Sights of Portugal (photos and description)
Portugal is a country that has long and still gathers huge crowds of tourists on its territory, always looking for new sensations and emotions. The Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula not only proudly and worthily immortalized on its territory a small country with an interesting past, but also an excellent place for tourists. Here a great number of fairs and festivals are held annually, sacredly preserving the age-old traditions and culture of their people.
Portugal differs from other European countries not only in its amazing beauty, but also in its originality. Only here you will be able to meet women who carry baskets with purchases on their heads in a huge metropolis. It is Portugal that is famous for its most delicious coffee, which is served in cafes and restaurants only in cups, and people are engaged in such traditional for the past centuries crafts as fishing, textiles and winemaking.
If you are lucky enough to get to the territory of the country, which is located on the very edge of the world, then you should enjoy all its beauties and sights to the maximum. Portugal is located on the western cape of Europe, beyond which there is only one ocean and unexplored land until now.
What in Portugal you can see the tourist?
Traveling in a country like Portugal is interesting in any way. It does not matter whether you eat in any region of Portugal for work, for leisure or just to visit — this country will gladly surprise you with its sights and landscapes. To visit as many interesting and memorable places as possible, it is advisable to book in advance guide services. It is noteworthy that the guides in this country are distinguished by exceptional knowledge of history and goodwill, so that walks will be not only informative, but also very enjoyable.
For you to study in more detail the most famous sights of Portugal, we offer you their description and photos.
1. Castle Obidos (city Obidos)
The most striking and main attraction of all of Portugal is considered to be medieval castles, of which there are a huge number in the country. However, there is still one of them, who was awarded the title of the most popular among tourists, namely — Obidos Castle. This landmark is located on a rather high hill, from the top of which there is a beautiful view of the whole city of Obidos:
- a huge number of vineyards that fill almost every yard;
- windmills, fascinating for its size and power;
- bright terracotta roofs of nearby houses, which are like mushrooms under a tree, can be seen under the castle.
The castle attracts tourists with its appearance, as it managed to preserve as much as possible from the Middle Ages. In the form in which we see the castle now, it was built 8 centuries ago. According to historical data, before the castle was built on this site in the era of the Roman Empire, there were public baths and a square, which played the role of the center of the political life of the settlement.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, with the coming to power of the Visigoths, a fortress was erected at this place, around which a settlement was formed, which today is the modern city of Obidos. Many centuries ago, on the territory of the fortress held various kinds of social events and celebrations.
Today, this castle attracts huge crowds of tourists precisely because of its preserved appearance, since a very small number of ancient buildings can boast of such a pristine appearance. During the tour you can walk through the castle, look at its walls and stairs, walk through all the once filled grandees halls and medieval bas-reliefs. Another plus is the landscape that will open to you from this height.
2. Tower Torri de Belen (city of Lisbon)
Lisbon is not just the capital of Portugal, but a real treasure for the tourist who wants to see interesting places and famous sights. However, even if you came to the territory of the capital of Portugal, the first place to visit is the Torrey de Belém tower. According to historical data, this facility was built in honor of the world-famous expedition of Vasco da Gama, who once opened up a trade route to the territory of India. At that time, the tower was a substitute for the lighthouse, which was supposed to show the way of a sailor returning from a long voyage.
The Torre de Belen tower was built in Lisbon for a rather long period of time, namely from 1515 to 1521. For those who love history, it will be very interesting to learn that it was from these shores that all the most courageous and adventurous navigators went in search of new trade routes.
During the war with France, led by Napoleon, the tower was almost completely destroyed, but after these events it was completely reconstructed in 1845. It is noteworthy that during its existence, Torrey de Belen managed to fulfill a rather large number of appointments, which were both a lighthouse, and an armory, and even a prison. Today, the tower has become an object of cultural and historical heritage, and since 1983 it has been included in the UNESCO list.
The tower was built in the late Gothic style, which has the following characteristics:
- openwork balconies,
- turrets in the Arab style,
- rope images and more.
A huge number of different decorations and interesting architectural sketches can be seen on the territory of the tower, however, the view from the tower opening before its visitors cannot be compared with anything.
