View of the author Sky Ariella during a casual stroll in the Belem neighborhood of Lisbon, one of the best things to do in Portugal

27 Things to Do in Portugal in 2023 (That Aren’t Overrated)

With so many things to do in Portugal, the country lives up to the ‘small, yet mighty’ stereotype. Portugal offers UNESCO World Heritage sites, ancient ruins, beautiful beaches, and teeming local markets. With all the choices, it might be tougher than you think to nail down what you want to do in Portugal.

I spent over a month wandering the best places in Portugal from north to south. During that time, I partook in many of the best activities and attractions in Portugal.

The truth is some of the most famous sites in Portugal are duds, but others are totally worth the hype. To give you the inside scoop, let’s break down my list of the best things to do in Portugal. 

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27 Best Things to Do in Portugal

Torre de Belém

Walk around Lisbon’s Belem neighborhood and take photos at one of Portugal’s most well-known tourist attractions.

The Torre de Belém during sunset in Lisbon, Portugal
Torre de Belem at sunset

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (213)-620-034 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5:30 pm daily, Closed Mondays | Entrance: $6.44, adults, $3.20 under 12

One of the very first places most visitors go to in Portugal is the capital city – Lisbon. Once you arrive, Torre de Belem is a main attraction that will be constantly suggested. It’s one of the best things to do in all of Lisbon and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When you’re done wandering this Lisbon attraction, check out the cobbled streets of the Belem neighborhood. It’s an adorable area with great sweets, like the pastéis de nata (Portuguese egg tarts) from Pasteis de Belem. 

National Palace of Pena

Go up to the Sintra mountaintops to see a multi-colored palace known for being a Wonder of Portugal.

View of the colorful National Palace of Pena in Lisbon
The colorful Pena Palace is a great day trip from Lisbon

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (219)-237-300 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 6 pm daily | Entrance: $14.27 | 👉 Browse Pena Palace Tours on Viator 

Make your way up to the tippy top of the mountains in the small town of Sintra to get acquainted with the National Palace of Pena. This complex boasts a rich history and is a highly popular tourist attraction in Portugal. If you’re a photographer, you’ll get some unique, vivid shots at Pena Palace for sure. 

The Palace of Pena and the medieval town of Sinta nearby are actually one of the best day trips from Lisbon, too. It’s only 30 minutes away from the Portuguese capital and easily accessible by public transportation. Plus, Sintra is another UNESCO World Heritage Site to check off your bucket list. 

Punta de la Piedad

Catch a glimpse of this scenic coastal viewpoint in Lagos and its massive, jagged rock formations.

Scenic view of the Punta de la Piedad rock arches
The beautiful Punta de la Piedad rock arches

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 24/7, Daily | Entrance: Free | 👉 Browse Punta de la Piedad Tours on Viator 

There are a lot of spots in Portugal that will have you desperately reaching for your camera, and Punta de la Piedad is one of those places. 

You’ll really get in touch with Portugal’s natural beauty at this scenic viewpoint near Lagos. It offers beautiful glimpses of the sea and otherworldly rock formations. You can even take a guided Punta de la Piedad boat trip through the wavy waters to get a better look at these wonders of mother earth. 

Cabo da Roca

Earn the right to say you’ve visited the western-most point of Europe at this charming cape in Colares.

The Faro del Cabo de la Roca on a cliff from afar
Views of Cape Roca

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (219)-280-081 | Website | Hours: 24/7 Daily | Entrance: Free

Right on the Atlantic Ocean inside the Natural Park of Sintra-Cascais, you’ll find the picturesque Cabo da Roca. This spot is actually the westernmost point of not just Portugal, but all of Europe, and is a cultural and natural attraction. 

Cabo da Roca is signified by its stoic lighthouse atop the cliffside. This is a lovely area on the Atlantic Coast to catch some sun and snap breathtaking landscape photos on your Portugal trip. 

Porto Cathedral

Pay your respects at the most important religious landmark in the northern city of Porto.

Blue sky over the Porto Cathedral
The exterior of Porto Cathedral

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (222)-059-028 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5:30 pm Daily | Entrance: Free | 👉 Browse Porto City Tours on Viator 

Towering above the streets of Porto, there is one building that stands out from the rest; the Porto Cathedral. It’s the most significant religious establishment in the entire city and it’s dressed up to fit the part.

This imposing structure is truly a work of architectural art. Since it’s located up on the hilltops, you’ll also have access to extensive views over Porto. 

Mercado da Ribeira / Time Out Market Lisbon

Taste everything from exquisite Portuguese seafood and croquettes to pasta and Asian food all under one roof.

