From the warm sunny beaches of the Algarve to the sophisticated riverside wine tastings of Porto, Portugal tourism has something for everybody. Portugal is a popular destination because of its safe cities and inexpensive cost of goods. With the exception of a few isolated areas, crime rates in Portugal are exceptionally low. Activities in Portugal are also cheaper than they are in the US, though they may be comparable to other EU countries.
Tourism in Portugal is based largely around food and wine, adventuresports, history, and beach vacations. Whatever you choose to do, there is something you will love in this beautiful country.
One of the best ways to enjoy Portugal is with a food and wine tour. Portugal is home to many delicious foods, from sweet pastries to savory seafood. If you consider yourself a foodie, you should take a few cooking classes while in Portugal, and be sure to enjoy some of the incredible local flavors. Take in stunning beach views while eating delicious seafood in the Algarve, then hang out in one of Lisbon’s famous Fado restaurants. There, you’ll enjoy your meal while listening to the sounds of the soulful Portuguese music.
For the wine enthusiast, Portugal is also the birthplace of Port wine. Made in the Douro River Valley region, Port is a sweet dessert wine that pairs well with the stunning countryside views from Porto’s riverside districts. The hillsides of the Serra do Marao mountains provide the optimal climate to grow the grapes used in Port. The barrels of wine were traditionally transported to Porto down the Douro river in barcos rabelos, a specific type of flat-bottomed boat. Stroll along the Douro river in Porto, and you’ll find plenty of spots to stop for wine tastings, or travel up into the mountains to visit the wineries themselves.
Skydiving, ziplining, mountain climbing, scuba diving, you can do it all on your Portuguese tour! There are activities for all levels of thrill seekers and nature lovers in Portugal. The forested mountains of Alentejo and Northern Portugal provide stunning views for hikers and mountain bikers. Giant waves crashing on beaches across Central Portugal draw in thousands of surfers seeking the ride of their lives.
In the Algarve, scuba diving, snorkeling, and boating are all popular, inexpensive activities. In Albufeira, you can even try one of only five “water-touch” bungee jumps in the world. Here, you’ll fall towards the water and just barely break its surface before being pulled back up. Skiing, canyoning, skydiving, and ziplining are just a few more popular activities available in Portugal!
Portugal made a name for itself as a major power during the Age of Discovery. Prince Henry the Navigator was responsible for funding and encouraging exploration and the development of new trade routes. The seaside country also drew a lot of influence from Spain and Morocco, its next-door neighbors.
Today, you can still visit historic Roman, Moorish, and Portuguese architecture across the country. In Lisbon, visit the Tower of Belem, which protected the city from naval attacks. Today, it honors the great explorers, such as Vasco de Gama, who departed from Lisbon. You can also visit beautiful monasteries and castles, museums and monuments, and even the world’s oldest bookstore.
In Evora, see an ancient Roman temple to Diana, or the haunting Portuguese Chapel of Bones. Conimbriga is home to a Roman bathhouse, where you can see stunning tilework depicting scenes from Roman mythology. In Sintra, visit Quinta da Regaleira, where you can see a sprawling estate and climb down into a masonic initiation well.
Let’s face it, sometimes you just want to stretch out on a warm towel in the hot sun and relax seaside. Portugal is bordered on two sides by ocean, giving the country plenty of gorgeous beaches to enjoy. The Algarve region is popular for its warm, clear water and long-stretching beaches. There, you can also explore stunning caves and cliffs formed by the water over the years. Boating is inexpensive, and it’s easy to book a tour to see some of the more popular natural cave formations.
Tour Portugal’s Western coast, and you’ll be able to spot surfers riding the impressive waves of Nazare, and maybe even catch a few yourself. The beaches along this coast face the Atlantic ocean, and you can stand at the Westernmost point of continental Europe in Cabo da Roca.
Whatever you choose to do, your tour of Portugal will be unforgettable!