23 Beautiful Places to Visit in Portugal

23 beautiful places to visit in Portugal, including the best places to visit in the north, central and south part of Portugal!

A blog about the best places to visit in Portugal

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When I tally it up, I’m surprised how much time we’ve spent in Portugal. Over the past 3 years, we’ve spent a total of 123 days in the country, and seen some of the best places to visit in Portugal during 4 months of cumulative travel through almost every region in mainland Portugal.

On both of our trips to Portugal, we’ve been based in one region and used a car to explore other areas, bookending both trips with stays in Portugal’s main cities and biggest tourist draws, Lisbon and Porto. While we adore both Lisbon and Porto, we’ve also come to love some of Portugal’s smaller and lesser-known towns and cities: places like Braga in the north, Tavira in the Algarve, and Monsanto in the east. Once you’ve done all there is to do in Lisbon, consider venturing further afield to one of these other spots!

If you’ve never heard of any of those places, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. This post has a whack of places to visit in Portugal that most tourists have never heard of, and will hopefully encourage you to adventure beyond Lisbon and Porto to see some of the lesser-visited places in Portugal!

Note, as we’ve only traveled throughout Portugal’s mainland (not the Azores or Madeira), I haven’t covered the islands in this guide. Further note, this post doesn’t cover the Lisbon area, but we can direct you to a few resources to get you started, such as some great Lisbon day trips and this Lisbon itinerary for a family, which is suited for those travelling with kids!

 

23 Places to Visit in Portugal: Table of Contents

Places to Visit in Portugal: Portugal’s Regions & Getting Around

Portugal’s administrative regions are a bit confusing for outsiders (aka: me), in that there are many, and they are of course in Portuguese. I’ve broken this guide up more broadly, by super simple regions: the north (Porto and beyond), the centre (including the Alentejo) and the Algarve (the southern-most part of Portugal, which stretches across the width of the country at the very bottom).

It’s also worth noting that I assume you have a car. Renting a car isn’t entirely necessary to get to some of these places, but not having a car will make visiting some of the towns and villages near impossible. We’ve had a car both times we’ve come to Portugal, and have found it allowed us to explore so much more than had we not had one. Hiring a car really is a must to access the best places to visit in Portugal.

Finally, it’s worth noting this isn’t an all-encompassing guide, but rather a summary of the places we’ve visited in Portugal.

I’ve tried to give a pretty honest picture of the places, including a few places we didn’t love. Hopefully, that doesn’t result in a rush of angry emails…again, this is all just our opinion. So if I bad-mouthed your hometown…sorry! Invite us back, and maybe we’ll love it with you as a tour guide :)

Planning a trip to Portugal? Yay! We have loads of articles – check out Portugal Home Page for more info. And if you’re planning to stop by Lisbon, be sure to read our Where to Stay in Lisbon guide!

Central Portugal

Coimbra

Portugal’s fourth-largest city, Coimbra lies somewhere between Lisbon and Porto. Despite being super convenient to visit (the train from Lisbon to Porto stops in Coimbra), it seems to get the short-end of the stick from most visitors to Portugal, who simply skip Coimbra without giving it another thought!

We think this is a mistake. While Coimbra certainly doesn’t require a week to explore, it makes a nice overnight stop to break up the journey between Lisbon and Porto.

It’s got a city feel to it, without being overwhelmed by crowds. The University is a World Heritage site, and one of the oldest universities in Europe (it was founded in the late 13th century). And Coimbra’s old quarter is easily walkable, and is filled with cute alleys and cafés to explore.

Seriously…take a day and check out Coimbra!

places to visit in Portugal Coimbra

Find the Best Rate on Hotels, Apartments & Hostels in Coimbra

 

Monsanto

We spotted Monsanto before we knew we spotted Monsanto, that’s how obviously it sticks out from the surrounding landscape. Like a Dalí-esque hand rising from a surrealist desert, so the Monsanto head — the rock hill upon which the village sits like a crown — rises from the central Portuguese prairie.

The other–worldliness magic of the place doesn’t end when you finally reach the village of Monsanto itself. Every time we turned a corner, one of us would inevitably say, “Wow…this is so cool!” upon spotting the boulders which distinguish the town and make it one of the most unique places to visit in Portugal.

