Below, you’ll find my latest video, the latest three articles I published as well as the travel guides to explore Portugal. After that, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the 55 places to visit in Portugal and 20 things you should do during your stay in Portugal.
Once, there was a small corner in Europe of 92 090 km2, a place which became known as Portugal (1139 A.D.) – D. Afonso Henriques was the founder of this kingdom and its first king.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, during the Age of Discoveries, the Portuguese went on several voyages and maritime explorations, in search of new trade routes.
The Kingdom of Portugal colonised territories in Africa, Asia and South America, becoming the world’s first political, economic and cultural power. The Portuguese discoveries played a major role in shaping the world map. The Kingdom of Portugal was the first global empire and the longest of the modern European colonial kingdoms.
Thanks to the Age of Discoveries, Portuguese is one of the most spoken languages in the world: Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe and East-Timor. Furthermore, there are also Portuguese language speakers in Macao (China) and in Goa (India).
Portugal is a country where the sun shines 300 days in the year, a country with an amazing history, an extraordinary culture, a delicious gastronomy, magnificent landscapes, beautiful beaches, mountains greater than you can imagine and warm people that will make you feel at home.
Portugal is one of those rare countries in the world that, once you visit it, you will never forget it. It generates in us a unique feeling, “Saudade”, when we’re away from this beautiful country.
Here are the 5 reasons why you should visit Portugal:
1. The Beaches
With 850km of coastline, Portugal has some of the most beautifulbeaches in the world, from the North to Algarve, from Central Portugal to Lisbon and Alentejo, you will find amazing beaches with natural beauty where you can spend great times with your family, surfing or simply sunbathing.
2. The History
With over eight centuries of history, Portugal knows how to take care of the treasures of its glorious past. You can admire its long history in the majestic castles, palaces, monasteries and cathedrals. During your visit to Portugal, don’t miss the opportunity to get to know the 15 sites listedas UNESCO’s World Heritage.
3. The Gastronomy
Portuguese gastronomy is one of the most varied and rich in the world. Thanks to its proximity to the sea, Portugal offers an unmatched quality and freshness of fish and seafood.
Try the codfish and the Portuguese grilled fish, I know you’ll enjoy it! Although Portuguese gastronomy is very much influenced by the sea, you can also enjoy the mouth-watering meat dishes, such as the Portuguese steak and carne de porco (pork meat) à Alentejana.
To complement these dishes, taste a good vinho verde wine produced in Minho and Douro or choose a red wine from Alentejo. For dessert try the delicious pastéis de Belém with a cup of coffee.
4. The Culture
In Portugal, you will find Fado, a melancholic music genre that alludes to the feeling of missing those who left, of love and daily life sadness. When you visit Portugal, go to a Fado concert and be amazed by the emotion in each performance.
You can also go to some of the music festivals, such as Festival Sudoeste, Nos Primavera Sound, Super Bock Super Rock, Festival de Música do Mundo and Rock in Rio.
5. The Landscapes
Portugal has a great diversity of landscapes, from the viewpoints in Lisbon to the coastline and the wilderness of the parks of Peneda-Gerês, Alvão, Serra da Estrela – so many astonishing landscapes that will amaze you.
Admire Portugal from the top of the cliffs, mountains, castles – look everywhere and enjoy the beauty before your eyes.
Portugal is this and much more. You will discover a wonderful and charming country, in every breath you take. When you visit Portugal you will get to know the friendliness of the Portuguese people, their smile, openness, simplicity and joy of living, making this trip a wonderful experience.
Still not convinced?
Here are the 55 places to visit in Portugal:
Ponta da Piedade
Located near the port city of Lagos, Ponta da Piedade is an exceptional natural place. Ponta da Piedade offers a stunning view over Cape St. Vincent, with beautiful cliffs, arches and caves.
Sortelha village was the one that enchanted me the most when I visited the historic villages. When you visit this village you’ll go back in time, to the medieval period, and admire the granite houses built between the rocks and the beautiful castle.
Listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage since 1996, Ribeira, Douro’s riverfront, is the more emblematic quarter and part of the historic centre ofPorto. Have a stroll through the narrow streets to discover the real appeal of this place. In Ribeira’s riverfrontyou may gaze at the Luis I Bridge, designed by the engineer Théophile Seyrug, Gustave Eiffel’s disciple.
Do you want my advice and important tips to prepare your trip to Portugal?
Write your name and email below so that I can send you my suggestions and important tips
Umbrella Sky Project
In exhibition since 2012, from the 1st of July to the 30th of September, the Umbrella Sky Project is a project created by the agency Sexta Feira with the goal of colouring and bringing joy to the city.
Apart from the beautiful hanging umbrellas in the streets of the historic centre (in the street RuaLuísdeCamões as well as in the adjacent streets), the benches, the lamp posts and the building facades are covered by beautiful works of street art.
Located near the city of Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, this viewpoint is, for sure, one of the most beautiful in the island. The “king view” gives amazing views over the Caldeira das Sete Cidades and, most specifically, over its natural lagoons, with clear blue and green waters, including the magnificent Lagoa das Sete Cidades.
Monsanto is considered to be the most Portuguese village of Portugal since 1938. You’ll know why when you visit it! Lose yourself in the narrow streets and admire the houses that were erected between rocks, visit the castle, São Miguel chapel and the community oven.
Mira de Aire Caves
The caves of Mira de Aire were elected in 2010 as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal. This 11-kilometre cave complex of rare beauty was discovered in 1947. These caves are located in the village of Mira de Aire, 15 km from Fátima.
Costa da Caparica
Known in Portugal for its wonderful beaches, this city hides a natural treasure that took my breath away – the Costa da Caparica Fossil Cliff Protected Landscape.
If you’re like me and love beautiful beaches with fine sand, hiking among wonderful landscapes, admiring fishermen and their authentic quarters, then visiting Costa da Caparica is a must and something to do when you visit this part of Portugal!
The Stock Exchange Palace(Palácio daBolsa) is, in my opinion, the most beautiful monument in Porto. Built in 1862 in a neoclassic style and inspired in the Moorish style, it was meant to be the headquarters of the Commercial Association of Porto. During your visit, you can’t miss the Pátio das Naçõesand the marvellous Arab Room.
Ponta do Sossego Viewpoint
Located in the island of São Miguel, in the Azores, this viewpoint offers a fascinating and bucolic landscape.
The Roman Temple, also (wrongly) known as Temple of Diana, is located in the historic centre of Évora, a place that was listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage.
This temple was built in the 1st century and is one of the most famous monuments in the city and one symbol of the Roman presence in Portugal.
Located on the top of a hill, Monsaraz is one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal. Aside from having the possibility of enjoying a marvellous view over the valley and the Alqueva lake, one of the biggest artificial lakes in Europe, you can also stroll through the beautiful streets and admire the typical white houses.
Costa Nova beach, also known as Costa Nova do Prado, is located in the west coast, 11 km from Aveiro historic centre.
It is perfect for those who love water sports, such as windsurf, kitesurf and others.
Furthermore, this beach has as its main attraction the beautiful houses painted with vertical and horizontal stripes. These houses belong mainly to local fishermen and stand out to those visiting Costa Nova.
Serra da Estrela Nature Park is the largest protected area in Portugal, with 101 000 hectares. When you visit the park you may stroll around the incredible landscape, similar to the Alps, discover the highest point in mainland Portugal (Tower – 1993 metres) and ski in the only ski slope in Portugal.
Don’t leave without tasting the Queijo da Serra (a type of cheese) and without visiting Manteigas, Sabugueiro and Linhares da Beira villages.
Piódão is one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal, mainly because of the schist houses that are displayed in an amphitheatre way. With the sunset and lights turned on, you’ll feel like watching a Nativity set.
