The ocean plays a major role in Portuguese culture, with most of the popular cities and towns in Portugal situated on the coast. From regional capitals to charming fishing villages, these seaside destinations will leave you speechless, while satisfying any thirst for the sea and sand. A word of warning, however: exploring these towns may induce cravings for seafood and long days spent lounging on the beach.
Fancy a unique Portuguese getaway? Join Culture Trip’s six-day epic adventure to the Azores – perfect for intrepid travellers. Enjoy a walking tour of the pretty seaside town of Ponta Delgada, cycle and kayak around the Sete Cidades crater lakes and soak in mineral-rich hot springs.
Unlike many of the resort-filled towns in the Algarve, Tavira is a bit more reminiscent of the country’s rural side, characterised by a slower pace and an antique feel. The Roman bridge, medieval castle and cafe-fringed town square add to the town’s unique brand of beauty, making it one of the most alluring centres in the Algarve. Learn about the region’s Moorish occupation while seeing its memory in the architecture, and take advantage of the tucked-away beaches in the area.
Instead of staying in Portimão, seek something a bit quieter while still enjoying the busier neighbourhoods in the Western Algarve. Ferragudo is a beautiful fishing village decorated in white-washed homes and lined by a coast that’s sprinkled with boats. One must-see landmark is the Medieval Fort of São João de Arade that was once the watchtower in the area. Ferragudo is also close to many of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve.
Close to the border between Alentejo and the Algarve, the Costa Vicentina is home to many charming towns that enjoy delicious seafood and beautiful beaches nearly year-round. Usually skipped by tourists seeking the more popular Southern Portuguese cities like Albufeira, it is a hot spot among locals, either during the summer for sunbathing or in the winter for surfing. In addition to the traditional Portuguese appearance of the infrastructure and historical remains, the area’s beauty is enhanced by the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, a natural park.
Our beautiful nine-day Epic Trip in Portugal takes you to Lisbon, the nearby beaches of the Troia Peninsula and much, much more.
The Arrábida Mountains are home to the beautiful and romantic towns of Setubal and Sesimbra, but Azeitão may be even more charming, though it is less widely known. Covered in palace estates and vineyards, there are few towns that can claim to be its equal, and it’s also home to delicious culinary treats like the local azeitão cheese. This is also a fantastic destination for delving into the country’s azulejo tile art, and the Quinta da Bacalhôa wine estate won’t disappoint when it comes to art in addition to sampling wine.
Peniche is home to one of the most visited and beautiful beaches in the country, and it is a popular destination for seasoned surfers. Historically, it was also home to an important fortification that shifted from military protection to a prison. Still, this town is mostly visited for its coastal connection, including a prominent fishing industry. In addition to enabling you to spend days on the sand and watching surfing competitions, Peniche is close to truly spectacular landmarks like Berlengas Island.
Otherwise known as the Venice of Portugal, Aveiro is characterized by a network of canals filled with colourful gondola-like boats. It is also home to the Costa Nova, where striped, rainbow-coloured fishing boats steal the show. Located just 70km (44mi) south of Porto, it’s a great destination when looking to spend a day away from Portugal’s “northern capital”.
North of Porto, an architectural treat awaits anyone who loves antique buildings and history. Viana do Castelo is covered in spectacular infrastructure reflecting Renaissance, baroque, manueline and gothic styles. Among the most stunning buildings are the Santuário de Santa Luzia, with its hill-top perch and coastal backdrop, the main square called Praça de República and the Santa Casa da Misericórdia. This charming northern beach town is also where much of Portugal’s filigree jewellery originated.
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the capital in the Azores. Green and blue mix with white and dark grey in this seaside city surrounded by the sea and mountainside, yet it is also filled with whitewashed and black basalt architecture. Among the most picturesque landmarks are the Portas da Cidade and the main city square. It’s common to see horse-drawn carriages moseying along the road and to hear happy squeals from local children playing on the shore.
Book your spot on our adventurous escape in the Azores.
After a day of exploring beaches, you’ll want somewhere to rest – see our favourite holiday rentals in Cascais or the best hotels in the Algarve. Discover what more there is to do in Cascais, or head over to Lagos, where you can continue visiting beaches or relax in the bars and clubs in town.
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meet our Local Insider
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.