Most Beautiful Places in Portugal You Have to Visit

Most Beautiful Places in Portugal You Have to Visit

Planning to visit Portugal and trying to put together your itinerary? In this article, you will find the most beautiful places in Portugal that you have to add to your bucket list.

Portugal is one of the best European summer destinations and it holds a lot of gems for visitors. It has everything from historical sights, cool beaches, delicious food, architectural treasures, and fun experiences to discovering the soul of Portugal.

If you think that sounds diverse, wait until you visit the tropical islands of Portugal or some great autumn destinations in the North of the country.

But what are some of the most beautiful places in Portugal? I am here to share them all. We will cover Northern Portugal, Central Portugal, South of Portugal, and both islands that hold some real gems.

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal

Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal

There are a lot of places to visit in Northern Portugal, including beautiful and historical cities like Porto or Braga, picturesque little towns like Amarante, or spectacular natural views, like the Douro Valley.

The weather in the north is very different from the south, so here you will find some of the best autumn destinations with foliage and moody vibes. Harvest season is the best time to visit Northern Portugal, so keep that in mind when planning your holiday.

I have to say that this area of Portugal has my heart, so I have spent a lot of time in Northern Portugal and I have some real gems to share with you. Let’s discover some of the best things about Portugal!

RELATED: 10 Places to Visit in Northern Portugal

Porto

Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal Porto

Our guide to Portugal starts with the Invicta or otherwise known as Porto. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal and one of the first destinations tourists are impatient to visit when coming to Portugal. For a good reason of course. 

Porto offers everything a visitor can dream about. It is the city of world-famous wine, fantastic food, astonishing views, beautiful sightseeing, wonderful hospitality, and some of the most unique places to visit in Portugal.

In Porto, you will find astonishing azulejos like the ones of the Carmo Church or the ones of Sao Bento station, the famous Livraria Lello, and some of the best iconic views of the city. I won’t go into too many details here, because I have an entire Porto travel guide, so check the related article.

Other things to know before visiting Porto

WHERE TO STAY IN PORTO? Infante Sagres – Luxury Historic Hotel is one of the most unique hotels in Portugal, don’t miss it if you are planning to visit Porto.

WHERE TO EAT IN PORTO? Cervejeria Brasao is the place where to try the queen of local cuisine Francesinha, and on top of that, you can try delicious beers. If you feel you want to petiscar as locals do, Escondidinho do Barredo has must-try homemade dishes.

RELATED: Best Things to Do in Porto – See, Taste, Discover

Douro Valley

Douro Valley, Portugal Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal

Douro Valley is famous for its landscape and wines. And along the valley, there are some of the best places to visit in Northern Portugal. There is also the possibility to take a cruise on the river leaving Porto and enjoy the views from the river.

This is one of those places that made me fall in love with this beautiful country and hands down one of the most beautiful places in Portugal. Driving the car along the vineyards and following the lead of the river Douro is simply a magical experience. During a visit, you will have the chance to see some breathtaking viewpoints like São Leonardo de Galafura, Casal de Loivos, São Salvador do Mundo, and the swing of Boneça.

The best time to visit the Douro Valley is early fall as it is the harvest season. Summer is a busy season as well, so if you are looking for a relaxing experience, consider visiting Douro Valley in spring.

Other things to know before visiting Douro Valley

WHERE TO STAY IN DOURO VALLEY? The Wine House Hotel – Quinta da Pacheca. There simply couldn’t be another choice, this is one of the most unique hotels in Portugal, and perhaps in the entire world. Here you can sleep in a fancy wine barrel surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural places in Portugal.

WHERE TO EAT IN DOURO VALLEY? Veladouro in Pinhão is one of the best choices to try homemade, delicious Portuguese food and wine. The place is quite simply decorated but the food is the real protagonist here. The restaurant lies near the river Douro.

LOOKING FOR A WINE TASTING IN DOURO VALLEY? Sandeman Quinta do Seixo Winery & Vineyards should be your number one choice. The iconic Sandeman company offers unforgettable wine tastings surrounded by nature and a breathtaking view over the Douro River. Click here to check all the available experiences.

Capela do Senhor da Pedra

Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal

Capela do Senhor da Pedra is an oceanfront chapel built on rocks offering picturesque views of the beach. It is one of the best photo spots in Portugal and a perfect place for sunrise & sunset lovers.

According to the legend, the origin of the place of the building comes from a pagan cult, so even before the Christian time, this place was already worshipped. The style of the chapel is typical of the Portuguese Baroque-Rococo, and you can even find an azulejos panel.

Other things to know before visiting Capela do Senhor da Pedra

WHERE TO STAY? The best idea is to visit the chapel when you are staying in Porto or Vila Nova de Gaia. The Yeatman in Vila Nova de Gaia is one of the best hotels in Portugal and a way to pamper yourself.

WHERE TO EAT? If you are coming for an evening session try Solar Do Sr Da Pedra. It’s typical Portuguese Tasca a few steps away from the chapel.

PHOTO TIP! I recommend you to visit the place at sunrise. Sunset can be already a bit challenging, especially in summer. You should bring a tripod and some filters to make some cool effects with the water.

Braga

Braga Portugal Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal

Braga is one of the biggest and most beautiful cities in Portugal. So, what are the best places to visit in Braga, Portugal?

The city has a long history that dates back to the Romans’ time and it is also known as “Portuguese Rome” due to the high number of churches. The most remarkable is the Sè de Braga. It is the cathedral of the city and one of the best places to see in Braga. This is also the oldest cathedral in Portugal. When Portuguese talk about something old, they say “as old as the Sè of Braga”.

Braga is also famous for the famous church of Bom Jesus do Monte, with the famous neoclassical stairs. This is one of the popular places to visit in Portugal and my personal highlight of Braga. You can use the Bom Jesus Funicular to go up or park your car near the church. You will have to climb down, but some of the best views are midway, so no need to climb all the way down.

Other things to know before visiting Braga

WHERE TO STAY IN BRAGA? Hotel do Parque was our choice when we visited Braga. Just a few steps away from the iconic Bom Jesus do Monte. The hotel has private parking for guests and it’s very romantic and intimate, as it is located further from the crowd of the city center.

WHERE TO EAT IN BRAGA? Velhos Tempos was my favorite restaurant in Braga. I tried the best Bacalhau à Minhota and it is the highlight of the local cuisine that you shouldn’t miss during your time in Braga.

LOOKING FOR A HIDDEN GEM IN BRAGA? The Chapel of Santa Marta together with Igreja de Santa Maria Madalena and the Sameiro Sanctuary. The Chapel of Santa Marta is a tiny chapel in the middle of the woods and it is particularly beautiful during fall. All surrounded by wonderful foliage.

Amarante

Amarante, Portugal Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal

Amarante lies on the river Tamega and it is one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal. You will find mostly Portuguese tourists around, so it feels very authentic and certainly deserves a visit. It was surprising to see how lively, yet local Amarante is… simple walk around the river will make you fall in love with this town.

