A Roman town perched high on a plateau looking proudly on to the verdant countryside below it. A beautiful medieval city with a lovely cathedral.
One of the most important centres for pilgrimage in the entire Roman Catholic world, Fatima is Portugal’s most religious and iconic location. A giant white basilica and esplanade able to house an incredible million pilgrims has risen up where once was a small farming village. Swiftly followed by cafes, restaurants and hotels.
Not far from Fatima stands Tomar. Tomar is not only a lovely town built along the Rio Nabao but was also once upon a time the headquarters of the Order of the Knights Templar, followed by their successors, the Order of Christ.
Aveiro is a small town built around canals. Not quite Venice but with touches of Amsterdam. It’s pretty and atmospheric and very photogenic. Don’t forget to try the local delicacy ‘ovos moles’ (pronounced ovos molsh) which consists of shell-shaped edible cases filled with sweet yellow egg filling. Sounds weird because it is. Also famous for salt.
A charming little picturesque town entirely enclosed by medieval walls. Climb the steep staircases and traverse the perimeter walls taking in the beautiful verdant surrounding countryside.
Parque Nacional da Peneda Geres
The only national park in Portugal is home to pretty market towns and villages, amazing hiking trails, looking glass lakes and enough flora and fauna to keep David Attenborough quiet for a fortnight. Lindoso is the prettiest town and is located very close to the Spanish border.
A combination of great climate, stunning beaches and pretty coves make the Algarve Portugal’s most popular holiday location. Although some pretty hefty development has destroyed the Portuguese ambience in some parts making it feel like a soulless development aimed at tourists, the Algarve still has a lot to offer. The coastline in some parts is quirky and exotic and the beaches remain spectacular. Mankind hasn’t managed to ruin that, yet.
Go to part i of what to see in Portugal.