12 pearls of Portugal: a guide to the country's most exciting places

12 pearls of Portugal: a guide to the country's most exciting places

Portugal, Lisboa city, Algarve, Sintra, Oporto town, Coimbra, Evora, Portimao, Aveiro, Nazare, Braga, Obidos (municipality), Funchal, Madeira
This guide will introduce you to twelve of the best places, each of which is unique and unforgettable in its own way.

Portugal is a country that surprises and inspires. There is something for everyone here, from majestic castles and medieval towns to picturesque coastal villages and green vineyards.

1. Lisbon - the heart of Portugal

Lisbon is a city where centuries of history, modern cultural movements and picturesque landscapes intertwine. This city will leave a lasting impression on you with its unique features.


Bairro Alto


Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of old Lisbon as you explore the rocky streets of Bairro Alto. The area is known for its traditional fado bars, where you can enjoy Portuguese folk music performed by local artists.


Tram 28


Be sure to take a ride on the famous tram No. 28, which takes you through the city's main historical sites, including the Alfama and Gracha districts. This is not only a convenient way to travel, but also a real journey into the past.


Belem Tower


One of the most photogenic points of Lisbon is the Belem Tower. This defensive structure from the Age of Discovery served as a fortress and a beacon for sailors venturing into unknown lands.


Jerónimos Monastery


Don't miss the chance to visit the Jerónimos Monastery, a magnificent example Portuguese late Gothic (Manueline style). This monastery is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is famous for its detailed stone carvings.


View the city from above


End your day in Lisbon by climbing to one of the many viewpoints such as the Miradore da Senhora do Monte. From this point there is a stunning view of the city, its rooftops, the Tagus River and golden sunsets.

2. Porto - the soul of the north of Portugal

Porto, Portugal's second largest city, is known for its rich cultural heritage, port wine and breathtaking architecture. This city, located on the banks of the Douro River, is a true pearl of the north of the country.


Ribeira


Start your trip to Porto with a visit to the Ribeira area, which is part of the world famous UNESCO heritage. Stone streets, narrow alleys and colorful houses along the river create a unique atmosphere. Here you will also find many cozy cafes and restaurants where you can try traditional Portuguese dishes.


Livraria Lello


Visit Livraria Lello, one of the most beautiful bookstores in world. With its neo-Gothic façade and unique spiral staircase, this bookstore attracts literary enthusiasts and tourists from all over the world.


Sé do Porto Cathedral


Sé do Porto Cathedral Do Porto, located in the heart of the city, is one of the greatest examples of Romanesque architecture in Portugal. The cathedral is impressive with its massive walls, towers and magnificent views of the city.


Wine Cellars of Porto


Don't miss the opportunity to visit the wine cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, located on the opposite bank of the river. Here you can learn about the production of the legendary port wine and, of course, try different varieties of this exquisite drink.


Dom Louis Bridge I


Finish your tour of Porto with a walk over the Dom Luis I Bridge for breathtaking views of the city and the Douro River. The bridge, built at the end of the 19th century, is one of the symbols of the city and a popular spot among photographers.


Porto is a city that makes you fall in love at first sight, offering visitors a unique combination of history, culture and nature.

3. Sintra - magic and romance

Sintra, located just a few tens of kilometers from Lisbon, is a real fairy tale come to life among dense green forests and green hills. This city attracts tourists with its unusual palaces, luxurious gardens and misty, mysterious air.


Pena National Palace


Start your trip with a visit to the Pena Palace, which seems taken from the pages of a children's fairy tale book. This colorful and eclectic castle sits on one of the highest points in Sintra and is visible from almost every corner. The palace is decorated with numerous towers, patterned domes and colorful facades.


Moorish Fortress


Don't miss the Moorish Fortress, ancient ruins located on the peaks of the Sintra mountain ranges. The walls of the fortress extend along the hills, and from its height there are breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes and the ocean in the distance.


Quinta da Regaleira Palace


Quinta da Regaleira Palace is another place in Sintra that is worth visiting. This mysterious palace and its gardens are famous for their alchemical symbols and mysterious underground tunnels. The gardens around the palace are filled with hidden paths, unexpected statues and symbolic motifs.


Sintra National Palace


Also visit the Sintra National Palace in the city center, famous for its huge cone-shaped chimneys and beautiful courtyards. The palace served as the summer residence of Portuguese monarchs for centuries and impresses with its rich interior.


Walking Trails


For nature lovers, Sintra offers many hiking trails leading through picturesque forests and opening up new views of this magical region. Go on walks to enjoy the local flora and fauna, as well as explore the more secluded and quiet corners of this enchanting place.


