From stunning bridges to buildings adorned with colourful tiles to perhaps the world’s most colourful palace, Portugal is a country that is filled with interesting and historic places to see. Here are 37 Landmarks of Portugal that have earnt a place on your bucket list.
37 Landmarks of Portugal
Table of Contents
- 37 Landmarks of Portugal
- 1. Dom Luis Bridge, Porto
- 2. Pena National Palace, Sintra
- 3. Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon
- 4. Alcobaca Monastery, Alcobaca
- 5. Belem Tower, Lisbon
- 6. Fort of Sao Joao Baptista, Berlengas Islands
- 7. 25 de Abril Bridge, Lisbon
- 8. The Castle of Saint George, Lisbon
- 9. Castle of the Moors, Sintra
- 10. Rossio Train Station, Lisbon
- 11. Elevador de Santa Justa, Lisbon
- 12. Cristo Rei Statue, Lisbon
- 13. Lisbon Trams
- 14. National Pantheon, Lisbon
- 15. Praca do Comercio, Lisbon
- 16. Padrao dos Descobrimentos, Lisbon
- 17. Sao Bento Train Station Porto
- 18. Douro Valley
- 19. Capela das Almas, Porto
- 20. Beaches of the Algarve
- 21. Acqueduct Evora
- 22. Bom Jesus de Monte, Braga
- 23. Benagil Sea Cave, Algarve
- 24. Chapel of Bones, Evora
- 25. Obidos Castle
- 26. Evora Cathedral
- 27. Roman Temple, Evora
- 28. Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra
- 29. Coimbra University, Coimbra
- 30. Convento de Cristo, Tomar
- 31. Se Cathedral, Lisbon
- 32. National Palace, Sintra
- 33. Montserrat Palace, Sintra
- 34. Igreja do Carmo, Porto
- 35. Castelo de Guimaraes, Guimaraes
- 36. Marvao Castle, Marvao
- 37. Batalha Monastery
1. Dom Luis Bridge, Porto
Gustave Eiffel, the man who designed Paris’ Eiffel Tower, also designed Dom Luis Bridge in Porto. It is a double decker iron arc bridge that sits over the River Douro. It opened in 1886 and at th etie was the longest bridge of its kind, spanning 172 metres.
Today the top floor of the bridge carries the Porto Metro and a pedestrian path. The lower level of course takes cars.
2. Pena National Palace, Sintra
This beautiful palace sits on a hill in the lovely Sintra mountains just outside the town of Sintra. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and extremely colourful and beautiful. The palace is located within the beautiful Pena Park. The palace is well known for its multi colours – lilac, burnt red, canary yellow and its romantic style. A visit to Sintra and Pena Palace is a must for anyone visiting Portugal and it is a perfect day trip from Lisbon.
3. Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos was commissioned by King Manuel I to celebrate the discovery of the sea route to India in 1948 by Vasco da Gama. It was from these very shores that many of the Portuguese explores of the 15th and 16th centuries set sail. This beautiful monastery was built in the style of Manueline architecture and is quite stunning. Don’t miss the lovely cloister inside.
4. Alcobaca Monastery, Alcobaca
Commissioned in 1153 by King Alfonso Henriques, this monastery has had a lively history. Legend has it that uring King Pedro’s coronation in 1357 he had the body of his murdered wife exhumed and sat on the throne. The courtiers were then required to kiss the hand of the very dead Ines de Castro. Today you can see her tomb.
5. Belem Tower, Lisbon
The small fort of Torre de Beleme has guarded the Tejo Estuary in Lisbon since the 16th century. Its exterior stone carvings are its most attractive characteristic so Belem Tower is best seen from the land or from the water. The top floor has some decent views.
6. Fort of Sao Joao Baptista, Berlengas Islands
Berlangas Islands sit off the west coast of Portugal and contain the Fort of Sao Joao Baptista. The fort was built in the middle of the 17th century on the site of an abandoned monastery. The fort can turn a beautiful shade of pink in the right light and it has an extremely picturesque location as it can only be visited through a series of walkways.
7. 25 de Abril Bridge, Lisbon
This Lisbon bridges spans more than a kilometre over the Tagus estuary and is just over 2.2 kilometres long in total. The bridge was originally called Ponte Salazar but its name was changed after the Carnation Revolution.
8. The Castle of Saint George, Lisbon
Castelo de Sao Jorge sits atop Lisbon and was the seat of power in Portugal for over 400 years. The Crusaders defeated the Moors here in 1147. The castle contains some impressive fortifications and the citadel’s tower offers some fantastic views over the city. The castle is located in the atmospheric Alfama district of Lisbon.
9. Castle of the Moors, Sintra
Castelo dos Mouros is a hilltop medieval castle that looks over Sintra. The castle was built between the 8th and 9th century. It served as a watch out for Lisbon and today offers fantastic views over Sintra. The Castle of the Moors sits on the top of a hill and is 412 metres above sea level.