View of people at the Time Out Market Lisbon
People eating at Time Out Market in Lisbon (photo: Luis Overlander / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (210)-607-403 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 12 am Daily | Entrance: Free

There is nothing like a vibrant food market to get acquainted with a new city. And while taking a Lisbon food tour can be a good idea to get the lay of the land, you can also make your own at Mercado da Ribeira. 

Also known as Time Out Market, this place actually started a trend. It opened in 2014 and ended up being so successful that it inspired 6 other Time Out Market locations around the globe. 

There is a world of food inside this huge Lisbon market. Not your average food hall, you’ll find everything from traditional Portuguese seafood to Michelin-star restaurants and international delights like artisanal donuts, pizza, and Asian food. You can wash it all down at one of the many bars offered at Mercado da Ribeira.    

Carmo Convent

Explore the bones of a Lisbon church that was originally built way back in 1423.

View from the inside of the Carmo Convent Museum
Inside the Carmo Convent Museum (photo: Diego Grandi / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (213)-460-473 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm daily, Closed Sundays | Entrance: $5.37

Get in touch with a piece of Portugal’s history at Carmo Convent in Lisbon. 

This Gothic church was originally built 600 years ago. For hundreds of years, it was a place of worship until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755. The natural disaster did a lot of damage, but the bones of the structure remain and can be explored to this day. 

Praia do Norte

Feel the raw power of the world’s highest waves ever surfed crashing upon Nazare’s shores.

View of foamy waves at the Praia do Norte
The powerful waves of Praia do Norte

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 24/7 Daily | Entrance: Free

On the eastern Atlantic Ocean in the quaint town of Nazare, you’ll find Praia do Norte beach. This isn’t the standard “wade around in the ocean” type of beach, though. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. 

This beach is famous for having some of the highest and most intense waves in the entire world. The highest wave ever surfed actually crashed upon the shores of Praia do Norte. While it might not be the ideal spot for a beach holiday, it’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness the magnitude of the ocean’s power. 

📚 Related Reading: Nazare is one of the most adorable fishing villages in Portugal. It’s a fantastic weekend or even a day trip from Lisbon. Even though it’s a tiny town, there are a few distinct neighborhoods in Nazare. To learn more, check out my complete guide to where to stay in Nazare

Miradouro do Suberco

Climb up to sweeping views over the beach and town of Nazare.

Overlooking view of Nazare from the Miradouro do Suberco
Views over Nazare from Miradouro do Suberco

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 24/7, Daily | Entrance: Free

Looking for a new, photogenic perspective over the charming town of Nazare? I’ve got the spot for you – Mirador do Suberco. 

You’ll have to climb quite a few uneven steps to reach this viewpoint over the town, but it’s well worth the trek. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Nazare if you want to take photos, catch the sunset, or just get a stunning view over the beach. 

Praia do Camilo

Lounge the day away on one of the prettiest beaches in all of Portugal, tucked away in the cliffs of the Algarve.

A staircase leading to the Praia do Camilo
The stairs down to picturesque Praia do Camilo

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 24/7 Daily | Entrance: Free

You’ll stumble across gorgeous beaches all over the Portuguese coast, but one of the most astonishing of them all is Praia do Camilo. Visitors walk down 200 wooden steps to reach this secluded beach hidden in a little cove.

Portugal’s beaches are some of the most stunning stretches of shore on the entire planet. So, it’s pretty impressive that Praia do Camilo earns that title. It’s absolutely a must-see beach when you visit Portugal. 

Benagil Cave

Take jaw-dropping photos for your Instagram at one of the country’s most easily recognizable natural sites in the Algarve.

A kayak at the Benagil Cave
Kayaks at the famous Benagil Caves

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (969)-617-828 | Website | Hours: 24/7 Daily | Entrance: Free, But Tour Needed | 👉 Browse Benagil Cave Tours on Viator 

If there’s any attraction that you probably know already, it’s Benagil Cave. This distinctive cave formation is known for its natural skylight. It’s a beloved location for Instagrammers and nature lovers alike for its aesthetic quality. 

While the Benagil Cave is a very popular spot that is often overrun with visitors, I wouldn’t say it’s overrated. It truly is a natural wonder. If you want the best shot of visiting the cave without all the crowds, join an early morning boat trip to the attraction. 

The earlier you arrive, the lower the chances of having to compete with other tourists for a glimpse. 

Praia da Marinha

Dive into the bright blue waters of this peaceful Algarve beach surrounded by astounding rocky cliffs.

