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  • Writer's picturePoonam Maini

10 Cool Places To Visit In Portugal

Portugal is the perfect combination of white sandy beaches, architecturally beautiful cities, rugged coastlines, and a booming restaurant scene.

It also happens to be one of the most affordable international destinations and incredibly safe, making it a great getaway for all.

Over the last few years, it been one of the most attractive places to visit in Europe. Despite this success, it continues to be a undervalued holiday destination.

Portugal offers a huge variety of interesting points to visit. Amazing nature and stunning landscapes, wild beaches, rich history, delicious food, and friendly locals!

If you are interested in visiting it, you can’t miss my list of best places to visit in Portugal that will inspire you for an exciting adventure!

1. Faro

Faro, the capital of the Algarve has a well-connected airport and that makes it a perfect place to start this road trip. Many visitors only pass through this underrated city. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake. The city has many attractions, a beautiful marina, well-maintained parks and plazas, and a historic old town full of pedestrian lanes and outdoor cafes. You will be surprised by how many things to do in Faro!

2. Setubal

Heading to the Capital, on a scenic bay at the mouth of the Sado River, Setúbal is a fishing city that entered in tourists radar only in the past few years. The city itself is a great attraction with its Manueline monastery, churches, and the main market.

3. Lisbon

One of the most iconic cities in Europe, Lisbon is a great place to visit in Portugal and one that you you can’t miss! Lisbon is sunny, friendly, cultural, and even low-cost! There are endless interesting things to do in Lisbon. You can also plan a visit to one of the many places to visit in the surrounding areas!

4. Sintra

Sintra is one of the most famous places to visit in Portugal. Leaving Lisbon’s western suburbs and climbing into Sintra feels like your crossing over into another world. It’s highly recommended to join a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra. Sintra may be Portugal’s most enchanting city, filled with fairytale palaces, manicured gardens, mysterious paths, and an idyllic coast.

5. Porto

Disccover Porto, one of the finest cities in Europe. It is the second largest city in the country after Lisbon. Charmingly traditional and aesthetically delightful, Porto is a historic mercantile city on the slopes above the Douro Estuary. The center is a World Heritage site, and the richness and variety will surprise you!

6. Aveiro

Very close to Porto, Aveiro is a great destination to spend one or two days. Situated near the coast, the nearby beaches attract crowds in the summer. Although, the heritage and vibrant culture continue attracting visitors outside of prime vacation season. Nicknamed the “Venice of Portugal”, Aveiro is characterized by a maze of canals filled with brightly colored boats and it is easily one of the country’s most romantic destinations.

7. West Algarve

The coast from Sagres until Odeceixe is full of gorgeous beaches and breathtaking landscapes. This is the less touristic part of Algarve with a lot of picturesque small towns to discover. There are some beaches you can’t miss: Odeceixe, Amoreria, Arrifana, and Praia do Amado are unmissable. Especially if you are into surfing! This coast is also incredibly famous for its hiking routes. Travel along the famous Rota Vicentina and enjoy the stunning landscape.

8. Ericeira

Heading up north, just a few kilometers from Lisbon, there is Ericeira, the first world surfing reserve in Europe! Whether you are passionate about this sport or not it is well worth a visit to Ericeira. It’s equally renowned for spectacular ocean vistas and excellent seafood restaurants in addition to being a mecca for surfers.

9. Peniche

Peniche is a small town spectacularly set on a headland surrounded by the sea. The walled historic center makes for pleasant strolling, and the seaside fort where Salazar’s regime detained political prisoners is a must-see for anyone interested in Portuguese history. The beaches near Peniche are gorgeous and, one of them, Supertubos, is incredibly famous for hosting a World Surf League event.

10. Obidos

Close to Peniche is Óbidos. Portuguese and foreigners simply love this special village. I recommend you to spend some time enjoying the village typical streets. You’ll see these are different from anything you’ll find in Lisbon, but they are very characteristic from other regions of Portugal. Around Christmas, during December, Óbidos hosts an incredible Christmas Village. During the summer, in July and August, it hosts the biggest medieval fair in the country. And during spring, in April and May, it hosts the International Chocolate Festival. You can also visit Óbidos on a day trip from Lisbon.

Best time to visit

The most idyllic time to visit Portugal is in either the spring (March to June) or Autumn (September to mid-October) when there are fewer crowds, prices are lower, and the temperatures are warm. Autumn is also a great time, if you’re looking to experience some of Portugal’s famous wine.

The summer months are the high season in Portugal. Streets, beaches, and historical sites are often busy. Local transportation is also often sold out, and accommodation prices can increase to around 30-40%.

Come November, the rainy season begins, and a lot of resorts shut down for winter. Expect thinner crowds but shorter hours at many of the main sites. If you’re visiting Portugal for the holiday season, Lisbon is known for its Christmas markets and decorations.

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