Foz d’Égua is an idyllic village located 4 km from Piódão. As you can see in the photo, Foz d’Égua is really a “postcard” village. Here you can take some beautiful photographs, swim in the creek, cross the suspended bridge and discover the small shrine at the top of the hill.
Convent of Christ
One of the monuments you can’t miss when you visit Portugal is the Convent of Christ, located in the city of Tomar. It belonged to the Knights Templar, an order that was disbanded in 1314 due to the persecution of the king of France.
People, properties and privileges of the Portuguese part of this order were transferred to a new order (Order of the Knights of Our Lord Jesus Christ) created by the king D. Dinis I.
Fecha de Barjas Waterfall, also known as TahitiWaterfall, is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Peneda-Gerês National Park. To get to this waterfall, first you must go on a stroll, but be assured, it will be worth your while.
Batalha Monastery is one of the most beautiful architecture gems in Portugal and in Europe. The construction of this amazing monument began in 1386 and ended in 1517.
Protected by the imposing Serra da Arrábida, Galápos beach is heaven on earth, with a beautiful blue and calm sea and a stretch of golden or very white sand. The crystal clear waters let you gaze at the bottom of the sea, making this beach perfect for a swim and underwater fishing.
The town of Nazaré was a fishing village which became, over time, a tourist town because of its beautiful beach, the fishing related traditions and its untouched natural beauty.
This town is known worldwide for its huge waves that surfers dare to challenge. In addition, you can also discover the downtown (near the sea) and Sítio, where you’ll have the most beautiful view over the town (see photo).
Óbidos is a fortified town where you can visit the castle (from the outside), stroll through a maze of streets surrounded by houses painted in white and decorated with beautiful flowers and walk along 1.5 km over the ramparts.
The University of Coimbra is one of the oldest in Europe. It was founded in Lisbon in 1290 and transferred to Coimbra in 1537.
Inside the university you’ll discover the Chapel of S. Miguel, the Medieval and Academic Prison, the Arms Room, the Capelos Room, the Private Examination Hall, the Joanina Library and the Tower of the University.
Quinta da Regaleira was built between 1904 and 1910 and is located at the town’s historic centre.
Its architecture takes us to the times of kings and queens, with its romantic structure, surrounded by gardens, caves, lakes and even enigmatic constructions that bring to life the Gothic and Renaissance style.
Cape Roca is located in Colares parish, Sintra. It is the westernmost point of continental Europe. Around 150 metres away you can discover amazing landscapes such as the ones from the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and those from the coastline.
Arado Waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls in Peneda-Gerês National Park. It’s located near Pedra Bela viewpoint and it’s easily accessible.
In my opinion, this is the most beautiful viewpoint in the North of Portugal. Located 10 km from Vila Nova de Foz Côa, São Gabriel viewpoint offers a magnificent view.
Ucanha is a small Douro Valley village, located a few kilometres from Lamego. When you visit this place don’t forget to go to the Tower and the Gothic bridge that was used as a toll station for those who wanted to cross it, some centuries ago.
The famous Alfama quarter is one of the oldest in Lisbon. Located in the heart of the capital, this is the most authentic location to discover the Portuguese culture. The narrow streets, flowered balconies, restaurants, fado and daily life scenes are part of the tour.
Lindoso is a farmer and shepherd village (1300 inhabitants). This village is well known for its castle built in 1278 and its old granaries that, strangely, resemble mausoleums but with a very different purpose.
These granite granaries were built over stilts and vented on the sides enabling the storage and curing of corn.
The calm sea and the beautiful surrounding landscape make Figueirinha beach one of the most popular beaches in the region. A sand bank emerges when it is low tide, making this beach popular amongst the adults but especially with the kids.
The 76-metre high Clérigos Tower was the tallest building in Portugal when it was constructed (between 1754 and 1763), and still is the tallest tower in the country.
For many years it worked as a lighthouse to help ships enter Douro river; since then it offers you the widest views over the city, Porto’s Cathedral, Douro and the Port wine cellars.
Rio de Onor
Located in Montesinho Natural Park, Rio de Onor is one of the last community villages in Portugal where the inhabitants share their ovens, properties and flocks.
