Interesting Facts About Portugal
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Top Things to Do in Portugal
1. Delve into History in Belém Lisbon
Delve into history in Belém Lisbon by visiting Padrao dos Descobrimentos, a monument that depicts key figures in the Age of Exploration. The monument marks the location where many ships began their journeys to explore the world. Constructed in 1960, the monument was inspired by the temporary artwork that was displayed during the Portuguese World Exhibition in 1940.
2. Road trip to the Douro Valley
If you’re planning a road trip through Portugal, you might consider driving through the Douro Valley. The Douro Valley is an area rich in wine. Travelers can visit several wineries and sample their wines during their stay. Some wineries also offer tours. Some of these tours include a short cruise down the Douro River. Some of these tours also include a walk through the vineyards.
The Douro Valley has many hidden gems, but the real highlight is the town of Pinhao. This beautiful town is surrounded by terraced vineyards and is located on one of the river’s bends. While you’re here, make sure to visit a 16th-century monastery.
3. Check out the Castle Fortress of Almeida
The Castle Fortress of Almeida is a historic monument that is located in the municipality and civil parish of Almeida, Portugal. This castle is in the former northwest province of Beira Alta. It is a fascinating historical site worth seeing for anyone interested in Portuguese culture and history.
4. Soak up the Sun on Praia do Camilo
If you’re planning a Portugal vacation this summer, you’ll want to visit the postcard-perfect Praia do, Camilo. This sheltered sliver of sand is a great place to take a swim and relax. The sand here is incredibly soft and the blue water is pristine. However, in the summer, it can be crowded. To avoid this, try to arrive early. By late afternoon, the beach is usually in shadow.
Praia do Camilo is a stunning, Instagram-worthy beach located near the picturesque city of Lagos. Surrounded by sandstone cliffs and a 17th-century fort, Praia do Camilo is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. While you’re here, you’ll want to take a walk down the wooden staircase that leads to the beach. Snorkelers will love the turquoise waters and clifftop restaurants offer breathtaking views of the coastline.
5. Visit the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
The Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is one of Lisbon’s most popular tourist attractions. It is located nearby the Monument to the Discoveries and the historic Belem Tower. It was built as a memorial to Portuguese explorers who made important discoveries in the Indies. During the 1700s, the riches of the Indies were flooding into Portugal, and the monument was built to celebrate the achievements of these explorers.
6. Marvel at the Oceanario de Lisboa
If you’re a fan of the sea, then you’ll want to check out the Oceanario de Lisboa, located on the eastern coast of the city. This aquarium is home to over 8,000 marine creatures and is focused on marine conservation. If you’re looking for an unforgettable family outing, it’s worth checking out.
7. Visit Palacio Nacional de Sintra
When visiting Sintra, Portugal, it is important to spend at least one day in the city. The city is famous for its many majestic palaces, including the Palacio Nacional de Sintra. My visit coincided with the city’s Friday open house, and the palace was very beautiful. There are several rooms in the palace, and free WiFi is available.
8. Sunbathe on Matosinhos Beach
This gorgeous beach in Porto, Portugal, has plenty of people enjoying the sun during the summer. The beach is located just 15 minutes from the city center. You can reach the beach via the metro or by taking bus number 500 from Praca da Liberdade in the city center. While the beach is most popular in the summer months, lifeguards are present all year round.
9. Take a dip in the tidal pools of Leça da Palmeira
If you want to relax and refresh yourself after a day at the beach, take a dip in the tidal at Leça da Palmeira. The seawater pools were designed by Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza, and are only a few minutes away from Porto. These pools are ideal for families as they are close to the ocean. The design respects the rocky outcrops and soft sands of the beach.
10. Take the Thermal Waters at Vidago Palace
Located in a park with a golf course, Vidago Palace is a great place to unwind with a relaxing soak in the thermal water. The hotel features a large spa with 20 treatment rooms and a Turkish bath. It also offers an indoor and outdoor swimming pool. This city is also famous for the Vidago water, which is bottled and sold throughout Portugal.
11. Explore Benagil Sea Cave
When visiting Benagil, Portugal, you should explore the sea cave while it is open for public tours. The best time to visit the sea cave depends on what you want to see. If you want to see the cave at its best, you should visit early in the day to avoid crowds. Also, you should visit the sea cave in the afternoon or midday to avoid waiting in line.
Benagil is best known for its sea cave, which is located just around the corner from the beach. It has been featured in numerous travel guides and “places you must see” lists. As a result, it has become a popular activity in the Algarve. This has led to more accessibility, as boats run regularly to the cave.
