We could spend several weeks with looping through the country’s sights, famous monuments, historic attractions or the less known but also very ineteresting places, the small, picturesque villages. The popular beaches, excellent wines, beautiful countrysides and relaxed rhythm of live are all the features of Portugal which is more and more popular among the best destinations in Europe. If we have already decided to travel here but we don’t know exactly which region to choose, here come some Portugal place to see:
If the Age of Discovery is what captivate our imagination, stop at Belem, where Magellan and Vasco da Gama was preparing once for their fantastic travel. As for cultural attractions this place is very exciting, the most beautiful monuments of Lisbon, view of the sea – this is Belem, the most popular district of the Portugal capital. At the heart with the white Hyeronymites monastery, the district everywhere emits for the visitors the ambiance of the 15th century, led by the Belem Tower, Maritime Museum and the Monument of Discoveries.
2. Pena National Palace
“I must mention that Sintra is the most beautiful village in the world” – Lord Byron wrote to a friend in 1809 and if we assume that good things become better by time, no wonder that the UNESCO also has recognized this pearl and has taken it among the World Heritages. Do not be fooled by its size, Sintra is full of attractions. No matter where we start, Pena National Palace will cath the eye again and again. The fabulous building look down the city from the hilltop and playing romantic games with the colours of the Portuguese sunshine. Take the strength and climb Serra de Stinra, because the palace in all its glory will outshine evrything what this great city can offer.
3. Ria Formosa
As far as the eye can see, Ria Formosa almost embarrasses with its golden dunes, sandy benches, swamps and canals run along the distant horizon. Between Manta Rota and Vale do Loboa next to the coast stretches the broad area of lagoon for 60 km long with shimmering lakes and incredibly rich flora and fauna. It’s a wonderful labyrinth of the small sandy benches, the wetlands and canals not only home for very various life but because of mild climate and year-round sunny weather real paradise for tourist who long for seaside relax.
Like gems scattered on an azure velvet blanket adorn Azores the Atlantic Ocean. 1500 km from Lisbon we arrive to the kingdom of flowery meadows, verdant valleys, sleepy villages, fabuolus lagoons and traditions. St. Miguel evokes the mountains of Switzerland and Hawaii, in Santa Maria we can always hear the joyful music of the folklore festivals. The Azores are very nice mix of the fabulous landscapes, the warmth of people and zest for life, what make everybody to stop for a moment.
5. Historical center of Porto
As the Portuguese proverb says: Lisbon has fun, Braga prays, Coimbra studies, Porto works. And indeed, this commercial center in the delta of Duoro River decidedly more mundane and almost unashamedly diligent member of the “big four”. The thriving center of Port wine industry dictate very hard pace for the other cities. No matter we like wine or not, head to Porto’s old town! We will be surprised, how the urban developement created a such a shiny historical center with the rambling, narrow streets which leads from the beautiful cathedral to the neoclassical Stock Exchange Palace, numerous museums, old-fashioned shops and nice restaurants where can enjoy every taste of Porto’s most important product.
Monsaraz is the place where we can feel the athmosphere of the true medieval Portugal. At the Spanish border, above the Guardiana River sits the small, walled town, which is one of the most beautiful towns in the Alentejo region. The large fortress check the Spaniards in the distance, cobblestoned, narrow streets, small old houses dot the landscape which is real haven for travellers accustomed to noisy cities. Perfect place to spend a pleasant afternoon with a local food specaility and a glass of wine. Walk through the almost deserted streets we can dive into the incredibly well-preserved details of the Portuguese history. Don’t miss the castle, the Santa Maria parish chuch and the shopping in Sao Pedro do Corval village which is famous for its ceramics and pots.
7. Costa Vincentina National Park
Those who hanker a really romantic evening can admire one of the world most beautiful sunsets at Cape St. Vincent. The truth is you don’t need to wait until twiglight, because the view is captivating all day long. The rocky, windsept headland rises 75 m almost vertically abovethe see. In fact, we feel like we would stand and look down to the ocean at the end of the world and in one part it’s true, because this is the most southwestern point of Europe. Many species of birds nestling on the cliffs, below the wildlife-rich waters, above the lonely lighthouse which makes the view perfect.
16 km from Coimbra we can see ruins of the ancient Roman settlement, Conímbriga. This is the largest and best-preserved Roman site in Portugal. The complex is really huge and wonderful. What we can see here is a few shrines, Forum, theather and a noble villa with bathroom and floor heating system, decorated with nice tiles. Must pay attention for the beautiful mosaics which can be seen in the dwellings. There’s an interesting museum here, which help to understant how people lived here in Roman Age.
9. Coa Valley
In the nort-east part of Portugal was discovered the complex of wonderful prehistoric cave paintings. The thousands of engraving were created in 22.000-10.000 BC, they are invaluable source of informations about the earliest forms of art in Western Europe. The paintings were explored on a 17 km long path, represent primarily animals, prehistoric horses, buffalos, goats but also can see ancient wizards and warriors with spears in their hands. The prehistoric rock drawings of Coa Valley are included the World Heritage list since 1998.
10. Braga old town
If we can trust in travel guides, Braga is the Portuguese Rome and it’s really could be the truth, because the town was a thriving Roman settlement since 20 BC and today is the religious center of the country. The stunning Bom Jesus de Monte, the Sé cathedral and the beautiful Archbishop’s Palace are must see attractions. The old town of Braga – in the heart with the surprisingly modest Praca da Republica – is imbued with classical style. However, its old charm is increasingly threated by the modernity.