‘Straight out of a fairytale’: Portugal’s greatest cities and villages, by readers | Portugal holidays

Successful tip: Tavira, Algarve

Even probably the most cold-hearted atheist can not fail to be impressed by the 37 church buildings of Tavira, the small city which, because of a barely inland location, has averted the overdevelopment of some Algarve resorts. And what could possibly be extra acceptable than to remain in a transformed convent – Pousada Convento Tavira – within the centre of city, from the place ferries run to Tavira island for seaside lovers? But it surely’s laborious to tear your self away from the riverside eating places and bars with views of the well-known Ponte Romana bridge.
pousadas.pt, doubles from €123
Malcolm Matthew


Aljezur, Algarve

Aljezur’s moorish fortress overlooks the city. {Photograph}: Mikehoward 2/Alamy

In October, you possibly can scent the woodsmoke twisting and turning within the crisp morning air above the whitewashed cottages of Aljezur. The previous city is a cascade of zigzagging slim streets. They lower by a jumble of buildings – half stylish Airbnbs, half crooked cottages stacked with gourds and firewood. A Moorish fortress – a ubiquitous function within the cities of southern Portugal – looms overhead. Go there at sundown to look at the sunshine fade over the Aljezur estuary. Throughout the day, drive by the wildflower meadows to Arrifana Seashore to surf and sunbathe.
Joseph Francis


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Thanks to your suggestions.

Évora, Alentejo

View from Miradoro do Jardim Diana, Evora.
View from the Diana Backyard, Evora. {Photograph}: Jon Lovette/Alamy

A phenomenal historic metropolis, Évora is a dwelling museum with monuments from Roman instances. The panorama is gorgeous and surrounded by beautiful villages with, I believe, the very best wine on the planet, and typical Alentejo delicacies. It has glorious eating places and bars in addition to a number of museums and galleries. In summer time, temperatures attain 40C however fortunately Évora has stunning swimming pools and a number of other river seashores. There may be additionally a college, based in 1559; that is actually a cultural metropolis.
João Domingues

Elvas, Alentejo

The late medieval Amoreira aqueduct, Elvas, Portalegre District, Portugal. The Amoreira aqueduct. Aqueduto da Amoreira. Built between 1498 and 1622. It is five miles long. Elvas is a U
The Amoreira aqueduct, Elvas. {Photograph}: Ken Welsh/Alamy

Elvas is correct subsequent to the Spanish border and is stuffed with historic which means to Portugal, as many battles between Portugal and Spain have been fought within the space. Websites just like the city fortress, the fortress, the aqueduct and the military museum I discovered to be very fascinating. The native gastronomy is superb and it’s simple to get a superb meal at an affordable value. Lodging is inexpensive even throughout the summer time (£50-£70 a nigh with breakfast and outside pool), the place is good for mountain climbing and different outside actions and affords the potential of a day journey to Spain, just a few miles away.


Piodão, Serra do Açor

Piodao on the slope of the hill with the houses in shale and slate
{Photograph}: Luis Costa/Alamy

There’s a small village nestled up within the mountains of the Serra do Açor that appears like it’s out of a fairytale. This village is named Piodão and is one in every of 12 categorized as Aldeias Históricas de Portugal – Historic Villages of Portugal. Piódão has featured in historic accounts for the reason that 14th century, and was in all probability utilized by medieval fugitives hiding within the wild Portuguese mountains. Certainly, on a wet day it’s best to look from the opposite facet of the mountain to see the village popping out of the fog. We went to Piodão on a wet day and it couldn’t have been extra good. We cherished exploring all of the peculiar alleys manufactured from schist rock, and tasting some the native cajadas – milk tarts.
Laura Di Stefano

Monsanto, Castelo Branco

Monsanto, Portugal
{Photograph}: Cro Magnon/Alamy

Monsanto is a mountain village with homes constructed into rock formations and a superb pousada – inn – with an outstanding restaurant. It’s a really atmospheric and historical village the place native traditions are nonetheless performed out within the streets, particularly throughout spiritual holidays – and it’s good strolling nation too. The plains of east Portugal stretch away to the west and from the fortress above the village, it appears that you’ve a view of the entire nation. The price of foods and drinks is low, even for Portugal, and bars serve easy, native dishes which might be as spectacular as something discovered in additional upscale locations. A really magical little city.
James David Rattigan

Tomar, Santarém

The Knights Templar Castle and Church, Tomar.
The Knights Templar Fortress and Church, Tomar. {Photograph}: Wayne Perry/Alamy

Tomar is really a hidden gem, residence to some of the vital Templar strongholds, which advanced into the Convento de Cristo, now a Unesco world heritage website, because the extraordinary design of the chapel is exclusive on the planet. It’s a delight to wander the quiet cobbled streets and alleyways of the previous city or sit at one of many bars in the principle sq. with views as much as the fortifications on the hill above. Whilst you’re there, drop into Le P’tit Français for brunch or espresso and scrumptious pastries sitting in a quiet sidestreet.
Gus MacLeod

Santa Comba Dão, Viseu, central Portugal

Santa Comba Dão is a stupendous small inland metropolis that overlooks the Cris river the place it joins the Dão, earlier than the Dão joins the Mondego. The native granite buildings include a superbly fashioned wood walkway by the previous city. The centre of the native municipality, it used to supply a summer time retreat for the rich. Now the native services of the cycle path, the Ecopista de Dão, and the attractive seaside of the Ribeira da Senhora on the Mondego river can be found to all.



Traditional moliceiro boats with hand painted bows in Aveiro
Moliceiro boats with hand painted bows in Aveiro. {Photograph}: Sergio Azenha/Alamy

After driving practically the total size of Portugal late this summer time, it was picturesque Aveiro that held probably the most surprises. It was on this historic canal metropolis, generally thought to be the “Portuguese Venice”, that we found artwork nouveau buildings, huge and unspoiled seashores lined with distinctively vibrant striped homes (initially huts constructed by native fishermen), and a variety of consuming choices (strive the normal egg sweets ovos moles) together with vegetarian/vegan, generally a rarity elsewhere within the nation. Similar to Venice, there may be a lot to find past simply gliding down the canals – on this case in a moliceiro, not a gondola.
Victoria Cao



People on Oliveira Square.
Oliveira Sq., Guimarães. {Photograph}: Tasfoto/Alamy

Given its declare to be the “birthplace of Portugal”, it’s odd Guimarães isn’t on the common vacationer itinerary. A 55-minute train-ride from Porto and a 10-minute stroll carry you to the previous city, with elegant understated buildings, quiet streets the place individuals carry their kitchen chairs on to the pavement to speak, royal monasteries, palaces, and the final relaxed atmosphere of a small Portuguese city that doesn’t flaunt its treasures. A gondola offers a straightforward route up Penha hill, an enormous space of forest and gigantic boulders, with a exceptional mid-Twentieth-century church drawing crowds on Catholic feast days and festivals. From right here, the views throughout the plains to the north are spectacular.
Barbara Forbes

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