The Most Beautiful Destinations to Visit in Portugal
Updated: Feb 24
Do you dream of visiting Portugal without knowing where to go? Thanks to our overview of the most beautiful places to visit in Portugal, all you have to do is book your tickets and set off to discover all the beauty of the country.
Portugal has been a favourite destination for travellers for years and for a good reason: with its magnificent beaches, medieval towns, stunning architectural monuments, wild landscapes, colourful fishing villages and the friendliness of the Portuguese people, it's easy to see why some have made Portugal their favourite destination. To help you decide to go to Portugal, here is our postcard of the most beautiful places to visit in Portugal.
Peneda-Gerês National Park
The Peneda Geres National Park in northwest Portugal is a wilderness paradise for hiking enthusiasts. Granite villages, ruined castles, rivers, and waterfalls make up the scenery! It is the ideal destination for a relaxing and unplugged holiday in Portugal.
Often considered the most Portuguese of Portugal's villages, Monsanto has the particularity of being built on a very steep mountainside. Take the time to lose yourself in these charming alleys, you will love this atypical visit to Portugal!
Many houses were built between huge stones, fused to them as if they were part of the landscape. A trail leads to the top of the mountain, where the imposing castle stands guard over the citadel.
Arcos de Valdevez
Visiting Arcos de Valdevez should be on your list of the best getaways in Portugal. It's just over an hour away from Porto and is a real box of surprises. Get ready to fall in love as you unravel its secrets. Arcos de Valdevez is ideal for a weekend getaway, even better if it's a long one, and a release feels good at any time of the year. Nevertheless, obviously, the best time of the year to visit Arcos de Valdevez is during the hottest months from May to September.
Ponte de Lima
Visiting Ponte de Lima, the oldest town in Portugal, is a pleasant surprise. Bathed by the Lima River, the city and its medieval architecture stand out at first sight.
Viana do Castelo
In the far north of Portugal, almost on the border with Spain, is Viana do Castelo, a destination of good food, lots of history, beaches and a magnificent sanctuary. A program there certainly includes a long walk through the Historical Centre, with colourful houses and flower-filled streets. Among the city's main attractions is the Sanctuary of Santa Luzia, a beautiful and imposing building, with neo-Romanesque and Byzantine details. And, of course, once in Viana do Castelo you can't miss the beautiful beaches, such as Afife and Cabedelo.
Porto is a very pleasant destination to visit! It is a great place to stroll along the quays of the Douro or in the steep streets of the Ribeira District. It is also a place not to be missed by Port wine lovers, who will find many wineries to visit.
Guimarães is one of the main destinations for tourists arriving in the Minho region in Portugal. The city is considered the cradle of Portuguese nationality: it was there that Afonso Henriques, the country's first king, conqueror, and unifier of Portuguese territories, was born. But Guimarães also offers medieval monuments, a small, charming and cosy historic centre, as well as museums, good restaurants, sweets, and conventual, which is an excellent option for a short trip from Porto.
The third-largest city in the country, Braga lies in northern Portugal, surrounded by gentle hills, deep valleys and fertile farms. Although it is known as the 'city of archbishops', it offers much more than just churches, with a charming old town and a lively nightlife for visitors to explore. With over 2000 years of history, Braga is the oldest city in Portugal. Before its foundation by the Romans between 136 B.C. and 14 A.D., there were already Celtic people living in the region who were known as Brácaros.
A beautiful trip. You can enjoy the city, learn about its legends, buy souvenirs (Galo de Barcelos) and enjoy this great round trip (returning via Guimarães). Fast, cheap, good roads, good cafes, beautiful places. I recommend.
In Barcelos, there is no shortage of colourful roosters. There is even the "Monument of the Lord of the Rooster". I think there are at least thirty-two-metre-high sculptures of the "Galo de Barcelos".
The Galo de Barcelos is the symbol of Portugal. This famous rooster is the result of a haunted legend of the city.
Colourful houses in Portugal, a traditional Portuguese beach and good seafood. Costa Nova has a privileged view over the Ria de Aveiro and the Atlantic. A beautiful destination for a getaway in Portugal.
Aveiro is a lively city often referred to as the 'Venice of Portugal' because of its picturesque setting of canals linked by charming bridges and dotted with colourful gondolas and speedboats. Historic sites, beautiful beaches and delicious cuisine also make Aveiro an attractive travel destination.
Walking is the most pleasant way to discover Aveiro, but tour boats and a self-service bicycle system are also available to get around. Aveiro's tourist gems include Aveiro Cathedral, São Gonçalinho Chapel and the Convento de Jesus. They all offer beautiful architecture and artwork.
Serra da Estrela
At the top of Serra da Estrela is the highest point in Portugal, at 1993 m, the only place where it snows in the country. The Rocky Mountains form beautiful landscapes and are also a ski resort.
Whether in winter or summer, the place offers beautiful landscapes and attractions. In winter the attraction is the snow, in summer, the trails and the beautiful mountain scenery are the main attractions.