The more we travel, the more difficult it is to impress us. But Monsanto impressed. Truly. It’s one of the cooler places we’ve seen on our travellers. Unique, spectacular, and photogenic as hell.

Once you’re finished with the town itself, be sure to climb up to explore the 12th-century castle, built by the Knight’s Templar. Like the town, it’s strewn with boulders, and it has a crumbling, abandoned and wind-swept feeling to it that makes you feel like you’re on an adventure.

Without sounding like a broken record…if you get a chance, go to Monsanto. It’s about a 2-hour drive from Coimbra, so if you’re a city person, you’re best bet is to probably stay in Coimbra and rent a car (we typically use Holiday Autos for car rentals, if that helps). However, if you’re feeling adventurous, there are some really charming-looking places to stay in Monsanto, too!

  Monsanto is a unique place to visit in Portugal    

Castelo Branco

Despite the name, the small city of Castelo Branco doesn’t have a white castle. What it does have is a lovely and little-visited old quarter, and a vibrant and modern centre that gives you a window into everyday life in Eastern Portugal.

We visited Castelo Branco, Idanha-a-Nova, and Monsanto as a single day-trip, driving from Arrouquelas. It was a long day, but manageable, and each stop was worth it.

In Castelo Branco, the main thing to do is simply wander through the old quarter, up the stairs and hills to the castle. The castle itself is a bit of a disappointment, but it’s free to visit and gives a nice view of the city below.

In all honesty, I think Castelo Branco is more of a ‘stop while passing through’ kind of place, and not worth the overnight. Tomar is just over an hour away, and would make a much nicer place to spend the night. Plus, Tomar has a great selection of hotels across the budget range.

  Castelo Braco Places to Visit Portugal    

Idanha-a-Nova

For us, Idanha-a-Nova was a short but worthwhile stop on the drive between Castelo Branco and Monsanto. Pretty enough, the most interesting part was climbing up to where the old castle stood. Idanha-a-Nova sits on a massive continental fault (the Ponsul fault) within a geological national park (Naturtejo Geopark), and the site of the former castle is at the edge of the step, where the fault split the earth and created a sharp drop from the hill, down to the prairie below.

If you have any interest in geology it’s worth the stop. It also offers some pretty views in all directions.

  Idanha a Nova Place to Visit in Portugal    

Marvão

Marvão is a delightful little town with a fantastic castle, quite close to Portugal’s eastern border with Spain. We ended up spending the better part of the day here, because even though it’s tiny, there’s enough to explore. It’s a place that feels inconsistent with rushing around.

The castle is the highlight of Marvão — beautiful castle walls and towers that you can climb, affording views of Spain to the east and Portugal to the west. One of the things I love about Portugal are the castles — they’re everywhere, and in varying states of maintenance, but they’re always quite cheap to explore. In Marvão, tickets were just over 1 Euro!

After spending an hour or so wandering around the castle walls (which have minimal safety additions – wear good shoes), we got lunch in the village and then wandered around for another hour or so taking photos.

Marvão was definitely one of our favorite villages in eastern Portugal, and — in our humble opinion — is up there with Monsanto as one of the best places to visit in Portugal!

We just visited as a day trip, but I would have absolutely stayed the night if we knew how cute it was going to be. The town has a nice selection of boutique hotels to choose from, and it feels like the perfect place to have a long dinner and then relax on a garden terrace, playing cards or chatting.

  Marvao Portugal is a best place to visit in Portgual    

Castelo de Vide

We combined a trip to Castelo de Vide with one to Marvão. They’re less than 20 minutes’ drive from one another, making it an easy combo if you have a car.

At first, we were honestly a bit underwhelmed by the place…we’d be touring through Central Portugal a lot, and were a bit burnt out. Arriving in Castelo de Vide, it all just seemed the same as what we’d seen elsewhere, and because we went to the absolutely spectacular Marvão first, we had trouble seeing how Castelo de Vide was going to compete for our affections.

And then, we saw the view from the castle, and the old Jewish quarter, and we were convinced as to the merits of visiting Castelo de Vide!

Looking down at the town from the castle, Castelo de Vide looks a bit like a slice of pie, the whitewashed houses and red tile roofs moving to a narrow point at the furthest edge, up another hill.

Just outside the castle, the old Jewish quarter has its own charms: cobbled alleys marked by brightly-colored flowers and doors. Castelo de Vide is, in a word, lovely!