12. Climb the Torre de Belem
One of the most iconic buildings in Lisbon is the Torre de Belem. Constructed in the 16th century, this tower typifies Manueline style architecture. Its main facade faces the sea and is decorated with intricate ornamentation, including nautical and religious motifs. The tower is a reminder of the prosperity of Lisbon’s maritime trade and provides breathtaking views of Lisbon.
13. Drive through Parque National Da Serra Da Estrella
The Serra da Estrela Natural Park is a natural wonderland located in the largest mountain range in Portugal. Located near the Zêzere, Mondego, and Alva Rivers, the park protects the nation’s largest natural conservation area. The park is a great place for hiking and biking and is also an ideal location for birdwatching.
14. Walk the Historical Way from Santiago do Cacém
The Historical Way starts in Santiago do Cacem and ends in the nearby town of Vale Seco. This walking trail is dotted with historic buildings and features a picturesque river valley. The first day of the trail is a bit challenging, with several ascents and descents, but after the first seven kilometers, the scenery becomes largely flat. The walk takes around seven to eight hours.
15. See the Anchor Cemetery in Praia do Barril
In Praia do Barril, Portugal, you can see an interesting display of more than 200 rusty anchors. These anchors are from old tuna boats that were no longer used due to a lack of resources. This cemetery is dedicated to the history of the island and the people who lived there. You can see many old rusty anchors and marvel at their unique look.
16. Soak Up the Vibes at Vila Nova de Milfontes
If you want to enjoy a laid-back vacation without leaving the city, Vila Nova de Milfontes is a perfect choice. This town has a beautiful setting and is ideal for families. The town is home to numerous restaurants and bars that are kid-friendly. There are also two supermarkets in the town. The area is also very friendly to tourists, and many of the tourists speak English.
17. Go canoeing at Furnas Lake
Canoeing in Furnas Lake in Portugal is a fun light activity that will allow you to enjoy the natural beauty of this area. This lake is located at an elevation of 1,181 feet and contains many mud pools and fumaroles. The lake itself contains warm, mineral-rich water.
The trail around Furnas Lake is about five miles long and has beautiful views of the area. There are also mud volcanoes and hot springs. While you’re here, make sure to try the local stew, Cozido nas Caldeiras, which is cooked underground.
18. Tour Bom Jesus do Monte
The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte is a Catholic shrine in Tenes, outside of Braga. The name is a Portuguese translation of “Good Jesus of the Mount.” While you’re in Tenes, make sure to stop by the Sanctuary.
A knowledgeable guide can take you on a tour of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte. They can also accompany you to other sights in the area. Alternatively, you can combine your trip to Bom Jesus do Monte with a day trip to Braga. This will allow you to visit both places and still have plenty of time to explore them.
19. Visit the Universidade de Coimbra
If you’re in the mood for history, visit the Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal, and spend a day exploring one of the oldest universities in Europe. This Unesco-listed university was originally founded in Lisbon in the 13th century and has been moved several times since. Today, it is located in the city of Coimbra and is surrounded by majestic buildings of the 16th and 18th centuries. There’s also an evocative library called the Biblioteca Joanina. Visitors can buy admission tickets to the University for the day, or for specific buildings.
20. Discover the Beauty of Historical Aveiro
Discover the beauty of Aveiro, Portugal by visiting this historic city and its beautiful seaside scenery. Aveiro is also known as the Venice of Portugal because of its canals and unique style. The climate is warm and pleasant almost year-round, which makes it a great place to visit in any season.
21. Go on an Indulgent Weekend in the Algarve
If you are planning a weekend trip to Portugal, you might want to go to the Algarve in autumn. The temperatures are still warm, but they aren’t as high as they are in the summer months. You’ll also be able to enjoy a much quieter atmosphere, which means that you can get a great deal on flights and accommodations. There are also plenty of events in the Algarve during the fall, such as the Sweet Potato Festival in Aljezur.
22. Hiking in the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês
Hiking in the Parque Nacional de Peneda-Gerês in northern Portugal is a great way to explore the country’s rich natural heritage. This 270-square-mile national park is home to ancient monasteries, sweeping plateaus and lush forests. The park is a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts of all fitness levels.
Hikers can choose from several routes within the park. The most popular trail is the GR 50, which connects ancient Roman roads, herding paths and medieval pilgrimage routes. This route can take up to a couple of weeks to complete. It is well-marked and is divided into 19 stages.
