Portugal is one of the dream destinations for road trips in Europe. The landscape and nature are truly spectacular and just the 800 km coastline with hundreds of wonderful beaches are reason enough to visit Portugal. Whether it’s the Algarve or the wild west coast, Portugal is always worth a trip. We now tell you what the most beautiful Portugal sights are and what you should definitely see on a Portugal roadtrip.

Portugal | The 13 Best Things To Do

Portugal has a lot of sights to offer: From gorgeous beaches to adventurous cliffs to cities worth discovering and hidden caves. A list of all the really worth seeing places would be much too long for this article and so we limit ourselves to the most beautiful and exciting things to do in Portugal.

For the sake of simplicity and ease of travel, we have listed the Portugal sights from south to north, so that you can easily follow them on a Portugal road trip. We’ll start in Portugal’s most visited region, the Algarve, and work our way up the west coast and inland to Porto in northern Portugal.

Ponta da Piedale

Ponta da Piedale is a limestone highlight in the Algarve and is located on a headland below the large city of Lagos. You can walk here from Lagos or park in the large and free on-site parking lot. There are fantastic limestone cliffs, which can be experienced from numerous hiking trails directly on or off the coast.

Around every corner there are different views of the rocky landscape and also the sea here looks just wonderful turquoise blue. There are also many small and larger caves here and you can go over stairs partly down to the sea.

Tips for your visit

Benagil Cave

Benagil Cave is probably one of the must sees of the Algarve and one of the most famous Portugal sights. It is located right next to the rather unspectacular Benagil Beach and consists of a large cathedral-like cave that is open at the top via a narrow hole. Depending on the position of the sun, the sun falls into the cave in such a way as to create a spectacular cone of light.

Benagil Cave has 2 entrances, but they are only accessible from the sea. It is possible to look into the hole of the cave while walking over the cliffs above, but you won’t see much.

Portugal I The 13 Best Things To Do between Algarve and Porto

If you want to visit Benagil Cave, the best way is to take a guided tour*. Here you go together with a group on kayaks or SUPs into the cave. Alternatively, you can take a boat into the cave. Tours cost about 20-40 Euro and start at any time of day.

The sunlight cone looks best at noon, but then the cave is also the most crowded. If you want to see as few other tourists as possible in your photos, then you should leave as early as possible.

Visit Benagil Cave on your own

If you want to go to Benagil Cave without a tour, it is not that easy. If you have your own kayak or SUP with you, you can easily paddle from Benagil beach to the cave. But be careful, the swell is sometimes very strong here. Alternatively you could swim, but we would not recommend that.

This is because of the swell mentioned earlier. It’s only about 150m from the beach to the cave, but it can be a bit tricky. You can easily be pushed against the cliffs and hurt yourself.

Tips for your visit

Algar Seco

Algar Seco is truly an impressive sight in the Algarve. The limestone rocks, typical for the Algarve, are the highlight here, which you can marvel at from close range. The reddish-brown rocks have formed a true labyrinth, which was formed over thousands of years by wind and waves.

By the way, the name comes from the Arabic word for cave and means something like the dry caves. In fact, there are many small and large sinkholes here. These are holes or pools in the limestone rocks created by erosion, which have widened and deepened over the years.

You can walk along the shore on a boardwalk that is over 600 meters long, and in several places you can even climb down to the water’s edge. From there you can take a close look at the spectacular natural landscape. For us one of the most beautiful Portugal sights.

Praia da Marinha

Praia da Marinha is one of the top sights on the coast of the Algarve and is located almost right next to Benagil Cave. The beach is framed between large rocks and is not even that big. Since the Marinha beach is very popular, it is always really crowded here. We did not like the beach so much. But it is really spectacular from the optical point of view.

To get to the beach, you park on a relatively small but free parking lot (note: RVs are not officially allowed to drive to the parking lot) and then walk down a small staircase to the beach. There is also a small restaurant with toilets.

Tips for your visit

Portugal I The 13 Best Things To Do between Algarve and Porto

Praia dos Três Irmãos

Praia dos Três Irmãos is so special because it is virtually divided in two. The first section, located near the free parking lot, is a relatively normal beach. This means that there is super fine sand and a super wide beach, but no wild rock formations in the water.

But if you go a few hundred meters to the left, the beach becomes more spectacular and exciting. Because there are different limestone rocks and you can walk around the red-brown rocks. Especially in the morning it is much emptier than at the “normal” beach next door and you have the opportunity to take pictures undisturbed.

Portugal I The 13 Best Things To Do between Algarve and Porto

Mountain Region Monchique

Monchique is a mountain region off the beaten track and could therefore almost be called a little Algarve insider tip. Most tourists stay at the coast and the beaches of the Algarve. However, it is worthwhile to drive towards the mountains to get to know a completely different region of the Algarve. Only an hour’s drive from the coast is another world and one of the most special Portugal sights you should not miss.

Here it is hilly and you will also find the highest mountain of the whole Algarve (Fóia – 902m). Everything is much greener and it blooms much more than on the dry coast. Monchique is the name of a small town worth seeing as well as of the surrounding mountains (Serra de Monchique).

Here you can go on well-marked hikes, admire the landscape from viewpoints and do a little contrast program to the beach. It is a good place to spend a day. If you like hiking in the mountains, we recommend two days in the region with an overnight stay in the cute town of Monchique.

Tips for your visit

Praia da Amália | The Stork Beach

Praia da Amália was for us one of the coolest beaches in the Algarve and got the nickname Stork Beach. You can already guess why, because here on the pointed limestone rocks several pairs of storks are breeding.

The way to Praia da Amalia is quite adventurous, because it leads through a dense forest with ferns and creepers and we felt here almost like in Costa Rica. After you have scrambled down a small staircase, you will find yourself on a dreamlike beach with powdered sugar sand. On the pointed rocks to your right you may already be able to see the storks.

