Tucked into a far corner of the Continent, Portugal preserves a traditional culture of widows in black and fishermen mending nets. 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), exotic architecture, windswept castles, thriving towns and cities, appealingly authentic seaside resort towns, and fresh seafood with chilled wine on a beach at sunset…you've chosen the right destination.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Lisbon Lively, hilly port and capital, with historic trolleys, grand squares, fado clubs, fine art, and a salty sailors' quarter topped by a castle.
▲▲▲ 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 Moroccan-flavored 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 a user-friendly 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 rejuvenated 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 countryside quintas offering 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.