This village has another peculiarity – it’s a village divided by the border between Portugal and Spain, where half the inhabitants is Portuguese and the other half Spanish.
In 1502, King Manuel I decided to order the construction of a huge religious monument. Located in Belém quarter, this magnificent building mirrors the richness of the Portuguese discoveries all over the world in the 16th century.
Castro Laboreiro is a village well known for its 16th century castle ruins (a castle built in 1505 over the foundations of a 12th century Moorish castle), bridges, medieval churches, community ovens, windmills and its inhabitants lifestyle.
Pena National Palace
Located in Sintra, Pena National Palace is so wonderful and beautiful that in 2007 was considered as one of the 7 wonders of Portugal. In addition, Pena National Palace was the first palace in Europe with an architecture style which came from Romanticism.
Listed since 2011 as UNESCO’s World Biosphere Reserve, Berlengas Nature Reserve was the first protected area in the country, decreed by king D. Afonso V who, with that, banned hunting in the biggest island of this archipelago, Berlenga Grande.
Apart from the fauna and flora that embellish this place, you’ll have the opportunity to admire a magnificent beach, a lighthouse and the Fort of São João Baptista das Berlengas.
Located in the International Douro Natural Park, Miranda do Douro is only 3 km away from Spain.
This city and outskirts have the peculiarity of having their own language, Mirandês, the second official language in Portugal. It’s a language spoken by approximately 7 000 people. In this city the names of the streets are written in Mirandês and the description of every monument is in Mirandês and Portuguese.
During your stay in Miranda do Douro, visit the ruins of the castle, the Episcopal Palace, the Cathedral and go on a cruise on the International Douro to enjoy the fauna and flora.
Every year, in May, a contest is organised in Ponte de Lima where twelve artists are selected to create an ephemeral garden based on a particular subject. In October everyone knows who won and the winner’s garden remains preserved for the next year.
Moimenta is a small village located in Montesinho Natural Park, close to the border with Spain, where you’ll discover an amazing landscape.
Bragança Historic Centre
This beautiful city was founded in the 2nd century B.C. and was known as Brigância. It became Bragança in 1199 after being freed by King Dom Sancho I from the siege Afonso IX of Leon imposed.
The historic centre is one area you must see when visiting Bragança. Lose yourself in the narrow streets and visit the Domus Municipalis and the castle.
Senhor da Pedra Beach
Senhor da Pedra beach has as its main attraction the unique Senhor da Pedra chapel, from the 17th century and erected over some rocks just by the sea. When the sea is rough, the beach is perfect for people who want to surf or bodyboard.
Guimarães is also known as the birthplace city because it is associated to the foundation of Portugal in 1128. This beautiful city is one of the most important historic cities in the country and its historic centre is listed as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
Lose yourself in the streets and squares (Rua de Santa Maria, Praça de Santiago, Largo da Oliveira) where history is present every step of the way. Don’t forget to visit Guimarães Castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança.
The fourth biggest catholic sanctuary in the world, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima
In 2015, 6.7 million people visited the Sanctuary of Fátima which makes it the biggest sanctuary in Portugal and the fourth biggest catholic sanctuary in the world
It was here that Virgin Mary supposedly appeared to three children, in Fátima, a small village in the Centre of Portugal, in six separate occasions during the year of 1917. To get to know the full story of this place you should read this article.
Located 20 km from Peso da Régua, São Leonardo de Galafuraviewpoint is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Douro Valley.
Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary
Also known as Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Braga, it is the jewel of the city, where art and nature become one, making this place a resting place and a sacred ground. The church is an example of the Portuguese Neoclassical style. Its construction began in 1784 and ended in 1811 and it replaced the former temple that was in ruins.
You can get to this sanctuary by car, by climbing the beautiful stairway or by taking the oldest funicular in the world still working with a water counterweight system .