3. Palace of Pena (Sintra)
Portugal is a country full of ancient buildings and all sorts of other attractions that surprise and delight with its uniqueness. Virtually the entire territory of the city of Sintra is the main point of tourists, since there are a large number of memorial sites.
Pena Palace is one of the most famous sights of Sintra, although it is located a bit further from the settlement itself. The uniqueness of the castle lies in the fact that, initially, it was based on an empty monastery, which was erected on this territory in the 12th century in honor of the Mother of God. However, soon, after the construction of the temple, they began to forget about it, because of what it began to fall apart.
The rather inconspicuous and abandoned chapel, which was lost somewhere in the mountains of Portugal, was remembered only in the middle of the 16th century, when King Manuel I, being very religious, turned his gaze on this temple and on the vast vacant lands around it. It was from that moment that the active reconstruction of the holy place began, it was rebuilt from stone and he managed to stand for more than 2 centuries, until an earthquake known to the whole world demolished it from the face of the Earth, leaving only ruins and fragments.
However, already in 1838, King Fernand II bought the land along with the ruins of the temple and the picturesque adjacent territories on the mountain. Then there was rebuilt the palace, which was judged to become the summer residence of the royal family. It should be noted that the romantic Fernand presented a fairly large number of ideas for the design of the castle and its surrounding territories. As a result, a beautiful and majestic building with an exotic exterior, representing a mixture of several styles, bright facades and an amazing park, with its winding paths, cozy gazebos and rich colors of beautiful and unusual plants, grew on these lands. So, once in Portugal, be sure to look at the Pena Palace, which will surprise:
1.Long and interesting history of its existence;
2. architectural structures worthy of the most professional craftsmen;
4. very beautiful panorama, opening from all sides of the building.
You shouldn’t deny yourself visiting places that have a huge history in their walls, because this is the only way you can go back in time without much effort.
4. Oceanarium (city of Lisbon)
Portugal is a coastal country, and it is impossible not to notice on the most ordinary and simple things. A huge number of fishermen, seafood in the food and the aquarium. In the capital of Portugal, Lisbon is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Every year, over a million visitors come to watch the life of maritime inhabitants through panoramic glass, and this spectacle is really worth it to just come to Portugal.
The main difference and advantage over other similar institutions of the aquarium in Portugal is its main mission. This aquarium does not only entertain people, showing beautiful and interesting fish, but also conducts educational activities. On its territory there are permanent departments of marine biology and oceanography, where many scientific lessons are held. Such lectures will be interesting to listen not only to children and adolescents, but also adults, because there is a huge amount of interesting information about the underwater world, which you haven’t heard about before.
With regard to the architectural features of the Oceanarium in the capital of Portugal, the main can be called its location. It was built right on the water, along the banks of the river Tejo. With the same land a huge building connects the ramp of 2 levels. The man-made miracle of nature has been operating since 1998, but since 2011 another building has opened, on the open spaces of which temporary expositions are displayed.
It will be important for tourists to learn that the aquarium contains more than 500 species of various fish, marine mammals, invertebrates and plants. In total, the aquarium includes 4 zones, each of which corresponds to different parts of the planet, namely:
- North Atlantic Ocean;
- Pacific Ocean;
- Indian Ocean;
If you go down one floor below, then in the very center you will see a beautiful structure — a huge aquarium inside which sea creatures of different species swim. You should not underestimate the value of visiting such places, since nature creates such interesting living organisms that you cannot take your eyes off.
5.Altu Douro (Douro Valley)
Tourists who love to look at a few centuries ago, like a time machine, should visit the Alto Douro Valley in Portugal — this is a fairly popular winemaking district, which is located near the city of Porto. It is noteworthy that manual labor is still used in the territory of this region, not paying attention to any advanced technologies and similar innovations. Locals believe that making a tasty and high-quality wine can only be done by human hands, but not by machine.
The area of Alto Douro has been famous for its high-quality and unique wine for over two thousand years, which is indescribable in demand. Local climatic conditions have such weather conditions that it is possible to collect generous grape yields of various varieties, and not just one or a few, as is usually the case. Having visited the territory of Alto Douro, you will personally learn about such things as:
- The area is distinguished by a rather steep topography of the soil, from different sides it is protected from winds and moisture by the mountains of Montemuro and Maran (these mountains provide a dry and hot climate, most favorable for ripening grapes and producing aromatic fortified wines).
