Portugal’s Hidden Gems: A Local’s Guide to the Best Places to Visit

by Staff

Portugal is a small country with a big heart. It’s famous for its stunning beaches, historic towns, delicious cuisine, and warm weather. However, there’s much more to Portugal than what meets the eye. As a local, I’ve explored many of Portugal’s hidden gems that are off the beaten path. In this guide, I’ll share with you some of the best places to visit in Portugal and how to make the most of your vacation with the best Portugal vacation packages.

Lisbon: A Must-Visit Destination

Lisbon is one of the most popular destinations in Portugal, and for good reason. It’s a vibrant city with a rich history and culture, fantastic food, and plenty of things to see and do. If you’re planning a vacation in Lisbon, you won’t be disappointed. Make sure to visit the historic district of Alfama, take a ride on the iconic Tram 28, and try some of the city’s famous pastries, like the custard tarts known as pastéis de nata.

Best Portugal Vacation Packages

When planning your vacation to Portugal, you may be overwhelmed with the number of options for Portugal vacation packages. To make the most of your trip, consider booking a package that includes transportation, accommodation, and tours. This will not only save you time and money but will also ensure that you see the best of what Portugal has to offer. Some popular vacation packages include:

  • Lisbon and Porto Combo: 

This package includes a visit to two of Portugal’s most iconic cities. You’ll spend three nights in Lisbon, where you can explore the city’s historic neighborhoods and enjoy its vibrant nightlife. Then, you’ll travel to Porto, where you’ll discover the city’s historic center, taste the famous Port wine, and explore the Douro Valley.

  • Algarve Beach Getaway: 

If you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation, the Algarve Beach Getaway is the perfect package for you. You’ll spend four nights in a beachfront resort in the Algarve region, where you can soak up the sun, swim in crystal-clear waters, and explore charming coastal towns.

  • Portugal Wine Tour: 

Portugal is famous for its wine, and this tour will take you to some of the best wineries in the country. You’ll visit the Douro Valley, where you can taste the famous Port wine, as well as the Alentejo region, where you can try the delicious red wines.

Best Hidden Gems in Portugal

While Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve are fantastic destinations, there’s much more to Portugal than these popular spots. Here are some of Portugal’s hidden gems that you won’t want to miss:

  • Sintra: 

This charming town is just a short train ride from Lisbon but feels like a world away. It’s known for its stunning palaces and gardens, including the colorful Pena Palace, which looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale.

  • Coimbra: 

Coimbra is a historic university town located in central Portugal. It’s home to one of the oldest universities in Europe and has a rich cultural heritage. Make sure to visit the Baroque library, which is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

  • Évora: 

Located in the Alentejo region, Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s full of history and culture. It’s known for its well-preserved Roman temple, medieval castle, and stunning Gothic cathedral.

  • Azores: 

The Azores are a group of islands located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They’re known for their stunning natural beauty, including volcanic landscapes, hot springs, and stunning coastlines. The Azores are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, swimming, and exploring the great outdoors.

  • Monsaraz: 

Monsaraz is a picturesque medieval village located in the Alentejo region. It’s perched on a hilltop overlooking the surrounding countryside and has a well-preserved castle, narrow streets, and stunning views.

  • Aveiro: 

Aveiro is a coastal city located between Lisbon and Porto. It’s known for its colorful striped houses, canals, and traditional boats called moliceiros. Make sure to try the local delicacy, ovos moles, which are sweet egg yolk pastries.

  • Gerês National Park: 

Gerês National Park is a stunning natural park located in the north of Portugal. It’s home to waterfalls, lakes, forests, and wildlife, including wild horses and deer. It’s the perfect place for hiking, camping, and outdoor adventures.


Portugal is a wonderful country with so much to offer visitors. While Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve are fantastic destinations, make sure to venture off the beaten path and explore some of Portugal’s hidden gems. From charming towns and medieval castles to stunning natural landscapes and delicious cuisine, there’s something for everyone in Portugal. To make the most of your trip, consider booking one of the best Portugal vacation packages that include transportation, accommodation, and tours. Happy travels!

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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