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Where to go in Portugal? The best towns, cities and regions to visit in Portugal

The two main cities, Lisbon and Porto are both vibrant and charismatic destinations, which lend themselves to intense city breaks.

The beautiful southern coastline of the Algarve is a firm favourite with families and package tourists, who adore the wonderful beaches and holiday-buzz of the resort towns. The western Portuguese coastline is much calmer, with its dramatic coastal scenery, traditional fishing towns and charming beach resorts.

 

 

The interior of Portugal is significantly less touristy, but no less fascinating, with ancient walled towns and rich cultural heritage. To the far north are hills covered in vineyards, jagged mountains, and traditional villages undiscovered by tourism.
Portugal will provide you with your dream holiday, and it is there for you to discover……
Related articles: Lisbon guide - Porto guide1 week in PortugalPortugal’s best beach - Top 10 Portugal

The best towns and cities of Portugal

Below is an interactive map displaying of the best towns and cities of Portugal.
The yellow pins mark the 10 best beach resorts in Portugal and the green pins are the 10 best cities and towns. The blue markers show the 10-best lesser-known and personal favourite destinations of Portugal.

The 10 best beach resorts: 1) Cascais 2) Tavira 3) Albufeira 4) Nazaré 5) Sesimbra 6) Costa Nova 7) Tróia 8) Povoa de Varzim 9) Praia da Rocha 10) Ericeira

The 10 best towns and cities: 1) Lisbon 2) Porto 3) Coimbra 4) Sintra 5) Lagos 6) Evora 7) Faro 8) Setubal 9) Braga 10) Bragança

The 10 best lesser known towns: 1) Viana do Castelo 2) Vila Nova de Milfontes 3) Guimarães 4) Elvas 5) Lamego 6) Tomar 7) Óbidos 8) Vila Real de Santo António 9) Ponte de Lima 10) Silves

Where to go in Portugal?

The following section details each of the main tourist regions of Portugal, what to visit and highlights.

The Algarve

Much of the central Algarve region has succumbed to sprawling holiday villa complexes and golf courses, but authentic and historic Portugal can be discovered in the towns of Silves, Loule, Olhão and Vila Real de Santo António. Our favourite holiday destination of the Algarve is Tavira, which offers pristine beaches, Portuguese charm, and is set in the less-touristy eastern Algarve.
Related articles: Where to stay in the AlgarveAlbufeira guideTavira guideLagos guide

Our opinion: Portugal’s beaches and resort towns are not just limited to the Algarve. The western Alentejo region around Vila Nova de Milfontes has some of the most beautiful beaches of Portugal, while there are many pretty resort towns close to Lisbon, such as Cascais, Estoril or Sesimbra. In the busy summer months, when the Algarve is completely sold out, the Costa Verde (around Porto) is a great alternative.

Lisbon and the surrounding region

Beyond the city are numerous fascinating day trips, which could easily extend a stay to a week. There is the picturesque town of Sintra, the charming beach resort of Cascais, the bustling port of Setubal or the relaxing beaches of Sesimbra. Lisbon is an outstanding holiday destination, and you should visit it at the earliest opportunity!

The only issue with Lisbon, is that mass tourism has fully discovered the city, and it is beginning to suffer from over-tourism. For a city break in the peak months, consider visiting Porto (which still can be busy), or completely undiscovered Viana do Castelo.
Related articles: Our Lisbon guide - Top 10 LisbonSintraCascais

The Alentejo region

Along the Spanish border are the heavily fortified towns of Marvão, Elvas and Monsaraz, constructed from centuries of fighting with Spain. The historic city of Evora, with its Roman temple, Gothic cathedral and charming cobbled plazas is the standout destination of the central Alentejo.

The Alentejo coastline offers some of Portugal’s most dramatic natural scenery but is rarely visited by foreign tourists. This is a windswept coastline of massive beaches, powerful seas and jagged cliffs. If you are wanting an alternative beach holiday destination, then Vila Nova de Milfontes and Porto Covo, could be just what you are seeking.
Advice: A rental car is needed to get the most from the Alentejo region.
Related articles: Evora guide - Vila Nova de Milfontes guide

Porto and the Douro Valley

Close to Porto are the historic cities of Braga and Guimarães, while in the summer months the beautiful beaches of the Costa Verde coastline can be visited.