23. Check out the surf at Nazare beach
If you’ve ever wanted to check out the surf in Portugal, check out Nazare beach. This big wave surf location is a popular destination for professional surfers. It is a world-class location and there are at least 20 surfers in residence every week during winter. Famous surfers who frequent this beach include Kai Lenny, Lucas Chianca, and Justin Dupont.
24. Marvel at the collections in the Museu Calouste Gu
The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is one of Lisbon’s most popular museums, boasting over 6,000 pieces from all over the world. The collection was donated by Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, an Armenian national who lived in Portugal before his death. The museum’s collections include European, Greek, and Egyptian art. It also houses European numismatic collections.
25. Explore the Castelo de Guimaraes
The Castelo de Guimaraes is a medieval castle in the northern region of Portugal. Originally built in the 10th century under the order of Mumadona Dias to protect a monastery from attacks, this castle has survived through time. Today, it serves as the principal medieval castle in the town.
26. Climb the Torre de Clerigos
If you love to get up in the air, you should definitely climb the Clerigos Tower in Porto, Portugal. The tower is 249 feet tall and features a Neoclassical and Pombaline design. Once you reach the top, you will have a great view of the city. It is also home to 49 bells! The spiral staircase leads you to the observation deck. However, it is narrow and long, so it might take some time to reach the top. It is a National Monument and an iconic landmark in Porto.
27. Visit the Castelo de Sao Jorge
If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon, Portugal, visit the historic Castle of Saint George. The castle is situated in the freguesia of Santa Maria Maior and dates back to the 8th century BC. The fortifications built on the castle hill are the oldest in the world.
28. Visit the archaeological treasures in Evora
A trip to Evora will take you to some of Portugal’s best archaeological sites, including the Cromlech of the Almendres megalithic complex. This megalithic complex is located 4.5 road kilometers west of Nossa Senhora da Tourega e Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, a civil parish in the municipality of Évora. It’s located in the Portuguese Alentejo.
29. Marvel at Silves Castle
Silves Castle is a medieval castle in the Portuguese Algarve. It is located in the municipality and civil parish of Silves. It is believed to have been built on the remains of an ancient Lusitanian or Visigoth Castro. Today, you can tour this amazing fortification.
30. Explore the National Coach Museum
Located in the Belém district of Lisbon, Portugal, the National Coach Museum features one of the world’s largest collections of historic carriages. While you’re in Lisbon, you’ll want to explore this museum. It’s also one of the most popular Lisbon museums. If you’re looking for an authentic experience of Lisbon’s past, you’ll want to explore this museum.
31. Take a trip to Forte de Nossa Senhora da Graça
For a glimpse into Portugal’s history, take a trip to the Forte de Nossa Senhora de Graça in Portugal. The fortification was constructed between 1763 and 1792 and was considered impregnable in its time. Situated in the center of Graca square, the fort is home to a chapel and a cathedral carved into the rock. The two-kilometer-long fortress is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
32. Check out the nightlife in Albufeira
Albufeira, Portugal is an exciting and vibrant city with thriving nightlife. The town is divided into two main parts, the old town and the Strip. The Strip is home to an endless number of bars, clubs, and restaurants. Its nightlife is among the best in Portugal and draws tens of thousands of visitors every year.
33. Visit the Palacio da Bolsa
If you want to see a real classic building, visit the Stock Exchange Palace in Porto, Portugal. Built-in the 19th century by the city’s Commercial Association, this neoclassical building is a world heritage site. It is located in the historic center of Porto.
34. Walk along Cabo da Roca
Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of the Sintra Mountain Range. It is also the westernmost point of the continental Europe and Eurasian landmass. This unique location is situated near the town of Azóia, southwest of Lisbon. It is a popular destination among tourists and locals alike.
35. Enjoy the Ribeira District
If you’re looking for a quaint and authentic part of Porto, you should visit the Ribeira District. Named for the river that flows through the district, Ribeira is home to some of the city’s most picturesque and colorful buildings. Ribeira is also home to a number of churches and traditional Portuguese restaurants. The district is also a great place to sample regional delicacies and enjoy its nightlife.
36. Explore Ria Formosa Natural Park
The Ria Formosa National Park in Portugal is a unique natural environment that is a stopover for migratory birds. Its lagoon supports over 200 species, including the rare purple swamphen. You’ll also find frogs, snakes, newts, and dragonflies.
Ria Formosa offers many different types of tours. Many focus on bird watching while others are more focused on the region’s history. There are also ecologically friendly and silent boat tours. You can even charter your own sailboat to explore the park’s waterways and shorelines.
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