When visiting Portugal, you might initially gravitate towards the bustling cities like Lisbon, Algarve, or Porto, each known for its unique charm and attractions.
However, if you’re looking to escape the crowds and explore the hidden treasures of this beautiful country, we’ve prepared a comprehensive list of the best places to visit in Portugal.
Whether you’re a mountain enthusiast or a beach lover, there’s something for everyone to discover in Portugal!
Parque Nacional Peneda-Gerês
We begin our journey in the north with the enchanting Parque Nacional Peneda-Gerês.
This pristine National Park is not only Portugal’s only park listed in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves but also one of the best-kept secrets in the country.
Located between Viana do Castelo and Braga, this park is accessible between May and September, making it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.
You can indulge in activities like trekking and canoeing, especially during the warm season.
Don’t forget to explore the charming villages of Castro Laboreiro and Lindoso, where ancient architecture and natural beauty converge, offering splendid photo opportunities.
There are many other places for sightseeing and trekking, so take comfortable footwear and a high quality hiking camera with you.
Afterwards, drop by any of the small taverns hiding between the villages and eat some ‘Rojoes’, a typical dish from Minho, made mainly of marinated fried pork pieces.
If you are en route between Porto and Lisbon, you should think about making a pitstop in Coimbra.
Home to the second oldest university in Europe, Coimbra is one of the best places to visit in Portugal. Its historical centre – known as Alta and Sofia – is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you visit between September and May, you will probably be lucky enough to find students wearing an all-black outfit, with a cape and everything.
You may not be in Hogwarts or Winterfell, in Game of Thrones’ Westeros, but for sure there is definitely a wave of magic going on.
Coimbra has numerous places to visit: the Old and New Cathedral – (Se Velha and Se Nova, in Portuguese) or the ‘Quinta das Lagrimas’ (roughly translated to Farm of Tears). The latter is where allegedly the tragic ending to the story of Pedro and Ines took place. There are also lots of medieval monasteries and of course, the Tower of the University. From there, you can see the sun setting behind the river Mondego.
Coimbra is a party city, with a vibrant community of international students. The city is known for its unique taverns, where you can eat ‘like a horse’ for low prices.
If you are a meat lover, make sure to taste the roasted piglet (Leitao), a treat much appreciated by Portuguese people.
Do not forget to try the conventual sweets, such as Barrigas de Freira (Nun’s Bellies) or de Pastries of Tentugal.
Peso da Regua
At the heart of the Douro Valley, this town offers breathtaking views of the vineyards on the banks of the river. If you are a wine enthusiast, then you couldn’t have picked a better location. Not only will you be in the place where you can drink authentic Porto Wine, but you can see how it grows, fortifies and ages.
One of the best ways to enjoy this place is to take the historic train. The vintage carriages are pulled by a Henschel & Son locomotive from 1925. It goes up to 50km, where you can go alongside the valley, feeling like a time traveller.
You can also rent a bike and cycle the trails that cross the green and blue landscapes or hop on a cruise along the river.
After a long day of hiking, you should try the rice on the oven or the roasted goat in a traditional restaurant. Portugal is not a very vegetarian-friendly country, although you may still enjoy the sweet candies called ‘Rebuçados da Regua’, who are typically taken with tea or coffee.
Heading a bit south, near the coast, you will find a seaside city called Peniche. One of Portugal’s main fishing ports, the town is surrounded by breathtaking beaches, which offer perfect conditions for surf lovers.
The waves are well appreciated by enthusiasts of this sport, especially in the beaches of Baleal and Medao.
One of the most iconic places for sightseeing is Cabo Carvoeiro, guarded by an 82 ft lighthouse. However, the real gem of Peniche is the tiny archipelago located just nearby, called the Berlengas. Its rocky islands are accessible only by boats, which are coming and going many times per day from the mainland.
Here you can enjoy a very different scenario, with the very narrow coastline ending in a marvellous fort.
In Peniche you can enjoy a cuisine that matches its long history related to the sea and fishing. The fish soups and stews are two of their main gastronomy attractions, along with seafood, like grilled lobsters and shrimps.
