9 Greatest Cities in Portugal To Add to Your 2023 Itinerary

Portugal appears to have been grabbing the headlines not too long ago with its gorgeous coastal surroundings, wealthy historical past, and superb meals; there’s so much to like. And whereas Lisbon and Porto usually steal the highlight, Portugal is stuffed with charming cities and cities ready to be explored. 

As soon as the Portugal bug has bitten you, it is tough to depart. That occurred to me almost 5 years in the past, and I am nonetheless right here.

Should you’re planning a visit to Portugal in 2024, try a few of my greatest cities in Portugal. Let’s dive in! 

Cities in Portugal

1. Lisbon

Tram in Lisbon, one of Portugal's most visited cities (photo: Paulo Evangelista)
Tram in Lisbon (photograph: Paulo Evangelista)

The capital of Portugal and the most important metropolis within the nation, Lisbon provides first-time guests the right introduction to Portugal’s interesting combine of contemporary vibrancy and old-world attraction. 

The hilly terrain makes for a difficult stroll, however in case you burn sufficient energy, you possibly can feast on native treats just like the pasteis de nata or custard tarts guilt-free.

Legend has it the monks of the Jeronimos Monastery in Belém, Lisbon, created the unique recipe, which hasn’t modified a lot to today – good with a cup of espresso!

Take a tram trip across the metropolis, or what I love to do is lease one of many little electrical scooters to get about extra shortly. Full of eating places and bars which can be open late into the night time, Lisbon has one thing for everybody. 

My Tip: Take a number of hours to be taught in regards to the 1755 earthquake that rocked the town on the Quake Museum.

2. Porto

Colorful buildings in Porto, one of the best cities in Portugal (photo: Ekin-Fidel Tanriverdi)
Colourful buildings in Porto (photograph: Ekin-Fidel Tanriverdi)

One other gem to not be missed is the town of Porto. Constructed alongside the banks of the Douro River, Porto enchants guests with its postcard-worthy surroundings and port wine tradition. 

Cross the long-lasting double-decker Dom Luís I Bridge for picturesque views and take a tour of the port wine cellars to get a style of this fortified wine straight from the supply. 

Browse the retailers and cafes of the Ribeira district or catch conventional music at Casa da Música live performance corridor. 

One in every of my favourite issues to do is seize a chunk and drink and people-watch on the Aduela—a relaxed hangout and the highest place to move on a sunny afternoon. 

My Tip: Head to the Instagram-worthy Livraria Lello bookstore to mooch round and purchase some books in your journey.  

3. Coimbra

Convent ruins in Coimbra, Portugal (photo: Mágui de Almeida Carreira)
Convent ruins in Coimbra (photograph: Mágui de Almeida Carreira)

Get a style of pupil life in youthful Coimbra, dwelling to Portugal’s historic College of Coimbra – It has a enjoyable and youthful vibe however nonetheless that old-world attraction which I really feel is exclusive to Portugal. 

Try the Twelfth-century Previous Cathedral and Baroque Library, each adorned with ornate particulars, or chill and chill out alongside the Mondego River, or trip the mid-century Elevador do Mercado funicular. 

With a tonne of museums, dwell fado music, and pumping nightlife, Coimbra provides all kinds of actions, whether or not you’re younger or simply younger at coronary heart. 

My Tip: Try Coimbra College. It is one of many oldest universities in Europe and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Website.

4. Braga 

Braga has been an necessary non secular heart since Roman instances and is known as the “Portuguese Rome” for its focus of non secular websites. 

As we speak, this vibrant city combines sacred areas with trendy city buzz. Climb the hilltop Bom Jesus do Monte pilgrimage staircase for heavenly views. Or stare upon ornate carvings within the Catedral de Braga. 

And be sure you do not miss the colourful weekend markets brimming with flowers, native produce, and freshly caught fish. 

As a rustic, Portugal is wild about seafood, and Braga is not any totally different, being simply half-hour from the coast. And once you’re performing some tasting, if there’s cash in your finances, be sure you pattern Braga’s model of port wine at an area producer like Adega Típica da Braga. 

My Tip: Go to the Biscainhos Palace, gardens, and museum for fantastically manicured lawns, fruit bushes, and a vegetable backyard. 

