Lisbon and Porto may get a lot of love, but there's so much more to Portugal than its captivating historic cities.
From golden beaches and mountainous peaks to lush river valleys, every region has its own diverse highlights across this small Iberian nation.
Finding the best places to go here depends largely on your own interests. If you’re after sun-kissed beaches and aquatic adventures, head to the Algarve; for historic architecture-filled towns with a rich, traditional dining scene, aim for Évora. Start planning your itinerary now with our 11 favorite places to visit in Portugal.
Best for nightlife
Seven iconic hills overlook Lisbon's postcard-perfect panorama of cobbled alleyways, white-domed cathedrals and grand civic squares – a captivating scene crafted over centuries.
The Portuguese capital is packed with things to do, from browsing galleries (including the Museu Nacional do Azulejo with its trove of ceramic tiles) and exploring castles (such as the hilltop Castelo de São Jorge) to satisfying your sweet tooth with the city's incredible pastéis de nata (custard tarts).
By night, Lisbon’s party people take over, filling old-school drinking dens, brassy jazz clubs and open-all-night clubs that burst into life once the sun goes down.
Planning tip: Lisbon has an emerging craft beer scene that you can experience at the city's breweries and bars.
Best place to drink wine
One of Portugal’s most beautiful areas lies just east of Porto. Here, the meandering Rio Douro flows past towering hillsides covered by the steeply terraced vineyards that make up Europe’s oldest demarcated wine region. Whether you come by boat, train or car to the Douro Valley, you’ll be rewarded with astonishing views at every turn, especially as you near the lovely village of Pinhão in the heart of the region.
Planning tip: Many travelers dash in on a quick day trip, but to make the most of the region, spend the night at one of the vineyard-surrounded guesthouses in the area, such as Quinta Nova or the Casa Cimeira.
Best hilltop village
Wandering the tangle of ancient streets in the historic town of Óbidos is enchanting at any time of year, but come during one of its festivals and you're in for a special treat. Whether you fancy the idea of a mock-up jousting match at a medieval fair or delving into the written word at Folio – Portugal's biggest international literature festival – you couldn’t ask for a better backdrop.
Best for a fantastical escape
Less than an hour by train from the capital Lisbon, Sintra feels like another world. It's a great day trip away from the city hubbub. Like a setting from a fairy tale, this historic hillside township is sprinkled with stone-walled taverns and lorded over by a multicolored palace.
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Travelers often overlook Belgium in favor of neighbors like France and the Netherlands, but it’s one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Because of its history, Belgium is linguistically and culturally diverse; it’s also small and compact, so visitors can travel to multiple destinations with ease.
When people think about beers in New York City, most people think of the buzzy craft breweries of Brooklyn and yes, they are excellent but one of the best places to drink in NYC is in lower Manhattan, where excellent beer bars are mere blocks from each other and you can enjoy yourself with a semi-relaxed NYC style of quiet that the East and West Village, The Bowery and Alphabet City neighborhoods afford. Here are some of my favorite places in drink in Lower Manhattan.
In Britain, the Sunday roast is sacrosanct. Gathering together around a beautifully cooked joint of meat, with lashings of gravy, vegetables and billowing Yorkshire puddings, is, for many, the weekend’s social highlight. And where better to do to this than the pub? Not only do you avoid the washing-up but, centuries after the French dubbed Brits les rosbifs, you get to enjoy the roast at its most modern. In recent decades, Britain’s best pub chefs have, by focusing on seasonal ingredients, rare-breed meats and painstaking preparations of roast potatoes or root vegetables, brought a fresh glamour to this Sunday afternoon ritual.
Whether you’re a dedicated bargain hunter, passionate about interiors, a spa-o-holic, an obsessive foodie, love exploring places brimming with history and atmosphere, or adore contemporary art, then you’ve come to the right place. Few places on Earth do any of these things quite like Marrakesh.
The ultimate tropical getaway, the Caribbean conjures images of palm-fringed beaches, rum-fueled dancing and lush jungle excursions. Pick any of the 700-odd islands that form an arc between Florida and Venezuela and you’ll get all these things and more.
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