Add these 11 incredible experiences to your Portugal bucket list

Explore the mysterious Convent of Christ in Tomar

Tomar is a charming town in central Portugal, famous for its connection to the Knights Templar, a medieval military order that played a crucial role in the Portuguese Reconquista. The Convent of Christ, located on a hill overlooking the town, was the headquarters of the order in Portugal and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can visit this impressive complex, which includes a castle, a church, a cloister and several chapels, and admire its mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance styles. You can also marvel at the famous window of the Chapter House, which is a masterpiece of Manueline architecture, full of symbolic and esoteric elements.

Discover the hidden gems of Nazaré

Nazaré is a traditional fishing village on the Atlantic coast, about 120 km north of Lisbon. It is known for its colourful houses, its women wearing seven skirts and its giant waves that attract surfers from all over the world. But Nazaré also has some hidden gems that are worth exploring, such as the Sitio, a hilltop district that offers panoramic views over the village and the sea. You can reach it by a funicular or by walking up the steep stairs. There you can visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré, a 14th-century church that houses a revered image of the Virgin Mary. You can also see the Fort of São Miguel Arcanjo, a 16th-century fortress that hosts a surfing museum and a lighthouse.

Relax in the thermal springs of São Pedro do Sul

São Pedro do Sul is a small town in central Portugal, surrounded by mountains and forests. It is famous for its thermal springs, which have been used since Roman times for their healing properties. You can enjoy a relaxing bath in one of the two thermal spas in town, which offer modern facilities and treatments. You can also visit the Roman ruins of Balneum, where you can see the ancient baths, mosaics and inscriptions. If you want to explore more of the area, you can hike or bike along the Vouga river or visit some of the nearby villages and castles.

Visit the fairytale palace of Pena in Sintra

Sintra is a picturesque town near Lisbon, famous for its romantic palaces and gardens. One of the most stunning and whimsical palaces is Pena, which stands on top of a hill and looks like something out of a fairy tale. It was built in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II, who was inspired by various architectural styles and cultures. The palace has colourful façades, ornate towers, domes and arches, as well as exotic motifs and symbols. You can visit the interior of the palace, which preserves the original furniture and decoration of the royal family. You can also wander around the park, which covers 200 hectares and contains various plants, fountains, sculptures and pavilions.

Experience rural life in Monsanto

Monsanto is a unique village in eastern Portugal, where time seems to have stopped. It is built on a rocky hillside and its houses are integrated with huge granite boulders. Some of them even use the boulders as walls or roofs. The village has preserved its medieval atmosphere and its traditions, such as the Festa dos Chocalhos (Festival of the Cowbells), which celebrates the return of the cattle from the pastures. You can visit Monsanto and admire its rustic charm, its castle ruins, its Romanesque church and its panoramic views. You can also stay in one of the local guesthouses or campsites and experience rural life in Portugal.

Experience the colourful Festa dos Tabuleiros in Tomar

The Festa dos Tabuleiros is a traditional festival in Tomar that takes place every four years. It is a colorful and lively celebration featuring parades, music, dance, and the iconic Tabuleiros – tall stacks of bread and flowers carried on the heads of young girls. The festival has deep-rooted cultural and religious significance and attracts both locals and visitors. It is a unique opportunity to experience the vibrant traditions and community spirit of Tomar.

Explore the beautiful Vinho Verde wine route

Vinho Verde is one of Portugal’s best-loved wines, a light and refreshing drink that comes in white, red and rosé varieties. The Vinho Verde route takes you through some of the most scenic and historic parts of the Minho region, where you can visit ancient towns, castles, churches and vineyards. You can also sample some of the local dishes, such as bacalhau (salted cod), caldo verde (green soup) and rojões (pork chunks).

Discover the medieval charm of Tavira

Tavira is a traditional Portuguese town on the southeast side of the Algarve, less than 32 km from the Spanish border. It has a picturesque centre with cafes, churches, castles and a hilltop fort that offers stunning views of the river and the countryside. You can also enjoy the Mediterranean charm of its beaches, islands and natural parks. Tavira is a perfect destination for those who want to experience the authentic Algarve without the crowds of tourists.

Follow the footsteps of the Knights Templar in Tomar

Tomar is one of the most fascinating towns in Portugal, with a rich history that dates back to the 12th century, when it was founded by the Knights Templar. You can visit their impressive headquarters, the Convent of Christ and Tomar Castle, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can also admire other fortresses, churches and monuments that reflect the town’s cultural and religious heritage. Tomar is also surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, such as the Almourol Castle on an island in the river and the Mouchão Park with its water wheel.

Enjoy nature and water sports at Ferreira do Zêzere

Ferreira do Zêzere is a small town in the centre of Portugal that offers a great getaway for nature lovers and adventure seekers. It is located near the Castelo de Bode dam, which forms an artificial lake where you can swim, kayak, sail, fish and more. You can also explore the surrounding forests, hills and waterfalls by hiking, biking or horse riding. Ferreira do Zêzere is a hidden gem that will surprise you with its beauty and tranquility.

Taste some of the best wines in Portugal at Viseu

Viseu is one of the larger cities in the Dão region, which produces some of the finest wines in Portugal. You can visit some of the local wineries and taste their products, such as reds, whites, rosés and sparkling wines. You can also learn about the history and culture of wine making at the Solar do Vinho do Dão museum. Viseu is also a charming city with a historical centre that features castles, medieval buildings, gardens, manor houses and artworks by Vasco Fernandes, a famous Portuguese Renaissance painter.

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