Whether you're looking for a jam-packed city stopover in Lisbon or to spend a week village hopping along the coast, a visit to Portugal has much to offer the curious traveler. For wine enthusiasts seeking the road less traveled, a drive through the Douro Valley is a must. Beach bums can spend their vacation soaking up the summer sun in the South, while dining on fresh fish plucked straight from the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean. The old and the new collide in a mish-mash of culture and design on the streets and meeting squares, or pracas, of Lisbon. Flanked by the Douro River, the medieval capital of the north, Porto offers any history buff a plethora of sightseeing opportunities. Consult Travel and Leisure's Portugal travel guide, to pack in the best of Portugal's many delights.
Things Not to Miss in Portugal
• Visit the Santos neighborhood to brush shoulders with the capital's hippest residents or play the tourist in Belem, Lisbon's cultural epicenter.
• Grab a snack in the historic Pasteis de Belem and sample their famous custard tarts
• Take a streetcar up the winding streets of the Bairro Alto (or high neighborhood) and stop for a beer and some traditional Fado live music.
• Sip local Vino Porto from the Douro Valley
• Visit the 17th century Nicolau Nasoni built Clerigos Tower, and take in a panoramic view of the city.
• Visit the romantic manor homes in this mountain village of Sintra just north of Lisbon.
• See the crystal blue waters of the Algarve coast
When to Go to Portugal
Portugal boasts a Mediterranean climate year round, but the cooler months – November through February – are best avoided for those who seek the sunny weather. Rainfall peaks in March and April, but gives way to a glorious May. This is a great time to visit Portugal before the summer peak rates jump up.
Those who travel to Portugal from June through September can enjoy traditional festivals like the São João in Porto and the Santo António in Lisbon. Beach dwellers can rest easy on the coast with balmy 85-degree heat and a faint ocean breeze. Those who find the summer too hot should take in the sights in October when cities are cooler and less crowded.
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