Portugal is an amazing country where everyone can find something to come back to. Even so, we are often asked where to go first. Today we, the MoveToCascais team, have prepared for you a list of the best places in Portugal to go for your weekend.
Lisbon, the heart of Portugal
There is no doubt that the best place to start your introduction to Portugal is Lisbon. But what can be found in a seemingly ordinary European capital?
And lastly, the main reason to visit this beautiful city. Lisbon is the epitome of Portugal itself. It is here you will find those cozy streets that everyone keeps talking about and small family coffee shops, where the locals rest from the hustle and bustle of work. Only here, in the heart of it, can you understand all the charm of Portugal.
Messages to visit in Lisbon
- Explore the delightful maze of narrow cobblestone streets and ancient houses in Alfama, one of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods
- Pass the magnificent Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a masterpiece of Manueline-Gothic architecture built in 1502
- Walk through the steep cobbled streets of bohemian Bairro Alto.
- See the incredible panoramic view of the Libçon from the city’s highest point, Miradoro da Senhora do Monte.
- Taste custard pie at Manteigaria, where many locals admit to making the best pastries in all of Lisbon.
Praia da Marinha – Portugal’s most beautiful beach
Many beautiful beaches in Portugal, but Praia da Marinha is definitely one of the best. Even though its proximity to the crowded Algarve region means that many people neglect it, we highly recommend a visit. Situated on the Atlantic coast in Caramugeira in the municipality of Lagoa, Algarve, Praia da Marinha is deservedly considered one of the country’s main attractions, considered by many to be the best beach in Portugal and one of the hundred best beaches in the world.
Imagine a strip of sand that stretches for several hundred meters, surrounded by incredible cliffs. The ocean here is suitable for relaxing but also for more extreme activities such as diving and wakeboarding.
The beach is the perfect place for a relaxing holiday, as well as for more extreme activities such as diving and wakeboarding.
The sea is the perfect place for a relaxing holiday.
What to do at Praia da Marinha
- Explore the incredible cliffs, caves and rock pools
- Go snorkeling or diving. The water clarity is exceptional, so you can easily see many marine creatures.
- Explore the caves and grottoes along the coastline on foot or go sailing on a boat.
- Swim, sunbathe or just soak up the sun; summer temperatures in the Algarve top 35°C.
Cascais – Portuguese Riviera
A small sleepy fishing village has now been transformed into a chic coastal resort and one of Portugal’s best cities to live and relax in. We highly recommend you visit Cascais and enjoy its unique atmosphere, which is hard to beat. From endless beaches and water sports to amazing architecture and some of the best restaurants in the country, there is something for everyone.
Cascais has always been popular with writers and artists, thanks to its wonderful landscapes and unique atmosphere. You can see their legacy in the Conde De Castro Guimaraes Museum, where hundreds of works of art by creators from all over the world are on display.
What to do in Cascais
- Walk through the historic city center and enjoy the remarkable architecture. It’s also where you’ll find the best stores and restaurants in the whole city.
- Pass the Boca do Inferno, a striking natural formation located in the coastal cliffs near the city.
- Love the Praia do Tamariz beach, famous for its soft, golden sand.
Sintra – magnificent nature and architecture
Located right at the foot of the mountains, Cintra is deservedly considered one of the most beautiful resort towns in Portugal. The picture is truly breathtaking: you will be greeted by majestic palaces, many Gothic towers, a legendary Moorish castle and all this surrounded by a dense misty forest.
While the architectural complex in the center of the city is considered the main attraction, don’t miss the opportunity to stroll outside the city. Its nature deserves a special mention: only a few kilometers away; you will find marvelous deserted beaches, lovely caves, and grottoes.
What places to visit in Sintra
- Spend a day and explore the Quinta da Regaleira, the Estate of Regaleira, built at the turn of the 20th century. This architectural complex consists of a palace, chapel, and several gardens with grottoes.
- Visit the Moorish castle of Castelo dos Muros, whose observation deck gives you the best view of the entire city.
- Carry the local streetcar that runs around the entire city.
- Walk to the hidden beach of Praia da Ursa.
Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal
We’ve reached the most popular region of Portugal among tourists. But despite this, the Algarve, in the south of the country, is also popular with locals. And this is not surprising. Here you will find the best beaches and hotels that Portugal has to offer.
