1. Rock Houses in Monsanto
The rock houses of Monsanto may be a little bit off the beaten path, but you won’t regret the visit! Ascend the mountain on beautiful winding roads before reaching the stunning hilltop town that looks down over the sweeping valley below. But, most beautiful of all is the unusual way the village is built!
In Monsanto, you’ll find stone cottages squeezed in between huge boulders, with cute colored doors and ladders. This makes this village unique and easily one of the best places to visit in Portugal.
Monsanto is also popular as a day trip for travelers. However, we recommend staying overnight in one of the rock houses for the real experience! At night the remote village becomes peaceful and the dark starry night sky is truly unforgettable.
2. Castles of Sintra – A unique place to visit in Portugal
Welcome to the fairytale palaces of Sintra: colorful castles and towers perched high up on a hill among the woodland. This location is one of the best places to visit in Portugal and has been given UNESCO world heritage status for its beauty and preservation.
First, explore the luscious nature of Sintra-Cascais national park and visit the elegant gardens and lavish interiors of the palaces. If you have time, wander around Sintra town itself too (a colorful town that sits at the bottom of the pine tree hills). If you’re staying in Lisbon, it’s also super easy to visit Sintra on a day trip!
3. The Streets of Lisbon
Could Lisbon be the most beautiful city in Europe? Its colorful houses, hillside streets, and trams make it a favorite among travelers, and there’s no denying that Lisbon is truly magical. By day, wander the cobbled streets, admiring the houses, Azulejos tiles, and historical buildings.
By night, sit under the stars by the river, listening to live music, and soaking up the metropolitan atmosphere. When you’re wandering around Lisbon, always look up at the beautiful balconies of the houses. Don’t forget to make a trip out to Belem to see the beautiful Belem tower and try the most famous custard tarts in Lisbon!
4. Beaches of the Algarve – The place to visit in Portugal
Situated in the very south of Portugal, the Algarve coastline is breathtaking. Unlike most other southern European countries, Portugal has an Atlantic coastline, with huge yellow limestone cliffs and enormous caves. Because of this, it’s become famous all over the world for its surfing and water sports, as well as beautiful beaches. What’s more, the coastal roads and sunset views make it the most spectacular place for a road trip in Portugal, with plenty of remote spots for camping.
If you’re looking for some traditional coastal villages to explore, there are plenty dotted along the coastline; each one with bobbing fishing boats, flowers, and whitewashed cottages.
Hire a camper van and go anywhere in the Algarve; one of the best places to visit in Portugal!
5. Cathedral of Evora
The medieval city of Evora is often forgotten on most traveler’s Portugal route. However, this historical treasure should be on everyone’s list of best places to visit in Portugal! At the heart of the city is the gothic cathedral, which looks more like a castle with its grey stone and turret-style towers.
The interior of the cathedral is magnificent, but the real surprise is the staircase that takes you to the roof terrace. Once you’re at the top, you can see panoramic views across the city and the surrounding countryside.
6. Douro Valley – Unique place to visit in Portugal
The Douro Valley brings new meaning to the words ‘road trip’. In fact, one road (that is 226km long!) has even been voted ‘the world’s best drive’! Because of its high vantage points, deep valleys, luscious colors, and snaking roads, driving through this region of Portugal is pure magic. Even better, it’s the best place to visit in Portugal for wine; there are lots of beautiful wine estates with traditional farmhouses where you can stay for the night.
From the Douro region, it’s a simple journey by train or car to the nearby city of Porto. It is possible to visit the region on a day trip, but we’d recommend staying for a few days to really enjoy the beauty of nature here.
7. Enchanting Obidos
If you’re looking for the most beautiful village in Portugal, then Obidos has to be it! Nicknamed the ‘town of queens’, it’s certainly regal, with its narrow streets, yellow & white painted houses, and purple climbing flowers.
It’s the perfect place to come and really absorb the slow way of life in Portugal, as you watch locals laughing and eating on the terraces while the sun goes down.
What makes it one of the best places to visit in Portugal?
The town’s highlight is the Moorish castle with its ancient walls that surround the town because these walls are an incredible 1.6km in length! Unusually, visitors are actually allowed to climb up onto the walls and walk their entire length, which is a great opportunity to see the views out over this beautiful part of the Portuguese countryside.
8. Dom Luis/ Porto Bridge
The Dom Luis I bridge is the icon of Porto – the famous northern city of Portugal. The huge steel bridge was once famous for being the largest arch bridge in the world! These days, it may have lost that title, but it’s still an absolute must-see while in Porto. The bridge has two levels: the upper level, which is for the metro, and the lower level for cars. Both levels can be walked over by pedestrians and have unbelievable views on both sides of the city.
9. Bookstore of Porto
A city trip to Porto wouldn’t be complete without visiting Livraria Lello: the famous bookstore of Porto! The story goes that when JK Rowling lived in Porto, she came here often and used the book store as inspiration for the Harry Potter novels. You’ll definitely feel those vibes when you enter the store, with its curved staircases, ruby red carpets, and endless bookshelves.
This is the perfect place to come and cozy up on a windy day in Porto and take some amazing photos. The atmosphere and the stories of this beautiful place make it one of the best places to visit in Portugal.
Note: The bookstore is incredibly popular, and there is always a queue to get in. Because of this, it’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance or book an organized tour that allows you to skip the queue completely.