germany-bavaria

Portugal Cities


 Abrantes is an old-world town dominated by castle ruins. ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Albufeira is a bustling seaside fishing village-turned-resort. The architecture of its boxy, flat-roofed, whitewashed houses stepping up the cliffs from the beach harks back to its Moorish heritage. Its Moorish background also lingers in the name “Albufeira,” which means “cast... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Continue on N8 to Alcobaça, which derives its name from its situation at the confluence of the Alcoa and Baca rivers. It is also the home of the Real Abadia de Santa Maria de Alcobaça, one of Portugal’s most outstanding monuments, which dominates the center of town. Founded ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

If you are at all interested in archaeological sites, be sure to take an excursion to see the prehistoric rock drawings discovered in 1992 by Nelson Rebanda near Vila Nova de Foz Côa. At this time there are two sites open to the public, but you need to make a reservation (usually from one... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Alte is an out-of-the-way, picturesque, whitewashed village tucked up in the hills about 20 kilometers northeast of Albufeira. Off the tourist path, small rural villages such as Alte offer a glimpse of the “real” Algarve as it used be—a far cry from the glitter and fast pace o... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

This delightful fishing village was a onetime Roman port and later the Moorish town of Al-Bor. After the earthquake of 1755 it was rebuilt using stone from the Moorish castle so that little of the fortress remains. Tourism has had a distinct impact on the town but there are no high-rises and in... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Alijó, continue for about 23 kilometers and turn west on IP4 toward Vila Real. From Vila Real, stay on IP4 to Amarante. You can look forward to a scenic but arduous 50-kilometer drive on the IP4, skirting the northern edge of the Serra do Marao and crossing the River Tamega near Ama... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

