Must-see attractions in Portugal

  • Wheel Pump

    Baixo Alentejo

    At the southern end of the aqueduct is a huge 17th-century wheel pump (aka noria), once used for pumping water to the nearby Palácio dos Condes de Ficalho.

  • Museu Etnográfico de Vila Real


    This small but colourful museum documents the traditional culture of the surrounding highlands, with exhibits on linen-making, ceramics, farming…

  • Jardim Amália Rodrigues

    Marquês de Pombal & Around

    This tiny pocket of pond-dotted greenery, named after the famous fadista (fado singer), is home to Fernando Botero's voluptuous bronze sculpture…

  • Porta do Soar


    The grandest route into the old town is through the Porta do Soar, a 15th-century gate set into a section of Afonso V’s town walls. Look for the shield…

  • Antigo Paço Episcopal


    With its toothy crenellated walls forming a dramatic counterpoint to the greenery of the neighbouring Jardim de Santa Bárbara, this former Archbishop’s…

  • Pelourinho


    In front of the Torre de Menagem is an extraordinary primitive pelourinho (stone pillory) atop a granite boar similar to the berrões found elsewhere…

  • Statue of Prince Henry the Navigator


    This statue commemorates the prince of Portugal who used Lagos as a launch pad for many of the expeditions he commissioned. It was inaugurated in 1960 on…

  • Palacio das Artes


    Rotating exhibitions of mixed media, sculpture, photo­graphy and video art are curated by the cultural ministry and are shown in the remains of the 13th…

  • Museu da Imagem


    In a beautifully minimalist medieval stone tower, outfitted tastefully with steel and wood stairs, this museum shows off impeccably lit, international…

  • Antigos Paços do Concelho


    Guimarães’ 14th-century former town hall sits above an arcaded portico providing a most graceful communication between cosy Largo da Oliveira and the more…

  • Casa de Mértola


    Next to the turismo, this small two-room house shows what living conditions were like for Mértolans up until fairly recent times (the 1970s).

  • Fortaleza da Santa Catarina

    The Algarve

    Praia da Rocha's petite fortress was built in 1621 to stop pirates and invaders from sailing up the Rio Arade to Portimão. Panoramic views extend along…

  • Museu Militar


    The Torre de Menagem now houses a motley collection of military gear in the Museu Militar. There are lovely views from the rooftop terrace, reached by a …

  • Manufactura de Tapeçarias de Portalegre

    Alto Alentejo

    Strikingly vibrant tapestries are still made at this factory (its walls are also adorned with fabulous examples). Photography is prohibited and advance…

  • Paço da Cultura

    The Beiras

    Adjacent to the Museu da Guarda, the Paço da Cultura stages temporary exhibitions in a suite of rooms off an 18th-century courtyard.

  • Cavalry Barracks

    Alto Alentejo

    Just north of the square Rossio Marquês de Pombal, you’ll find a few monastic buildings that were converted into cavalry barracks and today house a modest…

  • Igreja de São Bento


    Bragança’s most attractive church has a Renaissance stone portal, a wonderful trompe l’œil ceiling over the nave and an Arabic-style inlaid ceiling above…

  • Torre de Menagem


    The square-shaped, crenellated tower behind the cafes on Praça da República is the walled-up Torre de Menagem, which is all that survives of a fortified…

  • Igreja de Santa Maria dos Anjos

    The Minho

    Dating from 1276, this now-decrepit Romanesque parish church inside the fortaleza has a tiny chapel at the back with Romano-Gothic inscriptions on the…

  • Trás-os-Montes

    Once part of a Dominican monastery, the Gothic sé has been given a lengthy facelift that has restored the 15th-century grandeur of its rather spare…

  • Casa da Eira

    The Minho

    Opposite the post office, the Casa da Eira has a handsome Manueline window somewhat marred by a horrendous corrugated tin room that peeks above the…

  • Museu dos Transportes


    Set in the 19th-century riverside customs house, this museum traces the motorcar from its inception to the future. It does the same for radio and…

  • Town Walls

    The Minho

    Fragments of the town walls survive behind and between the Torre da Cadeia Velha and the Torre de São Paulo (part of the fortifications made in the 14th…

  • Igreja de São Domingos

    Alto Alentejo

    This church was once part of a 13th-century Dominican monastery, though much of its construction dates from the 18th century. It opens only on rare…

  • Casa do Mineiro


    Tucked away on one of the narrow streets of São Domingos village, this small museum set among still-inhabited houses re-creates a typical miner’s cottage.

  • Jardim de Verbena

    The Algarve

    Below what was once a bishop's palace, this pretty garden has an 18th-century covered water fountain with eight spouts, and is a shady place for a picnic.

  • Igreja do Carmo


    The extraordinary knotted Manueline stone doorway of the Igreja do Carmo lies south of Largo da Porta de Moura.

  • Arco da Porta Nova


    At the southwestern end of the Largo da Sé is this small 15th-century town gate connecting the old town with the waterfront, where some boats depart.

  • Igreja de São Domingos

    The Douro

    Rising beside São Gonçalo are several impressively steep switchbacks topped by this round, 18th-century church. The views from up top are stunning.

  • Arco da Porta Nova


    Framing the western entrance to Braga's historic centre, this baroque and neoclassical arch was designed by André Soares in the late 18th century.

  • Miradouro de Trás-do-Cemitério


    For a fine view across the gorge of the Rio Corgo and Rio Cabril, walk south to this panoramic viewpoint, just beyond a small cemetery and chapel.

  • Porta dos Cavaleiros


    One of Viseu's seven medieval gates, this has a niche containing the image of São João Baptista and an 18th-century sculpture of São Francisco.

  • Statue of Dom Sebastião


    In the centre of town, this silvery sculpture by João Cutileiro, commemorating the ill-fated founder of the city in armour, was inaugurated 1973.

  • Capela de NS da Conceição


    Built in 1525, this pretty church in Braga's historic centre has an azulejo (tile)-clad facade flanked by a striking crenellated tower.

  • Praia do Homem Nu

    The Algarve

    At the far southern end of the Ilha de Tavira, this nudist beach is one of the few recognised strips of sand for naturists in the Algarve.

  • Igreja Matriz


    Built on the site of an earlier Visigothic church, Chaves' Igreja Matriz sports a medieval bell tower and a Renaissance-style main portal.

  • Núcleo De Arte Contemporânea


    This modern museum showcases the work of 20th-century modernists and surrealists as well as contemporary artists from all over Portugal.

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