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

Traditional Madeiran Quinta On Banana Farm, Large Modern Patio & Heated Pool,

Quinta Tabareu is a delightful 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom traditional Madeiran Quinta set on a banana farm in beautiful tropical gardens. Sympathetically modernized and retaining the original character, creating a stunning mix of traditional Madeiran a...

Charming 2nd floor apartment on the old quarters of Lisbon - Bairro Alto Chiado

This 2nd Floor comfortable one bedroom apartment is located in the heart of one of the most prestigious historical areas of Lisbon - Bairro Alto Chiado, next lto the Luis de Camões Square, one of the most important squares dedicated to the Port...

Lovely Duplex in the historical center of Oporto - High Standing

2 Bedrooms Duplex Apartment, enterely renovated in a classified historical building, with very high standing, located in the heart of the historical city of Oporto, with unforgettable views on the Dom Luis Bridge, Douro River from one side, and Pa...

Apartment 2 Bedrooms in Boavista, fantastic view on the Parque da Cidade and Sea

Lovely and confortable apartment with 2 Bedrooms, located in front of the Parque da Cidade ( biggest green Park in Portugal with 83ha) with unique and exceptional views on the Park and Sea. Located in one of the best areas in Oporto, this apartme...

Stunning Vacation House By The Lake with River View and Large Outdoor Space

--This property is managed on behalf of the owner by www.lovehomes.com. For more information or to discuss your rental needs please contact us on +44 203 5877 955 or info@lovehomes.com. We have over 40,000 stylish properties available and will hap...

Villa With Pool on Countryside Hilltop with Orchard

--This property is managed on behalf of the owner by www.lovehomes.com. For more information or to discuss your rental needs please contact us on +44 203 5877 955 or info@lovehomes.com. We have over 40,000 stylish properties available and will hap...

Faro, Faro District l 6 Bedrooms, 6 Bathrooms, Sleeps 12

--This property is managed on behalf of the owner by www.lovehomes.com. For more information or to discuss your rental needs please contact us on +44 203 5877 955 or info@lovehomes.com. We have over 40,000 stylish properties available and will hap...

Gaula, Madeira 4 Bedroom Luxury Home With Spectacular Views

--This property is managed on behalf of the owner by www.lovehomes.com. For more information or to discuss your rental needs please contact us on +44 203 5877 955 or info@lovehomes.com. We have over 40,000 stylish properties available and will hap...

Charming new apartment, pool, beach, and golf nearby

Charming apartment, new, sunny, first floor with elevator, in a new building character only 2 floors. Community pool with 'splash' for children. Parking space in communal garage in the basement. Located in the picturesque village of Cabanas (3 km ...

Lagos Stunning 3 Bedroomed Detached Villa With Private Pool

--This property is managed on behalf of the owner by www.lovehomes.com. For more information or to discuss your rental needs please contact us on +44 203 5877 955 or info@lovehomes.com. We have over 40,000 stylish properties available and will hap...

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


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