Although Portugal is no longer Europe's best kept secret, you can still escape the busy crowds. The capital, Lisbon, is a magical place to start your Portuguese sojourn - anyone fancy a riverside wander along cobblestone streets framed by looming cathedrals? Time spent in Lisbon either before or after a tour is well worth it, here are some incredible day trips so you can explore more of Portugal’s precious sites.
It's worth making the short trip to Sintra, located only an hour outside Lisbon. Sintra exists in a fairytale-like setting of magnificent castles, royal retreats and misty forests. Since its first castles were built here in the eighth and ninth centuries, Sintra became a summer residence of the Portuguese royal family and with them came the wealthy aristocrats who built huge mansions and villas.
2. World Surfing Reserve at Ericeira
Even if you're not a surfing enthusiast, it's worth visiting the lively resort town of Ericeira. Ericeira's location on the Atlantic coast is second to none as it stands perched on cliffs overlooking one of Europe's best surf breaks. On the shore, you'll find Europe's first World Surfing Reserve.
3. Charming country towns in Alentejo
For some laid-back time in the country head out to the region of Alentejo - also known as Portugal's Tuscany. On arrival you'll be surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, explore deeper and you'll discover tiny walled villages like Monsaraz, straight out of medieval times, and entire towns constructed from nearly all local white marbel like Vila Viçosa. Don't miss the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Evora, widely considered one of the most picturesque towns in Portugal.
4. Famous wineries at Azeitão
Only an hour southeast of Lisbon you'll find one of Portugal's most important wine regions located around the charming villages of Azeitão. One winery not to be missed is Bacalhôa Wines, an innovative winery located in a royal estate dating back to the 15th century. This is the perfect day trip for any wine lover!
5. The wild beaches at Comporta
This is a glorious summer beach retreat for some of Europe's rich and famous. Although it's becoming a very trendy hang out, Comporta remains chilled out with a rustic bohemian vibe. The best way to spend your time here is to find a deserted spot on a beach and indulge in some relaxation.
If you're ready to expereince Lisbon and beyond why not check out our 7-day Images of Portugal trip.