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The 8 Best Places to Visit in Portugal

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If you’re planning to visit Portugal, you should know that the country is full of amazing sights and experiences. From beautiful beaches to historic places, there is so much to see here that you won’t want to miss.

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One of the most beautiful and picturesque riverside towns in Portugal, Amarante is located in the Minho region. Here, you’ll find picturesque balconies overhanging the river and unique striking bridges.

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1.Lisbon

With a rich history and an endless array of historic sites, Lisbon is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe. From quaint streets filled with independent cafes and bars to stunning architecture, there’s no shortage of things to do here!

The city’s main cathedral is a must-see and has a rich history dating back to the time of Alfonso I. It’s also worth exploring its cloister and upstairs treasury, where you can see beautiful medieval relics.

If you’re looking for a more unusual attraction, consider visiting the Santa Justa Lift, a neo-Gothic elevator that rises up from the rooftops of Lisbon’s Baixa (downtown) district. It’s not cheap, but the views at the top are breathtaking.

Another must-visit Lisbon attraction is the Monument to the Discoveries, a giant sculpture standing like a ship on the shoreline of the Tagus River and commemorating Portugal’s explorers and national heroes. The statue of Infante Dom Henrique, a Portuguese prince who ushered in Portugal’s Age of Discovery, stands at the prow.

2.Sintra

Sintra is a fairy-tale town with cobbled streets, lush forests, magical castles, royal villas and beautiful gardens. It’s a must-visit if you want to get away from the bustle of Lisbon and enjoy a more authentic Portuguese experience.

There are a few places you can visit in Sintra on your own, but the best way to explore it is with an organized day tour. This way, you can see more in less time, you won’t have to queue for tickets and you don’t need to worry about getting from one place to another in Sintra itself.

The UNESCO-listed palaces and royal villas are some of the most beautiful and impressive in Portugal. The Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, and Quinta da Regaleira are just a few of the great attractions in Sintra you should visit.

There are also some great restaurants in Sintra that serve delicious food, ranging from savory bites to pumpkin petit gateaux and delicious local wine. Among the best restaurants in Sintra is Tascantiga, which serves great meals with views over the hills.

3.Porto

The second largest city in Portugal is a mix of elegant decadence and history, heritage and modernity, surrounded by the Douro river. From the charming Ribeira district to the historic centre, this is a city you will love.

Its charming, laid-back vibes make Porto a popular destination for travelers looking to avoid the touristy atmosphere of Lisbon. It’s also a great place to sample some of the country’s famous port wine.

There are many things to see and do in Porto, such as strolling down the famous Rua das Flores. This pedestrianised street is filled with unique shops, independent eateries, bars and cafes.

Another thing to do in Porto is climb the 225 steps of Clerigos Tower to enjoy amazing views of the city. The tower is built on a Roman Catholic Baroque church and offers a 360 degree view of the city.

You can also go on a Moliceiro boat ride, these colourful gondola type boats are a must in Porto. You can also go and visit the Art Nouveau buildings in Aveiro and walk along the beautiful quays of the Ria de Aveiro.

4.Évora

As a UNESCO World Heritage city since 1986, Evora is the kind of place that draws visitors with its rich history. The town’s medieval walled city is full of history, architecture and culture.

Its historic center is a great destination for those who prefer a slow pace and a relaxed holiday. For those who prefer a more active lifestyle, you can enjoy an exciting day trip from the city to the Cromlech of the Almendres, the largest megalithic complex in Portugal and 2,000 years older than Stonehenge.

The city also offers a wide selection of guest houses and agritourism, perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in the local culture. For example, Quinta da Tapada de Sao Pedro has self-catering accommodation on a traditional farmhouse near the historical centre.

While many visitors whizz through Evora on a day trip from Lisbon, there are plenty of reasons to stay for a few days. The best thing about this city is that it is easy to use as a base for exploring the rest of Alentejo and its incredibly scenic countryside.

5.Óbidos

If you’re looking for a rustic experience, then bidos is a great place to visit. This small town in the Oeste region of Portugal has a medieval feel to it that makes it ideal for a relaxing vacation.

It also boasts a castle and palace, making it a popular destination for tourists who are keen to soak up a little history. Whether you’re visiting during one of the town’s many festivals or during another time of year, you’ll be sure to have a memorable experience here.

You can explore the area’s beaches and coastal scenery by kayak or speedboat. This is a fantastic way to see the iconic rock formations, cliffs and caves, as well as spot dolphins. You can even go diving or snorkeling if you’re really into the sea life!

6.Tavira

Tavira has a lot going for it, from the castle and castle gardens to the great restaurants and bars, there is plenty here to keep you busy. I would recommend spending some time wandering around the centre, it is very pretty and there are lots of lovely cafes and restaurants to have a sit and relax in the sun.

If you’re looking for something a little different then take a horse and carriage tour of the town. It is a lovely way to see the town and get a feel for its history.

There are a few churches worth seeing in Tavira including Santa Maria do Castelo, which was built over the remains of a mosque, and the Church of Santiago where you can find the tomb of D. Paio Peres Correia who helped lead the campaign to conquer Tavira from the Moors in 1242.

If you like to buy souvenirs then there are a few beautiful independent shops in Tavira. These are not filled with the generic Chinese plastic tat you’ll never wear but tasteful items that you’d be happy to put on your walls or have in your suitcase. I love the shop Casa das Portas where they have a great selection of candles, reed diffusers, jewellery, scarves and some really pretty ceramics.

7.Coimbra

Coimbra is Portugal’s oldest university town and one of the country’s most famous attractions. A city full of history, this atmospheric town is easy to explore on foot and it retains a mellow atmosphere even during its busiest times when students are in school.

You’ll find everything from historic cafes to a traditional fair in the heart of Coimbra, making it a perfect place for a day trip or a night out. It’s also home to a number of museums, including the Botanical Garden, which is the oldest in Portugal and a must-visit for all nature lovers.

The monastery of Santa Cruz, built in the 12th century and where Portugal’s first kings are buried, is one of the highlights of the Baixa district. Inside you’ll see a sculpted facade, elaborate tombs and a spectacular cloister.

Another must-see is the UNESCO-listed Se Nova, which was built 400 years later than the cathedral. It has a beautiful Baroque facade and features statues of four Jesuit saints on its upper reaches. The interior is equally spectacular with a high altar one of the highlights.

8.Elvas

The small historic town of Elvas in Alentejo has a lot to offer. It was a military stronghold during Portugal’s war of independence and has many sites worth seeing.

The city has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012 and is a great place to learn about the country’s history and fortifications. It is home to some impressive architecture, including the Seventeenth-Century Walls of Elvas and the Amoreira Aqueduct.

As you walk through the city’s cobbled streets, you will be surrounded by buildings from different periods and styles. You can see the old Cathedral and the Nossa Senhora da Assuncao Church, both of 13th century; the Manueline pillory (a medieval stone pillory used to bind villains); the Igreja de Sao Domingos Church and the Monastery of Santa Clara, all of 13th century.

The Forte de Santa Luzia, a star-shaped fort designed by Dutch Jesuit padre Cosmander, is another of the most spectacular sights in the city. It was built between 1641 and 1648 and played a major role in the Portuguese Restoration War, where it never gave up its positions to the Spanish forces.

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