Lining the Atlantic Ocean on the Iberian Peninsula Plateau, Portugal is often disregarded when visiting Europe. However, Portugal has been recording high tourist influx in recent times for its incredible port wine, tarts and Moorish Empire ruins. Known as the oldest existing empire in the world, the Portuguese land has many cliff-top castles, sandy beaches and historical places to offer. Here are a few Portugal vacation itineraries for you to consider for your next holiday. This guide is going to help you plan the best Portugal vacation this summer.
The capital city is an ideal place to start the trip from as Lisbon receives the most number of international flights from all across the globe. The city offers a glimpse into ancient culture and architecture that is best explored on foot. If you are not a fan of elevated walks, consider riding Tram 28 that passes through all the tourist sites. Check out the World Heritage Sites such as Jeronimos Monastery, Moorish Castle and Belem Tower to soak in the rich Portuguese history. Alfama is also a great district to explore and indulge in some traditional cuisine and Fado music.
Surrounded by the majestic Sintra Mountains, this hilly city is often dubbed as the royal sanctuary for the sheer number of castles and forts it carries. The most colourful and famous castle among them is the Pena Palace followed by the Moorish Fortress – Castelo dos Mouros. The hilltop castles and forts offer mesmerising views of the mountains and the beach. The Monserrate Park and Palace is something one should not miss. The Old Town is filled with bazaars that sell traditional handmade products that are perfect to take back home as souvenirs.
3. Douro Valley
The UNESCO site is known for the rolling hills of vineyards, scenic train journeys and outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking. Take a tour of the vineyards and learn about the making of the famous port wine. After the wine tasting, you can even spend an evening the olive groves of the valley.
Located a few kilometres away from the Douro Valley, Porto is the second largest city in the country. The port city is famous for the largest production of port wine, sophisticated neighbourhoods and rich architecture. Museums and galleries are scattered all around the city that are worth visiting at least once. The famous Sao Bento train station is an amazing photo stop in the city for its artistic blue and white tiles.
Madeira is an autonomous archipelago consisting of 4 islands that boasts of subtropical climate and untouched natural landscapes. The archipelago is famous for botanical gardens, whale and dolphin watching and adventure sports like mountain biking and scuba diving.
Apart from the history and culture tours, major cities of Portugal such as Lisbon and Porto are also famous for amazing nightlife and gourmet restaurants. For a carefree scenic holiday, head to Portugal this summer and enjoy a laid back vacation.