10. Rossio Train Station, Lisbon
This beautiful train station was designed by Jose Luis Monteiro in the late 18th century. It reflects the Portugese Neo-Manueline architecture style popular at the time. Personally I loved its lovely arches and high ceilings inside. It is also home to several escalalators and a popular way to avoid walking up the hills in the area. Plus this is where to catch the train to Sintra.
11. Elevador de Santa Justa, Lisbon
Not many countries include an elevator in their famous landmarks list but this is a very impressive outdoor elevator. This industrial age lift transports people up and down one of the steepest hills in central Lisbon. The elevator is within a magnificent iron structure which includes gothic arches and geometric patterns. The terrace at the top of the elevator offers some great views of the city.
12. Cristo Rei Statue, Lisbon
The Cristo Rei Statue can be seen from many places in central Lisbon as it sits above the southern banks of the Tejo Estuary. It is impossible not to make comparisons to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro althought I don’t think it is quite as tall. It is possible to visit the statue and unsurprisingly it provides some brilliant views of central Lisbon.
13. Lisbon Trams
Whilst a form of transport isn’t normally considered to be a landmark, when they are as unique and charming as Lisbon’s trams I make an exception. These traditional trams make their way up and down the hills of Lisbon. The tram you want to catch whilst you’re in Lisbon for a fantastic and very cheap tourist experience is the number 28. Not only does it take in most of the city’s major sites, it bends and weaves its ways through some of Lisbon’s narrowest streets and makes for quite a ride.
14. National Pantheon, Lisbon
The dome of the National Pantheon rises 80 meters above the ground can be seen from many places around Lisbon. Its baroque architectural style is quite unique in Portugal. Architect Joao Antunes was inspired by trends in Italy at the time.
15. Praca do Comercio, Lisbon
I think it is impossible to visit Lisbon and not visit Praca do Comercio at least once. I spent 4 nights in Lisbon and I think I entered this plaza at least once a day. Historically it was the commercial hub of the city. The plaza sits on the water and the magnificent Arco da Rua Augusta is seen as the entrance to Lisbon. Today the plaza is still busy as it is home to restaurants, hotels and musuems.
16. Padrao dos Descobrimentos, Lisbon
This large monument commemorates the Portuguese explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries. It sits not far from Belem Tower on the banks of the Tejo Estuary. The two sides of Padrao dos Descobrimentos display statues of the explores and key people from the era who funded or supported their travels in some way. The top of the monument has a viewing terrace.
17. Sao Bento Train Station Porto
Whether you have a train to catch from or into Porto or not do make sure you visit Sao Bento Train Station to see its stunning azulejo tiles. This 20th century train station is located in Porto’s historic centre. Construction of the station began in 1904. The Azulejo tiles for which it is famous were designed and painted by Jorge Colaco. They were completed in 1916. The murals at the station represent key moments in Portuguese history and the multicoloured panels rural scenes.
18. Douro Valley
The beautiful Douro River cascades through Portugal’s mountains to make for a beautiful valley that is pleasing to both the eye and the palate. The Douro Valley is one of Europe’s top wine-making regions. The valley can be experienced from a boat tour that will hopefully visit some of the wineries or by taking on the winding streets of the region and scheduling some wine tastings. Several of the best vineyards in Portugal are in the Douro Valley.
19. Capela das Almas, Porto
Capela das Almas is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. It is impossible not to notice this stunning church in Porto due to its extraordinary blue and white tiled front. Unsurprisingly it is very popular with photographers and social media fans. The church dates back to the 18th century and is on a busy street in the city.
20. Beaches of the Algarve
The Algarve is well known for its beautiful beaches. Not only are the beaches filled with clean, golden sand, many of them sit under a backdrop of beautiful colourful limestone cliffs. The colours of the cliffs change with the light and are stunning. One of the best beaches in the Algarve to visit is Praia de Falesia.
21. Acqueduct Evora
This 16th century acqueduct has been chanelling water into Evora since the 16th century. It is believed that today’s aqueduct follows the same path as the aqueduct built by the Romans. Agua de Prata is both outside and inside the walls of Evora. Inside the walls, houses have been built into the arches of the aqueduct. It is possible to take a taxi to the source of the aqueduct and then follow it all the way to the walls of Evora.
22. Bom Jesus de Monte, Braga
Portugal’s most impressive religious sanctuary is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the country. This landmark in Portugal is comprised of the church of Bom Jesus and the jaw dropping Baroque Escadaria. The 116 metre long staircase features fountains and statues along the way.
Different sections of the staircase make tributes to different religious iconography. For example the top section of the staircase is known as the Staircase of the Three Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. These lead into the church. Once visitors arrive at the top of the staircase they will be rewarded with fantastic views. Or if you’re not up for it hop on the the vintage funicular which takes all of 3 minutes bottom to top.
