Most Beautiful Places in Portugal

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Published on 23 April, 2024 • Last updated on 23 April, 2024

By Portugal Homes

Most Beautiful Places in Portugal

Where to Visit in Portugal?

While some iconic locations in Portugal, like Lisbon, could always be included in any list of the Most Beautiful Places, Portugal Homes wants to wander away from the beaten path and give you a glimpse of what else this beautiful country has to offer. Instead of only listing places you already may be familiar with, we turned to our Teams. Between our professionals at Portugal Homes, every corner of Portugal has been canvassed and explored.

After discussions and plenty of opinions shared and heard on what the prettiest locations in Portugal could be, Portugal Homes came up with the following list, which is meant to be only indicative. Beauty is everywhere to be found in Portugal, and whether you are a city dweller, a beachgoer, or a nature sightseer, this list will undoubtedly have something to take your breath away. Maybe one of them will even be the next place where you go to in Portugal. The following list holds no particular order.

The Douro Valley

Literally meaning the “Golden River” the name is born from local folklore, of which legends speak that little bright rocks, resembling gold, could be found in the river, reflecting a golden hue across the surface water. Born in Spain, it winds across Northern Portugal, and courses right through the city of Porto before joining the Atlantic.

As the Douro River twisted and turned through Portugal, it carved a magnificent Valley with surrounding green hills, which are now the vineyards where the sweet Port wine is produced. Besides being the home to some of the most astounding breathtaking views in Portugal, some local wineries offer wine-tasting experiences and set the perfect scenario for unique memories to be made.


While Sintra may already be on your radar, this list would be incomplete without mentioning it. Sintra truly is what everyone claims it to be – a unique, small town on the outskirts of Lisbon, boasting some of Portugal’s most iconic landmarks, including the opulent Pena Palace, and historic castles.

The surrounding mountainside, covered with a thick forested area, creates an undeniable mystical feel, especially when the fog creeps up, transporting you to a land of fairy tales. Sintra is also the home to Continental Europe’s westernmost point – Cabo da Roca – from one can stand in awe of the vastness of the blue Atlantic Ocean.

The Benagil Beach & Caves

There are multiple sights to behold and beaches to enjoy in the Algarve, but what if both can be done at the same time? Benagil Beach is widely known for its long stretches of sandy beach along the Algarve coastline, and its surrounding cliffs, which provide a stunning view of the beach and the ocean.  

However, Benagil is internationally renowned for its beautiful grottos and caves, accessible only by the sea. Benagil is truly one of the Algarve’s staple must-see sights, and unavoidable when it comes to the most amazing places in Portugal. The most famous set of caves has a large skylight, from which the blazing sun casts its light, illuminating the entire beach and sandstone below.

Sete Cidades Lake

Many of the prettiest places in Portugal can be found on the continental side, but the country’s islands and the Azores archipelago should not ever be forgotten. The Azores are the home to so many iconic natural wonders, but perhaps none more so than the fabled Sete Cidades Lake, which is famously two-coloured: both green and blue. Though technically speaking, they are two separate lakes, the seamless way they merge makes the Sete Cidades Lake a one-of-a-kind sight in the entire world, and a true feast for the eyes.

The Sete Cidades Lake is shrouded in legend and fantasy, both for its name and for its origin. In the early 15th century, when the Age of Discoveries had just begun, many reports regarding an island with Seven Cities spruced up. This tale, while ultimately unfounded, lent its name to the Azorean municipality, and the Lake in which it is located. Legend also has it that the two colours come from the tears of a blue-eyed princess and a green-eyed farmer, who had a star-crossed romance before their untimely separation.


Óbidos is a quaint, medieval town in the Leiria district, which will undoubtedly transport anyone who visits it back in time. With long, narrow streets, townwide walls, and a well-preserved historic castle, Óbidos boasts a considerable amount of churches for such a relatively small location, but easily understandable when one knows the story behind the village, and how it was consistently favoured over the years by Portuguese Kings and Queens.

Óbidos comes alight with life, especially during the town’s several cultural events spread throughout the year. The most noteworthy ones are the International Chocolate Festival, the Medieval Market, and the Christmas Market, all which properly give a new coat of paint to the town during these celebrations.

