5 amazing cities you need to visit in Portugal
If you’re looking for some cool cities to visit in Portugal, this article has been written for you! Lisbon is an incredible city. Its rich culture, history and lifestyle are unique and you will love every minute you will be spending there. You will thoroughly enjoy the area of Belém and its splendid monuments that pay tribute to all the great discoveries Portuguese explorers made throughout the history. You will also have a great time walking the neighborhood of Alfama and experiencing how the locals live. The Baixa, Chiado, Bairro Alto areas are other neighborhoods that will mesmerize you! You will have the time of the your life while in the charming city of Lisbon.
The food, the people, the atmosphere will provide you unforgettable moments. But, in today’s article, I want to introduce you to some of my favorite cities of Portugal. These cities are less touristic than the capital, but just as lovely and fun!
If you want to experience Portuguese cities, other than Lisbon, read on and find out 5 amazing cities you need to visit in Portugal!
Connect with nature in Gerês
First on my list of the 5 amazing cities you need to visit in Portugal is Gerês. It is located in the North of the country, near the Spanish frontier. I suggest this city to all the travelers who love nature or for whoever that wants to reconnect with nature. This is one of the most peaceful and relaxing places of Portugal. At Gerês, there are plenty of fantastic places to see and visit. Your friends and followers on social media will both love and envy to be at all the beautiful places you will share.
The Santuário de Senhora da Abadia was built between the seventh and eighth century. Its atmosphere is the quietest ever. The silence and tranquility of the place is magical. The only “noises” you will hear will be the flowing water and the twittering of birds. Then, you absolutely have to go to the Parque Nacional da Peneda Gerês, where you will be able to observe unique fauna and flora and the unique species that provide a magical atmosphere to the place as well. Join the “7 bridges” (7 pontes) trail to see the waterfalls, the lagoons, and other enchanted places. Be an adventurer and try to identify the different trees and plants species along the way!
Don’t miss the Fecha de Barjas, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls of the Gerês. Swim in the Arado river (Rio Arado) and its crystal clear waters. Then, if you want to join some water sports and activities, go to the Albufeira da Caniçada! Around the water, you will find many restaurants and esplanades but the highlights of this place are definitely its water sports. You can ride a boat or hop on a sea scooter, for instance. You have everything you need for that adrenaline rush! At Gerês, you will also find several villages worth the visit. Get lost and try to discover their mysteries.
For the greatest viewpoint, go to the Miradouro da Pedra Bela. The pine trees and cedar tree give a special atmosphere to the place. From there, you will have the greatest view over the many villages of the area.
Gerês is amazing. You will thoroughly enjoy it, especially if you love and respect nature. If you’re traveling with children, bring them to Gerês and teach them how important it is to respect and value nature.
Get inspired in Porto
There is so much to discover in Porto! I will now introduce you to Porto by sharing with you some of the best highlights and landmarks of the city! It’s actually Porto that gave the name to the country, Portugal. This city was very important for the history of the country. While in the city, you will find out it is one of the most authentic cities of Europe. The people are very friendly and the food is excellent! Plus, it’s cheaper than Lisbon!
Walk the Avenida dos Aliados, which is the heart of the city! At the top of the avenue, you will find the City Council. When walking down to reach the Ribeira, stop at the train station São Bento to have a look at the magnificent traditional azulejos.
Another highlight of the city is the Rua Santa Catarina. This shopping is perfect for those who feel like shopping a little. It’s one of the busiest streets of the city, but you definitely shouldn’t miss it, because there are plenty of different stores and street artists that bring this street to life. It is also at Rua Santa Catarina, that you will find the famous and sophisticated Café Majestic, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful cafés in the world. Note that the prices in this café are more expensive than the rest of the city. Then, you should also visit the Capela das Almas: this adorable chapel is coated with about 15 000 azulejos!
The Mercado do Bolhão was built in 1914. Several generations of families used to work or go grocery-shopping in this traditional market. The freshest products and flowers were sold there. Unfortunately, it is closed for renovation until 2020. But I had to talk about it, because it truly is part of the Porto culture.
