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The best places to visit in Portugal

Portugal is the most visited country in Europe, located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula. The ideal climate, amazingly affordable prices and unique attractions attract tourists and those who want to stay here forever. Once upon a time it was Portugal that led an empire from China’s Macau to Brazil. And all the richness of the imperial days is naturally reflected in the modern architecture of the country, especially in the elegant buildings of Porto and Lisbon, which are steeped in luxury.
There is a long stretch of beaches and towns in the southern Portuguese Algarve from Faro to Lagos. Golf courses and hotels compete for “a place in the sun” in this region. Even a hike will allow you to enjoy the stunning views of the coast, and a trip to the Azores or Madeira will reveal a world of unparalleled beauty.
We’ve compiled a list of the best places to visit in Portugal to make it easier for you to plan your trip around the country.

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Feeling Lisbon

This is one of the oldest cities in the world, attracting tourists with its neighborhoods (byros). The most popular is Belém, famous for its royal palaces, historical monuments, and luxurious gardens.  The most visited in Portugal Jerónimos Monastery is located in the city. And Lisbon’s oldest Moorish district Alfama is recognized as the most visited place in Portugal. There are mazes of cobbled streets, amazing rural architecture, Fado bars, restaurants and the beautifully preserved Castle of St. George.
The cultural center with concert halls, theaters and museums is called Chiado. Chic steel buildings with huge windows, a variety of casinos…To avoid confusion, focus on the name of the district.  Bairro Alto is an entertainment area with discos and nightclubs, Parque das Nações is a modern district with commercial establishments. There are more than enough attractions in both. 
Lisbon’s dining experience is incredible. It offers divine pastries, authentic Portuguese tapas, wine and beer, and international cuisines.
Acclaimed to be the best way to explore the city, the ancient streetcar No. 28 winds through the historic neighborhoods, gardens, and neighborhoods, stopping at the main attractions. Even those with private transport don’t mind taking a ride on it. Impressions of the seen are radically different. 


Mediterranean climate, sunshine, gorgeous beaches, beautiful urban areas, great food and more than reasonable prices – this is what attracts people to the Algarve. It is a feast for the eyes. At least, that’s what tourists say about the area. There’s historic architecture, historic churches, the charms of cobbled streets, bustling major cities and quaint little towns. 
The capital of the region is Faro. The brightest “point” of nightlife is Lagos. The city of Lagos is famous for its red sandstone castle and orange groves. For its elegance and mass of Renaissance monuments – Tavira. 
In an idyllic countryside with many Roman ruins, there are very many golf courses. The mountain range of Monchique, “studded” with strawberry trees, is a wonderful place for cycling and hiking, for horseback riding. The coast has many wonderful beaches, there are secret, little known coves. You can not only swim, but also explore the caves, deep sea fishing. You can go on an unforgettable yacht cruise. 
The Algarve has an excellent cuisine based on seafood, almonds and carob beans. The traditional drink, made with the local strawberry tree, the Medronho, complements all this splendor. 


The coast of Lisbon, near the Sintra Mountains, is home to Sintra. This city of green hills, studded with many beautiful villas, royal palaces, and castles is a fascinating sight. There is a great deal of architecture, dating back to the eighth century. At one time, the beauty of Sintra charmed even the great Lord Byron, who called it the most beautiful village in the world. 
Climbing the hills of Sintra is fun, but not for everyone. It is good that there are special buses that stop near all sights of the city, for example, near the fantastic Palais de Pena (they say, it reminds German Neuschwanstein). It was built in the 1800s as the summer residence of the Portuguese royal family. Around Pena’s Palace are wooded parks with amazing exotic trees, flowers and plants. Of course, the intriguing Freemason symbols and unique architecture deserve separate attention. 
The highest hill of the city is topped by the ancient ruins of the Castle of the Moors. There is also the Palace of Monserrat, known for its romanticism and unique subtropical gardens. Very interesting is the Toy Museum, now holding more than 20,000 objects, many of which date back to ancient Egyptian times.

