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

Luxury villa heated pool, Pool fences, 6p jacuzzi, 8air.cond, games room,wifi

A beautiful property perched on a hillside, enjoying panoramic views of the sea and hills. There is a large heated swimming pool with views of the sea And hills. The villa has 9 bedrooms and additional beds, with 8 bathrooms, 4 of which are en sui...

Superb AIR CONDITIONED apartments ( Studio, 1 bedroom & 2 bedroom ) FREE WI-FI

The Solcosta Apartments Resort is located approximately 4km from the beach and Old Town of Albufeira and consists of three small blocks of 40 apartments around a large swimming pool in 2 bed, 1 bed and studio apartments variety (we can also accomm...

Be On Time Holiday Villa With Ocean and Mountain Views

A beautiful 3 bedroom fully equipped holiday villa, located in the quiet village of Arco Da Calheta on the south west of the island. Accommodation consists of 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms one with fitted modern shower cubicle, one with bath and the oth...

Unforgettable Relaxing Place With Ocean View!

A beautiful fully equipped & licensed by Madeira authorities holiday home,( HAS A SPECIAL OFFER 20% AT THE MOMENT FOR ANY 2014 BOOKINGS) built in 2013 and located in an attractive village of Arco da Calheta, situated in the south west of the islan...

Paradise Villa With Fantastic Sea And Mountain Views

This fantastic 5 star newly built modern semi detached villa belongs to the one owner. The property is located on a quiet road in the village of Arco Da Calheta providing a relaxed environment in one of the warmest and sunniest areas of Madeira on...

Paradise Cottage With Fantastic Sea And Mountain Views

There are cafés and village pub nearby. A car is required as this house is at the end of a very private quiet road providing a calm environment to just sunbathe and chill out. Below this village there is the Via Rapida for fast travel to Funchal 2...

Sea View Modern Apartment in the Center of Lido (Tourist Area) + WIFI

A beautiful fully equipped 2 bedroom holiday apartment located in the Lido area of Funchal, which is one of the best locations for restaurants, hotels, banks, cash points, supermarkets, car hire, local transport, chemists, Lido swimming pool compl...

Holiday House with breathtaking views15% DISCOUNT ON 2015 BOOKINGS

A beautiful fully equipped holiday home, (HAVE A SPECIAL OFFER, 15% AT THE MOMENT FOR ANY 2015 BOOKINGS) built in 2005 and located in an attractive village situated in the south west of the island. Accomodation recently upgraded with modern furni...

5 Star Rainbow Villa With Sea View

This superb new property completed June 2014 is a fantastic 4 bedroom architect designed villa. We also own the luxury villa next door. It is property number 1317328 in case more than one family want to holiday together and if the weeks requested...

5 Star Dream Holiday Villa With Sea View !

We also own the luxury villa next door. It is property number 1503072 in case more than one family want to holiday together and if the weeks requested are already reserved on this property. This fantastic 4 bedroom architect designed villa offers ...

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