The iconic view of the Ponte de São Gonçalo is a perfect place to take an epic photo. During the warm season, you can use a paddle or row boat and see the town reflected in the river. Don’t miss the church of São Gonçalo and the church of São Domingos. These are the best places to visit in Amarante.

Other things to know before visiting Amarante

WHERE TO STAY IN AMARANTE? Casa da Calçada is one of the most beautiful places to stay in Portugal and I had the privilege to spend my night there when I visited Amarante. Can’t recommend it enough!

WHERE TO EAT IN AMARANTE? I was in Amarante in 2018 and I still remember my dinner in Tasquinha Da Ponte like it was yesterday. I tried a stew of meat and vegetables that I still occasionally dream about, other classics of the local cuisine, and a delicious house green wine. 

SWEET TIP! Sit down for a sweet treat or a coffee with a stunning view of the bridge in Confeitaria da Ponte. 

Chaves 

Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal

Located at the border with Spain, Chaves hosts a little castle and a very picturesque old town. Another remarkable sight is the Trajano Bridge. It offers wonderful views and it is one of the best photo spots in Chaves.

Due to its location, we can call it a hidden gem of Portugal. Yes, there are Portuguese and Spanish tourists visiting Chaves from cities nearby, but only the most curious foreigners reach this beautiful place.

Try the special Portuguese codfish at the Museu do Bacalhau and don’t leave the town without trying the famous pastries of Pastelaria Maria.

Other things to know before visiting Chaves

WHERE TO STAY IN CHAVES? A few kilometers away from Chaves, you can find one of the best hotels in Portugal Vidago Palace Hotel. This elegant palace can be considered one of the hidden gems in Portugal.

WHERE TO EAT IN CHAVES? Restaurant Carvalho is a real institution in the town. It is recommended by every Northern Portugal travel guide and Michelin for the year 2022. The restaurant keeps its dishes simple but the taste is the key.

EXTRA ACTIVITY? If you feel lucky, you can visit Casino de Chaves and enjoy your evening with some games. They host a lot of cool events regularly.

Viana do Castelo

Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal

Viana do Castelo is an underrated gem in Northern Portugal. Since it’s quite close to Porto and Braga, it can easily be added to your Portugal road trip. Even if you are traveling by train.

Viana do Castelo has a lovely old town filled with typical Portuguese architecture. Here we can admire Republic square, which is the heart of the town. Moreover, the city has some relevant civil and religious buildings like Igreja da Misericordia, the Cathedral, the Chapel of our Lady of Agony, and Palacio Cunha. These are some of the best places to visit in Viana do Castelo.

The Sanctuary of Santa Luzia is the main attraction of Viana do Castelo, however, it is located on a hill overlooking the town. You can’t skip this landmark when visiting Northern Portugal as this is one of the most unique places to visit in Portugal.

Other things to know before visiting Viana do Castelo

WHERE TO STAY IN VIANA DO CASTELO? Hotel FeelViana lies a few meters away from the beach and it’s built in a modern style with all the comforts. Great choice when exploring Viana do Castelo.

WHERE TO EAT IN VIANA DO CASTELO? O Laranjeira in the old town offers delicious home-cooked meals in a lovely and welcoming environment. Don’t forget to try their seafood. 

EXTRA TIP! In order to reach the Sanctuary of Santa Luzia, you can take a panoramic funicular. But it is temporarily closed for renovation in 2022.

Vila Real

Casa de Mateus Portugal Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal

Vila Real should be one of the bucket list places to see in Portugal. The little but picturesque old town offers a lot of fun activities. However, the main highlight of Vila Real is the fabulous Casa de Mateus. 

Casa de Mateus might seem familiar if you are a fan of the famous Portuguese wine called Mateus. As you can imagine, here you can enjoy one of the best wine degustations in Portugal. The house is built in the Baroque style and this is hands down one of the most beautiful places in Portugal.

You can click here to see all the activities, prices, and opening times. Or you can just buy the ticket at the entrance.

Other things to know before visiting Vila Real

WHERE TO STAY IN VILA REAL? Quinta do Paço Hotel is a beautiful mansion surrounded by nature and it offers even a panoramic view of Vila Real. Quinta Do Paço is a hotel-owned restaurant and it shouldn’t be missed.

WHERE TO EAT IN VILA REAL? Quinta Do Paço can be easily combined with your stay at Quinta do Paço Hotel. But if you want something different, don’t miss Terra da Montanha Restaurant. They serve flavors from the mountains and offer the best of Portuguese cuisine. Try their Alheira, a selection of cheese, local meat, and top it with some wine.

EXTRA TIP! The area of Vila Real offers hiking possibilities like Passadiços do Corgo. Check it out if you are looking for some outdoor activities in Portugal.

Guimaraes

Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal

Guimaraes is one of the oldest cities in Portugal and it was founded by the Celts. It played a key role in the history of the county, in fact, Guimaraes is considered the birthplace of the kingdom of Portugal.

The most relevant places to visit in Guimaraes are the gothic monument Padrão do Salado, in front of the church of Our Lady of Oliveira, and the Tower of Alfandega where you can read the sign “here was born Portugal”. Igreja e Oratórios de Nossa Senhora da Consolação e Santos Passos is probably the most picturesque place in Guimaraes and it attracts many tourists daily.

Guimarães Castle is another famous attraction in Portugal and you should certainly add it to your itinerary when visiting Northern Portugal.

Other things to know before visiting Guimaraes

WHERE TO STAY IN GUIMARAES? Hotel da Oliveira is located in the heart of Guimaraes and it offers a stylish ambiance despite being in a historical building.

WHERE TO EAT IN GUIMARAES? Duho is a gem and a must-try in Guimaraes. It is more elegant and different compared to other Portuguese restaurants, and yet it preserves a welcoming environment. It is considered one of the best restaurants in Portugal for a reason.

RELATED: 100+ Best Portugal Quotes and Portugal Instagram Captions + Beautiful Sharable Photos

Lamego 

Lamego Most beautiful places in Northern Portugal

Lamego hosts the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Remedies, which is one of the most popular and unique places to visit in Portugal. It’s famous for its stairs, the obelisk, and the beautiful azulejos on every level. And I am sure you have seen photos of this famous attraction before.

Other than that, you can visit Castelo de Lamego and Lamego Cathedral, but the rest of the city is not very impressive. The Sanctuary alone is worth visiting, so you can make a quick stop or spend a night and visit it early in the morning. Similar to Braga, you can drive up to the church and park your car there. If not, plan some additional to climb up the staircase of 686 steps.

Other things to know before visiting Lamego

WHERE TO STAY IN LAMEGO? Not far from Lamego, you will find the most popular hotel in Portugal. Six Senses Douro Valley attracts visitors from all over the world and it offers unforgettable experiences to the guests. Located between vineyards in the Douro Valley, you won’t find a better hotel in Northern Portugal.

WHERE TO EAT IN LAMEGO? Casa da Rua is perfect for petiscos, which is something like Portuguese tapas. This way you can try a lot of different things from Portuguese cuisine.

