Travel to Portugal. 16 travel destinations

Travel to Portugal and the travel tips you need

Travel to Portugal the arguably friendliest country in Europe, a sunny place with amazing historic towns and a blinding white sandy yet dramatic rocky coastline, a wine cellar to sample wine from Porto second largest city in Portugal to red wine from, totally approved food and often named best golf nation in Europe. So much to see and do, not to mention the Azores and Madeira.

Meia Praia beach in Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

Meia Praia beach i Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

You will get a sample of it all below. 

Bordered by Spain in the east and the Atlantic Ocean in the west, Portugal is a country
blessed with dramatic sceneries, fantastic coastlines, and rich history. It might be relatively small in
size compared to Spain, but there’s an abundance of beautiful places in Portugal to explore. Whether you’re into
relaxing beach holidays, city vacations, hiking adventures or wine tourism, Portugal has got
it all!

portugal-map
Portugal is not expensive, it is actually very affordable

Despite its acknowledged charm and growing popularity, Portugal is one of the most affordable
places to visit in Western Europe. It is also among the sunniest European countries with
approximately 300 days of sunshine a year, which makes it a great destination to visit in any
season.
In this article, we’ve listed the 12 most beautiful places in Portugal to help you plan your trip
to this amazingly diverse country.

Travel to Portugal, the most beautiful places

No trip to Portugal is complete without spending some time in its fascinating
capital city Lisbon.

Travel to Portugal and see Lisbon. Lisbon, Rua Augusta arch and tram in the historical center, Portugal.

Travel to Portugal and see Lisbon. Lisbon, Rua Augusta arch and tram in the historical center, Portugal.

Lisbon 1

No trip to Portugal is complete without spending some time in its fascinating
capital city Lisbon.
With its countless colorful buildings, traditional mosaic walkways, romantic
plazas and waterfront promenades, Lisbon is brimming with exciting places to
explore. Some of the most notable attractions in the city’s historic core are the
ancient St. George’s Castle, the neo-gothic Santa Justa elevator and Praça
do Comércio, a huge waterside square lined with restaurants.

Portugal Lisbon Hillside
Thanks to Lisbon’s hilly landscape and fantastic location on the banks of the
Tagus River, the city also offers many great lookouts known as Miradouros
where you can enjoy phenomenal views.
While in Lisbon, visit also the picturesque Belem neighborhood, where you’ll
find the enormous Monument to the Discoveries, the UNESCO-listed
Jerónimos Monastery and the Belem Tower, one of the most famous
landmarks of Lisbon. Make sure to also taste some pastel de nata – a mouth-
watering custard tart born in Belem.

Sintra, Portugal, Europe

Palace in Sintra, Portugal, Europe (near Lisbon)

Sintra 2

Nestled in the Serra de Sintra mountains, this enchanting town is a UNESCO
World Heritage Site and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in
Portugal. Due to its proximity to Lisbon, Sintra makes for a perfect day trip
from the capital city.
Sintra is best known for its awe-inspiring castles and palaces, and the most
famous of them is the Pena Palace (Palácio Nacional da Pena). With its
exquisite brightly colored facade, this 19th-century architectural masterpiece
looks like something straight out of Disneyland.
Another sight that’s well worth a visit is the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira.
This estate houses an eccentric neo-gothic mansion and an intriguing garden
where you’ll find hidden passageways, a mystical Initiation Well, and lots of
symbolism relating to paganism and freemasonry.
Sintra is also home to the Moorish Castle, which has a more tranquil
ambiance as it receives fewer tourists. Built on top of a rocky outcrop, the 9th-
century castle offers panoramic views of Sintra and the surrounding areas.

Porto Portugal transporting Portwine in the old days on the river

Porto in Portugal, transporting Portwine in the old days on the river

Porto 3

Set on the banks of the Douro River in northern Portugal, Porto is the second-
largest city in the country.
Porto, which is also known as Oporto, seduces its visitors with a vibrant
culture, rich history and fascinating architecture. Its baroque churches,
spectacular palaces and neoclassical buildings covered with Azulejo tiles
make every corner here look like a work of art.
Some of the most famous sights to see in Porto are the 18th-century Clérigos
Tower, the monumental Porto Cathedral and Sao Bento Railway Station
decorated with intricate tiles. Be sure to also walk across Dom Luís I Bridge,
which is the most iconic landmark of the city.
Worth a special mention is Porto’s quaint riverside neighborhood Ribeira.
Located in the heart of the city’s historic district, Ribeira is the oldest and the
most picturesque part of Porto with winding medieval alleyways and pastel-
colored townhouses. Here, you’ll find many charming restaurants and bars,
perfect for enjoying a glass of Port wine and listening to traditional Fado
music.

