Amazing landscapes, beautiful beaches, historic small towns, and fascinating architecture – find out all about the most beautiful places in Portugal!
Portugal is a fun and friendly Southern European country found on the Iberian Peninsula. On top of its laid-back atmosphere, year-round sunshine and delicious local delicacies, Portugal is also filled with some beautiful places to visit.
Whether you’re a fan of the coast or countryside, love visiting small towns and villages, or prefer picturesque cities, there’s something for everyone in this guide!
Coming up are several destinations I think are worthy of the accolade ‘the prettiest places in Portugal’! From the city of Porto and the romantic Douro Valley, to the exotic Azores, there are so many stunning places to visit in Portugal. Don’t blame me if you start researching flights the second you finish reading!
The most beautiful places in Portugal
Porto is famous for its narrow cobbled streets, mediaeval architecture, colourful houses and a famous bell tower. Explore the Rua das Flores for a day of boutique shopping or check out the historic Palacio da Bolsa, one of Portugal’s most well-preserved palaces.
Don’t forget, Porto is a famous wine region known for its Port wine. Visit the famous Miradouro Ignez restaurant to enjoy a glass on their beautiful outdoor terrace, while watching the boats sail through the harbour.
The Douro Valley is one of the most coveted regions in the world for wine lovers. Here, the Douro River winds its way through the area creating an exquisite landscape to the east of Porto. If you travel to the Douro Valley you simply must visit Mateus Palace and its stunning gardens or travel back in time on a historic steam train!
To visit the Douro Valley on a day trip from Porto, I’d recommend booking onto a scenic river cruise tour, which includes a wine tasting and hearty lunch.
The Azores are autonomous region made up of 9 islands in the mid-Atlantic ocean. Not only is it one of the prettiest places in Portugal but it’s also a wonderful place to plan an adventurous holiday!
The landscapes here are beautiful and exotic. They look like somewhere a lot further away, with huge peaks, cloud-covered hills, spectacular turquoise waters and paradise beaches.
Even more exciting are the wild volcanic landscapes! Spend days exploring calderas, crater lakes, lava caves and geothermal pools! The Azores aren’t like anywhere you’ll find in mainland Portugal!
You can experience all sorts of fun activities here, from hiking and cycling, to canoeing and scuba diving. Since the Azores are a bit of a hidden gem, you won’t find huge hoards of tourists visiting. There’s plenty of space to enjoy some peace and quiet in nature without the crowds.
Wildlife lovers will enjoy a holiday in The Azores too as this is one of the best places in the world to see whales and dolphins.
One of the best places to visit in Portugal is its sunny capital city Lisbon. While Lisbon might not get the same love as some other major European cities, I think it’s unfair! It’s underrated perhaps, but is filled with beautiful things to do and see, both old and new! We went on our mini-moon last year and absolutely fell in love with its steep streets, funiculars, delicious food and views.
Check out fascinating landmarks such as Belem Tower, the oldest of Portugal’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Alternatively, explore the narrow, winding streets of Lisbon’s historic old town. Don’t forget to try the local delicacy, pastel de nata (sweet and moreish custard tarts)!
Manteigaria has some of the best custards in all of Lisbon and is loved by the locals! I’d also recommend A Cevicheria if you’re a fan of Peruvian food. The ceviche there is some of the best I’ve ever eaten in the world!
For a special occasion, book a table at Loco. This Michelin-starred restaurant serves up some of the most creative and gastronomic food on the planet. Enjoy a tasting menu over several hours and you’ll get a true flavour of the variety and depth of Portuguese cuisine.
One of the most popular places to visit in Portugal is The Algarve. While this is by no means a hidden gem, it’s still well worth a trip! You’ll find some of Portugal’s best beaches here, along with stunning natural landmarks and a rich wine country.
For a bit of fun, why not admire the views of the beautiful Algarve coast from your very own speed boat tour? You can sip wine as you visit the famous Benagil Caves – one of the world’s most beautiful caves. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some playful dolphins!
