Best Things to Do in Portugal

10 Best Things to Do in Portugal

“Must-Do Experiences for Culture, Cuisine, and Coastline Enthusiasts.”

Going on a trip to Portugal will be an adventure you’ll never forget, full of many memorable experiences that show what this beautiful country is all about. The best things to do in Portugal are as varied and beautiful as the country itself, from the lively streets of Lisbon to the sunny beaches of the Algarve. In Lisbon’s historic neighbourhoods like Alfama and Bairro Alto, you can find a rich tapestry of culture, art, and food that makes you want to wander the cobblestone streets and enjoy every moment.

By hiking along the dramatic coastline of the Algarve or sailing through the clear waters of the Azores, tourists can fully experience the stunning scenery that makes Portugal what it is. The best things to do in Portugal will make your trip more interesting and fun, whether you’re looking for hidden gems or just enjoying the friendly Portuguese people.

Comparative Analysis: Best Things to Do in Portugal

I’ve researched some amazing experiences in Portugal that you shouldn’t pass up if you’re thinking about visiting. These suggestions combine culture, adventure, and breathtaking scenery. This table of comparisons will help you choose the top activities in Portugal and make your trip very memorable.

ActivityLocationIdeal DurationExperience TypeInsights
Algarve: Explore Hidden Cave BeachesAlgarveHalf to full dayAdventure, NatureBoat tours available; swimwear advised
Stay overnight in medieval MonsarazMonsarazOvernight stayCultural, HistoricalQuiet, star-gazing at night
Palacio Nacional de MafraMafra2-3 hoursCultural, ArchitecturalHuge library, historical importance
Treat Yourself to Traditional Portuguese Custard TartsNationwide1-2 hoursGastronomyBest in local bakeries
Nazare: Surf 100 Feet High WavesNazareHalf to full dayAdventure, SportsSeasonal; requires expertise
Cruise canals in AveiroAveiro2-3 hoursRelaxation, SightseeingOften called the Venice of Portugal
Escape to Gorgeous SintraSintraFull dayCultural, NatureLush landscapes, historic sites
Pena PalaceSintra2-4 hoursCultural, ArchitecturalColorful, atop a hill, scenic views
Continue Reading: 10 Best Places to Visit in Portugal

Insider Tips for Traveling in Portugal

As someone who has spent a lot of time in Portugal, I can’t wait to share some first-hand tips that will help make your trip an unforgettable adventure. At Tasca restaurants, which are hidden gems that serve real Portuguese food, you can get into the local flavors. Away from the busy cities of Lisbon and Porto, visit historic towns like Évora and Sintra that will enchant you. Talk to the friendly locals; their friendliness will make the experience even better.

Use the public transport system to get around more efficiently, and don’t miss the chance to take a train ride through the beautiful Douro Valley. Take a trip to the Algarve to enjoy its beautiful beaches, and don’t miss the chance to listen to the soulful Fado music in Alfama. Lastly, get to know Portugal better by learning about its history and culture at historical sites that aren’t as well known. There will be many unforgettable moments on your trip, and each one will show you a different side of this amazing country.

List of 8 Best Things to Do in Portugal

Explore historic areas like Alfama in Lisbon, eat delicious pastéis de nata, and enjoy fresh seafood in coastal towns like Porto to get a feel for Portugal’s lively culture. Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites like the Jerónimos Monastery and Sintra’s colourful palaces to learn more about the country’s long history.

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Algarve: Explore Hidden Cave Beaches

Best Things to Do in Portugal

Key Points:

  • Discover secluded beaches accessible only by boat or through hidden paths.
  • Marvel at the stunning rock formations and clear turquoise waters.
  • Enjoy water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding.

The Algarve, which is in the southernmost part of Portugal, is one of the best places to visit. This place has some of the most beautiful weather, clearest water, and most beautiful beaches in the world. There are hidden gems to be found on the Algarve’s famous beaches, such as The Benagil Cave, The Zorreira Cave, The Arches of Marinha, The Captain’s Cave, and The Elephant Cave.

Exploring these hidden cave beaches is an experience you’ll never forget. Since there are about 150 beaches to choose from, there are lots of things to do, like surfing, relaxing, or diving. You can swim or take a boat to get to these beaches, where you can do many water sports. Finding these hidden gems and having fun in the water are two of the best things to do in Portugal.

Stay overnight in medieval Monsaraz

Best Things to Do in Portugal

Key Points:

  • Experience the charm of staying in a well-preserved medieval village.
  • Enjoy breathtaking views of Alqueva Dam and the surrounding countryside.
  • Explore ancient castles, churches, and narrow cobblestone streets.

Monsaraz, which is also called Ninho das Águias (Eagles’ Nest), is a beautiful place to escape close to the Spanish border. It sits high above the border plains. This small village has pretty streets like Rua Direita and Rua de Santiago. It has fortified walls and only a few hundred people live there. At its centre are the Igreja Matriz and an interesting pillory from the 18th century in the main square.

Even though Monsaraz is small, it has many galleries, craft shops, and restaurants that draw people in. But what really draws people in are the castle, the winding streets, and the wide views. From the walls, you can see the huge Alentejan plain to the west and north, and behind Alqueva dam, you can see Europe’s biggest man-made lake with its sparkling water to the south and east. One of the “Best Things to Do in Portugal” can be done in Monsaraz.

Palacio Nacional de Mafra

Best Things to Do in Portugal

Key Points:

  • Visit the grandiose Baroque palace and convent complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Explore its vast library, home to over 36,000 ancient books.
  • Admire the two carillons, composed of 92 bells – among the largest collections in the world.