Personally, I’d recommend staying in Marvao and visiting Castelo de Vide, rather than the other way around. While Castelo de Vide is really quite lovely, Marvao has that extra dose of charm!

  Castelo De Vide Places to Visit in Portugal    

Piódão

The best part of Piódão is just how different it looks from the rest of Portugal. A tightly composed village of tiny stone houses surrounding by verdant green terraces, Piódão wouldn’t look out of place in England or as the set of a Hobbit movie. Where it does look out of places, however, is Portugal — it’s just completely different from the typical whitewashed houses and red tile roofs we’ve seen from top to bottom, west to east on our explorations through Portugal.

If it’s looks are its upside, the difficulty of actually getting to Piódão is certainly the downside. It took us about 3.5 hours driving each way from Arrouquelas, the village we were staying in. When we actually got to Piódão, we realized there isn’t actually much to do there, other than walk around and enjoy the beauty.

If you’re a highly visual person, a photographer, or you’re in the area for some reason, you’ll probably love Piódão. If you’re a casual tourist exploring the country…it might be a bit too much of a commitment to get there! Either way, we’d recommend staying in Coimbra, renting a car and driving there and back in a day (about 1.5 hours each way, but you’ll probably want to stop to take photos!). Car rental in Portugal is unbelievably cheap, so don’t let the car rental put you off!

  Piodao Portugal is a best place to visit in Portugal    

Leiria

Leiria has a nice castle, which was nearly abandoned when we were there. During the hour or so we spent exploring and climbing around, we saw a total of 4 other people. We only explored the castle – not the town below – so I can’t speak to the city as a whole. However, the castle is really cool. It’s not as well preserved as the castle in Marvao, for example, but the crumbling state kind of adds to the charm. It definitely had a “knights of the round table adventure” vibe to it!

For both Leiria and Batalha, I’d suggest staying in Coimbra.

  Leiria Portugal Castle    

Batalha

We visited Batalha in conjunction with a trip to Fatima, and Batalha definitely won the day for us.

The word Batalha actually means “battle” in Portuguese, and the town is the site of an important battle in Portuguese history. You can visit the site of the battle and interpretation centre outside of town (we didn’t), but for us the draw in going to Batalha was seeing the Batalha Monastery, a gothic masterpiece and — you guessed it — a UNESCO World Heritage building. Dating back to the late 14th Century.

It’s pretty impressive…

  Batalha Portugal Monastary    

Aveiro

Aveiro bills itself as the “Venice of Portugal,” which I have to say, feels like a bit of a stretch. I’ve never been to Venice, but if I went to Aveiro expecting a city filled with canals, boats, and canal-side cafés, I would have been disappointed.

That’s not to say Aveiro itself is a disappointment or not worth visiting…it is! Just don’t go expecting Venice.

We visited Aveiro as a day trip, and found there wasn’t a lot to see or do, other than simply walk around and enjoy the vibe of the city. If I were to go again, I’d treat Aveiro as a place to spend a night or two when I really just want to chill out, relax, and enjoy some cafés and restaurants in a small city setting. It has a really relaxed feeling to it, and there are a few canals that add to the cuteness.

Aveiro isn’t a must see place to see in Portugal, but it is worth a stopover if you have the time. If you decide to stay in Aveiro, definitely try to get somewhere on or very close to the canals. Outside of the canal area, the town is not as pretty or interesting, so it’s worth finding a place that puts you right in the centre of the best part!

  Places to visit in Portugal Aveiro    

Obidos

Obidos was one of the first trips we took during our month in central Portugal, and it was a good one! Not only is it historical and adorable, it’s close to Lisbon, making it possible to see it as a day trip. We’d recommend staying in Lisbon, rather than Obidos.

Related:Check out this post dedicated entirely to Obidos as one of the best places to visit in Portugal!

  Obidos Portgual is a great place to visit in Portugal    

Fatima

In our opinion, Fatima was a miss. We really didn’t like it, and honestly have little to say that’s nice about the place.

The main draw in Fatima is religious tourism for Catholics. The site of an important miracle in Catholicism, Fatima has built an entire tourism industry out of it. It was packed with pilgrims and the devout when we visited, including some people who approached the hold areas on their knees. For the non-religious, like us, it felt bizarre to witness, and we wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re particularly interested in the religious angle.

