15 Must-See Places in Portugal

posted in: Europe, Portugal, Travel | 17

Portugal Must-See Places Beyond Lisbon

How can you not be enamored with Portugal? We discovered a country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, deeply devout communities, and authentic charm.

Our list of Portugal’s must-see places to visit will take you from big cities to traditional villages; rural countryside to rugged cliffside; and sandy beaches to cobblestone streets.

Here are the best places to visit in Portugal arranged from north to south.

1. Peneda-Geres National Park

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must See Places.

Peneda-Geres National Park, located in the northwest part of the country, is the only national park in Portugal. It is vast. It is stunning. And it is an explorers dream. The park is chock-full of scenic drives, stunning views, cascading waterfalls, ancient Roman roads and dense oak forests.

2. Sistelo Village

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must-See Places.

Just outside the Peneda-Geres National Park borders, you will find the tiny village of Sistelo, known for its famous idyllic terraces called “solcalcos.” They are a vital agricultural facet to the rural community, but provide a stunning landscape to experience as an outsider.

3. Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must-See Places.

Bom Jesus do Monte, meaning Good Jesus of the Mount, is a fascinating pilgrimage site set high on a hilltop overlooking the city. The impressive zigzag stairway, containing seventeen landings adorned with fountains and statues, leads visitors to the church and beautiful grounds.

4. Guimaraes

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must-See Places.

Guimaraes won us over with its 1,000-year-old castle, medieval vibe and delightful streets. Visit what many locals consider the birthplace of Portugal since the first king of the country was born here.

5. Douro Valley

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must-See Places.Douro Valley, the world’s first officially designated wine region, is an absolute delight. Two roads on either side of the Douro River will transport you with mesmerizing views of slow-moving water and steep terraced vineyards cut into the mountainside.

6. Porto

Porto, Portugal’s second largest city, is home to one of the oldest European centers. Its historical core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. Enjoy cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings, the lull of vintage boats bobbing in the water, and buzzing nightlife. And let’s not forget to mention sipping on savory port wine in the land where it was first conceived.

7. Costa Nova

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must-See Places.

Costa Nova’s candy-striped houses are a throwback to a simpler time. A system once used by fisherman to help the homes stand out against the faded sand tones, now add a colorful splash to beach rentals. Enjoy a day lounging on the soft sandy beach or an active one out on the inviting waters of the Atlantic.



8. Aveiro

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must-See Places.

Located on a shallow coastal lagoon, Aveiro is known for its brightly painted boats, picturesque canals, and laidback fishing village vibe. Although I think it’s bit of a stretch to refer to it by its nickname the “Venice of Portugal,” it does radiate similar charm as the gondola-studded city and it is a place well worth a visit.

9. Coimbra University

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must-See Places.

Coimbra University is the oldest university in Portugal and one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world. Highlights of the visit include the ornamental Chapel of São Miguel, the one-of-a-kind Joanine Library, and gorgeous views from the University Tower.

10. Convent of Christ

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must-See Places.

Situated on a hill looking over the town of Tomar, the Convent of Christ was founded as the headquarters of the Knights Templar. When the group was disbanded in the 14th century, the site was reestablished as the Order of Christ, who supported Portugal’s maritime efforts of exploration and colonization. Plan to spend the entire day marveling at the amazing level of detail and architecture of the magnificent grounds.

11. The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must-See Places.

There is a strong sense of faith and devotion at the Shrine of our Lady of Fatima. We were taken off guard at how large the area is, it is one of the largest shrines in the world of its kind. In 1917, three children claimed to have seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary on multiple occasions. People have been visiting the location ever since. Religious or not, Fatima is a compelling place.

12. Óbidos

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must-See Places.The lovable town of Óbidos, tightly hugged by medieval walls, is about an hour’s drive north from Lisbon. The lively historic center is a maze of flower-lined cobblestone streets buzzing with shops and restaurants. A visit is not complete without trying the traditional Portueguese drink of Ginja, a berry liqueur served in edible chocolate cups.

13. Pena Palace

Best places to visit in Portugal

If fairy tale is what you are looking for, fairy tale is what you get at Pena Palace. The Romanticist castle, with sweeping views of the surrounding area, is perched high in the lush green Sintra Mountains. A visit feels like a leap into a magical setting of a Brothers Grimm story.

14. Quinta da Regaleira

Best places to visit in Portugal

Quinta da Regaleira, an enchanting estate located near the historic center of Sintra, is an adult playground. The wooded gardens are home to hidden tunnels, dark grottos, underground wells, and spiral staircases all surrounding an impressive 20th century Gothic residence. A unique and extraordinary place, Quinta da Regaleira should not be missed.

15. Lagos

A country saturated with rich history, overwhelming natural beauty, devout communities, and authentic charm. Read here for Portugal Must-See Places.

Don’t let the vibrant nightlife or “most-visited” term fool you into thinking Lagos is a tourist trap. Don’t get me wrong there are souvenir shops and tourists aplenty, but the Algarve gem also has natural beauty, quiet nooks, and historical charm mixed in as well.

Have you visited Portugal? What was your favorite stop?

 

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Visiting Portugal? Read here for the ultimate bucket list of must-see places!

17 Responses

  1. The Peneda-Geres park looks SO beautiful! Thank you for sharing all these places, I’ve saved this article for later use, we love the off the beaten path itineraries!

  2. Wow Portugal is such a beautiful country. We visited around 10 years and only to Lisbon, so this post has definitely given us reason to go back! Those rice terraces around the villages are stunning!

  3. Portugal has so much to offer, we fell short of time during our 2 weeks there. Porto, Algarve, Obidos and Sintra are so stunning, they are unbelievable. And the countryside…spectacular.

  4. Pena Palace was so amazing. I loved Sintra best about my trip to Portugal. You’ve mentioned many amazing places that I am not familiar with but I can say that the cruise of Duoro Valley is high up my bucket list. 🙂

  5. Portugal has slowly been creeping its way up to the top of my bucket list! With all these amazing places, it sounds like perhaps a road trip would be the best option for exploring Portugal!

  6. This article is perfect for us as we’ll be travelling through Portugal next year and we’re on the look out for places off the beaten track! The Peneda-Geres park looks incredible as does Obidos. Pinning for future reference.

  7. So much to see in Portugal. The wine terraces remind me of the similar rice terraces here in asia. I would love to hike through that countryside. Porto is a city thats worth a visit too.Thanks for sharing these places and opening our eyes to more of Portugal.

  8. Wow what an awesome list. Portugal seems to be the destination of the moment. I have only been to a couple of these places but I think a Portugal road trip is in order. Pena Palace is just stunning and I have heard so much about the Duoro Valley but your pictures capture it all beautifully.

  9. oooh Geres National Park looks so beautiful! I’ve heard so many lovely things about Porto, but didn’t know it was a UNESCO World Heritage Site; that’s so cool!

  10. I just love Portugal. I’m so glad you mentioned the Douro Valley, it’s one of my favorite places 🙂

  11. Last year I went Portugal with my husband. We spend a week there.we visited sister village, Porto, costa nova, Pena palace. believe me, these are the amazing place. We also wanted to visit Douro valley, Saverio, Coimbra University. but the shortage of time we could not visit there. We want to go there again.by the way well written and tnx for sharing.

  12. Very informative post! Planning a trip to Portugal next year and have saved this to my Pinterest board for reference! Sintra looks like lens candy and I am looking forward to some of the smaller places. The puerto blancos in Andalusia were the highlight of our visit to that country.

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