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The westernmost country in continental Europe, Portugal’s history is full of the exploits of explorers, who, in the Golden Age of Discovery, crossed uncharted seas. The country even has its own Manueline-style of architecture, which was inspired by the sea and symbols of royal power. Yet, Portugal is also one of the oldest nations in Europe, and within its centuries-old cities and ancient towns, an amazing collection of monuments and historic buildings define Portuguese history.
Noble Guimarães was the country’s first capital and its medieval centre has UNESCO World Heritage status. Braga is Portugal’s religious capital and its 12th century Cathedral is one of the oldest in the country. Coimbra is home to one of the world’s oldest universities, whilst the former frontier town of Elvas has 17th century, star-shaped walls that are one of the best-preserved examples of military architecture in Europe. Both Kings and nobles appreciated Sintra, which, with its castles and 18th century palaces nestled in the forested peaks of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, is one of Portugal’s most enchanting towns. Even the white-washed, hilltop towns of the Alentejo are a legacy of the Moors.
With a history closely tied to its seafaring heritage, Lisbon is one of Europe’s most charming capitals. Yet it’s Porto, at the mouth of the River Douro, that provided a nation with its name and is at the centre of its wine-production, one of the country’s most ancient traditions. A river cruise along the Douro takes you to the heart of this fascinating country.
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Crowned with castles, medieval alleyways and golden beaches, Portugal's appeal stretches far and wide. This favourite tourist destination enjoys sun-soaked days and a balmy climate, whilst slightly cooler temperatures in the northern Douro Valley make it the perfect wine-growing hotspot. Here, neatly terraced vineyards are interspersed with rural villages, and beautiful Porto is just a stone's throw away.
Lisbon is the capital - known as the 'City of Seven Hills' - and the beating heart of the country. Situated on the coast, its cobbled streets are lined with vibrant eateries, colourful bars and beautifully tiled palaces. If you're searching for something away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, head south to the spectacular Algarve - a region blessed with glorious beaches and quaint fishing towns.
From spectacular rail journeys to relaxing river cruises, our tours take in the vest best of Portugal's scenery, with excursions that immerse you in your local surroundings. Keen crafters can learn about Portugal's quilting industry, with sewing workshops and a visit to Obidos, renowned for its traditional crafts of lace, cork and ceramic. Or, for a cultural escape, head to the island of Madeira for its spectacular Flower Festival, where the streets come alive with a sea of colour.
Browse key sights and the popular tours you can see them on.
Explore Armacao de Pera's magnificent sandy beachesView Tour
On the banks of the River Douro, Portugal’s second biggest city is increasingly popular for its history, gastronomy, architecture and touch of old-world charm. The beautiful old town, a maze of steep, cobbled streets lined with tall brightly painted houses topped with terracotta roof tiles, tumbles down to a waterfront with bars and restaurants. What better way to drink in Porto’s sights than sitting by the river sipping the famous wine?
Vila Real is beautifully situated at the foothills of the majestic slopes of Serra do Marão. The town flourished during the 16th and 17th centuries with many aristocrats building grand palaces here, befitting its literal name ‘royal villa’. Owned by the Mateus foundation, the splendid Palacio de Mateus is considered one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in Portugal.
Often described as Portugal’s ‘Capital of the Baroque’, Lamego is blessed with many splendid buildings from the 1700’s when the style reached its zenith. They include the glorious episcopal palace, which now houses the Museu de Lamego, the Chafariz dos Remédios fountain and stunning Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios reached by a theatrical stairway of almost 700 steps. Dating back to 1129 but with years or architectural refinement, Lamego’s Cathedral is a National Monument.