Best Cities in Portugal Best Cities in Portugal

13 Best Cities in Portugal

Best Cities in Portugal

Portugal is a small but incredibly diverse country known for its rich history, culture, eye-catching landscapes, and mouth-watering cuisine.

It’s a destination with something to offer for every traveler, from bustling cities to quiet villages and breathtaking beaches to majestic mountains.

There are many fascinating cities in Portugal to discover, from charming Porto and historic Evora to lovely Lisbon and the fairytale-like Sintra.

Indeed, Portugal is home to some of the world’s most famous cities, and its history is deeply entwined with the surrounding waters.

Famous navigators left its ports to return with fantastic riches that helped build the incredible cities we know today.

The 13 best cities in Portugal, each with its unique beauty and attractions, will be explored in this essay.

Join us on this journey through the best cities to visit in Portugal and discover why this country is a must-visit destination for any traveler.

+ 13 best & fascinating cities in Portugal to discover

Are you inquiring about the optimal urban areas located within the country of Portugal? Therefore, there is no need to search any further. Based on our multiple visits to the country, we have curated a list of the best cities in Portugal that we recommend adding to your travel itinerary.

As mentioned, Portugal is commonly associated with the picturesque beaches of the Algarve and the historic capital city of Lisbon.

However, numerous small and touristic towns and cities in Portugal contribute to the country’s aesthetic appeal.

So, are you ready to travel with us? Let’s go.

1.    Lisbon

lisbon city in portugal
lisbon city in portugal

The first famous city, “Lisbon,” is Portugal’s capital and largest city on the Atlantic coast and nestled among seven hills. It is one of the best cities to visit in Portugal.

This vibrant city is known for its charming narrow streets, colorful buildings, and historical landmarks like the Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery.

Lisbon also boasts a thriving cultural scene, with museums, theaters, and galleries showcasing Portuguese art and music.

If you go to this city, it is recommended to enjoy delicious cuisine, from traditional seafood dishes to pastries like pastel de nata, and experience the famous Portuguese hospitality.

2.    Porto

Porto city in portugal
lisbon city in portugal

Porto is the second-best city to visit in Portugal. This is a picturesque city in northern Portugal, famous for its historic center and for producing world-renowned Port wine.

Porto is also a cultural hub, hosting numerous yearly music and arts festivals.

Visitors can sample the local cuisine, from seafood dishes to the famous Francesinha sandwich, and take a tour of the wine cellars to taste the world-class Port wines.

3.    Coimbra

Coimbra city in portugal
Coimbra city in portugal

Coimbra is a historic and best city located in the central region of Portugal, home to one of the world’s oldest universities, the University of Coimbra, founded in 1290.

The city’s old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is filled with charming alleys, historic churches, and stunning views of the Mondego River.

Coimbra also boasts a lively cultural scene, with many music and theater events occurring yearly.

Visitors can taste local cuisines, such as Leitão (roast suckling pig) and Queijo da Serra (mountain cheese), and immerse themselves in the city’s rich history and culture.

4.    Sintra

Sintra city in portugal
Sintra city in portugal

Sintra is a charming and best town located just outside of Lisbon in Portugal, famous for its fairytale-like castles and palaces set in lush green forests.

Its enchanting architecture and stunning natural beauty have inspired artists and writers for centuries.

The famous Pena Palace, a colorful castle perched on a hilltop overlooking the town, or the beautiful gardens of the Quinta da Regaleira estate are some of the best things to do in this city.

Sintra is also known for its delicious local pastries, such as Queijadas de Sintra and Travesseiros.

With its magical atmosphere and breathtaking scenery, Sintra is a must-visit destination for any traveler exploring Portugal.

5.    Óbidos

Obidos city in portugal
Obidos city in portugal

Óbidos is a small medieval and beautiful town in Portugal’s central-western region, surrounded by well-preserved walls and towers dating back to the 12th century.

The town’s narrow streets are filled with charming houses and traditional shops selling local crafts and delicacies.

The charming churches and chapels sprinkled around the town may be explored, or visitors can wander along the castle walls and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Óbidos is also famous for its annual chocolate festival, where visitors can indulge in delicious chocolate treats from local chocolatiers.

6.    Alcobaça

Alcobaca city in portugal
Alcobaca city in portugal

Known for its magnificent Monastery of Alcobaça, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Alcobaça is a small and attractive city in central Portugal.

The monastery, founded in 1153, is considered one of Portugal’s most important Gothic monuments, with beautiful cloisters, chapels, and tombs of Portuguese royalty.