The Palacio Nacional de Mafra is one of the best things to do in Portugal. It’s only 30 kilometres northwest of Lisbon. When I looked around this beautiful building, I was amazed by how powerful and important it was. This huge Baroque and Neoclassical palace-monastery was built in 1717 with money from Dom Joao V’s Brazilian lands. It is a true work of art and architecture.

It has more than 1,200 rooms and a journey through charming cloisters, royal quarters, and a lovely library. It looks even more grand with the basilica and bell towers. As you walk through the Palacio Nacional de Mafra, you’ll see halls that are beautifully decorated, beautiful furniture, and stunning works of art. It’s an experience that really shows off the best of Portugal’s culture.

Treat Yourself to Traditional Portuguese Custard Tarts

Best Things to Do in Portugal

Key Points:

  • Indulge in the famous Pastéis de Nata, a Portuguese culinary icon.
  • Visit historic bakeries in Lisbon to taste the original recipe.
  • Learn about the tart’s origins in the monasteries of the 18th century.

One of the best things to do in Portugal is to eat pastéis de nata, which are also called cream pastries. Portuguese tarts like these are made with egg custard, powdered sugar, puff pastry, and a little nutmeg or cinnamon. You can find these treats all over Portugal.

Pastéis de Belém, which is in Lisbon next to Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, is the place to go for a real experience. Here, in the bakery where they were first made by Hieronymite monks in the 1830s, you can try these tasty pastries. They used egg whites to starch their robes, and then the story goes that they came up with creative ways to use egg yolks.

Nazare: Surf 100 Feet High Waves

Best Things to Do in Portugal

Key Points:

  • Challenge yourself by surfing some of the world’s largest waves.
  • Watch professional surfers tackle the monstrous Praia do Norte waves.
  • Learn about the underwater canyon that creates these giant waves.

Visit the beautiful beaches of Nazare, Portugal, to feel the thrill of seeing waves that are up to 100 feet high and higher. Nazare is a great place for thrill-seekers from all over the world to visit, and surfers come there all year long. Without a doubt, surfing is one of the best things to do in Portugal, especially on the calm beaches with great waves.

If you don’t like surfing, you can still enjoy the beautiful scenery by taking a break at Sitio da Nazare, which is right next to the famous lighthouse. But remember that these waves are unique and hard to predict, so it’s important to plan your trip well to get the most out of your vacation.

Cruise canals in Aveiro

Best Things to Do in Portugal

Key Points:

  • Explore the “Venice of Portugal” on a traditional moliceiro boat.
  • Admire the Art Nouveau buildings and colorful houses along the canals.
  • Taste the local seafood delicacies and the famous ovos moles.

Aveiro is a cute town south of Porto that has a long history that is connected to its beautiful coastal location. Aveiro used to be a busy port, but changes in the land around it caused the economy to slow down. But in the 1800s, when canals and drainage systems were built, the town experienced a remarkable comeback.

Today, Aveiro is a popular tourist destination, and its beautiful waterways make it feel like Venice. There are attractions like boat rides and the famous Vista Alegre factory nearby that make it even more appealing. From personal experience, I can say that Aveiro has its own special charm and a lot of different things to do. Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Portugal.

Escape to Gorgeous Sintra

Best Things to Do in Portugal

Key Points:

  • Discover the fairy-tale palaces and lush gardens of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Climb the Moorish Castle for panoramic views of the countryside.
  • Visit the Quinta da Regaleira with its enchanting wells and hidden tunnels.

UNESCO-listed Sintra is a magical place with colourful castles, convents, palaces, and other buildings that look like they belong in a fairy tale. It is set in the beautiful Serra Mountains. It’s only a short trip from Lisbon and a must-see place that shows off Portugal’s rich history and beautiful architecture. Enjoy the beauty of the past by walking through lush, shady gardens and looking around grand palaces.

Many people choose to go on a day trip, but staying overnight makes the experience better because you can explore in peace after the tour buses leave. As someone who has experienced Sintra’s magic firsthand, I can say that getting lost in its beauty is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Portugal. It will give you unforgettable memories and magical moments.

Pena Palace

Best Things to Do in Portugal

Key Points:

  • Be amazed by the vivid colors and architectural mix of this Romanticist palace.
  • Walk through the beautifully landscaped park that surrounds the palace.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of Sintra and the Atlantic Ocean from the palace terraces.

Pena Palace is a symbol of how beautiful Portugal is. It is set in the beautiful Sintra Mountains. Its alluring beauty brings in many people looking for romance and beauty, including me. This beautiful piece of architecture, which was finished in 1854, is a mix of different styles and is decorated with bright colours and small details. As I climbed the hill, I was amazed by how bright the yellows and reds were.

Each part was a work of art. Every corner shows a new wonder, from fancy gates to funny fronts. As I looked around its royal rooms, I felt like I was in a time when people were rich and powerful. Pena Palace is without a doubt the best example of Romanticism in the 19th century. It is a must-see for anyone looking for the best things to do in Portugal.

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It was exciting to see all of Portugal’s different landscapes, from the historic streets of Lisbon to the sun-kissed beaches of the Algarve. Enjoying fresh seafood treats and well-known local wines made the food even better. I learned a lot about the country’s history as I walked through old castles and cute villages. The warm hospitality of the locals made the whole experience even better and more memorable. The unique mix of culture, food, and natural beauty in Portugal makes it a truly captivating place to visit.


What is the best time to visit Portugal?

It’s up to you to decide when is the best time to go to Portugal. The weather is mild most of the year, but especially in the Algarve, the summers can be hot and dry. If you want to avoid crowds and hot weather, spring and autumn are good times to go.

How much does it cost to travel to Portugal?

How you plan to travel and what you want to do will affect how much it costs to go to Portugal. However, Portugal is usually a pretty cheap place to visit. It will cost you about €50 to €100 a day for food and hotel.


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