In Portugal there are the most picturesque cities, with a wide cultural heritage and a long historical tradition. If you want to know the exact location of the different districts and cities of Portugal, we recommend you visit the article Maps of Portugal. Here you will find the 15 most recommended towns for tourists arranged in alphabetical order. What cities are the most beautiful in Portugal?
The Algarve, name that comes from Arabic al Garb, is the region that is located in the south of Portugal, in the district of Faro.
With an area of 4960 km² and almost 500.000 inhabitants, it is the most touristic region of Portugal, especially for the quality and beauty of its beaches, but also for the tourist opportunities that are found there:
- Beach tourism
- Mountain tourism
- City tourism
On the one hand, the Sierra de Monchique stands out, where the Pico da Foia and Fromosa estuary, in which a large 170 km² natural reserve is located and which constitutes the habitat of hundreds of species of birds.
As for the Algarve coast, it is worth highlighting the Da Rocha Beach (in Spanish, Beach of the Rock), which is the main beach in the city of Portimão. This beach became a tourist center in Portugal already in the XNUMXth century, when the tourist profile that came were mainly families with children.
At present, however, there are all kinds of visitors, from families to young people and even the elderly, all of them coming from either Spain or Europe, especially the United Kingdom. It is also one of the main singles destinations.
The city of Almada belongs to district of Setúbal, in the Lisbon region. It is the sixth city with the highest number of inhabitants in Portugal and one of the most visited in the country. Undoubtedly, in this city there is much to see, but two extraordinary monuments stand out above all: on the one hand, the statue of Cristo Rei and, on the other, the April 25 Bridge or Salazar Bridge.
El Cristo Rei National Monument and Cruz Alta is actually a copy of Christ the Redeemer located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil that is about 100 m high. It is a statue in which you can see Jesus Christ with his arms crossed, in a way that alludes to the four cardinal points.
The interior of this monument can be accessed through an elevator on one of the guided routes available to tourists. In this route, relevant information is explained, such as why it is a copy of the Brazilian Christ the Redeemer and other information of interest.
Furthermore, the Ponte 25 de Abril (April 25 Bridge in Spanish) or Puente Salazar consists of a gigantic steel suspension bridge that is largely reminiscent of the Golden Gate of San Francisco (USA).
It crosses the estuary of the Tagus River in the metropolitan area of Lisbon. The denomination Salazar Bridge It is because its construction is due to António de Oliveira Salazar, head of the Portuguese government during the period from 1932 to 1968. Currently, this bridge is one of the great representative icons of the country.
Aveiro is a city belonging to the district of the same name and located in the Central Region of Portugal, as well as in the Baixo Vouga sub-region, 55 km north of Coimbra.
It is popularly known as The Venice of Portugal, due to the many channels that cross the heart of the city, thus making it a very attractive city for tourists from all over the world.
Besides the canals, another point of interest is the old quarter of Beira Mar, where you can see the traditional houses of this area and the salt warehouses of the Aveiro estuary.
In the same way, in every visit to Aveiro I cannot miss a visit to the beach Costa Nova do Prado, better known as Costa Nova, located on the shore of the Aveiro estuary.
This area is known above all for the famous palm trees, which are some cheerful listed houses that were once used by fishermen to store nets and ended up becoming homes as such.
The houses stand out for their façade, which consists of stripes of green, red or blue colors on a white background, so that together they constitute a uniform landscape.
On the Paseo de Costa Nova you can find everything: seafood restaurants, restaurants, souvenir shops, pastry shops, ice cream parlors and a long etcetera. In pastry shops it is traditional to taste the famous guts, some typical sweets of this region.
Batalha constitutes what is known in Portugal as town, that is, a population of intermediate size not as small as a village (aldea) not as big as a city (city). It belongs to the district of Leiria and has a wide offer in terms of mountain tourism, as well as several monuments worth visiting.
They highlight the Caves of the Currency, located in São Mamede, parish of São Mamede, which were discovered in 1971 and are one of the favorite destinations for explorers and climbing enthusiasts from all over the world.
It houses the Pastor Room, full of calcareous formations. The names of the rooms are due to the images that each one suggests due to the shape that the rocks have acquired over time; thus, they are called: Nativity scene, Cascata, Virgin, Vermelha dome, etc.
In total, the visitable extension of the caves is 350 m with a depth of 45 m and an average temperature of 18 ° C. Other destinations belonging to the cultural heritage of Batalha are:
- Broken Buraco
- Pia da Ovelha
- Macico Calcario Estremenho
- Escarp of Falha do Reguengo do Fetal
One of the most outstanding monuments of this town is the Convent of Santa Maria da Vitoria, better known as Batalha Monastery.