Why you should visit the Algarve
- Weather. The Algarve region is the warmest in all of Portugal. With almost 300 days of sunshine a year, temperatures are always high, with mild winters and sweltering summers. With brief periods of rainy weather, the best months to visit the Algarve are May and September. For lovers of warm weather and beach holidays, this is ideal.
- Gastronomy. It is far from a secret that Portugal is famous for its cuisine, and it is in the Algarve that you will find the freshest seafood. One of the most famous dishes is cataplana. This dish gets its name from the dish in which it is prepared. The dish combines various seafood such as shrimp and clams. Tourists can also learn how to prepare this dish by attending one of the cataplana cooking workshops.
- Golf. Golf courses are one of the most famous attractions of the Algarve. You can play on more than 40 elite golf courses. First-class championships and many charity matches are played here every year.
- Nature. The Algarve, contrary to popular belief, is not only an ocean coast. Here you’ll find the most diverse ecosystem in all of Portugal. Cork trees, unique landscapes, a wide variety of rare species of flora and seabirds. The Algarve is ideal for hiking and biking along nature trails.
Porto is the second largest city in Portugal
When it comes to cities to visit in Portugal, it’s hard not to mention Porto. It’s Portugal’s second-largest city and is located on the northwest coast. We highly recommend coming here for a couple of days for anyone who wants to spend a quiet and relaxing weekend for strolls.
The city itself is already a landmark. Behind any street you can turn down, there is a real historical heritage. We highly recommend getting a knowledgeable guide if you want to make the most of your vacation.
What to do in Porto
- Walk along with Rua das Flores, a beautiful pedestrian street filled with only recently restored buildings, unique stores, and small family-run eateries.
- Go to the Ribeira do Porto pier, where you can admire the Douro River or enjoy one of the most beautiful and lively areas of the historic city center.
- Discover Praia de Matosinhos, a beach known for its strong waves and ideal for surfing.
- To visit the exquisite Palacio da Bolsa. Built-in the 19th century in the neo-classical style, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Doro Valley – Portugal’s picturesque wine region
The Douro Valley is one of those places for which many people dream of visiting Portugal. Running through Spain and northern Portugal, the valley is pierced by the Douro River of the same name. The entire valley is surrounded by broad hills covered in delicate almond blossoms. The breathtaking scenery, as if taken from the pages of your favorite novels, is truly breathtaking.
The neighborhood remains largely untouched by urbanization. No noisy freeways or huge cities. All you’ll find are a couple of villages around an ancient castle and a few vineyards, the wine from which is valued worldwide.
If you decide to visit the Douro Valley, we highly recommend:
- Visit the Palácio de Mateus an ancient palace located in the village of Mateus. It is considered a masterpiece of late Portuguese Baroque architecture.
- Take a balloon flight over the valley.
- Take a short cruise on the Douro River.
- Go on a wine tour of local wineries. You won’t find better drinks in all of Portugal.
Aveiro – Portuguese Venice
Aveiro is a town located along the Ria de Aveiro lagoon, which locals have nicknamed “the Venice of Portugal.” And no wonder, as the city is also built on the water. There are endless promenades along the channels of colorful boats, Art Nouveau architecture, and a beautiful beach to relax on.
Besides that, the city is famous for its huge collection of religious art. You will find many paintings, frescoes, and ancient icons that have been carefully preserved in the local museum for centuries.
Aveiro sights you should visit
- A boat trip on the river is the best way to explore the city in the shortest time possible.
- Look at the beautiful Art Nouveau in downtown Aveiro.
- Museum Museu Vista Alegre, which takes visitors through the history of the Vista Alegre porcelain factory on the outskirts of the city.
- Convento de Jesus Monastery, built in the late 15th century. The monastery has a very spectacular interior and has now been converted into a museum.
Marwan – the place from where you can see the whole Earth
The last place is Marwan. This quiet medieval town is located between Castelo de Vide and Portalegre, just a few kilometers from Spain, on the very top of the Sierra de San hill.
The town will welcome you with its cozy streets winding along the walls of old houses and a beautiful view of the surrounding valley. If you want to spend a weekend in Marvão, we recommend the Pousada do Marvao. It consists of two houses that have been restored to match the rest of the city.
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*The material reflects the story of the hero of the article as interpreted by the author; concerning the described methods and processes of obtaining a residence permit – they may not coincide with the actual opinion of the editors of move to cascais on this subject.