Sintra leaves a lasting impression with its extraordinary architecture, mystical landscapes and romantic atmosphere, and rightfully considered one of the most magical places in Portugal.

4. Algarve - paradise beaches and dramatic cliffs

Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal, is famous for its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters and picturesque rocky coastlines. This is the ideal destination for lovers of the sun, sea and active holidays.


Praia da Marinha Beach


Start your trip to the Algarve with a visit to Praia da Marinha , one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Surrounded by majestic cliffs and accessible only through a natural tunnel, this beach is an ideal place for swimming and sunbathing.


Benagil Grottoes


Have an adventure with a visit to the Benagil Grottoes , accessible only from water. Boat excursions are offered daily, providing a unique opportunity to explore these natural wonders and enjoy extraordinary water scenery.


City of Lagos


Visit Lagos, a charming city rich in history and culture. Stroll the ancient streets, explore the local markets and try traditional dishes at one of the many restaurants.


Silves Castle


Explore the Silves Castle, which offers wonderful views of the surrounding landscapes and is an important historical monument of the region. The castle, built during the time of the Moors, retains traces of different eras and cultures.


Cabo de São Vicente


Complete your travel through the Algarve with a visit to Cabo de São Vicente, the westernmost point of continental Europe. This lighthouse and cliffs towering above the Atlantic Ocean create a unique and inspiring landscape.


The Algarve is not only about a beach holiday, but also about immersing yourself in the history, culture and nature of this amazing region. Everyone will find something here: from a relaxing holiday by the sea to active adventures and cultural discoveries.

5. Madeira - the island of eternal spring

Madeira, an island archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, is known for its mild climate, luxurious flora and mountainous landscapes. The area attracts travelers looking to enjoy its natural beauty and unique culture.


Funchal is the capital of the island


Funchal, a picturesque port city, is the capital and main cultural center of Madeira . Stroll through its streets decorated with cobblestone mosaics and visit local markets such as Mercado dos Lavradores, where you can buy fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood.


Lavadas - a network of irrigation canals


Explore Madeira's unique network of irrigation canals, known as lavadas. These canals form an extensive network of hiking trails through picturesque forests and mountains, offering amazing routes for walking and cycling.


Pico Ruivo - highest point


Conquer Pico Ruiva, Madeira's highest point, with breathtaking panoramic views of the entire island. The climb is quite challenging, but the views from the top are well worth the effort.


Tropical Gardens


Visit one of Madeira's many tropical gardens, such as the Monte Palace Garden . These gardens are home to many rare species of plants and flowers collected from all over the world and are a true paradise for nature lovers.


Wine cellars and Madeira tastings


Don't miss the chance to visit local wine cellars and taste the world famous Madeira wine. This unique wine is produced on the island using special aging techniques, and its sweet, rich taste will leave you enthralled.


Madeira is a place where every day can be an adventure, whether exploring the mountain peaks , stroll through tropical gardens or enjoy local gastronomic delights. This island not only captivates with its beauty, but also inspires new discoveries.

6. Evora - a treasure trove of history and culture

Evora, located in the heart of the Alentejo region, is a city that has retained its historical charm and rich cultural heritage. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a unique combination of historical monuments, museums and picturesque architecture.


Roman Temple


One of Evora's most famous monuments is the Roman Temple temple, also known as the Temple of Diana. This well-preserved Roman temple reflects the ancient history of the city and its importance in Roman times.


Chapella of Bones


Capela of Bones is an unusual and slightly dark landmark in Evora. This small chapel is decorated with thousands of human bones and skulls, making it not only a place of worship, but also a reminder of the transience of life.


Historic City Center


Walk through the historic center of Évora, where narrow streets and white limestone houses create an old-world atmosphere. There are many shops, cafes and restaurants where you can sample local delicacies such as traditional Portuguese roast suckling pig.


University of Évora


Visit the University of Évora, one of the the oldest in Portugal, founded in the 16th century. The university campus is an example of Portuguese classical architecture and serves as the center of the city's academic life and cultural events.


Evora Public Garden


Complete your trip tour of Évora by visiting its public garden, where you can relax in the shade of ancient trees and enjoy the tranquility of this historic site.


Évora offers travelers a deep dive into Portuguese history, combining the splendor of ancient monuments with the warmth of local hospitality . This city will definitely leave an unforgettable impression in your memory.

7. Obidos - a medieval monastery in Portugal

Obidos, one of the most beautiful and well-preserved medieval towns in Portugal, is a real treasure for history and culture lovers. Surrounded by ancient walls, this city offers an authentic atmosphere and takes visitors back to the era of knights and royal campaigns.