Scenic view at the Praia da Marinha in Portugal
Praia da Marinha

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 24/7 Daily | Entrance: Free

Another one of the Algarve region’s pristine beaches is Praia da Marinha. This beach is distinguished by its vivid, turquoise waters and enormous cliffs that cover the coastline. The clear waters make it a favorite destination for swimming, snorkeling, and other exciting water sports. 

If you need a break from the water, you can get a different perspective on the surrounding cliff sides on the nearby Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. The hike is a little over 3.5 miles long and provides hikers with some of the most spectacular natural sites in Portugal. 

Castelo dos Mouros

Stroll around the Sintra ruins of an impressively maintained Moorish castle from the 8th century.

Aerial view of the Castelo dos Mouros
Aerial views over Castelo Dos Mouros (photo: oscar garces / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (219)-237-300 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 6:30 pm Daily | Entrance: $8.18, adults | 👉 Browse Sintra Tours on Viator 

There is nothing quite as tempting as a historic site that also comes with some spectacular views of the surrounding area. That’s exactly what you’ll get with Castelo Dos Mouros. Located in the beautiful town of Sintra, Castelo Dos Mouros is extremely old – like 1,000 years ago kind of old. 

Despite its age, the grand Moorish castle is still in pretty good shape all things considered. Today, you can walk around the grounds of Castelo Dos Mouros and take in broad views of the Sintra Mountains. 

Initiation Well

Capture a photo looking up or down the spooky-looking spiral steps of this Sintra staple.

View from the bottom of the Initiation Well
Looking up from the bottom of Initiation Well (photo: Diego Grandi / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (219)-106-650 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5:30 pm daily, 10 am – 6:30 pm Mondays | Entrance: $11.82, adults | 👉 Browse Sintra Tours on Viator 

One of Sintra’s eerier attractions is the Initiation Well. There are quite a few rumors about this place and what it might’ve been used for. The staircase descends 88 feet and leads to a tunnel system, which is unsettling in itself. But, it’s also said that the well was actually used for various types of secret ceremonies and rituals. 

On your visit, though, it’s more likely that the Initiation Well will simply be an interesting place to grab a trippy photo at the bottom or top of the stairs. While it’s a little spooky, it’s one of the top sites of Sintra and 100% worth a quick visit. 

Aveiro and the Canals

Hop aboard one of the city’s traditional, colorful boats and take a ride down the canals.

View of colorful boats at the Aveiro’s canals
Colorful boats on Aveiro’s canals (photo: Georgios Tsichlis / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 24/7 Daily | Entrance: Free | 👉 Browse Aveiro Tours on Viator 

Less than an hour south of Porto is the adorable city of Aveiro. Located right on the edge of Ria de Aveiro, this area is mostly known for its canal system that carries colorful boats down the water. It’s this canal system that gives Aveiro the nickname of “Portuguese Venice”. 

As you can imagine, many of Aveiro’s activities center around these canals. One of the best ways to get a feel for the city is by taking an Aveiro boat tour along the waterway in one of the traditional Moliceiro vessels. They are bright, colorful, and will take you around the area in style. 

Peneda Gerês National Park

Explore the 268 square miles of Portugal’s only official national park.

People enjoying the view at the peak of Peneda Geres
People hanging out on a peak at Peneda Geres (photo: LuisCostinhaa / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (253)-203-480 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 7 pm Tues – Sat, Closed Sun – Mon | Entrance: Free, Paid Parking | 👉 Browse Peneda Geres National Park Tours on Viator 

There are plenty of natural parks and outdoor spectacles in Portugal, but there is only one official national park – Peneda Gerês. It’s located at the very northernmost tip of the country around 40 minutes outside of Braga. Inside Peneda Geres, there are over 268 square miles of magnificent nature to discover. 

The mountainous views go on for days. There is also a sprawling blue lake and so many different species of animals roaming around. If you’re searching for some of the most spectacular scenery in Portugal, it’s waiting for you at Peneda Gerês. 

Parque Natural da Arrábida

Hang out on wild Setubal beaches and go trekking through the wilderness at this gigantic coastal park.

Aerial view at the Arrabida Natural Park
Looking over Arrabida Natural Park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (265)-541-140 | Website | Hours: 24/7 Daily | Entrance: Free

In the market for a quick and easy day trip from Setubal? Then spend the afternoon hanging out at Arrabida Natural Park. This vast natural park is right on the coast of Portugal, providing access to some of the nicest wild beaches you can imagine. There are also a few hidden hiking trails around Parque Natural Arrabida, too.

In the thick of the park, there is an old convent from the 1500s called Convento de Nossa Senhora. It’s another one of those attractions that provides a bit of nature and a touch of history. 

