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Things to do in Portugal

Things to do in  Portugal

Welcome to Portugal

Long overlooked in favor of its larger neighbor, Spain, Portugal is holding its own on the European travel circuit today, as growing numbers of visitors discover its old-world charms. Outstanding food, award-winning wines, and distinctive Manueline architecture are just the beginning. Portugal's diverse landscapes range from granite peaks and forested hills in the north, to the sunny beaches of the southern Algarve—all bordered by nearly 500 miles of stunning Atlantic coastline. Start in Lisbon, taking in the capital's many historical sights and famous hills by foot or electric bike. The country's faded glory as a maritime empire in the 15th and 16th centuries is most evident here, but humans have lived in this region since prehistoric times. After a city tour, take a day trip to wander through Roman ruins in Evora; tour a royal castle and a Moorish palace in Sintra; or visit one of the well-preserved medieval villages, like Obidos, that are sprinkled all over the countryside. In Northern Portugal, foodies flock to the UNESCO-listed Douro Valley for wine- and food-tasting tours. Porto's striking harbor is the starting point for scenic Douro River cruises. Thrill-seekers can get their adrenaline fix by surfing, skydiving, or parasailing in the Algarve. And for those who prefer a more relaxed pace, the fishing villages of Nazare, Sagres, and Tavira can feel like a trip back in time. Portugal's delights are many, and with easy access to Western Spain, your Iberian itinerary could extend to Seville, Cordoba, or Granada.

Top 10 attractions in Portugal

#1
Madeira Botanical Gardens

Madeira Botanical Gardens

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One of Madeira’s loveliest green spaces, the island’s Botanical Gardens (Jardins Botânicos da Madeira) debuted in 1960. Stretching across 20 acres (9 hectares) and home to more than 2,000 species of exotic plants, the oasis is best known for its colorful geometric flower beds and carefully groomed topiary gardens.More
#2
Church of Our Lady of Monte (Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte)

Church of Our Lady of Monte (Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte)

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Church of Our Lady of Monte (Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte) is the most important pilgrimage site on the Portuguese island of Madeira. The original church was built in 1741 on top of the foundations of an old chapel that was said to be built by the son of the settler of the island, but it was soon destroyed by an earthquake. The church that stands today dates to 1818. The interior features elegant chandeliers, a statue of Our Lady of the Mountain and the tomb of Charles I of Habsburg, the last emperor of Austria who lived in exile on Madeira until his death in 1922. Also inside the church is a silver Pieta that was the only relic saved from the earthquake. Every year in mid-August the surrounding village of Monte is home to a large festival that includes a procession to the church in honor of Nossa Senhora do Monte (Our Lady of Monte).More
#3
Arrábida Natural Park (Parque Natural da Arrábida)

Arrábida Natural Park (Parque Natural da Arrábida)

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With coves of golden sand and bright blue water hidden among pine-covered hills and vineyards, Arrábida Natural Park (Parque Natural da Arrábida) in Portugal is a hidden gem for nature lovers. The beaches are the main draw, but the park also attracts hikers and photographers, who come to explore the landscape and enjoy the panoramic views.More
#4
Lagos Zoo (Parque Zoologico de Lagos)

Lagos Zoo (Parque Zoologico de Lagos)

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Home to more than 140 different species from across the world, Lagos Zoo offers a family-friendly alternative to the crowded Algarve coast. Opened in 2000, the zoo has become a world-class conservation facility, and its close proximity to central Lagos makes it a top choice for a day away from the city.More
#5
Sé Cathedral of Funchal

Sé Cathedral of Funchal

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One of only a handful of late fifteenth century structures to survive the test of time, this Gothic-style cathedral is evidence of an impressive history and rich architectural past. Its impressive exterior gives way to an understated, spiritual gathering space and altar that make Sé Cathedral Funchal a perfect spot for quiet reflection or contemplative prayer. Visitors can marvel at the detailed ceiling and beautiful side altars while attending morning mass at 8 a.m. The church’s unique bell can be heard throughout the town just before services start.More
#6
Braga Cathedral (Sé de Braga)