EXTRA TIP! Lamego is famous for the Bola de Lamego and you won’t find it in other places in Portugal. It is a sort of sandwich stuffed with meat or vegetables and it is considered one of the 7 wonders of Portuguese gastronomy.

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Now it is time to focus on the central part and discover some of the top destinations in Portugal. If you think that Northern Portugal is full of hidden gems, wait until you discover Central Portugal.

This list would be incomplete without Lisbon and Sintra, but I will take you beyond these main attractions and share the gems that only locals know about. Most of these places are great day trip options from Lisbon, so this list comes in handy if you are planning to stay in the capital.

Get ready to update your bucket list of places to see in Portugal, because I am sure you will be tempted to visit most of these locations.

RELATED: 15 Unique Hotels in Portugal That Will Blow Your Mind

Lisbon

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Lisbon is the capital of the country and, of course, one of the best places to visit in Portugal. It was my home for more than 3 years and I still remember that time with a big smile on my face.

Lisbon is famous for its yellow trams, the alleys of Alfama, stunning panoramic views, and lively nightlife, but it has so much more to offer. Catch a sunset on the 25th April Bridge, visit the district of Belem, or discover modern architecture in Oriente. Eat your way through Portuguese cuisine with some cod fish and top it with the famous custard cakes also known as Pasteis de Belem. Or bring your lover and enjoy some romantic nights with fado.

The list is endless. And I believe Lisbon doesn’t need an introduction. You already know that you have to add Lisbon to your Portugal itinerary.

Other things to know before visiting Lisbon

WHERE TO STAY IN LISBON? Verride Palácio de Santa Catarina is one of the most unique and beautiful places to stay in Portugal. The Royal Suite is simply unbelievable. It is a splurge, but a well-spent splurge.

WHERE TO EAT IN LISBON? Check my Food Guide and discover the best restaurants in Lisbon

RELATED: 3 Days in Lisbon: The Best Lisbon Itinerary & Tips From a Local

Sintra 

Sintra portugal

Talking about the top destination in Portugal, Lisbon wouldn’t be as popular without Sintra. As a matter of fact, it is the most popular day trip from Lisbon, and one of the most beautiful places in Portugal.

Sintra territory is very wide but mostly inhabited as it includes a huge lush all around. The Old Town of Sintra is actually quite small, but from there, you can reach easily all the treasures this town offers.

The most famous places to see in Sintra include Palacio Pena, Castelo dos Mouros, Palacio Monserrate, Quinta Regaleira, and Sintra National Palace. I recommend spending at least one night in Sintra as the attractions are quite spread and some of them will take a lot of time, like Palacio Pena. There are also other hidden gems in Sintra such as the Chalet of the Countess of Edla.

Other things to know before visiting Sintra

WHERE TO STAY IN SINTRA? Tivoli Palácio de Seteais is more than just a 5-star hotel and luxury experience. If you want to know more about my experience, click here.

WHERE TO EAT IN SINTRA? On the premises of Tivoli Palácio de Seteais, you will find Restaurant Seteais – a menu prepared by Chef Miguel Silva where you can try many local delicacies. Before staying in this hotel, I always was disappointed to eat in the restaurants of Sintra – very touristic and overpriced. You don’t need to be a guest to enjoy a meal here. And this way you can also see the beauty of the palace.

Sintra Municipality

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Sintra Municipality covers a big area in central Portugal and holds some real hidden gems of Portugal. These places include Azenhas do Mar, Mafra, Cabo Da Roca, Colares, and the Aldeia da Mata Pequena.

Each place will steal your heart for a reason. If you are a sea lover, the ocean view of Azenhas do mar or Cabo da Roca will make you fall in love. The stunning Palacio de Mafra is one of the popular places to visit in Portugal and its architecture will astonish you. Colares and Aldeia da Mata Pequena will win your heart with the simplicity and the rural views. Especially if you want to visit some remote corners that tourists don’t know about.

Other things to know before visiting Sintra Municipality

WHERE TO STAY IN SINTRA MUNICIPALITY? Azen Cool House offers a private and intimate atmosphere surrounded by pine trees. It is a great getaway if you are looking for a relaxed experience.

WHERE TO EAT IN SINTRA MUNICIPALITY? Fish is one of the first things you should try when you visit Portugal and Restaurante Azenhas do Mar will offer you one of the best culinary experiences you’ll ever have. It comes with a fantastic ocean view and it doesn’t get better than this.

EXTRA TIP! If you don’t want to rent a car, book a tour with Agorasim and discover these wonders of Sintra. See more details here.

Cascais

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Cascais is one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon. As a matter of fact, Cascais is located less than one hour away from the center of Lisbon, and it can be easily reached by train. On the Cascais line, you can also find some of the best beaches in Portugal like Estoril or Carcavelos.

The main attraction of Cascais is the cute old town. But you can’t miss other famous attractions like Santa Maria House Museum and Boca do Inferno. Some people come here for the beach, but the beaches of Cascais are very tiny and usually overcrowded. Parque Marechal Carmona is a hidden gem of Cascais and a perfect getaway from busy streets and crowded squares.

Enjoy a walk on the promenade and visit the Citadel of Cascais. This path offers some spectacular views that you shouldn’t miss.

Other things to know before visiting Cascais

WHERE TO STAY IN CASCAIS? Westlight Cascais Chalet overlooks the bay of Cascais offering one of the loveliest views on Cascais. The rooms are fully equipped and decorated with style.

WHERE TO EAT IN CASCAIS? If you are a seafood lover, you simply must try Baia do Peixe. I have been many times with many different groups of people and everyone without an exception loved it. Best quality seafood, affordable prices, and ocean views – an amazing combo.

Aveiro 

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Aveiro is called the Portuguese Venice as the city is crossed by canals and filled with the Moliceiros – the typical boats you can find in Aveiro. As soon as you arrive, you will understand why these two cities are similar and yet unique in their own way.

Riding a Moliceiro is one of the unique things to do in Portugal and you won’t find it in other Portuguese cities. Hop on and join other tourists who want to discover Aveiro from the canals. And book your tour here.

Similar to Porto, the train station of Aveiro holds some amazing azulejos. Also, this will give you the chance to appreciate the art nouveau buildings, like the Museum of Arte Nova, or the Aveiro City Museum. There are some notable churches like the Carmelite church of Aveiro and Church Nossa Senhora da Apresentação.

Other things to know before visiting Aveiro

WHERE TO STAY IN AVEIRO? 1877 Estrela Palace offers stylish decor and unforgettable experiences to its guests. Hands down the best hotel in Aveiro.

WHERE TO EAT IN AVEIRO? Salpoente is a hot spot for foodies visiting Aveiro. It welcomes guests since 1991 and it is a perfect mix of tradition and innovation.

SWEET TIP! Ovos Moles de Aveiro is the specialty you should try when visiting Aveiro. The best places in Aveiro to try it are Confeitaria Peixinho and M1882 Ovos Moles de Aveiro.

