Portugal is a European destination ready to excite travellers with its beachside locations, natural landscape and historic cities easy on the eye. But where in the country should you visit for your next trip? We’ve put this guide together featuring the very best of Portugal, from Lisbon to Madeira and everywhere in between. So read on and discover where you should travel to on your next Portuguese adventure.
Let’s start with the country’s most famous city and the capital of Portugal. Lisbon is often featured at the top of many must-visit lists, and for a good reason. From the world-class cuisine to the charming mosaic walkways, it’s a place full of culture, buzz and charm. Wander the cobblestone streets and winding alleyways and ride the trams before stopping off at restaurants and shops. Then do it all again in the evening, embracing the nightlife and its vibrant atmosphere with bustling bars and friendly locals.
One of the oldest villages in Portugal, Monsaraz’s history is a mix of cultures from Romans to Visigoth and Arabs to Knights Templar. It’s positioned on a hilltop, which gave it the strategic advantage of defending itself from war throughout history. Today, Monsaraz’s lofty position offers scenic sights and panoramic views from the village walls and watchtowers where you can enjoy sightly views over the waters of Alqueva Dam. Within the walls of the medieval village, you’ll find ancient archaeological sites and classic architecture that includes a crumbling yet majestic castle as the main attraction.
Lisbon might be the most famous city in Portugal, but you shouldn’t discount places like Braga. Located nearby Porto and Amarante, the city is full of impressive buildings, and there’s plenty of history to soak up here. From the majestic Catholic shrine Bom Jesus do Monte to the beautiful Baroque era residence Casa do Raio, a trip to Braga offers a whistle-stop tour of Portugal’s long and varied history.
Neatly nestled in the heart of the Alentejo region, Evora is a location for culture vultures. It’s home to monuments and ancient buildings centuries old, many of which have been named UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Wander the Moorish alleys, stopping at local markets to find a gem, before enjoying some world-famous Portuguese cuisine in a family-run restaurant.
The Algarve 🏄♀️
A holiday favourite with Brits, the Algarve is the place to go if you want a lazy beach holiday and maybe even to participate in a spot of horse riding along the sands. It’s located in the south of Portugal and is home to more than 100 beaches spread across 100 miles of sweeping coastline. It’s also the location of Praia do Amado, the country’s best-known surf spot. So grab a board and hit the waves.
Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city and sits on a major river that only adds to the ambience. There’s also an old town to explore, as well as colourful landmarks such as Sao Bento station with its beautiful ceramics. Porto is renowned for its famous port wine, so make sure you spend some time in the restaurants and wine bars. The city is ideal for a long weekend city break, where you can try local eateries, go on long walking tours and take plenty of pictures that’ll light up your Instagram.
Peneda-Geres National Park 🏞️
Head to the border of Spain, and you’ll find Peneda-Geres National Park, the only one of its kind in the country. It was opened in 1971 and protects ecosystems and landscapes, along with local villages and secluded spots. Go for a hike, admire valleys, verdant forests, rolling foothills and plenty of flora and fauna species. You can even stay for the night at one of the camping sites, so you’ve got more time on your hands to explore the granite villages that look and feel timeless.
You will find the village of Monsanto on the steep mountain top of Mons Sanctus in Beira Baixa. It looks like something out of a Lord of the Rings movie and is famous for the enormous granite boulders people have used for floors, walls and even rooftop houses. The village is a living museum, which means it looks similar to how it did thousands of years ago.
Other than being known as the home town of Cristiano Ronaldo, Madeira Island is full of beach paradises and laid-back vibes. Funchal, Madeira’s capital, offers fantastic views over the islands, with sights of the sub-tropical Monte Palace gardens and the fortress that dominates the city. Outside of the capital, you can expect to find exotic flowers, warm climates and those beautiful stretches of sand, which are some of the best in Portugal.
The best of Portugal
There’s so much beauty in Portugal, and it’s easy to see why it has become a holiday hotspot along with the likes of Spain and Greece. Whether you want city breaks full of culture or beach getaways where you can relax under the sun, Portugal has you covered with its quintessential European charm.