Portugal is a perfect trip vacation spot. The nation is stuffed with attractive seashores alongside the rugged shoreline, charming little cities seeped in historical past, grand church buildings, castles, and cathedrals making skylines, and there is even sunny climate practically all yr lengthy! Are you pondering of touring to Portugal and questioning what are a few of the high beneficial cities to go to? Let me inform you, that could be a very laborious query to reply! Having lived in Portugal for the previous yr and a half, visiting the most important cities, in addition to the close by charming little villages, I’ve grow to be moreover enchanted by the nation. Regardless, I’ve determined to place collectively this checklist to provide some steerage to somebody planning a visit to the magical nation.
I like to recommend that you simply lease a automotive to discover lovely Portugal by yourself time and take within the surrounding. I’ve gone forward and put collectively an itinerary so that you can think about – one that may mean you can discover one of the best of the complete nation! I’ve determined to separate the itinerary between two areas of Portugal – North of Lisbon and South of Lisbon. This hub is about planning a highway up North.
Top 5 Cities to Visit in Central / North Portugal – Road Trip Itinerary
As you drive up north, you will want to take both Highway A1 or Highway A8. I choose Highway A8 since that highway winds its method proper alongside the attractive coast. The main cities I like to recommend so that you can go to in your highway journey are:
- Lisbon – Lisbon, Lisboa in Portuguese is where your trip will most likely begin. You will need a couple of days to explore Lisbon and nearby fabulous towns.
- Obidos – Make your way up north by driving one hour to the lovely walled city of Obidos.
- Coimbra – Next, travel north about one hour (70 miles) to the medieval town of Coimbra.
- Aveiro – Following Coimbra, drive just about 40 miles up north to Aveiro, the town nicknamed the “Venice of Portugal”.
- Porto – Complete your road trip in Porto – Portugal’s 2nd largest city.
Any journey to Portugal wants to incorporate the nation’s charming capital, Lisbon. The metropolis may be very walkable and to get to varied sights, you may both stroll alongside the gorgeous cobble-stoned streets or take the enduring tram 28 to get to every attraction.
Start exploring Lisboa within the downtown space known as Baixa. Make your manner right down to the Alfama neighborhood with its slender, maze-like streets that may make you are feeling such as you’ve taken a step again in time. As you stroll, you’ll go many sights just like the Elevator of Santa Justa, Se Cathedral, and the House of Spikes. There’s a fort up on a hill that may be seen from many elements of the town – the Castle of Sao Jorge, which you must go to to get a tremendous panoramic view of Lisbon and the Tejo river. There are many lovely outdated church buildings and cathedrals, together with the stays of Carmo on high of a hill that was occasion destroyed through the the devastating earthquake of 1755. There are a few miradouras – or viewpoints which provide fabulous views from atop hills. And there is a enjoyable a vibrant nightlife within the Bairro Alto space of Lisbon.
Annual festivals and occasions that you shouldn’t miss in Lisbon embody:
- On June 12 – 30, be a part of the festivities with locals as they have a good time St. Anthony’s birthday by partying out within the streets and consuming numerous grilled sardines!
- Every Thursday night time from June to September, watch the bullfights in Campo Pequeno.
- In October, take a look at Feira de Outubro (October Fair) in Vila Franca de Xira for some crafts and Portuguese type operating of the bulls.
Make time to depart central Lisbon and go to Belém, which is a crucial district that has many well-known monuments and museums. Also spend a day in magical Sintra which has the gorgeous Pena Palace, a Moorish fort whose wall you may stroll alongside, and total an incredible ambiance. And you may’t miss Cascais, an enthralling village simply 40 minutes north of Lisbon which is greatest to discover both by foot or with a free bike rental you can get at two areas. Also think about visiting the Cristo Rei statue for a singular view of Lisbon.
Obidos is a walled medieval city that was as soon as given as a marriage reward to Queen Isabel. Nowadays, the city is a present to the eyes! Part of the city is throughout the fort partitions and you’ll even stroll the partitions. As you strategy Obidos on the freeway, it is a ravishing sight up on high of a hill. Within the city, there is a clock tower, church buildings and a museum. You’ll should convey again some Obidos ginja with chocolate shot glasses as a memento to your family and friends lacking out in your fabulous highway journey!
Annual festivals and occasions that you shouldn’t miss out on in Obidos embody:
- In July, a 10-day medieval competition known as Mercado Medieval Fair.
- In February, there’s a two-week Chocolate Festival.
Close to Obidos, there are different locations price visiting resembling Óbidos Lagoon, Fatima, Alcobaça, Batalha, and Leiria with its well-known medieval fort. I like to recommend driving to all 4 and since they’re so shut to one another, you are able to do it in simply in the future however I like to recommend spreading the side-trips to 3 days.
Monastery of Batalha
Coimbra is the primary metropolis in Central Portugal and one which’s enthralled in pupil life. It’s a really walkable metropolis and most sights are positioned in Baixa, or downtown. Some of the highest issues to do on this medieval city are: strolling as much as the highest of University Hill from the Mondego river for an impressive view of the environment; trying out the University of Coimbra which is among the oldest in Europe; seeing the botanical gardens and the multitude of church buildings and cathedrals; in addition to stopping by a few museums. You may even should hearken to conventional fado music, which is sung by males in Coimbra (not like in Lisbon, the place it is carried out principally by ladies).
Student life is a giant a part of this city and there are two annual festivals that you must take a look at for those who’re in Portugal once they’re occurring. During these festivals, college students stroll round in conventional clothes, sing songs, and there is a actually festive air in Coimbra.
- In July, Festa das Latas or Homecoming is among the annual festivals; and the opposite is
- In May, Queima das Fita or Burning of the Ribbons.
Side journeys from Coimbra embody doing wine tasting on this Dão area, which is taken into account a few of the greatest the nation has to supply. En route, you even have Serra da Estrela, Portugal’s highest mountain.
The Aveiro Train Station
Aveiro is named the “Venice of Portugal” and you will not be shocked why – there are canals all through the town, bridges, and colourful boats much like gandolas in Venice however right here they’re known as moliceiros. There’s a ravishing coast close to Aveiro with attractive seashores resembling Sao Jacinto, Barra and Costa Nova. Silver Coast is among the hottest seashores within the space.
Douro River in Porto
Porto, Oporto in Portuguese, is a wonderful metropolis alongside the hills overlooking the Douro river. The historic middle of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage web site and a very good place to begin exploring this space is within the Ribeira neighborhood. Things to do in Porto embody taking a river cruise, taking a port wine tour in Vila Nova de Gaia (throughout the river), and simply taking within the lovely metropolis and its many church buildings and outdated homes. Consider taking a day journey east to the Minho region of Portugal.
Festivals and occasions to take a look at in Porto embody:
- In June, the full of life celebration of Festa de São João (St. John’s Day) the place the locals have a good time with numerous dancing, partying, and leaping over flames.
- In July, there’s a rock competition known as Noites Ritual, the place up-and-coming bands play reside out within the streets.
As your highway journey via Northern Portugal involves an finish, you may both drop off your rental automotive and take a practice again to Lisbon or you may drive again, which can solely take about three hours.