To the east of Porto, the Douro River snakes upstream into the hilly, vineyard region of the Douro Valley. This region offers, wonderful scenery, leisurely boat cruises and picturesque towns such as Lamego, Pinhão and Peso da Régua.
Our advice: Lisbon may be more famous, but Porto will provide you just as varied and enjoyable city break.
Related articles: Porto GuideTop 10 Porto

Central Portugal

Central Portugal is a diverse and fascinating region, which is ideal for a touring holiday.
The historic university city of Coimbra is the largest city of the region, and offers magnificent educational institutions along with the buzz of a university city.

The coastline of central Portugal is dominated by the powerful Atlantic Ocean, and is the setting for the famed surfing towns of Peniche and Nazaré – with Nazaré boasting the world’s largest surfed wave (at 30m high). Further along the coast is pretty Figueira da Foz and the colourful beach houses of Costa Nova.

Central Portugal is a wonderful region which could take weeks to fully explore, but often tourists skip the region entirely by catching the express train from Lisbon to Porto.
Related articles: Tomar guideObidos guideNazare guideCoimbra guide - Aveiro guide

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MyPortugalHoliday.com

The best guide to Portugal

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Porto Guide

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The Algarve

algarve guide

The beautiful coastline of southern Portugal

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Portugal Weekend

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Central Portugal and the Silver Coast

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Top 10 Portugal

top 10 portugal

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to visit while in Portugal?

1 Week in Portugal

1 Week in Portugal

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for a 1 week holiday?

Lisbon Guide

lisbon portugal Guide

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Porto Guide

porto portugal guide

Historic, lively and virtually undiscovered, visit Porto!

The Algarve

algarve guide

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About Us

We are the original, independent, travel website for Portugal.

We want to help you, as the modern and social aware tourist, to discover authentic and memorable experiences, in a country we adore.

 

giddioso

We are no multi-national corporation; we use first-hand knowledge, and write these guides because it is our passion.


The original concept was to create clear, concise and informative guides - which we would actually want to use!

After 12 years of traveling, 20 different websites and 30million visitors, this is still our true belief.


If you want to see what we’re up to or get in contact with us, pop over to our Instagram page…


We hope that you enjoy your holiday to Portugal,
Phil & Carla Giddioso

 

 

Portugal Weekend

Portugal Weekend

Ideas and suggestions for a short break to Portugal

Central Portugal

Central Portugal and the Silver Coast

The fascinating and diverse central Portugal region

Top 10 Portugal

top 10 portugal

What are the top 10 places
to visit while in Portugal?

1 Week in Portugal

1 Week in Portugal

What are the best locations
for a 1 week holiday?

Lisbon Guide

lisbon portugal Guide

Lisbon is the vibrant and exciting capital of Portugal

Porto Guide

porto portugal guide

Historic, lively and virtually undiscovered, visit Porto!

The Algarve

algarve guide

The beautiful coastline of southern Portugal

Best Beach

best beach Portugal

Which are the best
beaches of Portugal?

Portugal Weekend

Portugal Weekend

Ideas and suggestions for a short break to Portugal

Central Portugal

Central Portugal and the Silver Coast

The fascinating and diverse central Portugal region

Top 10 Portugal

top 10 portugal

What are the top 10 places
to visit while in Portugal?

1 Week in Portugal

1 Week in Portugal

What are the best locations
for a 1 week holiday?

Lisbon Guide

lisbon portugal Guide

Lisbon is the vibrant and exciting capital of Portugal

Porto Guide

porto portugal guide

Historic, lively and virtually undiscovered, visit Porto!

The Algarve

algarve guide

The beautiful coastline of southern Portugal

Best Beach

best beach Portugal

Which are the best
beaches of Portugal?