Best Summer Destinations in Portugal: Where to Go for a Fantastic Vacation

Summer destinations in Portugal

Portugal is a fantastic summer destination with its breathtaking coastline, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage. Specifically, it is a country offering a wide range of experiences for every type of traveler. 

So, Portugal has it all, whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach retreat, discovering ancient castles and palaces, or an adventure in picturesque natural landscapes.

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Summer destinations in Portugal

Be sure to book accommodation and tours in Portugal ahead of time to ensure availability!

đź“Ť Top tours in Portugal:
– Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca, & Cascais (#1 day-trip from Lisbon!)
– Algarve Golden Coast Cruise (top-selling boat trip in Algarve!)

🛌 Top picks for places to stay in Portugal:
– Evolution Lisboa Hotel (in Lisbon)
– Mouzinho 160(in Porto)

Generally, Portugal’s sunny climate and diverse landscapes are a dream for the summer holidays. 

From the golden beaches of the Algarve and the historic streets of Lisbon and Porto to the breathtaking landscapes of the Azore and Sintra and the renowned wine region of Douro Valley, Portugal has something to offer to every traveler.  

Therefore, with many outdoor activities, sumptuous cuisine, and warm hospitality, Portugal truly is one of the best summer destinations in Europe. 

Below, you can find more details about the best destinations and everything you need to know for an unforgettable summer holiday in Portugal.

Top Summer Destinations to Discover the Best of Portugal

summer destinations in Portugal
Portimao, Algarve.

In no particular order, these are the places we suggest considering when planning a summer itinerary in Portugal or simply when picking a unique destination. Take a look!

Lagos (Algarve Region)

Lagos Portugal Camilo Beach
Camilo Beach (Praia do Camilo), Lagos.

Lagos is a summer destination offering abundant natural beauty and a vibrant atmosphere. Known for its stunning sandy beaches, such as Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo, Lagos provides the perfect setting for relaxation and azure waters for swimming and water sports. 

The town also boasts a charming historic center with narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and a bustling market.

summer destinations in Portugal

Visitors can explore the historic walls of Ponta da Bandeira Fort, delve into the fascinating history at the Slave Market Museum, or wander through the lively streets lined with shops, cafes, and local artisans.

Furthermore, Lagos is a gateway to the beautiful rock formations and hidden caves of Ponta da Piedade, which can be explored by boat or kayak.

>> Click here to find accommodation in Lagos


summer destinations in Portugal

Albufeira is a vibrant and bustling summer destination known for its lively nightlife and beautiful beaches, attracting visitors worldwide.

The town boasts a stunning coastline with golden sandy beaches, including Praia dos Pescadores and Praia da Oura, where sun worshippers can relax and soak up the sun. 

summer destinations in Portugal
Praia da Oura.

Furthermore, Albufeira’s old town is a charming maze of narrow, winding streets lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, offering a blend of traditional Portuguese architecture and modern amenities. 

summer destinations in Portugal
Albufeira old town.

Visitors can also enjoy a boat tour along the stunning Algarve coastline, exploring hidden caves, cliffs, and breathtaking sea caves. In the area, don’t miss discovering the impressive caves of Benagil.

Benagil is a tiny fishing settlement that has become a popular attraction for its incredible sea cave.

summer destinations in Portugal

However, there are other incredible beaches in the area, so we recommend a full-day sightseeing trip like this one to enjoy the sunset in this magical location.

>> Click here to find accommodation in Albufeira


summer destinations in Portugal

Lisbon, the vibrant capital city of Portugal, is a must-visit summer destination that bursts with charm, history, and electrifying energy. 

The city seamlessly fuses its rich cultural heritage with modern attractions, making it an ideal spot for summer holidays.

For instance, Lisbon’s iconic neighborhoods, such as Alfama and Baixa, showcase a captivating blend of narrow alleyways, historic buildings, and stunning viewpoints that offer panoramic vistas of the city.

summer destinations in Portugal
Belen Tower.

