Portugal is a beautiful country, with each region and town boasting its own unique character and charm. From the stunning natural beauty in the National Parks and golden beaches to the cities which are brimming with history and culture, Portugal really does have something to impress every traveller. Portugal is hands down one of our favourite countries in Europe. If you’re thinking about a trip to Portugal, here are 10 incredible destinations that are worth considering adding to your itinerary!
In the north of Portugal you’ll find the country’s second-largest city, Porto, which is internationally renowned for its export: port wine. It’s a stunning place to visit with lots of hills and cobbled streets with the core of the city becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Highlights here include Ribeira area and the Torre dos Clérigos (the tower of the Clérigos church).
2. The Silver Coast
The Silver Coast lies between Porto and Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city, and provides the perfect place for your Portugal holidays. Here you can relax and unwind away from the buzz of the cities or the busier Algarve area. It’s a beautiful and untouched area with rugged cliffs and lush green countryside and also attracts water sports enthusiasts. There are also plenty of historic towns from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Obidos to the relaxed resort and fishing town of Cascais. It’s a great place to explore and enjoy the Atlantic coast, including caves, dunes and cliffs.
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal as well as being the largest in the country. The city is made up of several different neighbourhoods from the Belém Tower to the Bairro Alton area, many of which offer incredible views of the city and beyond. Lisbon is a beautiful hilly city filled with history, pastel coloured buildings, charming streets and excellent food. It is a city that you will wish you had given yourself just a few more days to explore!
North of Porto but not too far away is the region of Amarante, which is a wonderful place to discover some history and see plenty of beauty. This town dates back to the 4th-century while Amar is the Portuguese verb ‘to love,’ which is the perfect way to describe this riverside town. The charming Tâmega river winds its way past the many restaurants and cafes and is bridged by the arched Ponte São Gonçalo.
Not far from Porto and Amarante is the city of Braga, which is anideal destination for history lovers and those who enjoy impressive architecture. A particular attraction is the Bom Jesus do Monte (meaning Good Jesus of the Mount) which is a sanctuary and place of religious pilgrimage just outside the city. To reach it you’ll need to climb its visually stunning but physically challenging Baroque stairway which climbs 116 metres.
Very close to the Spanish border is the small village of Monsanto. There are less than 1,000 people living there, but it has a unique history and character which has to be seen to be believed. This mountaintop village has its houses squeezed in between huge boulders with some structures carved out of the rock itself. The village has been the same for hundreds of years and cannot be altered, so it is very much like a living museum!
The Sintra Mountains are home to the Sintra region which includes some of the most beautiful castles in Europe and World Heritage Site such as Monserrate Palace, Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors and the Palace of Sintra. It is a fairytale place, like no other!
Although often referred to as an island, Madeira is actually an archipelago made up of four islands and lies between the Canary Islands and Portugal. The main island boasts a green and volcanic landscape and pebble beaches. It’s well known for its wine and a warm climate while the capital city of Funchal has beautiful botanical gardens and harbour.
Nazare is located along the Silver Coast in the Oeste region and Leiria District, in historical Estremadura province of Portugal. It is known for being one of the finest beach resorts in POrtugal, with a beautiful sandy bay and the famous Sitio headland, which provides shelter for the regions fishing fleet. Nazare still retains its heritage and character with charming cobbled streets and beachfront, fishermen’s houses that have been converted into stylish hotels. Nazare is also famous for its big waves, with daredevil surfers travelling from all around the world to surf or witness the massive waves which break off the Praia do Norte Beach. Being a surfer, visiting Nazare is high on Dan’s bucket list.
Finally, a guide to Portugal wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the well-loved Algarve region. The Western Algarve is popular with holidaymakers for its beaches and resorts, it also boasts the gorgeous town of Lagos where you can see Lagos Castle, the cliffs of Ponta de Piedade and the beautiful architecture of the Igreja de Santo António. It was one of our places in Portugal!