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Cultural sightseeing in Portugal. What to visit - museums, temples, castles and palaces

Botanical Gardens above Funchal, Madeira Despite the numerous visits of tourists, many corners of Portugal are still unexplored. The coastal cities of the country are best suited for a beach holiday as the warm seas are very pleasing to tourists. The country’s location is characterized by a fount of natural resources: picturesque roads for hiking and cycling, and a variety of climatic conditions. Lovers of cultural holiday will appreciate the variety of sites of historical and cultural heritage of Portugal. 
The coastal areas of Portugal will delight nature enthusiasts with varieties of flowers. Snorkelers on the other hand will appreciate all the beauties …
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Due to its proximity to the Dark Continent, the southern part of Portugal is often called “Africa in the space of Europe”. Tourists will notice the influence of Arab culture here. Pleasing to the eye with its combination of clear sea shore and snow-white sand, the province of Algarve is suitable for a beach holiday. Lovers of religious sites will find appealing the city of Faro. Here, you will find; the monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin, St. Francis, the Collegiate Church and the churches of St. Peter and Carmo. Admirers of natural beauty will be satisfied with a visit to the sea museum, ethnographic heritage and local history. The natural reserve of Ria Formosa will surprise tourists with its exotic vegetation and rare species of animals.
The inconspicuous fishing village of Albufeira is currently the center of the resort recreation area. It is worth visiting the Tunnel Beach, the local Castle, the Obelisk to the Fishermen and the Park-Oceanarium. Smaller in terms of importance and territory are the towns of Vilamoura with a grandiose yacht club, as well as Portimão with the fortifications of St. Catherine, the destroyed necropolis and villas of the Roman rulers. Not far from the villa is one of the most beautiful beaches – Praia da Rocha.  Copyright
Staying in a foreign country involves respecting her cultural traditions and rules. Portugal in this sense is no exception. The price of snacks in …
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Fans of bullfighting will like Carvoeiro – a paradise for lovers of thrills and bloody spectacle. For those who love leisurely walks, there is a place called Armacao de Pera with its untouched nature, quiet parks and architectural gems. The city of Évora in the province of Alentejo is famous for its local Aqueduct, the remains of the ancient Roman temple Diana, the Palaces of the ruler Manuel, Vasco da Gama and the Cathedral. There is an operational University and Museum. It is a pleasure to wander through the main square of the city, surrounded by ancient buildings.
The main attraction of Evora is the Aqueduto of silver water “Agua de Prata”. The city has attained the status of a cultural heritage site and is protected by UNESCO. Tourists with a limited time of stay are recommended to focus on visiting small towns that are full of interesting sights. 
Portugal offers a wide range of entertainment for children of all ages. Adults are given the opportunity to take long walks and appreciate the …
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The city of Aveiro is regarded as the Portuguese Venice. It will delight tourists with a Jesuit monastery built in the 15th century, as well as an ancient Cathedral. For a complete immersion in the atmosphere of the city, it is recommended to book a trip through the canals on a boat – Moliceiro. 
Colores de Oporto The city of Coimbra has the status of the ancient capital of the state. Those who love the cultural program will be attracted by a rich scientific library in the building of the University. Situated near Lisbon, the village of Sintra will delight travelers with the National Palaces Pena and Monserrate respectively, the Moorish castle and the Convent of the Capuchos. The third day of your stay promises no less spectacular beauty of the sights. Also worthy of visiting is Setubal which is located on the Peninsula de Setubal. It is famous for its local Cathedral of a great current significance, as well as for Praça de Bocage square, 16th century castle and Santa Maria da Graca and the St. Julian’s Churches. The Pena Palace is the most impressive palace and park ensemble in the country.
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Fantastic City Tours and Excursions in Portugal

