The history of Portugal’s cities has long been linked to the seas that surround them, as they are located on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, gazing out over the Atlantic. Famous navigators left its ports, returning with fantastic treasures that aided in the construction of the amazing cities we know today.
Évora is a historic city located in the Alentejo region of Portugal. One of the best things to do in Évora is to explore the ancient Roman Temple, also known as the Temple of Diana, which dates back to the 1st century AD and is considered one of the best-preserved Roman structures in Portugal. Another popular attraction is the Évora Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic structure dating back to the 12th century. The Sé de Évora is also worth a visit for its impressive architecture and beautiful stained-glass windows.
The city is also home to the famous Chapel of Bones, a macabre but fascinating 16th-century chapel decorated with the bones of over 5000 people. The city also has a lively market where you can buy traditional crafts and souvenirs. The Palace of Vasco da Gama and the Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval are also worth visiting for their beautiful architecture and history.
Lamego is a charming town located in the Douro region of Portugal. One of the best things to do in Lamego is to visit the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, a beautiful 18th-century church located on a hilltop overlooking the town. The sanctuary is famous for its grand Baroque staircase, with more than 700 steps, which is a challenging climb but offers spectacular views of the town and surrounding countryside.
Another popular attraction is the Lamego Museum, which houses a collection of Roman and medieval artifacts, as well as a number of religious artworks. The town is also home to several beautiful churches and monasteries, such as the Church of São João de Alpartil and the Monastery of Santa Maria de Salzedas. Lamego is also known for its wine production, and you can visit one of the many local wineries to taste the delicious wines of the region.
Obidos is a charming medieval town known for its well-preserved castle and fortress walls. One of the best things to do in Obidos is to explore the Castle of Obidos, which dates back to the 12th century and offers stunning views of the town and surrounding countryside. Another popular attraction is the Church of Santa Maria, a beautiful Gothic church located within the castle walls.
The main square, Praça de Santa Maria, is also worth visiting for its charming atmosphere and traditional Portuguese architecture. The town also has a lively market where you can buy traditional crafts and souvenirs.
Coimbra, Portugal, is a beautiful and historic city with a lot to offer visitors. Some of the best things to do in Coimbra include visiting the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest universities in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Biblioteca Joanina, a baroque library located within the university, is also a must-see. Another popular attraction is the Old Cathedral of Coimbra, which dates back to the 12th century and features a mix of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles.
The Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha is also worth visiting for its beautiful architecture and views of the city. For a more modern experience, the city has vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and clubs. And for those looking to explore nature, the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra is a lovely place to spend an afternoon.
Faro is a charming coastal town located in the Algarve region of Portugal. There are many things to do in Faro, including visiting the Old Town, which is home to the iconic Faro Cathedral and the remains of the city’s ancient Roman walls. Another must-see attraction is the Faro Marina, a picturesque spot with several restaurants, cafés and bars. Visitors can also take a boat tour to the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a protected wetlands area that is home to a variety of bird species and other wildlife.
The Algarve Regional Museum is also a great spot to learn about the region’s history and culture. Additionally, Faro is a great place for outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and water sports like windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing. The town also offers a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Faro International Film Festival and the Faro International Music Festival.
Braga is a historic city located in the northwest of Portugal. There are many things to do in Braga, including visiting the impressive Braga Cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century. Another must-see attraction is the Bom Jesus do Monte, a baroque-style sanctuary featuring a grand stairway and panoramic views of the city.
Visitors can also take a stroll through the city’s charming old town, which is filled with traditional shops, cafes and restaurants. The Palace of Raio, an 18th-century palace, is also worth visiting. Additionally, there are several museums in Braga, including the Martins Sarmento Museum, which has an extensive collection of Roman and pre-Roman artifacts.
Cascais is a picturesque coastal town located in the Lisbon region of Portugal. There are many things to do in Cascais, including visiting the historic Cascais Citadel, which offers panoramic views of the town and the sea. The Boca do Inferno, or “Mouth of Hell,” is another popular attraction, a natural rock formation that has been carved by the sea over time.
Visitors can also take a stroll along the beautiful Cascais beach promenade, which is lined with restaurants and shops. Guincho beach is also a great spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Another must-see attraction is the Estoril Casino, one of the oldest and most famous casinos in Europe.
Sintra, located just outside of Lisbon, is a charming town known for its picturesque palaces and gardens. One of the most popular attractions in Sintra is the Pena National Palace, a stunning 19th-century palace that sits atop a hill and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can tour the palace and admire its ornate interiors, as well as the palace’s extensive gardens, which are home to a wide variety of plant species. Another must-see attraction is the Moorish Castle, a medieval fortress that dates back to the 9th century.
Visitors can explore the castle’s ramparts and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Additionally, the Quinta da Regaleira is a beautiful palace and gardens that feature a unique underground network of tunnels and grottoes. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its elaborate decoration and stunning views of the surrounding area. Visitors can also take a stroll along the historic streets of the town center and admire the charming houses and gardens.
Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, is known for its picturesque architecture, delicious wine, and rich history. One of the most popular things to do in Porto is to visit the Ribeira district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located along the Douro River. Visitors can take a stroll along the waterfront, admire the colorful houses, and sample the local delicacies.
Another must-see attraction is the Palácio da Bolsa, a 19th-century palace that now serves as a cultural center. Visitors can take a tour of the palace and admire its opulent interior, including the Arab Room, which is considered one of the most beautiful rooms in the palace. Want to know about Porto? Watch our deep dive video about the best things to do in this beautiful city!
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture. Visitors can take a tram ride through the historic neighborhoods of Alfama and Baixa, or explore the Castelo de São Jorge, a castle that dates back to the Moorish occupation of the city. The Belem Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another popular attraction that offers stunning views of the city.
For art lovers, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and the Berardo Collection Museum offer a wide range of artworks from various periods. The city also has a lively nightlife scene, with a variety of bars and clubs to choose from. Visitors can also take a day trip to Sintra, a charming town located just outside of Lisbon, known for its palaces and gardens.
Top 10 Cities to visit in Portugal on a MAP
Portugal is a captivating country that offers a diverse range of experiences and stunning cities to explore. Whether you’re drawn to the historic charm of Lisbon, the enchanting beauty of Porto, or the sunny beaches of Algarve, there is something for everyone. From the rich cultural heritage to the mouthwatering cuisine and warm hospitality, Portugal will leave a lasting impression on any traveler.
So pack your bags and embark on a journey to discover the top 10 cities in Portugal, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in this delightful destination.
Do you have any other favorite places to visit in this wonderful land? Leave your comment below, and we’ll surely include it on the list.