Area of Ovar

Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria de Válega Portugal

The area of Ovar is quite wide and it hosts two of the most beautiful churches in Portugal. Unlike you have seen before!

The first is the church of Santa Marinha de Cortegaça. It is located in the town Cortegaça and it is one of the most picturesque places in Portugal. The facade is composed of wonderful blue azulejos.

The second is the church Matriz de Santa Maria de Válega. It is located a 20-minute drive away from the Cortegaça church and it is one of the most colorful churches in the country. Covered in azulejos of course. Don’t miss the inside interior!

These churches are some of the most unique places to visit in Portugal but you most likely will need a car to reach them, as they are quite remote and hidden. A good reason to add them to your Portugal road trip itinerary.

Other things to know before visiting the Province of Aveiro

WHERE TO STAY IN OVAR? Furadouro Boutique Hotel Beach & SPA is conveniently located near the beach and offers modern and comfortable rooms.

WHERE TO EAT IN OVAR? TOCA – Restaurante & Tapas is a great place to try Portuguese food and wines The place has been open since 1976 and it is located in the center of Ovar

BEST BEACH! Don’t miss the Beach Torrão do Lameiro, one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. It is considered a hidden gem and very loved by the locals, but you can reach it only by car.

Costa Nova

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Costa Nova is one of the most picturesque and unique places to visit in Portugal. I am sure that you have seen photos of these striped colorful houses that many visitors love.

Costa Nova is located between the Aveiro Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. The white sand beach makes it already a popular destination, but it’s the colorful houses are the main attraction in Costa Nova.

It is a perfect day trip option from Aveiro or a great stop during your road trip around Portugal. Unless you are planning to stay on the beach, a couple of hours in Costa Nova will be more than enough. 

Other things to know before visiting Costa Nova

WHERE TO STAY IN COSTA NOVA? Costa Nova Hotel is designed with the typical style of the houses in Costa Nova. The rooms are bright and modern and hospitality is on top.

WHERE TO EAT IN COSTA NOVA? Dóri, Restaurante – Marisqueira is one of the best restaurants in Costa Nova. If you love seafood, you will love this place. It is slightly overpriced for Portuguese standards, but the quality justifies it.

EXTRA TIP! Praia da Barra is a few minutes away from Costa Nova, near the lighthouse. This beach is very wide and it could be a nice alternative to the Costa Nova beach, which is more crowded.

Ericeira

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Ericeira is the surfer paradise as it is recognized as one of the world’s surfing reserves. But is Ericeira worth visiting if you are not interested in surfing?

The answer is yes, Ericeira is worth visiting due to the beautiful beaches, like the Praia dos Pescadores, or Foz do Lizandro picturesque old town, and the Aldeia Típica de José Franco, a miniature located a few kilometers away from the old town. This place is loved by adults and kids. For this reason, Ericeira is one of the best places to visit in Portugal with family.

Other things to know before visiting Ericeira

WHERE TO STAY IN ERICEIRA? Vila Gale Ericeira is probably the best hotel in the heart of Ericeira. It offers 3 outdoor pools and amazing ocean views.

WHERE TO EAT IN ERICEIRA? Mar à Vista is another great seafood restaurant. Every time you visit a town or city next to the ocean, you should use the chance and try some fresh seafood cooked in a traditional way.

OURIÇO! Remember this name when you visit Ericeira! This delicious sweet is made of pumpkin and you can taste it only in this town. I loved the ones in Casa Fernanda.

Coimbra

Coimbra is a city of students. The University of Coimbra is of the oldest universities in Europe and it attracts people from all over Portugal and Europe. Joanina Library is located inside the university and it is one of the best and most unique places to visit in Portugal.

Nevertheless, the university is just one of the remarkable places to see in Coimbra. The old town has narrow and steep streets where you can appreciate Portuguese architecture and several historical gates & towers. Religious sites like The Sè Velha and Church of Santa Cruz are worth a visit as well.

Visit Praça da Canção for some dreamy views and a wonderful panorama of Coimbra and the Mondego River.

Other things to know before visiting Coimbra

WHERE TO STAY IN COIMBRA? Quinta das Lagrimas is one of my favorite hotels in Portugal. The name comes from the legend of Prince Pedro and his love Inês de Castro who had a forbidden royal love affair for many years. Portuguese version of Romeo and Juliet. It is a perfect getaway for couples.

WHERE TO EAT IN COIMBRA? Arcada Comes e Bebes is one of the best restaurants in Coimbra and the service is absolutely lovely, it’s a must if you are visiting Coimbra.

DON’T MISS! Coimbrão Fado is sung exclusively by men and demands a strict dress code. Book a live Fado show here.

Aldeias de Xisto

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

The Aldeias de Xisto are small villages built mostly of schist rocks. In 2001 Portugal launched a project to preserve them and nowadays there are 27 protected villages. You don’t need to visit all of them, but my personal favorites include Talasnal, Fajão, Casal Novo, and Piódão.

When visiting Aldeias de Xisto, you travel back in time. Tiny villages are car-free and located in remote places in Portugal. This means that there are many outdoor activities around these villages. And the food… Some of the oldest cooking traditions can be found here.

Keep in mind that you will need a car to visit Aldeias de Xisto and the drive won’t be a boring one. Even if you are visiting in summer, bring some extra layers, because it gets chilly in these towns.

Monsanto

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Monsanto is a tiny village, located near the border with Spain in Central Portugal. It’s known as “the most Portuguese village in Portugal” and it is one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal due to its uniqueness.

One of the reasons that make Monsanto so unique is the fact that you can see two huge granite boulders leaning against each other. The picturesque cobblestones streets and houses give the place even more charm.

You don’t need to plan an itinerary for Monsanto, but make sure you visit the caste and Lucano Tower and simply get lost in the tiny streets of this Portuguese town.

Other things to know before visiting Monsanto

WHERE TO STAY IN MONSANTO? Casas da Villa- Monsanto is a place where simplicity and coziness meet. The place feels very romantic and intimate and you can get a room with a view of Monsanto.

WHERE TO EAT IN MONSANTO? There is not a huge choice of places to eat in Monsanto. I had a quick bite at the Taverna Lusitana, but I didn’t find any great restaurants in Monsanto.

EXTRA TIP: Penha Garcia is another small village located only 10 km away from Monsanto and can be easily combined with Monsanto.

Nazaré

Nazare

Just like Ericeira, Nazaré is a surfer paradise, but that is not the only reason to visit Nazaré. Nazaré is famous for wave watching as here you can spot some of the highest waves in Europe, especially during winter. It makes it one of the unique places to visit in Portugal.

When you visit Nazaré, don’t miss Miradouro do Suberco which offers a stunning view of the ocean and the lower part of the town. On the top, you will find a swing where you can take some unique photos. Also, visit the Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, walk the Road of Angels to get to Forte de São Miguel Arcanjo to enjoy a remarkable ocean view. 

Other things to know before visiting Nazaré

WHERE TO STAY IN NAZARE? Hotel Mar Bravo is a beachfront hotel that offers modern and stylish rooms with a view of the ocean. The hotel is pet friendly and offers parking to its guests.

