13 Most Famous Landmarks in Portugal [Don’t Miss them!]

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If you’re looking for famous landmarks in Portugal you’ve come to the right place. I started travelling to Portugal in 2017 for the incredible food and charming cities, waterfalls that flow into the ocean, coastal thru hiking, and the chance to eat as many pastel de natas in a day as humanly possible.

Portugal has a fascinating history dating back thousands of years and continues to be a land of rich and blended culture, food and heritage influenced by European, Arab and African cultures.

Portugal is brimming with iconic landmarks that you must see on your next vacation including:

  • Ancient Palaces, Fortresses and Medival Castles for History Lovers
  • Gothic and Baroque Architecture for Architecture Buffs
  • Natural Wonders for Adventure Lovers
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Read until the end where I share the very beach beaches on the Rota Vicentina Trail you can spot the last remaining wild storks in Europe nesting atop fossilized sand dunes and a quick guide to the most famous landmarks in Lisbon.

Quick Verdict: Famous Landmarks Portugal

Top Landmark in Portugal

Overall Best : Benagil Cave

The most spectacular Natural landmark in all of Portugal and located in the stunning southern Algarve region.

Perfect for Nature Lovers, Families and Water Enthusiasts

Map of Famous Natural and Historic Landmarks in Portugal

Portugal offers excellent bus transit solutions and uber type private transportation for those travelling without renting a car. Warning: the airports can be, well…challenging.

I’ve always found it super easy to rent a car and explore both the cities, towns and Nature areas. Obviously I don’t want to drive a stick on Lisbon’s steep cobblestone streets – the tram is far more fun.

But in general, the roads are well kept and wider than many other places in Europe (minus old towns in cities). Either way, if you’re out to visit landmarks you’ve got choices for transportation.

13 Best Portugese Landmarks

1. Benagil Cave : Best for Nature Lovers

Algarve Region

famous landmarks in portugal benagil cave
Go early for the best photos!

This incredible place lives up to the hype. You can take guided cruise from Portimão. Learn about the area’s sea creatures from a marine biologist, see dolphins frolicking in the water, and visit remote caves.

It’s best to go early in the morning just after sunrise for the best experience.

The Benagil Cave is a natural wonder located on the Algarve coast in Portugal and the jewel of famous landmarks in Portugal. This breathtaking sea cave is located on the southern coast of Portugal, near the village of Benagil.

The cave was formed by the erosion of the cliffs by the sea, and over time, it has been shaped into a stunning natural cathedral with a circular opening in the ceiling that lets in sunlight and illuminates the cave with an ethereal glow.

Visitors can reach the cave by boat, kayak or stand-up paddleboard, and explore its interior, which is filled with crystal-clear waters and stunning rock formations.

➡️ Book a boat tour to experience Benagil cave and perhaps see some dolphins!

English, French, Spanish, Portuguese Tours available.

2. Quinta da Regaleira : Best for Architecture Lovers

Lisbon Region

famous landmarks in portugal

Sintra’s Quinta da Regaleira is a historical site that’s sure to leave you amazed. The palace and chapel, built in the 20th century, boast unique architecture and stunning artwork. The facade features an octagonal tower, Gothic pinnacles, and gargoyles, making it a sight to behold.

But that’s not all, the park surrounding the castle is equally magnificent. It’s filled with picturesque lakes, mysterious grottoes

➡️ Book this small group tour of Sintra to Marvel at Quinta da Regaleira

Tours available in English and limited to 8 people maximum.

3. Alcobaca Monastery : Best for Mystics

Central Portugal

This UNESCO world heritage site will leave you feeling closer to the source.

famous landmarks in portugal

This impressive Roman Catholic building was founded back in the 12th century by the first Portuguese king, Afonso Henriques. As the first Gothic building in Portugal, it’s a true masterpiece.

The facade is adorned with intricate stone detailing and features a blend of styles. The portal and circular rose window are part of the original church, while statues and two towers were added in the 18th century.

Inside, you’ll find plain walls and columns as is typical of Cistercian churches, but the rows of windows provide plenty of natural light.

At over 800 years old, the Alcobaca Monastery is impeccably maintained and a shining example of Portuguese architecture. You can combine Batalha and Tomar to complete the “Monastic Triangle of Portugal” tour.

➡️ Book this private tour from Lisbon including the Monastery, Obidos walled city and the stunning surf capital of Nazare!

Tours available in Spanish, English, & Portuguese.

4. Praça do Comércio : Easiest to Find


famous landmarks in portugal
One of the most famous landmarks in Lisbon Portugal is also on the bay.