There is always one parent on the nest while the other one is looking for food. If one of the storks rises from the nest and flies over the beach you will notice it immediately, because a big shadow flits over the beach and we always had to look up to watch the stork flying. Simply beautiful and one of the best things to do in Portugal!

Evora

Evora is almost an insider tip in the south of Portugal and is less than 2 hours away from the capital Lisbon. The city has only 57,000 inhabitants, but many times that number of visitors annually. This is not surprising, because the old town of Evora was already in 1986 an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Therefore, most of the sights are located in the old town of Evora. However, one highlight in particular attracted us to Evora, and that was the Evora Cathedral. The highlight of the cathedral is that you can walk around on top of the roof and thus have a great view of the city.

Apart from the cathedral, Evora has of course many other highlights to offer: You can read more about them here.

Tips for your visit

Portugal I The 13 Best Things To Do between Algarve and Porto

Lisbon

Lisbon is not only the capital of Portugal, but also the most visited city in the country on the edge of Europe. And not without reason, because Lisbon is a beautiful city that is full of sights. You should definitely not skip Lisbon on your Portugal road trip, because there is just too much to see here.

Lisbon is famous for the very picturesque streetcar line 28E, the authentic neighborhoods of Alfama and Bairro Alto, and of course the numerous viewpoints from which you can marvel at the hilly city area and the passing river Tagus.

Actually, the whole old town is a huge open-air museum, because it is simply fun to stroll through the narrow and sometimes very steep streets and not to come out of the amazement.

You should spend at least 2-3 days in Lisbon to really enjoy the flair of the city.

Tips for your visit

Sintra

Sintra is probably the most popular destination outside of Lisbon and can be reached in just under half an hour by car or train from the capital. You haven’t seen a town like Sintra before, with buildings that seem to have come straight out of a storybook.

In the past, the city was the summer residence of the Portuguese royal family, because Sintra is located at an altitude of over 300 meters and is therefore always a little cooler in summer than the often hot Lisbon.

In Sintra you can expect spectacular palaces, castles and mansions. And unfortunately also very crowded streets, because the extraordinary scenery naturally attracts many tourists. Nevertheless, the city should be part of your Portugal road trip, you will not regret it.

Tips for your visit

Rock Village Monsanto

The rock village of Monsanto is a village in eastern Portugal that should not be missed. When you see photos of Monsanto, you probably first think: can this be real? And yes, it is real and not a movie set. You can walk among the granite rocks, houses and fortress walls here.

The most beautiful thing about Monsanto is strolling through the many small streets and discovering the many stone houses built under or right next to the huge granite rocks. Monsanto would be beautiful even without the rocks, but the large granite boulders make the village truly spectacular. Even though it looks like a movie set (which of course it has been) the village is super authentic and real residents live here.

Tips for your visit

Portugal I The 13 Best Things To Do between Algarve and Porto

Porto

Porto is the largest city in Portugal’s north and the old town of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We really liked the city and were almost more excited about it than the capital Lisbon. The highlights of Porto are all very compactly distributed and all wonderful to explore on foot.

The highlight par excellence is the beautiful old town with its cozy alleys and old (and partly dilapidated) buildings. Many richly decorated churches and other beautiful buildings adorn the old town and invite you to take an extensive stroll through the city.

The biggest sight (literally and figuratively) and also the landmark of Porto is the large arch bridge Ponte Luís I, which spans almost 400 meters over the river Duoro. The bridge has two levels, with only streetcars and pedestrians on the upper level and pedestrians and cars allowed on the lower level.

From the bridge you have a great view of the city and the river promenade below.

Tips for your visit

Portugal I The 13 Best Things To Do between Algarve and Porto

Peneda Geres National Park

Peneda Geres National Park is the only national park in Portugal and was established in 1971 to protect the nature and creatures of the region. The park has an area of about 700 km², which is about the size of Hamburg in Germany.

Peneda Geres is considered one of the most beautiful national parks of the Iberian Peninsula because of its evergreen landscape and wonderful nature. The nature here is really indescribably beautiful and shines with dense forests, many waterfalls and reservoirs. It is hard to believe that you are still in Portugal if you have been to the Algarve or the west coast of Portugal before.

In the national park there are a lot of hiking trails to discover. In addition, there are unexpectedly many waterfalls and reservoirs, so that we felt in places like in Norway. There are also beautiful viewpoints and natural pools (mostly near the waterfalls) where you can swim in the summer. In general, however, the nature here is really incredibly beautiful.

We could hardly get enough of the mountainous and green landscape. There are also some smaller towns in the national park with restaurants, supermarkets and souvenir stores.

Tips for your visit

Portugal Travel Tips

Traveling through Portugal by Campervan

Portugal is a paradise for motorhome vacationers and campervan lovers. The number of campers driving through Portugal increases year after year, which of course also leads to problems. Especially in the Algarve, wild camping is strictly regulated and also controlled. Even if the laws on the subject of free standing have become somewhat more camper-friendly in recent years.

Portugal I The 13 Best Things To Do between Algarve and Porto

There are many and mostly free supply and disposal stations throughout the country for camper. What you have to pay attention to when wild camping and on a motorhome trip in Portugal, we have written together for you:

Best Time to Travel in Portugal

The main travel season for Portugal is, as for many other southern European countries, the high summer with the months of July and August. During this time you are almost guaranteed the best weather, but also high prices and many other tourists. Also the temperatures rise easily to over 30 degrees.

We would therefore recommend to go in the low season. The months of May/June and September/October offer mostly good weather, but also much less tourists and lower prices.


We hope you enjoyed our article about the best things to do in Portugal. If you have any questions or further tips, please leave us a comment.

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