Portugal

Travel Guide
Albufeira featuring a coastal town, swimming and a sandy beach

Home of Vasco da Gama, port wine and a European tea plantation, this country on the Iberian Peninsula is renowned for its historic cities and Atlantic islands.

Portugal was one of the colonial era’s central powers. From its shores came the first European to reach India by sea. The Portuguese also conquered much of South America. Today, Portugal is no longer colonizing, but its cities reveal the nation’s former glory. Tour its famous port towns and explore its picturesque Atlantic islands.

Lisbon, Portugal's capital, shows off the country’s riches from the height of its colonial empire. Tour its Belém port district. From here, world-famous explorers like Vasco da Gama set sail centuries ago. Da Gama’s body is buried in the lengthy 16th-century Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) and his statue stands atop the grand Rua Augusta Arch. Lisbon also displays Portugal’s own history as a country colonized by other empires. Explore the hilltop fortress of the 11th-century Castelo de São Jorge, which features traces of Roman, Visigoth and Moorish peoples.

While Lisbon is a city built on imports, the large city of Porto thrives due to one of the country’s best-known exports: port, the sweet dessert wine. Explore the wine country surrounding the city, where terraced vineyards blanket the hills along valleys of the winding Douro River. Porto’s hillside cityscape features both Baroque and modern architectural masterworks amid colorful townhouses.

One attraction that sets Portugal apart from its European neighbors is the Azores archipelago far from its shores but within its Atlantic borders. Fly to this collection of nine volcanic islands for some of the best outdoor adventures in Portugal. Towering over the archipelago is the country’s highest peak, Mount Pico. Climb to the top for excellent views over the Azores’ central islands. The main island of São Miguel features volcanic hot springs, a picturesque crater lake at its center and one of Europe’s few tea plantations.

Begin your stay in Portugal by flying into an international airport outside Lisbon or one near Ponta Delgada on São Miguel. Untamed volcanic wilderness and former imperial riches await.

Popular cities in Portugal

Lisbon showing heritage architecture and a city as well as a large group of people
Lisbon District
Known for Historical, Art and Museums
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and one of the most highly visited cities of Europe. Renowned as t is for its fine architecture, history, cuisine, culture and international trade, that’s hardly surprising.

Reasons to visit

  • Castle of São Jorge
  • Commerce Square
  • Rossio Square
Dom Luis I Bridge featuring street scenes, a bridge and a river or creek
Porto
Known for Rivers, Ports and Cafes
Portugal’s second-largest city captivates visitors with its rich history, award-winning wines and grand architecture.

Reasons to visit

  • Ribeira Square
  • Porto Historic Center
  • Church of Sao Francisco
Coimbra showing a bridge, a river or creek and a city
Coimbra
Known for Historical, Universities and Cathedrals
Explore the spectacular medieval buildings on the university campus and visit the intriguing museums of this former capital of Portugal.

Reasons to visit

  • Coimbra University
  • Portugal dos Pequenitos
  • Old Cathedral of Coimbra
Faro Island Beach showing general coastal views and a sandy beach
Faro
Known for Friendly people, Dining and Marinas
Faro is a picturesque, medieval city in the South of Portugal, with cobbled streets, café terraces and a natural park complete with beautiful lagoons. For those looking for more than just sun and beaches, Algarve’s capital won’t disappoint. This peaceful, whitewashed city has friendly people, good food and exciting bars, on top of the sun, sea and sand.

Reasons to visit

  • Faro Old Town
  • Faro Cathedral
Madeira
Funchal
Known for Dining, Sea and Gardens
The capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira is a beautiful city on the southern coast offering beaches, historic buildings and marine wildlife adventures.

Reasons to visit

  • Madeira Botanical Garden
  • Town Square
Algarve showing a church or cathedral, a small town or village and a pool
Loule
Known for Friendly people, Relaxing and Poolside bars
Explore relaxing Loule: its bars, adventures, ruins and more!

Reasons to visit

  • Vilamoura Marina

Portugal

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