Serra da Estrela

The title of the highest physical peak in continental Portugal belongs to Torre, Serra da Estrela’s summit, standing at 1,993 metres, or curiously enough, it is entirely accessible by car.  

It is a mountain range that, during the winter months, becomes enveloped in a beautiful coat of white snow, and is the best spot in Portugal for skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, and snowboarding enthusiasts. In the warmer season, Serra da Estrela and its surrounding natural park offer a different, but by no means less beautiful side. Its hiking 300km+ trails, river springs, glacier valleys, and so much more will let you connect with nature in its purest form.


A city that is often mentioned, but not always given enough attention is Aveiro, one of the most prettiest places in Portugal. Visiting this city demands many activities to truly experience it. The most quintessential will be a ride through the Ria de Aveiro, the Aveiro Lagoon, which connects the city, the sea, the nearby salt marshes, in a special gondola called the moliceiro.

However, visiting Aveiro will only be complete after trying out the region’s sweet treat, ovos moles (soft eggs), and after hopping over to Costa Nova and its beach, where the iconic multicoloured buildings striped with white are located, the perfect seaside location for a swim or riding a bike.

Parque Nacional do Peneda-Gerês

Portugal’s only National Park is a sprawling world in itself, almost detached from the rest of reality. The Peneda-Gerês Park merges two nearby mountain ranges in a seamless, endless green panorama – Peneda and Gerês, and the totality of this ecosystem transcends Portugal, crossing over to Spain, into the Gerês-Xurés Park, reminding everyone nature knows no borders.

Peneda-Gerês mountainous, rugged grounds wind and unwind, giving way to rivers and streams that pool into nearby gushing waterfalls, creating stunning awe-inspiring vistas. Animals like cows, goats, badgers, horses, and even the park’s symbolic animal, the roe deer, roam free, unspoiled by human touch. If you look closely, you might even find shrubs of the endemic purple Gerês lily flowers.

São Martinho do Porto

São Martinho do Porto is not a place you would typically find in most lists, not because it is not beautiful, but rather because it is off the beaten path. São Martinho do Porto's most beautiful feature is its shell-like bay, almost in a perfect C, creating a uniquely distinct circular-shaped beach.  

It is the perfect location for a full day of relaxation and spending time with the family, either just hanging out by the beach, taking a stroll through the nearby busy markets, or even enjoying camping activities in nearby parks.


Not to be confused with Monsanto Park in Lisbon, though that one could also easily feature in this list. This Monsanto is a small, picturesque village in the district of Castelo Branco, sitting on top of a “hill” with more than 700m (around 2200ft), and built almost entirely in stone. Monsanto is one of the most unique sights in Portugal.

Monsanto holds the title of “Historical Portuguese Village” and is a must-visit place for anyone interested in history. With a medieval castle as its main landmark, it once was the home of Romans, Arabs, and Barbarians before being conquered by Portugal’s first king, who handed the village to the Knights Templar.



Dornes is yet another off-the-beaten-path location and one of the most beautiful places in Portugal. Dornes is at the crossroads of the iconic Templar city, Tomar, and the Castelo de Bode Reservoir Area, another place that could also easily be on this list.  

However, Dornes makes it into the list for bringing together beauty and history. This riverside village is the perfect location for a day lounging out in the sun or swimming in the Zêzere River, and for uncovering more about the enigmatic Knights Templar, who had a foothold and influence over the region.

São Lourenço

The Madeira archipelago houses several of the prettiest places in Portugal, but none more so than São Lourenço, a peninsula that stretches out into the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a mandatory stopping point for anyone visiting Madeira, with its unique ecosystem, distinct from the rest of the island.

Hiking trails are available across the peninsula, presenting the perfect opportunity for raw shots and gorgeous pictures. It is about 6km to go back and forth.

Serra do Buçaco

Though Buçaco is a mountain range, it would be more fitting to compare it to a Botanical Garden or a Forest. The rugged grounds are covered by an extensive canopy of forests that houses more than 700 endemic species, like the redwood tree, which can reach towering heights of up to 100 m (around 330 feet).  

Besides providing an enjoyable experience for nature lovers, Buçaco and its surroundings have an interesting religious and military history. Most notably, it served as the grounds for a major Portuguese victory over the invading French troops.


