Holidays in Portugal. The best places that only the locals know about.

Holidays in Portugal. The best places that only the locals know about.

Table of Contents

Many of us associate Portugal with Lisbon, Porto, or Sintra. This country is one of the top 5 most visited in Europe, so it is unlikely to surprise seasoned tourists with something new. But still holidays in Portugal may surprise. The country has some amazing places to offer that gets lost between the popular attractions.

Alternative Portugal is, first of all, small villages of 600-800 inhabitants. They are hardly even discernible on a world map, but there lurks all the local color. Secondly, it is indescribable natural wonders, where there are no crowds of tourists and where you can quietly enjoy the scenery. Thirdly, it is a chance to see Portugal “live” with all its pros and cons.

This trip is better to combine and mix with larger tourist locations and thus explore the country by region: north, the northern border with Spain, center, south coast, eastern border with Spain, etc. The best way to travel around these places is by renting a car, thanks to the low prices in Portugal (special offers from €5 per day).
Holidays in Portugal. The best places many people didn't know about.

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Leisure in Portugal. Santa Susanna

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This town will be a discovery and a place where you will take dozens of selfies. It’s all about the fact that the houses here have certain standards that cannot be changed.

They are all white with doors, frames, and windows in blue, yellow, or green. And the city council always makes sure that the town maintains an authentic conservative look. Sometimes it will feel like you’re stuck somewhere between Santorini and Chavin.

Holidays in Portugal. Piodão
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Leisure in Portugal. Piodão

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Piodan is especially beautiful in the evening when the lights in each house are lit. The village fascinates with its marvelous landscapes, springs of spring water, and green pastures, and the place itself is located in the Serra do Author.

Vacation in Portugal. Monsanto
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Holidays in Portugal. Monsanto

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Monsanto is often referred to as “the most Portuguese village of all Portuguese villages.” This phrase was the grand prize of the national competition for the most authentic village in the country, and it was Monsanto won the honorary title.

Monsanto is the most authentic village in Portugal.

The main feature here is the huge boulders that overhang the village, and the locals decided to build their houses between the large stones. As a result, the stones serve as a roof, wall, or foundation. Only 800 people live in the village, and there are no cars – why not take a walk?

Holiday in Portugal. Boca de Inferno
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Leisure in Portugal. Boca de Inferno

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Near Lisbon, an amazing place, is often left off the tourist itinerary. In the town of Cascais, on the very edge of the Eurasian continent, where the land meets the ocean, there is a large hole in the rock mass that fills with water at high tide.

When a storm rages, big waves crash against the impregnable rocks with a rumble, and a fountain of water rises from the “Devil’s Throat.” It’s best visited during bad weather to experience the power of the elements fully. And if you want to discover Lisbon, the tour “Lisbon that will conquer your heart” will help you, and you will fall in love with this city forever.

Holidays in Portugal. Monsaraz
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Leisure in Portugal. Monsaraz

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This small town can be proud of its ancient history. The first mentions go back to pre-Roman times, and in the 14th century, Monsaraz was one of the main defensive outposts.

In a small area, there are several amazing buildings: the wonderful 16th century Church of Mercy, the Parish Church, the Church of St. James, and the Monastery of the Virgin Mary. And in the local palace of the Audiencia, there is the famous fresco “The Good and the Bad Judge.”

Holiday in Portugal. Ponte da Mizarela
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Leisure in Portugal. Ponte da Mizarela

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The bridge is located on the Rabagão River, about one kilometer from its mouth in the Cavado River. It is extraordinary, and its architecture and appearance differ from other ordinary bridges over the river.

It was built in the Middle Ages and rebuilt in the early nineteenth century. Standing on the bridge, you feel as if you are standing on the edge of the world, and the foamy mountain river bubbles below. It is recommended to come here in the spring when the water level will allow you to see the place in all its glory. Nearby is the Peneda National Park, where there are many viewpoints on the Cavado River.

Vacations in Portugal. Vilarinho de Negrões
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Leisure in Portugal. Vilarinho de Negrões

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In the north of the country, on a small peninsula, lies one of the region’s most picturesque villages. Its houses form a symmetrical figure as if someone planned it on purpose. Nearby are beautiful fields of corn and rye, so you’re guaranteed a stroll through the countryside. Many birds form the harsh northern regions come here to winter, so fans of bird-watching will find it particularly interesting to visit Vilarinha in winter.

Holiday in Portugal. Pinhal de Leiria
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Leisure in Portugal. Pinhal de Leiria

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Between the towns of Nazare and Marinha Grande, the flat central Portugal begins to gradually transform into a forest, which in the north will blossom with all the brilliance of wild splendor.

It is here, between Nazaré and the Marinha Grande, that the unique forests of ship pines are located, for which there were fierce battles in the era of ocean exploration: too many countries wanted this unique forest, ideal for building ships.

You’ll be able to enjoy your time here in its own right: the fresh air, the unspoiled nature, and right next door to the ocean that refreshes the pine forest air.
Holiday in Portugal. Arruda dos Vinyush

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Leisure in Portugal. Arruda dos Vinhos

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If you are interested in wine but do not want to spend your precious days of vacation in the Douro Valley, have a look at the small town of Arruda dos Vinhos, 40km north of Lisbon. It is a city of ancient history and architecture (it was founded in 1172) and the center of local wine production.

This is the start of one of the Portuguese “Rota da Vinha” (Grape Roads), which are routes where you can see the whole process of making a drink from start to finish. Touch the vines with your hands, go down into the cellars where the wine gets its strength, and take part in tastings.

And if you like it, take away with you a couple of bottles of the products of local winemakers. Often on these wine tours, you can buy rare samples of wine that don’t make it to the store shelves.

Just outside Lisbon, on the opposite bank of the river Tagus, lies the town of Casillas. It’s easy to get there on the river ferry, which leaves every 20 minutes and costs a couple of euros and a ponytail. “It’s not a lot of money,” you might say. – But what should we look for on the other side of the river? It looks like there are only tall chimneys and port warehouses.”

It turns out that a stunningly beautiful ship museum is hidden from the inquisitive eye amidst the piles of harbor structures. The frigate Don Fernando II and Gloria, the last remaining Portuguese ship to leave the Indian shipyards, has been transformed into one. Beginning her life in 1845 in Goa, the frigate traveled more than 100,000 nautical miles in 30 years and became a training ship for young sailors.

Finally restored for the International Expo of 1998, the frigate is now open to the public, with bright brass and shiny decks, as befits a proud warship that has grown larger and more majestic over the years.

Discover Portugal with pleasure and remember that a little further, around the bend, in the next town or over the cape, there will be even more to see.

Discover Portugal with pleasure and remember that a little further, around the bend, in the next town or over the next cape.

*Материал отражает историю героя статьи в интерпретации автора; относительно описанных методов и процессов при получении ВНЖ – они могут не совпадать с реальным мнением редакции MoveToCascais по этому поводу. 

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