Portugal is filled with some of the most break taking spots—both naturally occurring (like in The Ponta da Piedade) and man-made (like the architectural gems of Sintra). It was a tough task to narrow it down to just 16 photos but hopefully these 16 will be a sampling showcase for the beauty to expect when you visit this amazing country. Enjoy!
A View of the Douro Valley
Portugal’s second largest city is known worldwide for its Port Wine; however, the sweet fortified drink is actually produced in an region 100 to 150 km East called the Douro Valley. One of the oldest demarcated wine regions in the world (meaning only the wines produced in this region can be called Port), the Douro Valley has more than sixty different indigenous grape varieties. The grapes are harvested during a month long period each autumn, pressed and put in casks. The casks are then transported to the port lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia, a city just across the river from Porto, to age.
Mosteiro da Batalha
Batalha, a small town in the hills of the Leiria District, was founded by King D. João I of Portugal as the site to erect a monetary in honor the Portuguese victory in a battle against the Castilians in 1385. It is one the best examples of Late Gothic and Manueline style in Portugal.
A Cork Oak Tree in Almendras
Portugal produces roughly 50% of the world’s commercial cork and cork oak trees are abundant in the sunshine-y summers and mild winters of the central and southern parts of the country. The trees are easily to identify as their trunks are stripped and there are usually numbers painted on them. Portuguese law prohibits stripping the trees more than once every nine years in order to protect the species so the numbers identify in what year the trees were last stripped. The crazy part is that if you touch the bark of these trees they actually feel like cork. It’s strange!
Derived from Arabic translating to “polished stone,” azulejo tiles are found on the interior and exterior of cathedrals, palaces, homes, restaurants, and even transportation stations.
Quinta da Regaleira
A must-see stop in Sintra, a picturesque destination outside of Lisbon renowned for the opulent palaces and homes in the area, Quinta da Regaleira is no exceptions. The sprawling property includes a five-story palace, a chapel, and lush gardens that feature tunnels, caves, inverted tower, enches, fountains, grottoes and more! LeBraun and I both felt like we had stumbled upon a lost civilization in a jungle. It was fantastic!
Convento da Ordem do Carmo
Built in 1389 this former convent was mostly destroyed during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, but the ruins have withstood the test of time and now house a lovely little museum. I bet this open-air space is especially beautiful during golden hour.
Livraria Ler Devagar
Located in Lisbon’s LX Factory, a hip hangout filled with restaurants, bars, shops, and art throughout a series of renovated manufacturing complex, Livraria (bookshop, not library in Portuguese) Ler Devagar, is a combination bookshop/cafe and host cultural events like readings, plays, exhibitions during the year.
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
Located near the Tagus river in Belém, Jerónimos Monastery is a prominent examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline architecture style. The ornately decorated cloisters are extremely extravagant.
Palacio Nacional da Pena
This eclectic Romanticist castle atop a hill is another must-see in Sintra. After the previous chapels were destroyed by the 1755 earthquake, King Ferdinand transformed the remains of the monastery into a palace that became the summer residence for the Portuguese royal family.
Ceramic Wall on Route to Sagres
Portugal is renowned for its high quality, locally made ceramics—remember all those beautiful glazed azulejo tiles! There are a few buildings covered in ceramics close to Sagres and are probably some of the most photographed spots in the country.
Sé do Porto
The Porto Cathedral is one the city’s oldest Romanesque monuments and its Gothic cloister is covered in blue and white azulejo depicting the life of the Virgin Mary and scenes from Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid. The complex took over 600 years to complete.