Portugal has it all: so many historical places for you to explore, extraordinary culture, gorgeous beaches, and natural surroundings, cuisine, and wines you’ll love, and it’s home to warm and welcoming people that will make your stay even better. It’s a country where you’ll enjoy your glass of wine while listening to traditional fado music and that often sings about saudade – longing, love, loss, and sadness. In this post, we bring you the 7 most beautiful places to visit in Portugal, where you’ll experience its amazing culture.
Before we start, be sure to check out our Cultural Places Platform and discover the amazing tours that will help you explore your destinations at your own pace.
Let’s explore gorgeous Portugal…
Algarve, the southernmost region of gorgeous Portugal is the place where you can find some of its cheapest beach resorts. Besides being the cheapest, we must say it is the most beautiful and scenic part of Portugal’s coast, some even say that it’s the most beautiful coast in the world. There are so many cliffs, caves, and sandy beaches in between them to be discovered. If you decide to visit Algarve, definitely stay in Faro – the cute capital of this region. This city often gets overlooked, but is very interesting to explore, with all of its cool landmarks, such as Faro Cathedral, Arco da Vila, Igreja do Carmo and many others, encircled with old city walls.
Évora is a small, quiet town located about one and a half hours east of Lisbon, halfway to the Spanish border. It is one of Portugal’s most beautiful towns, so no wonder its city center listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Also, Évora is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns network, and when you start exploring it, you’ll figure out why. We definitely recommend you explore the beautiful remains of the Roman Temple of Évora, a 1st-century temple dedicated to Emperor Augustus. Évora is not that popular among tourists, so you’ll get the chance to enjoy it in peace. You will love its gorgeous central square called Praça do Giraldo, with the church on one end, and lots of cafes where you can have your coffee and relax.
Coimbra is the third-largest city in this gorgeous country and home to one of the oldest universities in Europe. It has been one of Portugal’s most important cultural cities for more than 500 years. Set on the banks of the Mondego river, Coimbra cascades down the hills to the riverbanks, and each cascade is so beautiful and full of landmarks and architectural wonders. You must explore the University – it is set within the walls of one medieval palace and there is so much to see, from richly decorated courtyards, college buildings dating back to the 16th century, and the Joanine library that any true bibliophile will love.
Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal and a promising city on Portugal’s North Coast. This city is rich with historical and cultural places and thus it earned a UNESCO World Heritage Site title. Actually, the part of the city that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is called Ribeira, the oldest neighborhood of the city. Ribeira is a gorgeous neighborhood with a great waterfront lined with cafes and restaurants, and narrow cobbled streets that you’ll enjoy exploring. Porto is one of the top wine destinations in the world and a city where you can enjoy the best of Portuguese gastronomy. You should visit this vibrant city before it becomes overrun with tourists, it is so gorgeous, and it will definitely happen soon.
Beautiful Aveiro is often called the Venice of Portugal, because of its canals that wind their way through the city. This city is set only about an hour away from Porto, so it’s a perfect day trip if you’re staying in the country’s second-largest city. Just like in Venice or Amsterdam, there are so many little boats that you can hop on and explore the city from. Every street (and canal) in Aveiro is lined with beautiful buildings that are amazing examples of Portuguese architecture – you’ll see everything from white-washed houses to traditional, colorful azulejo façades. One of the most important sights to see in Aveiro is the Cathedral of Aveiro, a masterpiece of Portuguese Baroque architecture, with an amazing façade and imposing bell tower.
Lisbon is the capital and the largest city in Portugal, and many would say that it’s the most beautiful city in this country. What is so amazing about this city is that, despite many tourists that visit it, it remained one of the most affordable and tranquil capitals in Europe to visit. Get there and explore the Belem District – the most charming part of the city. Check out its famous tower and walk along the Tagus river. Also, you have to visit many botanical gardens that Lisbon has and enjoy the greenery – there are many exotic plants hiding there. This city is full of different events, exhibitions, shows, and flea markets, so there’s a lot of fun going on. But if you’re more into peacefully exploring the streets and historic neighborhoods of this gorgeous city, you can do that, too, and you will enjoy it very much.
Sintra is a fairy-tale place in Portugal, nestled on the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, near Lisbon, so it’s a perfect day trip from the gorgeous capital. If we should name only one reason to visit Sintra, it would be to see its amazing, colorful Pena National Palace, that feels like Disneyland. This romantic, beautifully ornamented palace is set on the top of the Sintra Mountain, and you should definitely explore its Moorish-Manueline designed interiors and learn a bit about its history. Sintra has UNESCO World Heritage status and is one of the oldest inhabited locations in Portugal. There is definitely a lot of history to be explored over there. But if you get tired of all the walking and exploring, hit the beach – Sintra has a few of them that will totally amaze you.
These are only the 7 most beautiful places to visit in Portugal, but there is so much more in this land of fado and saudade. Every corner of Portugal has something special to show you, you just have to pack your suitcase and start exploring.