Forte de São Filipe

Discover a beautifully-designed 441-year-old historic castle in the mountains of Setubal.

View from the Forte de São Filipe
Views over Setúbal from Forte São Filipe

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (265)-545-010 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 1 pm & 2 pm – 5 pm Tues – Sun, Closed Mondays | Entrance: Free

Most people visit Setubal for its abundance of beaches and delicious seafood. However, there are actually quite a few nearby historic attractions as well. The biggest of which is probably Forte Sao Filipe. From most places on the ground level, you should be able to see this famous fort off in the distance.

The fort isn’t just a place of history, though – it’s a piece of art. Inside the 441-year-old castle, there is beautifully intricate tilework and architecture. Plus, the outlook over the city and ocean is a big bonus. 

Monte Palace Madeira

Get familiar with this huge, eclectic garden in Funchal filled with exotic plant life, statues, and even a museum.

Scenic view at the Monte Palace Madeira in Portugal
The flourishing Monte Palace

📍Google Maps | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 6 pm Daily | Entrance: $13.41, adults | 👉 Browse Monte Palace Tours on Viator 

Located off the coast of mainland Portugal, the archipelago of Madeira is made up of several different islands. Sequestered in the capital of Madeira is the incredible Monte Palace. Despite the name, this place isn’t a palace. 

Monte Palace is actually one of the most extraordinary tropical gardens in Europe. This place is absolutely stuffed with exotic trees and different types of gorgeous flowers that come from all over the world. It’s a magical little spot with something unexpected around every corner. 

Cape Girão

Stand out on a glass platform in Madeira to take in views from the highest cape in Europe.

Aerial view of the Cape Girão in Portugal
The impressive Cape Girao (photo: Besides the Obvious / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 24/7 Daily | Entrance: Free

This particular attraction might be a scary one for anyone who suffers from a fear of heights. However, if you can push past those apprehensions, you’ll be greeted with an astonishing experience at Cape Girão. 

Cape Girão is the highest sea cliff in all of Europe. It’s actually so up there that it’s the second highest in the entire world at over 1,900 feet high. In order for visitors to feel the full intensity of just how high this cliff is, they built a glass platform for visitors to stand on. 

The skywalk will definitely get your heart pumping, but it’s one of the best places in the world for coastal views and photography. 

Bom Jesus do Monte

Walk the lofty stairway 380 feet up to this stunning, significant site in Braga.

Clear blue sky over the Bom Jesus do Monte
The stairs up to Bom Jesus do Monte

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (253)-676-636 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 7 pm Daily | Entrance: Free

At first glance, you can tell that Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga is a special place. It just gives off that lavish type of atmosphere. It isn’t a castle or home to royalty, though. It’s actually a very important Christian shrine.

Located on the top of Mount Espinho, Bom Jesus do Monte has a long staircase leading up 380 feet to the shrine. The climb isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds, but it can be a little intense during the hotter summer months. 

If you don’t feel like getting your steps in or you experience mobility issues, there is also a funicular you can ride up to the top for just $1.50. The funicular only accepts cash, but it’s a lovely, short ride. 

Templo Romano Évora

Lay eyes on the ruins of a 2,000-year-old Roman temple right in the heart of Evora.

View of the Roman Temple ruins in Evora
The Roman Temple ruins in Evora (photo: Everton Bento / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (266)-769-450 | Website | Hours: 24/7 Daily | Entrance: Free

Take a trip back to the 1st century when you visit Templo Romano in the middle of Evora. The structure was originally constructed as an eternal home for Roman Emperor Augustus after he passed away. That was over 2,000 years ago. Today the Roman Temple remains are a testament to just how long pieces of history can endure the test of time. 

If you’re traveling in Europe on a budget, you’ll love Templo Romano. It’s totally free and out in the public, available to visit any time of day.  

Chapel of Bones

Walk through a small church in Evora that’s covered in bones from an estimated 5,000 humans.

View of skulls at the Chapel of Bones
The skulls built into the Chapel of Bones

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (266)-704-521 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Daily | Entrance: $6.45, adults, Free under age 12

For a relatively small city, Evora is home to some pretty strange attractions. Take the Chapel of Bones, for instance. Yeah, just from the name alone I’m sure an image of this place is already conjuring in your mind. It’s exactly what you’re picturing. Quite literally, a chapel of bones. 

The 16th-century chapel was crafted by monks out of thousands of real human bones. There are columns made out of femurs and walls made out of full skulls. It’s more of a macabre attraction, but it’s something you’ll never forget after a trip to Portugal.  

Pink Street

Grab a drink or have a photo-op on this signature street in Lisbon’s Cais do Sodre neighborhood.