Must-see landmarks include the majestic Belem Tower, the iconic St. George’s Castle, and the grandeur of the Jeronimos Monastery.

During the summer, Lisbon comes alive with various festivals and street parties, filling the air with music, dance, and delectable local cuisine, including the uberfamous pasteis de nata!

summer destinations in Portugal
Pasteis de nata.

For those seeking relaxation, the city also offers several urban beaches, such as Cascais and Estoril, which are just a short train ride away. 

If you’re visiting Lisbon, I suggest getting a city card like this Lisbon Card (24, 48, or 72-Hour Pass). It’s perfect for getting around the city and getting extra discounts.

These are some of the best Lisbon tours that I can suggest checking out to see the best of Portugal’s capital:

>> Click here to find accommodation in Lisbon


summer destinations in Portugal

Porto, a captivating city in northern Portugal, is a wonderful choice for a summer getaway.

Known for its rich history, lively atmosphere, and world-famous port wine, Porto offers an enticing mix of cultural experiences and vibrant city life. 

Explore the historic Ribeira district with its narrow streets, picturesque buildings, and charming cafes next to the Douro River.

summer destinations in Portugal

Marvel at the iconic Dom Luis I Bridge and visit the imposing Porto Cathedral, both offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city. 

Wine enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to tour the historic port wine cellars across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia, where they can indulge in tastings of the region’s renowned fortified wines. 

summer destinations in Portugal
Porto Cathedral.

Lastly, the city boasts numerous summer festivals and events, including the Festa de São João, where the streets are filled with music, dancing, and fireworks. 

>> Click here to find accommodation in Porto


summer destinations in Portugal
Evora Old Town.

Located in the heart of the serene Alentejo region, Evora is one of the most amazing small towns to visit in Portugal. It is a timeless oasis perfect for a blissful summer vacation. 

Steeped in history and adorned with medieval charm, this enchanting city offers a unique blend of cultural heritage and natural beauty.

summer destinations in Portugal

For instance, the city’s most famous landmark, the captivating Roman Temple, showcases its rich past, while the maze-like streets and white-washed houses exude a tranquil atmosphere. 

Visitors can explore the hidden treasures of Evora’s old town, sample delectable local cuisine in charming cafes, or relax in the shade of ancient olive groves. 

>> Click here to find accommodation in Evora


summer destinations in Portugal
Dramatic view of Sao Miguel, Azores.

The Azores is an archipelago of nine stunning islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

With its dramatic volcanic landscapes, lush greenery, and crystal-clear lakes, the Azores is a paradise for those seeking untouched natural beauty and a unique and mesmerizing summer holiday.

Outdoor enthusiasts will be thrilled by the countless opportunities for adventure, from hiking along breathtaking trails in Sete Cidades and Furnas to exploring volcanic coves and lava tubes. 

summer destinations in Portugal
Natural Park Sete Cidades, Sao Miguel.

The islands also provide incredible opportunities for marine activities like whale-watching, swimming with dolphins, and diving into the colorful underwater world. 

The natural hot springs and geothermal pools that dot the islands offer relaxation and a soothing escape. 

Click here to find affordable tickets to the Azores.


summer destinations in Portugal

Sintra is a fairytale-like town just outside Lisbon. Its lush forests, majestic castles, and enchanting palaces offer a magical and romantic vibe. 

It’s an easy day trip from the capital, and there are several day tours to pick from to visit Sintra and its attractions from Lisbon.

Visitors can get lost in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Pena Palace, with its vibrant colors and stunning views, or explore the historic and mysterious Quinta da Regaleira, with its hidden tunnels and beautiful gardens. 

summer destinations in Portugal
Quinta da Regaleira

For nature lovers, the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park offers hiking trails leading to breathtaking vistas, pristine beaches, and secluded coves.

The charming town center has traditional shops selling local handicrafts and delectable pastries. 

