What are good places to visit in Portugal to understand if this place is for me

I’ll be visiting Portugal for biometrics in march 2023. What are the places I should visit/experience to understand if portugal is a good place for me.

Personally I liked Lisbon a lot, and their trains were nice. The trams in Lisbon are super cute but can be busy. Definitely get a viva viagem card if you visit Lisbon for use on all the public transit.

Praia de Carcavelos is a really nice big beach, little busy when we went but not too bad. I’m thinking about doing surfing lessons there next time I am in PT

Sintra was really nice in a disney sort of way, with lots of restaurants and such, very busy when we went. Avoid during busy times or skip imo, but that’s not really my scene anyway.

Hopefully I can recommend more things next time I go, we are planning to travel from porto down to faro over a few weeks and see more stuff. Particularly I’m looking forward to wine tastings in the douro valley

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If you have the time, spend a good amount of time in Lisboa and Porto/Gaia, the two most beautiful cities in the country. If time permits, travel up the Douro and visit a Quinta and fine restaurant.

Evora in the breadbasket of Portugal is not to be missed. Algarve’s older cities, Lagos and Tavira, are very special as well.

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Try Coimbra, visit the centre, the bamboo gardens, the bars. Try to not try. The country is a lovely peaceful place where nothing seems to happen, then it takes your breath away.

I travelled farther and farther north as I made my decision to settle in Braga. Porto is wonderful but I lived in NYC for 30 years so I needed a slower city pace. I love Lisbon as a place to visit but during the business week just the same as NYC. If you like the beach there are many beautiful small towns to check out like Viana do Castelo, Nazare or Costa Nova. I am partial to the North :slight_smile:

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You might also want to stop by Estoril/Cascais - just a short train ride from Lisbon. A little bit longer train ride will take you to Tomar, with it’s Unesco-registered downtown and monastery. A bit further lies Óbidos, with its intact medieval walled town and a castle further up the hill. On the way to/from Porto (an absolute must) there is Aveiro, with its canals reminiscent of Venice…

For best results, hire a car - they are relatively cheap in the off-peak seasons. Driving in Lisbon is a challenge - trust me, I live in the downtown, but it is relatively easy on the motorways and rural roads. This would afford you the freedom of detours and unplanned stops much needed for exploring the hidden charms of Portugal.


For decent weather try Castro Marim. Also it’s right by the Spanish border so you can travel across for goods that are cheaper in Spain.