It is safe to say that Portugal is a country of contrasts. Alongside its contemporary cities and traditional villages you will find rolling vineyards, flat farmland, dramatic mountain ranges and idyllic coastal regions.
With so much on offer yet so little time for most Portugal holidays, you might worry that you’re going to miss out. But to ensure you don’t feel that way, we have listed our the top ten places to visit in Portugal that may make you stay just that little bit longer..
What better place to start than the nation’s capital. The attractions and activities on offer in Lisbon are extensive, but a great way to see the city’s historic quarters and main sights is to jump on Tram 28 as it negotiates Lisbon’s winding streets.
Just a day trip away from the capital, Sintra is a hilltop town featuring fairy-tale architecture, not least the famous Pena Palace. Perched on top of a mountain, this stunning spectacle is the summer retreat for the Portuguese royal family.
It might not be the biggest, but Evora’s well-preserved Old Town is home to an incredible 4,000 historic structures, dating back thousands of years. Europe’s largest complex of prehistoric megaliths can also be found close by.
While this is a city known for its commercial enterprise, Porto also boasts a World Heritage historic centre. The site of its red-topped buildings overlooking the Douro River lives long in the memory of those who see it.
It is easy to see why Madeira has earned the nickname “Floating Garden of the Atlantic.” This fertile island features sweeping landscapes of lush greenery and is also home to some historic churches and superb restaurants.
Once the capital of Portugal, this charming town is home to the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest in Europe. Along with visiting its beautiful Joanina Library, visitors should also make for the town’s dazzling Old Cathedral.
This carefully preserved city holds a special place in the heart of most residents, as Guimarães was where the country’s first king Afonso Henriques defeated the army of Teresa and started to build the kingdom of Portugal.
Featuring traditional whitewashed villages and fascinating historic sites, there is plenty to see and do in the Algarve. However, most people come to the southernmost region of Spain to capitalise on its gorgeous beaches, superb coastline, and sunny climate.
After exploring the Aveiro Cathedral, the São Gonçalinho Chapel and the Convento de Jesus, visitors to the “Venice of Portugal” can take a sweeping gondola ride through its scenic canals that pass through charming townscapes and under quaint bridges.
Consisting of nine volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores archipelago has its own unique identity. This should be the destination of choice for adventurous travellers, as activities include scuba diving, yachting, and whale watching.
Attempting to visit all of these places is hard to fit in a weekend break away to Portugal, but there is no reason why you can’t travel once place at a time. Slower and spend longer exploring the often overlooked diversity Portugal provides.
Article written by Adam Boston
Discover the most inspiring travel stories, must do adventures, and photography of the world seen through the eyes of Adam. Uncovering what the world has to offer, from one country to another.