Portugal Tours: Things To Do
There's so much to see and do when on Portugal escorted tours, especially in the company of a well-versed tour guide or tour director. Here are just a few of the many highlights:
Go on a cruise down the Douro River in Porto
The Duoro River in Porto is one of the city's most iconic landmarks. And what better way to see it than on a cruise? Portugal's second city, Porto, is situated around the Douro River. Therefore, some of its most popular landmarks are due to this strategic location. These include picturesque bridges and a medieval riverside district complete with quaint cafes and colorful houses belonging to local merchants. You'll be able to take in all the sights and sounds of the city as you float down the river, explore the Douro Valley, and might even spot some of the wine warehouses that Porto is famous for. A winery tour may also be a great tour idea!
Rabelo boats were once used to transport port wine barrels from vineyards in the countryside to cities and port towns and by local artisans. Nowadays, couples and groups of friends can take a ride down the paths of history on one of Porto's iconic rabelos. These picturesque boats provide the perfect way to see the best sights that this vibrant city has to offer.
A standard boat tour of Porto encompasses the renowned ‘Six Bridges’ including Ponte D. Maria Pia, Ponte Infante Dom Henrique, and Ponte de Dom Luís I, as well as attractions such as the Cabedelo Nature Reserve. The site also features the Foz do Douro, where the river empties into the Atlantic Ocean, and Barra do Douro, with its magnificent lighthouse. These are just some of the reasons why a cruise down the Douro River is one of the best things to do in Portugal, Spain.
Visit the Castle of São Jorge in Lisbon
The São Jorge Castle, which stands atop a hill in Alfama and is well-known throughout the city, is an absolute must-see while in Lisbon! If you're looking for the best views of Lisbon, head to São Jorge Castle. In addition to gorgeous scenery, you'll also find plenty of history, beautiful peacocks, and an archaeological excavation site.
The castle was originally built by the Moors in the 11th century and was later conquered by Christians during the Crusades. It has since been used as a royal palace, a fortress, and a prison. Today, it's one of Lisbon's most popular tourist attractions. If you're interested in Portuguese history, be sure to visit the Sao Jorge Castle. You'll learn about the country's past as you explore the castle's many rooms and artifacts. And, of course, the views from atop the hill are not to be missed! This is a perfect location for small group tours of Portugal, especially when accompanied by local guides who can provide you with stories and facts about this historic scene.
A Walking Tour to the Majestic Pena Palace
Pena Palace, named Palácio da Pena in Portuguese, is a must-see for anyone visiting Portugal, and it's especially convenient if you're already in Lisbon or Sintra. The Pena Palace is considered one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and is one of Europe's oldest palaces. It was built in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II as a summer retreat for the Portuguese royal family.
Pena Palace is located atop a hill in Sintra, and it's surrounded by lush gardens (200 hectares of royal gardens) filled with flowers, trees, and peacocks. The Pena Palace is distinguished by its bright red, yellow, and mauve facades, scalloped white trimmings, and pointed turrets. The palace itself is a beautiful mix of traditional architecture, and it's worth a visit. Even if you're not interested in history, the views from the palace are incredible.
Explore the University of Coimbra and Its Museums
Coimbra is home to one of the world's oldest universities, as well as a dynamic community with its art, tradition, and culture. The University of Coimbra, founded in 1290, is one of Europe's prestigious institutions of learning. The city's centerpiece is the university's awe-inspiring main square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university's museums are also worth a visit, as they house an extensive collection of art and artifacts.
The city of Coimbra is situated in a picturesque natural setting, with the Mondego River running through it. There are plenty of things to see and do in and around the city. In addition to the university, there are several historical monuments, such as the Se Velha (Old Cathedral), as well as museums and art galleries. Coimbra is definitely worth a visit, whether you're interested in the history of the university or not.
Relax on the Beaches of the Algarve
The Algarve is located in Portugal's southern region between Faro and Lagos, and it's known for its beautiful sandy beaches, rocky coastline, and clear waters. The Algarve is a popular tourist destination, and it's easy to see why. With its mild climate and stunning scenery, the Algarve is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
The Algarve has over 125 miles of beachfront, with 130 beaches in total. The summer's temperatures range from 24 to 32°C (75 to 90°F), while the winter's temperatures are about 15 to 18°C (60 to 65°F). Whether you're looking to soak up the sun or enjoy some of Portugal's finest cuisine, the Algarve is sure to please.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the accommodation like in Portugal?
When visiting Portugal, you'll find that accommodation is more affordable than in other western European countries. You can find quaint guesthouses or small hotels in a charming town that typically offer a double or twin room for under €40. However, you'll pay more during peak season in Algarve resorts, or year-round if you're looking to stay in Lisbon or Porto.
There are many Airbnbs available throughout Portugal, which can be a great option if you're looking for more space or want to cook your own meals. The average nightly price for a room in a shared house is around €43 in Portugal, whereas a night in a 1 or 2-bedroom apartment costs €54 and €68, respectively.
If you're looking for something luxurious, you have a plethora of stunning manor houses and posh hotels to pick from. This is perfect for small group tours of Portugal or tourists traveling with fellow travelers who do not mind double occupancy. These hotels, called pousadas, are usually located in picturesque locations or historic buildings. However, keep in mind that if you're hoping to travel to Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve during the high season, it's best to make a reservation in advance. With that said, most other regions will have plenty of availability for accommodation.
How much time do you need to visit Portugal?
If you want to get a real feel of the location and get a sneak peek at the country's unique culture, customs, tradition, and beliefs, plan a seven-day trip. A vacation is a perfect time to explore many renowned tourist attractions, immerse yourself in nature, take part in fun activities, and enjoy shopping at luxurious markets.
What is the best time for a Portugal tour?
The best time for a wonderful trip to Portugal is between March and May. During this period, the nation's weather is springlike. September and October are also excellent months to schedule your departure date to Portugal. The weather is still relatively warm, and the tourist crowds have dispersed. December to February is Portugal's low season because it's cooler and wetter. However, this is also when you can snag the best hotel deals.
With the current state of the pandemic, is it advisable to travel to Portugal?
Yes, it is safe! To ensure a secure journey, simply follow all of the required safety regulations outlined by the authorities. These include wearing a face mask in enclosed public spaces, maintaining social distancing, and frequently washing your hands. You may also get travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related expenses, such as medical treatment and repatriation, just to be on the safe side.
Ready to Explore Portugal?
Whether you're interested in the country's history, culture, or simply its beautiful scenery, there's something for everyone. Portugal is a welcoming and friendly country, so don't hesitate to visit. You'll be glad you were a part of the wonderful experience this great trip has to offer.