Best Things to Do In Portugal

Porto Portugal

Portugal offers a wide variety of activities to delight history buffs, adventurers, and nightlife-lovers alike. No matter what type of traveler you are, you’ll find things to do in Portugal that will make your next vacation one for the books.

Furnas Lake

A still lake surrounded by lush greenery make for a tropical setting at Terra Nostra, Furnas, Portugal
Terra Nostra, Furnas, Portugal

There are more than a few things to do at Portugal’s Furnas Lake. Sporting a magnificent view, the crater lake has beautiful blue-tinged waters surrounded by green hills, all with mud volcanoes and hot springs.

Take a relaxing half-hour walk around the lake, while visiting bubbling mud cauldrons and enjoying the multi-hued lake water. For some up-close views, rent a canoe and paddle out.

 

Visit the Castle de Guimaraes

Guimaraes castle in Portugal against a deep blue sky

This medieval fortress, located within an historic walled city, was the birthplace of Portugal’s first monarch.

You can look at the Roman architecture of the castle walls, and learn the history of the families who once lived there (and, later, served as prominent figureheads). This is a perfect itinerary addition for travellers who love history.

 

Castelo de São Jorge

Castelo de São Jorge Portugal sits in the background as a neighborhood of red roofs makes up the foreground

This hilltop castle offers glimpses of medieval architecture, as well as stunning views of the city of Lisbon and its waterfront.

For great views, it’s ideal to visit during the fall and summer seasons. If you’re more interested in exploring Portugal’s heritage, however, any time of the year will be lovely.

 

Cabo de Roca

An aerial view of Cabo de Roca, Portugal depicting a large building atop of large cliff overlooking the ocean
Image Source: Visit Portugal

Welcome to the westernmost point in mainland Europe! Cabo de Roca offers beautiful walking trails, which border the Atlantic ocean and provide amazing birdwatching opportunities.

Cabo de Roca offers raw beauty, towering cliffs, and lots of nature. Be sure to check out its gold-sand beaches, and the unique sand and rock formations (accessed via ropes).

 

Ribeira District

Ribeira District in Portugal on partly cloudy evening as the streetlights from the city light up the river

The area is known for its vibrant night scene and dining. The district also offers outstanding views of the River Douro, visible through many restaurants’ floor-to-ceiling windows. And speaking of: foodies in search of fresh, traditional Portuguese food will adore the local cuisine.

The Ribeira also has an elevator, so view-seeking tourists can soak up the entire city at once.

 

Porto Moniz

Porto Moniz Portugal shows aggressive looking waves crashing into the beachfront city

For some of the best views in Portugal, look no further than Porto Moniz. The city sits atop dramatic cliffs, offers a complex of lava pools to bathe in, and boasts several beaches perfect for tanning.

The area is known for its lack of crowds and traffic, compared to other local beaches.

 

Porto Cálem

A large sign of "Calem" is displayed atop a white building with a golden brown roof at Calem Winery in Portugal

The grapevine connoisseurs in your group can happily mingle with the history buffs, for once. This fourth generation winery provides guided tours and an onsite museum.

The winery rests in the Vila Nova de Gaia, along the Duoro River. Wine cellar tours are available, and the winery makes red and white varieties to please any palate.

 

Braga

A castle style historic building with countless statues and stairways make up Braga in Portugal

No trip to Portugal is complete without a detour through Braga, the city between Amarante and Porto. It offers an exceptional variety of history and culture, with some of Portugal’s oldest religious buildings, shops, restaurants and nightlife.

The city also has one of the most famed churches in Portugal, the Bom Jesus de Monte.

 

Amarante

The Amarante is reflected on a complpetely still lake in Fall or Winter in Portugal

Located near Braga, Amaranta is known for its beautiful arched bridge and riverside routes overflowing with local cuisine and culture.

Like many cities in Portugal, Amarante delivers beautiful architecture and amazing views.

 

Monsanto

Sweeping hilltop view of Monsanto, Portugal were the sun is beginning to set behind wisps of hazy clouds

The mountaintop village of Monsanto gives travellers spectacular views of the country, as well as some very unique homes.

Built around a series of moss-covered boulders, Monsanto and its tiny, winding streets isn’t just charming: it’s also rich with history, and its strategic placement was crucial in defending Portgual against invasions.

Monsanto features the remains of a Templar castle, semi-destroyed in an explosion over a century ago. Even travellers who prefer sunny beaches to history lessons will find Monsanto fascinating.

 

Cascais

A train and several stairways lead to a small rocky beachfront at Cascais, Portugal

This old fishing town offers more dramatic cliffs, fascinating museums, and beautiful beaches.

Cascais was the former vacation city of Portugeuse royalty, reflected in its many modern amenities. Visitors can take a boat ride and explore the Santa Marta lighthouse, enjoy a walk along the seaside promenade, and dine on seriously fresh fish.

 

Ribeira District in Portugal on partly cloudy evening as the streetlights from the city light up the river under the bridge

Rich in stunning views and history, there’s no shortage of things to do in Portugal: it’s a one-stop destination for travellers who want to do and see everything. When you’re ready to wander, this beautiful and captivating country is undoubtedly one of the best places to land.

For more travel recommendations, check out these awesome day trips out of New York, or the top restaurants to visit when you’re in Portland.