Cultural holidays in Portugal

Shun the beach in favour of Portugal’s cultural gems

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert


Lisbon cityThe word culture, now more so than ever, can be used to represent such a wide spectrum of pursuits. In the modern age, the term can be conjoined with anything from retail outlets to video games and mass media. In its classical and most prominent domain, however, we tend to associate culture with the more traditional fields of art, architecture and history. Think Paris, London and Vienna and you’re on the right track. And although it usually invokes more audible connotations of beach-orientated breaks in the sun, Portugal has a few unheralded gems to rival the best.

Even away from the stunning capital city of Lisbon, you’ll find a host of UNESCO World Heritage sites scattered throughout the country. Every region presents their own unique cultural qualities, all set amidst the temperate Mediterranean climate that attracts visitors in their droves.

 

Top five destinations for Portugal cultural holidays


   

Cultural holidays in Portugal: Lisbon Cultural holidays in Portugal: Lisbon

Lisbon is naturally the first place that springs to mind when considering a visit to Portugal – and in terms of cultural significance, the capital is a veritable goldmine. The Berardo Collection Museum should be your first port of call, with works by Picasso and Warhol among the 4,000 on display. Elsewhere in the city, be sure to check out the Church of Sao Roque, inconspicuous from the outside but secreting an interior that will surely take your breath away. Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery are also worthy of a visit.

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Cultural holidays in Portugal: Porto Cultural holidays in Portugal: Porto

It speaks volumes for Porto that the main cultural attraction here is, for all intents and purposes, the city itself. Its historic centre is one of the oldest in Europe, and blessed with some of the continent’s most mesmerising buildings into the bargain. Whether there is an event taking place there or not, the eye-catching Casa da Musica is an inspired architectural masterpiece, likewise the Serralves Museum and the magnificent park that encircles it. The Soares dos Reis Museum, meanwhile, is home to the symbolic O Desterrado, the most revered work of the eponymous sculptor. 

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Cultural holidays in Portugal: Guimaraes Cultural holidays in Portugal: Guimaraes

It’s a widely held belief in Portugal that Guimaraes is effectively the birthplace of the country – and when you take a stroll through the town, it’s easy to see why this is the case. The 10th-century castle still dominates the centre to this day, testament to the medieval roots that shaped a nation. To really absorb the aura of the place, head for a coffee or cold drink in Olive Square, flanked by the charmingly constructed Olive Church and Padrao do Salado. 

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Cultural holidays in Portugal: Douro Region Cultural holidays in Portugal: Douro Region

Culture comes in many formats, and one of the largest elements of Portuguese culture is its rich wine-growing heritage. The northern region of Douro is arguably responsible for some of the country’s finest produce, with the terraced vineyards as beautiful as they are bountiful. Vila Real is the main municipality of the region, and a splendidly picturesque city in which to base yourself for a tour of the vines. Whilst there, why not treat yourself to a tour of the Solar de Mateus, the stately home depicted on the label of the famous De Mateus wine?

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Cultural holidays in Portugal: Braga Cultural holidays in Portugal: Braga

You won’t see much in the way of fanfare for Braga in most travel guides. But what the northern city boasts is an understated class and charisma. The most striking feature is the Bom Jesus do Monte, an aesthetically remarkable church perched atop a mountain just outside of the city. Whilst ascending the stairs, you’ll stumble across a series of chapels before you reach the 18th-century building itself. Whether you love or loathe football, you should make the trip to see the Braga Municipal Stadium, an incredible feat of engineering with a cliff face incorporated within its stands!

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Portugal Holiday Homes

Peaceful Location, Perfect For Family Holidays

The set of three "Apartamentos das Redes" are uniquely situated beside the beach in the pedestrian zone and have courtyard parking for six cars. The pretty high-walled garden offer generous private sunbathing areas around the pool with many colour...

Peaceful Rural Location, near Village and Beaches

Detached 3 bedroom villa. Furnished to a very high standard. Situated in a peaceful location just 5 minutes from the small town of Moncarapacho and 20 minutes from Faro airport. Excellent beaches are nearby and there are several golf courses withi...

Vacation home Holiday home, Barão São João in Algarve - 5 persons, 2 bedroom(s)

Property details Property Holiday home, Barão São João accommodation interior holiday house, cozy furnishings with loving attention to details. living / dining room. satellite TV, wireless LAN, please reserve. 2 bedrooms, (1 double bed each).sle...

Carvoeiro apartment in Central Algarve with gardens, pool & sea view terrace

Our tennis park is comprised of only 20 apartments, giving you community convenience without feeling overcrowded. Inside, is a spacious 2 bedroom, 2 full bath apartment that comfortably sleeps 4 (possibility 5 - w/folding bed or crib for a child)....

Vacation home Terraced House, Nazaré in Costa de Prata - 4 persons, 2 bedroom(s)

Property details Property Terraced House, Nazaré accommodation interior terraced house, attractive, stylish furnishings. living / dining room. satellite TV. 2 bedrooms, (1 double bed), (2 single beds). Open kitchen, glass-ceramic stove top, oven...

Apartment apartmentes Trinidade, Lagos in Algarve - 4 persons, 2 bedroom(s)

Property details Property apartmentes Trinidade, Lagos three-room apartment/type 4 interior 3-room apt.. TV, WLAN, fee payable. electric heating. washing machine. balcony or terrace. outdoor furniture. 3-room apt.. living / dining room. 2 bedro...

House in Meia-Praia beach

Ideally located, at the Meia-Praia beach, this house has a swiming pool and garden. It is near Golf of Palmares and lagos Marine. Only a 1Km a way of the center of the city. This house can give you either tranquility or animation. For large groups...

Vacation home holiday home, Albufeira in Algarve - 6 persons, 3 bedroom(s)

Property details Property holiday home, Albufeira holiday home/type 1 interior holiday house. living / dining room. satellite TV. bedroom on the ground floor, (1 double bed).2 bedrooms on the upper floor, (1 double bed), (2 single beds). kitchen...

Vacation home holiday home, Praia das Maçãs in Küsten Lissabons - 5 persons, 3 bedroom(s)

Property details Property holiday home, Praia das Maçãs accommodation interior holiday house, furnished with loving attention to details. living / dining room.living room in the attic, without a door, with sloping ceilings. TV, CD player, radio....

Vacation home Villa, Lagos in Algarve - 12 persons, 6 bedroom(s)

Property details Property Villa, Lagos accommodation interior villa, across 3 floors, with luxury comforts. living / dining room on the 1st floor.living / dining room on the lower-ground floor. satellite TV, DVD player, wireless LAN. 2 bedrooms...

PortugalLisboa Algarve Madeira Island Azores Alentejo Central Portugal World US North Portugal Europe


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