 

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The Alentejo

Beja

Beja sits in the Alentejo — central and southeastern Portugal — and is a place we visited on our first trip to Portugal back in 2013. Back then, we were disappointed by the town itself, and I’d imagine the same holds true today. The reason to go to Beja is not the town itself, which is rather run-down, but the castle. Built over the remains of a Roman and Moorish structure in the 13th Century, it has the tallest keep in Portugal, made of granite and marble. The castle is tiny, and it’s really the keep that’s the highlight…a perfect prison for a fairytale princess.

  Beja Castle Alentejo Portugal    

Mertola

Another throw-back to our first trip to Portugal, Mertola is yet another castle village in Portugal. Visiting these towns and villages, you truly get a picture of Portugal’s violent history, falling at times to the Romans, the Moors, and the Christians. Today, the castles are decorative and cool to see, but back in the day they were necessary fortifications against invaders.

Sitting right on the Guadiana River, Mertola is in a pretty spot, and the castle offers tranquil views of the Alentejo. It’s one of those places that doesn’t have much to hold your attention for long, but it’s hard not to want to visit: it’s pretty, and the castle has a dungeon!

  Places to Visit in Portugal Mertola    

Évora

We’re probably going to catch some flack for this, and we really don’t want to offend, but in all honesty, we found Évora — described by Lonely Planet as one of Portugal’s most beautifully preserved medieval towns — spectacularly boring. We nicknamed it Eh-Bore-Ah. Perhaps it’s because we arrived in the dead of February, where the grey skies and lack of action hid the town’s true, spectacular nature, but it truly felt much less interesting than some of the other places we’ve explored, and certainly less interesting than some of the other places on this list.

What we did like about Évora were the small reminders of ancient Rome scattered throughout the town — the aqueduct and the Templo Romano columns — and the ossuary. While not as impressive as the Kutna Hora Bone Church (ossuary) outside of Prague, they were still pretty cool. Évora is also a sensible stop if you’re heading to see the Roman Theatre and city of Badajoz, just across the Spanish border. As Évora is a decent size, there are plenty of hotels to choose from if you decide to stay the night!

  Related: Check out Things To Do in Evora, Portugal   places to visit in portugal evora  

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The North

Porto

Let me put it this way: I’ve never met a person that doesn’t like Porto. Many people even like Porto MORE than Lisbon, and Lisbon is incredibly lovable.

It’s a perfectly-sized city for visitors, and it’s possible to walk pretty much everywhere. If you get tired, the public transportation is easy to use and efficient.

And it’s downright gorgeous. Set on the Duoro river in one of the world’s oldest wine regions, there are thousands of tiny spots to while the day away, or watch the sunset from a riverside café. A city of hills, there are great vantage points from which you can capture the city with your camera, and — like Lisbon, as well — the beauty is in the details: the doorknockers, the tiles, the mosaic tile floors.

We’d definitely recommend staying a couple of nights in Porto, if you can swing it!

  Porto is one of the most popular places to visit in Portugal    

Braga

Braga is one of those little gems that completely surprised us. We arrived with no expectations and booked a few nights, and by the end, we’d wished we’d booked longer. It’s just this wonderfully cute small city, and has a lot of history, serving as the provincial capital of Gallaecia during the Roman Empire. There are a tonne of cafés and bars, and great local food, and we found the people to be outwardly friendly and more chatty than in other parts of Portugal.

Part of our love affair with Braga no doubt has to do with the place we stayed — Collector’s Hostel. More like a B&B than a hostel (at least in the private rooms, there are dorms, too), the owners Jo and Anna are massive champions for their city, and immediately got us excited about all the things to do and see. See our full review here.

If you go to Braga, do yourself a favour and stay for more than one night…2 or 3 should be good. And stay at Collector’s if you can!

  Braga Portugal  

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The Algarve

The Algarve is very small, and you can drive from the Atlantic coast to the Spanish border in about 2 hours, if you take the toll road! That means you can pretty much base yourself anywhere, and not worry too much about getting around. Faro is the largest city in the Algarve, but we’d recommend you stay at one of the beach towns instead of Faro, which doesn’t have a tonne of character. Albufeira is probably the most popular place to stay in the Algarve, and is a good place to start your accomodation search!

