Cities from the medieval world, tasty flavours of wine and a vibrant crowd with a colourful lifestyle, that’s Portugal. One of the most beautiful countries in southwestern Europe, watch the Portuguese culture in its full glory, explore around in the remotest of regions across extensive landscapes and come across thousands of years old sites and monuments. As per ancient records, Portugal is believed to be one of the oldest places in Europe with several sites dating back to the Neolithic Period. So, before you plan your vacation to this ultimate destination, discover the top things to do when you are in Portugal, the vibrant neighbour of Spain.
Top Things To Do In Portugal
1. Tour the Historic Four-Storey Belem Tower
Belem Tower has to be on the top of every history lover and architecture enthusiasts. The monument has a history of about five centuries. And that makes it a place of great significance amongst explorers. Originally called the Tower of Saint Vincent, the Belem Tower served as the gateway to Lisbon for the Portuguese explorers. Today, the fortification stands tall with great pride and showcases a perfect blend of special architecture and rich history.
Recommended For: History Lovers, Explorers, Architecture Enthusiasts
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Entry Fee: $10.50 per person (Free for children below 14 years of age)
Timings: 10:00 am to 05:30 pm
Pro Tip: If you are strictly visiting the tower for photos, then do visit it early in the morning before it opens. This is the time when you would be able to capture the best shots.
2. Go Adventurous at Serra Da Estrela
Serra da Estrela is a wonderful place that could be visited throughout the year. Be it summers or winters, it never fails to allure nature lovers and adventure seekers. Marvel at a very rich diversity of birds and animals here and also get an opportunity to climb up Torre, the highest point in Estrella Mountain. Other adventurous activities to indulge in include skiing, nature photography and more. The place also has some beautiful monuments to explore such as Old Radar Station Dome.
Recommended For: Adventure Lovers
Location: Covilha, Portugal
Average Price: None ($25 – $30 per person for adventure sports)
Ideal Timings: 08:00 am to 04:00 pm
Pro Tip: Explore beyond the boundaries and get an opportunity to come across the beauty of villages like Piodao and Guarda.
3. Travel to the Ever-beautiful Cabo da Roca
Overlooking the extensive Atlantic Ocean, Cabo da Roca is a beautiful cape that boasts of a great site making for a perfect weekend getaway. Visit the lighthouse here, savour the glistening shoreline, enjoy the wonderful views of granite boulders and sea cliffs and take a stroll through the lush greenery on the plateau. Cabo da Roca is one of the least-explored Portugal tourist attractions that are often found on the bucket list of offbeat travellers. Plan a tour and take a look at its pristine beauty away from noise of cities.
Recommended For: Offbeat Explorers
Location: Colares, Portugal
Entry Fee: None
Pro Tip: Mind strong winds while standing at the edge of the cape.
4. Go on a Wine Tasting Tour
You cannot call your excursion to Portugal complete unless you have been on a wine tasting tour across its beautiful vineyards. Treat your taste buds to different flavours of wine. Gulp down that classy beverage and feel the royal taste. Port wines are popular across their globe for their unique taste. They make an important part of traditional Portuguese culture. So, do not miss out on it, especially if you a hardcore lover of wines.
Recommended For: Explorers, Wine Lovers
Location: Porto, Lisbon, Coimbra and more
Price: $30 – $45 per person per tour
Pro Tip: Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you would do a lot of walking during the tour.
5. Spot Wilderness at Peneda-Geres National Park
One of the most beautiful places in Portugal to visit is the green and wild Peneda-Geres National Park. Featuring yellowish landscapes, roman bridges, ancient trails, sky-high mountains, streams and of course, rich wildlife, the national park is the oldest and the biggest of them all. Roam around in your comfort zone, pass through shady roads and enjoy watching the most beautiful colours of nature. Spot a wide variety of flora and fauna and capture wonderful shots on your camera.
Recommended For: Wildlife Lovers, Nature Photographers
Location: Northern Portugal
Entry Fee: $2.50 per car
Ideal Timings: 07:00 am to 05:00 pm
6. Visit the Cute Tiny Village of Sortelha
Sortelha is an ancient settlement and has been in existence for several centuries now. The fortifications of the castle here are the major attractions as they grab the attention of thousands of history lovers and culture explorers every year. Take a walk across the paved streets of the fort and explore its rustic corners. The medieval village throws you back in time. Do not forget to tour the panoramas of the village from the higher grounds of the fort.
Recommended For: Offbeat Travellers
Location: Sabugal, Portugal
Entry Fee: None
Pro Tip: Visit the village in the month of September to be a part of its fun Medieval Fair.
7. Discover the Hidden Cave Beaches of Algarve
Home to some of the world’s most famous beaches, the Algarve is an amazing place in Portugal that deserves to be visited by every nature lover and peace seeker. An unmatchable combination of refreshing weather, crystal clear waters and glittering sand, the beaches in Algarve are perfect for family weekend getaways. Couples can also visit these to rekindle romances in the beautiful waters. Laze by the shores and have a great sunbathing session. Exploring these cave beaches is surely one of the best things to do in Algarve, Portugal.
Recommended For: Beach Lovers, Nature Lovers
Location: Algarve, Portugal
Entry fee: None ($15 – $20 for an organized tour)
Pro Tip: Though the place is known for its beaches, do not forget to explore its nearby towns and cities that serve as small hubs of local culture.
8. Party all Night in Lisbon
As the sun goes down in Lisbon, the city comes to life. Amidst all the things to do in Lisbon, Portugal, exploring numerous bars and restaurants is indisputably the best thing. With a wide array of dining, clubbing, exploring and entertainment options, Lisbon will never disappoint the party animal in you. So have a great time partying here with your friends and create beautiful memories. Soak in the liveliness the city hosts.
Recommended For: Party Lovers, Night Owls
Average cost: $20 – $25 (For an average standard pub)
Timings: 07:00 pm to 02:00 pm
Pro Tip: Visit the Pink Street in Lisbon to witness the best of nightlife and come across the liveliest of bars and pubs.
9. Explore the Marvels of Porto
Porto is one of the largest cities in Portugal and hence, it houses a significant number of tourist attractions within its boundaries. The city, apart from hosting liveliness in its streets and vibrant lives in its markets, has monuments, architectural marvels and more to explore. The best things to do in Porto include exploring Luis I Bridge, visiting the 12th-century Porto Cathedral, scrutinising Bolsa palace and relaxing at Parque de Serralves.
Recommended For: Families, Couples, Explorers
Average cost: None
Ideal Timings: 08:00 am to 06:00 pm
Pro Tip: Do try the popular Francesinha sandwich while in the city.
10. Feast on Egg Tarts and Other Portuguese Dishes
Filled with creamy cheesy fillings and egg yolk, egg tarts are the most famous Portuguese dish in Portugal. However, they have become popular across the globe for their unique flavour. Do try them with a glass of wine and treat the foodie in you in the best way possible. Other Portuguese dishes to try in Portugal include Caldo verde, bacalhau, sardines, bifanas and more.
Recommended for: Foodies, Explorers
Location: Lisbon, Porto
Cost: $5 – $7 (per meal at an above average restaurant)