Portugal is one of Europe’s TOP travel destinations. It’s become a popular hotspot amongst tourists and with good reason. The combination of sandy beaches, charming streets and immaculate architecture makes Portugal an innate paradise.
Portugal has such a rich variety of beauty, nature, bustling cities and tasteful architecture. Portugal is fantastic from head to toe. At the southern tip of Portugal is the postcard-worthy Algarve coast, and the very north is home to some stunning national parks.
So, if you are looking for some beautiful places in Portugal, congrats. You are in the right place! These destinations need to be added to your Portugal travel itinerary – IMMEDIATELY.
Portugal is an idyllic and versatile location. Whilst here, you can often find solo travellers looking for a serene escape, bubbly families on vacation or even large groups of friends indulging in fine dining and exploring.
With that in mind, these are the best locations in Portugal just for you! Whatever type of travel you enjoy, I’ve got you covered.
All you have to do is read… So go on… read!
- 1. Porto
- 2. Lisbon
- 3. The Algarve Region
- 4. Sintra
- 5. Sete Cidades Azores
- 6. Peneda-Geres National Park, Porto
- 7. Belem Tower, Lisbon
- 8. Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon
- 9. The Douro Valley, Porto
- 10. Alentejo’s Sunflower Fields
- 11. The Berlengas Islands
- 12. St. George’s Castle
- 13. Evora
- 14. Amarante
- 15. Estoi
- How to See Beautiful Places in Portugal
- FAQs About Beautiful Places in Portugal
- Final Thoughts about Beautiful Places in Portugal
Portugal’s second-largest city is Porto which is a great alternative to Lisbon. Whilst Porto is still popular amongst tourists, this area is usually far less busy.
Porto resembles Lisbon in its architecture and has a beautiful river and hilly streets. The prices are also similar, so most travellers tend to book a hotel outside of Porto and travel there on a day trip. Pro travel tip: plan your trip to Porto before visiting to avoid crowds and make the most of your time there.
In Porto, you can find gardens to explore, mediaeval castles and cathedrals. If you’re hoping to live more like a local and explore the towns you can book a Tuk-Tuk guided tour that takes you through the vibrant city.
Be sure to pick up a souvenir whilst there! Oh, and don’t forget to drink some port, of course. When in Rome, I mean Porto, right?
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It would be challenging to write this list without including the gorgeous capital city, Lisbon. Many would even go as far as saying this is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe (and I would definitely agree). If you’re backpacking Portugal, you’ll definitely find yourself here.
Whilst in Lisbon, you will be quickly greeted with mosaic-tiled streets, picturesque views and fresh sea air. Climb the Arco da Rua Augusta for stunning views of the city, drive along the prettiest road to Cape Roca to discover the Portuguese coast and spend the evening enjoying the entertainment at Casino Estoril.
Remember that Lisbon is popular amongst tourists and tends to be VERY busy, especially during the summer months. The city also tends to be more expensive than other areas of Portugal, so you should book attractions in advance. Still, it’s one of my personal favourite cities and 100% worth the visit.
3. The Algarve Region
Transformed in the 1960s to the “holiday makers’ favourite destination in Portugal”, the Algarve Region continually makes the list of the top 10 places to visit in Portugal. Located in the southernmost region, travellers often visit time and time again due to the welcoming vibe and gorgeous sandy beaches.
Alongside that, there are many beach-themed activities to be enjoyed. Book a boat tour and swim alongside wild dolphins and explore the natural caves and grottos. The evenings are also a great opportunity to meet other travellers in Portuguese restaurants and bars where live music is played.
The atmosphere staying in the Algarve Region is way more peaceful than the city centre. You should expect a more laid-back, slow-living kind of ambience.
With that in mind, this area may not be for you if you’re looking to jam-pack your trip with attractions. Either way, I can’t imagine anyone ever regretting visiting The Algarve!
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Nestled within Serra de Sintra is the small town of Sintra. Despite being small in size, this whimsical town in one of Portugal’s sensational national parks is akin to stepping into a storybook. For the architecture appreciators, Sintra became the first centre of European Romantic architecture in the 19th century.
