Portugal, a beautiful country Portugal, a beautiful country

The 10 Most Popular Cities in Portugal for a Memorable Trip

Portugal, or the Portuguese republic, a small country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula, is one of the most popular tourist destinations. There are so many incredible cities in Portugal, small towns, stunning beaches, appealing monuments, toothsome cuisine, cobbled streets, and whatnot.

Because of the incredible beauty in the country, many beautiful cities in Portugal are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites.

Portugal has left a profound cultural, architectural and linguistic influence across the world, with a legacy of around 250 million Portuguese speakers worldwide. 

It is a developed country with an advanced economy and high living standards. Also, it ranks high in peacefulness, democracy, press freedom, stability, social progress, prosperity, and English proficiency. 

Let us see what cities in Portugal you should visit when you take a tour of the beautiful country. The list given below includes the most famous and best cities in Portugal that you must visit.

10 Most Famous Cities in Portugal

1. Lisbon

Let us start with the national capital of the country, Lisbon. Lisbon is located on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus in the western Iberian Peninsula. Lisbon is the capital city as well as the largest city of Portugal. 

The capital city attracts the most visitors with its mesmerizing beauty.

It’s one of the important major cities in Portugal as it has the most beautiful architecture (Roman temple ruins, the town square, etc.), delicious restaurants, and is also the historic center of Portugal.

The westernmost portion of its metro area, the Portuguese Rivera, forms the westernmost point of Continental Europe, culminating at Cabo da Roca.

Lisbon is famous for its beautiful weather, great nightlife, colourful houses, and colourful buildings. It is famous for its unexpected beauty, which you can find everywhere in the city.

There is something in the city’s atmosphere that can enlighten every single individual’s mood. After entering the city walls you come across colourful houses and beautifully architectured monuments.

All of Lisbon’s beauty, along with the lovely weather, makes you want to live in the city forever. Lisbon is considered one of the best cities in Portugal to visit.

Let’s see the famous sites to visit in Lisbon.

1.1 Belém Tower

The Belém Tower is one of the notable monuments in not only Lisbon but also in Portugal. It, along with Jerónimos Monastery, represents the Portugal age of discoveries. 

Belém Tower is also one of the monuments listed under UNESCO as one of the world heritage sites. It was initially built to defend Lisbon. Some years later, it was transformed into a lighthouse.

Visiting the tower is worth it. You will feel mesmerized by the monument’s beauty. And the Belém Tower is even more beautiful at the time of sunset.

1.2Jerónimos Monastery

The Jerónimos Monastery or Hieronymites Monastery is a former Order of Saint Jerome monastery near the Tagus river in the parish of Belém.

The monastery is also one of the monuments listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. And along with the Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery also represents the Portugal age of discoveries.

It is also one of the most prominent examples of the late Portuguese Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon.

2. Terceira Island

Terceira Island, situated in the north Atlantic ocean, mainland Portugal is a volcanic Island. And the volcanoes are the main reason why you should visit Terceira Island.

It is the only place in the world where you can go inside the volcano, doesn’t it sound amazing? Visiting inside a volcano is a thing for those curious to explore different things, and I am one of those.

Not only the volcanoes but Terceira Island is also famous for hiking as the route here is uneven, which makes it even more adventurous that is why the city makes it to the list of best cities in Portugal.

Not only these things, but we have also listed a few of the tourist points in Terceira Island that are worth visiting.

2.1 Angra do Heroísmo

Angra dos Heroísmo is the capital and largest city on Terceira Island. This is the place where most visitors base themselves.

It serves the best experience for museum lovers as there are a lot of museums, galleries, and many more indoor attractions. Because of all these beautiful attractions Angra do Heroísmo is one of the places registered as a UNESCO world heritage site. 

The city center is a great place to wander around and look at a lot of pretty architecture.

the beautiful island
Source: Rodrigo Ramos on Unsplash/copyright2021

2.2 Duque da Terceira Garden

Now, if you are a nature lover, you can’t afford to visit the place.

Duque da Terceira Garden is a small, pretty garden home to a large variety of herbs, shrubs, and trees. 

Visiting the place lets you relax and lighten your mood by looking at nature, and if you get tired after travelling and looking at beautiful places, there is a small cafe where you can enjoy a variety of beverages. 

