There is something unique and fascinating for everyone to discover throughout Portugal. Featuring idyllic beaches, wild terrain and ancient history, here are some of the many stunning places in Portugal that shouldn’t be missed.
Wild, remote and romantic, the coast around Sagres, in the southwesternmost corner of Portugal, is unlike any other part of the Algarve. Mainly visited by surfers and locals wanting to escape the tourist crowds, it emits an isolated feeling, especially during the cooler winter months. Visit Sagres for rest, relaxation and fresh seafood, but also to get up close and personal with a part of Portugal that witnessed a key moment in world history: the Age of Discoveries. Prince Henry the Navigator’s School for Navigation started in Sagres and the prince called this part of Portugal home until his death in 1460.
Religious heritage is one of the standout features in Braga, as the oldest and one of the most important religious centres in Portugal. Not only is the oldest cathedral in the country here, but Braga is also the oldest city in Portugal. Visiting all of the churches would be quite an endeavour, but those to include in your sightseeing list are the Sé Cathedral, the Igreja da Misericordia de Braga, and the nearby Santuario de Bom Jesus do Monte.
All of the Azorean islands are beautiful, but Terceira may be home to the prettiest city in the archipelago. Brightened by buildings that have been painted blue, yellow and orange, and on the backdrop of a lush, green landscape, the centre of Angra do Heroísmo is a feast for the eyes. It is also a Unesco World Heritage Site for having been an essential port during the Age of Discoveries. When visiting, visit the Sé de Angra Cathedral, the Misericórdia Church, the Town Hall, the Castle of São João Baptista and Monte Brasil.
Rua Direita is the main road in Óbidos where you’ll find shops, restaurants and ginjinha bars. The name fittingly translates to “right street,” as it’s the path directly ahead after walking in through the fortified entrance to the city. After exploring everything that Rua Direita has to offer, walk around the castle walls – just be careful if you experience vertigo since much of the walk is narrow and without a protective barrier. Also, swing by the Literary Man Hotel, an 18th-century convent turned into a hotel for bookworms.
A World Heritage Site since 1996, the Ribeira District is the most iconic neighbourhood in Porto. Idyllically located on the Douro River, it has plenty to see and do, including views of the main bridges, boats, welcoming café terraces, landmarks that date back centuries, baroque architecture and thousands of years worth of history. Be sure to visit the Casa do Infante, once the customs office but better known as the birthplace of Prince Henry the Navigator, before making your way further into the city to A Pérola do Bolhão to buy souvenirs such as traditional food and wine.
As an art nouveau hub, Aveiro city centre looks like a painting come to life. But the most colourful area may arguably be the Costa Nova, a nearby beach characterised by rainbow-striped fisherman cottages. Easy to reach from the centre of Aveiro, the Costa Nova is a peaceful place to kick back, enjoy the coast and watch some surfers in action. There are also plenty of restaurants with incredible seafood.
The medieval centre of Évora is a playground of ancient landmarks and beautifully preserved architecture. The main square, Praça do Giraldo, is a popular area to sit and relax, where the café and restaurant terraces allow visitors to take in views of the gothic buildings, old palaces converted into public buildings, the 16th-century Church of Santo Antão, and an ornate 16th-century water fountain. Just a short walk from the central square, there’s the eerie yet beautiful Chapel of Bones, the Roman Temple, the Royal Palace, the 18th-century Cathedral of Évora, and the Museum of Évora.