Coimbra was once the capital of Portugal, served as the stage for tragic passions and still preserves a series of historical objects, Roman ruins, buildings from different architectural periods, fado houses, shops, and good restaurants.
If well planned, in one day it is possible to visit the University of Coimbra, in Alta, and wander the streets of Baixa, where the commerce is concentrated and most of the restaurants. It is possible to say that in a short trip you get to know the main part of Coimbra, but perhaps you will leave feeling that you should have stayed a little longer in the city.
In Nazaré the biggest waves in the world and the official record were surfed. Rodrigo Coxa surfed a giant wave of 24.38 metres in November 2017.
The phenomenon of giant waves usually happens in the European winter, between the months of October, March, and sometimes in April. However, they depend on proper sea conditions, coupled with storms in the North Atlantic and wind direction.
The Nazaré Canyon, where the waves are formed, is a canyon located at the bottom of the sea, which flows into the North beach. It is 227 km long and has a maximum depth of 5 km.
Fatima is a classic destination for religious tourism in Portugal. It is one of the most visited places in Portugal. Even if you are not Christian, it is interesting to visit Fátima and understand the devotion of the people in Portugal.
Óbidos is a small and charming medieval village located 80 kilometres from Lisbon. For five centuries, the village was part of the dowry of the Portuguese queens.
All the buildings are white with coloured bands, there are flowers in the windows, a castle of Roman origin and a wall from the 14th century which surrounds the whole village, and it is possible to walk on part of it, a walk which guarantees beautiful views.
Not to mention the handicraft shops and the stalls selling sour cherry, the traditional drink of Óbidos. We spent half a day in this charming destination that can be done as a short trip from Lisbon. All the information you will find in our post about Óbidos.
Stretching along the banks of the Tagus River near the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal's capital and the largest city rises between seven steep hills, forming an enchanting destination with a warm climate, seductive alleys, quaint shops, Gothic cathedrals, impressive bridges and colourful neighbourhoods, which resonate with the traditional music of the Fado.
One of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon's main attraction is the diversity of its neighbourhoods or Bairros. Among the most popular of these neighbourhoods is Belém, valued for its royal palaces, gardens and historical monuments and sites such as the Hieronymites' Monastery and the Tower of Belém, one of the most visited sites in Portugal. The oldest part of the city is the Alfama, a former Moorish quarter, which stands out for its maze of cobbled streets, rustic architecture, Saint George's Castle and restaurants.
Chiado is the cultural centre with its museums, theatres and concert halls. The Parque das Nações, with its glass and steel buildings and commercial establishments, is the most modern district.
About 40 minutes from Lisbon is Cascais, which was once a fishing village and a refuge for the Portuguese elite and royalty, and today is the seaside resort that Lisboners rush to on hot days. Apart from the beaches, Cascais also has a charming and colourful historic centre, fortresses, palaces and museums. Not to mention the restaurants, specializing in seafood, which have beautiful views and tasty dishes.
Less than an hour from Lisbon lies a totally enchanted and enchanting world! Sintra seems to be straight out of a fairy tale. Amidst its green hills, you will find sumptuous palaces such as the Pena Palace, exuberant castles, ancient ruins such as the Moorish Castle and other Quintas hidden in lush gardens.
Serra da Arrábida
The beaches of Serra da Arrábida are a treasure practically hidden from tourists, all less than 50 kilometres from Lisbon. The scenario is as follows: a hillside full of green contrasting with a transparent, gentle sea in bluish tones. Unlike the beaches of Cascais, the most frequented by the people of Lisbon, there isn't much infrastructure there, just enough for a day on the beach. Something else is at stake in this stretch of the Portuguese coast: the practically untouched nature.
This remarkably well-preserved medieval city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Behind its 14th-century ramparts, it hides many treasures that bear witness to its rich past: its cathedral, its Roman temple, and its Moorish palaces.
Évora is the capital of the Alentejo region, renowned for its well-preserved old town, which is home to over 4,000 historic structures, including ancient Roman walls and temples.
It is one of the largest cities in the Algarve and has museums, historic churches, restaurants, shops, and bookshops. Faro is bathed by the Ria Formosa, a transitional environment between the river and the sea where it is possible to take boat trips. Although not the most popular destination with beachgoers during the Portuguese summer, Faro is a must for those who love history. We recommend a walking tour of the city to discover more of the Arab influence in southern Portugal.
The city of Albufeira is in the district of Faro, in the famous Algarve region, extreme south of Portugal. In this coastal area are some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. The meaning Albufeira is a lake formed by a dam or reservoir.
Albufeira is most popular in the summer for its beaches, but the town also has a beautiful historic centre and other attractions. It is the busiest city in the Algarve region, which also has a busy nightlife full of bars and restaurants.
Despite being a small country territorially, Portugal is full of tourist destinations, which interest the most diverse types of travellers. Obviously, we haven't listed all the incredible attractions the country has to offer... so, if you have visited any others worth mentioning, let us know in the comments!