There’s always a good reason for a short break, whether it’s to find some sunshine, because you have a few days off or because you like to explore new places.
If you have a few days to spare, Lisbon or Porto are worth a visit. It’s a short hop from anywhere in Europe and the cities are easy to visit, with many sights, good food and lots of entertainment. And the fact that both are located by a river gives them a special atmosphere, particularly in the mild climate of autumn or spring, when the light takes on amazing hues.
From Portas do Sol,Lisboa ©Turismo de Lisboa
Even if you only have a short time in Portugal, it's easy to travel to other places to learn more about the history and heritage of the Portuguese or to take a walk in nature and simply feel the clean air of the protected areas.
Gaia and Ribeira crusing ©Rui Morais de Sousa
For anyone who is in Porto, the cities of Braga and Guimarães (the latter a World Heritage Site), Gerês National Park, Arouca Geopark and the River Douro are options worth considering. Yet if you’re in Lisbon, the World Heritage Site of Sintra, the Estoril Coast, and the natural parks of the River Tagus and the River Sado estuaries are all close by. Alongside the Sado, there’s also the Arrábida Natural Park and the towns of Palmela, Sesimbra and Setúbal, which offer a beautiful outlook over the sea. A little further south, but only an hour drive, Évora is another World Heritage Site. So, too, are the Monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha, north of the capital, shortly after the mediaeval walled town of Óbidos.
Douro Valley ©Porto Convention & Visitors Bureau
These are just a few suggestions for accessible places to spend a different kind of day out and learn a little more about Portuguese culture and landscapes.