10 hidden gems – places – that you need to visit in Portugal
A typical Portuguese itinerary always includes the top known spots that we are all familiar with, such as Lisbon, Porto, and, often, the Algarve. However, as in all countries, there are always those lesser-known destinations and here we reveal 10 precious gems for you.
Carvalhal, near Comporta, was considered the most beautiful village in the country. “This small village is surrounded by pine forests, rice fields and dunes near Comporta, with a white sandy beach that is the perfect stage for a horseback ride as the sun sets”, describes “Condé Nast”.
If the name is worth anything, – Beautiful means something “much more than beautiful” – visiting Lindoso is visiting one of the most beautiful villages in Alto Minho, and in our Portugal. Lindoso is famous for its castle and the largest group of granaries in the Iberian Peninsula. Lindoso was a finalist at the 7 Wonderfull – Villages in the category of Villages in Protected Areas.
The village of Marvão in Portugal is located in Alentejo, between the city of Portalegre and Castelo de Vide, just a few kilometers from the Spanish border. Surrounded by imposing walls, the town of Marvão was an essential part of Portugal’s defense against Castile, especially in the war of restoration (17th century). To enjoy the best views, and still be able to enjoy the local cuisine, be sure to go to the Torre de Menagem viewpoint and the Pousada de Santa Maria.
The place where the sea mirrors itself in the sky, Praia de Cacela Velha, is located on the eastern end of Ilha de Cabanas, near the Cacela bar, and can be accessed by boat from Sítio da Fábrica in Cacela Velha. The town grew up around a medieval water-wheel and offers a magnificent, towering view over the Ria Formosa, next to Fort D. Paio Peres Correia. Crossing the narrow arm of the estuary, the visitor is faced with a thin strip of sand, deserted and wild, in permanent mutation due to the action of the sea and the winds. Beneath it are golden sands, home to warm lagoons at low tide and probably the best off-the-beaten-path beach in the Algarve.
The home of Pedro Álvares Cabral is also known for its strong Jewish connections. This is also a beautiful medieval village, made of schist stones, one of the Historic Villages of Portugal. In addition to the museums and local cuisine, it is possible to see and participate in the olive oil manufacturing process in Belmonte, using the same techniques used since the beginning of the 20th century.
Amarante is one of the hidden gems of northern Portugal, located between Peso da Régua (in the Douro River valley) and Guimarães, the city of Amarante is a mandatory stop on a road trip in Northern Portugal. It is a destination of history, nature and gastronomy in the Porto region, which has the São Gonçalo Bridge as one of the main attractions.
The amazing stone city. Monsanto is the most incredible village in Portugal, with all stone houses on a mountain. The village’s stone houses were built into the side of a rocky mountain. Following a trail, you reach the top of the mountain where the different Castle of Monsanto is located. Some houses were transformed into inns and restaurants to receive tourists. It is a year round destination. However, we can consider the period between April and October as the best months, when it rains little and the temperatures are more pleasant.
One of the best preserved villages in the country. From the castle to the walls and from traditions to legends, Sortelha is one of the oldest villages in Portugal that best preserves its stories. The houses have changed little since Renaissance days providing a time travel feel and a perfect platform for their annual mediaeval fair. Take the opportunity to stay in Sortelha and explore Serra da Estrela and other attractions in the region, taking advantage of the privileged location of the village.
Alte is for many the most typical village in the Algarve. This small village of whitewashed houses with chimneys laden with arabesques, flanked by trees is located in the municipality of Loulé, in the heart of the Algarve. Since the most attractive features of Alte are the natural springs and waterfall, the best time to visit Alte is during the warmer months. This will mean you can go for a swim, have refreshments on a snack-bar terrace, and even have a picnic in the area.
It is a surprise hidden on the slopes of the Lousã mountain range. It will surprise you even more when you discover its history. Talasnal has an excellent view of the castle of Lousã and is very beautiful with a few dozen houses lined up on the hillside. The visit cannot end without tasting the talanisco. A regional sweet made from two endogenous products: honey and chestnut.