Located on the western coast of the Iberian
peninsula, Portugal is one of Europe’s most visited countries due to its idyllic climate,
affordable travel costs and exceptional attractions. Portugal’s varied geography ranges from
the verdant mountains and vineyards of the North to the glamorous beaches of the Algarve
along the southern coastline. Also belonging to Portugal but lying in the
Atlantic Ocean are the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira, known for their lush landscapes
and flower gardens. Here’s a look at the best places to visit
in Portugal. #10. Coimbra A charming city situated by the Mondego River,
Coimbra is home to a treasure trove of historic sites and a lively culture that is centered
around one of Europe’s oldest universities. One of the best things to do in Coimbra is
to simply get lost and discover the many historic attractions from the stunning Old Cathedral
to the Gothic Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, which contains the tomb of Queen Isabel. No trip to Coimbra would be complete without
a visit to the University of Coimbra to admire one of the world’s most beautiful libraries. #9. The Azores The Archipelago of the Azores is composed
of 9 volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, located about 930 miles west of Lisbon. Renowned for world-class whale watching, hot
mineral springs, and quaint seaside towns, each island has its own fascinating identity. São Miguel is the largest island of the Azores
and is known as “The Green Island” while Pico is home to the highest mountain in Portugal. #8. Aveiro Hugging the country’s Atlantic Coast in
Central Portugal, Aveiro is a bustling city often called “the Venice of Portugal”
due to its picturesque setting of scenic canals connected by charming bridges and dotted with
colorful gondolas. Historic sites, gorgeous beaches and tasty
cuisine also make Aveiro a popular tourist destination. The’s many sightseeing gems include the
Aveiro Cathedral, the São Gonçalinho Chapel and the Convento de Jesus. These all offer lovely architecture and art
works. #7. Evora Evora may be a small town in southern Portugal,
but it packs huge tourist appeal. With a history dating back more than 2,000
years, Evora was once a flourishing city under Roman rule. Today, Evora shelters more than 4,000 historic
structures including the old Roman walls and temples. Another highlight is the 13th century Cathedral
of Evora, one of Portugal’s most important Gothic structures. Not far outside the city is Europe’s largest
complex of prehistoric megaliths that are also worth a look. #6. Porto World famous for its production of fine port
wine, the busy city of Porto sprawls along the hills overlooking the Douro River in northern
Portugal. At the heart of Porto is the charming pedestrian
zone, the Ribeira, an atmospheric place on the river, buzzing in live music, cafes, restaurants
and street vendors. Dominating this popular tourist setting is
the Ponte Dom Luis, a metal, double-deck arch bridge that links Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia,
well-known for its port wine cellars. #5. Madeira Sporting the nickname “Floating Garden of
the Atlantic,” Madeira is a fertile oasis in the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal and
North Africa, popular for its lush green landscapes, flower gardens and wines. Must-see places in Madeira include the Orchid
Garden and the Laurissilva Forest, which harbors the world’s largest concentration of laurel. The capital and largest city on Madeira is
Funchal, home to historic churches and fortresses as well as the tree-lined Lido Promenade,
which presents spectacular ocean views. #4. Sintra Nestled in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains
on the Lisbon Coast, Sintra presents a spectacular setting of verdant hills, sprinkled with pretty
castles and palaces. The most famous is Pena’s Palace, a fantastical
castle reminiscent of Germany’s Neuschwanstein. Built in the mid-1800s and serving as a summer
retreat for the Portuguese royal family, Pena’s Palace is surrounded by forested parklands
containing exotic trees and flowers. Also not to be missed are the ancient ruins
of the Castle of the Moors crowning the city’s highest hill, and the romantic Monserrate
Palace with its subtropical gardens. #3. Obidos Located on a hilltop in the Centro Region
of western Portugal, Obidos is encircled by an old fortified wall. Besides the wall, the magnificent medieval
castle and historic center of Obidos make up the city’s main attraction and can easily
be walked. A labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets leads
visitors along busy squares, quaint shops and whitewashed houses spruced with colorful
flowers. The castle with its commanding edifice, huge
gates and towers is now a luxurious hotel but a marvel to behold nevertheless. #2. Algarve Sunny Mediterranean climate, gorgeous beaches,
picturesque towns, fabulous cuisine and affordable costs are just some of the reasons that make
the Algarve one of the most popular destinations in Portugal. Located in the country’s southernmost region,
the Algarve offers a feast for the eyes, from tranquil landscapes of olive groves, traditional
whitewashed villages to the wild, windswept coast with its dramatic cliffs dotted with
summer resorts. Faro is the region’s capital, and Lagos
is the area’s hot spot for nightlife. #1. Lisbon Stretching along the banks of the Tagus River
near the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal’s capital and largest city winds upward among seven
steep hills, forming an enchanting destination of colorful neighborhoods, reverberating in
traditional fado music. The city’s oldest district is Alfama, an
old Moorish quarter, distinct for its maze of cobblestone streets, rustic architecture
and St. George’s Castle. The best way to experience Lisbon is by taking
one of the vintage trams such as the well known Tram 28, which winds along historic
quarters, gardens and main attractions.