WHERE TO EAT IN NAZARE? O Casalinho was my choice and I couldn’t be happier. Here I tried some remarkable fish and seafood and the service was excellent. It is located a few steps away from the beach.

Batalha

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Batalha takes its name from the battle of Aljubarrota where the Portuguese army won against the Spanish who wanted to invade Portugal. After that victory, the golden age of Portugal started, and to celebrate it, king Joao I started to build the Monastery of Batalha. Nowadays it is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Portugal.

The Monastery is built in Gothic style and it’s part of the Unesco Heritage. For this reason, Batalha has a special meaning to the country and it has to be added to your bucket list of places in Portugal. 

A trip to Batalha is always combined with Alcobaca as they are located less than 30 mins away. Here you can find one of the most beautiful monasteries in the country and it’s a great idea for your itinerary for the Portugal road trip.

Other things to know before visiting Batalha

WHERE TO STAY IN BATALHA? Hotel Villa Batalha offers modern and stylish rooms and several activities to make your stay unforgettable. The hotel is pet and environmentally friendly and offers spa packages and panoramic terraces.

WHERE TO EAT IN BATALHA? Mosteiro do Leitão offers real food experiences. Their specialty is the piglet but all their dishes are prepared in an outstanding way. 

Tomar

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Tomar is the town of the Templar knights and a place rich in charm and history. Here you can follow the footsteps of the medieval knights in the Castle and Convent of Tomar, which is one of the most beautiful sightseeings in Portugal.

After visiting the castle, don’t forget to visit the old town and take some photos in Republic Square. Portuguese say that Tomar is one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal, so I highly recommend visiting Tomar and discovering why.

And only 30 minutes away from Tomar, you will find another wonderful gem of Portugal. The castle of Almourol is a medieval castle situated on a small cliffy island in the middle of the Tagus River.

Other things to know before visiting Tomar

WHERE TO STAY IN TOMAR? Hotel República is conveniently located in the heart of the old town of Tomar and offers the best treatment to all its guests. Some rooms come with a stunning view.

WHERE TO EAT IN TOMAR? Taverna Antiqua is one of a kind experience in Portugal. Taverna Antiqua is a themed restaurant that offers you, not just a delicious medieval meal with all the traditional ingredients used at that time, but a unique experience of medieval ambiance, transporting you back to one of the golden eras of Portuguese history.

Monsaraz

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Monsaraz is one of my favorite hidden gems in Portugal. It is located at the border with Spain, and in order to get there, you will need to take a car or a taxi from Reguengos de Monsaraz, which is served by local busses.

Monsaraz is tiny but despite that, it is one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal. The village is all white and bright with orange roofs and the castle overlooking the valley. During the summer, the town is filled with flowers, so that is the best time to visit Monsaraz.

Just like Monsanto, you don’t need to plan an itinerary. Getting lost is the best idea, but make sure you visit the viewpoint da Ermida de São Bento and the castle. If you are on a road trip, a couple of hours can be enough, but I spent an entire weekend here and it was such a relaxing experience.

Other things to know before visiting Monsaraz

WHERE TO STAY IN MONSARAZ? Casa D’ Santiago is romantic and cozy, located in the heart of the village. The house is well equipped and offers a balcony with a lovely view.

WHERE TO EAT IN MONSARAZ? Taverna Os Templários is a great choice to have a meal with a lovely view. The menu is very limited, but it helps the restaurant to keep the products fresh. Not a fancy setting, but part of the charm when visiting a small town like Monsaraz.

Obidos

Obidos is another popular day trip from Lisbon and one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal. It can easily be reached by train from Santa Apolonia or by bus from Campo Grande. I recommend the bus option as it leaves close to the entrance of the old town.

The place is famous for the beautifully preserved castle (where you can even spend a night), the walls that you can walk, and the lively old town. The architecture is the quintessence of the Portuguese style, which makes it perfect to take some beautiful photos. 

Obidos is also the town where the famous cherry liquor Ginginha was born. Many people think drinking it is a must-do in Portugal, so there is no better place than Obidos. And you will find it on every corner.

If you are visiting Portugal during Christmas town, Obidos is a must. I found some of the best Christmas markets in Obidos and you cannot compare it with other big cities like Lisbon or Porto.

Other things to know before visiting Obidos

WHERE TO STAY IN OBIDOS? Pousada Castelo de Obidos is obviously the best place to stay in Obidos and one of the most beautiful hotels in Portugal. The place doesn’t need any presentation, the rooms are unique and fantastically decorated in a traditional style.

WHERE TO EAT IN OBIDOS? Petrarum Domus is a lovely medieval restaurant in the old town of Obidos. Some great traditional recipes in a cute ambiance.

BEST EVENT: Mercado Medieval de Óbidos is the most famous even in town. Every July locals dress up to recreate the atmosphere of the Middle Ages in Óbido and it is an experience that you don’t want to miss.

Elvas

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Elvas is a town located 11 km away from the Spanish border and one of the best towns in Alentejo. The walls, fortresses, and fortifications are part of the Unesco Heritage. They give character and scenic views to this town that you should add to your bucket list places to see in Portugal. The cathedral, the aqueduct, and the castle are some other spots you shouldn’t miss when visiting Elvas.

Other things to know before visiting Elvas

WHERE TO STAY IN ELVAS? Vila Gale Collection Elvas is built in a typical mansion Alentejana and decorated with a sober and classy style for an unforgettable stay. This is one of the best hotels in Alentejo.

WHERE TO EAT IN ELVAS? Ponto de Encontro is a traditional and affordable restaurant in Elvas that you should add to your Portugal itinerary.

BEST EVENT! The Carnival of Elvas is one of the most important events in all of Alentejo. It attracts many visitors annually.

Marvao

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Marvao stands tall on the top of a hill and is composed of white little houses everywhere. The old town is really picturesque as the locals put pots with plants and flowers everywhere. 

The main attraction is the castle and its garden. You can visit the gardens for free, while the entrance to the castle will cost you 1.50 euros. If you ask me, gardens are the most beautiful place to visit in Marvao and you can take some beautiful photos with the castle in the back.

Once you are done with the castle, enjoy a walk around Marvao and soak in some of the epic views from the top.

Other things to know before visiting Marvao

WHERE TO STAY IN MARVAO? Pousada de Marvao is located inside two typical white houses in the heart of the village. The rooms are elegantly decorated in a classic style and it offers a panoramic restaurant.

WHERE TO EAT IN MARVAO? Casa do Povo is probably the simplest Portuguese “Tasca” you can find. Initially, we didn’t want to eat but then we started to snack and it was actually great. They offer some menu deals that I wouldn’t recommend. Try local Alentejo food instead of burgers or sandwiches.

COMBINED WITH! Castelo de Vide is located only a few minutes away from Marvao. It is one of my favorite hidden gems in Portugal. The Jewish community and culture left a big print in this cute village.

