With almost 500 miles of coastline, Portugal is well known for its sun-bleached beaches and Mediterranean climate. However, if you can bear to tear yourself away from the powder-soft sands and warm seas, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do in Portugal.
There are so many things worth a visit, you could spend your entire holiday out and about, so we’ve made it a bit easier for you and put together our list of the top 10 must-sees in Portugal.
For real charm, the historic town of Cascais is one of the top sights in Portugal, especially if you’re on a romantic getaway. Originally a fishing village, it offers beautiful, tumbledown houses, authentic Portuguese cuisine, and fabulous views of the Atlantic Ocean.
To see Portuguese architecture at its most impressive, make sure you set some time aside to visit the city of Braga. Sandwiched between Amarante and Porto, it’s home to the 18th Century sanctuary, the Bom Jesus do Monte. While it’s one of the best places to see in Portugal, there are a significant number of steps to tackle before you get to the top, but the view is so worth it!
To immerse yourself in the Portuguese café culture, Amarante is a superb place to go. The city itself looks like something out of a fairy tale, with the sweeping arches of the Ponte São Gonçalo bridge. The river it spans is lined with pretty cafés and some excellent restaurants.
Porto is Portugal’s national tipple and there’s no better place to try it than where it’s made. While the city of Porto might be one of the country’s largest, it has a very village-y feel to it, with quaint cobbled streets, and restaurants serving outstanding seafood. If you really want to push the boat out, the Ode Porto Wine House offers a pairing menu, which will leave you feeling full and quite possibly a little tipsy, too.
The medieval village of Sortelha is one of the top sights in Portugal, particularly for those travelling with older children. Once you’ve explored the alleys and passages, be sure to pay a visit to the castle.
While very unusual, Monsanto is one of the best places to see in Portugal. The village houses around 1,000 people, but what sets it apart is that it was built around a gigantic boulder. Nearby rustic restaurants serving authentic Portuguese specialities make this unusual spot well worth a visit.
If you’re visiting Lisbon on your holidays to Portugal, be sure to make the half an hour trip to the Sintra region. Boasting some of the most beautiful castles in the whole of Europe, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, it’s easy to spend a couple of days exploring the area.
Of all the country’s cities, Lisbon is definitely one of the top 10 must see in Portugal. An eclectic jigsaw of colourful communities, it’s packed with things to see and do. The Bélém Tower ought to be at the top of your list of sightseeing attractions, while the central district of Bairro Alto comes a very close second.
Chapel of Bones
While it might be slightly ghoulish, the Chapel of Bones in Évora is one of the most famous attractions in Portugal. Set in a Roman city, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the chapel is exactly what you think it is: decorated with dozens of skulls and skeletons.
The top sites in Portugal aren’t always the towns and cities. To soak up the beauty of the Portuguese countryside, be sure to pay a visit to the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, one of the country’s most spectacular national parks.