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8 Best Places to Visit in Portugal

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Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Whether weaving through Lisbon by tram with a warm pasteis de nata in hand or sipping traditional Port in Porto, discover the best places to visit in Portugal and what makes them must-visit vacation spots.

With foundations in the ancient world and lively modern culture, the cinematic landscapes, enchanting villages, stunning art museums, and storybook castles of Portugal exceed expectations.

The following information highlights where to visit in Portugal on vacation, offering ideas on where you can savor energetic contemporary life steeped in old-world heritage.

  1. 1. Lisbon
  2. 2. Porto
  3. 3. The Algarve
  4. 4. Alentejo
  5. 5. Vinho Verde
  6. 6. Peneda-Geres National Park
  7. 7. Obidos
  8. 8. Aveiro
  9. How Many Days Is Enough to See Portugal?
  10. Explore the Best Places to Visit in Portugal

1. Lisbon

Saint Jorge's Castle in Lisbon, Portugal

Saint Jorge's Castle in Lisbon, Portugal

Colorful, vibrant, and full of cultural warmth, Lisbon is dense with historic monuments and famous museums, narrow old quarters and a gorgeous riverbank promenade.

Portugal’s capital city feels unhurried, which only adds to its beguiling allure, which stretches across the seven enigmatic hills Lisbon is famous for.

With breathtaking views, exceptional cuisine, and shimmering, white-domed cathedrals, it is practically impossible not to embrace Lisbon’s timeless yet timely charms.

Highlights: Belem • Alfama • Jeronimos Monastery • Saint George’s Castle • Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Learn more: Lisbon Vacations & Tours

2. Porto

Colorful rows of old historical houses in Porto, Portugal

Historic houses in Porto, Portugal

With culture, history, and waterfront elegance, Porto looks as though it was carved out of the surrounding granite hills shaped by the River Douro.

Narrow streets wind between architectural grandeur with extravagant Baroque or stately Neoclassical touches. Modern art captures traces of past masterpieces, while the waterway offers an unforgettable panorama of the city.

Porto is a city easy to love for its hints of edginess and enduring luxury, whether in the food, local culture, or tasty wine you can savor on Portugal wine tours.

Highlights: Clerigos Tower • Bolsa Palace • San Francisco Church • Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art • Vila Nova de Gaia

Recommended Length of Stay: 3-4 days

3. The Algarve

Boats in the turquoise water at Ponta da Piedade in the Algarve region of Portugal

Ponta da Piedade in the Algarve region of Portugal

The Algarve is one of the top Portugal vacation spots, and for good reason. With a sensational coastline boasting pristine beaches, the Algarve feels wild and remote, lavish yet rugged.

You can perch on top of towering coastal cliffs or find sea caves, stumble upon a surfer’s paradise or enjoy serene views of a bird-filled lagoon. Historic castles and whitewashed villages only add to the already remarkable beauty of the region.

The many towns and villages dotting the Algarve, including must-see places like Faro and hidden gems like Tavira, offer a wealth for travelers to uncover when experiencing the top things to do in Portugal.

Highlights: Ponta da Piedade • Faro • Vila Real de Santo António • Tres Irmaos Beach • Alcoutim • Tavira

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

4. Alentejo

Medieval village of Monsaraz in the Alentejo region of Portuggal

Monsaraz in the Alentejo region of Portuggal

Visitors are drawn to the Alentejo for its calm, where you can enjoy miles of white-sand beaches, walled hilltop towns, Roman ruins, and landscapes draped in olive trees or vineyards.

You can embrace the slower pace of life around the golden wheatfields or explore whitewashed villages with gorgeous Moorish influences.

Alentejo is Portugal’s largest region and captures captivating spirit. It is also one of Portugal’s best wine regions to visit on vacation.

Highlights: Évora • Vila Nova de Milfontes • Monsaraz • Elvas • Troia Peninsula

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

5. Vinho Verde

Vineyards in the Vinho Verde DOC, subregion of Minho, Portuga

Vinho Verde DOC, subregion of Minho, Portugal

Vinho Verde, which means green wine, is also a spectacular wine region of Portugal nestled in the northwestern hills.