Peniche & Berlengas

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Berlengas islands are one of the most beautiful natural places in Portugal. The colors of the islands and the sea are literally marvelous. Once you reach the place, you won’t be able to believe that the view is real.

In order to reach the islands, you have to take a boat from Peniche. You can take the bus from Lisbon to Peniche but make sure you book your boat or ferry in advance, especially if you are visiting during peak hours.

If you are visiting the Berlengas from Lisbon and you don’t want to take care of planning and organizing, I can recommend Berlengas Tour. Click here to see all the details.

Other things to know before visiting Peniche & Berlengas

WHERE TO STAY IN PENICHE? MH Peniche is a lovely modern and comfortable hotel in Peniche. It is located on the beachfront and also offers an indoor pool and a sauna.

WHERE TO EAT IN PENICHE? Tasca do Joel – seafood and Portuguese hospitality are good reasons to have a meal here. Try the catch of the day, you won’t be disappointed.

Setubal 

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Setubal is located a short train ride away from the capital and it’s an easy day trip from Lisbon. The town offers some interesting spots like the Forte Sao Filipe with its beautiful azulejos, several religious sights, and many, beaches around town that are worth the trip.

The Park of Arrábida with the famous Portinho de Arrábida beach is loved by the locals and is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal. Also, from Setubal, you can also easily reach Santuario de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel, one of the most beautiful places in Portugal for religious architecture.

Other things to know before visiting Setubal

WHERE TO STAY IN SETUBAL? Pestana Troia Eco-Resort & Residences located in the Troia peninsula offers exclusive treatment to their guests in a luxurious environment. A fantastic way to pamper yourself when visiting Portugal.

WHERE TO EAT IN SETUBAL? You can’t visit Setubal and not try “Chocos Fritos”, or even better you can’t come to Setubal and not try Casa Santiago – O Rei Do Choco Frito. It is one of the most famous restaurants in Setubal, and people come from Lisbon and other places in Portugal to try the famous fried cuttlefish.

Evora

Most beautiful places in Central Portugal

Evora played a key role in Portuguese history. It is the Alentejo capital and one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal. It is surrounded by walls and shows different styles of architecture. As a matter of fact, you can see buildings from Roman times to Medieval, from the Portuguese Gothic-Manueline to the Rococo and Moorish.

It is considered a city museum and it is part of the Unesco Heritage. Evora is also ranked number two in the Portuguese most livable cities. The most visited attractions are the Roman Temple of Évora, the Chapel of Bones, and the Cathedral of Évora.

Other things to know before visiting Evora

WHERE TO STAY IN EVORA? Convento do Espinheiro, Historic Hotel & Spa is a 5-star hotel surrounded by beautiful gardens and it offers a spa and several Leisure facilities.

WHERE TO EAT IN EVORA? Alkimia Madeirense was in my opinion one of the best restaurants in Portugal, not only Evora. Here I tried the traditional Francesinha, made with fish instead of meat, I hope I won’t offend anyone from Porto here but it was simply phenomenal. 

BEST WINE TASTING! Dona Dorinda was probably my favorite and one of the best wine-tasting in Portugal. I recommend you a trip to Evora just to experience Dona Dorinda. It is a very private experience, so contact them directly to plan your visit.

Most beautiful places in Southern Portugal

Most beautiful places in Southern Portugal

And now it is time to focus on the South of Portugal and some of the most beautiful places to visit in this area. Most of these places are located in Algarve and it has some of the best summer destinations in Portugal.

In Algarve, the dramatic landscapes meet the ocean and this is where you find the majority of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. And some of the best places to visit in Portugal with family. Are you ready to discover these places together?

Lagos & Ponta da Piedade

Most beautiful places in Southern Portugal

Lagos is known for its walled old town, cliffs, and Atlantic beaches. Steep wooden steps lead to the sandy cove of Praia do Camilo. The nearby cliffs of Ponta de Piedade offer sweeping headland views and a lighthouse. 

You can find a lot of entertainment in the old town of Lagos. Visit the Castle of Lagos or blend in with locals and grab a drink in one of the endless bars. See Porta de São Gonçalo together with Igreja de Santo António and other important attractions of Lagos. The choice is yours.

Lagos is a great base to explore the rest of the Algarve and it still keeps the authenticity even after welcoming a lot of tourists every year. You won’t find it in other cities of the Algarve unfortunately.

Other things to know before visiting Lagos & Ponta da Piedade

WHERE TO STAY IN LAGOS? Cascade Wellness Resort is one of the best hotels in the Algarve. Set in a stunning garden on top of a cliff, it offers stunning views and great comfort to its guests.

WHERE TO EAT IN LAGOS? Arribale is a little cozy restaurant in the old town of Lagos, that will welcome you with some delicious fish and other Portuguese specialties.

EXTRA ACTIVITY! Boat trip to Ponta da Piedade is a must. Book your tour here.

Ferragudo

Most beautiful places in Southern Portugal

Ferragudo is probably the most picturesque town in Algarve, located a short drive away from Portimao. It is a fishing village with bright whitewashed houses and boats. The cobblestone hillside streets give this little village a character, making it one of the most beautiful places in Portugal.

Despite the beauty and the position, Ferragudo still offers a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere, compared to the majority of other places in the Algarve. One of the best beaches in Ferragudo is Praia da Angrinha.

Other things to know before visiting Ferragudo

WHERE TO STAY IN FERRAGUDO? Encosta da Praia Luxury Suites offers panoramic views of the ocean and modern and stylish rooms, it is one of the best-rated places to stay in the Algarve.

WHERE TO EAT IN FERRAGUDO? Ferragudu’s Terrace is a gastro bar where you can try only the best that comes from the Portuguese sea. Everything is exposed so you can check the freshness and quality of products.

Alvor

Most beautiful places in Southern Portugal

Alvor is another tiny, picturesque town on the coast of the Algarve. Just like Ferragudo Alvor is a fisher village where you can enjoy some relaxed vibes and discover the Portuguese way of life. 

There is a lovely promenade on the water which is the perfect place to catch the sunset and take a photo of the boats. Praia de Alvor is a very huge beach to relax and enjoy the sun of the Algarve. Here you can do kitesurfing, rent a boat or even play mini-golf.

Other things to know before visiting Alvor

WHERE TO STAY IN ALVOR? SweetHome at Vila da Praia provides apartments with all comforts and an outdoor pool. It is located in a peaceful and scenic environment.

WHERE TO EAT IN ALVOR? Zé Morgadinho is located on the water and it offers some fantastic grilled fish and other Portuguese specialties you should try.

HIDDEN GEM! Praia da Prainha is located next to the more famous Praia de Alvor but certainly is more scenic and intimate.

Faro

Most beautiful places in Southern Portugal

Faro is the capital city of the Algarve and the city where you will most probably land if you will fly to the Algarve. Is Faro worth visiting? Yes, despite hearing many people using it only as a base to move around Algarve, Faro still offers a lot of cultural activities, natural spots, and more to enjoy.

