Perched on the Atlantic on the far edge of Europe, Portugal preserves a salty, traditional culture. Gnarled fishermen still mend their nets, and rustically clad women sell fish and produce in markets. But along with the old, you'll also find the modern, especially in the culturally rich capital of Lisbon and the second city of Porto. If your idea of good travel includes friendly locals (who generally speak English), a rich culture, affordable prices, a thriving urban scene, seaside resort towns, exotic architecture, windswept castles, and fresh seafood with chilled wine on a beach at sunset…you've chosen the right destination.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Algarve Portugal's sunny southern coast, strung with the simple fishing village of Salema, the historic "end of the road" of Cape Sagres, the beach-party town of Lagos, and friendly Tavira.
▲▲ Sintra Aristocratic retreat just outside Lisbon, known for its striking setting, fairy-tale castles, and beautiful gardens.
▲▲ Évora Whitewashed college town with big Roman, Moorish, and Portuguese history encircled by its medieval wall, set amid the rustic Alentejo heartland.
▲▲ Coimbra Portugal's Oxford, home to an Arab-flavored old town and bustling with students from its prestigious university.
▲▲ Nazaré Traditional fishing village turned small-town resort, and good jumping-off point for day trips within central Portugal.
▲▲ Porto Gritty but up-and-coming second city with scenic riverfront, steep and picturesque neighborhoods, lively shopping streets, and port-wine tastings.
▲ Douro Valley Terraced valley and birthplace of port wine, with functional towns of Peso da Régua and Pinhão, and ample vineyard-set quintas offering wine tastings and accommodations.
▲ Óbidos Photogenic walled town long known as Portugal's "wedding city."
Fátima Pilgrimage destination famous for 1917 Virgin Mary sightings.
Alcobaça Pleasant town that's home to Portugal's largest church (and saddest romance).
Batalha Site of the Monastery of Santa Maria, widely considered Portugal's finest architectural achievement.
Tomar Charming workaday town under a castle filled with Knights Templar mystique.