Portugal has countless picturesque towns for those interested in experiencing traditional Portuguese life, miles upon miles of golden beaches, a bustling — and cheap — gastronomic scene, expansive wineries, culturally rich cities, and more.
Travel back in time by exploring Obidos, a fortified medieval settlement. This is a must-visit location if you’re traveling between Porto and Lisbon. Plan to explore the palace and town. Don’t leave without trying the local delicacy, Ginja, a fruit-flavored liquor best enjoyed from a cocoa cup.
Aveiro (more of a municipality than a hamlet) is another great place to halt from Lisbon to Porto because of its many waterways and the multicolored gondola vessels called policers that explore them. The Costa Nova shoreline is a short distance to the south, lined with colorful, beautiful homes.
Towns throughout Portugal’s inner center are commonly constructed from schist, a unique type of rock. Talasnal, nestled in the Serra da Lous forests, is TPG’s preferred destination. After a morning of exploring the forested slopes nearby, this is the perfect place to relax.
4. Azenhas do Mar
Another fantastic day trip from Lisbon is to Azenhas do Mar, also known as Portugal’s “Cinque Terre” because of its towering sea cliffs similar to those along the Italian Riviera. Take photos from above, or visit the tidal pool below to see how the seawater collects.
Many of the structures in the Portuguese hamlet of Monsanto are nestled between and constructed into enormous rocks, making it one of the country’s most distinctive settlements. Visit the village’s fortress up top and stroll through the town to see how the manmade structures blend in with the ancient rocks coated in lichen.
The higher town of Estremoz, which has been inhabited since the 13th century and is surrounded by a wall, and the lower town, which was reinforced in the 17th century, make up the single settlement of Estremoz. Keep an eye out for the town’s signature stone on front steps, in stores, and even in the cracks of the sidewalk; Estremoz has a reputation for its marble.
On your way through the various towns that dot the Douro wine path, stop in Favaios for a bite to eat and a glass of port. The local four corners bread is a must-try if you find yourself in the area. And after eating all that bread and wine, you should check out the exhibit dedicated to them.
Like the rest of the southern Algarve area of Portugal, Tavira is a popular destination for tourists from the United Kingdom. The village is situated on a bridge over the Gilo River and features a fortress. After you’ve had your fill of the ancient town’s pale architecture, relax on Tavira Island’s stretches of dunes.
Ericeira, Portugal, a picturesque hamlet perched on the edge of the mountains, is widely recognized as the cultural epicenter of the European surf scene. There are several surf sites in the area, and restaurants serving everything from veggie drinks to authentic Portuguese fare can be found nearby.
Marvao is located in the Alentejo area, surrounded by hills and wineries, not far from the Portuguese and Spanish borders. The hamlet, with its towering fortress and sturdy walls, dominates the surrounding scenery of Parc Natural da Serra de So Mamede. Enjoy the regional wine and buy a container to savor later or bring home with you. Today, the international wine community is largely unaware of Alentejo’s thriving wine industry.
Have you come here in the hopes of sampling some wine? Visit some castles? Surf? Hike? Or alternatively, take it easy and put some space between yourself and others. There is a small town in Portugal just for you. There’s a town (or several) just perfect for you in Portugal, whether you’re drawn to the Algarve’s sandy beaches, Portugal’s mountainous interior, or the Douro’s undulating wineries.