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Top visited travel sites in  Portugal

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Top visited travel sites in  Portugal

By the time you finish reading that 400 page guidebook on Portugal, you could have traveled through most of the country!  Let us do the legwork for you.  We know that your vacation time is brief and we recommend only the Best Places to Visit in Portugal for your consideration.  Read our suggestions, make your reservations and, then, buy the guidebook if you want more detail.
The team at ThereArePlaces has developed a proprietary method for evaluating the attractiveness of towns and regions as tourist destinations. We used this methodology to create our list of the best places to visit in Portugal. We believe that the cities and regions described below are the country’s key tourist destinations, contain Portugal's best attractions and urge you to visit them during your travels in Portugal.
Read our sections on Portugal
Travel Informationand Portugal Facts to complete your basic preparation for vacationing in Portugal.

Be sure to see our new road map of Portugal.  It is based on Google Maps and shows the locations of our recommendations for the Best Places to Visit in Portugal. You can also route between locations using the map

  •   Lisbonᅠ  (Click for our mini-guide)
    • Lisbon is a city of neighborhoods and each one has something to offer the tourist.  Although a great town for walking, Lisbon is very hilly and we recommend taking the electrified streetcars when possible.  Be sure to visit  Castelo de Sمo Jorge, Biaxa, Alfama, and the banks of the River Taugus.  Spend an afternoon in Belem visiting the Age of Navigators Monument, Torre de Belem, and the Mosteiro dos Jeronomos - a tour of the cloisters is worthwhile.  Click for details on the Best Places to Visit in Lisbon.
      • Cascais
        • Take the train to Cascais for a delicious seaside lunch (think seafood, the sardines are terrific here), great shopping, and beautiful beaches.  Cascais is both a suburb of Lisbon and a delightful beach resort.
    • Porto
      • The original home of port wine, winding streets, an interesting old town that is a World Heritage Site -Porto beckons.  Be sure to visit the wine lodges  in  Gaia (on the south side of the River Douro, south of the Dom Luis bridge). Henry the Navigator was born in Porto and the city had a minor role in "The Discoveries". The Church Sمo Francisco is well worth a visit for its Baroque decorations.
    • Algarve
      • Considered by many to offer the best beaches in Europe, the Algarve, also, features, attractive scenery and mild temperatures.   Its attractiveness lures many travelers to the Algarve: it's crowded but worth a visit.
        • Lagos 
          • An exotic walled town set in a beautiful location, Lagos offers the visitor the best beaches in the Algarve.  Like many Portuguese cities, Lagos was a Celtic settlement, then Roman, followed by the Moors who built the city's first walls. See the Forte da Pona da Bandeira beyond the city walls to see a glimpse of Portugal's past might as a sea power.
    • Sintra
      • Sintra, set in beautiful rolling hills, is a historic town replete with a royal palace. The shops offer many delights, especially art and decorative tiles.  Many travelers consider Sintra the highlight of a visit to Portugal.  It is nice, but expect crowds.  Sintra is a popular pre-cruise or post-cruise tour stop. You will enjoy your visit more if you avoid the late morning and lunchtime "cruise" crowds.
        • If you are on a cruise related tour, skip a sit- down meal and pick up something to "go" or your time in Sintra will be spent waiting for lunch rather than seeing the sights.
        • On your way to Sintra you might want to stop at Queluz Palace, once the summer palace of the country's royal family.  Some call the palace Portugal's Versailles, but we think this is a poor comparison.  Queluz is beautiful in an understated manner and deserves a visit on its own merits.
    • Evora
      • Portugal's best-preserved medieval city has been likened to a living museum.  Evora is a  UNESCO World Heritage site.  Originally a Roman settlement, the city was conquered by the Moors and re-conquered by the Christians in the 12th century. The city has many interesting attractions, but you should see its cathedral, which is the largest in Portugal and the city's Roman ruins.
    • Braga  
      • Considered by many to be the "cultural" capital of the Portuguese people, Braga  may be the country's most beautiful city.  Braga's most notable sights are religious and the city is a very catholic city in a catholic country. The Sé de Braga is Portugal's oldest cathedral and dates  from the 12th century.  If you visit the Sé, take time to visit its cloisters, which house the cathedral's museum as well as several spectacular chapels and tombs.
    • Coimbra 
      • Once a Celtic settlement, Coimbra was the birthplace of many of Portugal's kings and was once the capital of the country. It is the site of the country's oldest university (if you visit be sure to see the Biblioteca Joanina). Coimbra is an interesting place to visit if you are on a tour of Portugal.
        • The  Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro, which we would normally recommend you visit, is closed for renovation until 2007, but you can still  view the  Roman Crypt on which it was built.
    • Fatima 
      • One of the most visited locations in Portugal, Fatima's attractiveness, for most  tourists, is based on a religious belief in the Apparitions and Miracle at Fatima.  The city is located approximately 80 miles north of Lisbon.

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