20 Best Things to Do in Portugal (Recommended by a Local)


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When it comes to exploring Europe, Portugal often gets overlooked in favor of its more popular neighbors. However, this charming country has so much to offer that it deserves a spot on every traveler’s bucket list. To help you make the most of your trip, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 best things to do in Portugal, recommended by a local.

1. Explore the Historic District of Lisbon

Start your Portuguese adventure by immersing yourself in the rich history of Lisbon. Wander through the narrow streets of Alfama, visit the iconic São Jorge Castle, and indulge in delicious pastéis de nata (custard tarts) at a local café.

2. Visit the Fairy-Tale Village of Sintra

Just a short train ride from Lisbon, Sintra will transport you to a world of enchantment. Explore the colorful Pena Palace, wander through the lush gardens of Quinta da Regaleira, and marvel at the Moorish Castle perched on a hilltop.

3. Relax on the Beautiful Beaches of Algarve

Portugal is blessed with stunning coastline, and the beaches of Algarve are some of the best in the country. From the picturesque Praia da Marinha to the vibrant Praia da Rocha, there’s a beach for every taste.

4. Discover the Historic Center of Porto

Porto is a city steeped in history and charm. Wander through the narrow streets of Ribeira, visit the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge, and sample the world-famous port wine in one of the many cellars along the Douro River.

5. Hike in the Douro Valley

Escape the city and explore the breathtaking landscapes of the Douro Valley. Hike through terraced vineyards, visit local wineries, and take a leisurely boat ride along the Douro River.

6. Go Surfing in Ericeira

With its consistent waves and laid-back atmosphere, Ericeira has become a mecca for surfers from around the world. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, you’ll find the perfect wave in this coastal town.

7. Explore the Historic University of Coimbra

Founded in 1290, the University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities in the world. Take a guided tour of the campus, visit the stunning Joanina Library, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this historic city.

8. Wander Through the Medieval Town of Óbidos

Step back in time as you explore the medieval town of Óbidos. Walk along the ancient city walls, visit the picturesque Castle of Óbidos, and sample the local cherry liqueur, Ginja.

9. Visit the Majestic Palace of Mafra

The Palace of Mafra is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and one of Portugal’s most impressive landmarks. Marvel at the stunning interiors, explore the vast library, and stroll through the beautiful gardens.

10. Take a Boat Trip to the Berlengas Islands

Escape the mainland and discover the untouched beauty of the Berlengas Islands. Take a boat trip from Peniche, explore the rugged coastline, and go snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters.

11. Sample the Fresh Seafood in Setúbal

Setúbal is a paradise for seafood lovers. Indulge in the freshest fish and shellfish at one of the local restaurants, and don’t forget to try the famous fried cuttlefish.

12. Explore the Historic City of Évora

Located in the heart of the Alentejo region, Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a rich history dating back to Roman times. Visit the impressive Roman Temple, explore the medieval streets, and admire the Gothic Cathedral.

13. Go Wine Tasting in the Alentejo Region

The Alentejo region is known for its excellent wines, and a visit to Portugal wouldn’t be complete without a wine tasting experience. Explore the vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and savor the flavors of this unique region.

14. Discover the Natural Beauty of the Azores

The Azores, an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is a paradise for nature lovers. Explore the volcanic landscapes, hike to stunning viewpoints, and relax in the natural hot springs.

15. Visit the Historic Village of Monsanto

Perched on a hilltop, the historic village of Monsanto offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into the past. Explore the ancient castle ruins, wander through the narrow streets, and admire the unique granite houses.

16. Go Dolphin Watching in the Sado Estuary

Embark on a boat tour in the Sado Estuary and spot dolphins in their natural habitat. This protected area is home to a resident population of bottlenose dolphins, and seeing them up close is a truly unforgettable experience.

17. Explore the Caves of São Vicente

Located on the island of Madeira, the Caves of São Vicente are a natural wonder. Take a guided tour of the lava tubes, learn about the volcanic history of the island, and marvel at the stunning rock formations.

18. Go Birdwatching in the Ria Formosa Natural Park

The Ria Formosa Natural Park is a haven for birdwatchers. Explore the salt marshes, lagoons, and sand dunes, and spot a wide variety of bird species, including flamingos, herons, and spoonbills.

19. Discover the Historic City of Guimarães

Known as the “birthplace of Portugal,” Guimarães is a city steeped in history and tradition. Visit the well-preserved medieval castle, explore the charming old town, and learn about the country’s origins.

20. Relax in the Thermal Springs of Caldas da Rainha

End your Portuguese adventure by unwinding in the thermal springs of Caldas da Rainha. Take a dip in the healing waters, indulge in a spa treatment, and let the stress melt away.


From the vibrant cities to the stunning natural landscapes, Portugal has something for every traveler. Whether you’re a history buff, a beach lover, or a nature enthusiast, this country will captivate you with its charm and beauty. So pack your bags, follow the recommendations of a local, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Portugal.


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