There are many places to see in Portugal, a country with a good climate almost all year round, delicious and varied gastronomy, renowned wines, charming towns and villages as well as miles of beaches washed by the Atlantic Ocean, making it one of the most recommended countries in the world.
It is located relatively close to Italy, with a lifestyle and culture in many ways similar, a place that will undoubtedly leave you enchanted once you visit and with the desire to return to see all its wonders. Based on the experience and other trips already planned for the future, here is a selection of what can be considered the 7 places to see absolutely in Portugal during a holiday.
The capital of Portugal, Lisbon, is the city of fado, the seven hills and sweets of Belem, one of the most important also from the tourist point of view that enchants from the first moment. One of the favorite places to visit in Lisbon is the Alfama district, full of old and a little ‘drooping houses, narrow streets, balconies with clothed clothes and neighborhood shops, where walking you can discover the true essence of the city.
After getting lost in Alfama, you can enjoy an incredible view of Lisbon from different vantage points, get on a vintage tram, approach the Belem district with its famous monastery, listen to fado in some tavern where you can have a drink. If you visit this city for the first time, it can be a good solution to book a guided tour in Italian to learn more about its history and its every corner, without missing anything.
Declared a World Heritage Site in 1995 and located in a nature park, Sintra is another of Portugal’s must-see places. The National Palace of Pena, with its colourful architecture, is the most famous image of the city, together with the Quinta da Regaleira Palace, another magical place with its magnificent gardens full of secret corners.
In addition to the historic centre of Sintra, other places worth visiting in the area are the Castle of the Moors, the Palace of Monserrate, the Capuchin convent and the Chalet and gardens of the Countess of Edra. To get to Sintra from Lisbon, you can take a train that leaves every twenty minutes from Rossio station, with a short journey of about half an hour. From Sintra station you can easily reach all tourist attractions by bus. If you don’t have much time, plan to see together with Sintra also Cascais, a beautiful Portuguese fishing village always within the natural park which is about 20km away.
Famous for its wine, Oporto can compete in beauty with Lisbon and is an ideal destination to spend a romantic weekend. In this city bathed by the river Duero there are many places to visit: the Bolhao market, the Do Barreda district and the Clerici Tower are among those not to be missed in this magical Portuguese town. Visit some of the many churches or cloisters full of azulejos the characteristic decorated ceramic tiles, take a walk in the evening through the wonderful Ribeira district.
One of the best things to do in Oporto, or simply Porto, is to enjoy its delicious cuisine dominated by cod or codfish, with a glass of wine in one of the famous wine cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, as a delicious reward after visiting the city. Something special for a sentimental occasion? A tour on the river over the six bridges and admiring Oporto from an exceptional point of view.
Between Lisbon and Porto is the ancient medieval capital, Coimbra, a small city built at different heights and full of fascinating places that can be visited in a day. In the upper part, walking through old buildings and cobbled streets, you can see the Old Cathedral and the Arch of Almedina, until you reach the historic campus of the University of Coimbra, World Heritage Site, where you can visit the magnificent Joanina Library. The lower part, called Baixa in Portuguese, develops around its most characteristic square, Praça do Comercio, a commercial area with beautiful residences where the beautiful Church of Santiago and the Park of Santa Cruz stand out.
Evora is considered the pearl of Alentejo, a region in the centre-south of the country with charming medieval villages, fortified towns and landscapes full of cork oaks, olive trees and vineyards. The city of Evora, whose historic centre has been declared a World Heritage Site, has several historical monuments, a lively nightlife and gastronomy not to be underestimated. Walking through its old narrow streets with white houses is the best way to visit it, without leaving before seeing the imposing Roman Temple, its walls, the Cathedral or the macabre Bones Chapel.
Evora can be reached by train or bus from Lisbon in less than an hour, but if you are in the Alentejo region try to visit the town of Elvas, which has the largest number of fortifications in the world and a charming old town, also a World Heritage Site.
Among the places to see in Portugal we also include the picturesque town of Aveiro, south of Oporto, also known as the “Portuguese Venice” for its canals. One of the most recommended things to do in this place, in addition to strolling through the old town, can only be a tour of these canals, with a traditional boat that looks just like a gondola. Important attractions of the city are its long sandy beaches, Praia da Barra and Praia da Costa Nova. The former is famous for its waterfront houses, painted in colorful stripes. A delicacy to taste during the visit? Try the typical egg cakes.
In the south of Portugal, the Algarve is a region that stands out for its spectacular beaches and coves in a particular natural environment, the ideal place to take a few days of real vacation as it was once done. Its long coastline, one of the most beautiful in Europe, includes sandy beaches with turquoise waters and rocky cliffs. Here there are ancient villages with white fishermen’s houses, charming little streets and the best places to taste the fresh fish of the local cuisine.
Visit the old town of Faro, the capital of the Algarve, but also the village of Tavira, the charming Lagos and enjoy the sunset in Cabo de Sao Vicente, another of the must-see places in this region.