Reference information
Map of all art museums
Art galleries in Portugal
♥   Art museum 'Museu Calouste Gulbenkian' Lisbon. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Museu Colecção Berardo' Lisbon. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga' Lisbon. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Serralves' Porto. On the map   Photos
Map of all churches
Cathedrals and basilicas in Portugal
♥   Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Lisboa. On the map   Photos
♥   Igreja da Memória, Ajuda. On the map   Photos
♥   Sé Patriarcal de Santa Maria Maior, Lisboa. On the map   Photos
♥   Santuário Nacional de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, Vila Viçosa. On the map   Photos
♥   Sé Catedral de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, Funchal. On the map   Photos
♥   Sé Catedral de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, Portalgre. On the map   Photos
♥   Sé Catedral de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, Santarém. On the map   Photos
Map of all palaces
Palaces in Portugal
♥   Palace 'Ajuda National Palace' . On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Beau-Séjour Palace' . On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Belém Palace' . On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Bemposta Palace' . On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Biscainhos Museum' . On the map   Photos

Extreme Guinness-type places in Portugal

Mafra National Palace

From the series “The Most Elegant Buildings of Baroque Architecture”
Mafra National Palace isn’t another architectural sightseeing in Baroque, it is the biggest and the most beautiful King’s Palace in Portugal. The palace was built within 13 years and was finished in 1730. Originally this building was quite complex from the architectural point of view. There was an active monastery with monks in residence, a church and some other buildings. A lot of houses were saved, in comparison with the palace they look quite small.

The interesting feature of the palace is the largest collection of bells. You can hear them at a distance of 20 kilometres. At the end of the 19thcentury, the huge reconstruction has finished. After this, the palace became the monument of the nationally significant. In the palace, you can see a great collection of ancient items and art … Read all


From the series “Monochromatic Cities - Stunning Views”
The ancient town Piodao has placed on Serra do Açor slope in the centre of Portugal. For a long time, locals built their houses from the shale rock that was produced on the nearby deposits. All windows and doors are made from wood that’s why the town buildings look quite severe and dark. That resemble people about the Medieval times. The ancient Portugal town is rather small. Its area is just 6,3 square kilometres. Its population is about 220 people when a number of tourists are about several thousand more.

Thanks to the location, the town has outstanding ladders. If you want to walk around the picturesque streets, you have to wear good shoes. One of the main town’s sightseeing is the old cathedral that attracts people with its snow-white facade. Tourists who like to spend their … Read all
All unique sightseeing Portugal
Country maps Maps of Portugal
Car rental on Car rental in Portugal
Map of cities Cities map of Portugal
Map of sights Map of sights in Portugal

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Top cultural sites of Portugal: monuments, theaters and churches

Bolsa Palace, Porto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Palacio da Bolsa was built on the ruins of a monastery. The construction began in 1842. The building was intended for trade.
»  It had been constructed for a long time, so the interior was finished only in 1910. In the palace, there are a lot of rooms that have a unique name and design.
»  The biggest room is called “Nations' Courtyard”. Its ceiling is a glass octagonal dome. On the dome, there are emblems of countries Portugal traded in the 19th century with.
»  There are also the Tribunal Room and the Assembly Room. The Golden and Arab Rooms decorated in the Moorish Revival style are the most impressive. Here, important political figures and noble guests are hosted.
»  It is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
»  In other rooms, there are paintings, sculptures, beautiful pieces of furniture, and dishes.

Castle of Sao Jorge, Lisbon

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Castle of Sao Jorge is the fortress located on a high hill; it’s visible from almost anywhere in the city.
» The castle has long served as a royal residence until the 16th century, when the Ribeira Palace was built.
» The Castle of Sao Jorge at different times was used as a theater, a prison and an arsenal. The earthquake of 1755 turned the castle in ruins.
» In 1938, active reconstruction of the castle began, in which the medieval wall restored, and the park with monuments to the Great King Afonso I and Manuel I was laid out.
» Today the castle is open for visitors who could climb the tower and enjoy breathtaking view of the city. The castle has interesting multimedia exhibition about the history of Lisbon.