Not only that, but there are numerous small places for you to enjoy the drinks and food just outside the garden.

A beautiful flower of the garden
Source: Erda Estremera on Unsplash/copyright 2018

3. Évora

Évora is one of the oldest cities in Portugal and is known as the historic center. The city is famously known for its cultural richness, making it the UNESCO world heritage site.

Évora is ranked number two in the Portuguese most livable cities survey of living conditions published yearly by Expresso.

The small city was also occupied by the Romans and the Moors for many years and had thousands of years of history.

Let’s look at all the beautiful tourist spots in Évora.

3.1 Roman Temple

The temple is one of the historic centers of Évora city, also referred to as Templo de Diana. This is the city’s main tourist attraction. Many religious buildings surround the temple

It would be best if you climbed a hill to get to the temple because it is situated at the highest point in the city. The temple cannot be entered; it can only be seen from the outside.

3.2 Capela dos Ossos

Capela dos Ossos or the chapel of bones is one of the best monuments in Évora. But didn’t you have a question in your mind why is it called the Chapel of “Bones,” let me tell you? 

The place got named after the chapel’s interior, decorated with human bones and skulls.

Yes, you read it correctly. The bones, which came from ordinary people buried in Évora’s medieval cemeteries, were arranged by the Franciscans in a variety of patterns as the interior of the chapel.

4. Aveiro

Aveiro is a beautiful city located on the west coast of Portugal. The coastal city is located on the edge of a lagoon. 

It is known for its Nouveau architecture, canals, colorful boats, and cruises. 

And for the given reasons, Aveiro is one of the most popular tourist destinations and one of the prettiest cities in Portugal. 

The nearby beaches of Aveiro are a great choice to relax and have fun. It is one of the most famous cities in Portugal. It is considered to be one of the most colorful cities in Portugal.

As the city looks as beautiful as Venice(a city in Italy), it has been titled The Venice of Portugal. The buildings and homes in Aveiro are furnished with traditional Portuguese tiles, which most tourists are attracted by. 

It is the best place to lighten your mood and enjoy yourself with your family. 

4.1 Praia da Costa Nova

The stunning beach is a few hours from Aveiro; Praia da Costa Nova is famously known for its colourful striped houses.

The local fish market is the most famous attraction of costa nova, and most o tourists like the seafood here. Originally this was home to a no. of fishermen for storing their stock. 

The colorful houses with beautiful waves at the beach are just the cherry on the cake. The tourists the most love the long walkways.

You can see in the pictures how beautiful these houses look.

4.2 Praia do Porto da Barra

Located nearby the Aveiro port, Praia does barra is famous for sports like surfing, kite surfing, fishing, etc.

Source: L_emerim on Shutterstock

 Just by the beach is the lighthouse of Praia do barra; Aveiro Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse not in the entire city but the whole of Portugal.

5 Porto

Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, is located in northern Portugal along with the Douro river estuary and is one of the best cities in Europe.

The city is one of the oldest European centers, and the historical center is signified as a UNESCO world heritage site. Coastal city is known for its bridges and the production of port wine. You can have a look at the historic streets and architecture.

Porto is famous among tourists as it is the only European city to have 6 bridges that run over the Duoro river. It has many constructive cathedrals, ridges, and colourful houses, which is why the city is the heart of Portugal.

Walking across the cobbled streets of Porto with old coloured houses of Ribera square is exceptional.

The city isn’t much known for its incredible beaches, but once you get outside the historical places, it will astonish you with its stunning beaches.

The quality of the city’s beaches will leave you spellbound. You will find many churches and beautiful buildings all over the city. You will want to live near these shores forever. 

We suggest visiting the place in October or November to see the city’s spectacular sights. Let us see what all the astonishing wonders we have across the entire city:-

5.1 Luís Bridge

The Luís Bridge is one of the best-known bridges in Portugal. The bridge connects Porto to the small town of Vila Nova De Gaia.

The bride is situated over the river Duoro. The bridge has been a part of the UNESCO world heritage sites since 1996. It has two levels. The trams run on the upper level whereas the cars cross the river through the lower level.

