top of page

Uncover The Untouched Beauty: 5 Hidden Gems In Portugal You Need To Visit 🇵🇹

Portugal is one of my favourite countries to visit, Portugal has historic cities, world-renowned cuisine, natural landscapes, and spectacular beaches. The weather and the variety of landscapes is why you should visit, this is a great vacation location.


5 Hidden Gems In Portugal

1. Aveiro

Aveiro is a city located on the west coast of Portugal along Ria de Aveiro Lagoon known as the "Portuguese Venice". This city is distinguished by its canals that are navigated by colourful boats which are traditionally used to harvest seaweed.

Aveiro is located between Lisbon and porto, so you can easily take a bus from one of these cities to get to Aveiro, but keep in mind that Aveiro is closer to Porto that Lisbon. A bus ride from Lisbon to Aveiro takes around 3h 30mins and it costs around 22€. A Bus ride from Porto to Aveiro takes around an hour and it costs around 12€.

You can also take the train from Lisbon which would take 2h 20 min and the ticket price ranges between 29 and 40€. As mentioned, Aveiro is closer to Porto so a train ride from Porto would take 1h for 3.55€. In Porto take the train from Campanhã or São Bento stations and take the yellow line, trains run every hour.

It is easy to walk nearly everywhere in Aveiro as everything is located near the city centre. The only things you will need to take the bus for are Costa Nova and Praia Da Barra, Or if you love cycling then you can get a BUGA bike and explore the city that way, these are free bikes as well and you will only need to provide an identification document and then the bike is yours for 2 hours for free within the city limits. Also, if you feel like it you can explore the city by booking a tuk-tuk tour.

Aveiro has gained a lot of international exposure during the past few years, most options can be found in the city centre but keep in mind that most hotels as well as family-run housings are a bit overpriced. You can find a lot of great Airbnbs in Aveiro and that would be my favourite option, but in comparison to Lisbon and Porto, Aveiro is slightly more expensive.

2. Cascais

Cascais is a coastal resort town near Lisbon, it is filled with beautiful white houses, flower filled streets, and amazing beaches. It is Lisbon's residents weekend or holiday escape. Cascais is connected to both Lisbon and Sintra, so it is easy to go on a day trip from any of them.

Cascais can be reached easily from Lisbon, you can take the train from Lisbon which takes around 30 minutes. Train leaves every 10 minutes so make sure to book your ticket at the station and hop-on as there is no seat reservation.

Once you reach Cascais you can explore on foot, there is no need for transportation inside Cascais, but if you love cycling then you can explore Cascais cycling. If you are arriving in Cascais by car then you will easily find a lot of suitable parking spots and continue exploring on foot.

As mentioned, it only takes 30 minutes to get from Lisbon to Cascais you can easily go on a day trip from Lisbon if you are there and then go back in the afternoon. If you want to spend more that a day in Cascais then choose a hotel that is on the coastline or an Airbnb.

3. Óbidos

Óbidos is a town located in the Oeste region, historical province of Estremadura, and the Leiria district. Óbidos is a picturesque medieval town located on a hilltop about 80 km north of Lisbon. It is honestly a joy to explore; with its narrow cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, and colourful bursts of bougainvillea.

Óbidos can be reached by train from Lisbon's Santa Apolónia Station, but be aware that it is a regional service that stops in several small towns along the way (You can also go visit some of them if you want). The train ride takes 2 hours and 20 minutes. You can also take a bus if you want from the Campo Grande Bus Station, which takes one hour.

Once you arrive in Óbidos you can simply walk around and explore. Because the town is so narrow, cars aren’t allowed within the walls of the town, so you would be walking around, but it is not hard to do that at all. Also, you really don’t have to worry about transportation within the town itself, you simply arrive their and walk.

In Óbidos, you can find hotels to stay there, but I would recommend staying in Lisbon and going on a day trip to Óbidos since it would be better since it only takes 2-3 hours to explore the town, but of course if you want to sleep in Óbidos then you can do so.

4. Braga

Braga is a city located in the far north of Portugal, and it is known for its religious heritage. In the city centre; the medieval Braga Cathedral is home to a sacred art museum and the Gothic-style Kings' Chapel. Braga is definitely worth a visit, with its vestiges of the Roman era, its ancestral churches, and it as I said it said a religious centre, but also it is a trendy and modern student city.

Braga can be reached from Porto easily, so if you are coming from another country, you can simply arrive at Porto’s airport and then go to Braga. Braga is only 50 KM away from Porto, so you can get there easily. You can take a train from either São Bento or Campanhã stations in Porto, and the train journey takes only an hour. Also, if you take a bus, it takes an hour as well, so you can choose whatever suits you.

Once you arrive in Braga you can find public transportations to use such as buses and taxis. The local transportation body The Transportes Urbanos de Braga is best known for its local inter-city bus service, and it is affordable and really convenient especially for budget travellers.

In Braga, you can find hotels, but similar to Óbidos, you can go on a day trip from Porto, so it would be better to stay in Porto, but of course as mentioned you can still find hotels and other accommodations in Braga to stay in.

5. Coimbra

Coimbra is a city in central Portugal and it was the country’s former capital. Coimbra is a preserved medieval old town with the historic University of Coimbra, which was on the grounds of a former palace. The university is famed for its baroque library, the Biblioteca Joanina, and its 18th-century bell tower, and in the city’s old town you will find the 12th-century Romanesque cathedral Sé Velha.