5. Sintra

Pena Palace in Sintra (photo: Mark Lawson)
Pena Palace (photograph: Mark Lawson)

You may have in all probability seen footage of the palace of Sintra and never recognized it. Only a fast prepare trip from Lisbon, Sintra looks like stepping right into a fairy story. 

Located on prime of some spectacular surroundings, the nineteenth Century Pena Palace is perched on the fringe of the Serra de Sintra mountain. 

Wind by way of the luxurious gardens and stone passages of Quinta da Regaleira. Bask in Sintra’s well-known travesseiros pastries. 

And do not miss the westernmost level of continental Europe at Cabo da Roca. With its misty forests and picture-perfect palaces, Sintra is unforgettable.

My Tip: Head to Sintra within the winter months. Firstly, you keep away from the large crowds you get in summer time, and secondly, you possibly can heat your self beside the fireside at considered one of many boutique accommodations within the metropolis. 

6. Évora

Step again in time, wandering the medieval streets of Évora, a museum metropolis stuffed with historical past. One other UNESCO World Heritage Website, the world round Evora, comprises ruins courting again to Roman instances, together with the towering columns of Templo Romano. 

Tour the chilling Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) adorned with human skeletons. And for one thing not so sinister, chill in considered one of Évora’s many out of doors cafés serving savory delicacies and candy desserts. 

It has a mellow and laid-back tempo, however keep away from it throughout excessive summer time as a result of it tends to get sizzling! 

My Tip: Try the Roman Temple of Évora, a Roman temple believed to have been constructed across the 1st Century. 

7. Lagos

Algarve, Portugal (photo: Mélanie Arouk)
Algarve, Portugal (photograph: Melanie Arouk)

Everyone seems to be on trip within the Algarve. Properly, that is what it looks like anyway! Boasting beautiful beaches and gorgeous coastal surroundings, the Algarve city of Lagos has grow to be a classy resort vacation spot in recent times.

Chill on the golden sands of Praia Dona Ana or take a ship tour to see the ocean caves and arches of Benagil up shut and private.

Or strive your hand at water sports activities. The world round Lagos is the right place to be taught to surf with mild waves on the south coast at spots like Meia Praia or hit the West coast, solely a 25-minute drive away. 

In fact, the restaurant scene in Lagos has every part ticked with just about something you can want for. After dinner, the nightlife continues effectively into the early hours of the night time and all 12 months lengthy, too! 

My Tip: Head to Ponta da Piedade for sundown and take a digital camera!

8. Óbidos

Old building in Obidos (photo: Z S)
Previous constructing in Obidos (photograph: Z S)

Stroll the postcard-perfect cobblestone lanes of Óbidos, a medieval hill city encircled by historic metropolis partitions. 

From the ramparts, get pleasure from panoramic views of terracotta roofs and whitewashed homes buried in overflowing bougainvillea vines. 

This romantic vacation spot additionally boasts recent seafood and savory pork dishes in its eating choices – and when you are sampling these delights, wash all of it down with the well-known cherry liqueur drink Ginjinha – made with cherries, ginger, and cinnamon, scrumptious! 

My Tip: Go to the quite a few church buildings and chapels inside and exterior the town partitions. I feel I counted six altogether after I was final there. 

9. Guimarães 

Typically referred to as the “Cradle Metropolis” for its origins because the birthplace of Portugal’s first king within the Twelfth Century, Guimarães retains a historic vibe. 

Its well-preserved previous city not too long ago earned UNESCO World Heritage standing. Stroll as much as Guimarães Fort for a spectacular overview of the town and the encircling panorama. 

The Palace of the Dukes of Braganza showcases Fifteenth-century structure and artwork. 

Guimarães additionally holds cultural significance because the European Capital of Tradition in 2012. With a lot wealthy historical past, this northern metropolis deserves a spot in your itinerary.

My Tip: Seize a drink from one of many cafes and sit in one of many many medieval squares across the metropolis. 

Loosen up and Recharge Throughout Portugal

Portugal actually does have a little bit of every part, from dynamic city hubs like Lisbon to storybook cities like Óbidos. Portugal provides an immense selection in its cities. 

Should you make it to Portugal in 2024, take time to wander. That is only a easy information to get you began. Do not be afraid to discover these hidden alleyways and get off the crushed path. 

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