Portugal is known for its friendly people, world-class wines and sun-soaked beaches. It is one of the most affordable and underrated destinations in Western Europe.
It’s possible to travel around the country in a short time, but many people make a mad dash for the capital and don’t even venture beyond the city limits. Although I highly recommend visiting Lisbon’s beautiful streets and sampling the delicious foodie delights that Lisbon has to offer, Portugal still has so much to offer.
You will see why this tiny country on the coast is so worth a closer inspection as you climb the cliffs that overlook the golden beaches and visit the small village surrounded with Roman vineyards.
Porto, perhaps second only to Lisbon is the most well-known city in Portugal. This beautiful city is surrounded by the breathtaking beaches of Costa Verde and was awarded the Cultural Heritage of Humanity Award by UNESCO.
Porto is the ideal base to explore the greater region. You can make your own adventures in this place.
You can wander amongst the architecture of the city and then enjoy a glass of green wine as you explore the Green Wine Region. Wander along the rugged coastline and then relax on one of the many golden beaches. You can do whatever you want here, no matter what you’re feeling.
The unique wine varieties and tropical climate of this archipelago off Africa’s northwest coast are what make it so popular. It’s not uncommon to hear the islands being compared to Hawaii.
Explore Funchal’s urban wonders and hike the dramatic cliffs and lush green hills of the main island. Surf the waves at Jardim do Mart or stay with your family in Santa Cruz. Are you planning to live in your bikini every day? Calheta and Machico are two options.
Faro is a very popular destination due to its international airport. Ryan Air, a low-cost airline, will often fly you to your next European destination at a cost of less than 20 euro.
Too many tourists are too eager to relax in the Algarve and take the first bus out. Faro, while the beach resorts nearby are beautiful and worth the entire trip, is an independent destination.
This old town’s heart is well preserved and has amazing seafood restaurants and hopping nightclubs. It also offers some of the most affordable prices in Western Europe. If you don’t have the time to stay for a whole weekend, I recommend at least one night.
One of Europe’s most popular seaside destinations is the Algarve. The Algarve is a beautiful place to hike amongst the dramatic cliffs that overlook the Atlantic, and enjoy the great life on the golden beaches.
Both are worth the effort. I love Lagos for its diversity. After you’ve seen the hidden grottos and sea arches, enjoy the vibrant old town. It’s an ideal spot to sit in a sidewalk cafe and watch people go by. There is always something happening.
Planning Tip: You’ll want the right season to visit outdoor activities if you have an itinerary. Make sure you read my guide on the best times to visit Portugal before you make your booking.
This picturesque spot at the foothills a mountain is straight from a fairytale. It is a short train ride from Lisbon to the UNESCO World Heritage Town. The journey is well worth it.
Wander among the courtyards and terraces of the Pena Palace to discover the magnificent Pena Palace. This castle is home of Parque de Pena, and you can also take a quick visit to the Quinta da Regaleira, a gothic wonder.
This charming, hidden town is a great choice if you have only one afternoon to explore Lisbon. You will feel like you are in a Disney film as you wander through the streets.
Enjoy exploring the main square of the village, then move on to the Palacio do Visconde de Estoi to explore this 19th-century palace.
You can find the Roman complex Milreu just outside the palace. These ruins are from the second century and are remarkably preserved. Make sure you bring your camera to capture some shots of the mosaics surrounding the former bathhouse.
This beautiful village is located in the country and home to the Moorish Castle at Obidos, one of Portugal’s seven wonders. Wander among the whitewashed cottages and climb the castle walls.
The Douro Valley
It was actually the first wine region to be designated on the planet. This UNESCO World Heritage site, also known as Alto Douro has produced impressive vintages since Roman times.
Enjoy port wine tastings, a cruise on the Douro River and a tour of the many picturesque villages and wineries scattered throughout the region.
Have you had enough of exploring? Grab a plate
Portuguese cuisine is one of the most overlooked European cuisines. Many delicious treats are out there that few people have ever heard of. You can save my guide to Portugal’s top 10 local foods and travel around the country.
Venice of Portugal, without the tourist crowds! Aveiro is one my favorite places to hide. My post How to Spend a Day In Aveiro, Portugal may have been seen already. However, that is just a small part of the story.
The Ria de Aveiro is a paradise for photographers. Its mosaic of gondolas, art nouveau buildings and fountains fill it with color. Take photos, taste the fresh-harvested seaweed, and dive into the vibrant culture and history Portugal.
These islands are ideal for adventure seekers. This volcanic archipelago in the mid-Atlantic is well-known for its hot springs, whale-watching, and other activities.
This is a leader in sustainable tourism. You’ll never leave this place to go to sleep. You won’t want to leave this beautiful archipelago, whether you are riding horseback, bicycling, sailing, paragliding or just enjoying the beauty of the islands.
Let’s get packing! My complete Portugal travel guide will help you learn the basics before you go.