It is one of the best examples of late Gothic architecture in Portugal mixed with the Manueline style.
The monastery draws attention for the variety of pediments, pinnacles, buttresses and spiers found on its façade, which makes it a symbol of national pride.
Cascais (Cascais in Portuguese) is another Portuguese village belonging to the district of Lisbon, in Greater Lisbon. On the one hand, the sandy bay located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean about 25 km west of Lisbon.
Likewise, the town itself invites you to stroll, since most of its streets have the famous Portuguese cobblestones. The municipality is divided into six parishes: Alcabideche, Carcavelos, Cascaes, Estoril, Parede and São Domingos de Rana.
In Cascais is the famous mouth of hell, on the Estoril coast, very close to the urban center.
La Boca del Infierno is a mandatory stop when leaving this city to visit Cabo da Roca. It is a place full of limestone rocks that, due to the constant shock of the waves, have been opening various openings between the rocks over the centuries.
According to legend, every time a wave hits the rocks, you can hear the screams of the demon enraged by the blow, hence the name of mouth of hell. There are other popular legends about this place, which gives it a great mystery.
The reddish color of the rocks contrasts with the bluish green of the sea and the green that sits on the rocks, thus creating a landscape worth observing for several minutes. In addition, in the area is the famous restaurant Sea of Inferno where seafood and fish dishes typical of Portuguese cuisine are served.
Also, it is worth mentioning that Cascais has become a very popular destination among fans of the golf from all over the world, as well as other sports such as surfing, sailing, windsurfing or kitesurfing, among others.
Its popularity is mainly due to the favorable climate that prevails in this region, a result of the combination of a calm wind and good sea conditions. On the other hand, the Estoril Casino it is one of the largest in Europe.
Coimbra (in Portuguese, Coimbra) is the capital of the district of Coimbra, in Portugal, located in the center of the country. With its more than 100.000 inhabitants, Coimbra is characterized by its:
- Narrow streets
- Medieval arches
In addition, it has seen the birth of a total of six Portuguese kings and the first University of Portugal (1537).
The city has among its most outstanding buildings and monuments several archaeological structures dating from Roman times, including the cryptoportic and Roman aqueduct.
All this is due to the fact that Coimbra was, during the late Middle Ages, the political center of the Kingdom of Portugal, thus becoming an important cultural center. All of these historic buildings were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.
Among the mandatory visits when visiting Coimbra, apart from the University or Old University, which can be accessed through the Iron Gate, destinations such as:
- Church of Santa Cruz o Church of Santa Cruz, with its impressive façade and the tiled walls inside.
- Old Cathedral (Old Cathedral), which looks like a military fortress and dates from the year 1162.
- Botanical Garden, whose entry is free.
Also, in May the most important event of the year takes place: What are you doing fitas. It is a traditional event that has become more of an academic ritual, since after the party a mega party is held in which there are no lack of colored ribbons representing the different faculties of the University, as well as several concerts first level.
Évora is the capital of the homonymous district located in the Alentejo region. The city has more than 45 thousand inhabitants and is part of the Network of Oldest Cities in Europe.
The historic center stands out above all the tourist attractions that this city offers, which is one of the richest in terms of monuments in the country; so much so, that it has been given the nickname of City-Museum and its historic center has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The landscape of the Évora region is characterized by an average altitude of 240 m and a very gentle undulation, characteristics typical of the entire surface of the great Alentejo plain, as well as the image conferred by the extensive cultivation of cereals, which includes forests of cork and oak, vineyards, olive groves and rice fields.
Evora's main sights include the Old Archbishop's Palace, which has currently been set up as a regional museum where archaeological treasures such as a XNUMXth century polyptych can be seen.
The Cathedral of Évora also has great charm in the eyes of the tourist, with its romantic style mixed with Gothic elements that is largely reminiscent of medieval French cathedrals.
Other tourist attractions are: the Roman temple of Diana, belonging to the first century, the Palacio das Cinco Quinas, located next to the temple of Diana and characterized by its Arabic-style windows, and the Praça do Giraldo, among others.
In addition, it is tradition that during the month of July the famous AgitÁgueda Festival, with which the multicolored umbrellas are placed in the streets so that it seems that they are floating.
