Portugal, a European country which is located on the Iberian Peninsula was not only a powerful maritime empire from the 16th to 19th century but also a famous tourist destination all around the world. Portugal shares its land borders only with Spain. Portugal’s currency is Euro and its population is 10.3 million in the year 2020.
Why Portugal Is A Famous Tourist Destination?
- Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. It was ranked third in the Global Peace Index report which was published every year. Portugal country has low crime rates, very few terrorist attacks and violent demonstrations so it is a very safe place to visit and enjoy holidays.
- The Portuguese are a friendly, hospitable and welcoming people who treat tourists with warmth, kindness and openness.
- Tourists face no communication barrier because English language is widely spoken in big cities and tourist destinations.
- This small European country has 17 UNESCO world heritage sites.
- Portugal is considered one of the least expensive destinations in Western Europe with an average cost of 68 to 115 Euros per day per person.
- This country has incredible diversity. Tourists can enjoy vast green mountains in the North, mountains with slopes and falls in the Center, desert in the Alentejo region and the beautiful coastline cities like the Algarve.
27.9 million tourists visited Portugal in the year 2019. I recommend at least a seven days tour to experience and enjoy the color of tradition, flavor and warmth of Portuguese culture. Portugal is one of the warmest countries in Europe.
July is the hottest month in Portugal with an average temperature of 28.0 degree Celsius. March-May and September-October are the best times to visit Portugal because June-August is very hot and November-February is very cold.
Portugal is known in the world for its seafood dishes, beautiful coastline with the Atlantic Ocean, glorious sandy beaches, port wines, Fado music, soccer, cork fiber, cod fish, world class golf courses, charming cities, UNESCO world heritage sites with mind blowing architecture. In the article, I will list some of the best places to visit in Portugal which help you to plan your trip.
1. The Douro Valley
This is Portugal’s Premier Wine Region which is also a world heritage site. To arrive here, drive 1.5 to 2 hours from Porto or take a local train which will take 2 hours. Major tourist attractions are –
- Barca de Alva, the oldest wine region in the world.
- Grapes on steep banks and billowy plains.
- Viniculture heritage and stunning natural landscapes view from trains running on the iconic Douro railway line.
- Old rabelo boats and traditional wine vessels
Sintra is located 30 KM FROM Lisbon and recognized by UNESCO for its remarkable cultural landscape. Major tourist attractions are
- Hiking trails on Serra de Sintra hills.
- Palaces and castles at the forested hilltops of Sintra like Palacio da Pena hill which was used by the Portuguese royal family.
- Pale pink and yellow twin chimneys of the landmark Palacio Nacional de Sintra palace.
This capital city is located on the banks of the river Tagus. Major tourist attractions are
- Splendid waterfront location, stunning mosaic tiled plazas, fairytale castles and gothic monasteries.
- Elevador da Gloria, a vintage wooden tram.
- Castelo de São Jorge and Alfama the oldest heritage sites of the city.
- World-class museums to experience Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery.
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites both Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and Torre de Belem.
This is the second largest city of Portugal which is situated at the mouth of the River Douro. Either fly into Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport or take a train which will take 4 hours from Lisbon to reach here. Major tourist attractions are
- Robust granite architecture of neoclassical buildings and Baroque churches.
- Splendid waterfront location.
- The Ribera, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Ponte Dom Luis I, which is a double decked iron bridge.
Madeira Island, the “Floating Garden of the Atlantic” is a fertile oasis between Portugal and Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. Tourists can visit this island by plane, cruise ship and ferry. Major tourist attractions are
- Lush green landscapes, the Orchid flower gardens.
- The Laurissilva Forest which harbors the world’s largest concentration of laurel.
- Lofty mountains and pebbled beaches with crystal clear beaches.
- Natural rock pools and Lido Promenade for spectacular ocean views.
6. The Algarve Beaches
The Algarve region, located in southern Portugal is home of more than 100 beaches which are scattered along 155 long coastline. Fly into Faro Airport or take a fast train from Lisbon to reach within 3 hours. Major tourist attractions are
- Body boarding and surfing during low tides at Praia do Amado beach, the country’s best known surf spot.
- Swathes of sand dunes and limestone cliff at the Praia de Bordeira.
- Starfish filled rock pools at Praia da Amoreira beach
- Gentle waves and popular seafood restaurants at Praia do Martinhal beach.
This was Portugal’s capital for over 200 years during the medieval era. Fly into Coimbra Airport or take a train from Porto to reach within 2 hours at Coimbra. Major tourist attractions are
- Oldest education institutions with large student populations.
- Colorful café and nightlife scene.
- Fado music performance.
This is the capital of Portugal’s Alentejo region which is located 135 KM away from the capital city. Either takes a train (1.5 Hours) from Lisbon or from Faro (4 Hours) to reach Evora. Major tourist attractions are
- The University of Evora founded in 1559 is one of the world’s oldest universities.
- Olive groves, fortified villages with Whitewashed houses built under Baroque architecture.
- The ancient Roman Temple, AKA the Temple of Diana and Chapel of Bones.
Aveiro is located 75 KM south of Porto and it is also known as the Venice of Portugal. Take a local train from Porto which will take 40 minutes to reach here. This is located on the edge of the vast Ria de Aveiro lagoon. Major tourist attractions are
- Beautiful canals network and lively fish market.
- Nouveau architecture of religious buildings like the Cathedral of Aveiro and Convento de Jesus.
- Ride on colorful and traditional boats called Barcos Moliceiros to view the town and the Sao Jacinto Nature Reserve.