Best travel experiences in Portugal

written by Mani Ramaswamy
updated 7/29/2021
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01 - Chill out at the Algarve beaches

The Algarve region has some of Europe’s finest beaches and there are few more impressive than Praia da Bordeira. Learn more about the Algarve as an all-year travel destination, and also check out our roundup of the best beaches in Portugal.

02 - Stay a night in medieval Monsaraz

Many of the medieval houses in the fortified hilltop village of Monsaraz have been converted into atmospheric guesthouses.

03 - Take a canal trip at Aveiro

Float through the canals and lagoons of fascinating Aveiro on a brightly coloured boat.

© portumen/Shutterstock

04 - Stroll through Évora

Evora is golden-stoned university town complete with Roman temple, Moorish alleys and medieval walls.

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05 - Mountain biking in the Algarve

There are some great cycling opportunities along the entire Algarve coast.

06 - Óbidos

The picture-book walled town of Obidos was once the traditional bridal gift of Portuguese kings.

07 - Explore the Rio Douro valley

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Take a train ride or boat trip from Peso da Régua up the Rio Douro valley, one of the loveliest river valleys in Portugal.

© Ana Couto/Shutterstock

08 - Visit Velha Universidade in Coimbra

The historic city of Coimbra boasts both Portugal’s most famous university and a vibrant student nightlife.

09 - Mosteiro da Batalha

The “Battle Abbey” Mosteiro da Batalha is one of the greatest achievements of Portuguese architecture.

10 - Kayaking on the Mondego river

Even novice kayakers will be enchanted by this gentle float down a verdant valley on the Mondego river.

© Techtonic/Shutterstock

11 - Get lost in the narrow streets of Alfama

Alfama is a village in the heart of the capital Lisbon, with streets so narrow and precipitous that few cars can enter.

© S-F/Shutterstock

12 - Enjoy scenic Sintra

The hilltop Sintra retreat near Lisbon is one of the most scenic in the country, surrounded by opulent palaces and country estates.

13 - Soak in nature at the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês

The Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês, Portugal's only national park offers alluring trails past gushing streams and alpine scenery.

© Armando Frazao/Shutterstock

14 - Enjoy Pastéis de nata

These delicious flaky custard tartlets are served warm with cinnamon and icing sugar sprinkled over them at Lisbon's Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, where they've been baked for more than a century. Enjoy them and many of the other delicacies traditional in Portugal.

15 - Marvel at the Mosteiro Palácio Nacional de Mafra

Gigantic monument to religious devotion or obscenely over-the-top royal frippery? You decide at João V’s mighty monastery-cum-palace in Mafra.

16 - Visit Guimaraes

The first capital of Portugal, Guimaraes is a beguiling place of cobbled streets and historic buildings.

17 - Watch dolphins in the Sado estuary

Take a boat trip to see the playful bottle-nosed dolphins that live in this attractive estuary near Setúbal.

© Granadeiro/Shutterstock

18 - Go clubbing in Lisbon

Lisbon’s nightlife is legendary – chic Lux has long been the top place to dance until dawn.

19 - Take a walk to the Rota Vicentina

You’d be hard pushed to find a better long-distance footpath than to the Rota Vicentina – it encompasses picturesque villages, wild surf-lashed beaches and vertiginous cliffs.

20 - Experience the Knights Templar history at Convento de Cristo

Tomar’s extraordinary “Convent of Christ” is the former headquarters of the Knights Templar.

21 - Hit the surf in Peniche

Peniche offers consistently good surfing in a country that is blessed with rolling Atlantic waves.

© Sergey Furtaev/Shutterstock

22 - Feira de Barcelos

The country’s liveliest and most colourful market on the square in Barcelos shows that rural traditions are alive and well.

23 - Hike the Serra da Estrela

The Serra da Estrela, the highest mountains in Portugal conceal windswept uplands, remote villages and challenging hiking trails. Check here for more information on hiking in Portugal.

Beautiful views when hiking in Portugal © Vector99/Shutterstock

24 - Relax at the riverfront in Porto

The historic riverside bairro of Ribeira in Porto is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Travel advice for Portugal

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written by Mani Ramaswamy
updated 7/29/2021
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