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“The Floating Garden of the Atlantic” (that’s how Madeira Island is nicknamed) is an amazing oasis in the Atlantic, located between North Africa and Portugal.  Lush flower gardens, green landscapes, wines and memorable New Year’s celebrations with fireworks shows. The island of Madeira is one of the most beautiful places for European travel. 
Where you can be confused by the variety of guidebooks, you can miss the most interesting, so be sure to visit Laurissilva forest with wonderful laurel trees and Orchid Garden. Of course, one cannot miss the impressive system of aqueducts and canals of the Levada. It is this system that provides walking paths to the most beautiful scenery.
The coast has crystal clear water, pebble beaches, rocky natural pools, and a variety of activities like diving, sailing, fishing, and whale watching.
Funchal, Madeira’s largest city, is home to churches, tourist resorts, museums, restaurants, and the Lido promenade, which offers incredible views of the ocean.


Famous for producing port wine, the city of Porto is prized for its architectural and natural beauty. It is located in the hills near the Douro River in northern Portugal. Among the many treasures of this city are the chic ancient churches with stunning interiors.
Porto has an excellent transportation link of buses, subway, and cable car. In the center of the city is very attractive pedestrian zone Ribeira, near the river is competently located atmospheric. There are always lots of street vendors, always live music, there are many cafes and restaurants. A metal arched bridge of two tiers connects Porto with the famous Vila Nova de Gaia wine cellars.
The architectural treasures of the city, first of all, include the Porto Cathedral and the Church of St. Francis. Among the sights one should also mention the Stock Exchange Palace with its incredible beauty of the Arab Room.


Obidos Castle is located in the west of Portugal, surrounded by an ancient fortress wall. Now it is quite a modern hotel, but there is much to admire. Its history begins in the VIII century AD with the erection of a small fortification by the Moors on the top of the hill. In addition to the fortress wall and castle, visitors to the city admire the many historical sites in the center. There are stores everywhere with handmade goods from artisans of this region.  
The famous ancient churches of Santa Maria and St. Peter are hand-painted with tiles, though it’s very hard to believe. They are simply enchanting.
Every year Obidos hosts a Medieval Festival with jugglers, minstrels, jousting duels, costume parades, and a craft fair with medieval treats and products.


This city in southern Portugal in the Alentejo Plain is particularly attractive to tourists. Over 2000 years of history have made Évora from a Roman town to the capital of the region, with nearly four thousand perfectly preserved historic buildings.
The city is easy to explore on foot. All the attractions are located close to each other. Horseback riding is considered the best way to walk around Évora. 
The Giraldo Square with its Renaissance fountain, the University, the chapel with the original decoration of human skulls and bones, and the Roman temple, or rather its ruins, deserve particular attention. 
Near the city there is the largest complex of megaliths in all Europe. These prehistoric marvels are very interesting for both adults and children.

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The bustling city of Aveiro is often called the “Venice of Portugal.” And all because of the many canals dotted with colorful gondolas and modern boats. It’s a bustling, vibrant city with many attractions for travelers. The beaches, sights, and cuisine make Aveiro a very popular tourist destination. 
The most interesting way to explore Aveiro is on foot. But there is also a free bicycle system and tourist boats are available to get around. Chic architecture and amazing works of art are on display at Aveiro Cathedral, the Monastery of Jesus, and the Chapel of São Gonçaligno. 
The coast of Aveiro (also called the “Silver Coast”) has many beautiful clean beaches (Barra, San Jacinto, Costa Nova, etc.). The central and fish market sells not only fish/meat/vegetables but also unique handmade items for yourself and as souvenirs.

The Azores

The archipelago of the Azores is located 1500 km from mainland Portugal.  Volcanic in origin, its nine islands boast breathtaking landscapes that offer incredible opportunities for outdoor recreation. Walking through the islands on foot is a real treat. Mountains and green valleys lead out to coastal scenic lines with cliffs, coves and beaches. The main attraction is the peak of the archipelago, Mount Pico, and the idyllic crater lake of Lagoa do Fogo.
Many people visit the archipelago because of the marine reserves. The waters around the islands are teeming with whales and dolphins; sailing and snorkeling are the most popular activities here. 


