22 places you should visit when planning a holiday to Portugal

Here’s a list of places you really can’t miss on your next trip to Portugal, winner of the  World´s Leading destination of 2017.

Portugal is very trendy right now, a lot of famous people visit this wonderful country and some of them make it their home, like Madonna.

Very well known for its beautiful beaches, gastronomy, culture and hospitality, you can enjoy your stay in this sunny country, with more than 2.500 sun hours per year.

If you want to keep up with your idols you really need to visit these places

1. Parque Peneda Gêres

Located in the north region of Portugal, this 703km² park is divided between three districts, Braga, Viana do Castelo and Vila Real. Considered as Reserva Nacional da Biosfera by UNESCO, here you can observe almost 240 species of fauna, 1.100 of flora and you can visit 500 historical and archaeological places of interest.

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2. Porto

Are you a Harry Potter fan? Of course you are! This must be your first stop, the place that inspired J.K. Rowling, Livraria Lello, “the most beautiful bookstore in the world”. If you like telling that you are on top of the world and you admire beautiful landscapes, go to Torre dos Clérigos so you can enjoy the view over the city. Two words, Port wine. Museu do Vinho do Porto, here you can learn all about this amazing drink, and of course you can taste it. Not enough? There are several wine cellars for you to visit, Cálem, Ferreira, O´ffley, Graham… You might feel a little dizzy after this, so you can go to Café Majestic, one of the most stunning cafés of the world and grab a bite while losing yourself in such beauty. Don’t leave just yet, you haven’t seen the Douro Valley. Take a boat trip up the Douro river, you definitely won’t regret .

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3. Serra da Estrela

The highest mountain of Portugal (excluding Pico in Azores), with 1993m - or 2000m if you count the tower they built just to reach that height - is the spring of the Mondego river, the biggest one exclusively Portuguese. Situated mostly in Guarda, here you can delight yourself with amazing landscapes, cheeses (Queijo Serra da Estrela) and snow.

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4. Aveiro

Also known as the Venice of Portugal due to its canals and moliçeiros (traditional boat). You can’t leave without trying Ovos Moles, its traditional sweets. After that you go to Costa Nova where you will see houses painted with colourful stripes and you eat a Tripa (another traditional sweet). After that you can relax at the beach. Also colourful is the Umbrella Sky Project in Águeda. During Summer you can see unique and fun umbrellas hanging above your head, creating nice effects on the ground when touched by the sun.

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5. Aldeias do Xisto

There are 27 beautiful Schist Villages located in different places such as Serra da Lousã, where the majority of them are (12); Zêzere (6); Serra do Açor (5) and Tejo-Ocreza (4).

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6. Coimbra

Student city, home of Universidade de Coimbra, one of the oldest in Europe. Here you can also visit Biblioteca Joanina famous for its bats and for being the inspiration to the Beauty and the Beast’s library. Portugal dos Pequenitos is also a great attraction, there are miniatures representing all the portuguese house styles, the most important monuments and representations of the former colonies. If you admire Fine Arts the Museu Nacional Machado de Castro is a great place for you. With plants from all around the world, the Jardim Botânico de Coimbra is very pleasant for walks or if you prefer you can bring a book and read it there, that’s also a nice experience. For the archaeology lovers there’s Conímbriga, a former Roman city.

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7. Sintra

Palaces and beaches. Go back in time with these stunning palaces: Palácio da Pena; Palácio Nacional de Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira;Palácio Nacional de Queluz and Palácio do Marquês de Pombal. If you enjoy surfing, go to praia do Guincho, praia da Ribeira d’Ilhas and praia da Foz do Lizandro. Don’t forget to check Serra de Sintra, Cabo da Roca and the NewsMuseum.

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8. Lisbon

The capital everyone talks about. Check this article for more detailed information.

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9. Algarve

Beaches, beaches and more beaches. Here are the 10 best beaches of Algarve.

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10. Açores

So much beauty distributed for 9 islands. There are a lot of belvederes in each of them, make sure you don’t miss one, Açores has the most beautiful landscapes you will ever see.

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11. Ilha de São Miguel

Tea lover? Visit the Chá Glorreana plantation. Have you heard of furnas? It’s a traditional way of cooking food, using the heat of the volcano. You should try cozido à portuguesa there. Would you really go to São Miguel island without going to Lagoa das Sete cidades? I don’t think so. You better include that on your itinerary.

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12. Ilha da Terceira

Visit Angra do Heroísmo’s historical centre, considered World Heritage by UNESCO. Hungry? Alcatra à moda da Terceira is the answer. Feeling adventurous? You can go down Algar do Carvão volcano and explore it.

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13. Ilha de São Jorge

Great place for canyoning. Amazing clams, try them. Don’t forget the São Jorge’s cheese. Need a little sugar? Eat the island’s traditional sweet, espécies.

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14. Ilha das Flores

Go to Museu das Flores to know more about the island’s history. Dive in the wonderful Cascata do Poço do Bacalhau lagoon.

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15. Ilha Graciosa

First stop Furna do Enxofre (former sulphur mine). Have fun finding the numerous windmills scattered all over the city.

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16. Ilha do Faial

Like dolphins? Don’t miss the opportunity of swimming with them in the sea. Visit the Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre.

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17. Ilha do Pico

Climb the biggest portuguese mountain, Pico (2.351m) and from up there you can see Faial, Terceira, Graciosa and São Jorge’s islands. Enjoy boat trips? Here you can observe wales.

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18. Ilha de Santa Maria

Tired of so much green? Visit Barreiro da Faneca also known as red desert.

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19. Ilha do Corvo

Caldeirão is the biggest attraction, so get ready to hike a little more. Go on a boat tour around this small island and get the opportunity to see a lot of sea birds, dolphins and wales.

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20. Madeira

Very popular in Summer and during Christmas time, especially for their firework show on New Year’s. It’s also Cristiano Ronaldo’s home.

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21. Ilha da Madeira

If you love Cristiano Ronaldo, the Museu CR7 is a mandatory stop for you. There you can see every trophy that the world’s best player has won and you can even interact and take a picture with him. Madeira Story Centre is a great place to learn about the history and culture of Madeira and to have an awesome traditional meal at their panoramic restaurant. Curious about old toys? At Museu do Brinquedo you have toys from Portugal, England, Germany and France originating from the nineteenth century until our days. Madeira is known as Portugal’s garden so you definitely need to go to Madeiras Botanical Garden, you’ll be amazed by it.

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22. Porto Santo

Visit Casa Colombo museum so you learn more about the island before you start exploring. Are you tired of belvederes? Of course not! Miradouro das Flores gives you an excellent view over the island and its beach.

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Still need more reasons to visit Portugal? Take a look at this:

 

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