- The wine produced here occupies the leading places in various international competitions, which once again proves the advantages of painstaking human labor.
- At any of the local farms, for a fee, tourists can hold a tasting of drinks, as well as purchase a delicious wine or port.
If you want to fully immerse yourself in Portuguese everyday life, you can take part in the harvest and the subsequent wine festival. Such emotions will be remembered for a long time, and a good bottle of high-quality wine at home never hurts.
6. Abbey of Santa Maria de Alcobaça (Alcobaça)
The city of Alcobaca is famous all over the world for its important attraction, namely, the abbey of Santa Maria de Alcobaca, which was founded back in the 12th century. Today, the abbey is not just the most important historical monument, but also the largest church in all of Portugal.
The abbey building includes:
- 5 monasteries,
- a lot of libraries
- 7 bedrooms and impressive kitchens.
The decoration of the facade of the temple is a mixture of several styles, as the building had to be completed in completely different eras. For example, the door and the main round window of the monastery, decorated in the Gothic style, are parts of the original church, and the flanking baroque bell towers and statues of saints were erected separately in the middle of the 17th century. The total area of the monastery reaches 220 meters, including 3 different parts of it:
- the Church itself;
- south wing;
- north wing
The construction of the monastery began in 1178, but it lasted almost 100 years, after which the official date for the end of construction was 1252. At the moment, this landmark of Portugal has a high historical value for the country and is a well-preserved example of Cistercian architecture. The particular importance of this shrine in the history of Portugal lies in the fact that the kings of Afonso II, Afonso III, Pedro I, and other members of royal families were buried here in the 13-14 centuries. In 1989, the monastery was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
It does not matter how far away you are from places or sights that are worth seeing only once in a lifetime, because the world is so big that you need to visit everything. Do not put off travels for later, because this is not only an unforgettable experience, but also wonderful impressions.
7.Peneda-Gerês National Park (North-West Portugal)
Portugal can be proud of not only its historical heritage, but also the natural one. It is on the territory of this country that one can find such components of a good mood and pleasant pastime, such as:
- amazing mountain landscapes,
- numerous lakes, rivers and waterfalls,
- lush green mountain meadows.
Despite the enormous amount of natural beauty, Portugal still boasts only one natural reserve, namely the Peneda-Gerês National Park, which is located between the mountain ranges under the symbolic names Peneda and Gerês.
Peneda-Gerês is a huge nature reserve, which includes in its property mountains, multifaceted and rich flora, waterfalls, rivers, fast streams and villages, built of gray granite.
Also in the reserve a large number of different animals, namely:
- Iberian wolves,
- stunted horses
- brown bears,
- mountain goats,
- barrose bulls.
Also, do not overlook the chic flora of the reserve, which includes:
- a huge variety of trees such as oaks and birches;
- bird cherry
- Portugal’s only plague forest.
- some types of ferns and lilies.
It is noteworthy that some areas of the park are inhabited by people. In the south-west there is a small town called Caniçada. Next to this city, a dam was erected, covering the river and forming a picturesque reservoir. There were many pedestrian routes through the reserve, and in some places there was even an ancient Roman road leading to the north. It is interesting that along its verges you can find the ruins of ancient structures.
A walk through this reserve will be remembered for a long time, because besides the beauty of nature you will meet reminders of ancient times in the wreckage of old buildings and the ruins of ancient wells.
8. City Museum Evora (Alto Alentejo province, 130 km from Lisbon)
The city-museum of Évora is one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of Portugal, as well as a real landmark, which covers a huge territory. Evora is located in the eastern part of the country, in the territory of the province called Alto Alentejo, which is located 130 kilometers from the capital of the country.
The city-museum of Évora is a settlement that is densely and surrounded on all sides by wonderful olive groves, vineyards and flowering meadows. The city itself keeps on its territory a huge number of historical attractions, the list of which includes:
The history of the creation of the city of Evora began more than two thousand years ago, and for many centuries was shaped by the culture of the Romans and the Moors. It is the recent events that explain the fact that the city is considered the spiritual center of the whole country. Its historical part is surrounded by walls, inside of which are located the labyrinths of its narrow ancient streets. It is noteworthy that the old restored buildings intertwined with the solar squares of the Renaissance, viewing platforms, Gothic churches, cathedrals and palaces in the style of Manueline. Because of this symbiosis of a fairly large number of different styles, the town seems very bright and catchy, which gives it a special charm and style.