In Faro, you will find Portuguese architecture with whitewashed houses and the typical Calçada Portuguesa. The best example is probably the Arco da Vila. There is a nice promenade on the sea where can see the sunset, some relevant religious buildings like the Church of Carmo and the Sè of Faro, and museums like the Municipal Museum of Faro. 

Talking about natural beauty, Faro hosts the Ria Formosa Nature Park. This park is known for its varied topography and diverse bird life and visiting the Nature Park is one of the best things to do in the Algarve. You can book your experience here.

Other things to know before visiting Faro

WHERE TO STAY IN FARO? 3HB Faro is everything that a traveler could wish to have a great stay and get spoiled. The hotel offers a terrace with city views, an infinity pool, and an outdoor fireplace.

WHERE TO EAT IN FARO? The food scene is another reason to visit Faro. Taberna Zé-Zé was my choice, and I have to say it was a great decision. Faro also offers vegetarian and vegan options like Vegan Box and Vida Leve.

EXTRA ACTIVITY! Book a fantastic private boat tour to explore the islands and the lagoon in Faro. See more details here.

Sagres

Most beautiful places in Southern Portugal

Sagres is an iconic and beautiful place in Portugal. Here you can find some of the best beaches for surfing like Praia da Mareta. While Praia do Martinhal is one of the best beaches in Algarve for swimming.

Artesanato A Mó is the main site of Sagres and it attracts most photography lovers to this cute little town. Your Algarve holiday can’t be complete if you haven’t seen this epic house that sells handicrafts and shows off its products directly on the design of the house.

It’s important to mention the spectacular landscapes you can see in the area, like the Cape Sagres Viewpoint.

Other things to know before visiting Sagres

WHERE TO STAY IN SAGRES? Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort Hotel. As the name suggests it is one of the best places to visit in Portugal with family as there are a lot of facilities and enough space for everyone.

WHERE TO EAT IN SAGRES? Retiro do Pescador for more seafood lovers. But that is part of the deal when visiting Algarve, so don’t miss it.

Carvoeiro & Benagil Cave

Most beautiful places in Southern Portugal

Carvoeiro is a tiny village on the coast of the Algarve and one of the most picturesque towns in Portugal.  It’s famous for the iconic view of the white houses on a cliff and its beach. 

Another famous attraction of Carvoeiro is the Carvoeiro Boardwalk, where you can walk on a wood promenade overlooking the ocean.

Benagil Cave is located a few minutes away from Carvoeiro. In Carvoeiro, you can find several boat tours that will bring you Benagil Cave, which is hand down one of the most beautiful places to visit in Portugal.

Other things to know before visiting Carvoeiro

WHERE TO STAY IN CARVOEIRO? Tivoli Carvoeiro is one of the best hotels in the Algarve where to get world-class treatment. All Tivoli hotels are a synonym of high-quality standards and hospitality in every little detail.

WHERE TO EAT IN CARVOEIRO? Mar d’Fora is probably the most scenic restaurant in Carvoeiro and one of the best in all the Algarve. The quality of the fish is great, but the risotto is also remarkable.

Silves 

Most beautiful places in Southern Portugal

Silves is the only place on this list that is not on the coast, but it is still one of the best places to visit in the Algarve. It was originally the capital of the Algarve and there is no place like Silves in Algarve when it comes to history and culture.

Here you can visit the famous castle and walk the cobblestone streets to get to the cathedral. You can enjoy some orange juice locally produced in some picturesque squares, and take a picture with the iconic view of the old town from the Roman Bridge. 

Other things to know before visiting Silves

WHERE TO STAY IN SILVES? Quintal do Castelo is located in the heart of Silves, and it’s a set of 3 houses that mix rustic and modern elements.

WHERE TO EAT IN SILVES? Restaurante Ponte Romana is a simple place that will win your heart through its delicious food. It is definitely one of the best restaurants in Silves.

EXTRA EXPERIENCE! In Silves, you can take a one-of-a-kind experience picking up citrus with local farmers and learn the history behind the culture of citrus in the Algarve. Also, you will have delicious home-cooked lunch to enjoy between the flowers in a peaceful garden. This is one of the most authentic experiences in Portugal and you can’t miss it when visiting the Algarve. Click here to see more details.

Albufeira

Most beautiful places in Southern Portugal

Albufeira is one of the most popular places in the Algarve. I have to be honest here, I have very mixed feelings about Albufeira.

From one side the old town is picturesque, the beach is so wide and the water is crystal clear. But on the other side, the place is packed with tourist traps, in summer is way overcrowded, it’s pricier than other places in the Algarve, and it’s hard to find authentic experiences.

I suggest you visit Albufeira and spend some time on the beach, but avoid restaurants and hotels here. It is still a beautiful place to visit in Portugal, but unfortunately, it doesn’t feel very Portuguese anymore.

Tavira

Tavira is a little town not far from the border with Spain. It sits on the river Gilao and you can cross it through the Ponte Antiga de Tavira.

The most remarkable cultural sights are the Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo and the Castle of Tavira. The whitewashed cottages of the old town are a perfect place to enjoy a coffee open air and enjoy the Algarve way. Very different from Albufeira and you certainly will not meet many tourists in Tavira.

Other things to know before visiting Tavira

WHERE TO STAY IN TAVIRA? AP Maria Nova Lounge – Adults Friendly is a great way to spoil yourself in style. It is located a few minutes away from the old town of Tavira.

WHERE TO EAT IN TAVIRA? O Tonel offers the classics of Portuguese cuisine with a modern touch and puts attention to every detail of your meal.

Most beautiful Islands of Portugal

Most beautiful Islands of Portugal

The islands of Portugal are very different from continental Portugal. When visiting islands, you will still encounter Portuguese hospitality, taste some Portuguese delicacies, and enjoy some Portuguese traditions. But everything comes with a local twist. Even the way the locals speak is a bit different from what you will hear in Lisbon or Porto.

Both of these islands are located deep in the North Atlantic Ocean and come with very tropical vibes. Weather can get a bit unpredictable, but I am sure it won’t ruin your experience as you will be busy with exploring.

Madeira

Most beautiful Islands of Portugal

Madeira goes to one of the most beautiful places that I have ever seen and it is overwhelming to think how much this little island has to offer. If you want to know more about this island, make sure you check my Madeira travel guide and discover the best things to do in Madeira.

It has impressive mountains, spectacular ocean views, unforgettable waterfalls, hidden caves, mouth-watering food, unique nature, 6 different climates, world-famous wine, hospitality like never seen before, and of course, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Other things to know before visiting Madeira

WHERE TO STAY IN MADEIRA? Savoy Palace is one of the most beautiful places to stay in Portugal. This unique hotel offers literally everything you can dream about in your little paradise in the middle of the ocean.

EXTRA TIP! Madeira has some of the best new year’s celebrations in Europe.

Azores 

Most beautiful Islands of Portugal

Azores Islands concludes the list of the most beautiful places in Portugal. The Azores consists of 9 islands, each with its peculiarity and biodiversity. It’s the top destination in Portugal for nature lovers. 