In Sintra, you will find gorgeous colourful castles which can be explored through guided tours. Some of the tourist favourites include Pena Palace and the Palace of Sintra. This is a photographer’s dream; the colours are nothing short of amazing.
After visiting the palaces, head to the coast to unwind and soak up the scenic views or spend time at the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park which is home to mountains, forests, and even more sandy beaches.
Top Tip! Keep in mind that some areas of Sintra are walkable but the castles are far apart. It can take around 30 minutes to drive from the most popular castles in the area, so plan ahead!
5. Sete Cidades Azores
Located in the remote area of Sao Miguel Island, Sete Cidades is arguably the most beautiful place in Portugal to stay in. This is my personal favourite location in the whole of Portugal. Yeah, I went there.
At this destination, you will discover a majestic volcano crater filled with two incredible lakes called Green Lake and Blue Lake. To make this location even more beautiful, the crater is covered with wonderful forestry.
Visitors will often enjoy a hike to the “King’s View” where they will be subjected to panoramic views of the Green Lake. You can even hire kayaks or paddle boards to head out onto the lake yourself. Jeep tours are the most popular tour here.
You should arrange to visit this location on a day with minimal fog and mild weather to avoid disappointment. Also, the weather in this area is temperamental, so it would be best to pack a raincoat and bring sunscreen to cover all weather outcomes.
6. Peneda-Geres National Park, Porto
Another nature-filled area is the Peneda-Geres National Park in Porto which is the oldest and largest national park in Portugal. Also known simply as Geres, it can be found just on the border of Spain in the northern tip of Portugal.
This area is rich in history. The park is FILLED with ancient villages, making you feel like no time has passed. If you’re staying in Porto you HAVE to check it out!
In addition to that, this is also a wildlife lovers’ paradise. You’ll likely spot deer, golden eagles, wild boars, and otters. You can also take a guided tour to peaceful waterfalls and rivers where you can kayak or canoe.
Again, this destination is hugely weather dependent. In the summer, the heat may be unbearable to hike in and the area is often busy in the Spring. The early months of fall would be a great time to visit, however, the weather will be much cooler.
7. Belem Tower, Lisbon
Completed in the early 1500s, the Belem Tower is the epitome of discovering Portugal’s extensive history. This 100ft high tower was built to honour St. Vincent, Portugal’s Patron Saint, and has a late Gothic influence within its architecture.
The tower itself has ornate balconies and watch posts which allow for dramatic views of the Tagus River and the 25th April Bridge. Inside the tower, you’ll find the classic Kings Room, the Governor’s Room, and a chapel with a spectacular vaulted ceiling.
Belem Tower is on everyone’s Lisbon itinerary, so expect long queues. Oftentimes, you will find that travellers will visit the tower simply to admire it rather than wait to climb it.
That being said, if you do want to climb the tower, you should book tickets ahead of time to avoid long waiting times. Also, keep in mind that it would be best to climb the tower on a clear day to ensure unobstructed views.
8. Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon
Arguably one of the most beautiful places in Portugal is the iconic Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon. The monastery is a religious building that was built in 1501 and in 1983 was declared a World Heritage Site.
The monastery is also conveniently located nearby the Belem Tower and is one of the most visited sites in Portugal. Because of this, the area is often populated by tourists. Although the hostels in Portugal are so much fun, these most-visited sites aren’t.
The monastery was once home to catholic monks and is currently home to Vasco da Gama’s tomb, who was a famous Portuguese explorer.
The best way to explore the monastery is to book a guided tour where your guide will explain the monastery’s significance in detail. Without a tour guide, you may find it challenging to access each area due to the large crowds.
After exploring inside, remember to take a stroll around the elegant gardens and stop by the Thai Pavilion gardens.
9. The Douro Valley, Porto
The River Douro is the third largest river in the Iberian Peninsula. It flows for a whopping and very impressive 897 km! The river can be found in Douro Valley, which begins in the Spanish town of Duruelo de la Sierra and ends in Porto.