Ancient City Walls


Walk along the ancient city walls of Obidos, which offer magnificent views of the city and surrounding landscapes. These walls, built during the Roman occupation and expanded during the Middle Ages, today serve as a magnificent place for walks and photo ops.


Obidos Castle


Explore the Obidos Castle, which dominates the city and is one of its most prominent landmarks. The castle was built in the 12th century and has been rebuilt several times since then. Today it is open to the public and hosts various cultural events.


Church of Santa Maria


Visit the Church of Santa Maria, famous for its magnificent azulejos (traditional Portuguese ceramic tiles) and impressive frescoes. The church also houses several significant religious artifacts that attract researchers and pilgrims.


Obidos Traditional Fair


If you have the opportunity to visit Obidos in July, don't miss the traditional a medieval fair that takes the city back to its heyday. The fair offers a variety of entertainment, including jugglers, jousting tournaments and craft workshops.


Local wines and cuisine


Don't miss the opportunity to taste local wines and culinary delights. Obidos is famous for its wines and the unique drink "ginja", a sweet cherry liqueur traditionally served in chocolate glasses.


Obidos is a place where history comes to life at every turn. Walking along the narrow cobbled streets, you will feel transported to another time, full of mystery and romance.

8. Coimbra - an ancient university city

Coimbra is not only one of the oldest university cities in Europe, but also a place where history, culture and academic life intertwine. The city is known for its prestigious university, the picturesque Mondego River and its rich cultural heritage.


University of Coimbra


The city's main attraction is the University of Coimbra, founded in 1290. The university building and its Joanina Library are true masterpieces of architecture. Known for its baroque decor and rare manuscripts, the library is one of Portugal's most valuable cultural treasures.


Old Cathedral of Coimbra


Visit the Old Cathedral of Coimbra (Sé Velha) , one of the best preserved Romanesque cathedrals in Portugal. Built in the 12th century, this massive stone church is distinguished by its imposing architecture and fortified appearance.


Botanical Garden


Explore the Botanical Garden of Coimbra, one of the oldest in Europe. The garden offers an idyllic setting with many exotic plants and shady avenues, an ideal place for relaxation and strolls.


Monastery of Santa Clara a Vella


Visit the Monastery Santa Clara a Vella, famous for its Gothic architecture and history associated with Queen Isabella. The monastery, partially submerged due to floods, creates an almost mystical atmosphere.


Mondego Promenade


End the day with a walk along the promenade Mondego River, which offers excellent views of the city and university. It is a popular meeting place for locals and students, adding to the city's vibrancy and youthful spirit.


Coimbra is a city that proudly showcases its rich past while looking to the future while maintaining its academic and cultural vitality. It offers visitors a unique combination of educational achievements and historical architecture, remaining a truly unforgettable destination in Portugal for centuries.

9. Nazaré - surfing and traditions

Nazaré, a small fishing town on the west coast of Portugal, has become the surfing center of the world thanks to its giant waves and unique maritime culture. But Nazaré also attracts with its traditions and colorful atmosphere.


Praia do Norte


Start your day with a visit to Praia do Norte, the famous beach where catching some of the biggest waves in the world. This beach became famous thanks to surfer Garrett McNamara, who conquered waves here that were over 30 meters high.


Traditional costumes and culture


Walk around the city and get to know the local culture, note the women wearing the traditional seven layers of skirts previously worn to keep warm while waiting for fishermen. These costumes are part of Nazare's unique heritage.


Museum of Dr. Joao Barbosa Macuado


Visit the Museum of Dr. Joao Barbosa Macuado, which gives an insight into the fishing lifestyle and history of Nazare . The museum features exhibits related to the sea, fishing and local folklore.


Cable Car


Take the cable car to the top of Sitiou Cliff for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the city of Nazaré itself. The top is also a great place for photos and just enjoying the sea breeze.


Church of Nossa Senhora da Nazare


Visit the Church of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, located on the top of a cliff. This church houses an image of the Virgin Mary, which, according to legend, was found on the beach in the 4th century and has great religious significance for the inhabitants of the city.


Nazaré is a place where tradition and modernity intertwine, offering visitors not only enjoy extreme entertainment such as surfing, but also a unique immersion in the culture and history of the Portuguese coast.

10. Aveiro - Portuguese Venice

Aveiro, often called the Venice of Portugal, is famous for its canals, colorful Moliceiros boats and distinctive architecture. The city offers a combination of city life and maritime traditions, making it a must-see on any trip to Portugal.


The Canals of Aveiro


Walk along the city's main canals or take a trip to the one of the traditional Moliceiros boats. These colorful boats, formerly used to collect seaweed, are now used for tourist excursions and are one of the symbols of the city.