A small quaint village Vilela Bridge is a small romanic bridge Arcos de Valdevez is famous for the well-known "Rebuçados dos Arcos", which are very basic caramel candy. They are traditional and very popular at the «romarias», the religious and gastronomic gatherings... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leaving Montemor-o-Novo, take the N4 for the 20-kilometer drive to Arraiolos, a picturesque town climbing to a 14th-century castle overlooking the Alentejo Plain. A beautiful blue-and-white church shares the hilltop. Not for the last time, you’ll notice that the otherwise whitewashed hous... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Vouzela go south for 8 kilometers to join the IP5, which you stay on all the way to Aveiro. The most notable feature of Aveiro is its large lagoon, formed by a long, thin sandbar, some 49 kilometers long and 2½ kilometers across at its widest. The average depth, outside the canals t... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leave Porto heading north through the suburbs on A3 toward Braga. Take the turnoff to Barcelos, center of a thriving handicraft region. You cross the River Cavado on an interesting 15th-century bridge as you enter town. If you happen to be here on Thursday, you will see everything from pottery ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Lisbon is divided into distinct neighborhoods. The center of activity is the district known as the BAIXA, or lower town. This is the area between the Praça do Comércio on the riverbank, through Dom Pedro IV Square (called the Rossio), and along the expansive Avenida da Liberdade t... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Return to the N8 and continue on to Batalha. Here you will discover one of Portugal’s gems, the stunning Monastery of Batalha, a combination of Gothic and Manueline styles. Tall stained-glass windows are the first and only things you notice upon entering until your eyes adjust to the inte... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Driving into Borba via the N255, as you enter watch for the imposing 18th-century fountain sculpted from the pale-pink, locally manufactured marble. From Borba turn west on N4 and head directly to Estremoz; however, if you are game for more sightseeing, turn right on N4 to Elvas.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Be sure to visit Braga, the impressive Monte do Bom Jesus (see page 119 for more information), and the Peneda-Gerês National Park where you will be surrounded by great natural beauty. This is an ideal spot for relaxation, free of the seduction of sights other than peaceful forest and cool... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Follow now a circuitous route through some beautiful scenery to the Peneda-Gerês National Park. Leave Guimarães on N101 south back toward Amarante and then bear left on N206 toward Fafe. If you’re paying attention to the map, you’ll notice that this is not the most dire... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Cacela Velha is one of the quaintest of the small villages between Tavira and the Spanish border and makes a fun stop if you are exploring the coast. Fishing used to be the main industry here and there are still fishing boats drawn up on the beach. The fishermen live in the whitewashed hou... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leave Óbidos heading north on N8 to Caldas da Rainha (the Spa of the Queen), founded in the 15th century by Queen Leonor, wife of João II. The Dom Carlos I Park is on the right as you enter town. In the middle of the park is the Museu de Jose Malhoa with a collection of modern Por... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Caminha is located 2 km from the Atlantic, on the southern side of the Minho estuary, where this river is met by the smaller and meandering Coura. Here the Minho reaches its widest point (about 2 km) and marks the border between Portugal and Spain. The highly scenic area, with the wide estuary ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Staying on the N234, you come to the quaint old town of Canas de Senhorim, crowded with stone-block houses with wooden or stone balconies. Soon thereafter is the little town of Nelas, where you turn right on N231. The snowcapped peaks of the Serra da Estrâla now lie on the horizon and, af... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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Leave Lisbon going north on the Avenida da Liberdade. When you reach the roundabout at Marquis de Pombal, take the A5 (blue signs) marked to Cascais and Estoril. The toll road ends at Cascais.The old-world resort of Estoril has been a favorite stomping ground of the European jet set for a centu... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Head out of Porto by driving east along the river past the Maria Pia Bridge until you come to N108. Turn right and hug the riverbank until just before reaching the town of Entre-os-Rios, which means “between the rivers,” so-named because it stands at the confluence of the Douro and ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Tomar head south on N110 to Castelo de Almourol and then go east on the IP6 to Abrantes, an old-world town dominated by castle ruins. At Abrantes, cross the Rio Tejo and follow N118 east to Alpalhão, where you commence the climb toward Castelo de Vide on N246. Castelo de Vide offers a cha... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Depending on where you are headed from Braga, if you continue north, we suggest the picturesque river town of Ponte de Lima with its wealth of gorgeous bed and breakfasts as your next stop. Alternatively, you might consider following the N103 as it travels through the serras, weaves a journey h... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Head out of Porto by driving east along the river past the Maria Pia Bridge until you come to N108. Turn right and hug the riverbank until just before reaching the town of Entre-os-Rios, which means “between the rivers,” so-named because it stands at the confluence of the Douro and ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The very lively old university city of Coimbra deserves an all-day visit. Coimbra was the capital of Portugal from the 12th to the 13th centuries. The first Portuguese university was established here in the 14th century, but was moved to Lisbon for a time. It was permanently returned to this ci... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Return to the N247 from Cascais and continue skirting the western edge of the Serra di Sintra. A short drive brings you to the little town of Colares, justly famous for its superior wines. A few kilometers farther along you find yourself in Sintra, a very confusing town divided into three disti... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Driving on to Borba via the N255, as you enter watch for the imposing 18th-century fountain sculpted from the pale-pink, locally manufactured marble. From Borba turn west on N4 and head directly to Estremoz; however, if you are game for more sightseeing, turn right on N4 to Elvas. Elvas, only 1... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leave Lisbon going north on the Avenida da Liberdade. When you reach the roundabout at Marquis de Pombal, take the A5 (blue signs) marked to Cascais and Estoril. The toll road ends at Cascais.The old-world resort of Estoril has been a favorite stomping ground of the European jet set for a centu... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The major attractions of Estremoz are its picturesque setting and Moorish character. The medieval atmosphere has been largely retained in the narrow lanes and historic buildings, both employing the local white marble in their construction. This is most apparent in the area in the upper town. Yo... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Arraiolos take the N370 south to the walled city of Évora—Portugal’s pride. Circle the walls to the left to enter the city at the Templo Romano (signposted). If you are not overnighting here, you can easily walk into town from the car park, beyond the city walls, at Temp... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Follow now a circuitous route through some beautiful scenery to the Peneda-Gerês National Park. Leave Guimarães on N101 south back toward Amarante and then bear left on N206 toward Fafe. If you’re paying attention to the map, you’ll notice that this is not the most dire... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Faro, the capital of the Algarve, was an important Moorish seaport. In 1249 Afonso III recaptured it from the Moors and promptly set about rebuilding the city walls. However, the walls could not protect the town from the British, who in 1596 sacked and burned it to the ground. One of the leader... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leave Batalha heading east on N356 toward Fatima. Just beyond Reguengos do Fetal are good views back over the ground you just covered, its green hills dotted with windmills. Another 10 kilometers brings you to Cova de Iria and Fatima which, like Lourdes in France, is a pilgrimage cent... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Follow IP4 to the junction with N101 and bear right toward Braga. After 9 kilometers you reach the nondescript village of Trofa, renowned for its lace making. A picturesque 17 kilometers later you’ll arrive in Guimarães, known as the “cradle of the Portuguese kingdom” b... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Lagos, now a bustling large city, has a delightful historic core centering around the harbor. The Avenida dos Descobrimentos separates Lagos from the sea. At the westerly edge of the Avenida, jutting out over the entrance to the harbor, is the 17th-century Forte Ponta da Bandeira, a sturdy, squ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Miradouro da Boa Vista, continue on to Lamego, known as the “museum city” because it retains much of its original Visigothic flavor. Lamego is thought to have been settled first in 500 BC, and it was later destroyed then rebuilt by the Romans. It changed hands several times dur... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leave Monção on N101, which now continues westward, paralleling the mighty River Minho. After 5 kilometers you pass Lapela, a tiny town clustered around its ancient defensive tower. Continue through the intensively farmed riverbank with endless vineyards and cultivated terraces to... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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Any trip to Portugal should include some time in the capital and largest city, Lisbon. Sitting on seven low hills near the mouth of the River Tagus (Tejo), it qualifies as one of the world’s most beautifully situated cities. Just above Lisbon the Tagus spreads out into a 7-kilometer-wide ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leave Lisbon on the A8 (blue toll road) heading northwest. After about 20 kilometers take the turnoff to Malveira. From there, follow signs for another 11 kilometers to Mafra, a small village that is home to the Convento de Mafra, one of Portugal’s most impressive national monuments, a 40... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