Soajo is a secluded village overlooking Lima river. The main attraction are the old stone granaries where corn is stored. We can enjoy a magnificent view over the surrounding landscape and walking is a good way to discover the beauty of the protected area.
Ponte de Lima
Ponte de Lima is one of the oldest towns in Portugal and was founded in 1125 by D. Teresa. Prepare yourself to forget the 21st century when you visit this place. Enjoy the medieval charm and taste the local delicacies like sarrabulho rice and rojões (seasoned pieces of pork loin).
Santa Luzia Basilica is the monument you can’t miss when visiting Viana do Castelo. Aside from the beauty of the place, you can enjoy a marvellous view over the sea, the river and the city.
The project for this monument first appeared in 1898, but it was only in the beginning of the 20th century that its construction really began. This temple was inaugurated in 1926 and the project was concluded in 1943.
Considered one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, Lello Bookshop inspired J.K. Rowling to write Harry Potter. Inside, apart from the books, you can admire a unique atmosphere with its majestic stairway leading to the upper floor.
Pateira de Fermentelos
Located close to Águeda, the lagoon Pateira de Fermentelos is the biggestnaturallagoonintheIberianPeninsula with about 5 km2.
When I visited this place, I was amazed with such natural beauty! The lagoon seemed to have disappeared below a huge carpet of violet flowers making this place a breathtaking sight.
I don’t recall having seen such a romantic place before and, because of that, I consider it one ofmyfavouriteplacesinPortugal!
Pedra Bela Viewpoint
This viewpoint is one of the most beautiful places to admire Peneda-Gerês National Park and is located just 6 km away from Gerês village.
Located close to the border with Spain, in Alentejo, Elvas is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal. It’s not by any chance that it was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
When you visit the biggest fortified city in Europe, you’ll have the opportunity to discover an authentic historic centre with several monuments, the biggestaqueduct in the Iberian Peninsula and the amazing forts of Nossa Senhora da Graça and Santa Luzia.
Santo António festivities take place every year in the beginning of June. The festivities get to their highest point on the 12th of June with the popular parade. During the parade all the quarters from Lisbon compete and, in the end, the quarter with the best parade wins.
Another tradition of these festivities is the Santo António weddings. On the 12th of June several couples from Lisbon get married at the same time, in the presence of their families and all the Portuguese through live television.
In the evening, people get together to listen to popular Portuguese music, eat the tasty grilled sardines, caldo verde (a popular soup) and drink sangria and cherry liqueur.
Have a cup of coffee:
With a Pastel de Belém
Don’t leave Lisbon without tasting Portugal’s sweet: pastel de nata (an egg tart pastry with sugar and cinnamon). “Casa Pastéis de Belém” is considered to be the best pastry shop in Lisbon and produces and distributes this delicacy since 1837.
In Majestic Café
Visit the most beautiful café in Portugal, founded in 1921. It’s also in the top 10 of the most beautiful cafés in the world. In Majestic Café you can have breakfast, lunch or even dinner but be warned: here, prices are higher than the average in Portugal.
In A Brasileira Café
A Brasileira is the most emblematic café in Lisbon. It was inaugurated in 1905 and it sold the “genuine coffee from Brazil”. In 1908 it was renovated, becoming the café people know today. It’s a place you can’t miss when visiting the Portuguese capital.
Don’t forget to take a picture next to Fernando Pessoa statue, one of the greatest Portuguese poets who often went to the café A Brasileira.
In Santa Cruz Café
Take a break in the magnificent Santa Cruz Café in Coimbra, located in the old church of São João de Santa Cruz which was built in 1530.
After the desacralisation of the church, the building knew many purposes – it was a hardware store, a police station, a plumbing store, a fire station and even a funeral home.
In order to open the café in 1923, the facade had to be altered to a Neomanueline style.
Savour Port wine in a cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia
Port wine is produced from the grapes of Douro region, 100 km away from Porto.
Although it is produced in Douro vineyards and stored in the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, this wine became known as “port wine” in the 17th century after being exported to the whole world from Porto city.