You can have a wonderful view from both the towns, Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.

the beautiful luis bridge
Source: Drew Bae on Unsplash

5.2 Porto Cathedral

Porto Cathedral or Sé do Porto, is a roman catholic church in the historic center of Porto. It is one of the oldest monuments in Portugal.

The beauty of the cathedral will make you engrossed in it. The cathedral will make you fall for its architecture.

6. Sintra

Sintra is a town and municipality in the greater Lisbon region, located on the Portugal Rivieria. The municipality has several historic palaces, castles, scenic beaches, parks, and gardens, making it a major tourist destination. 

Do you know why it is considered one of the best cities in Portugal? Here is the answer.

The historic center of the Sintra is famous for its 19th-century Romanticist architecture, historic estates, villas, gardens, royal palaces, and Moorish castle, which makes the town one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The nearby colourful Pena palace is worth visiting.

Sintra was a vacation destination for the Portuguese royal family as they used to visit here during the summer to escape the Lisbon heat. 

Due to this, there are many stunning castles that you can’t miss exploring. It is one of the best cities in Portugal that you need to visit.

Let us have a look at the beautiful places in Sintra:-

6.1 Pena Palace

The Pena Palace is a romanticist castle in the municipality of Sintra. The palace is one of the sites listed under UNESCO world heritage. And it is also considered one of the seven wonders of Portugal.

The place is famous for its Romanticist architecture, historic estates, villas, etc. It is also known as one of the best romanticist castles in the world.

It is pretty much known for its colourful, fascinating views. The palace is so colourful and looks unrealistic, and you can’t skip visiting it.

the pena palace
Source” Julia Solonina on Unsplash

6.2 Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca is the western part of Portugal and Europe. Cabo da Roca means the edge of the world, which people used to believe until the 14th century.

Considered the most beautiful place in Portugal, Cabo da Roca is pretty much known for its cliffside, which people from all over the world encounter.

Endless Ocean and a wide open blue sky are hard to witness in today’s era, but Cabo da Roca gives you the best views.

The Cabo da Roca is also famous for its stunning coastline, which is the most beautiful sight here.

7. Coimbra

The next on our list of the best famous cities in Portugal in Coimbra. Coimbra is the former capital city of Portugal which lies in central Portugal. 

The bustling city is famous for its medieval towns and the historic university of Coimbra, one of the oldest cities in Portugal and Europe. The place is also famous for the Santa Cruz monastery and the palace.

Walking across the beautiful small town will give you a glimpse of a medieval city and make you feel refreshed.

You can walk through the beautiful city and have great views of the city from different angles.

Apart from attracting many European tourists, the place is also famous for its universities, which attract many international students.

7.1 Joanina Library

One of the world’s oldest and largest libraries, Joanina Library is famous as it represents the value of education and knowledge. The library is considered the most beautiful library in the world.

So, if you are a book lover, you must go there as thousands of volumes are inside the beautiful library.

Source: agsaz on Shutterstock

And if you are not one of those book lovers, go and admire the beauty of the prettiest library in the world, as beautiful things should be admired.

7.2 Portugal dos Pequenitos

Portugal dos Pequenitos is a miniature park in the municipality of Coimbra. And it is considered to be the first theme park in Portugal.

You can go there with your kids and family and enjoy it there and gain a lot of knowledge about the country.

It is a nice place to visit with your kids as the main target of the park is to attract kids; it has recreated several Portuguese monuments.

8. Óbidos

Óbidos is a walled city and a municipality in the Oeste region or central Portugal. Óbidos remains a well-preserved example of historic architecture. 

Its narrow streets, historic walls, and incredible castle are popular tourist destinations as they are simply stunning. It is one of the historic cities in Portugal.

The city is also famous as it hosts many events such as the medieval and chocolate festivals and is known as ”the Christmas village”.

The city is well-known for its festivities and a cherry liqueur known as Ginjinha d’Obidos. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample this sweet drink in one of the city’s quaint bars if you ever visit this historic city.

Every year in July, Óbidos castle hosts a traditional Medieval Market. For two weeks, the castle and the surrounding areas in the town and other towns recreate the spirit of medieval Europe.

