A gem of Southwestern Europe, Portugal is home to many beautiful cities. Small, big, humble, or vibrant – all with their own intriguing history, culture, and architecture. However, there might be some cool ones that are unheard of for you; that is why we invite you to skim through our list of top 8 offbeat cities in Portugal.
Let’s start off strongly with Tavira! It is a traditional Portugal town, small in size but rich in culture. Tavira is an excellent choice if you want to feel the country’s authenticity but wish to avoid the masses of tourists. Many churches, castles, and establishments are a perfect mixture of Gothic, Renaissance, and Roman styles. This town is everything you expect to see in Portugal, minus the crowds.
A town famous for its seaside, Peniche is an underrated destination for travelers. Not many know about the crazy archipelago surrounded by cliffs and seagull colonies. In the heart of it – Sao Joao Baptista, a 16th-century fort that belonged to a group of defensive military structures meant to protect municipality on the coast. You can reach this hidden gem over a bridge!
Even being the fourth-largest urban center in Portugal, Coimbra is often overlooked and not given enough praise whatsoever! Yet, it is home to the oldest university in Portugal and one of the oldest ones in Europe. In addition, there are several important monuments and museums to visit here; also a fascinating place just nearby – the Buracas Valley. There you can visit naturally formed caves and karst formations.
The town is also a convenient city transport-wise, for example, you can reach the capital with the Coimbra to Lisbon train.
This small charming city is one of the most religious places in all of Portugal. Sintra is a city of churches, palaces dedicated to sacred relics, and many artifacts of this symbolism. Do not worry, though. If you are not a very devout person, there will still be plenty for you to see. The town is only 28 kilometers away from the capital city and is easily reachable by public transportation.
Check out the train from Lisbon to Porto if this is your next destination on your itinerary.
If water for you is like a second skin – plan a day trip to Aveiro right now! A classic maritime city, next to a lagoon and intersected by various canals, though that is not all there is to see. After dipping into the lagoon, you can tour the city and see gorgeous buildings and monasteries. Mosteiro de Jesus, a sanctuary in the middle of the town, used to be the home of Princess Joanna of Portugal!
The city of a true serenity – that is how Monsaraz is described. Devoid of crowds of tourists, Monsaraz is a town of farms and historical infrastructure. The locals are friendly and helpful, so let yourself get lost in the narrow streets and offbeat alleys. The wine-making business is also an impressive part of the city. It is very well developed, so treat yourself to a drink when you get there.
A city of architectural brilliance and water sports. Sounds like a perfect combination, right? We think so! The most attractive places are Santa Marta Lighthouse and Museum, the art gallery of Paula Rego, and St. Sebastian’s Tower. All of which represent Portuguese culture and history. However, if you get tired of sightseeing, there are many beautiful shorelines and beaches to relax in.
This town breathes Portuguese culture, with lines of churches and castles, many of which are on the World Heritage Sites list. It is also the birthplace of the first Portuguese King. The crowds are lively and talkative, so not only will this place satisfy your thirst for knowledge, but it will also bring you closer to the country’s roots by talking with the friendly locals.
Make sure to put at least some of these cities on your to-do list. Many of them are easily reachable and not very far away from the biggest cities, so do not worry about transportation! Instead, take a chance on these unusual but lovely places in Portugal!