Clerigos Church, Porto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Clerigos Church was built in 1750 by the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni. The construction lasted for 18 years. Nasoni built a bell tower, the Torre dos Clerigos, behind the church in 1763.
»  During the construction, the architect joined the Brotherhood of the Clergymen. When he died in 1770, he was buried in the crypt of the church.
»  The church and the tower are designed in the baroque style and decorated with carved elements and statues of saints. The walls on the ground floor are 2 m thick.
»  The bell tower is 76 m high. It is seen from afar. The tower has long been a reference point for navigators.
»  You can get up the spiral staircase and reach the top of the tower. There is an observation platform.
»  In 1910, the Torre dos Clerigos was declared a national monument.

Crystal Palace, Porto

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » The Crystal Palace in Porto was built in 1865 when the Worldwide Exhibition was held. It resembles the palace in Hyde Park which was also built for hosting the Worldwide Exhibition in 1851.
»  The Crystal Palace has long disappeared. At its site, a big multifunctional pavilion with a glass roof was built. Here, different events and festivals for adults and children are held.
»  The park around it impresses with alleys and flowerbeds, walking peacocks, and comfortable benches. There are a lot of sculptures in the ancient, classical, and modern avant-garde styles.
»  In the park, there is the Rose Garden, the Scented Garden, and the Romantic Museum. In the late 19th century, the fugitive King of Sardinia, Carl Albert lived here with his family. Nothing - old furniture, the collection of paintings, and tapestries - has changed since the king’s death.
»  On the ground floor, there is a port wine saloon and taste this famous Portuguese drink.

Estrela Basilica, Lisbon

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Estrela Basilica was built by order of Queen Mary I of Portugal by a vow after the birth of her son Jose, Prince of Brazil.
» Construction of the basilica was finished in 1790, two years after the death of Jose from smallpox at the age of 27 years.
» The Basilica was built in Late Baroque style, but there are elements of classic architectural solutions.
» Marble of three types: gray, pink and yellow was used for construction.
» There are two belfries near the temple adorned with statues of the saints and allegorical figures. Paintings by Italian artist Pompeo Batoni can be seen inside.
»  The main attraction of the basilica is scene of the Nativity consisting of more than 500 figures. The basilica is also the tomb of Queen Mary I.

House of Music, Porto

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » The House of Music was built by the project of a Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas in 2005. His project won a competition for modern projects of concert halls.
»  With its exterior, the building resembles an irregular-shaped crystal and is designed in the deconstructivist style.
»  The House of Music includes several audience halls. The first one seats 1 200 spectators, the second one - 350. There are also rooms for chamber concerts. On the upper floor, there is a big restaurant that seats 150 guests, a cafe, and an outdoor terrace.
»  In the House of Music, three orchestras work: National, Baroque and Remix.
»  The building has blank walls and fragments covered with glass panels. Blank walls hide technical rooms. Concert halls can be seen through big windows. You can hear and watch what happens in both halls even if you are outside. It is especially comfortable for tourists.
»  The House of Music is the symbol of Porto that is called the European Capital of Culture.

Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Jeronimos is the monastery founded by Henry the Navigator in 1450. The building of the monastery is a grandiose monument to late-Manueline style of Portuguese architecture.
» The Jeronimos is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site of mankind.
» The monastery is inextricably associated with the Age of Discovery. Vasco da Gama and his companions spent there the night in prayer before sailing towards India.
» King Manuel I and Joao III are buried in the monastery, as well as Vasco da Gama, Camoes and Fernando Pessoa.
» Since 1903 the western wing of the monastery has being housing the National Archaeological Museum.