To find your way there, you can follow the vineyards that blanket the countryside as medieval architecture rises out of the rolling landscape. Rugged mountains, winding rivers, cascading waterfalls, and some of the nation’s most refreshing wines are yours to enjoy.

The topography, weather, and wine truly make for one of the most unique and delightful experiences in Portugal when visiting during the best time to visit for wine tasting.

Highlights: Valença do Minho • Viana do Castelo • Vieira do Minho • Caminha • Ponte de Lima

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

6. Peneda-Geres National Park

Aerial view of the historic village of Lindoso and the Peneda Geres National Park in Portugal

Peneda Geres National Park in Portugal

Peneda-Geres National Park is a natural amphitheater shaped by winds, water, and time, revealing the grandeur of Portugal's only national park.

To say its natural beauty is impressive barely scratches the surface. With oak forests and more than 100 preserved granite villages steeped in history, the delicate ecosystems protect an endangered way of life and the region's wildlife.

From hiking the wilderness to enjoying local food, the natural and historical heritage of the area is on beautiful display, perfect for adventurous family tours in Portugal.

Highlights: Vila do Gerês • Cascata do Arado • Geira • Castro Laboreiro village • Miradouro da Pedra Bela

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

7. Obidos

Typical cobblestone streets with flowers  in Óbidos, Portugal

Óbidos, Portugal

Obidos is a labyrinth of beauty and intrigue, with cobblestone streets and whitewashed houses draped in flowers and splashes of colorful paint.

The city reflects one of the many places in Portugal lost in time and defined by luxury, with a historic main gate and shops dressed in chocolate and sour-cherry liqueur. Boasting one of the best castles to visit in Portugal, the history comes to life on tours of the medieval grounds.

The nooks and crannies give you plenty to discover, with medieval walls, whitewashed cottages, cafes, and handicraft stores.

Highlights: Óbidos Castle • Santa Maria Church • Porta da Vila • Senhor da Pedra Sanctuary • Óbidos Aqueduct

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

8. Aveiro

Traditional boats in the canal, Aviero, Portugal

Aviero, Portugal

With charming canals, painted boats, and pastel colors shading Art Nouveau houses, it is easy to compare Aveiro to Venice. But the former takes you much further culturally and authentically than Venice ever could.

Aveiro is glamorous and romantic, with a timeless regal ambiance and striking features. Waterside shops and restaurants match the atmosphere of museums and the sophistication of artisan craftsmanship, all of which is worth discovering by boat along the canals, a fantastic way to travel around Portugal.

Highlights: Sao Jacinto Beach • Dunas da Sao Jacinto Nature Reserve • Aveiro Museum • Se Cathedral • Aveiro Canals

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

How Many Days Is Enough to See Portugal?

Vineyards in the Alentejo region of Portugal

Vineyards in the Alentejo region of Portugal

Roughly two weeks is the best amount of time in which to have the ideal experience in Portugal. Traveling for approximately two weeks will give you plenty of opportunity to blend larger cities like Lisbon and Porto with smaller towns, villages, and regions like Aveiro, Obidos, or Alentejo.

More time in Portugal opens up the countryside and cities for a more rounded experience, with the chance to hike the hinterlands and sample historic wineries, indulge in the cuisine, or bask on the beaches, in addition to discovering medieval and ancient towns.

Learn more: 2 Week Portugal Itineraries

Explore the Best Places to Visit in Portugal

Azulejos tiles in the church of Misericordia in Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Azulejos tiles in the church of Misericordia in Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Too often, Portugal hides in the shadows of other European destinations, but deserves equal fame with just as many must-see destinations. Every region offers enticing and unique things to do, like sipping port overlooking an antique vineyard or visiting storybook castles, finding a pristine beach, or witnessing history in handmade tiles.

You can find more helpful information on the experiences you crave with our Portugal travel guide or start planning custom Portugal tours and vacations with the help of our destination experts.

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