Portugal

Things to do in Portugal

Wondering what to do in Portugal? Whether you are looking for an outdoorsy adventure or to explore the cultural side of the country, Portugal has much to offer any traveler.

Lisbon's buzzing nightlife scene makes the city a popular stop for European backpackers. An explosive sound system thuds through the A Capela where Internationals and locals alike can dance until the wee hours. For traditional Fado music try the aptly titled Clube de Fado.

The Jerónimo monastery a UNESCO world heritage site and the Arco do Triunfo monument are just two of the Lisbon's many historical treasures. Art lovers can peruse the vast collection of contemporary and modern art at Belém's Coleccão Berardo museum. Architecture buffs should stroll through the city's Parco das Nacóes.

In Porto, The Lello library with its red staircase and stained glass atrium is considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world and certainly worth a visit. Or take a day trip to the nearby vineyards and sample some of the region's famous after dinner drink, Vino Porto. Home to a UNESCO world heritage center and capital of the Alenteio Province, Evora is known for its traditional wine, cheese and smoked hams.

Prefer to while away your days by the coast? Head to the Algarve and visit Salema, a quaint fishing village and home to one of the world's best secret beaches. Golf lovers can choose from a number of courses in the Quinta De Lago area near Almancil. Looking for a more action packed trip? Hike the rolling hills of the Serra do Açor or the high mountains of the Serra do Buçaco.

Other things to do in Portugal include world-class spa resorts like the Aquapura Douro Valley Resort & Spa and a network of over 137 museums and galleries throughout the country. No matter what you are looking for, a trip to Portugal is sure to delight any traveler.

A delicious array of rainbow-colored, fashion-forward dresses, skirts, and tops hangs from meat hooks in this converted butcher shop.

Located next to the Jeronimos Monastery, the Belém Cultural Center (Fundação Centro Cultural de Belém, or CCB, to natives) comprises five main areas: the Conference, Performing Arts, and Exhibition Centers and the Educational and Formation Areas.

The elaborate neo-Gothic façade of this former library barely hints at the opulence inside: carved wood, gilded pillars, ornamented ceilings, and a gorgeous red staircase lit by a stained-glass atrium.

Promoter Manuel Reis's club at the docks is the place to go to dance to pumping house music all night long with a lively crowd of creative types and bar-crawlers.

A nine-day, village-wide medieval street fair held every July sounds corny and is corny, in a good way, with falconry and weaving demonstrations, wine and grappa tastings, art exhibits, concerts, a photography competition, and stalls selling artisanal soaps and exquisite ironwork, like hinges and

This latest addition to Belém’s sprawling Cultural Center opened in June 2007 and houses a 1,000-plus inventory of modern and contemporary paintings, sculpture, and videos dating from 1909 (Picasso) to 2005 (Luc Tuymans).

The sound system is extra powerful and the crowd is scruffy-cute—intentionally so. Frequented by intellectuals and people from the arts, theater, and cinema.

Snag one of the 18 wooden stools at this diminutive Bairro Alto boîte, where you can savor a singular Chardonnay from the emerging Alentejo region and be wowed by Barca Velha—a mythical Upper Douro red released only in exceptional years.

The Romanesque cathedral in the mazelike Alfama district houses 12th- and 13th-century treasures from a Moorish excavation. Be sure to stop at the adjoining cloister, which has an archaeological site with artifacts from Roman times.

This historic site offers a glimpse of early-16th-century Lisbon. Built in the ornate Manueline style to celebrate King Manuel I’s Avis-Beja dynasty, the monastery’s gabled limestone façade stretches the length of the square.

Droves of locals make weekend-afternoon pilgrimages to the Parque das Nações, which was commissioned for Expo on what used to be a dingy industrial wasteland northeast of central Lisbon. Now it's a large garden adjoined by striking examples of contemporary architecture.

Lisbon's train station is a Santiago Calatrava design, and one of the most innovative in Europe.