>> Click here to find accommodation in Sintra


summer destinations in Portugal
Porto Santo Island, Madeira.

Known as the “Island of Eternal Spring,” Madeira is a true paradise. 

Boasting breathtaking natural landscapes, lush greenery, and a moderate climate all year round, it is an Atlantic gem offering many outdoor activities.

summer destinations in Portugal

From hiking along its stunning levadas to checking out the Laurisilva Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site brimming with exotic flora and fauna, Madeira has it all. 

summer destinations in Portugal
Funchal, Madeira.

Furthermore, Madeira’s charming capital city, Funchal, offers a lively summer atmosphere with its bustling marina, vibrant local markets, and delightful cafes to taste the island’s traditional cuisine.

>> Click here to find accommodation in Funchal

Douro Valley

summer destinations in Portugal

Located in northern Portugal, the Douro Valley promises breathtaking beauty and a taste of the country’s finest wines.

Specifically, the Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and wine region known for its terraced vineyards that cascade down the hillsides along the winding Douro River. 

Visitors can indulge in wine tastings at the renowned wineries, embark on a scenic river cruise at sunset, or take in the stunning views as they stroll through the charming villages that dot the landscape. 

summer destinations in Portugal

However, the Douro Valley is not only a paradise for wine enthusiasts. It also offers outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and many other activities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the region’s natural splendor. 


summer destinations in Portugal

Nestled along the picturesque coast of Central Portugal, Aveiro is another hidden gem for a dreamy summer getaway or a unique romantic escape

In fact, renowned as the “Venice of Portugal,” Aveiro is famous for its enchanting canals, colorful Moliceiro boats, and stunning architecture. Its cheerful locals and delicious cuisine add to the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

This unique Boat Cruise & City Highlights Walking Tour will show you the best of the city and its amazing canals.

summer destinations in Portugal
Moliceiro Boats in Aveiro.

Visitors can also soak up the sun on beautiful sandy beaches, embark on a peaceful boat tour, or explore the captivating historic center of Aveiro.

>> Click here to find accommodation in Aveiro


summer destinations in Portugal
Nabao River, Tomar.

Located in the heart of Portugal, Tomar is a historic gem blending fascinating heritage with a vibrant summer atmosphere.

The standout attraction of this picturesque town is the awe-inspiring Convento de Cristo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 12th century. The castle-like structure boasts intricate Manueline architecture and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. 

summer destinations in Portugal
Convento de Cristo, Tomar.

Tomar also offers the perfect summer escape for outdoor enthusiasts. Don’t miss the nearby Castelo de Bode reservoir to indulge in water sports or relax on the sandy beaches. 

Additionally, the town’s charming streets are dotted with cozy cafes, local shops, and delicious restaurants, providing ample opportunities to immerse in the culture and flavors of central Portugal.

>> Click here to find accommodation in Tomar


summer destinations in Portugal

Nazaré, a picturesque coastal town in central Portugal, is a hidden gem and a must-visit summer destination.

Known for its beautiful sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, and vibrant fishing heritage, Nazare offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural charm.

summer destinations in Portugal

Nazaré is famous for Praia do Norte, a beach with massive waves attracting surfers worldwide.

But if you prefer a sandy beach that is ideal for sunbathing and swimming, visit Praia da Nazare. 

Apart from water activities, stroll along the lively promenade lined with colorful fishing boats and enjoy fresh seafood at the local restaurants. 

summer destinations in Portugal
Lighthouse in Nazaré.

>> Click here to find accommodation in Nazaré

Portugal offers an incredible array of summer destinations that cater to every traveler’s desires. So, whether you seek cultural immersion, outdoor adventures, or relaxation on beautiful beaches, this country must be on your travel wishlist!

Are you ready for an adventurous summer holiday in Portugal’s heavenly cities, islands, and beaches?

Pin this Guide to the Best Summer Destinations in Portugal!

Summer destinations in Portugal

About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the island. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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