If you’re looking for one of the easiest famous Libson landmarks, the Praça do Comércio, also known as Square of Commerce, is a must-visit. This impressive plaza is surrounded by yellow Pombaline style buildings on three sides and is home to a large statue of King Joseph I at its center.

Don’t miss the Arco da Rua Augusta, which sits at the entrance of the square. The arch boasts a viewing platform 30 meters high, providing panoramic views of the Baixa district of Lisbon for an entrance fee of €2.50.

As one of the largest squares in Europe, Praça do Comércio is a buzzing hub of tourist activity. There’s plenty of space to stroll around and relax in one of the many inviting cafes while sipping on some delicious coffee. Make sure to add this highlight of Lisbon to your itinerary.

➡️ Feet tired walking around Lisbon hills and cobblestone? Take an e-bike tour and have fun!

Tours available in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese.

5. Castle of São Jorge : Best in Lisbon


famous landmarks in portugal
I saw my very first city peacocks there on my last trip to Lisbon.

Nestled in the heart of Lisbon’s old town, the São Jorge Castle is a remarkable historical landmark.

This 11th-century fortress was built during the Moorish period and originally served as a military stronghold and a refuge for the elite during attacks.

It wasn’t until the 12th century that it became a royal residence and became one of the most famous landmarks in Portugal.

Today, it’s one of Portugal’s most significant historical sites, offering visitors the chance to explore its ancient architecture and modern exhibitions.

The castle’s towers provide breathtaking views of the city and sea, while its intricate gardens and underground archaeology museum are open to the public.

➡️ Skip the line to enjoy a tour of Sao Jorge Castle in Lisbon!

You’ll definitely want to skip the line on this entrance.

6. Cabo Sardão Lighthouse : Best for Birdwatchers

Alentejo Region

famous landmarks in portugal

Located in Zambujeira do Mar on the Altentejo coast, this lighthouse sits on fossilized sand dune cliffs adorned with white stork nests on the tops of perfectly shaped pyramids of black and white stone.

These are the types of cliffs and beaches from a painting and best experienced by walking the Fisherman’s Trail on the Rota Vicentina sustainable travel project.

Here is a map with GPS directions for the Fisherman’s Trail.

It’s truly astounding to marvel at the fishermen perched on these cliffs in one of the most remote and unexplored regions of Portugal. The seafood here and in nearby Porto Covo will knock your socks off.

The bigger village of Vila Nova de Milfontes makes for a great home base to explore this area if you’ve got kids and want sandy beaches. Many of the most famous monuments in Portugal have a stunning Nature component to add to the history.

➡️ Book this tour to see the best of the underrated and wild Alentejo!

Tours available in Spanish, English, Italian, & Portuguese.

7. Pena Palace : Best for Whimsical Families

Lisbon Region

famous landmarks in portugal

Sintra’s colorful palace is an absolute must see for families and anyone interested in Portugal’s most famous palace and probably the best of the top 10 attractions in Portugal altogether.

This 19th-century castle is a brilliant showcase of Romanticist architecture and is famously painted in eye-catching shades of yellow and red.

Located on a hilltop in the verdant Sintra Mountains, Pena Palace offers spectacular views of the surrounding woodland.

Interestingly, the palace was built on the ruins of an ancient monastery and was the summer residence of the Portuguese royal family. King Ferdinand himself oversaw the castle’s construction and decoration, ensuring that it was a perfect reflection of his own unique tastes and preferences.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most fascinating and idiosyncratic landmarks in all of Portugal.

➡️ Book this full-day tour to visit Sintra and Pena Palace.

Tours available in English, Spanish, & Portuguese.

8. Belém Tower : Best for History Lovers

Lisbon Portugal Landmarks

famous landmarks in portugal

Located on the banks of the Tagus River, the Belém Tower is one of the most remarkable landmarks in Lisbon, Portugal.

Constructed from lioz limestone in the early 16th century, this tower served as a fortress for defending the city against foreign invaders.

Sailors traveling on voyages would also use the tower as a navigational aid and symbol of their homeland.

The tower’s unique location and design make it a must-visit attraction in Lisbon. Visitors can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower, where they’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the city and river.

Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply want to take in the stunning views, the Belém Tower is an essential stop on any Lisbon itinerary.

➡️ Book this half day private history tour of Lisbon

Tours available in Portuguese, English, Spanish, French, & German.

9.  Bom Jesus do Monte : Best Baroque

Northern Portugal

famous landmarks in portugal
Stairway of the Five Senses

Nestled in the foothills of Mount Espinho in Braga, lies the Bom Jesus do Monte, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been an integral part of the Catholic faith for over 600 years.