Braga Cathedral (Sé de Braga)

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Located in city of Braga in northern Portugal, the Braga Cathedral (Sé de Braga) is the oldest surviving church in Portugal and one of the most important monuments in the country. Built in a Burgundian Romanesque style between the 11th and 13th centuries, the cathedral provided architectural inspiration for many other churches and monasteries built in Portugal around the same time. Due to numerous modifications over the centuries, the cathedral today features a mix of styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Baroque.The cathedral consists of several chapels built at different times. The parents of the first Portuguese were buried in the Chapel of the Kings in 1374 and the Chapel of the Glory was built in the mid-14th century as the final resting place of Archbishop Goncalo Pereira. Looks for the tomb guarded by siz life size stone lions and the painted Moorish geometrical designs. Also of note for visitors is the choir with sculptured gilt wood stalls built in the late 1730s and two gilt wood organs carved around the same time.Don’t miss the Cathedral Museum, which includes elaborately carved 18th century choir stalls, the 10th century chalice of Saint Gerald, a 14th century statue of the Virgin Mary and an 11th century Arab ivory box.More
#7
Sete Cidades

Sete Cidades

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Nature lovers will find plenty to marvel at in the Azores, but the otherworldly volcanic landscape of São Miguel Island’s Sete Cidades is one of the archipelago’s most magnificent natural wonders. The massive caldera has two lakes: one blue and one green.More
#8
University of Coimbra (Universidade de Coimbra)

University of Coimbra (Universidade de Coimbra)

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Portugal’s oldest university, the University of Coimbra (Universidade de Coimbra) was founded in 1290, and is located in the former capital city. Now a popular tourist destination, the university was granted UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2013, and boasts notable architecture, a botanical garden, a science museum, and more.More
#9
Barreta Island (Ilha Deserta)

Barreta Island (Ilha Deserta)

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A sandy, uninhabited island off Portugal’s Algarve coast, Barreta Island (Ilha Deserta) is a popular beach destination and wildlife refuge inside Ria Formosa National Park. With freshwater lagoons, salt flats, sand dunes, and more, the park has a diverse range of habitats—each with its own resident population of birds and other species, including chameleons.More
#10
Porto Cathedral (Sé Catedral do Porto)

Porto Cathedral (Sé Catedral do Porto)

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Watching over the city from its hilltop spot, the imposing fort-like Porto Cathedral (Sé Catedral do Porto)is a reminder of Porto’s diverse history. Featuring Romanesque, Gothic, and baroque architecture, this is Porto’s oldest and largest church, a must-visit for architecture and history aficionados.More

Trip ideas

Top Beaches on the Algarve

Top Beaches on the Algarve

Must-See UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Lisbon

Must-See UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Lisbon

Top Hiking Trails on Madeira

Top Hiking Trails on Madeira

Top activities in Portugal

Douro Valley Small-Group Tour with Wine Tasting, Lunch and Optional Cruise.
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Sintra and Cascais Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon
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Small group tour to Sintra, Pena Palace, Regaleira, Cabo da Roca and Cascais
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Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon
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Sintra Small-Group Tour from Lisbon with Cabo da Roca and Cascais
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Douro Valley Tour: Wine Tasting, Lunch & River Cruise
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Lisbon - Private Wine Tasting Tour to the Setubal Wine Region
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Authentic Douro Wine Tour Including Lunch and River Cruise
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Catamaran Sunset Sailing

Catamaran Sunset Sailing

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Dolphins and Benagil Caves from Albufeira - Allboat

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Dolphins and Benagil Caves from Albufeira - Allboat

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Recent reviews from experiences in Portugal

