Things to do in Portugal
Travel Ideas

Top 10 Things to do in Portugal

Portugal is an excellent destination for your holiday, and there are plenty of different things to see and do, which should keep any kind of visitor entertained. Here are the best top 10 things to do in Portugal:

1. Visit Belém

there are several excellent sites at Belém that make a trip here more than worthwhile. The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is one of the most stunning monasteries in Portugal, and has some wonderful examples of Manueline design and architecture. Also there are the Padrão dos Descobrimentos and Torre de Belém which are beautiful architectural monuments which honour the Portuguese explorer spirit and the country’s many overseas discoveries. There are also plenty of lovely walks along the nearby river, and some excellent cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy the local speciality pastry treat, Pasteis de Belém.

2. Peneda-Gerês

this is Portugal’s only national park and has over 170,000 acres of beautiful landscapes from mountain slopes through to beautiful old stone villages, in which lifestyles have changed little over the centuries.

3. Beaches

Portugal has some beautiful beaches, which are perfect for sunbathing, swimming and water sports. The southern Algarve coastline is very popular, and beaches here have a number of facilities including excellent hotels, bars, cafes and restaurants. There are also some wonderful cruises that take you around the beautiful Portuguese coastline, many of which leave from the main port in Lisbon.

4. Moorish Castle at Sintra

The beautiful town of Sintra is just a short drive from Lisbon and has a lovely forest park, within which is a stunning example of an 8th Century Moorish castle. This castle was abandoned in 1147, and it wasn’t until as late as 1860 that any restoration work was carried out on its dilapidated walls. This is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and receives thousands of visitors every year.

5. Festivals

Portugal has a number of colourful festivals every year, and many of the Saints days are great fun with dancing, drinking and banquets held over all the country. One of the most popular events is the St Anthony’s day festival in the capital Lisbon, which is held on the 12 to 13 June each year, and has firework displays, parades and street parties.

6. Outdoor Activities

Horse riding is very popular in Portugal and there are riding centres everywhere that give lessons and guided day trips. There are also plenty of excellent hikes and walks across the countryside and coastlines, as well as golf courses, tennis courts and bicycling routes.

7. Douro Valley,

The Douro Valley is another UNESCO World Heritage site, and is a traditional area of wine growing. You can take tours around the beautiful vineyards and wine estates, and taste some of Portugal’s best wines.

8. Estoril Racetrack

The Portuguese love motorsports, and the famous Estoril racetrack (www.circuito-estoril.pt) is located just a short drive from Lisbon. Book early for high profile sports such as the Portuguese round of the Moto GP (a premier motorbike racing event), as tickets can sell out very quickly.

9. Aveiro

Aveiro was once one of Portugal’s premier sea ports, and its beautiful myriad of canals and lagoons mean that it is often compared to Venice. The traditional boat the ‘Moliceiro’ is still used, which is known for its colourful paints and humorous designs.

10. Palacio da Pena

This amazing palace is very close to the Moorish castle in Sintra, and was built on the site of an old monastery in 1839 by Fernando II of Saxe Coburg-Gotha, as a gift for his wife the Queen of Portugal. It has a mixture of architectural styles and designs, and became a national museum in 1910, and you can take a tour of the interior, which has been restored to its original magnificence.

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