6 Reasons to Visit Portugal
Felicia Arhontissas discovers some of Portugal’s incredible sights including Sintra, Porto and Lisbon.
Dreaming of long, sunny days exploring castles, eating fresh seafood and drinking local wine? Look no further than Portugal, a treasure trove of some of Europe's most magical sights.
Lovers of sweet wine can’t miss a trip to Regua, a town blended into the slopes and patchwork vineyards of the Douro Valley. Once, this was where port barrels were hauled onto a rabelo (traditional wooden boat) and carried down the Douro River. Today, it’s the perfect place to join a port-tasting tour, take a cruise or find a panoramic lookout.
World Heritage Sintra is like something out of a fairy tale, with great stone castles, cobbled streets and whimsical gardens. Be sure to check out the Pena Palace. Its jumble of architectural styles and colours makes it look like it has sprung from a children’s book.
Stroll along Porto’s Ribeira quarter and see colourful 18th-century townhouses lined up along the river. On our 8 Day Highlights of Portugal tour, wander the riverside market, taste freshly grilled sardines, and strike up a conversation over a beer with the locals, who are among the friendliest in Portugal.
Across the country, patisseries fight to claim the title of “world’s best pasteis de nata (egg tart)”. But you’re most likely to find the best of the best in Belem. There’s just something about biting through that crunchy pastry to the sweet egg yolk custard that is so satisfying. Enjoy it with a coffee, or go fully local and order one with a glass of port.
A ghost town during the day, Lisbon’s Bairro Alto district is the place to be once the sun goes down. Walls are covered in colourful street art, and tiny bars are filled to capacity, so that people joyfully spill out onto the streets, drinks in hand. For something special, head to one of the many rooftop bars, order a cocktail and watch the sunset.
Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city, is every foodie’s dream. Not only can you enjoy classic Portuguese dishes and fresher-than-fresh seafood, you also will find contemporary market halls with food stalls featuring dishes from across the world, as well as quirky pop-up bars serving creative cocktails.