Portugal Feature

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Best Things to Do in Portugal

Portugal offers terrific experiences that should be on every traveler’s list. Here are Fodor’s top picks for a memorable trip:

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Updated: 2014-03-26

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