23. Benagil Sea Cave, Algarve
The Algarve is extremely beautiful with limestone cliffs sitting atop golden beaches. But Benagil Cave is perhaps its most famous site. This cave has almost a sky lights at its top which lets the sun in to highlight its sandstone walls and turquoise water for a very photogenic setting. Benagil Cave can only be accessed by water: boat, kayak or paddleboard.
24. Chapel of Bones, Evora
This rather unique chapel is located in Evora’s Church of St Frances. Capela de Ossos has interior walls that are decorated with human bones and skulls. They come from bodies which were exhumed in the 16th century because the city’s graveyards were becoming full. The view was that being placed in a chapel but these bones closer to god than being in the ground.
The Chapel of Bones is actually very beautiful but it can be hard to reconcile what appears beautiful is actually more than 5,000 bones set in cement that cover the walls from the floor to the ceiling.
25. Obidos Castle
Obidos Castle can be traced all the way back to the Romans. Today it is a mix of a whole range of architectural styles including Moorish and Gothic. Its 13 metre high walls take in the whole town of Obidos and allow for some great photos over its 1.5 kilometres. And don’t miss the beautiful Manueline windows.
26. Evora Cathedral
The town of Evora in the Alentejo regio was established by the Romans in 57 BC. This charming walled town is mostly pedestrianised and filled with winding atmospheric streets. Evora Cathedral or the Se was constructed after the Christian reconquest and consecrated in 1204. The roof offers some great views and the cathedral is located on one of Evora’s loveliest squares.
27. Roman Temple, Evora
After you’ve seen Evora Cathedral walk a couple more blocks and you will be in front of Evora’s Roman Temple. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was probably built in the 2nd or 3rd century AD and is has been very well preserved. And when you’re visiting don’t miss having a glass of wine and/or dinner at Enoteca Cartuxa which is very close by.
28. Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra
I absolutely loved this kooky, magical estate. Built on a hill as it is in Sintra, start your visit to Quinta da Regaleira at the top and visit its unique water well. Then head down the gardens and enjoy the different terraces and mini towers that are dotted along the way. At the bottom enjoy the villa and the stunning gardens. A must visit.
29. Coimbra University, Coimbra
This UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded in 1290 by King Dinis. It is possible to tour Universidade de Coimbra and see the amazing library Biblioteca Joanina, the Capela de Sao Miguel and the 18th century clock tower that has some fantastic views over Coimbra. The university is also located in a the lovely square Paco das Escolas.
30. Convento de Cristo, Tomar
The Convent of Christ was founded in 1160 as the headquarters of the Order of the Knights Templar. At the centre of the convent is the original Templar church, the medieval Charola. The building then has lovely 16th century cloisters with a concealed staircase and its famous Manueline window.
31. Se Cathedral, Lisbon
Lisbon’s oldest church, Se Cathedral sits right in the heart of Lisbon’s historical centre. This beautiful landmark of Portugal is best photographed with a Lisbon tram in front of it.
32. National Palace, Sintra
The Palacio Nacional de Sintra is located in the pretty main square of Sintra. It is characterised by its unique large white conical chimneys. The palace dates back from the 14th century and it is the oldest surviving palace in Portugal. The palace has several floors and a key highlight is the Sala dos Brasoes which features the coats of arms of noble Portuguese families.
33. Montserrat Palace, Sintra
Not as high profile as nearby Pena Palace or as majestically located as the Castle of the Moors, Montserrate Palace as commissioned by Sir Frances Cook. He wanted to essentially put an English style garden in a Portuguese villa. The palace is a mix of gothic and arabic styles and the gardens feature lakes, waterfalls and the ruins of a chapel.
34. Igreja do Carmo, Porto
Igreja do Carmo was built between 1756 and 1768. There is just a 1 metre gap between the church and Igreja dos Carmalitas which was built in the mid 17th century. Until the 1980s a tiny house was located and inhabited in the 1 metre gap between the two churches. This little house is called Casa Escondida which means Hidden House.
35. Castelo de Guimaraes, Guimaraes
Portugal’s first King, Dom Afonso Henriques, was born at Castelo de Guimaraes in 1110 and Guimaraes was once Portugal’s capital city. There are several historic buildings in the town of Guimaraes which is recognised as a World Heritage Site. However, it the castle is the most famous as it appears on the Portugese coat of arms.
Castelo de Guimaraes was built in the 10th century and extended two centuries later. Dom Afonso was baptized in the chapel of Sao Miguel which is just outside the walls of the castle. Experience the castle by walking the ramparts and head to the keep for a fantastic view.
36. Marvao Castle, Marvao
This medieval castle was built in the late 13th century and is only 15 kilometres from the border with Spain. The castle wall partially enclose the city. Don’t miss the huge cistern in Marvao Castle, the bent entrances and triple gate system.
37. Batalha Monastery
Construction began on this monastery in 1435 but was never finished. It features over 100 statues of biblical figures, beautiful stained glass windows, gargoyles and pinnacles and more. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1983, today it still lacks a roof. This alllows the sun to beam through and create a unique atmosphere.
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