Madeira, Coastline near Santana, Portugal

Madeira, Coastline near Santana, Portugal

Madeira 4

Next up on our list of the most beautiful places in Portugal is Madeira Island.
Lying in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1000 km off the coast of mainland Portugal,
Madeira is a sub-tropical island home to many natural wonders.
Because of its exotic vegetation, humid climate and dramatic volcanic
landscapes, it’s hard to believe that this is Europe! In fact, for these same
reasons, Madeira is sometimes called the Hawaii of Europe.
With its black sand beaches, lava rock pools, cloud forests, waterfalls and
jaw-dropping hiking trails, Madeira is a dream to explore if you’re a nature
lover. On top of that, its rich marine life makes it a great destination for scuba
diving and you can spot rays, dolphins, whales and many other species here.
However, the island is not only for adventure seekers and outdoor
enthusiasts. Madeira’s capital Funchal is an important port of call for cruise
ships and is known for its historical sights, beautiful gardens, wine festival and
flower festival. Funchal is also famous for its New Year’s Eve fireworks show,
which according to Guinness World Records is the largest in the world.

the Azores in the middle of the Atlantic

the Azores in the middle of the Atlantic


The Azores 5

Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean,1500 km west of continental
Europe, the Azores archipelago is an autonomous region of Portugal. The
nine volcanic islands that make up the Azores are full of little fishing villages,
verdant pastures and breathtaking landscapes perfect for hiking. It is an
excellent destination to visit for those interested in nature and sustainable
tourism.
As you explore these islands, you’ll come across majestic waterfalls, volcanic
lakes, sandy beaches and even thermal springs that you can bathe in. The
archipelago is also one of the largest whale sanctuaries in the world so there’s
a high chance that you’ll see these giant creatures swimming in the pristine
blue waters around the islands.
The largest and most popular island in the Azores is São Miguel but Terceira,
São Jorge and Flores Islands are definitely also worth a visit.

Beach in Lagos, Algarve Portugal

Beach in Lagos, Algarve Portugal

Lagos 6, on the Algarve coast, South of Portugal

Lagos is an old seaside town in the scenic Algarve region, which is
considered one of the most beautiful places in Portugal.

This town is blessed with a magical coastline sprinkled with impressive rock
formations, sandstone cliffs, sea caves and beaches with golden sand. In the
summer months, Lagos can get a little busy as the rugged beauty of its coast
attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. But since there are
plenty of beaches to choose from, you’ll always be able to find a secluded
spot if you wish to get away from the crowds.
The historic center of Lagos charms its visitors with medieval cobblestone
streets, authentic restaurants, baroque churches and a well-preserved 17th-
century fort. To experience the modern side of Lagos, head to its lively marina
complex where you’ll find dozens of hotels, bars and waterfront restaurants.

Faro, Portugal

Faro, Portugal


Faro 7

Another wonderful destination in the Algarve region is its capital city Faro.
Compared to Lagos, Faro is much larger and offers a more authentic
Portuguese experience as it receives a lot fewer tourists.
Although the cityscape of Faro is dominated by modern high-rise buildings,
there’s also a charming old town waiting to be explored. Surrounded by
medieval walls, the old town boasts quaint pedestrian streets and various
historical treasures such as the Faro Cathedral, the grandiose Arco da Vila
gateway and the 18th-century Episcopal Palace.
Even though Faro is not located directly on the coast, there are kilometers of
sandy beaches and tranquil islands just a short drive or a ferry ride from the
city. Some of the most beautiful beaches are on Ilha Culatra and Ilha da
Barreta, where you’ll find golden sands, various species of birds and crystal
clear waters great for snorkeling.’

Douro Valley, Portugal, wine country

Douro Valley, Portugal, wine country

The Douro Valley 8, when you travel to Portugal, the great wine country

If you’re passionate about wine, then visiting the Douro Valley should be at
the top of your Portugal bucket list. Located in northern Portugal, not far from
the city of Porto, this scenic wine region is yet another UNESCO World
Heritage Site and offers a lovely break from the bustling cities.
With its traditional villages, verdant valleys and rolling hills covered with vine
trees, the Douro Valley is certainly one of the most beautiful places in
Portugal. The region is home to dozens of charming vineyards, also known as
quintas, that you can visit. They typically offer various on-site tours where
you’ll learn about the history and production of wine and get to taste various
Port wines and table wines.

