europe's oldest schools, the University of Coimbra, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  10. The 8 best places to visit in Portugal

    1. Northern Portugal Visit for: Stunning natural landscapes and world-famous wines Northern Portugal is renowned for its friendly inhabitants and their love of a good party.

  11. 'Straight out of a fairytale': Portugal's best towns and villages, by

    A Moorish castle - a ubiquitous feature in the towns of southern Portugal - looms overhead. Go there at sunset to watch the light fade over the Aljezur estuary. During the day, drive through the...

  12. 22 Most Beautiful Places in Portugal: The Ultimate List

    The Algarve 4. Estoi 5. Obidos 6. The Douro Valley - Portugal's premier wine region 7. Porto - one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal 8. Cascais 9. Madeira - a wild beauty in Portugal 10. Coimbra 11. Aveiro 12. The Azores 13. Sortelha - one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal 14. Peneda-Geres National Park 15.

  13. 22 Best Places to Visit in Portugal

    1. Lisbon 2. Sintra 3. Porto 4. Évora 5. Óbidos 6. Tavira 7. Parque Natural da Ria Formosa 8. Coimbra 9. Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela 10. Elvas 11. Guimarães 12. Madeira 13.

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  15. Top 100 of the best places to visit in Portugal

    1. Santuário de Santa Luzia The Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (also known as the sanctuary Santuário de Santa Luzia), built at the western end of Monte de Santa Luzia, in Viana do Castelo, is undoubtedly one of the most famous and emblematic monuments in the country.

  16. 23 Beautiful Places to Visit in Portugal

    Coimbra. Portugal's fourth-largest city, Coimbra lies somewhere between Lisbon and Porto. Despite being super convenient to visit (the train from Lisbon to Porto stops in Coimbra), it seems to get the short-end of the stick from most visitors to Portugal, who simply skip Coimbra without giving it another thought!

  17. 15 Best Places To Visit In Portugal (Besides Lisbon)

    10. Faro (Algarve) Faro is one of the best places to visit in Portugal, besides Lisbon. Situated in southern Portugal, the capital of the Algarve region is a perfect destination for beach lovers, fish and seafood enthusiasts, and cultural travelers! The best things to do in Faro include: Arco da Vila.

  18. 40 of the Best Places to Visit in Portugal

    On sunny days, going for a leisurely walk along the riverfront is the perfect way to unwind and soak in small-town Portugal. 10. Fátima. Just a short drive from Tomár, the small town of Fátima is one of Christianity's great pilgrimage sights, welcoming anywhere from 6 to 8 million visitors annually.

  19. The Best Destinations To Visit In Portugal

    Pick your table, load up on sardines and octopus salad and graze away the days until late-night escapades in Lisbon beckon you back. 10. Algarve, for a warm weather escape. The Algarve is one of the best places to go if you like your weather warm, your hiking adventurous and your beaches trendy.

  20. Top 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Portugal

    1. Praia da Marinha There are many beautiful beaches in Portugal but I think this place is famous for a reason! However because of its proximity to the crowded Algarve region, many dismiss the gorgeous beach at Praia da Marinha.

  21. 1-Week Portugal Itinerary: Where to Spend 7 Days in Portugal

    Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon. This 1-Week Itinerary in Portugal starts in the capital of Lisbon. Many cities around the world fly directly to Lisbon. You can fly directly to Lisbon from many US airports, including Miami, Boston, Washington, San Francisco, and New York. One of the oldest cities in western Europe, Lisbon has seen a boom in tourism due ...

  22. Portugal Itinerary: Where to Go in Portugal by Rick Steves

    Rick's Best Two-Week Portugal Trip (by Car) Day 4: Lisbon, or side-trip to Sintra by train (sleep in Lisbon) Day 5: Morning in Lisbon; in the afternoon, pick up car and drive 3 hours to the Algarve (sleep in Salema) Day 7: Side trip to Cape Sagres and more beach time (sleep in Salema) Day 8: Drive 30 minutes to Lagos, then, later in the day ...

  23. 10 Day Portugal Itinerary: 5 Amazing Ideas for Your Trip to Portugal

    The top 3 places to visit in Portugal are Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve. Sintra is the most popular day trip from Lisbon. The Douro Valley is a famous wine region in northern Portugal. There are also many towns and historical sites to visit, such as Óbidos, Nazaré, Fátima, Coimbra, Braga, Guimarães, Monsanto, Évora, Cascais, Cabo da Roca ...

  24. 21 Most Beautiful Cities in Portugal for a Group Trip

    This is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal and a good place to visit to escape the cities and heavy tourist crowds in the summer. Hiking, rafting, rock climbing, zip-lining, and ...

  25. Carnivals in Portugal: the best places to celebrate in 2024

    Stick around and find out more about these 5 Carnival destinations in Portugal and get ready to party in 2024! Carnaval do Funchal, Madeira. Carnaval de Loulé, Faro. Carnaval de Ovar, Aveiro. Carnaval de Alcobaça, Leiria. Carnaval de Torres Vedras, Lisbon.

  26. Tripadvisor names world's best beaches for 2024

    Feb. 21 (UPI) --Travel guide Tripadvisor is listing the best beaches of 2024 -- with many overseas in places like Portugal, Italy and Spain. The online travel guide on Wednesday announced its ...

  27. 10 Affordable Places To Retire In Portugal

    The average rent price in Sintra is $900 per month, and affordable neighborhoods include Agualva-Cacém and Rio de Mouro. Population: 385,606 via CityPopulation. Median Age: 42.2 years, according to AdminStat. Crime Rate (for Sao Martinho): Low at 32.39 via Info-Travel.