Food

Renowned for its seafood, hearty country cooking and many regional specialities, Portugal offers plenty of temptation for the food-minded traveller. Celebrated new chefs have brought attention to a host of dining rooms, while those who enjoy the simple things – olives, cheeses, roast meats, fish sizzling on the grill, freshly baked bread – will enjoy memorable meals in traditional restaurants all across the country.

Belcanto Serving up some of Lisbon's best dishes in the foodie-loving neighbourhood of Chiado.

Food festivals The Algarve elevates its seafood and regional delicacies to high art in these food-minded celebrations.

Vila Joya Overlooking the beach, this two-Michelin-starred restaurant is one of Portugal’s finest.

Cataplana This decadent seafood stew is a south-coast speciality; it’s available across the Algarve and almost always feeds two.

DOC Serves delectable haute cuisine in a beautiful setting on the Douro.

Wine & Port

Home to some of the oldest vineyards on earth, Portugal has some fantastic (and deliciously affordable) wines. Each region has its enticements, from full-bodied Alentejan reds to Minho’s refreshing vinho verde (young wine), along with the famous ports from the Douro. Stylish wine bars and bucolic vineyards provide memorable settings in which to taste Portugal’s great fruits of the vine.

BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto Sample the country’s finest quaffs at this atmospheric spot in Lisbon.

Herdade do Esporão An acclaimed winery outside Reguengos de Monsaraz, with vineyards dating back hundreds of years.

Casa de Mateus At this shop inside a palace, drink in the grandeur while sipping distinctive and rare Alvarelhão.

Solar do Vinho do Porto With views over the Douro, this elegant garden bar serves an astounding variety of ports.

Douro Vineyards Breathtaking views from 18th-century manors and velvety rich wines make the Douro a requisite stop for wine lovers.

Graham's Port wine lodges are two a penny in Gaia, but Graham’s stands out with its stellar cellar tours, tastings and big views.

Beaches

With 830km of coastline, Portugal has sun-kissed shores of every type, from festive, people-packed coves to remote, windswept shores that invite endless wandering.

Ilha de Tavira This sandy island off the southern coast is a remarkable getaway.

São Jacinto To escape the crowds, head to this wild beach backed by dunes west of Aveiro.

Vila Nova de Milfontes Star of the Alentejo coastline is this lovely and vibrant village overlooking several pretty beaches.

Costa da Caparica Just across the Tejo from Lisbon is 8km of pretty coastline with stylish beach bars sprinkled along it.

Lagos This popular Algarve resort town offers a mix of lively surfing beaches and secluded sandstone-backed shorelines further out of town.

Architecture

Taking in Portugal’s wildly varied architecture involves delving into the past as you gaze upon medieval monasteries, imposing hilltop castles and ancient ruins.

Fortaleza de Sagres Contemplate Portugal’s seafaring past from this clifftop perch over the Atlantic.

Casa da Música Rem Koolhaas’ stunning music hall, completed in 2005, is an architectural gem.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos Dom Manuel I’s fantastical tribute to the great explorers of the 15th century.

Convento de Cristo Former headquarters of the Knights Templar, this Unesco World Heritage Site is stunning to behold.

Conímbriga The best-preserved Roman ruins on the Iberian Peninsula provide a window into the rise and fall of the once great empire.

Palácio Nacional de Mafra The construction of this exuberant palace with its 1200 rooms nearly bankrupted the nation.

Music

The national music of Portugal is undoubtedly fado, that stirring, melancholic sound that’s so prevalent in Lisbon (its birthplace) and Coimbra. Other genres also have their followers, and you can catch live rock, jazz and a wide range of world sounds.

Alfama The birthplace of fado has many authentic places in which to hear it live – as well as tourist traps to avoid.

Á Capella Coimbra also has a fado-loving heart; this converted 14th-century chapel is the best place to hear it live.

Festival do Sudoeste One of Portugal’s biggest music fests erupts each August in the seaside town of Zambujeira do Mar.

Casa da Música Rem Koolhaas' concert hall is both an architectural masterpiece and a vibrant set piece for year-round music events.

Musicbox This long-standing Lisbon space hosts an eclectic line-up of rock, folk, funk and more.

Art

In the Portuguese art world, quality trumps quantity. You may not find massive art institutions here, but you will find galleries showcasing unique works from the past and present – including home-grown Portuguese legends.

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian One of Lisbon’s finest museums houses an epic collection of magnificent artwork from East and West.

Museu Colecção Berardo In Belém, this free museum hosts some of Portugal’s most daring exhibits.

Casa das Histórias Paula Rego Cascais’ best exhibition space celebrates the artwork of Paula Rego, one of Portugal’s finest living painters.

Casa de Serralves Porto’s art lovers never miss the cutting-edge exhibits inside this art-deco mansion in the park.

Museu da Tapeçaria de Portalegre Guy Fino Be dazzled by colour at this fine tapestry museum in the Alentejo.

Museu de Lamego This museum houses a superb collection of works by 16th-century luminary Grão Vasco.

Nightlife

When the sun goes down, things start to get interesting. Whether you want to party like a rock star or sip cocktails with a more laid-back, bohemian crowd, you’ll find these and dozens of other scenes in Portugal.

Lagos Packed with music-filled bars and lounges, Lagos is the nightlife centre of the Algarve.

Forte São João Baptista In a striking 17th-century fort, this hotel, restaurant and nightclub throws some of the best summer parties in the north.

Cais do Sodré Lisbon’s newish nightlife epicentre has colourful bars, tapas joints and DJ-spinning clubs that stay open till the early morning.

Porto Nightlife has exploded in recent years, with revellers packing the bar- and gallery-lined streets near Rua das Carmelitas.

Historic Villages

Portugal is home to many enchanting villages, where a stroll along peaceful cobblestone lanes is like a trip back in time.

Óbidos Medieval architecture, lively festivals and charming guest houses await in this fortified town an hour north of Lisbon.

Mértola Set high above the Rio Guadiana, this remarkably well-preserved Alentejo town is considered an open-air museum.

Monsanto A forlorn village surrounding an age-old, boulder-strewn castle, Monsanto has great walking trails through the rolling countryside nearby.

Miranda do Douro This remote fortress town on the edge of Spain has an imposing 16th-century castle and street signs in the ancient language of Mirandês.

Castelo de Vide Wander the medieval Jewish quarter and take in sweeping views over the surrounding cork and olive groves.