Historic Center


Explore the historic center of Aveiro, where the streets are decorated with traditional Portuguese mosaics, and the buildings are built in the Art Nouveau style. Don't miss the chance to visit the Art Nouveau Museum to learn more about this artistic style.


Peichoto Market


Check out the Peixoto Market for fresh food seafood, local cheeses and other gastronomic delicacies. This place allows you to truly experience the local atmosphere and taste national dishes.


Aveiro Salt Flats


Visit the Aveiro Salt Flats, which are part of a unique ecosystem and the site of traditional marine mining salt. Here you can see how salt is mined and even try unique salt spa treatments.


Costa Nova


Don't miss Costa Nova beach with its famous striped houses. These bright and colorful "paleiros" attract photographers from all over the world and are an excellent destination for a holiday on the Atlantic coast.


Aveiro is a city that combines the romance of the canals with the dynamism of modern city life. There's something for everyone here, whether it's exploring architecture, enjoying seafood, or simply relaxing on the beach.

11. Portimao - gateway to the Algarve

Portimao, one of the largest cities in the Algarve region, is known for its stunning beaches, picturesque marinas and active nightlife. This city perfectly combines resort holidays and urban culture, offering a variety of entertainment for every tourist.


Praia da Rocha Beach


Start your trip with a visit to Praia da Rocha, one of the most famous beaches of Portimão. This wide sandy beach is ideal for sunbathing, surfing and other water sports.


Marina Portimão


Stroll through Marina Portimão, home to luxury yachts and from offers magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean. Here you can also enjoy seafood in one of the many restaurants or cafes.


Portimão Museum


Visit the Portimão Museum, which is located in a former canning factory. The museum tells the story of local history and culture, including traditional fishing and canning methods.


Algarve Circuit


For speed lovers, the Algarve Circuit is worth a visit. often hosts international racing, including the Superbike World Championship and other motoring events.


Nightlife


Experience the nightlife of Portimão , visiting local bars and clubs that come alive after sunset. This is the ideal place for those looking for fun and entertainment until dawn.


Portimao offers a variety of opportunities for active recreation and relaxation, combining the beauty of nature with an urban style. This city is an unforgettable experience thanks to its warm climate, friendly atmosphere and rich cultural life.

12. Braga - the spiritual center of Portugal

Braga, one of the oldest cities in Portugal, is famous for its religious monuments, historical heritage and picturesque parks. The city is often called the "Portuguese Rome" due to its significance in Christian history and the abundance of churches.


Braga Cathedral (Sé de Braga)


Start your tour with Braga Cathedral, the oldest church in Portugal, which combines elements of Romanesque, Manueline and Baroque styles. This cathedral has great historical and cultural significance for the whole country.


The Sacred Mount of Bom Jesus do Monte


Visit the Sacred Mount of Bom Jesus do Monte, a famous pilgrimage complex, located in the hills around Braga. The scenic road to the shrine, lined with baroque chapels, leads to the magnificent temple at the top, with stunning views of the surrounding area.


Bishop's Arch Gardens


Walk through the Arch Gardens Bishop, where you can enjoy the tranquility and beauty of local landscape compositions. These gardens are an ideal place for relaxation and reflection.


Ruins of Roman Bracara


Explore the Ruins of Bracara, an ancient city that was once the capital of the Roman province of Gallicia. The archaeological complex offers a unique opportunity to see how people lived in antiquity.


Museum of Pio XII


End your trip to Braga with a visit to the Museum Pio XII, which houses collections of religious art, archaeological finds and works from the Renaissance.


Braga is an inspiring spiritual center that offers a deep dive into the history and culture of Portugal. This is a place where every stone and every street tells a story of faith, tradition and cultural wealth.

Portugal is a country with a rich history, unique cultural heritage and amazing natural beauty. From the picturesque beaches of the Algarve to the misty heights of Sintra, from the medieval castles of Óbidos to the university alleys of Coimbra, every corner of this country is capable of enchanting and inspiring.


In our guide, we took a trip to twelve of the best places in Portugal, that everyone should visit. These places showcase not only natural beauty and architectural excellence, but also the deep historical roots that make Portugal unique. Whether it's the exhilarating cliffs of Nazare or the tranquil streets of Lisbon, each town and village has its own character, evidence of a rich past and a vibrant present.


Portugal remains one of the most exciting and affordable travel destinations in Europe. We hope that this guide will become your reliable companion in exploring this vibrant and beautiful country, revealing new aspects of its unique character and providing the opportunity to create unforgettable memories. Portugal has something special for everyone, whether it's immersing itself in history, enjoying culture or simply relaxing on one of the many stunning beaches. Travel, explore and fall in love with every gem of this amazing country.

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