If time permits, the 70-kilometer round-trip excursion to the top of Torre Peak beyond Manteigas will guarantee unparalleled panoramas. (In winter the road is often closed by snow—inquire before you set out.) Along the way you pass through the unusual-looking, boulder-strewn glacial valle... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leave Castelo de Vide on N246-1 in the direction of Marvão. You traverse a tree-lined country road flanked by pasture land and olive groves as you ascend the Serra. Watch for signs to Marvão, which you reach along a winding road with extensive panoramas. The hilltop town of Marv&a... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

An interesting side trip from Batalha is to head south through Porto de Mós, with its splendid castle, and then southeast on N243 toward Mira de Aire, an important textile area. Here there are four caves you can visit: the Grutas de Alvados, with a series of interesting chambers; the nea... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

As you continue north toward the border leaving Arcos de Valdevez, you are treated to glorious landscapes and quaint little villages. After about 17 kilometers watch for a panoramic vista point toward the Serra de Peneda to the east and the Lima Valley to the south. Twelve kilometers later you ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Monchique nestles in the wooded hills above the coast with wonderful views to the sea. The town is popular for those who want to escape the heat and fast pace of the coast. Also, Monchique is known for its wooden handicrafts, particularly folding chairs reminiscent of Roman times. Six kilometer... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Take N18 southeast (towards Beja) to the N256, which takes you through the agricultural town of Reguengos de Monsaraz to Monsaraz. Watch for the vantage point along the way where you can see the hilltop towns of Mourao and its sister, Monsaraz, to the north. It’s obvious that defense agai... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Continue east on the A2 from Quinta das Torres, which merges into the A6 heading east towards Spain. Take exit 3 for the short drive to the Moorish-appearing white town of Montemor-o-Novo, birthplace of São João de Deus, founder of the Brothers Hospitallers, whose statue is in the... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Take N18 southeast (towards Beja) to the N256, which takes you through the agricultural town of Reguengos de Monsaraz to Monsaraz. Watch for the vantage point along the way where you can see the hilltop towns of Mourao and its sister, Monsaraz, to the north. It’s obvious that defense agai... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Alcobaça, take the N8-5 directly west to Nazaré. This is the coast’s best-known tourist attraction, especially in the summer when native costumes add to the local color. At the extreme north end of the Nazaré beach looms the promontory called Sitio. You can ride ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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