Tavira

Tavira was our favorite town in the Algarve when we stayed in the region back in 2013. Back then, I wrote that it reminded me in a way of a mini Prague (if I stretched my imagination). Built on the banks of the Gilão river, there are seven or eight bridges spanning across it, connecting the two sides of the town. After having lived in Prague for 15 months, I can now say Tavira is definitely not on the same scale of awesomeness as Prague…but it is a wee little city that’s cute and worth a day trip. And — because this is Portugal — there’s a great old castle to explore!

  Tavira Portugal Bridge    

Sagres

Sagres is another really cool place to visit in Portugal. Set on the wild southwestern coast, it used to be known as the end of the known world. The ancients believed that beyond Cape St. Vincent, the sea was filled with serpents.

Today, you can totally see how they could have thought that way. It’s rugged and wild, and standing at what was thought to be the edge of the ancient world back in the day, it actually still feels that way without much imagination required. If you have any interest in history, or in the Portuguese age of exploration, in particular, this is a fantastic place to visit in Portugal!

  Fort at Sagres portugal    

Silves

The reason to visit Silves is the fantastic castle, the best preserved in the Algarve, and with a proper castle look to it, surrounded by a saw-tooth castle wall. The Algarve went back and forth between being controlled by the Moors of North Africa and the Christians of Europe for centuries, and Silves saw a lot of that action. Today, it’s one of the few places in the Algarve where we saw tour groups — most of the time, we just saw individual tourists — but it still wasn’t overrun, and it’s possible to wander and enjoy the castle on your own!

  The Castle in Silves Portugal    

Alte

Alte is really cute, but it’s also really small. We had high hopes for the town back when we visited in 2013/2014, and it’s been described as the most typical Algarvian town in all of the Algarve. Every house, it seems, has an Algarvian chimney on it, and it’s filled with whitewashed houses and red tile roofs, and beautiful flowers and vines climbing the walls.

Despite all that, we found it a bit boring. There really is nothing to do other than walk around and enjoy the quaintness, and that can get old quickly. Worth a stop if you’re driving through, but that’s about it.

  Alte Portugal Chimney    

Vila Real de Santo Antonio and Castro Marim

Right on the Spanish border, these two spots are worth a day. Vila Real de Santo Antonio is interesting because of its grid system to urban planning, implemented after devastating earthquakes in the 1700s or so. The real attraction of the area, however, is nearby Castro Marim. Nestled in between two hills, the little town is quite lovely, and with a castle and defensive hill on the north and south hills, respectively.

  Castro Marim Portugal  

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What do you think? What other places to visit in Portugal should be on the list? Leave us a comment to let us know!

 

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The best places to visit in Portugal

31 thoughts on “23 Beautiful Places to Visit in Portugal”

    1. Hello Cathrin,

      I don’t think it’s a problem to visit in December and January.

      On our first trip to Portugal, we landed in Lisbon at the end of November, and it was about 14 C in the days, down to about 7 to 10 C in the evenings. We spent 2 months in the south of the country, plus a jaunt up to Porto. We were cold in Porto, but many of the hotels provided really warm blankets, etc. There are some parts of Portugal that get snow, but those are away from the main tourist sites, up in the mountains. If you’re looking for a beach vacation, the winter isn’t a good time to visit as it’s too cold to sunbathe and swim, but if you’re looking to mainly tour the cities and have more of a cultural holiday, then I think it’s fine! Plus: way fewer people to contend with!

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    1. Oh yay! So glad to hear it was helpful for you, and that you’re venturing up to Braga. It’s such a GREAT small city. It’s just compact and cute and the ladies at Collectors are so much fun!!!! Where else are you going?

      1. Great blog thanks – found it on Pinterest. We can’t wait for our first trip to Portugal! Starting in Lisbon for 5 nights so we will possibly make day trips to Sintra and Obidos, then taking the train to Porto for 3 nights, then Braga for 2 nights (OR we not sure how to travel to the Duoro valley and if its worth it for 2 days – what would you suggest?) Then we want to travel back down to Lisbon by car – Coimbra 1 night, Peniche 1 night, Cascais for 2 nights and a final night in Lisbon before our flight back. What do you think? :)

        1. That sounds like an awesome itinerary, and perfect for timing: 5 nights Lisbon, 3 nights Porto, and 2 nights Braga, and then work your way back down.