Ponta Delgada is the biggest city and it is located on the biggest island – Sao Miguel. On this island, you can also find the famous Sete Cidades, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Portugal, and tea plantations. Ilha Terceira holds some important gems of Portugal, but each island is very unique and deserves your attention.

Other things to know before visiting the Azores

WHERE TO STAY IN AZORES? If you are planning to spend most of your time in Sao Miguel, don’t miss White Exclusive Suites & Villas.

WHERE TO EAT IN AZORES? Tasca Mane Cigano is a little Portuguese restaurant, but definitely one of the best places to eat in all of Portugal. You most likely will have to make a line to enter and enjoy the genuine tastes of the Azores. Locals and tourists love it, and it’s a great chance to have a delicious meal without spending too much.

Why visit Portugal?

Why visit Portugal?

There are a million reasons to visit Portugal and it’s hard to collect them all in a single paragraph. Now that we have covered the most beautiful places to visit in Portugal, let’s dive in and discover the reasons to visit Portugal. Let me already warn you that Portugal offers something for every type of tourist.

For art and culture lovers

Why visit Portugal?

Art, culture, and history are not only in popular places like Lisbon or Porto, but also in smaller towns like Batalha, Guimaraes, and Silves. The most common form of Portuguese art is hidden in azulejos and you will find it all over the country. 

Religious architecture is also a huge part of Portuguese culture. Some of the best places in Portugal to visit are churches and monasteries, like the Sè de Porto, or the Monastery of Belem.

Portugal also is a land of castles. Sintra is one of the best places in Portugal to visit for finding the best castles, nevertheless, there are other magnificent castles all around the country, like Almourol Castle, the Obidos Castle, Marvao, and more.

For foodies and wine lovers

Why visit Portugal?

The scenic Douro Valley is not the only place where you can try some remarkable wines. The Alentejo Region is a gem for gastronomy. Here you can find some of the best wines in Portugal and unique delicacies like the Porco Preto, used for cured ham and more.

Maybe meat is not your thing? Seafood is the king of Portuguese cuisine. Especially around the coast. For example, there are 365 ways to cook codfish in Portugal. One per each day of the year and it’s probably the most famous dish in Portugal. Also, you can’t miss the Sardines in summer, cuttlefish, octopus Lagareiro, the famous percebes, and the rest of the seafood is a must-do in Portugal.

When it comes to sweets, try beyond Pastel de Nata and eat some Bolo do Mel (sweet of honey), Bolo Dei and Bolo Reina, Pao de Lo, Bola de Berlim, tarts d’amendoa, and more.

For nature lovers and adventurous 

Vereda dos Balcões, Madeira

Serra da Estrela Natural Park is one of the most beautiful parts of Portugal, located in the heart of the country. In the North, at the border with Spain Peneda-Gerês National Park is one of Portugal’s most beautiful natural places.

Around Lisbon, you can find the Natural Park of Sintra and Cascais, and the Parque Natural da Arrábida where you can find some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. And talking about the most beautiful beaches in Portugal, we can’t forget to mention Algarve.

When it comes to nature, the most beautiful places in Portugal are the islands – Madeira and Azores. Here you can find literally everything: dramatic mountains to hike, volcanos, wildlife, beautiful beaches, and more.

When is the best time to visit Portugal?

When is the best time to visit Portugal?

Every season in Portugal is different and offers a different kinds of experiences to the visitors. Back in the time when I lived in Portugal, I experienced it during different times of the year and found joy in every season. Let’s see what are the pros and cons of visiting Portugal in different seasons and what would be the best time for you to visit Portugal.

Summer

When is the best time to visit Portugal?

PRO: perfect weather for the beach season, a lot of fun activities, and traditional celebrations all over the country. A lot of sunny days and low chances of rain. Considering the long coastline, summer is a perfect time to visit Portugal for beach lovers.

CONS: most of the famous places are overpacked with tourists and prices are higher compared to other seasons. Most of the local places close during August. Also, the temperature can get too hot for some people.

Winter

When is the best time to visit Portugal?

PRO: Portugal is relatively warm in winter unless you visit some remote places in the mountains. There won’t be many tourists around but you won’t be able to enjoy the beach and swimming. Winter is great for the culture and history lovers who want to avoid crowds.

CONS: Not the best weather and chances of rain. Not many events and most of the places are closed in Algarve. Also, Portugal is not the best destination for Christmas markets.

Shoulder season

When is the best time to visit Portugal?

PRO: weather is already warm and pleasant while most of the cities remain tourist free, so it is a very pleasant time to enjoy the beauty of Portugal. You can find some foliage during fall in Northern Portugal and some wonderful blooming during spring.

CONS: beach season starts in early May and lasts until late September. It will be too cold for the beach during the rest of the year. It is still warm, but you could find some rainy days.

How to move around Portugal?

How to move around Portugal?

While Central and Northern Portugal can be easily visited by public transport, Algarve and the islands are almost impossible if you don’t have a car. If you don’t drive, most probably you will have to hire someone or join a tour. The same applies to hidden gems in Portugal.

Portugal by train. Portugal has a good train system. It’s definitely not the fastest, nor the cheapest but you can get from point A to point B almost everywhere in the country. Occasionally there are promotions to buy cheap tickets.

Portugal by bus. Busses are cheap and can bring you almost everywhere in the country. On the other hand, I had more than one unfortunate experience using buses, so you might have to deal with delays and no-shows. Certainly, avoid taking the last bus.

Portugal by car: This is the best way to move around Portugal unless you are planning to stay only in Lisbon or Porto. A car in Portugal gives you a lot of freedom and can bring you to some very remote places.

I always use Rentalcars which is an international online car booking service. They match you with the best prices and have a flexible cancellation policy – you can cancel or change most bookings for free up to 48 hours before the pick-up. I only had the best experience with them, so I can recommend this company, but there are endless opportunities online or at the airport arrivals. Click here to find your car rental for Portugal.

Portugal by Uber: compared to other countries, Uber is very affordable in Portugal and can be used for some short trips between cities. It can be a bit more difficult to deal with a taxi as a foreigner, so I recommend Uber.

In conclusion…

Most Beautiful Places in Portugal You Have to Visit

Now that you have read about all these beautiful places to visit in Portugal, how long is your bucket list? I bet it is long and probably one trip won’t be enough to discover this beautiful country. But I believe you can plan a lot of interesting road trip itineraries for Portugal after reading this article and focus on one area at a time. The question is, where to start?

As you plan your ultimate trip around Portugal, make sure you don’t miss these unique hotels.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.

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Most Beautiful Places in Portugal You Have to Visit
Most Beautiful Places in Portugal You Have to Visit

2 Comments

  1. Una guida fantastica con foto meravigliose il tutto spiegato e illustrato con maestria e professionalità top del top

  2. Now i want to go back! 😂 these are hands down the most beautiful places in Portugal and my first pick would be the islands! Also I’d drink a lot of green wine and eat countless fish! Meus Deus, que saudade desse lugar ❤️

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