Top 10 Places to Visit in Portugal

Portugal, a country on the western coast of the Iberian peninsula, has a Mediterranean climate, low prices for tourists, and some of Europe’s best tourist sites. You can see the wealth of Portugal’s golden age in its architecture, when it ruled a vast empire stretching from Brazil to Macau in China.

Buildings in Lisbon and Porto, especially in the cities’ Old Towns, are a stunning testament to Portugal’s imperial era grandeur.

Top 10 Places to Visit in Portugal

Top 10 Places to Visit in Portugal

From Lagos to Faro in southern Portugal lies the Algarve, a long strip of towns and beaches. In this well-known part of the country, hotels and golf courses compete for real estate.

While the coastline of the Algarve is beautiful, a journey to one of Portugal’s islands, such as Madeira or the Azores, will take your hiking experience to a whole new level. Use our recommended itineraries for Portugal to help you organise your vacation to this fantastic European country.

1. Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo, in northern Portugal, is picturesquely at the mouth of the Lima River, not far from the Atlantic Ocean. This popular stop along the Portuguese Way is a small city with a wealth of interesting and impressive historical and cultural landmarks.

Being a pilgrimage destination for centuries, the city is filled with ancient churches and a stunning Gothic cathedral. Fine palaces and manor buildings as well as a few of modest museums can be found in its well-preserved mediaeval town.

The stunning Basilica of Santa Luzia, which was inspired by Paris’ Sacre Coeur, sits atop a hill and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

In addition to its divine architecture and magnificent monuments, Viana do Castelo also provides breathtaking vistas of the Lima Valley and its environs. People come from all around to enjoy the stunning beaches and mountainous terrain.

2. Monsaraz

Monsaraz has a rich history, having been fought over and ruled by a wide variety of civilizations, including the Romans, the Visigoths, the Arabs, and the Knights Templar. The town’s desirable location atop a hill affords sweeping views of the Guadiana River and the border with Spain.

Inside the fortified walls of the mediaeval settlement are ancient archaeological sites and breathtaking works of architecture, preserving much of the area’s interesting history. Although its crumbling castle is the main draw, the town’s charming cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings are home to many beautiful churches and chapels.

The views from the village’s walls and towers over the Alqueva Dam and the surrounding landscape of green, brown, and yellow fields are spectacular. Monsaraz, one of the oldest villages in all of Portugal, is a wonderful destination.

3. Nazare

Nazare, a little village in the province of Estremadura, has a picturesque location, surrounded by rocky cliffs and magnificent beaches. Known for its spectacular Atlantic surf, this renowned Portuguese holiday spot is a tourist hotspot.

Surfers have always been drawn to the town’s shores by the Nazare Canyon’s reputation for producing powerful waves. The golden beaches and breathtaking vistas of the coast draw visitors even if they have no interest in surfing the world’s largest waves.

The historic district of Nazare is known for its lovely cobbled streets and abundance of great seafood restaurants, quaint stores, and quiet pensions. A beautiful funicular transports riders to the surrounding hilltop, and the town is home to a number of interesting churches, chapels, and museums. Nazare is very busy in the summer, although it also draws large crowds during New Year’s Eve and Carnival.

4. Peneda-Geres National Park

Peneda-Geres, Portugal’s lone national park, is located in the country’s northwest on the Spanish border and is a beautiful place to explore. It was established in 1971 and has since protected innumerable picturesque settlements and cherished ecosystems.

The park covers a wide geographical range, from gentle foothills to steep mountains and rushing rivers. Its hilly borders are teeming with flora and fauna of all kinds. Its peaks and plateaus are peppered with a variety of good hiking trails and camping spots.

More than a hundred granite settlements, with a timeless air and beautiful surroundings, may be found in Peneda-Geres. Since the little towns have been there for generations, the park is also protecting their traditional way of life in addition to the beautiful scenery.

5. Braga

Braga, Portugal’s third-largest city, is located in the country’s northern region, amidst undulating hills, expansive valleys, and fertile farmland. Despite its reputation as the “city of archbishops,” travellers will find much more than simply churches in this beautiful and exciting destination.

The town’s huge student population contributes to a youthful and energetic atmosphere, in contrast to the historic center’s meandering, narrow alleyways, fine plazas, and gorgeous ancient buildings. Thus, there is an abundance of reasonably priced, high-quality cafes, restaurants, and bars, as well as some truly magnificent landmarks and museums.

