Planning your trip or just wondering what there is to see? Here are the top Portugal Attractions that you could include on your itinerary: the best places to visit in Portugal, the best churches, monasteries, beaches, palaces, views... With photos!
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Selection of the Best Portugal Attractions
Top 4 - Best Portugal attractions
It is way too difficult to select the best places to visit in Portugal. So, for this top 4, I have selected the sites that I have found the most unique, that you won't be able to see anywhere else.
- Pena Palace in Sintra
- Bom Jesus church and its Baroque staircase
- Falesia beach and its colors
- Monsanto Village with its boulders
Other things to do in Portugal
Of course, there is much more to see in Portugal. In this article you will find 20+ ideas. They are included (with many others) in my travel guide eBooks in which the Practical maps of the guide help you easily plan your road trip:
Best Palaces in Portugal
Palaces are some of the best attractions in Portugal, especially because of Sintra, which has several of them not far from Lisbon. However, in this list only one is from Sintra. Discover my top 3:
Definitively one of the Top 10 Portugal attractions, the Pena Palace in Sintra cannot be ignored. Be it the shapes or the colors, this is a unique place to visit in Portugal and even in the World.
Come on a visit in video and photos in the article dedicated to the Sintra Pena Palace
The Bussaco Palace or Buçaco Palace is often overlooked by travelers who are rushing towards Aveiro and Porto. Located in the Serra do Buçaco Range, the palace is now a luxury hotel. The park and gardens are open to everyone for a nice break in nature.
The Ducal Palace in Guimaraes or Palace of the Dukes of Braganza is not that fascinating from the outside. But the work that has been done to set up the rooms inside is impressive.
Best Monasteries / Convents in Portugal
No visit to Portugal is complete without visiting one monastery... but I recommend visiting several because they all have different atmospheres. It has been difficult to select only 3 for this list of top attractions in Portugal.
Convento de Cristo
My favorite was the Convento de Cristo on the Monastery loop North of Lisbon. Located in Tomar, it is a huge site with a castle, long corridors, several cloisters and so much to see. But what I liked most, is that it has kept a fascinating atmosphere despite being a huge Portugal attraction.
Visit it in photos and Video in the dedicated article.
The most famous of all, the Monastery of Jeronimos is located in Lisbon. This Unesco Heritage Site is magnificent both form the outside and from the inside
Another one of the famous Portugal Attractions is the Batalha Monastery (also on the monastery loop North of Lisbon). Using late Gothic architecture, it was actually never finished. At the end of the tour, the visitor can have a look at the unfinished Chapels.
Visit it with me in video and photos in the article dedicated to the Batalha Monastery
Best Beaches in Portugal
Portugal has so many beautiful beaches with dramatic cliffs and sea stacks. It is really not easy to reduce the best of list. The Algarve beaches are definitively considered must-see in Portugal: Dona Ana, Marinha, Falesia...
But some Atlantic beaches such as Praia do Magoito are worth the detour.
Discover my TOP 12 on the articles dedicated to the best beaches in Portugal (includes a video!)
Best Castles in Portugal
So, when we say castles in Portugal, do not think French castles or Bavarian ones. The ones in Portugal are not fairy-tale like. They are stronghold with long walls protecting them, which is fun!
Castle of the Moors
Between the Palaces, one of the Highlights of Sintra, is the Castle of the Moors. The fortifications are great to explore with incredible views of the valley and of Pena Palace.
Come on a visit in video and photos in the article dedicated to the Sintra Castle of the Moors
The fort of Marvao is maybe not the most impressive you will ever see (especially if you have been to places like Scotland). But it just fits perfectly on the hill, above the village, with incredible views of the surroundings on every side.
Castelo de Sao Jorge
Castelo Sao Jorge, the Lisbon Castle cannot be missed. Overlooking the city and the Rio Tajo, it is a great place to go for a walk and admire the views over Lisbon. So many walls to explore!
Come on a visit in video and photos in the article dedicated to the Lisbon Castle of Sao Jorge
Portugal Attractions : Best Churches and religious places
Portugal has many religious places. One of the most famous is the Sanctuary of Fatima. It is a top religious spot but not on my list of the most impressive places. Here are my top religious monuments to visit in Portugal.
If you have seen pictures of Portugal, you probably have seen pictures of the Amazing Bom Jesus and its stairway. The play on perspective is absolutely fascinating. One of the best places to visit in Portugal.
Discover it in photos and video in my article dedicated to Bom Jesus Braga
Santuario de Santa Luzia
Located on the Hill of Santa Luzia, the Santuario is a monumental square temple. Thanks to is location, it is quite scenic. And you can even climb to the top of it!
Sao Roque in Porto is actually quite neutral and without much interest from the outside, but walk inside and admire the painted ceiling and the gold decor!
Best Views in Portugal
Ok, this one selection of top Portugal Attractions is difficult. Everywhere you can see amazing views of landscapes or cityscapes. It is hard to choose. But here are 4 views which I think should not be missed whilst in Portugal.
Porto from the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar
Porto is a very photogenic town in general. I have found that one of the best views of the city is from the gardens of Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar.
I have been to most of the Miradouros in the city of Lisbon. The Santa Justa elevator has the best views of the rooftops, but if you want the most complete view over Lisbon, head to the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.
Miradouro da Pedra Bela
From Pedra Bela, you can admire the best view of the Penada Geres National Park with the waters of the Cavado River.
Many viewpoints are set up along the Douro Valley to admire the river and the plantations. One of the most open views is from the Miradouro Casal de Loivos.
Best Villages in Portugal
Portugal is full of old and scenic villages perched on hills or not. I think some of the best villages in Portugal are:
- Obidos where you can walk on the fortification all around
- Monsanto and its amazing structures around and under huge boulders
- Mertola and its white houses against the river and dark hills
Discover my TOP 5 on the article dedicated to the best villages in Portugal.
Other Places to visit in Portugal
Here are 4 other icons of Portugal that I have not been able to categorize:
Ponta da Piedade
In the Algarve, the cliffs of Ponta da Piedade are stunning. You can see all the sea stacks and bridges from the top, or go down the stairway to see them on foot at low tide or otherwise by boat.
Discover the magnificent coastline in video and photos in the article dedicated to Ponta da Piedade Portugal.
Benagil Sea Caves
One of the most famous sea caves in the World, Benagil has a stunning dome shape with a hole at the top and 2 entrances. But it is not that easy to photograph from a boat!
See a video and more photos, on the Article about the Benagil Sea Cave and other Algarve Caves.
Cabo da Roca
Cabo da Roca is famous for being the most Western point in mainland Portugal and continental Europe.
Planning a road trip around Portugal?
Discover 14 suggestions of places to stay to discover all those amazing attractions - head to the Portugal accommodations article.
And see how you could see all these magnificent locations, with my Portugal itinerary Suggestions article
or check out my Travel Guides with practical maps to facilitate the planning
Want to see more of PORTUGAL?
Which ones are on your itinerary?
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