Surfing enthusiasts will be all too familiar with Nazaré, where the sea roars the loudest and waves reach as high as 30 metres (around 200 ft). Visiting Nazaré is a humbling experience, reminding us of the powerlessness of the human being against nature.  

Besides surfing and other sea sports, Nazaré is an overall excellent place to have a memorable beach vacation. The town comes alive during the day, with bustling streets and restaurants specialised in fish and seafood meals.

Serra do Marão

Serra do Marão is a Northern Portugal staple landmark, a mountain range that stretches across the Vila Real and Porto districts. Hiking to its summit will be an enduring yet rewarding challenge for the breathtaking vistas awaiting you.

Along the way, stop and admire the countless bird species. So many have made Marão their home, it is one of the best spots in Portugal to practice birdwatching, and to reconnect with nature at the most essential level.

Porto Covo & Sines

Portugal’s Most Beautiful Places have to include, at the very least, one location from the Vicentine Coast, the seaside region running from Setúbal down to Sagres. We bring you two, Porto Covo & Sines, which are difficult to separate from one another.

Porto Covo will be the prime location, between the two, for beachgoers and those seeking to unwind or relax from the pressures of everyday life, and enjoy the typical seafood-oriented Portuguese cuisine. Sines, on the other hand, as a fishing district, will provide a glimpse of ancient Portuguese practices and immerse you in Portuguese history. It was in Sines where the brave explorer Vasco da Gama, discoverer of the sea route to India, was born.


Hidden in the slopes and hills of Serra do Açor, we can find Piódão, an officially classified “Historical Portuguese Village”, and one of an inspiring beauty. Piódão is a village wealthy in shale, used abundantly in the village’s foundations. With long and winding streets, it is one of Portugal’s most famous villages and beautiful places.

Besides the natural beauty, Piódão houses a river beach, hiking and biking trails, inviting everyone to have a deeper and more intimate connection to the whole region.

Praia da Marinha

The Algarve as a whole is a trove of beauty waiting to be witnessed and admired, and the premier Portuguese destination for the summer. When the sun shines the brightest and the need to go for a swim is the deepest, the Algarve beaches are the top places of where to go to in Portugal.

Praia da Marinha, in particular, is one of Portugal’s most unsung heroes. Its pictures are constantly used to highlight the beauty to be found in Portugal, but its name is rarely mentioned or credited. This beach stands out from the rest due to its raw, unfiltered, stunning views of the Ocean beyond, especially from the surrounding cliffsides.


Elvas might not be anyone’s first guess at what the most beautiful place in Portugal might be. Its beauty does not come from stunning vistas or awe-inspiring sights, but from its invaluable worth to Portuguese culture and history, and that alone merits it a spot on this list.

Elvas’s star-shaped bulwarked fortifications surrounding the village are the largest in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a testament to the military prowess Portugal boasted in the 17th century. Inside Elvas, the promise of a trip to the past is all but guaranteed and made all the better with the typical Alentejo cuisine and wine to go with it.


The Algarve is an unmissable region to visit, especially during the Portuguese summer. Instead of hopping down to known fixtures like Portimão, Lagos or Albufeira, continue the travel westward to Sagres, a lesser-known village but by no means any less beautiful, and one of Portugal’s westernmost points.

Sagres holds immense historical importance, as it was the mythical location where Prince Henry the Navigator, a key Portuguese figure from the Discoveries, founded Escola de Sagres where the best sailors were trained. Beyond important landmarks like the Fortress, Sagres is also the perfect alternative destination with its pristine beaches.

Portugal: A Country with (Not Only) Countless Pretty Places

The truth is the list of the most beautiful places in Portugal could go on and on. With this list, Portugal Homes wanted to present some alternatives to well-established places like Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, home to some of Portugal’s most beautiful gardens, and arguably the best place to live in Portugal.

Some are truly unavoidable, and you will most likely see them across every other list out there, like the Benagil and the Marinha Beaches, some of the best in the Algarve a region that competes with Lisbon for the title of the best to live in, especially in the Golden Triangle area.

At the end of the day, beauty is subjective and what might be pleasing to you might not be to another person. What is objective and what cannot be contested is that Portugal is one of the best countries in the world to live in. Portugal time and again proves that it is possible to have it all in one place. Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world, its air quality is among the cleanest in Europe, and the Portuguese are extremely proficient in English.



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