Apart from visiting vineyards, you can also explore the old lodges where the
Port wine is aged, take a kayak tour or a cruise along the winding Douro River
and go hiking in Douro International Natural Park.

Coimbra city, Portugal

Coimbra city, Portugal


Coimbra 9. on the list Travel to Portugal. See Coimbra´s history and rich charm

Set on the banks of the Mondego River, halfway between Lisbon and Porto, Coimbra is the former capital of Portugal. It is cherished for its rich history and a well-preserved medieval old town brimming with cultural attractions.
Undoubtedly the most famous sight in Coimbra is Velha Universidade – the oldest university in the country. Founded in the 13th century, the university is set on the grounds of a former palace and features an old bell tower, a chapel and the spectacular Biblioteca Joanina, one of the most beautiful baroque libraries in the world.
Other notable attractions in the old town include the imposing Romanesque cathedral Sé Velha, the ornate 12th-century Santa Cruz church and the monumental Sé Nova aka the New Cathedral.
Besides its extensive history, Coimbra also has a vibrant restaurant scene with lots of businesses selling authentic Portuguese food and hosting regular Fado music performances.

Cascais Portugal aerial view of yachts, beach, bars and town

Cascais Portugal aerial view of yachts, beach, bars and town

Cascais 10. When you travel to Portugal for the best beaches

Cascais is an elegant seaside town and a popular beach holiday destination
just 30 kilometers from Lisbon.
From windswept cliffs, sea caves and marvelous beaches to noble mansions
and scenic viewpoints, the rugged coast of Cascais is full of exciting places to
discover. There’s a handful of sandy beaches to choose from but the most
beautiful of them is the small Praia da Rainha with its calm waters and
limestone formations.
Although most tourists visit Cascais for the beaches, the town itself is a nice
place to explore as well. Its lively mosaic-tiled streets are lined with classy
boutiques, cafes and restaurants, and you’ll also find some great museums
and art galleries in the town. For a relaxing afternoon walk, head to the
beautiful Marechal Carmona Park that features vast lawns, sculptures,
fountains and gorgeous peacocks that roam around freely.

11) Peneda-Gerês National Park

Situated close to Portugal’s northern border is the Peneda-Gerês National
Park – the only national park in the country.
With its magnificent mountainous landscape, this 700-square-kilometer park is
a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and offers a variety of hiking opportunities.
The trails take you past crystal clear lakes, granite cliffs, steep valleys,
waterfalls and fascinating natural rock pools that you can swim in.
Besides its many natural marvels, Peneda-Gerês National Park also has
plenty of interesting historical attractions ranging from ancient bridges and
crumbling castles to megalithic tombs and old granite villages. Perhaps one of
the most unique sights in the area is Vilarinho das Furnas – a former village
that was intentionally submerged in order to fill a reservoir. During the dry
season when the water level drops, the ruins of the village become exposed.


Aveiro 12. the Venice of Portugal?


Aveiro is a small postcard-perfect town set on the edge of a coastal lagoon
south of Porto.
Often called the Venice of Portugal, Aveiro is famed for its network of
picturesque canals and brightly colored gondola-like boats known as
moliceiros. In the past, these boats were used for harvesting seaweed but
now serve as one of the town’s biggest tourist attractions.
In the historic center of Aveiro, you’ll find a series of impressive pastel-hued
Art Nouveau buildings. The town is also home to several museums, such as
the Art Nouveau Museum and Aveiro Museum, and a wealth of Portuguese
restaurants selling top-notch seafood dishes.

Wine and dine on your travel to Portugal experience

Road trip in Portugal, the country, the history and the wine

Road trip in Portugal, the country, the history and…the wine

Golf trips to Portugal

Travel to Portugal to play golf? Super idea! Golf in Portugal is year after year named ad the best or one of the best place to go golfing in Europe. The quality of the courses and nature and service is simply outstanding. Not what we say, but what several yearly awards reflect. 

Go golfing in Portugal

Golf vacation in Portugal – perhaps the best golf vacation in Europe?

Visit Portugal, official tourist information

Intro to Portugal at Traveltalk

Map overview

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