The 13 best places to visit in Portugal

 

Completed in 1678 off the western coast of the mainland on the Berlenga Grande, the largest island of the Berlengas, is the Fort Of Saint John The Baptist. Still showing signs of the battles fought here, this tiny fortress stands on a small rock connected to the island by a winding arched bridge.

13. Fort Of São João Baptista

 

Built in 1160 in the city of Tomar, between Lisbon and Coimbra is the Convent Of Christ, a one time Roman Catholic convent and stronghold of the Knights Templar. This ornate church and castle is adorned with elaborate pinnacles and sculptured facades, decorated with wonderful Gothic and Romanesque detail inside and out. As well as being a cultural and historical monument, it has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

12. Convento De Cristo

 

Halfway up the country close to the border with Spain is the Portuguese village of Monsanto, at 758 metres (2,486 ft) above sea level to it's highest point it offers visitors incredible views over the surrounding countryside. What makes this picture perfect mountaintop village more notable than most is the presence of enormous granite boulders sitting perched between and even on top of  the 16th century buildings.

11. Monsanto

 

In the town of Batalha, between Lisbon and Coimbra is the Mosteiro De Batalha, meaning Monastery Of The Battle, though officially known as the Monastery Of Saint Mary Of The Victory. Building on this mammoth structure began in 1386 and wasn't completed until over a century later in 1517. One of the best examples of late Gothic architecture in the country, the monastery has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

10. Mosteiro Da Batalha

 

North of the capital, Lisbon, is the town of Obidos. Located on a hilltop surrounded by it's ancient fortified wall, the town with it's cobbled streets, 16th century aqueduct and 12th century castle complex remains a well preserved example of medieval architecture.

9. Obidos

 

Halfway up the country between Porto and the capital, Lisbon, is the 3rd largest city and one time medieval capital of Portugal, Coimbra. At the cities historic centre the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque buildings that span over a millennia climb upwards towards the 13th century Coimbra University, the oldest in the Portuguese speaking world and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

8. Coimbra

 

East of the capital, Lisbon, in the centre of the country, the city of Evora has an incredibly well preserved old town centre that remains still partially enclosed by it's ancient medieval walls. The town is home to a large number of historical monuments including the Church Of Nossa Senhora De Graca, the wonderful Cathedral Of Evora and the ancient Roman Temple Of Diana. The entire historic centre is classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Pictured is the Temple Of Diana.

7. Evora

 

On the northern border with Spain is the Peneda Geres National Park, the only national park in continental Portugal. This vast area encompasses 702 square kilometres (271 square miles) of protected forest, giant rocks and rolling low level mountains is one of the finest nature areas in the country.

Pictured is the Lima River.

6. Parque Nacional Da Peneda-Gerês

 

In the north of the country not too far from the Atlantic coast is the city of Porto, Portugal's second largest city and one of the oldest in Europe. It's ancient Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture can be found among the Neoclassic and Romantic styled buildings of the 20th century. It's maze of narrow cobbled streets is home to little squares, plazas and colourful tiled facades on the banks of the river Douro, with it's entire aging historic centre designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Porto

 

Situated within the largest mountain range in the country, the Serra De Estrala Natural Park is the largest conservation area in Portugal. It's highest peak, the 1,993 metre (6,538 ft) above sea level Cantaro Magr is the highest point in continental Portugal, in a beautiful natural landscape of steep mountains, deep ravines, valleys and glacial lakes.

4. Serra De Estrala Natural Park

 

The capital and most populated city in Portugal, one of the oldest cities in the world and the oldest western European city by centuries is today one of the most visited cities in Southern Europe. Located on the Atlantic coast, Lisbon also holds the record of being the most westerly city of continental Europe.

With a wealth of history, famous landmarks and the occasional UNESCO World Heritage Site in this world capital it required a list of its own. Click here to see the Must See Locations In Lisbon...

3. Lisbon

 

In Sintra, just west of the capital, Lisbon, is the Pena Palace, one of the most incredible and iconic castle structures in Europe. Completed in 1854 atop a high hill in the Sintra Mountains, from it's vantage point it is possible on a clear day to see as far as Lisbon, some 30 kilometres away. This most beautiful Romanesque Revival castle in it's magical location is a national monument of Portugal, shortlisted within the top twenty to have become one of the New 7 Wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Palácio Da Pena

 

On the southern coast of the country in the Algarve region there are many cliffs and sea caves, but none better than the infamous Benagil Cave. Visitors will be bombarded with salesmen telling them that they need to take a boat tour to get there, but you can easily swim there from the closest beach, with the best time to go being at low tide.

1. Grutas De Benagil

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