The city of Lagos belongs to the district of Faro, in the Algarve region, and currently has 22.000 inhabitants. It is a city that is, at the same time, one of the main tourist and historical centers of the country.
Since the 60s, the tourism sector has become the most important economic activity in the city thanks to its beaches, its gastronomy and its historical heritage, as well as the wide range of places of cultural entertainment and nightlife that it has.
First, it highlights the Church of San António, whose facade stands out for its simplicity and is equipped with several bell towers. Its construction dates from the XNUMXth century.
It draws attention mainly because the landscape it offers on the outside contrasts with its interior, which has very elaborate decoration covered in gold, as well as blue, white and gold tiles, wood carvings and various baroque paintings by Maestro José Joaquim Raasquinho.
Another point that cannot be missed in any tourist visit to Lagos is the Point of Mercy. It is a group of cliffs whose natural beauty speaks for itself. It is located a few kilometers from the city and, in addition, it has parking spaces to leave the car and walk to the coast from there.
If we access the highest point of the Cliffs, you can see the incomparable views of the coast, but this image is even more impressive if we have the opportunity to go down to the pier and hire a boat trip.
During this walk, the tourist can observe the caves, arches and caves that the sea and the wind have excavated in the rocks. In addition, the waters are crystal clear and turquoise blue.
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and, at the same time, the largest and richest city in the country, and one of the great cultural centers of Europe. Likewise, it is the eighth most sought-after city in the world for holding international events and congresses, having passed through events such as Expo '98, Euro 2004, the MTV Europe Music Awards, the Dakar Rally, etc.
In addition, if you visit in summer, the tourist can enjoy the popular parties that take place in Lisbon neighborhoods such as Madragoa, Castelo, Mouraria and Alfama, among others.
During these festivals, the streets are decorated with flower arches and the neighbors put up street stalls selling sangria, wine, roasted sardines and other typical foods of the city. The festive period culminates on the night of San Antonio, the eve of June 13, when several parades and choreographies of traditional groups take place on Avenida da Liberdade.
With regard to the main monuments of Lisbon, the medieval-style architecture stands out in buildings such as the São Jorge Castle, the Alfama neighborhood, the Lisbon Cathedral or the Carmo Convent, among others. In the Belém area there are two elements that have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO: on the one hand, the Monastery of los jeronimos and, on the other hand, the Torre de Belém.
Another of the most striking tourist elements are the yellow trams, without a doubt one of the most representative images of Lisbon. The advantage of this means of transport is that with them it is possible to travel almost the entire city and, in addition, they are a quick way to access the main points of interest.
Marvão is a little town Portuguese with just 600 inhabitants and belonging to the district of Portalegre, in the Alentejo region. It limits to the north and east with Spain and to the northwest with Castelo de Vide.
It is divided into four parishes: Beirã, São Salvador da Aramenha, Santo António das Areias and Santa Maria de Marvão. In addition, it is a candidate to become a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2000.
Marvão is a fortified town that stands on top of a hill. Together, it forms a hamlet with white walls and orange roofs that make up a most picturesque panorama. Since in Roman times it was a military strategic point, it is located on the highest hill to obtain the best views of the environment and the mountains that surround it.
Without a doubt, the most characteristic element is the Marvão Castle, located in the parish of Santa Maria de Marvão and, within it, in the so-called Sierra de San Mamede Natural Park.
The castle, erected 850 m above sea level, encloses the medieval-style town within its walls. It is made up of several walls reinforced by towers that were distributed in strategic defensive lines. Popularly, the Castle has been known for centuries as Eagles Nest, because in another time it was the place where this bird nested.
Óbidos is another town Portuguese with a high tourist rate thanks to the Óbidos Castle. Is medieval village part of the Western Tourism Region and it has more than 3.000 inhabitants.
Like Marvão, Óbidos is another fortified city, as its name suggests, since the name Óbidos It comes from the Latin oppidum, which literally means fortified city o citadel. It is located 75 km from Lisbon.
Its main street is Right Street that leads to the main door of Óbidos, which is decorated with striking XNUMXth century tiles, and ends in the main square o Santa Maria Square.
El Óbidos Castle It dates from the XNUMXth century and, thanks to various archaeological excavations carried out in this place, it has been discovered that there was a presence of Roman inhabitants and, later, it became the domain of the Visigoths.
The walls of this castle are 13 m high and are made of the same cobblestones with which the famous Portuguese cobblestones of the streets are built.
Given the origins of this village, in July a yearly medieval festival in which various previous eras are recreated based on medieval music, women dressed as witches and men dressed as knights, plays, etc.