Flowing banners and heraldic flags set the atmosphere together and make the ambiance pretty good, with hundreds of entertainers and stall owners dressed as merchants, jugglers, jesters, wandering minstrels, soldiers, and more.

Visitors can shop the traditional handicrafts at the fair or watch medieval shows, horse displays, and a costumed parade that makes its way through the streets. 

There are demonstrations of knights and armed conflict as well. In the dozens of “taverns” and stalls dotted throughout the market, you can get spit-roasted hogs, substantial soups, rabbit, lamb, cod, quail, sausages, and other grilled meats, to name just a few of the many medieval-style meals available.

Source: DaLiu on Shutterstock

Obidos is also famous for its bookstores. There are 14 bookstores, one in a church and another selling fish and books. Drinking from pewter tankards and eating from wooden trencher add to the experience.

Let us have a look at the beautiful town and see what all we have in this city;-

8.2 Óbidos Castle

Founded by the Moors, who also plotted the course of the intimidating city walls.  The Obidos Castle initially functioned by the military and served as the royal palace where the king and the royal family lived.

The place where the royal family lived is now transformed into a hotel. Now the tourist can have a sight of what the palace looked like.

Behind the castle is a terrace called Old Arms Square, where almost all the town’s festivals are hosted.

Tourists who book a room in the hotel can enjoy the interior, but those who don’t intend to book a room can still enjoy the small garden and the terrace.

8.3 Museu Municipal de Óbidos

Óbidos doesn’t disappoint us in showing us its rich history and culture as there is a beautiful museum, Museu Municipal de Óbidos. 

Which has a collection of great paintings from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries painted by great painters.

The museum also has a collection of weapons from the Peninsular War, a chronology of Óbidos through the centuries, and a room filled with finds from the excavated Roman city of Eurobrittium.

9. Braga

Braga, which lies in northwest Portugal, is one of the major cities in Portugal.

It is considered one of the important cities in terms of religious beliefs as it is host to the oldest Portuguese archdiocese, the Archdiocese of Braga of the Catholic Church. 

Inside the city, there is also a castle tower that can be visited. The biggest attraction is the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary outside the city.

There are so many beautiful churches, which you can visit for free, museums, incredible architectural buildings like Raio Palace, and many squares with bars and cafés which are good tourist attractions.

Let us have a look at some of its beautiful places:-

9.2 Sanctuary of Bom Jesus

A notable example of a Christian pilgrimage is the sanctuary of Bom Jesus with a Baroque monument stairway that climbs almost 116 feet.

UNESCO also lists it as one of the world heritage sites because of its beautiful cultural value.

9.3 Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães

An extraordinary place to visit in Braga. The atmosphere, architecture, tile art, walls, and everything here make you feel the presence of the monks.

10. Funchal

Last but not least, here is Funchal, the home to one of the best footballers in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. Funchal is the capital city of the Portuguese island Madeira. 

It is not just home to the footballer, but it is one of the best cities in Portugal. The place is famous as it is a great destination for hiking. 

It is worth visiting due to its location, weather, historical monuments around the city, culture and museums, world-renowned parks and gardens, amazing viewpoints to watch the sunset, and the nearby beaches and swimming pools.

Let’s have a look at some of these beautiful places:-

10.1 Monte Palace Madeira

The Monte Palace Madeira houses a huge, exotic plant collection from all over the world, with swans and ducks that populate the central lake, peacocks, and chickens that walk free in the main areas of the palace.

Source: Hivaka on Shutterstock

In the central lake, the visitor may also admire the beauty of the swans. There are many museums or galleries here which you can enjoy.

10.2 Madeira Botanical Garden

Madeira Botanical Garden is a place for those who like to learn about different plants.

A visit to the garden provides visitors with the names and origins of the splendid variety of exotic flowers, vegetables, herbs, and other useful plants found on Madeira.

Source: Cristian Mircea Balate on Shutterstock

Closing Thoughts

Considered the best destination on the island, it provides stunning views.

There are many places in Portugal to visit.  But the above listed are a must to visit if you want to explore the stunning beaches, beautiful cities in Portugal, and spectacular sights. 

You can explore many beaches, lakes, narrow cobbled streets, busy fishing ports, historical town and many more things. And you will never regret visiting Portugal. 

Last Updated on by Sanjana

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