It should be noted that it is quite difficult to find somewhere like clusters of ancient monuments and all sorts of architectural treasures of the country. However, guests on the territory of the famous town are attracted not only by memorable places, but also by local residents, who gladly treat their visitors with delicious home-made cheeses and wines. In 1986, the city-museum of Évora was officially recognized by UNESCO as a monument of world culture, so its value increased many times over.
9. Castle Guimaraes (city Guimaraes)
Guimaraes is a city in Portugal, which deservedly won the title of cultural and historical center of the country. In addition to the huge number of historical monuments that exist on its territory, there is one that occupies the first and most important place — Guimaraes Castle.
This castle is a representative of the architecture of the Middle Ages, but until today it has practically not retained its original features due to numerous restorations. It is important to note that the fortress on the site of the castle, the hill of Monte Largu, was first built in the 7th century, although the castle got its modern look much later — in the 12th century.
If we turn to historical data, then until the end of the 9th century, this territory was dominated by the Arabs and had the name Vimaranshes. After the conquest of these lands by the Portuguese, Count Diogo Fernandez, who founded a monastery at the foot of the hill, became the owner of the fortress. He was erected and surrounded by a protective wall of a single donjon, and a small settlement was built around. Since that time, the fortress gradually strengthened, grew and expanded.
After many years, the castle became the property of King Leon and Castile — Alfonso 6 Heinrich of Burgundy, who founded his residence in this area. Later, the first king Afonso Henriques I, born and raised in this area, completely rebuilt Guimaraes. In the 14th century, the entire settlement was surrounded by a defensive wall, 8 gates and 8 towers were built, each reaching a height of 28 meters.
Initially, the fortress was of military importance, but soon lost its position, which is why it was gradually dismantled and demolished. Only in the middle of the 20th century was the complete restoration of the castle. At the moment we can observe the following results:
- the castle after the restoration has the shape of a heraldic shield,
- of the 28 towers, only 4 have survived, but stone stairs lead to each of them,
- a suspension bridge connects the central gate and the western wall.
Tourists can explore all the rooms of the fortress and climb its walls, offering beautiful views of the city of Guimaraes. Do not forget to visit such places, because even after numerous restorations they preserve the spirit of bygone times.
10. The resort town of Cascais (Lisbon Region, Estoril Coast)
Near Lisbon, near the Estoril coast, there is a rather small resort city called Cascais. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was considered the summer residence of the royal family, which gave him the title of a pioneer of tourism in all of Portugal. Today, Cascais is rightfully considered one of the most prestigious Portuguese resorts, which have retained their unique and unique atmosphere of the Middle Ages.
The first inhabitants of the famous resort appeared in the early 12th century, forming a small settlement. Due to its advantageous geographical position, namely:
- Atlantic coastline;
- near the capital of the country;
- fertile land.
It is because of these aspects that the settlement flourished and grew very quickly, but the negative sides did not keep them waiting — different nations fought for the city. Today, this town is just full of historical and architectural monuments of ancient times, which are so interesting to tourists. If you are interested in the above information, then we present to your attention a list of the main attractions of the resort city of Cascais:
- Palace Palacio de Conde de Castro Guimaraes, which has a huge collection of books, which are more than 25 thousand;
- The Museum do Mar is a museum exhibiting objects reflecting the history of Cascais and local fisheries;
- Boca de Inferno cliff — translated into Russian “Devil’s Mouth”, which very well reflects the impression that it makes here (during a storm, the waves beat against the rocky coast with such force that a very impressive noise resembling the roar of a wild beast is created);
- Palmela Park is a popular venue for outdoor city concerts;
- Guinche is a beach that attracts windsurfers with its high waves.
You can see that in the territory of a small town there is a huge number of interesting places that will be informative to visit both children and adults.
