Portugal offers travelers the quintessential Western European getaway – lovely culture, out of this world cuisine, stunning weather almost any time of year, some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches … we could go on. But you get the idea.
If you’ve already made up your mind to holiday there – you’ve confirmed your bucketlist for the country as well as finished shopping for holiday villas to rent in Portugal – we highly recommend you double-check your travel plans.
Here are five destinations you won’t want to miss on any trip this “pearl of Europe” …
It’s an obvious choice, but with good reason. Aside from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Portugal’s second largest city is a microcosm of the country as a whole. It provides visitors with a taste of just about everything that’s awesome about the country!
If you have a short time here, we highly recommend heading to the banks of the Douro River for a stroll along the Cais de Ribeira. After the sun goes down and the shopkeepers turn their signs over for the evening, it’s a great place to just … chill. A myriad of bars and restaurants line this walk where travelers can tuck in and relax for a few hours while enjoying a cocktail over a sampling of the incredible local cuisine. It’s picture-perfect romance!
#2: Madeira: For Beach-Goers / Sun-Worshippers
There’s far more to Portugal than just the mainland. Escape to Madeira – an island approximately 250 miles north of the Canaries! As you can imagine, the locals there set there watches to island time and know full well how to relax. Bonus: the beaches here could easily best those in many parts of the Caribbean!
#3: Parque Nacional da Peneda-GerÃªs: For the More Adventurous Traveler
Looking for more active pursuits? Look no further than Portugal’s stunning Parque Nacional da Peneda-GerÃªs. Just near its border with Spain, it’s the country’s only national park.
Not surprisingly, it affords travelers some of the best and most truly stunning hiking opportunities in the whole of the Mediterranean. Everything from lush forest trails to mountain scrambles is on offer. Keep an eye out (and your camera ready) for the many ancient archaeological sites and abandoned villages scattered throughout the park.
The Bottom Line
There’s so much to see and do in Portugal! Travelers could spent ten lifetimes there and barely scratch the surface. But … the best you can do is try!