While in Porto, don’t miss the famous Livraria Lello and the Torre dos Clérigos. These two landmarks of the city are just footsteps away from one another. You probably already know the Livraria Lello, because it inspired the writer J.K. Rowling for her Harry Potter saga. To get inside the library, you will have to pay a fee, but the amount will be refunded if you happen to buy a book, which I find pretty fair! If you’re an Harry Potter fan, as you walk around the city, I’m sure you will find other references to the saga! Keep your eyes open! ;)
A few steps away from the library, you will reach the Torre dos Clérigos. It is 76 meters tall! For several years, it was used as a beacon for the ships that were arriving to Porto, therefore it offers one of the greatest views over the city!
Walking around the Ribeira is one of the best things to do while in Porto. I guarantee you will love this area of the city! It is the most emblematic neighborhood of Porto. Walk and explore the narrow alleys, observe the details of the city. On the quays, you will be able to admire the beauty of the Douro river (Rio Douro) and the Luís I bridge (Ponte Luís I), which was designed by Théophile Seyrig, one of the students of Gustave Eiffel!
On the other side of the Rio Douro, visit one of the Port wine caves! These caves are essential to the understanding of the history of Porto. So, if you have some time while in the city, visit them! Some tours even include tasting of the Vinho do Porto!
Relax in Aveiro
If you feel like exploring the centre of Portugal, I recommend you to go to Aveiro. This city was founded for the production of salt and for maritime trade. Nowadays, Aveiro is known to be an important urban centre, due to its harbor, its railroads, its university and its sightseeing highlights. There are so many amazing places that are definitely worth visiting while in Portugal.
Visit the Oficina do Doce! It is one of the greatest highlights of the city. You will get to learn everything about the traditional “ovos moles“, which is the specialty of Aveiro, from its history to the making of it!
Also, don’t miss the Moliceiro cruises. The Moliceiros boats are one of the main highlights of the city. They were formerly used to cath the seaweed, which is called “moliço” in Portuguese, that was used as fertilizer for the lands of the region. When this activity ended, the boats started being used for touristic activities. During the boat cruises, you get to see many landmarks of the region. So, it is definitely a must!
You can also enjoy the Via Ecológica Ciclável which was inaugurated in 2018. The wooden walkways allow you yo experience the unique beauty of Aveiro, in less touristy and crowded areas of the city. During the trail, you will be able to admire the fauna and the flora of the area, and the beautiful landscapes.
If you feel like joining aquatic sports, such as kitesurfing or windsurfing for instance, go to Costa Nova beach (Praia da Costa Nova). You will also get to see the cutest fishermen houses, with their colorful vertical and horizontal stripes. These cute houses give such a unique look to the area!
Have a romantic time in Sintra
Sintra is a magical and splendid city! Visiting Sintra is like entering a fairytale where majestic palaces, mesmerizing castles and mansions arise from the middle of mysterious forests and mounts.
The charming Sintra is located only thirty kilometers from the capital! In this article, you will get to know how to get there from Lisbon.
Between 1904 and 1910, the Quinta da Regaleira was built. Its architecture refers to monarchy and its lagoons, gardens, caves and enigmatic constructions create a romantic atmosphere you will definitely want to experience.
Another landmark of Sintra is the Palácio da Pena, which is so divine that it even was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal in 2007. This palace was the first Romantic architecture one in Europe! In 2013, it was the most visited palace of Portugal, it received about 800 thousands of visitors!
Sintra is one of the most amazing cities in Portugal! You will love the architecture of the landmarks, and you will also thoroughly enjoy the history of the city! This is definitely one of the cities you need to visit while in Portugal.
Enjoy the beach in Portimão
Portimão is Portuguese favorite city when they want to spend the summer holidays or whenever they simply want to relax!
Portimão beaches are the greatest highlights of the city, and many people visit the city only to enjoy them! But there are so much more to discover and visit, such as the Portimão Museum, the Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição, and the Fortaleza de Santa Catarina that will offer you an incredible view!
While in Portimão, you absolutely have to visit the other cities around. Read this article if you want to find out a few places that are worth visiting in Portugal!
In Portimão, you will find everything you need to spend an incredible time! Both popular beaches and more intimate ones will guarantee you have an awesome time in the city. The nightlife is also a must! And, if you happen to go to some waterparks, you will have so much fun!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article about these 5 amazing cities you need to visit in Portugal! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information about anything. I hope to see you soon in one of our tours!