The Best Towns in Portugal
All of these amazing villages are dotted from north to south in Portugal. Some of them make great day trips, and others are the perfect spot to stay while you explore other parts of the country.
1. Monsanto – Rock village in Portugal
Welcome to the most ‘Portuguese village in Portugal’! However, Monsanto is far from normal. High up on the mountain, you’ll find this incredible rock village. Here, houses are built between the narrow gaps of huge boulders, and ladders and doors sit within the rock.
You could easily spend a full day here enjoying the unique village, walking its twisting streets, and climbing to incredible valley viewpoints. Don’t forget to check out the hilltop fortress of Monsanto while you’re there!
Getting to Monsanto
You can reach Monsanto on a day trip from Lisbon; however, there is only one train a day. Because of this, we recommend spending the night in Monsanto. This way, you can enjoy the evening atmosphere and book to stay in one of the rock houses!
Ferragudo might be one of the cutest Portuguese villages in the Algarve! This charming whitewashed fishing village is totally authentic, with its cobbled hillside streets and boats on the river mouth.
Enjoy hikes to cliffside ruins, boat trips out to the famous Benagil caves, or take a ferry upriver to the ancient town of Silves.
How to get to Ferragudo
Ferragudo is perfectly placed in the Algarve, right in the middle of Faro and Lagos. Because of this, it’s a great spot to visit on your way to (or from) the airport. There are also many great camping spots if you’re making a campervan road trip through Portugal!
3. Obidos – Most Beautiful Village in Portugal
Obidos has always been seen as one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal. In fact, in 1210, the King of Portugal gifted the town as a present to his wife, leading it to be nicknamed ‘the town of queens’. Obidos has huge castle walls, stunning churches, and flower-covered houses. You can actually climb the 13-meter-high castle walls and walk their entire 1.6km length!
This is the perfect Portuguese village to go to on a day trip from Lisbon, as it’s only a 1.5-hour drive. Driving is a great way, especially if you have a campervan, to see lots of other stunning locations nearby. For example, Nazare or the nearby lagoon.
Crystal clear waters, yellow limestone cliffs, and white cottages are what make Carvoeiro such a popular choice in Portugal. It’s a place for relaxation, with endless beautiful coves, snorkeling spots, and places to paddleboard. It sits just west of the Benagil caves, so plenty of kayaking tours are on offer along the coastline.
In the evenings, wander the little streets and stairs in the warm night air, taking photos of the white and pastel-colored cottages. What’s more, the heritage of this beautiful Portugal town is still clear to see, as you watch fishing boats bringing fresh seafood to the restaurants.
How to get to Carvoeiro
Carvoeiro is a great place to base yourself to explore the rest of the Algarve. It is just a 1-hour drive from Faro. Alternatively, you can take the bus from Faro to Lagos and change there to go to Carvoeiro.
5. Azenhas do Mar
Another beautiful village in Portugal, just a stone’s throw from Lisbon, is the cliffside town of Azenhas do Mar. This is a village where you can see the rugged cliffs facing the rough Atlantic Ocean. The white-washed cottages that sit on the cliff are lovely to look at, and, as the village is small, there’s plenty of time to relax, hike, and eat.
It’s one of the most peaceful places to stay in Portugal. As such, it’s a great starting point for loads of great day trips around the area. For example, Cabo de Roca or Sintra. However, the real highlights are the spectacular sunsets you’ll see from the cliffs every night – magic!
Visting Azenhas do Mar
This beautiful seaside town fits well as a trio with Lisbon and Sintra. It is located close to Sintra and can be reached easily by bus in about 30 minutes.
It’s no surprise that Cascais is one of Lisbon locals’ favorite places to visit. It has everything you could want for a relaxing weekend: quaint fishing village charm, tranquil pastel-colored streets, and perfect beaches.
The pretty flowers, patterned tiles, and boutique shops are perfect for admiring in the day. Cycle out to ‘Hell’s Mouth’, an exploding water hole among the cliffs, or surf some huge waves in the neighboring Sintra-Cascais national park. This makes Cascais one of the best villages in Portugal.
How to visit Cascais
Cascais is only a 30-minute drive or train ride from Lisbon. Because of this, it’s a great place to visit for a day. Alternatively, base yourself here for the week to relax and have easy access to the capital city.
Aveiro is often compared to Venice and is seen as one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal. The town sits in the north of Portugal, close to Porto, and on a lagoon. Its waterside setting, narrow canals, bridges, and colorful gondola-style boats have even given it the nickname the ‘Venice of Portugal’. However, traditionally these boats weren’t used as a way to get around. In fact, they were used for seaweed harvesting!
Now, the university town has become famous for its incredible buildings, churches, and art nouveau houses. As such, the seaweed boats have become a way for visitors to navigate the city and learn about its history. So, jump on board and discover all the colorful delights that this beautiful town has to offer!
How to get to Aveiro
Trains depart regularly from Porto and take just over an hour. The main sights of this beautiful Portuguese town can easily be seen in the morning or afternoon, so it’s a perfect day trip!
Arrive in town by train (or by car), where you’ll be met by stunning medieval streets surrounded by dense green woodland. From here, it’s easy to jump on transport leaving for Pena Palace: the red and yellow castle that sits at the highest point in the region.
The stunning natural park is a huge 142 square kilometers, so to see all of its beauty, it’s recommended to visit for 2-3 days. However, to see the highlights, such as Pena Palace, Montserrate, and the Moorish castle, a day trip is adequate.
Getting to Sintra
Visiting Sintra is easy from Lisbon. Trains depart every 20 minutes and take only 40 minutes to reach Sintra town.