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Amazing day - The walk to do
GAELLE_R, Jul 2021
Paiva Walkways and Alvarenga Small-Group from Porto
Take the time to see the bridge 516 Arouca, an experience to have.
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Outstanding
Ptslone, Jul 2021
Half-Day Lagos Golden Coast Cruise with Lunch
The crew was fantastic and it was a outstanding way to see this special coast of Portugal.
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An unforgettable evening!
farnhambrittany, Jul 2021
2 Hour Lisbon Sunset and Wine Sailing Tour
An amazing way to see Libson - picture perfect views of Lisbon, Christ the King Statue, Ponte 25 de Abril, Belém Tower and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos.
star-5
Magical and memorable tour
Irene_M, Jul 2021
Tour on Wheels Sintra & Cascais Pick-up Lisbon
He took us to places we would never be able to see on our own.
star-5
Fabulous Tour
Sandra_S, Jul 2021
Best of Braga and Guimaraes Day Trip from Porto
He tirelessly offered historical and practical information, in English and Spanish, taking every opportunity to share with me information that helped me learn and appreciate the significance of the religious and national heritage sites.
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Nice, thorough tour but with a few "buts"...
norbac, Jul 2021
Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon
All in all, I'd would recommend this tour at least to see more of Portugal other than Lisbon.
star-5
The best preview of Portugal!!
Lilibeth, Jul 2021
Private Sintra Tour - at your own pace
Frederico made sure we got to see as many sights as we can, without feeling rushed, while giving us the history and the significance of the sights we were visiting.
star-5
Great experience
Maribelle, Jun 2021
Small group tour to Sintra, Pena Palace, Regaleira, Cabo da Roca and Cascais
The tour itself was great, was able to visit historic sites + had enough time for pictures & lunch.
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The best way to see the coast
Matthew_K, May 2021
Benagil Cave SUP Tour
There are many beautiful caves to see and this is the perfect way to explore them safely.
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Learning Portuguese from a local.
Sarah, Nov 2020
Private Virtual Portuguese Language Class with a Local
This is a must for anyone about to visit Portugal!
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Great experience
Suresh_V, Aug 2020
Day Tour Fatima, Batalha, Nazare and Obidos in Private Tour
The stories and history that he mentioned made us fall in LOVE with Portugal and it’s people.
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Portuguese Pronunciations
Heather_B, Jul 2020
Private Virtual Portuguese Language Class with a Local
I highly recommend this course for anyone getting ready to visit Portugal.
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A wonderful trip.
Eric_S, Jun 2020
Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon
Portugal always impresses with great places to visit.
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Fascinating Porto from different angles
Yuliya, Mar 2020
Porto: Small Group City Tour Full Day with Lunch, Wine Tasting & Cruise
Entire day tour makes you to see the city from different angles and view points.
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Wonderful time with Rodrigos
Lucille_P, Feb 2020
Lisbon to Porto with stop at Óbidos Nazaré Fátima Coimbra and Aveiro private
My husband and I would highly recommend taking this tour to visit Portugal.
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Best part of Porto visit
maghentrinker, Jan 2020
Douro Valley Small-Group Tour with Wine Tasting, Lunch and Optional Cruise.
We normally do not want to join guided tours but to see the Douro Valley and visit the vineyards this was by far the best option.
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Value for money experience
freyazemek, Jan 2020
Sintra and Cascais Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon
A fantastic way to see the highlights of Sintra and Cascais in one day.
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Sintra
Bjmmcm, Jan 2020
Sintra and Cascais Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon
Got to see the Pena Palace, Sintra, Cascais and had time to poke around the towns.
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Wonderful Day
libby k, Nov 2019
Arrabida and Sesimbra Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon with Wine Tasting
I thoroughly recommend this tour as a great way to see more of Portugal than just Lisbon.
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Highly recommended trip.!!!
mariaX4186SB, Nov 2019
Full-Day Small-Group Tour to Fátima and Óbidos and Nazaré
Very professional and knowledgable guide with perfect English and great insights about life in Portugal.

All about Portugal

When to visit

Come summertime, temperatures soar in Portugal, making the Algarve a popular hub for sailing tours and sunbathing sessions. Given its vertiginous hills, the capital city of Lisbon is best saved for the cooler spring and summer months, when you’re less likely to break into a sweat. And in the winter, venture to northerly Porto for a warming glass of port—or two.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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