T ravelers often give Portugal short shrift since many of them combine a visit to the country with a trip to neighboring Spain. Take one look at a map and the relative sizes of the two countries and it’s not hard to guess which gets the biggest chunk of vacation time.
But even though it may be smaller than its Iberian neighbor, this western sliver of the peninsula does have a lot to offer in its own right.
In Lisbon visit Baixa, the lower town with its mosaic pavements, as well as the warren of steep streets of the medieval Alfama quarter, with its many cafes and small bars. See the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (the National Tile Museum), housed in a centuries-old convent, the Castelo de São Jorge and the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (the National Art Museum in a 17th-century palace), among many other sites.
But also continue on to the fairytale-like Sintra – the summer escape for Portuguese kings – that is beautiful. Visit the wine capital of Porto up north, stopping at the old fishing town of Nazaré along the way. Down south laze along the picturesque Algarve coast, before heading to the high cliffs of Sagres and the most easterly point of the continent.
Good to Know
The Top 10 Places in Portugal
Sun-splashed beaches, a fairytale castle, vineyards tumbling down the hillsides, picturesque Old World cities, islands that beckon the adventurer…it’s all there in Portugal. While no longer the quiet, hidden destination it was decades ago, Portugal is a place where it’s still easy to escape the crowds and enjoy many of the things that make travel rewarding.
The Drive from Lisbon to Porto
For a pleasant trip without the crowds at any time of year, the drive between Lisbon and Porto is hard to beat.