Porto (Porto in Portuguese) is, after Lisbon, the second most important city in Portugal and has more than 230.000 inhabitants according to data collected in the 2011 census. Divided into 15 parishes, this city borders the Atlantic Ocean to the west, so it has several beaches that are characterized by the quality of their waters.
Like many other Portuguese cities, Porto has also been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It has several museums, including the House of Music and the Serralves Foundation of contemporary art, of which the latter is the most visited museum in Portugal.
Another tourist attraction of a cultural nature is the Torre de los Clerigos, designed by the Italian architect and painter Nicolau Nasoni in 1731.
Porto is known as the city of bridges, due to the magnitude and innovative nature of the different bridges it houses, such as:
- Ponte das Barcas, which was the first to be built on the Duero River.
- Suspension bridge or Ponte D. Maria II, which was built in order to establish a connection between Gaia and Porto.
- Ponte do Infante, which was built in the fourteenth century, thus being the most recent one.
- Ponte Luiz I o Luis I Bridge, which is characterized by being divided into two boards.
Sagres is a Portuguese parish belonging to the council from Vila do Bispo. Its fame is due to the fact that, during the XNUMXth century, it was the residence of the Infante de Portugal and first Duke of Viseu Don Enrique the Navigator.
He was one of the protagonists on the political scene in Portugal during the mid-XNUMXth century and thanks to whom the Age of Discoveries began in Portugal, culminating in the creation of the famous School of Sagres for the study of navigation and astronomy. , although some historians doubt its true existence.
Sagres is considered by many as the perfect combination of beach, relaxation, gastronomy and landscape. Its beaches are one of its strengths, among which three in particular stand out:
- Mareta Beach: stands out for its transparent and calm waters.
- Beliche Beach: accessed by a staircase of 160 quite steep steps, due to the fact that it is a beach that is quite hidden, but it is ideal if you do not want to surround yourself with many people.
- Tonel Beach: famous because it is possible to surf and located just outside the town.
Also, the Cape of San Vicente, whose location is very close to Sagres, is another mandatory stop on every trip to Sagres. In this cape you can find an old fortress and a lighthouse, both of which can be visited, and from it you can appreciate the beautiful views offered by the passage of ships that transit between the Mediterranean Sea and northern Europe.
Sintra is a Portuguese town belonging to the Lisbon district that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. This municipality is divided into two large cities:
- Agualva-Cacem (more than 100.000 inhabitants)
- Queluz (with almost 112.000 inhabitants)
Divided into 20 parishes, Sintra has several palaces that stand out for their beauty and characteristic architectural design.
El Castle dos Mouros Or simply, Sintra CastleDeclared a National Monument, it is isolated in the Sierra de Sintra and from its walls you can enjoy the magnificent views of the entire region to the Atlantic Ocean.
Other monuments that deserve a visit are those mentioned below: Sintra National Palace, Palácio da Regaleira, Palácio de Seteais, Monserrate Palace, etc.
However, without a doubt, it is the Pena National Park and Palace (in Portuguese, National Palace of the Rock), the main element of Sintra's cultural landscape and the one with the most tourists in high season.
This stately estate is one of the highest expressions of nineteenth-century Portuguese romanticism of the nineteenth century, which makes it seem to have come out of a fairy tale.
The city of Tavira is part of the district of Faro, in the region and subregion of the Algarve. With an area of 607 km2 and almost 25.000 inhabitants, Tavira is divided into nine parishes and is bordered to the south by the Atlantic Ocean.
In short, Tavira is the most interesting city in the eastern Algarve, mainly due to its historical Roman, Christian and Arab heritage at the same time.
This legacy makes this city a place full of remains of walls, churches, bridges, castles and other ideal elements for city tourism. TO
Likewise, if we move south, we will find some fantastic beaches on the islands of the Ria Formosa area that can be reached by boat.
Regarding the main points within the city, we highlight the gilao river, which flows into the islands and the park of the Ria Formosa, and the Roman pedestrian bridge, through which you travel from the north to the south of the city.
On the south bank of the Gilao River is the Plaza de la República, another of the important points of the urban area.
Also highlights the Waterfall by Pego do Inferno, located very close to the border with Huelva, specifically in San Esteban. It is a waterfall with a waterfall of about 3 m that forms a small lake suitable for bathing during the hot summer months.
Its waters attract attention for being absolutely transparent and greenish due to algae. In short, it is an idyllic setting for lovers of relaxation, tranquility and fun.
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