People enjoying their day in Pink Street
People hanging out on Pink Street (photo: Mounir Taha / Shutterstock)

📍Google Maps | Website | Hours: 24/7 Daily | Entrance: Free

Pink Street is one of the most famous avenues in Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon. The real name of the street is R. Nova do Carvalho. However, it’s better known by its main distinguishing feature – the rose-painted walkway. Along this blush-colored avenue, there are tons of bars, casual lounges, and restaurants to check out. 

Pink Street is notoriously touristy and can even seem a little overrated. Just manage your expectations because it is literally just a pink street with places to eat and drink. However, it is definitely a Lisbon staple. 

Luís I Bridge

Snap a photograph of an iconic bridge over River Douro that’s become an emblem of Porto.

Colorful boats at the Douro River
Boats riding along the Douro River by Luis I Bridge

📍 Google Maps | Phone: Website | Hours: 24/7 Daily | Entrance: Free | 👉 Browse Porto Tours on Viator 

Every city has its iconic photograph that every single tourist is practically required by law to capture for themselves. In Porto, that place is the Luis I Bridge. This 143-year-old bridge over the Douro River has become a symbol of the city. It gained notoriety early on because it was made by a student of the architect who developed Paris’ Eiffel Tower. 

There are a bunch of restaurants and bars along the Douro River with views of the Luis I Bridge. Alternatively, you could indulge in the local specialty of Port at a wine tasting near the river. There are a number of wineries near the bridge offering tastings, including Burmester and Sandeman. 

👉 Pro Tip: Just 60 miles away from Porto is the mesmerizing Douro Valley. If you’re a fan of wine and landscapes, you won’t want to miss this jewel of Portugal. Try to take a day trip or even a weekend getaway to the Douro Valley.  

Livraria Lello

Read a story or just take in the ambiance at this gorgeous Porto library featured in the Harry Potter movies.

View of the staircase inside the Livraria Lello
The winding staircases of Porto’s most famous bookstore (photo: R.M. Nunes / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (222)-002-037 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 7 pm Daily | Entrance: Free 

Only a six-minute walk from the historic center of Porto is the Livraria Lello library. Before you start scrolling at the mention of a boring library, hold your horses. Livraria Lello is by far one of the prettiest libraries in the world. After browsing through the books, you’ll probably want to snap a cute photo or two here. 

Besides the fact that Livraria Lello’s beauty can be seen by the naked eye, it also has another claim to fame. It was actually the library used in the Harry Potter movie. So, that adds a little extra magic to visiting Livraria Lello. 

Mercado do Bolhão

Become a part of local life in Porto at this flourishing market complete with flowers and food products.

View from the inside of the Mercado do Bolhão
The lanes of the market (photo: Vitor Miranda / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone:  (223)-326-024 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 8 pm daily, 8 am – 6 pm Sat, Closed Sundays | Entrance: Free

You can tell a lot about a city by visiting its big, local market. Using that logic, you’ll want to head straight for Mercado do Bolhão to get a deeper sense of Porto. This energetic market has been in business for over 100 years and counting. 

Mercado do Bolhão has several different floors packed with products sold by the community’s vendors. Some of the items on offer include Portuguese meats, cheeses, pastries, seafood, colorful flowers, canned items, and candy. 

Best of all, there are quite a few little bars and wineries that might even provide a wine tasting of Port or other regional specialties. 

FAQs About What To Do in Portugal

What is Portugal famous for?

Portugal is famous for its historical attractions, landscapes, scenic beaches, Port wine, and lots of delicious seafood. It’s also an extremely popular destination for intense surfing.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Portugal?

The #1 most popular tourist attraction in Portugal is Castelo de São Jorge, or Saint George’s Castle, in Lisbon. This castle is the most visited attraction in Portugal by a wide margin. Over 2 million people visit Saint George’s Castle every year.  

What do you experience in Portugal?

There are tons of experiences to discover in Portugal including beach days, water sports, mouth-watering food, historical attractions, and more. It’s a very unique country with endless natural and man-made attractions. Portugal can provide all different types of experiences for all your senses.

How many days is enough for Portugal?

Seven days is enough time to explore a good chunk of Portugal. With a full week in the country, you’ll have enough time to visit 2 to 3 cities for a few days at a time. You can see many of Portugal’s best itinerary sites, spend some time at the beach, and just get comfortable in the country.


You have a long list of things to do in Portugal on your hands! Before you run away to Portugal, think about the season you’ll be visiting. You can get all the info about the seasonal changes by reading my comprehensive guide to the best time to visit Portugal. Have fun in Portugal!

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