People know Alcobaça for its delicious pastries, such as Pão de Ló (sponge cake) and Bola de Berlim (Berlin doughnut). Tourists can visit the town’s charming streets, lined with traditional houses and shops selling local crafts and souvenirs.

7.    Évora

Evora city in portugal
Evora city in portugal

Another best and most tourist city in the Alentejo region of Portugal is Évora. This city is known for its rich history and well-preserved medieval architecture.

The city’s historic center, with impressive landmarks such as the Temple of Diana, the Cathedral of Évora, and the Chapel of Bones, is one of the most spectacular places that all Portugal visitors should visit at least once.

This fantastic city can find delicious dishes with Carne de Porco à Alentejana (pork with clams) and Migas (breadcrumbs with pork and garlic).

8.    Cascais

Cascais city in portugal
Cascais city in portugal

Cascais is a coastal city in Portugal located just outside Lisbon, known for its beautiful beaches, elegant architecture, and lively atmosphere.

The town’s historic center is filled with charming buildings, restaurants, and shops, while the marina is a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts.

Visitors can also explore the nearby Boca do Inferno, a natural cliff formation that offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cascais is also known for its delicious seafood, grilled sardines, and octopus stew dishes.

9.    Lagos

Lagos city in portugal
Lagos city in portugal

Lagos, a well-known and best city in Portugal’s south, is commonly recognized for its stunning beaches, fascinating historical sites, and active environment.

The town’s old center is bursting with colorful buildings, cobblestone walkways, and charming squares, while the coastline is peppered with breathtaking coves and cliffs.

The Governor’s Castle and the Slave Market Museum are popular tourist attractions.

Kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and surfing are among the popular water sports.

In addition to its lively daytime scene, Lagos is renowned for its diverse nightlife. Lagos is a must-see for every visitor experiencing Portugal because of its magnificent beaches, extensive history, and vibrant culture.

10. Aveiro

Aveiro city in portugal
Aveiro city in portugal

In Portugal’s central area, the attractive city of Aveiro is well-known for its gorgeous canals, vibrant boats, and old-world architecture.

Due to its extensive network of canals and distinctive boats known as “moliceiros,” the city is sometimes called the “Venice of Portugal.”

11. Braga

Braga city in portugal
Braga city in portugal

Braga, situated in northern Portugal, is a delightful city renowned for its impressive architecture, rich history, and religious importance.

Braga has many awe-inspiring churches and cathedrals, including the Baroque-style Bom Jesus do Monte on top of a hill and boasting magnificent, beautiful countryside vistas.

The city’s old town is another highlight, featuring narrow lanes, charming houses, and lively plazas.

Food enthusiasts will also be pleased, as Braga offers a variety of local dishes and traditional cuisine to satisfy their taste buds.

Along with all the best cities in Portugal that we mentioned before, we highly recommend you do not miss this fantastic city.


Guimaraes city in portugal
Guimaraes city in portugal

Guimaraes is a historical and so attractive city in northern Portugal, known as the “birthplace of Portugal” because it was the birthplace of the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques.

The city is recognized for its remarkable architecture, medieval streets, and historical monuments.

The Castle of Guimaraes is a must-visit attraction, dating back to the 10th century, and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza is a stunning 15th-century palace with a museum inside.

The old town area is also highlighted, with its charming alleys, traditional houses, and quaint cafes.


Faro city in portugal
Faro city in portugal

Faro is an arresting city located in the Algarve region of Portugal, on the southern coast, that is the so wonderful and must-visited place in Portugal.

Its historical center, Cidade Velha, is charming with winding streets, white-washed buildings, and a lively atmosphere.

One of the main attractions in Faro is the impressive Faro Cathedral, which dates back to the 13th century and features a mix of Gothic and Baroque styles.

If you are hiking passionate, you can climb to the top of the bell tower for stunning views over the city and surrounding countryside.

Another highlight of Faro is the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a protected area of wetlands, lagoons, and salt pans home to various bird species and other wildlife.

You can take a boat tour through the park or explore the area on foot or by bike.

Faro is also a popular destination for beach lovers, with several beautiful beaches within easy reach of the city.

Let’s recap

Portugal has diverse cities, each offering its unique blend of history, culture, cuisine, and natural beauty.

From the charming streets of Lisbon to the picturesque canals of Aveiro and from the fabulous beaches of Lagos to the medieval architecture of Coimbra, Portugal has something to offer for every traveler.

With so many incredible and best cities in Portugal to explore, it is no wonder Portugal is becoming an increasingly popular destination for tourists worldwide.

So, consider Portugal if you are looking for your next travel destination. Which of these 13 best cities in Portugal would you like to visit first?

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