Welcome to Portugal, the oldest country in Europe! Portugal has brought us a whole host of wonderful things, including Port wine, pipi-piri chicken, and the dangerously delicious pastéis de nata (custard tarts). 

Beyond these delights, the western-most country in Europe has so much for its visitors to see and do. But you’ll only be able to experience the magic that is Portugal if you begin planning your trip. 

So, to give you a head start, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Portugal. That way, you can concentrate on the basics—like packing your bags!

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Best Things To Do in Portugal

Join us as we share our local knowledge on what to do in Portugal so you can enjoy the trip of a lifetime.

Explore Lisbon, the Capital City


Lisbon, the cobblestoned capital of Portugal, is a must-visit destination and home to a population of just over 3 million. 

Start your adventure in the historic neighbourhood of Alfama, where you can wander through narrow streets and enjoy traditional Fado music. Alfama’s charm lies in its authenticity, with laundry hanging from balconies and locals chatting in cosy cafés. 

Don’t miss the iconic Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. These landmarks tell the tales of Portugal’s Age of Discoveries. 

Lisbon’s lively markets, like Mercado da Ribeira, offer delicious local delicacies and crafts. Here, you can taste the famous pastéis de nata, the creamy custard tart we mentioned above that’s a must-try. Seriously.

Take a Day Trip to Sintra


Just a short, 30-minute drive from Lisbon, Sintra is a fairy-tale town known for its palaces and gardens. 

The colourful National Palace of Pena, perched high on a hill, looks like something out of a storybook. Its vibrant colours and whimsical architecture make it a perfect photo spot. 

Explore the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira with its enchanting gardens and hidden tunnels. The Initiation Well here is particularly intriguing, resembling something straight out of an episode of Game of Thrones. 

Sintra’s historic centre is perfect for an evening stroll, with souvenir shops and cafés where you can sit and watch the world go by. Don’t forget to try the local pastry, Travesseiros de Sintra, filled with almond cream and sugar. You’ll deserve it after walking up and down the many hills of Sintra!

Sail the Douro River in Porto


Porto, famous for its port wine, offers a unique experience on the Douro River. Take a river cruise to see the stunning vineyards that line the valley. These terraced vineyards have been producing wine for centuries. 

Wander through the Ribeira district, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its colourful buildings and lively atmosphere. The narrow, cobbled streets and riverside cafes are perfect for soaking up the local culture. 

Don’t forget to visit the Livraria Lello, one of the most beautiful bookstores you’ll ever see. Its stunning staircase and ornate interior are rumoured to have inspired J.K. Rowling while writing Harry Potter.

Go Surfing in Algarve


Algarve is a surfer’s paradise with its long, wide, rugged beaches and powerful Atlantic waves. Head to Sagres or Lagos for some of the best surf spots in Portugal. 

The whole Algarve coast has a mix of beach, point, and reef breaks for every level of surfer. There are plenty of surf schools and rentals available too. The instructors here are super friendly and the vibe is relaxed, making it a great place to learn or improve your skills. Pretty much everyone speaks great English so you’ll have no problems during lessons.

After a day on the waves, relax at one of the many beach bars and enjoy the stunning sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. Fancy staying out a bit later? You’ll be spoilt for choice in the many bars and clubs of the Algarve region.

Hike in Peneda-Gerês National Park


For nature lovers, Peneda-Gerês National Park cannot be missed. This beautiful national park offers numerous hiking trails with breathtaking views, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. Keep an eye out for wild horses, deer, and a variety of bird species. 

The trails range from easy to challenging, catering to all levels of hikers. You’ll also find traditional villages, such as Fafião, Ermida, Gerês, Cabril, Pitões de Junias, and Tourém, among others, where you can experience the local way of life. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and often willing to share stories about the history and culture of their village and the park. 

Visit the Main Islands: Azores and Madeira


The Azores and Madeira are two stunning island groups that offer unique experiences. 

In the Azores, explore volcanic landscapes, natural hot springs, and whale watching. The islands are a haven for adventure seekers, with activities like hiking, diving, and paragliding. São Miguel island is famous for the Sete Cidades lakes, with their contrasting blue and green colours. 

Madeira, known as the “Island of Eternal Spring,” boasts beautiful botanical gardens, levada walks, and the bustling capital, Funchal. The island’s wine is also renowned, so a visit to a local winery is a must.

Explore the City of Évora


Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is just an hour and a half drive from Lisbon. This city is simply a treasure trove of history and culture. 

Wander through its well-preserved medieval streets and visit the impressive Roman Temple of Évora (a.k.a. The Temple of Diana), The Chapel of Bones (needs to be seen to be believed), and Évora’s university.

Around 15 km from Évora, you can visit the Cromlech of the Almendres, a megalithic complex dating back 7,000 years.

Relax on the Beaches:


Especially in  Algarve, Madeira, and Azores, Portugal’s beaches are some of the best in Europe, where you can bask in the wonder of the immense Atlantic Ocean, the rugged cliffs, and the vast golden sand beaches. 

Algarve’s coastline offers a variety of beaches, from secluded coves to busy resort areas. Praia da Marinha is one of Portugal’s most iconic beaches. With its dramatic cliffs and clear waters, this beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkelling.

Madeira’s beaches are unique, with volcanic black sand and natural swimming pools. Porto Moniz’s natural pools are a favourite among locals and tourists alike. 

In the Azores, the beaches are perfect for relaxation and enjoying the pristine environment. Santa Bárbara Beach on São Miguel is ideal for surfing, while Praia Formosa on Santa Maria offers soft white sand and calm waters.

Experience Portugal For Yourself

Portugal is a destination that has something for everyone, from lively cities and historic towns to stunning natural landscapes and beautiful beaches. Whether you’re a digital nomad, a leisure traveller, or visiting for a corporate event, there’s no shortage of activities in Portugal. 

Make your trip unforgettable by booking your stay with Allure Villas, where you’ll experience unrivalled hospitality and the best accommodations tailored to your needs. 

Visit Allure Villas to book your perfect Portuguese holiday rental today.