Lisbon Cathedral, Lisbon

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Lisbon Cathedral is the cathedral of Lisbon patriarchy.
» It’s believed that earlier there has been a Roman temple on site of the present cathedral; in 4-5th centuries the former was turned into a Christian church. After a couple of centuries, there has been built a mosque that stood up to the 12th century; then the cathedral was built on that place.
» The Lisbon Cathedral is the building with three aisles, a transept and the main chapel. The main facade is framed by two towers; the monastery is to the east of the cathedral.
» Externally, the building of the cathedral resembles a fortress. Towers were observing sites in turbulent times, and their thick walls were completely devoid of windows in their lower parts, making them invulnerable to enemy attacks. Thanks to the thick walls, the cathedral withstood the destructive force of the 1755 earthquake.
» Nine Gothic chapels holding the remains of the great Portuguese, including King Alfonso IV and his wife Beatrice, are situated at the inner gallery.
» The treasury of the cathedral stores priestly vestments, silver products, sculptures, medieval manuscripts and sacred relics.

Culture and monuments in popular cities of Portugal

The most important religious sights of the city is Lisbon Cathedral built in the 12th century. The first ecclesiastical construction was erected on this place as far back as in 6th century. Later the small church was destroyed and a new majestic cathedral was built on its place. In appearance the construction looks more like a fortress than a religious object. Only due to power fortification the cathedral survived unharmed during the massive earthquake of 1755. Another interesting object of … Read more
The museum has a very interesting collection of antique porcelain and decorative accessories. You will also have the opportunity to see amazingly beautiful glass products and artistic sketches that were used to decorate porcelain. Most of the museum’s exhibits were made in the second half of the 19th century. One of the halls displays a large collection of old photographs taken at the factory. One of the city’s main historical symbols is the Convento de Jesus Monastery. This incredibly … Read more
Cathedral of St. Anne is definitely the most striking architectural landmark of the city. The cathedral was built in the beginning of the 18th century. The main religious attribute of the church’s chapel is a huge wooden altar, which is decorated with intricate carvings and paintings. According to one version, two prominent masters of that time - João Batista and Francis Xavier – have worked over the creation of the altar. You will also see a beautiful sculpture near the altar. The … Read more
Torre dos Clerigos is a no less amazing symbol of the city. The top of the tower is equipped with a spacious observation deck. All visitors are welcome to climb to the top of the tower and examine the beautiful city in detail. Among other prominent attractions of the city we should definitely mention Town Hall, Bishop's Palace and the house of the city’s exchange - each of these building is a true architectural masterpiece. Porto is also home to one of the most beautiful bridges in the … Read more
Among the architectural monuments Palheiro is worth mentioning. The estate was built in the colonial era. Now it is a private property, so the entry into its territory is prohibited. Each day, travelers come to the historical monument to be photographed against the old building and walk around the park embracing an estate. Palheiro Park is also one of the unique attractions; there is an extensive collection of exotic plants and flowers brought from different parts of the world on its … Read more
The Regional Museum invites visitors to get acquainted with the history of the city and see the priceless works of art. Its main advantage is a collection of old boats; one of the halls of the museum is dedicated to the pictures of 17th-18th centuries. Another bright feature of Lagos is an abundance of beautiful churches and cathedrals. One should visit the church of St. Sebastian located on one of the highest hills. It is a beautiful building with high towers and an amazing hand-made wooden … Read more
People who love to visit interesting historical places will be interested in visiting of Armaco-de-Pera, where the small stronghold is kept. It was built in the middle of 18th century and protected important commercial districts from pirates, at the present time this stronghold is opened for visiting. People who like to walk on foot usually like Carvoeiro a bit more. In spite of the fact that it is considered center of beach tourism and there are not any important historical sights, Carvoeiro … Read more
Another great attraction is Praia de Vilamoura. The beach is well maintained, and the walk promises to be memorable. In addition, the beach is very extensive, due to which it doesn't seem overcrowded. Around there are bars and restaurants where you can have a glass or two of a hot drink. If there's no free space left on the above-mentioned beach, head to Praia da Rocha Baixinha. This place is very picturesque, the beach itself is well-groomed, making it perfect for walking. Calcadao de … Read more

Portugal map of cultural and historical sites

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