Places to visit in Portugal: After the official lifting of the travel ban in Portugal, people began to flock here in search of beaches and sun. The Algarve has been a favorite holiday destination for decades. But perhaps due to the large influx of tourists waiting for the opportunity to relax, this region is worth skipping this year.
Here are 9 Portuguese places that are quieter than the Algarve, but no less inviting.
Top 9 places to visit in Portugal
- Azores – ecological paradise
The Azores are nine Portuguese islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Divided into three groups, the islands are home to many volcanoes and craters. The islands have been hailed as a paradise for “eco-tourism” and have a large number of historic buildings, churches, and manors dating back to the 15th century.
The most accessible island to fly to is Sao Miguel, but the best island to avoid the tourist crowds is Corvo, which has its own domestic airport that flies between the other three islands. Alternatively, you can get to Corvo by ferry from Sao Miguel.
- Sintra is a city with an amazing history.
Less than an hour from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, lies the small Portuguese town of Sintra.
Nestled in the hills of the Serra de Sintra, this town is known for its villas and castle ruins. Many come here as a day trip from Lisbon, but we recommend staying for a few days as there is so much to see and do here.
Known for its slightly cooler climate, Sintra is great for escaping the Lisbon heat. This is exactly what the Portuguese nobility, artists, and elite did in the 19th century, who built their summer residences here.
- Coimbra – city of students
From 1139 to 1260 Coimbra was the capital of Portugal and is now known as the “City of Students”. Coimbra is the fourth largest city in Portugal, although it has a population of only 106,582, about a fifth of the population of Lisbon.
The city still has a medieval feel, with many of the buildings dating back to Roman times, as well as an aqueduct and numerous original cryptoporticus (covered corridor or walkway).
The university buildings are also recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Aveiro – Portuguese Venice.
Aveiro, located on the Atlantic coast, is one of the most important ports in Portugal. Often referred to as the “Venice of Portugal”, this region is popular with canoeists and boasts an extensive network of canals.
Aveiro also has a number of sister cities, including those in Tunisia, Japan, and Mozambique, and is well known for its history of salt and pottery production.
- Cascais is a surfer’s paradise.
Known as the “heart of the Portuguese Riviera”, Cascais is the perfect place for those who love the beaches of the Algarve.
Whether you’re an avid surfer or a beginner, head here. Cascais as a surf spot is getting more and more popular, but there is still enough space so you don’t have to fight for the opportunity to ride a wave.
- Braga is the perfect place to explore churches and cathedrals.
Braga is the third-largest city in Portugal and is closely linked by historical and spiritual ties that still exist in the country.
Braga’s highlight is Holy Week in April, which is an elaborate event popular with people from all over the world. It creates a medieval atmosphere that reminds tourists and locals that Braga is still the spiritual center of Portugal.
The main events take place over four days in the 11th-century Roman Cathedral.
- Douro Valley – perfect for wine lovers.
The Douro Valley, the birthplace of all wines, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001.
The valleys are very quiet throughout the season, except during the autumn harvest when they become a bustling hive of vineyard owners and wine lovers.
If you want to have a wine tasting experience in the summer while admiring the beautiful views of the hectares of vineyards, Douro is your best choice.
- The Berlengash Reserve is a calm idyll.
Berlengas Nature Reserve has located just 10 km from Peniche. This is an almost untouched part of Portugal.
Consisting of three islands, Berlengas is home to a number of birds, including endangered birds such as the puffin. This region is also rich in marine life.
Of the three islands, only Berlenga is inhabited by people, there is a small resort in the old fortress of the 16th century, as well as a lighthouse built-in 1841.
If you are looking for tranquility then Berlenga is the place to be as only 350 people can be on the island at a time. You can only visit the island by ferry, which makes two trips a day from May to September.
- Peniche – the pearl of Portugal.
The former island of Peniche is now more accessible to Portuguese residents and tourists. It came in the first place because it embodies all the modernity of Portugal, paying homage to its past.
Located just an hour from Lisbon, the coastal town of Peniche is famous for its historic harbor and old walls. The best part of Peniche remains in the old town, where the fortress of the century is located, and it was used right up to the 1970s. The city became home to refugees from the then independent African colonies. Today, the fortress houses a museum that contains artifacts from the time when the fortress was used as a prison by the former dictator of Portugal, Salazar.
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