The country’s top-rated tourist attractions are easily accessible on many of the country’s best scenic routes. There are plenty of options for a memorable road trip: Lisbon, the Douro Valley, Fatima, Viana do Castelo, and many more. Take time to learn about each of these locations before setting out. You can read our previous posts for more tips. We’ve also compiled a list of the most popular sights to see in Portugal.
Viana do Castelo
From its lofty vantage point, Viana do Castelo offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Its charming old town is a great base for exploring the Lima Valley, home to a thriving arts community and an array of cultural activities. Hikers and beachgoers flock here to relax on the sandy beaches. Monsaraz, a charming hilltop town with a fascinating history, is worth a visit, as well. Visitors can stroll around the walls of the citadel and admire the architectural splendor.
The charming city of Viana do Castelo is a hidden gem of Northern Portugal, exemplifying the qualities of the Costa Verde region, from pristine beaches to dramatic natural scenery to a bustling fishing fleet. The quaint, undeveloped town has a surprising number of attractions. Scattered across the northern bank of the Rio Lima, the town spans the hills and includes a modern park and a fishing port.
Ponte de Lima
If you’re considering a trip to the countryside and would like to see how different villages in the area compare with each other, then Ponte de Lima may be the perfect place to start. The town’s name is derived from the famous Ponte de Lima bridge. This picturesque bridge crosses the River Lima, which is a popular destination for pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela. The bridge is adorned with statues of Roman soldiers and a Portuguese captain.
The city is home to several historical monuments and churches, but the main attraction is the magnificent Ponte de Lima. The longest bridge in Portugal, it spans the Lima River and is 277 metres long. It was built in two sectors, the first part of which was built by the Romans. The Roman part is characterized by five arches, and served as a connection between Braga and Astorga. The medieval portion of the bridge features fifteen arches and leads to a church named Santo Antonio da Torre Velha. The interior is decorated in a Mannerist-Baroque style, with an altar depicting the miracle of feeding the multitude.
If you’re planning to visit the Douro Valley, one of the best options is to take a train ride. This option allows you to take in the landscape while avoiding the hassles of driving. You can take in the beauty of the region and the scenery without having to worry about driving on a narrow, winding road. A train ride can be an excellent way to see the entire region, while also getting you to the wineries you’ve been wanting to visit.
The Douro Valley is divided into three different regions. Visit the Douro Valley’s three wine regions and sample the wines produced there. Although not all of the vineyards offer tours of their production facilities, the biggest and best-known vineyards will happily take you on a tour. You can even plan a picnic or a lunch break during your tour and enjoy some wine. After the tour, take a walk through the village’s small streets.
If you want to see the apparitions, you should visit Fatima, which is the oldest and most popular pilgrimage site in Portugal. The city is steeped in religious tradition, and the town holds a unique place in the hearts of the Portuguese. However, the town can feel a bit tacky to visitors and day-trippers from Lisbon, as it is the site of two major pilgrimages a year.
You can drive to Fatima in an hour and fifteen minutes from Lisbon by car. The A1 motorway is a great way to explore hidden gems of Portugal. Just be sure to check the toll requirements before you go. Alternatively, take a bus to Fatima from Lisbon’s Sete Rios bus terminal, which can take up to one and a half hours.