If you’re looking for some cool cities to visit in Portugal, this article is for you!
The food, the people, the atmosphere will provide you unforgettable moments. We want to introduce you to some of our favorite cities of Portugal. These cities are less touristic than the capital, but just as lovely and fun!
If you want to experience Portuguese cities, other than Lisbon and Porto, read on and find out 5 amazing cities you need to visit in Portugal!
Connect with nature in Gerês
First on our list of the 5 amazing cities you need to visit in Portugal is Gerês. It is located in the North of the country, near the Spanish frontier. I suggest this city to all the travelers who love nature or for whoever that wants to reconnect with nature. This is one of the most peaceful and relaxing places of Portugal. At Gerês, there are plenty of fantastic places to see and visit. Your friends and followers on social media will both love and envy to be at all the beautiful places you will share.
The Santuário de Senhora da Abadia was built between the seventh and eighth century. Its atmosphere is the quietest ever. The silence and tranquility of the place is magical. The only “noises” you will hear will be the flowing water and the twittering of birds. Then, you absolutely have to go to the Parque Nacional da Peneda Gerês, where you will be able to observe unique fauna and flora and the unique species that provide a magical atmosphere to the place as well. Join the “7 bridges” (7 pontes) trail to see the waterfalls, the lagoons, and other enchanted places. Be an adventurer and try to identify the different trees and plants species along the way!
Don’t miss the Fecha de Barjas, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls of the Gerês. Swim in the Arado river (Rio Arado) and its crystal clear waters. Then, if you want to join some water sports and activities, go to the Albufeira da Caniçada! Around the water, you will find many restaurants and esplanades but the highlights of this place are definitely its water sports. You can ride a boat or hop on a sea scooter, for instance. You have everything you need for that adrenaline rush! At Gerês, you will also find several villages worth the visit. Get lost and try to discover their mysteries.
For the greatest viewpoint, go to the Miradouro da Pedra Bela. The pine trees and cedar tree give a special atmosphere to the place. From there, you will have the greatest view over the many villages of the area.
Gerês is amazing. You will thoroughly enjoy it, especially if you love and respect nature. If you’re traveling with children, bring them to Gerês and teach them how important it is to respect and value nature.
Relax in Aveiro
If you feel like exploring the centre of Portugal, I recommend you to go to Aveiro. This city was founded for the production of salt and for maritime trade. Nowadays, Aveiro is known to be an important urban centre, due to its harbor, its railroads, its university and its sightseeing highlights. There are so many amazing places that are definitely worth visiting while in Portugal.
Visit the Oficina do Doce! It is one of the greatest highlights of the city. You will get to learn everything about the traditional “ovos moles“, which is the specialty of Aveiro, from its history to the making of it!
Also, don’t miss the Moliceiro cruises. The Moliceiros boats are one of the main highlights of the city. They were formerly used to cath the seaweed, which is called “moliço” in Portuguese, that was used as fertilizer for the lands of the region. When this activity ended, the boats started being used for touristic activities. During the boat cruises, you get to see many landmarks of the region. So, it is definitely a must!
You can also enjoy the Via Ecológica Ciclável which was inaugurated in 2018. The wooden walkways allow you yo experience the unique beauty of Aveiro, in less touristy and crowded areas of the city. During the trail, you will be able to admire the fauna and the flora of the area, and the beautiful landscapes.
If you feel like joining aquatic sports, such as kitesurfing or windsurfing for instance, go to Costa Nova beach (Praia da Costa Nova). You will also get to see the cutest fishermen houses, with their colorful vertical and horizontal stripes. These cute houses give such a unique look to the area!
Have a romantic time in Sintra
Sintra is a magical and splendid city! Visiting Sintra is like entering a fairytale where majestic palaces, mesmerizing castles and mansions arise from the middle of mysterious forests and mounts.
The charming Sintra is located only thirty kilometers from the capital! In this article, you will get to know how to get there from Lisbon.
Another landmark of Sintra is the Palácio da Pena, which is so divine that it even was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal in 2007. This palace was the first Romantic architecture one in Europe! In 2013, it was the most visited palace of Portugal, it received about 800 thousands of visitors!
Sintra is one of the most amazing cities in Portugal! You will love the architecture of the landmarks, and you will also thoroughly enjoy the history of the city! This is definitely one of the cities you need to visit while in Portugal.
Enjoy the beach in Portimão
Portimão is Portuguese favorite city when they want to spend the summer holidays or whenever they simply want to relax!
Portimão beaches are the greatest highlights of the city, and many people visit the city only to enjoy them! But there are so much more to discover and visit, such as the Portimão Museum, the Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição, and the Fortaleza de Santa Catarina that will offer you an incredible view! In Portimão, you will find everything you need to spend an incredible time! Both popular beaches and more intimate ones will guarantee you have an awesome time in the city. The nightlife is also a must! And, if you happen to go to some waterparks, you will have so much fun!
And if you want to go to Lisbon
Lisbon is an incredible city. Its rich culture, history and lifestyle are unique and you will love every minute you will be spending there. You will thoroughly enjoy the area of Belém and its splendid monuments that pay tribute to all the great discoveries Portuguese explorers made throughout the history. You will also have a great time walking the neighborhood of Alfama and experiencing how the locals live. The Baixa, Chiado, Bairro Alto areas are other neighborhoods that will mesmerize you! You will have the time of the your life while in the charming city of Lisbon.