The very attractive city of Coimbra is located on the banks of the Mondego in central Portugal. It is a real treasury of memorable places, wonderful gardens, lively culture, the musical style of Fado…. There’s a joke: The best thing to do in Coimbra is to get lost. That way you can discover a lot of interesting sights. By the way, the tomb of Queen Isabella is located here, in the Gothic monastery Santa Clara a Vella.
The University of Coimbra has the most beautiful library in the world, the Joanina Library.
The beautiful botanical gardens and city parks are ideal for picnics and leisurely walks. There are cafes and stores throughout the city. 
Cultural life in Coimbra is known for academfestivals and fado music performances. There’s a tin can parade at the beginning of the school year and an eight-day party called the Ribbon Burning at the end of the year. 


In the north of the country, not far from Braga, is one of the historical centers of the country, Guimaraes, often called the birthplace of Portugal. This is because the first King of Portugal, A. Henriques, was born here.
There are two castles in the center of the city at once:

    • the palace of the Grand Dukes of Braganza;
    • majestic 10th century castle

this is both exquisite architecture and priceless knowledge about the history and heritage of the city. But despite its medieval history, the city has a colorful vibrant atmosphere. It’s because of the many students. The cafes and bars are usually packed. As a walking route, many people choose to climb to the top of Mount Peña nearby to enjoy the stunning views from there. 


In the center of the country is another very beautiful Portuguese city, Tomar, surrounded by fertile farmland. It was once the key headquarters of the Templars, so there are many historical and cultural monuments here.
Tomar has many buildings in the exquisite architectural styles of Renaissance, Manuelino and Gothic. Annually, many festivals and fairs are held there. The main attraction is the monastery of the Order of Christ.  


The third largest city in Portugal is called Braga. It is located in the north among fertile farms, wide valleys and gentle hills. The famous “City of the Archbishops” boasts not only churches, squares and winding streets, but also the enchanting beauty of the old city and a vibrant nightlife.
The Archdiocese of Braga is a very important stop on the route of the Portuguese pilgrimage. Many people are here during the Semana Santa, which lasts about a week. A popular tourist attraction is the sanctuary on the Bom Jesus do Monte hill. The view from this point is, of course, mesmerizing. 
Park Peneda-Gueres, located on the border with Spain, is the only park recognized as “national”. Founded back in 1971, in order to protect the unique ecosystems and landscapes, it has also taken “under protection” numerous settlements/trees in the secluded picturesque places nearby. There are about a hundred of them and they are all granite. Ancient traditions and ways of life are maintained here. It is very interesting for visitors. 

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The town of Nazare in the picturesque province of Extremadura with its beautiful beaches and cliffs around is famous not only for its gorgeous scenery, but also for the huge waves that regularly crash on the Atlantic coast. 
Many just relax on the golden sands of the beach, but most go purposefully to conquer the waves of record size.
The city center has cobblestone streets, seafood restaurants, quiet boarding houses and small boutiques. There are several museums, churches and chapels in Nazareth, and there is a cable car that quickly takes you to the top of the hill. 


This city boasts a glorious history. Templars, Arabs, Visigoths and Romans all fought for it. Since its founding, it has been a strategically important site on a hill overlooking the Spanish border across the Guadiana River. The main attraction is the castle. But quite a few chapels, churches and simply beautiful buildings can be found in its streets.
From the side of the village and the towers there is a stunning panorama of the “blanket” of scraps of brown and yellow fields in the surrounding area. Monsarache is one of the oldest towns in Portugal. 

Viana do Castelo

Near the ocean in northern Portugal is the town of Viana do Castelo.  It is a “stopover” on the Portuguese Way, an important pilgrimage site. It has not only a Gothic cathedral, but also centuries-old churches, a variety of cultural and historical sites. 
There are several museums open at once in the center, and there are beautiful private homes and estates.
The top of the hill overlooks the Sacre-Coeur Basilica of St. Lucia, the prototype of Paris.
It is impossible to list all the places to visit in Portugal. The country has an incredible number of attractions for all tastes and their different eras. A unique country for living, for leisure, for traveling. Come, see, explore and share your impressions with us. It is unlikely that Portugal will ever be fully explored.