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16 Best Places to Visit in Portugal - Travel Video

16 Best Places to Visit in Portugal – Travel Video

Located on the western coast of the Iberian peninsula, Portugal is one of Europe’s most visited countries due to its idyllic climate, affordable travel costs and exceptional attractions.

Portugal’s varied geography ranges from the verdant mountains and vineyards of the North to the glamorous beaches of the Algarve along the southern coastline.

Also belonging to Portugal but lying in the Atlantic Ocean are the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira, known for their lush landscapes and flower gardens. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Portugal.

Number 16. Monsaraz

Boasting an imposing castle, as well a stunning setting, the hilltop village of Monsaraz is certainly very picturesque. White-washed houses contrast delightfully against the greens and browns of the surrounding countryside.

As it is located just across from the Spanish border in Portugal, Monsaraz has long occupied a strategic position; as such, everyone from the Romans and Visigoths to the Moors and Knights Templar have ruled over the town at some stage.

Number 15. Nazare

The small town of Nazare is set in a scenic spot, with rugged coastal cliffs and beautiful beaches lying all around. Due to the ferocious waves flung up by the undersea Nazare Canyon, the town has long attracted surfers to its shores.

While riding record-breaking waves is a popular pastime, many people prefer to simply relax on its golden sands or bask in its panoramic coastal views. The center of Nazare is full of fantastic seafood restaurants, small boutiques, and peaceful pensions.

It also has a couple of churches, and museums for visitors to check out, as well as a lovely funicular that takes you to the nearby hilltop.

Number 14. Peneda-Geres National Park

Lying in the northwest of the country on the border with Spain, Peneda-Geres is a lovely place to visit and is Portugal’s only national park. Established in 1971, it protects precious landscapes and ecosystems as well as countless villages set in scenic and secluded spots.

Sprawling over a vast area, the park encompasses everything from sweeping valleys and verdant forests to rolling foothills and fast-flowing rivers. A number of excellent hiking trails and campsites can be found dotted around its peaks and plateaus.

Number 13. Braga

The third-largest city in the country, Braga lies in the north of Portugal, surrounded by gently rolling hills and fertile farms.

Although it is known as the ‘city of archbishops’, it boasts much more than just churches, with a charming old town and lively nightlife. While its historical center is full of winding narrow lanes and elegant plazas, there is a youthful and lively feel about town thanks to its large student population.

As such, cheap but excellent cafes and restaurants abound. One the city’s most famous attractions is the serene hilltop sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, which provides stunning views over the surroundings.

Number 12. Tomar

One of Portugal’s most pretty and picturesque towns, Tomar lies in the center of the country, surrounded by fertile farmland. As it was once the headquarters of the Knights Templar, its ancient streets are home to important historical and religious monuments.

While centuries-old churches, abound, its main attraction is the Castle and Convent of the Order of Christ.

Once a Templar stronghold, it was from this sprawling and spectacular citadel complex that Portugal’s overseas expansion and Age of Discoveries began.

Number 11. Guimaraes

Boasting one of the most beautiful and well-preserved historic centers in Portugal, Guimaraes lies in the north of the country, not far from Braga.

The city is often called the ‘birthplace of Portugal,’ as it was here that the nation’s first king Afonso Henriques was born. At the heart of Guimaraes lies its two main attractions – its majestic tenth-century castle and Grand Dukes of Braganza Palace.

Fascinating to explore, they boast exquisite architecture and offer an invaluable look at the city’s rich history and heritage.

Number 10. Coimbra

A charming city situated by the Mondego River, Coimbra is home to a treasure trove of historic sites and a lively culture that is centered around one of Europe’s oldest universities.

One of the best things to do in Coimbra is to simply get lost and discover the many historic attractions from the stunning Old Cathedral to the Gothic Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, which contains the tomb of Queen Isabel.

No trip to Coimbra would be complete without a visit to the University of Coimbra to admire one of the world’s most beautiful libraries.

Number 9. The Azores

The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of 9 volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, located about 930 miles west of Lisbon. Renowned for world-class whale watching, hot mineral springs, and quaint seaside towns, each island has its own fascinating identity.

