List of Places to Visit in Portugal
Home to more than 10 million people, this southern European country is famous for its seafood, spectacular beaches, delicious port wine and of course, soccer!
The country is also historically significant in the world, from having the oldest borders on the continent to UNESCO World Heritage Sites worthy of any explorer's time. Take a look at some of the best places to visit in Portugal below:
As you continue learning more about this country for your upcoming trip, don’t forget to pick the best travel insurance for Portugal as soon as the flight and accommodation have been finalised. This will protect you from any untoward incident throughout the trip.
The country’s capital is without a doubt among the best places to visit in Portugal. The city is a perfect beginning for any traveller; the city is located on the banks of River Tagus and is also built on many small hills, giving an excellent view of the waterfront. This historic city is among the most alluring European cities and is a must-visit during any Portugal visit. Some of the key attractions include:
- Castelo de São Jorge: The mighty castle that dates back to the 1st century, also known as the Lisbon Castle. Some of its remarkable parts include the ramparts, watchtowers and beautiful gardens.
- Alfama: Lisbon's oldest part and an important district is a maze of cobbled streets and historical buildings. Key tourist points include the Se Cathedral, Castelo de São Jorge, 1930s Remodelado trams, Miradouro de Santa Luzia and more.
- Mosteiro dos Jerónimos: Also known as the Jeronimos Monastery, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and among the best places to visit in Portugal. The monastery is famous for its decorative stonework and maritime motifs. This unique architectural masterpiece blends Manueline, Gothic, Naturalist and Renaissance elements.
Sintra is among the places you simply can't skip. One of the best places to visit in Portugal, this enchanting place has a remarkable cultural landscape and is even recognised by UNESCO. The place is famous for its Serra de Sintra hills and is a favourite among trekkers. Take a look at some of its best attractions:
- Sintra National Palace: Known as the Palácio Nacional de Sintra, this used to be a former royal residence. Its remarkable conical double chimneys are its most eye-catching part. The building dates back to the 14th century and is famous for its Hall of Swans, Hall of Magpies and the beautiful Sala dos Brasoes.
- Castelo dos Mouros: This 8th-century castle is famous for its Moorish and weather-worn ramparts. Visitors can purchase a ticket to enter this castle and spend a day hiking and exploring the castle to get some breath-taking views.
- Palace of Pena: This distinct pink and lemon building is known for its crenelated towers and fancy domes. Built in the 19th century, it is situated at the highest peak of the Serra de Sintra Hills. Its key highlights include the Arab Room, Chinese porcelain collection and the recently repaired Ballroom.
- Monserrate: Away from the famous town centre, visitors can have a leisurely time in the Monserrate gardens. These semi-landscaped grounds are planted with foliage, palms and some exotic plant species providing a lush canopy. Tourists can also head over to the nearby lake, waterfall and ruins of a chapel that has been engulfed by the wilderness.
- Seteais Palace: This serenely romantic place was built in the late 18th century and is famous for its stately grounds and interiors. Guests can visit the grounds and even visit the stunning Sala Gildemeester, still furnished with original fittings, chandeliers and rare ceilings and frescoes.
Located in the Alentejo province, Evora is among the best places to visit in Portugal for adventurers. Evora's stunning attractions have fetched it the status of a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO and for good reason:
- Sé Cathedral: Built in 1204, this outwardly weathered granite church often resembles a fortress and may not intrigue you at first sight. However, the building has some magnificently preserved attractions including the 14th century Apostles sculpture, polished marble chancel and priceless artefacts.
- Evora Museum: This museum holds many regional treasures, displaying the city's intricate history in one place. The building itself dates back centuries and has a rare collection, namely its 2nd-century Roman sculpture and a 16th-century painting of the Flemish polyptych.
- Roman Temple: Also called the Temple to Diana, this is among the most popular places to visit in Portugal. Erected around the 2nd or 3rd century, 14 columns still survive and lure visitors fond of Roman landmarks.
- Capela dos Ossos: A macabre attraction, this is among the most popular places to visit in Portugal because of the grisly 5,000 bone remains of monks. This 16th-century structure is also called the Bone Chapel and includes several broken skeletons and corpses.
Situated near the River Douro, Porto is full of cultural attractions and is among the most beautiful places to visit in Portugal. Well-known for its UNESCO World Heritage Site Riberia, this city is rich in architectural treasures:
- Torre dos Clérigos: for a bird's eye view of this city, climb up the 75-metre tower. This 18th-century building offers a breath-taking panorama of Porto and is visible from almost every part of the city.
- Church of St. Francis: Igreja de São Francisco is famous for its gold work and offers a dazzling experience to any visitor. Tourists can also visit the ancient catacombs that lie underneath the church.
- Cais da Ribeira: Facing the River Douro is Porto's riverside quarter. These colourful houses lure many tourists to their winding streets and plenty of cafes. The area is also famous for its markets and fascinating houses that were built over the ruins of Roman foundations.
- Igreja do Carmo: Also known as the Carmo Church, this 18th-century structure has a striking blue and white exterior and can be recognised instantly. The building has stunning panels, gilt carvings and golden-brushed woodwork.
Lagos has forever been among the favourite places to visit in Portugal, for locals as well as tourists. This resort town is famous for its stunning beaches and rock formations. Some major attractions in Lagos include:
- Ponta da Piedade: Also called the 'Point of Pity', this sandstone cliff offers a great time. Visitors can visit the place for hidden caverns or simply go on a kayak tour.
- Praia do Camilo: This stunning beach is surrounded by magnificent rock formations and is perfect for a sunny day out.
- Lagos' church of St. Anthony: Also serving as a museum, this place offers a rewarding experience to those curious about rare artefacts and oddities. The place displays a beautiful altarpiece, priest's vestments dating back to 1578 and a Roman mosaic.
- Lagos Zoo: Famous for its gibbons and lemurs, the Lagos Zoo is a popular choice among families and kids. Tourists can also spot meerkats, deer, and a variety of birds.