A “Francesinha” in Porto
Francesinha is a typical dish from Porto. It looks like a sandwich and is made of sausages, ham and meat, covered with melted cheese. Along comes a tomato, beer and piripiri sauce. If you want you can order it with a fried egg and chips.
A “cozido à Portuguesa” or Portuguese stew
The cozido à portuguesa is a Portuguese traditional dish which is served especially in the winter. It is made of beans, potatoes, carrots, turnips, cabbages, rice, chicken, pork meat, cow meat, blood sausage and other sausages.
Codfish is a preferred fish in Portuguese gastronomy since the 14th century and Portuguese people are its greatest consumers worldwide.
The Portuguese love codfish and it’s said there’s a codfish recipe for each day of the year: Bacalhau com Natas (cod with cream), Bacalhau à Brás (cod à la Brás), Bacalhau à Lagareiro (cod à la Lagareiro), Bacalhau à Minhota (cod à la Minhota) and Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (cod à la Gomes de Sá).
Go on a:
Hike in a levada in Madeira
Madeira island has 2000 km of irrigation canals (levadas) created since the 16th century to take the water from the north to the south of the island, drier but more favourable to agriculture and housing.
You can enjoy several walking routes in most of the levadas and admire the inland. In these walking routes you can admire the beautiful waterfalls, pass through tunnels in the mountains and gaze at magnificent landscapes.
When you visit Madeira you must go on a hike to Pico Ruivo. Have you ever imagined yourself as a bird flying through the clouds? Well, that’s what you’ll feel when climbing to the tallest point in Madeira.
You can take one of the two available walking routes to get to Pico Ruivo: the walking route connecting Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo and the one connecting Achada do Teixeira to Pico Ruivo.
The first one is advisable only for those who are used to long (11.2 km) and difficult walking routes and aren’t afraid of heights. The second walking route (5.6 km) can be done by anyone.
Canopy walk in Peneda-Gerês National Park
Enjoy your time in Peneda-Gerês National Park and do some “extreme” sports. Canopy walking is the perfect activity to do with family and friends.
Hike in Paiva Walkways
Passadiços do Paiva (Paiva Walkways) is an 8-kilometre walking route located 14 km from Arouca. Most of the route is made on wooden walkways in the middle of the mountain, along Paiva river which flows into Douro river.
Along the route you’ll find SOS phones (like those in highways), 3 river beaches (one in the middle and two in both ends) and, of course, a marvellous landscape.
The Elevator of Bom Jesus de Braga
The funicular or elevatorof Bom Jesus de Braga connects the highest part of the city to the sanctuary and follows the stairway parallel route.
Inaugurated in 1882, it was the first funicular built in the Iberian Peninsula and it is the oldest in the world, still working, using water counterweight.
The Tram in Lisbon
Don’t leave Lisbon without taking one of the city’s historic trams. The most famous is the tram nº 28 which passes through the main attractions of the city – the Cathedral, Miradouro de Santa Luzia viewpoint, Alfama quarter and Chiado.
Spend a few hours in Castelejo Beach
Castelejobeach is located close to Vila do Bispo, in the western part of Algarve. It is perfect for people who want to get away from the crowded beaches, especially during the summer.
Enjoy the beauty of Marinha Beach
Marinhabeach is one of great natural beauty and is considered as one of the best in Portugal; it’s in the top 100 of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Before you enjoy the beauty of the rocks and natural tunnels, take the time to amaze yourself with the view on the top of the cliff.
Porto Moniz natural pools are formed by volcanic rock, into which the sea flows naturally bringing crystal clear water – these pools are the perfect place to swim, a place of rare beauty.
Listen to Fado
Don’t leave Portugal without listening to the music style that best represents the Portuguese soul. Fado is a melancholic genre representing the emotion, the feeling of saudade, love and bitterness of daily life.
You can listen and see a Fado performance in Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto.
Do you want my advice and important tips to prepare your trip to Portugal?
Write your name and email below so that I can send you my suggestions and important tips