Portugal’s incredible array of offerings, from stupendous beaches to medieval castles, enjoy the added bonus of being less crowded than many other destinations.
Lisbon, where you’ll likely start your trip, is one of Europe’s gems. It feels more like a village than a city, with narrow, tree-lined streets, plazas where locals gather to gossip and relax, fado music echoing from crowded nightlife venues, and the occasional stunning monastery. Watch a soccer game, explore Gothic cathedrals, eat world-class seafood from restaurants overlooking the water, or party until dawn in Bairro Alto—Lisbon’s not short of things to do.
Further afield, explore Portugal’s grape producers in Douro, which has the added bonus of stunning scenery—verdant, rolling hills overlooking the gorgeous River Douro. The town of Porto is a magnet for history buffs, too, with a rich array of architectural gems ranging from the Romanesque to the Baroque and a beautiful old quarter, Ribeira.
While the Algarve has largely been taken over by package tourism and people catching last-minute flights to Portugal for some sun, it’s definitely worth a visit: the beaches are beautiful, the cliffs are rugged, and the inner Algarve is packed with pretty villages, crumbling castles, and lush hills.
To make the most of the great outdoors and the lovely weather, try hiking in the Serra da Estrela or the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês, sailing on the Rio Guadiana, or hitting the walking trails that crisscross the country. This being Portugal, you’ll never be far from a delicious meal, a nice cafe, or a historic hotel.