11. Praia da Marina beach (Algarve region)
On the territory of the Portuguese region called Algarve, which from the north firmly cover the mountains, is the most beautiful and popular beach of Praia da Marina. Here, culture, climate and landscapes are quite different from the whole country, which makes this area extraordinary and attractive.
Praia da Marina beach looks like a small and secluded from the rest of the world piece of the coast, located away from the main infrastructure of the resort. It is because of this factor that the beach is considered the most heavenly place in the whole of Portugal, since it is here that you can truly relax and unwind from worldly silence. Rocky landscapes and a pleasant pebble beach will help to do this at the highest level.
It should be noted that the beach is distinguished not only by its peace and tranquility, but also by the very steep coastline. In order to get to the water, you first need to go down a rather long and steep staircase, but the impressions you get after the descent will be worth it. Wonderful landscapes, in tandem with a sharp wind, water and sky can not leave anyone indifferent.
For lovers of outdoor activities on the beach there is also an occupation, because there is an abundance of various bays, caves and grottoes. It is best to stroll through such places in companies so that unforeseen situations do not happen. You should not think that the calm and quiet beach of Praia da Marina has no advantages over modern and equipped beaches, on its territory there are:
- a restaurant,
- rental of swimming equipment,
- rescue workers are constantly working.
Do not exclude the possibility of swimming with a mask and explore the rich underwater world. Most likely it will not be as diverse as in the Red Sea, but all sorts of shrimp, colorful fish and starfish are present in abundance, so it will be something to take the attention of children and even adults.
12. Quinta da Regaleira (Sintra)
If you like the secrets of history, riddles and all sorts of historical puzzles, then Portugal — this is the route that you need. Park Quinta da Regaleira is considered one of the most mysterious and mysterious places throughout the country, and is only 30 km from Lisbon. According to popular belief, almost every meter of the earth is full of puzzles over which many learned minds from all over the world have been fighting for centuries.
The territory where the park is located can boast of a very large and long history, measured in millennia. It stores the archaeological sites of the early Neolithic and Iron Age.
Today, this estate, in addition to the palace, includes in its possession:
- chapels with numerous frescoes,
- stained glass windows
- famous mysterious landscapes.
Not a very large territory includes a huge amount of natural heritage, including grottoes, wells and the mysterious system of underground tunnels connected by two spiral wells. It is noteworthy that 2 such wells, called “initiation wells,” became one of the most interesting and mysterious features of the park. According to historical data, these unusual «inverted towers» were intended for a secret initiation ceremony.
The Quinta da Regaleira estate keeps the memory of the rich history of this land, opens a window into the past for visitors, opening the veil of historical secrets. Perhaps it is you who are lucky enough to recognize and solve all the secrets that this land holds.
13.The sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte (Braga city)
If you prefer to visit the holy places during your travels, the city of Braga, on the territory of which the sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte is located, will be a great place. It is noteworthy that the long name of the song translates as «Church of the Holy Jesus on the Mountain.» Today, the holy place, which is located at an altitude of more than 560 meters, is one of the most important places for pilgrimage in all of Portugal and is a complex consisting of:
- church height of 116 meters
- Via Sacra stairs from 581 steps in the Baroque style,
- extensive park.
The history of this shrine began dating back to the 14th century, when a cross was erected on the said hill, and only after 50 children there built a small chapel of the Lord. After that, the shrine was visited by numerous pilgrims from Braga and other nearby regions. Because of the rather large interest in the shrine, it was decided to expand it, in the 15th and 16th centuries, by completing 2 more chapels, and already in the early 17th century a whole fraternity was founded called “Bom Jesus du Monti”.
As a result of the pilgrimage, a steep path appeared along the slopes of the hill, along which more and more new miniature chapels appeared, shaped like grottoes.
In the 18th century, the main construction began, during which the construction of chapels was completed and a grand staircase of 581 steps was built, at the end of which the main church was visible. At the beginning of the 19th century, in the vicinity of the shrine, an excellent green park was planted with many paths, gardens and ponds. And in 1882, this place was decorated with the first funicular in Portugal, which connected the sanctuary complex and Braga.
It is noteworthy that today this funicular is considered to be one of the oldest lifts in the world, which operates with the help of counterweights.