Portugal is one of those places I wish I would’ve spent an entire month, or longer. The weather even in November was perfect, the food was delicious, and the possibilities seemed endless. Portugal holidays should be on everyone’s bucket list and I’m sure once you start planning your itinerary, it’ll be hard to choose which cities to visit. That’s where I come in.
Places to Visit in Portugal
I highly recommend visiting severa cities during you trip to Portugal. Unless you’re on an island and want to spend all of your time there, under no circumstances should you limit your time in the country to just one city. There are entirely too many places to visit in Portugal and that’s a good thing.
Lisbon is the capitol city of Portugal and if for some reason anyone told you to skip it, I’m here to say ignore them. They know nothing.
This coastal city where everything seems to be atop a hill is the perfect start to any Portuguese trip. Even if you’re going to an island, you’ll most likely have a layover here. If the layover is 5 hours or more, I say leave the airport and explore.
There’s so much to do in Portugal from visiting famous districts, heading to a club to listen to Fado music, eating some of the freshest seafood you may ever taste, and even grabbing Instagram shots on a pink street. The highlight of my trip to Lisbon was actually a food tour. This is one of the very few places that I could go to again and again and not be tired of it.
Portugal Holidays are made for city hopping, and Sintra is one of those cities that is just a stones throw from Lisbon.
Sintra is located on the Portuguese Riviera and if that sounds fancy, it’s because it is. This is the home of all of the beautifully painted castles and palaces you may have seen on Instagram. Like Lisbon, the hills of Sintra can take your breath way and make it feel like you’re on an expedition. Be prepared for a trek.
I took a day trip here with a tour company but it’s just a short train ride away from Lisbon if you want to go on your own.
Cascais was a place we stopped after spending some time exploring Sintra, but I’d felt at the time there wasn’t much to do. If it’s warm enough then you should probably hang out at the beach because there are a few. The beaches in this region are actually some of the best with golden sand and clear water.
Cascais is also a great place to go surfing although it was a little too chilly for me to even think about getting near the water. I’ve heard how high those waves can get so if you’re a pro, then you’ll love this area.
We ended our tour of Cascais at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Europe. That’s a fun fact I’ll never in life forget. Yes, that’s me sitting at what was once thought to be the edge of the world.
Madeira, for me, is the one that got away. I screenshot a picture of someone on this island and put it on my “vision board” of places I was determined to visit. Well, I at least made it to Portugal, so it kind of came true.
Madeira is made up of four islands on the northwest coast of Africa but very much a part of Portugal. Portugal holidays aren’t incomplete without it, but if you have time to fit it in, please do it for me. I’d like to live vicariously through you.
This island is known for its warm climate and wine. Two of my favorite things! It’s the perfect place for hiking, boating or kayaking, and all types of water sports. You also may want to see if a festival is happening during your visit as there are many throughout the year.
This beautiful coastal city is on my list of places to spend an extended amount of time during my next trip to Portugal. It’s known for its port wine and many bridges.
Porto is the second largest city in Portugal but somehow still reminds you of a Fishermans village with the boats lining the river and the narrow cobblestoned streets that take you to the water. This is not the place to get cute and wear high heels although the nightlife is described as up and coming.
While some people prefer Porto to Portugal, I don’t think you should pass up the opportunity to see both. Besides, for long term stay, I think I’d get a little bored in Porto, but that’s just me. If you do nothing else, be sure to visit Livraria Lello, easily one of the most beautiful libraries you’ll ever come across.
Lagos is a town located in the Algarve region and a great relaxation destination. You’ll mainly notice the high cliffs, golden sand, and blue water when you see this city photographed, and that sounds like a city just for me.
Lagos is also known for its walled old town and there’s something about old towns that make me fall in love with a place. That’s probably why I’m dying to get back to Kotor, Montenegro.
Lagos may be one of the best ways to end Portugal holidays and I highly recommend renting a car if you visit here. People take road trips all through Portugal but you’ll especially need one in the Algarve region.
If you make it to the Algarve, and I hope you do, don’t skip Faro, the capitol of the region. If you’re into ancient history then this is the perfect place to get your fix. Faro is home to the Arco da Vila gate which is part of the original Moorish Wall.
Faro is a place that I’d recommend passing through versus spending several days, but the history and architecture make it worth a visit.
Don’t forget to check out these 6 fun things to do in Portugal!