Tavira Island is only accessible by boat from the small coastal town of Tavira along Portugal’s Algarve coast. This small island features a beautiful, white sandy beach, abundant wildlife and stunning scenery.
Visit Tavira for a peaceful holiday immersed in nature or to try fun water sports like paddle boarding and kite surfing!
Arrábida Natural Park
If you’re looking for some of the best beaches in Portugal, you’ll find them in Arrábida Natural Park. This picturesque park is located around one hour’s drive from Lisbon, right on the coast. It’s rich with Mediterranean seascapes and natural beauty.
If you’re interested in learning more about the abundant wildlife in the area, take a trip to the Oceanographic Museum or skip the history lesson and spend all day relaxing on the beautiful beaches instead!
Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra mountains to the west of Lisbon, you’ll find the charming town of Sintra. This colourful town is famous for its 19th-century hilltop palace and the surrounding dense pine-forest forest filled with hiking trails. Spend the day exploring the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites or take a ride on the scenic Sintra tram.
We visited on our mini-moon and I fell in love with the beautiful colours of Pena Palace. It’s like something from a fairytale! It’s just so spectacular.
The easiest way to visit Sintra is on a day trip from Lisbon. To make things simple, I’d recommend booking a guided tour like this one. It gives you the chance to experience all of Sintra’s highlights in one day including the beautiful Pena Palace, Cabo da Roca, and Cascais.
Obidos is a picturesque small town located in Portugal’s Oeste region. Rumour has it that Portuguese Queen Isabel was so enamoured with Obidos that her husband gave her the town as a present during the 13th century! That’s quite a gift!
Today, Obidos is a vibrant town rich with history that you can easily explore on foot. Visit the well-preserved Medieval castle, Castelo de Óbidos, or explore Rua Direita, a long street filled with cafes, boutique shops and plenty of fine dining restaurants.
Evora is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal. This charming, small town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its beautifully preserved, historic architecture and white-washed houses.
History buffs are sure to fall in love with all the historic landmarks in Evora! Check out the Gothic Sé Cathedral or explore the fascinating Palácio dos Duques de Cadaval.
Want to experience one of the most unusual and underrated places in Portugal? Then check out Evora’s Bone Chapel (Capela dos Ossos). This fascinating, 16th-century chapel is not for the faint hearted! The chapel’s walls are decorated with over 5,000 bones and skulls making it an unusual and macabre place to visit!
Serra da Estrela Natural Park
Estrela is Portugal’s largest protected area, offering over 100,000 hectares for you to explore. The area is rich in beautiful landscapes including lakes, alpine forests and waterfalls. Keep an eye out for creatures great and small, including wolves, wild boars, peregrine falcons and foxes.
You can explore the park’s natural beauty on foot or mountain bike along one of the many trails. If you visit in the winter, Serra da Estrela Natural Park is where you’ll find Portugal’s only ski course.
Amarante is a scenic, riverside town found in the Northern Minho province of Portugal. This fairy-tale town was founded along the Tamega River. Here, you can walk along the river’s shores and enjoy lunch at one of the many riverside cafes and restaurants.
The Amarante region is also famous for its unique green wine. Try it for yourself on a wine-tasting tour or taste some of Amarante’s famous cakes and sweets at the local’s favourite Pardal Cafe.
The town of Estoi is still a hidden gem few travellers know about! This charming seaside town is filled with narrow, cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses and the striking Palácio do Visconde de Estoi, a 19th-century restored palace.
The lack of tourists and the general laid-back feel of the town make it the perfect holiday destination if you’re seeking peace and quiet. Faro and Portugal’s Algarve coast are just a short drive away and easy to reach on a day trip too.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to the prettiest places in Portugal. There are so many more beautiful places to visit in Portugal it was hard to narrow it down, but hopefully, this guide has shown you a glimpse of the wonders of Portugal!
If you’ve enjoyed this guide, I’d recommend reading about the best hidden gems in Europe. There are so many surprising and underrated places to see!