Portugal’s Top 12 Experiences

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From Douro River cruises to Port tasting, Portugal offers terrific experiences that should be on every traveler’s list. Here are Fodor’s top picks for a memorable trip.

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Azulejos

Brightly colored ceramic tiles adorn numerous fountains, churches, and palaces, including the Queluz National Palace, throughout the country.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Portugal Travel Guide

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Port Wine Tasting

Near Porto, you can tour the caves that store Portugal’s most famous drink. Top off the experience with generous tasting sessions.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Porto and the North Travel Guide

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Pousadas

Spice up your trip with a stay in a pousada. These lodgings in restored castles, monasteries, and historic buildings meld luxury with regional charm.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Portugal Travel Guide

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Madeira

The unique natural beauty of this subtropical island includes mountain summits cloaked in hazy fog and cliffs that plummet seaward.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Madeira Travel Guide

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Sintra

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town of Sintra teems with gorgeous palaces and gardens. The surrounding hills form a romantic backdrop for its historic charms.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Sintra Travel Guide

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Douro River Cruises

A cruise is a relaxing way to explore the eye-opening landscapes of the Douro River Valley, with its steeply terraced vineyards.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Porto and the North Travel Guide

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Évora

One of Portugal’s best-preserved medieval towns, Évora has fortified walls and winding cobblestone lanes lined with Roman and Gothic architecture.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Évora and the Alentejo Travel Guide

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Lisbon

The vibrant capital encompasses cobblestoned streets; funicular railways; world-class museums; and top-notch dining, shopping, and nightlife scenes.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Lisbon Travel Guide

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Beaches

Take your pick of beautiful beaches—from windswept surfing hubs to unspoiled, sheltered coves—on the long Atlantic coastline.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Portugal Travel Guide

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Fado

Don’t miss a performance of this unique musical style at a fado house. Singers croon plaintive tunes to soulful Portuguese guitar accompaniment.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Portugal Travel Guide

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Cafés and Pastelarias

You’re never far from a café or pastry shop in Portugal. Be sure to take frequent breaks to savor coffee and delicious pastries like pastel de nata, an egg-custard tart.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Portugal Travel Guide

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Hilltop Villages

Fortified medieval walls, narrow streets, dramatic castles, and spectacular views of the countryside make these stunning settlements irresistible.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Portugal Travel Guide