Coimbra can be reached easily from either Porto or Lisbon by both trains and buses, even though it is actually closer to Porto, but most people arrive from Lisbon. A train journey from Porto to Coimbra takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes, but it can take less time if you go on the faster services. While a train ride from Lisbon to Coimbra takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, but be aware that it is a bit pricy. If you want to save money or if you are on a budget, then as bus would be the option for you from either Porto or Lisbon, but it would take more than 2 hours to get there.

Once you arrive in Coimbra you can easily move around by using the public transportation, so you can take taxis and local buses. It is not expensive and it is convenient.

In Coimbra, you can find hotels there, but similar to all the places I mentioned on this list, you can definitely explore the city in one day. But of course if you want to stay there, you can find hotels easily, and if you do intend to stay there; then aim to explore the city in two days.


What To Do Before Travelling To Portugal

🪪 Get Your Visa

Easily get your visa with iVisa which is simple and much less complicated than dealing with foreign governments. All documents are reviewed by a team of immigration experts. Their staff is well-trained and offers years of experience.

→ Go to iVisa

✈️ Book Tickets

Book your flights seamlessly with WayAway. Compare prices, find the best deals, and jet off to Portugal with ease! — Get 10% off WayAway Plus membership with this code → TP-385219.

→ Go to WayAway

📱 Buy A Travel SIM-Card

Stay connected easily with Airalo SIM-card. Activate one before your trip and enjoy hassle-free communication during your time in Portugal!

→ Go to Airalo

🔒 Choose Insurance

Ensure peace of mind during your trip to Portugal by having comprehensive coverage against any unforeseen circumstances.


How To Get To Portugal

There are 3 main international airports in Portugal that you can easily reach from anywhere in the world, and they are: Humberto Delgado Airport or Lisbon Airport (LIS) in Lisbon, Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport or Porto Airport (OPO) in Porto, and Faro International Airport (FAO) in the Algarve region. If you are an international traveller then you can reach Portugal through one of these airports.

You can also reach Portugal by train or bus depending on where you are in Europe, but you will easily be able to get to Portugal.

I like to use Omio to find either trains or buses whenever I am travelling in Europe. If you are looking for cheap flights to get to Portugal, then your best option would be to use WayAway.


How To Move Around Portugal

Public transportation is great to use in Portugal, and you can also use Uber which would be a great option then it is actually cheap in Portugal and available in most cities whether big as Lisbon & Porto, or even small like Aveiro. You can book trains or buses from one city to the other, and take public transport to move within each city. Some cities can be explored on foot so you wouldn’t need to worry about moving around them, and also some cities are bike friendly so if you like to bike you can do so. You can also use scooters in most cities to explore.

You can book trains and buses through Omio to move from one city to the other, which as I mentioned before is my favourite app to use whenever I am travelling in Europe, and I have used it multiple times when I was in Portugal.


Best Time To Visit Portugal

You can visit Portugal all year long, I visited it twice so far, once in the winter and another in summer and I enjoyed both times. The ideal time to visit would be fall and spring which would be between March & October, during those times there will be fewer tourists and the prices would be cheaper as well. Also, during those times the weather is nice, it is neither hot nor cold, and there still is sunshine. But keep in mind that it would depend even more based on each city.

The best times to travel Lisbon would be between September and November, or March and May. During these two periods the weather is nice and cool, and it is going to be less crowded compared to other times. High seasons months are July and August, which means the streets are much more crowded than usual and the accommodation prices are higher as well. If you are a fan of festival, then June is the month for you. June is the month of festivals in Lisbon so it would be a perfect time to visit.

In comparison to Lisbon, Sintra is a little bit cooler as it has its own microclimate. The best times to visit is from April to June, and from September to November, but keep in mind that Sintra will always be busy and crowded as it one of the best places to visit in Portugal.

Cascais is very busy during the summer times, which is why the best times to visit is during Spring specifically late spring, as well as early summer, before the holidays begin. During this time the weather will be warm and nice but the water will be cold all the time as Cascais sits at the mouth of river Tagus which is the opening of the Atlantic sea.

Porto is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year but during the winter it rains a lot there. The best times to visit would be late spring or early autumn as it is sunny and the temperatures are much cooler, and also it won't be as crowded as during the summer as there are less tourists during these times.

The best times to visit Aveiro would be between March and September, the weather is nice and sunny during that period. You need 2 days to stay in Aveiro so it would be great if you want to go during the weekend. If you plan to visit between September and March, be aware that it gets cold at night in Aveiro as well as windy.


Accommodations In Portugal

You can find a lot of different accommodations in Portugal that would suit every budget, so if you are on a budget you won’t have to worry, and also if you want something luxurious you will be able to find a lot. Be aware that some cities are more expensive than the others.

For example; Aveiro has gained a lot of international exposure during the past few years, most options can be found in the city centre but keep in mind that most hotels as well as family-run housings are a bit overpriced. You can find a lot of great Airbnbs in Aveiro and that would be my favourite option, but in comparison to Lisbon and Porto, Aveiro is slightly more expensive. Which is why it is better to stay in Porto and go on a day trip to Aveiro, which is what I did.

Same thing goes for Sintra & Cascais, it would be better to stay in Lisbon and go on a day trip there, since you only need one day to explore both of these locations.

You can book your accommodation through, which is the one I use the most, or if you wan to stay in a hostel you can book through HostelWorld. You can also use Agoda, Trivago, or Vrbo to book your accommodations. I know most people have a favourite website or app to use, so just choose what you prefer best.



bottom of page