When most people think of Portugal, they think of its capital Lisbon. I get flashing images of yellow trams dinging up steep hills with sea views and terracotta rooftops. There are delicate mosaic buildings with a colourfully well-preserved history. By day the city is bustling with people exploring its rich architecture with music and festivities by night.
Exploring Portugal was like opening a jewellery box with many hidden treasures. Off the tourist track, I began to fall in love with this charming country and its culture. The food is rich in flavour, and the style is nothing less than what you would expect from a modern European city. Yet still, Portugal had its unique beat, as every city I visited had something new to reveal.
Here are some of the places that are noteworthy for exploring once you can commence your travel expeditions.
Places to visit in Portugal
Sintra is a magical town filled with castles and lush green hills. It is one of my favourite places in Portugal. Although it does attract many tourists in the Summer months, it is well worth the visit. My favourite was the fairytale, Pena Place Castle.
Lisbon is a bustling city with a pulse of its own. There are so many hidden gems to explore in and around the main part of town. You’ll need a minimin of three nights to cram in most of the sites, but why not take your time and treat yourself to at least five days.
Porto is a colour explosion with lots to explore. Take a boat cruise among its many bridges or explore the wine region and sample the wines of the Duoro Valley. Spend at least two nights here and try and take a day trip to the wine valley.
Coimbra is a University town with lovely charming buildings and rich history. It is about 120km from Porto and makes a few days of exploring amongst locals a wonderful experience.
Aveiro is the mini Venice of Portugal with the stripped houses, canals, and gondolas to match. It is only 70 km from Porto and makes a great day trip or night’s stay.
The southern coast of Algarve consists of many towns, although most will be overpopulated during peak holiday times it might be best to explore this outside of the season. The towns consist of well-known places like Albufeira, Lagos, and Faro. But you can find less touristy smaller towns like Praia da luz. You can check out the top 10 attractions of the Algarve.
Things to do in Lisbon
Take a tram ride on tram 28 which takes you around all the best sites in town hopping on and off.
Explore Barrio Alto and dine there by night, that is when this place truly comes alive.
Visit Belém tower and the explores monument, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos which is a concrete monument to the maritime explores.
Do a walking tour of Lisbon.
Visit Castelo de Saint Jorge and Alfama.
Explore the Carmo Archaeological Museum.
Getting to Lisbon
Lisbon is Portugal’s capital with its major Portela Airport 7 km from the city centre. Trains and most forms of transport connect via other European cities making Lisbon an easy entry point to Portugal.
Check out this for more inspiration and a Portugal gift guide.