São Miguel is the largest island of the Azores and is known as “The Green Island” while Pico is home to the highest mountain in Portugal.

Number 8. Aveiro

Hugging the country’s Atlantic Coast in Central Portugal, Aveiro is a bustling city often called “the Venice of Portugal” due to its picturesque setting of scenic canals connected by charming bridges and dotted with colorful gondolas.

Historic sites, gorgeous beaches and tasty cuisine also make Aveiro a popular tourist destination.

The’s many sightseeing gems include the Aveiro Cathedral, the São Gonçalinho Chapel and the Convento de Jesus. These all offer lovely architecture and art works.

Number 7. Evora

Evora may be a small town in southern Portugal, but it packs huge tourist appeal. With a history dating back more than 2,000 years, Evora was once a flourishing city under Roman rule.

Today, Evora shelters more than 4,000 historic structures including the old Roman walls and temples.

Another highlight is the 13th century Cathedral of Evora, one of Portugal’s most important Gothic structures. Not far outside the city is Europe’s largest complex of prehistoric megaliths that are also worth a look.

Number 6. Porto

World famous for its production of fine port wine, the busy city of Porto sprawls along the hills overlooking the Douro River in northern Portugal.

At the heart of Porto is the charming pedestrian zone, the Ribeira, an atmospheric place on the river, buzzing in live music, cafes, restaurants and street vendors.

Dominating this popular tourist setting is the Ponte Dom Luis, a metal, double-deck arch bridge that links Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, well-known for its port wine cellars.

Number 5. Madeira

Sporting the nickname “Floating Garden of the Atlantic,” Madeira is a fertile oasis in the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal and North Africa, popular for its lush green landscapes, flower gardens and wines.

Must-see places in Madeira include the Orchid Garden and the Laurissilva Forest, which harbors the world’s largest concentration of laurel.

The capital and largest city on Madeira is Funchal, home to historic churches and fortresses as well as the tree-lined promenade, which presents spectacular ocean views.

Number 4. Sintra

Nestled in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains on the Lisbon Coast, Sintra presents a spectacular setting of verdant hills, sprinkled with pretty castles and palaces.

The most famous is Pena’s Palace, a fantastical castle reminiscent of Germany’s Neuschwanstein. Built in the mid-1800s and serving as a summer retreat for the Portuguese royal family, Pena’s Palace is surrounded by forested parklands containing exotic trees and flowers.

Also not to be missed are the ancient ruins of the Castle of the Moors crowning the city’s highest hill, and the romantic Monserrate Palace with its subtropical gardens.

Number 3. Obidos

Located on a hilltop in the Centro Region of western Portugal, Obidos is encircled by an old fortified wall.

Besides the wall, the magnificent medieval castle and historic center of Obidos make up the city’s main attraction and can easily be walked. A labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets leads visitors along busy squares, quaint shops and whitewashed houses spruced with colorful flowers.

The castle with its commanding edifice, huge gates and towers is now a luxurious hotel but a marvel to behold nevertheless.

Number 2. Algarve

Sunny Mediterranean climate, gorgeous beaches, picturesque towns, fabulous cuisine and affordable costs are just some of the reasons that make the Algarve one of the most popular destinations in Portugal.

Located in the country’s southernmost region, the Algarve offers a feast for the eyes, from tranquil landscapes of olive groves, traditional whitewashed villages to the wild, windswept coast with its dramatic cliffs dotted with summer resorts.

Faro is the region’s capital, and Lagos is the area’s hot spot for nightlife.

Number 1. Lisbon

Stretching along the banks of the Tagus River near the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal’s capital and largest city winds upward among seven steep hills, forming an enchanting destination of colorful neighborhoods, reverberating in traditional fado music.

The city’s oldest district is Alfama, an old Moorish quarter, distinct for its maze of cobblestone streets, rustic architecture and St.

George’s Castle. The best way to experience Lisbon is by taking one of the vintage trams such as the well known Tram 28, which winds along historic quarters, gardens and main attractions..

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