          I would definitely try to make day trips to Obidos AND Sintra if you can. They’re both quite different. In Sintra, our favorite part was actually the Moorish “Castle” (they are ruins), rather than the “birthday cake” as I call it (although I liked the birthday cake from the outside, I wasn’t as interested in the royal history and way of living, which is what you see inside). For me, the Moorish castle was just such a beautiful scene, high atop the mountain and with great views. We could really imagine what it was like back in history. Compare that to Obidos, which is all about the eye-candy of how picturesque it is. We found so many towns like this in Central Portugal — drop-dead gorgeous with the whitewashed houses, red tile roofs, and flowers blooming everywhere. Obidos is a very convenient one to access from Lisbon, and actually gives you a great idea of what that “side” of Portugal looks like more generally.

          We quite liked Coimbra, but can’t say about Peniche or Cascais (although, Peniche looks great and we’ve heard great things about Cascais, too).

          Hope you have a great trip – Portugal is great, and you’ve chosen an awesome part of the country to explore. Let us know how it goes :)

          1. For Sintra you have to take at least 4 days or the best 1 week. You can’t do it in 1 day, than you have nothing seen from it and mist all the feeling of it. Sintra is a City Trip on it’s own.

          2. Personally, we didn’t enjoy Sintra enough for more than one day, but to each their own. I think for the majority of our readers who are visiting Portugal over 7 to 14-days, or are visiting Portugal and Spain over the same time period, it’s simply not realistic to take 4 days to 1 week in Sintra.

            I’d stick with my recommendation to visit Sintra as a day-trip from Lisbon, unless you really love small, touristy towns.

          3. Hi Katie! Just to say thanks again for your recommendation – we just got back and absolutely fell in love with Portugal! Collectors hostel was fantastic!! Loved Sintra (only did the Moorish castle as well) Porto, Coimbra, Obidos, Guimaraes, Peniche (although not my favourite) and Cascais was also lovely. Loved exploring the smaller towns by car and I would recommend that to anyone. Can’t wait to go back again in a few years :)

          4. Amazing! That’s so great to hear, and we’re glad you had a fantastic time. Portugal is so picturesque and lovely…and small enough that exploring by car on your own isn’t completely overwhelming. Great to hear you had a fantastic trip :)

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  3. This list made me so incredibly excited for my upcoming trip in September!
    Did you vist any of the beach towns? Lagos maybe?
    Would love to hear your opinion on those!!

    1. We’ve been to Lagos, but we were there in the middle of winter, so not much going on in terms of beach life. However, Lagos is really cute, and as a surfer vibe to it. Near Lisbon, Cascais is supposed to be quite nice – haven’t personally made it there, but have heard great things. Porto actually has a bit of a beach scene too…although it’s on the river, not the ocean :)

      We did go up the coast a bit from Lisbon and stopped in at Nazare, and have to be honest that we were totally unimpressed :( The town really lacked the charm we’ve found in other places in Portugal, and the beach was very crowded and, in our opinion, quite average.

      Hope this helps! And enjoy Portugal – it really is a lovely country!

  4. Katie, we were in Portugal, in the Algarve for 2 weeks, then on to Spain for 4 weeks. We returned to Lisbon and Porto for another 2 weeks. We daytripped to Sintra to the Pena palace and walked up to a nearby castle for wonderful views of the area. But a highlight of the day was a couple of hours spent at Quinta da Regaleira. Recommend either using the tourist bus up to the palace and cab or bus down. Also, from Porto, we wanted a daytrip on the Douro and found Barcodouro who has a great trip for a total of 6 hours and cost only €60 each but includes a very nice lunch. From Sao Bento train station to Regua then the boat from Regua to Pinhao and return. A real highlight for us.

    1. Thank you for the feedback and fantastic tips for future visitors…much appreciated, and sounds like you had a fantastic trip!