Get inspired in Porto
There is so much to discover in Porto! We will now introduce you to Porto by sharing with you some of the best highlights and landmarks of the city! It’s actually Porto that gave the name to the country, Portugal. This city was very important for the history of the country. While in the city, you will find out it is one of the most authentic cities of Europe.
Walk the Avenida dos Aliados, which is the heart of the city! At the top of the avenue, you will find the City Council. When walking down to reach the Ribeira, stop at the train station São Bento to have a look at the magnificent traditional azulejos.
Another highlight of the city is the Rua Santa Catarina. This shopping is perfect for those who feel like shopping a little. It’s one of the busiest streets of the city, but you definitely shouldn’t miss it, because there are plenty of different stores and street artists that bring this street to life. It is also at Rua Santa Catarina, that you will find the famous and sophisticated Café Majestic, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful cafés in the world. Note that the prices in this café are more expensive than the rest of the city. Then, you should also visit the Capela das Almas: this adorable chapel is coated with about 15 000 azulejos!
The Mercado do Bolhão was built in 1914. Several generations of families used to work or go grocery-shopping in this traditional market. The freshest products and flowers were sold there. Unfortunately, it is closed for renovation until 2020. But I had to talk about it, because it truly is part of the Porto culture.
While in Porto, don’t miss the famous Livraria Lello and the Torre dos Clérigos. These two landmarks of the city are just footsteps away from one another. You probably already know the Livraria Lello, because it inspired the writer J.K. Rowling for her Harry Potter saga. To get inside the library, you will have to pay a fee, but the amount will be refunded if you happen to buy a book, which I find pretty fair! If you’re an Harry Potter fan, as you walk around the city, I’m sure you will find other references to the saga! Keep your eyes open! 😉
A few steps away from the library, you will reach the Torre dos Clérigos. It is 76 meters tall! For several years, it was used as a beacon for the ships that were arriving to Porto, therefore it offers one of the greatest views over the city!
Walking around the Ribeira is one of the best things to do while in Porto. I guarantee you will love this area of the city! It is the most emblematic neighborhood of Porto. Walk and explore the narrow alleys, observe the details of the city. On the quays, you will be able to admire the beauty of the Douro river (Rio Douro) and the Luís I bridge (Ponte Luís I), which was designed by Théophile Seyrig, one of the students of Gustave Eiffel!
On the other side of the Rio Douro, visit one of the Port wine caves! These caves are essential to the understanding of the history of Porto. So, if you have some time while in the city, visit them! Some tours even include tasting of the Vinho do Porto!
The Poças Cellars offer you a tasting of 3 Port wines, old Tawnys, or even 4 Premium wines.
What should you pack for a trip to Portugal?
1. Adequate clothes for the weather: Before packing, I usually always check the weather forecast. You should do the same. This will allow you to know what type of clothes you need to bring to Portugal. If you’re coming during the month of December, January, and February, you will have to bring warm clothes. It can get really cold in Portugal, especially during the nights. So don’t forget, your scarves and beanies! If you’re coming during the months of April and May, the weather is pleasant but you will still need a light jacket, because it may rain and the nights are still very cold!
If you’re coming during the summer months, pack your shorts, bermudas and dresses, because some days can get really hot. During the months of October and November, you don’t need to bring your warmest sweaters but the weather is pretty irregular. But these are the rainiest months of the year, so bring a waterproof jacket for your walks.
2. Comfortable shoes: Travelling to Portugal means you will be walking a lot, because there are so many things to see and to visit! If you travel to Lisbon, you should know that you will have to walk up and down several times! Bring your most comfortable shoes if you want to avoid blisters and hurting your feet. At the end of the day, you will be thankful you brought comfortable shoes. One does a lot of walking in Lisbon!
3. A power adapter: As you know, the electrical outlets vary around the world. If you’re coming from outside of Europe, you will probably need to bring a power adapter! The ones we use in Europe are as the one you can see in the picture above.
4. Sunglasses: Portugal is a sunny country, which means bringing a pair of sunglasses is essential no matter the time of the year you’re visiting the country. Even in the winter, when it’s really cold, the sun is here! So you will definitely need to wear your sunglasses even with your warmest clothes on!
4. A swimsuit: During the winter months, you probably won’t need it. But I advise you to bring a swimsuit to Portugal if you’re coming during the rest of the year, because Portugal has many beaches, rivers and lagoons you will want to discover, explore and swin in. If you want to try surfing, you will also need one! You can usually borrow the surfing suit on site at the surfing school, but you will need to wear a swimsuit underneath your suit.
5. A practical backpack: Your bag has to be very practical. It should be large enough to fit all your stuff for the day, and comfortable enough to be carried around the whole day. Choose a classic and stylish one that will match all your outfits and that can be worn both day and night.
A comfortable bag has to be light and practical. If I were you, I would pick a trendy and simple backpack over shopper bags because you would get tired much quicker. If you’re a lady and rather take a crossbody bag, it can also be an option!
If you go to crowded places, wear your backpack in the front – against your chest. This will allow you always keep an eye on your stuff and you will be less exposed to pickpockets.
6.Sunscreen: You will need sunscreen if you come to Portugal during the summer, which you definitely should do because it is one of the best countries in the world to spend the summer! Portugal has so much to offer, from mountains, rivers to beaches, you have everything you need to spend an amazing summer!