The area is well known for wine production and the landscape is covered in wine-producing farms, vines, and steep hills. Alongside that, you’ll discover gorgeous countryside views, calming riverside areas to unwind in, and charming towns.
Embark on a wine-tasting tour in Douro Valley and visit the most famous wineries in this area. Then, learn about the valley’s wine industry in the Douro Museum in Regua.
Visiting Douro Valley can be time-consuming as the wine-tasting tours can be hours long (especially if it turns into more like wine-drinking than tasting). You should set aside at least half a day in your itinerary to explore this area.
10. Alentejo’s Sunflower Fields
If you’re visiting Portugal in Summer, you have to visit the sunflower fields in Alentejo. It makes for one hell of a photo backdrop and is just a downright gorgeous sight.
The location is filled with natural beauty. Often, travellers will visit just to capture whimsical photos of the six-foot flowers that bloom here. The vibrant yellow colour looks like an over-edited and over-saturated image, but it’s real life!
Overall, this place just has such a feel-good vibe from the sunflowers, I challenge anyone to leave this place feeling unhappy. Stop by shops that serve honey from local beekeepers, inhale the fragrant scent of lavender, and take a stroll in the wonderful countryside.
Alentejo is a lesser-known area of Portugal, so expect a more serene atmosphere with more locals than tourists. Although it is great for an escape from the city, there is far less to do in this area.
11. The Berlengas Islands
When looking for unique places to visit in Portugal, head to The Berlengas Islands!
Whilst here, visit the fortress and take a walking tour. Or, soak up the sun on one of Portugal’s beautiful beaches.
Pssst, travel tip! The island only allows 350 visitors a day. Book in advance!
12. St. George’s Castle
The 11th-century St. George’s Castle is a major landmark in Portugal.
This medieval castle has encapsulating Moorish architecture. Although it had to be rebuilt in 1755, it has so many stories waiting to be uncovered. Explore the castle and take in the views of the sea and the iconic terracotta rooftops.
Evora is a charming small town that has been named a world heritage site due to its preserved architecture.
If you’re a history buff, add travelling to Evora to your Portugal itinerary! Here, you’ll discover the Gothic Se Cathedral and the Palacio dos Duques de Cadaval – another gorgeous Portuguese palace.
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Amarante is a quaint, scenic town with a wonderful river running through it. Founded in 360 BC, Amarante has a deep historic nature that is elevated by the friendly locals here.
Enjoy Amarante’s famous cakes and Portuguese best dishes at riverside cafes, stroll by the river or attend a wine-tasting tour.
This seaside town is unknown to many travellers (lucky you). But, the beauty in Estoi is captured in narrow cobbled streets, whitewashed houses, and scenic coastal views.
The main attraction in Estoi is the 19th-century restored palace, Palacio do Visconde de Estoi, which makes for the perfect backdrop for photos.
How to See Beautiful Places in Portugal
Portugal has many transport options to easily take you from one location to the next.
- Train – The main way to travel in Portugal is by train. The railway connects most of the cities. Train ticket prices are dependent on the distance but are usually around €25.
- Bus – If you want to visit the coast, buses are often the only option. You can expect to pay around €2 for one-way tickets or you can purchase a day pass for around €6.
- Bike – If you’re travelling on a strict budget and only staying in one area, biking is a common form of transport with bicycle paths in most areas of Portugal. However, remember that Portugal does have many cobbled streets which can make it challenging to cycle on.
FAQs About Beautiful Places in Portugal
Here are some FAQs about beautiful places in Portugal.
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Final Thoughts about Beautiful Places in Portugal
To conclude, you won’t be short of beautiful places in Portugal. From the iconic Belem Tower, the winding nature in Douro Valley, or the sandy beaches in The Algarve Region, you will be steeped in culture, history, and scenic views.
Personally, whilst I think all of these areas are well worth the visit, you just have to stop by Lisbon. It’s my personal favourite city in Europe. Get yourself there and find out why! You will not be disappointed, trust me, folks.
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