  5. Okay soooo no matter where you go in Portugal it’s a surprise in Its self. There is no other country like it. Up north is the most historic filled with castles and stone houses. Portugal capital is actually Coimbra historically however Lisboa became more and more popular things changed. Coimbra is also where the most well spoken Portuguese is. Central Portugal has beautiful small villages. Leiria is where the the biggest wave can be suffered in Europe. Actually has the highest suffered record in the world. Lisboa is known for Barrio alto, chiado, largo etc. However Sintra is where it’s at. With one of the 7 wonders of the world. Algarve my home sweet home. Well you listed amazing places but you didn’t mention Lagos, vilamoura or portimão. Also the city if loulé is charming. Algarve is known to be Europe kept secret. It’s warm mostly all year around and you have every type of beach you can imagine. Sandy long beach, cliff beach, and all in between.
    I like your posts but I figured I would write a little more since I’m from there and go back every year. Thank you for visiting my country and always returning to explore. We love outsides. Obrigada

  6. Portugal is my favorite country(besides my USA). I have spent may weeks/months there over the years. Christmas in Lisbon or CasCais is one of the most spectacular I have seen. The black cobblestones reflect the lights and the roasted chestnuts are fabulous. I cannot forget to mention the Fado music, the great pasterias, and the St. Antonio church! Oh, of all my trips… Portugal calls me back the most. I would love to live there when I retire. Obrigada…

  7. Great post lots of great places I need to visit but I have to say I loved Evora I stayed in this super cute bnb which was like a room in an old palace I also loved the monoliths I took a day tour and it was so interesting after the tour I grabbed s beer in a back street behind the main square and ran into a couple I met st breakfast everyone was so welcoming so much so I have been cruising real estate sites for small place in the old town I think you should give it another go

  8. Hey, I am planning a 9 day trip and I would like to spend 4 nights in Lisbon, 3 nights in Porto, can you recommend any other place where we could stay 2 nights, I was thinking Sintra but not too sure, if you can help me with the same

  9. Planning for 3 weeks in September with Lagos as a home base. Flying into Faro and renting a vehicle. Any ideas for day trips? Is crossing over to Spain a good idea? Should we visit the interior or stay along the coast? First time in Portugal feedback appreciated.

    1. Hi Barbara,

      Sounds like a fantastic trip! We would definitely encourage you do a mix of inland and coastal travel with the car, as both have something to offer. Sagres is a great trip from Lagos, so would definitely suggest that. Alte (inland) is a typically Algarve village that’s really quite pretty, and we really enjoyed Tavira, too. Silves has a nice castle that’s worth visiting! We took a day trip to Castro Marim and Vila Santo Antonio that we also quite enjoyed :). We also drove up into the Alentejo region from the Algarve, which definitely made for a longer day but was pretty. We visited Beja and Mértola. We did drive to Huelva for a day trip, but timed it all wrong – if you do decide to go to Spain, remember that siesta happens mid-day, so don’t accidentally time your arrival for the beginning of siesta, like we did :)

    1. That’s how we visited Sintra, just as a day trip. Although there are many who argue that Sintra is worth a longer visit, if time is tight, it makes a great day trip! We didn’t go in the Palace, as we always find things like that are best admired from outside :) (gorgeous by the way) but we spent some hours taking photos and roaming the moorish castle walls, and the town center! Hope that helps!

  10. Hello! We are going to Portugal in July for 3 weeks, 6 days in Lisbon, 10 in the azores, 3 Lisbon, 3 Algarve… We were planning on taking a train to Algarve from Lisbon, is that the best way to get there? We will be 6 ppl so we would have to rent to cars … I thought the train would be the fastest way. We’re staying in Ferragudo and we have kids ages 7-10 any tips? Thank you!!

    1. Hi there! Wow that’s quite a trip! I don’t know if I’d say the train is the fastest way, and it would involve a change to a pretty pokey regional line. As an alternative you could take the fast(er) train to Faro, and hire a private transfer from the train station to Ferragudo. Also, take a look at the bus schedule (try REDE Expressos) – they run frequently, are fairly cheap and quite comfortable (proper long distance coaches) and go through nearby Portimao. Exploring the Algarve is much easier with a car, but cars are quite expensive to rent during peak season. With just 3 days, you may not be able to pull the kids away from the amazing beach, but if you can, try to get out to Sagres (once thought to be the edge of the world) and Lagos (an important port during the country’s Age of Discovery). This tour covers western Algarve that includes both, as well as Silves (amazing/well preserved castle). Also try and get out to the Benagil Caves! — We hope this is somewhat helpful – Enjoy!

  11. We’re planning on renting a car to get around the south parts of Portugal AND also to sleep in the car. Do you know anything about rules and parking around the coast line? Thank you in advance :)

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