Located on the western coast of the Iberianpeninsula, Portugal is one of Europe’s most visited countries due to its idyllic climate, affordable travel costs and exceptional attractions.
Portugal’s varied geography ranges fromthe verdant mountains and vineyards of the North to the glamorous beaches of the Algarvealong the southern coastline.
Also belonging to Portugal but lying in theAtlantic Ocean are the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira, known for their lush landscapesand flower gardens.
Here’s a look at the best places to visitin Portugal.
Coimbra A charming city situated by the Mondego River, Coimbra is home to a treasure trove of historic sites and a lively culture that is centeredaround one of Europe’s oldest universities.
One of the best things to do in Coimbra isto simply get lost and discover the many historic attractions from the stunning Old Cathedralto the Gothic Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, which contains the tomb of Queen Isabel.
No trip to Coimbra would be complete withouta visit to the University of Coimbra to admire one of the world’s most beautiful libraries.
The Azores The Archipelago of the Azores is composedof 9 volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, located about 930 miles west of Lisbon.
Renowned for world-class whale watching, hotmineral springs, and quaint seaside towns, each island has its own fascinating identity.
São Miguel is the largest island of the Azoresand is known as “The Green Island” while Pico is home to the highest mountain in Portugal.
Aveiro Hugging the country’s Atlantic Coast inCentral Portugal, Aveiro is a bustling city often called “the Venice of Portugal”due to its picturesque setting of scenic canals connected by charming bridges and dotted withcolorful gondolas.
Historic sites, gorgeous beaches and tastycuisine also make Aveiro a popular tourist destination.
The’s many sightseeing gems include theAveiro Cathedral, the São Gonçalinho Chapel and the Convento de Jesus.
These all offer lovely architecture and artworks.
Evora Evora may be a small town in southern Portugal, but it packs huge tourist appeal.
With a history dating back more than 2, 000years, Evora was once a flourishing city under Roman rule.
Today, Evora shelters more than 4, 000 historicstructures including the old Roman walls and temples.
Another highlight is the 13th century Cathedralof Evora, one of Portugal’s most important Gothic structures.
Not far outside the city is Europe’s largestcomplex of prehistoric megaliths that are also worth a look.
Porto World famous for its production of fine portwine, the busy city of Porto sprawls along the hills overlooking the Douro River in northernPortugal.
At the heart of Porto is the charming pedestrianzone, the Ribeira, an atmospheric place on the river, buzzing in live music, cafes, restaurantsand street vendors.
Dominating this popular tourist setting isthe Ponte Dom Luis, a metal, double-deck arch bridge that links Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, well-known for its port wine cellars.
Madeira Sporting the nickname “Floating Garden ofthe Atlantic, ” Madeira is a fertile oasis in the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal andNorth Africa, popular for its lush green landscapes, flower gardens and wines.
Must-see places in Madeira include the OrchidGarden and the Laurissilva Forest, which harbors the world’s largest concentration of laurel.
The capital and largest city on Madeira isFunchal, home to historic churches and fortresses as well as the tree-lined Lido Promenade, which presents spectacular ocean views.
Sintra Nestled in the foothills of the Sintra Mountainson the Lisbon Coast, Sintra presents a spectacular setting of verdant hills, sprinkled with prettycastles and palaces.
The most famous is Pena’s Palace, a fantasticalcastle reminiscent of Germany’s Neuschwanstein.
Built in the mid-1800s and serving as a summerretreat for the Portuguese royal family, Pena’s Palace is surrounded by forested parklandscontaining exotic trees and flowers.
Also not to be missed are the ancient ruinsof the Castle of the Moors crowning the city’s highest hill, and the romantic MonserratePalace with its subtropical gardens.
Obidos Located on a hilltop in the Centro Regionof western Portugal, Obidos is encircled by an old fortified wall.
Besides the wall, the magnificent medievalcastle and historic center of Obidos make up the city’s main attraction and can easilybe walked.
A labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets leadsvisitors along busy squares, quaint shops and whitewashed houses spruced with colorfulflowers.
The castle with its commanding edifice, hugegates and towers is now a luxurious hotel but a marvel to behold nevertheless.
Algarve Sunny Mediterranean climate, gorgeous beaches, picturesque towns, fabulous cuisine and affordable costs are just some of the reasons that makethe Algarve one of the most popular destinations in Portugal.
Located in the country’s southernmost region, the Algarve offers a feast for the eyes, from tranquil landscapes of olive groves, traditionalwhitewashed villages to the wild, windswept coast with its dramatic cliffs dotted withsummer resorts.
Faro is the region’s capital, and Lagosis the area’s hot spot for nightlife.
Lisbon Stretching along the banks of the Tagus Rivernear the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal’s capital and largest city winds upward among sevensteep hills, forming an enchanting destination of colorful neighborhoods, reverberating intraditional fado music.
The city’s oldest district is Alfama, anold Moorish quarter, distinct for its maze of cobblestone streets, rustic architectureand St.
The best way to experience Lisbon is by takingone of the vintage trams such as the well known Tram 28, which winds along historicquarters, gardens and main attractions.