Portugal is full of hidden gems, like Lagos in the south coast or Alentejo, between Lisbon and Algarve. However, our list of the best places to visit in Portugal couldn’t be completed without Sintra.
Long years of history, narrated by princesses and kings, are booked in this village. There many palaces, castles and other noteworthy charming places to visit.
The colourful Palacio da Pena, Quinta da Regaleira and Castelo dos Mouros (Moors Castle) are just a few. Nonetheless, there are many more sightseeing spots you might not want to miss.
Sintra has a perfect location and is home to the westernmost point in Europe: ‘Cabo da Roca’. Here the poet Camoes has once said ‘Here it is where the land ends and the sea starts. Its enormous cliffs are home to many rare species of birds, making it a popular spot for birdwatchers worldwide.
And, if all this travelling around castles and cliffs made you hungry, Sintra got you covered. With many traditional fish and meat dishes, Sintra’s culinary is most known for the sweet pastries called Queijadas.
Nestled in the Alentejo region, Monsaraz is a historic gem that transports you back in time.
This medieval hilltop village offers breathtaking views of the surrounding plains and the serene Alqueva Lake, perfect for a romantic getaway.
Explore the cobblestone streets, visit the stunning Monsaraz Castle, and savor traditional Alentejo cuisine in the local taverns. As the sun sets, you’ll be treated to a mesmerizing display of colors over the vast landscape.
Known as the “Venice of Portugal,” Aveiro is a coastal town that boasts picturesque canals, colorful moliceiro boats, and delightful Art Nouveau architecture.
Take a leisurely boat ride along the canals, sample delicious ovos moles (sweet egg pastries), and explore the vibrant local markets.
Aveiro is a charming and tranquil destination for those seeking a slower pace.
Nestled along the banks of the Nabão River, Tomar is a historic town steeped in Templar history.
The Convent of Christ, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit, featuring impressive Manueline architecture and a rich history.
Stroll through the beautiful Mouchão Park, indulge in regional dishes like “cabrito à padeiro” (baked goat), and immerse yourself in Portugal’s cultural heritage.
For wine enthusiasts, a trip to the Douro Valley is a must. Peso da Régua is at the heart of this stunning wine region, where terraced vineyards cascade down the hillsides.
Embark on a historic train journey through the vineyards, sampling authentic Porto Wine along the way. Alternatively, rent a bike to explore the lush landscapes or take a relaxing cruise on the Douro River.
Don’t forget to savor local specialties like “arroz no forno” (oven-baked rice) and “rebuçados da Régua” sweet candies.
Azenhas do Mar
On the coast, you’ll discover the charming village of Azenhas do Mar, a hidden gem with its stunning white houses perched on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Wander along the coastal paths and take in the breathtaking views. Be sure to capture the beauty of this unique village on camera.
Óbidos is a walled medieval town that exudes charm and history.
As you step through its imposing gates, you’ll be transported to a bygone era.
Meander through cobblestone streets, explore the impressive Óbidos Castle, and sample the famous Ginja liqueur served in chocolate cups. It’s a destination brimming with character and allure.
For those who love the sea, Nazaré is a coastal town that should be on your radar.
Famous for its colossal waves and vibrant beach culture, Nazaré offers a unique blend of natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping surf.
Don’t miss the opportunity to ride the funicular to the Sitio, a clifftop neighborhood with panoramic views. And, of course, relish delicious seafood and fresh fish in the local restaurants.
Now that we saw some of the best places to visit in Portugal, let’s wrap things up with some final words.
So there you have it!
Our list is not complete and we hope you discovered some new places to visit in Portugal.
If you are looking for luggage storage in Porto or Lisbon, check out our Stasher’s luggage storage options in Portugal. Partnered with illustrious holiday chains, such as Premier Inn, we offer an affordable and fully insured alternative to left luggage lockers!
Hi! I am George and I am the Content Lead for Stasher.com. I love travel, writing, making music and meeting new and interesting people.