Due to its status as the seat of the Archdiocese of Braga along the Portuguese Way, the city sees a large influx of visitors during the week-long Semana Santa celebration. During this time, the city’s staggering number of beautiful Baroque churches serve as the backdrop for various religious processions.

In addition, the tranquil hilltop sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, which offers breathtaking views over the surrounds, is one of its (and Portugal’s) most well-known tourist attractions.

6. Tomar

Tomar, in the middle of Portugal, is one of the most beautiful and attractive cities in the country. Its old alleys are lined with significant historical, cultural, and religious landmarks due to its status as the former headquarters of the Knights Templar.

Stunning examples of Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance architecture may be found in the heart of the city. There are numerous churches, chapels, and palaces dating back hundreds of years, but the Castle and Convent of the Order of Christ is the city’s most visited landmark.

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

surprisingly, the Portuguese country was also established in Tomar. It was a major political and cultural centre for centuries. Several significant festivals and events continue to be held in the city each year, testifying to its rich history, culture, and heritage.

7. Guimaraes

Guimaraes, not far from Braga in the north of Portugal, is home to one of the country’s most attractive and well-preserved old centres. Since Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques, was born there, the city is sometimes referred to as the “birthplace of Portugal.”

The magnificent castle from the tenth century and the Grand Dukes of Braganza Palace are Guimaraes’ two main attractions. They’re fascinating to check out because they’re full of beautiful architecture and reveal important details about the city’s past.

Magnificent plazas, beautiful old buildings, monuments, museums, and art galleries fill the city’s mediaeval core, making it a delight to stroll. The city’s huge student population gives it a youthful energy despite its long history. Its streets are littered with bustling cafes and bars. Several tourists in Guimaraes climb Penha Peak for breathtaking vistas over the city.

8. Coimbra

Coimbra, in central Portugal on the Mondego River, is a picturesque city with a rich history and vibrant culture that revolves around one of Europe’s oldest universities and its many gorgeous gardens and fado music venues.

Coimbra is full with amazing historic sites, including as the Old Cathedral and the Gothic Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, which is home to the grave of Queen Isabel. Seeing one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, the Joanina Library, at the University of Coimbra is a must on any trip to the city of Coimbra.

Beautiful city parks and botanical gardens are great for leisurely strolls and picnics, while charming boutiques and cafes line cobblestone squares for people-watching over coffee.

Coimbra’s academic festivals, such as the Tin Can Parade that greets students at the start of the school year and the eight-day “Burning of the Ribbons” festivity that follows the completion of the second semester, are the highlights of the city’s lively cultural scene.

9. Azores

The Azores are an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic, some 1,500 kilometres from the western coast of mainland Portugal. The volcanic origins of its nine islands have resulted in stunning natural environments that are ideal for a wide variety of outdoor pursuits.

The islands are a hiker’s paradise, with lush valleys and towering mountains that provide breathtaking views of the rocky cliffs, hidden coves, and immaculate beaches that line the shores. The picturesque crater lake of Lagoa do Fogo and the majestic Mount Pico, the highest summit in the archipelago, are two of the most striking features.

Dolphin and whale watching, as well as scuba diving and sailing, are popular activities due to the abundance of marine life in the waters around the Azores. Ponta Delgada and Angra do Heroismo are just two of the beautiful seaside cities and towns in the archipelago, but most tourists come to see the amazing nature parks and marine reserves.

10. Obidos

Obidos is a town in Portugal’s Centro Region, perched atop a hill and protected by an ancient wall. The hilltop fort was first built by the Moors in the eighth century. The first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, conquered it from the Moors in 1148, and it underwent further development in the 14th century.

Obidos’s major feature is its splendid mediaeval castle and historic town, both of which are within walking distance of the city wall. Narrow, cobbled lanes take visitors past vibrant plazas, hospitable cafes, small stores, marketplaces selling regional wares, and whitewashed homes brightened with blooming flowers.

The intricate hand-paintings on the ceilings and walls of historic churches like Santa Maria and St. Peter’s are a sight to behold. The castle has been transformed into a magnificent hotel, but its massive gates, towers, and battlements are still a sight to behold.

Obidos’ annual Medieval Festival takes place in July, and it features a parade of costumed participants, jugglers, wandering minstrels, jousting knights, performance performances, and a handicraft fair selling authentic mediaeval goods and foods like spit-roasted meat and delectable sausages.