The Baroque-style sanctuary is a sight to behold, featuring a series of chapels showcasing iconic statues, fountains, sculptures, and formal gardens.

The buildings themselves are architectural masterpieces, with their granite structures, whitewashed plaster facades, and exquisite sculptures set against the stunning blue sky. Visiting this sanctuary is an experience of a lifetime, where one can witness the serene beauty of this holy site.

➡️ Book this full day tour from Porto and see Braga and Guimarães.

Tours available in Spanish, English, & Portuguese. Max 8 people.

10. Castle of Óbidos : Best Medieval

Central Portugal

famous landmarks in portugal

In the heart of Portugal known as the “Silver Coast”, the walled town of Obidos is a charming and picturesque destination. The town is famous for its bright white houses with terracotta roofs and vibrant flower-filled window boxes.

Gothic doorways and beautiful tile work add to the town’s enchanting atmosphere, and a camera is a must to capture the colorful beauty of Obidos.

The town is steeped in history, having been given as a wedding present to Queen Isabel by King Dinis in 1282, and is known as the “Wedding Present Town”.

Obidos is a delightful place to explore, with its quaint streets and stunning architecture, and is a must-visit for any traveler to Portugal.

➡️ Book this private tour from Lisbon to see Obidos, Fatima and Nazare.

Tours available in English, Portuguese, Spanish, & Italian.

11. Coimbra University : For Harry Potter Lovers

Central Portugal

famous landmarks in portugal

The setting that inspired Hogwarts. Enough said. Go to Coimbra! It’s one of the most famous buildings in Portugal and of of the top ten landmarks in the world for Jk Rowling fans.

➡️ Book this private tour from Porto to see the off-the-beaten path Portugal.

Tours available in Portuguese, English, & Spanish.

12. Monsanto Village : Most Magical

Northern Portugal Monuments

famous landmarks in portugal

In 1938, Monsanto Village was crowned the most Portuguese town in Portugal, yet it is a place that defies expectation. Nestled among and built into colossal boulders, the white houses with their signature terracotta roofs and flower-filled window boxes appear to cling precariously to the mountainside.

Once a strategic military post, this living museum perched on a mountain boasts stunning views of the Portuguese countryside.

The partially destroyed Templar castle, the town’s sentinel, stands guard over the maze of streets and houses that wind their way up the steep incline.

With no changes possible due to its unusual geography, Monsanto is a town frozen in time and one of the best historic sites in Portugal.

Some houses even have doors or windows cut into the rocks, creating fascinating and quirky structures. It is a unique and magical place and well-deserving of its landmark status.

➡️ Book this tour to see Monsanto.

Tours available in Portuguese, English, & Spanish.

13. Douro River : Best for Wine Lovers

Landmarks of Portugal: Northern

famous landmarks in portugal

The Douro River Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in northern Portugal with views over stunning vineyards. It is one of the oldest wine regions in the world and is known for its stunning scenery, unique grape varieties, and traditional wine-making techniques.

The Douro River, which runs through the valley, is an important part of the region’s history and serves as a crucial transportation route for the region’s famous Port wine.

The landscape of the Douro River Valley is characterized by steep terraced vineyards, olive groves, almond trees, and rugged hills. The traditional wine estates, known as quintas, dot the landscape and offer visitors the opportunity to taste and learn about the region’s wines. In addition to Port wine, the Douro River Valley is also known for producing high-quality table wines, including reds and whites.

The Douro River Valley besides being one of the most famous landmarks in Portugal is also home to charming villages, historic towns, and ancient landmarks, including prehistoric rock art and Roman ruins. Visitors can explore the region by taking a scenic drive along the river, crossing a bridge, hiking or biking along the terraced hillsides, or cruising along the river on a boat tour.

Overall, the Douro River Valley is a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone seeking stunning natural beauty in Portugal.

➡️ Book this river cruise the UNESCO Douro River Valley.

Tours available in Portuguese, English, Spanish, & French.

14 BONUS! Christo Rey : Best for Religious

Landmarks of Portugal: Madeira

christo rey

Garajou beach in Madeira is unique for its beautiful views of the Cristo Rei statue of Jesus, which overlooks the beach from a nearby cliff. The statue is similar to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and adds a spiritual and cultural aspect to the beach experience.

In addition to the statue, Praia do Garajau is also known for its crystal-clear waters, which are ideal for snorkeling and diving.

The beach is situated in a protected marine reserve and features a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, octopuses, and even sea turtles.

For those looking for a more relaxed beach experience, Praia do Garajau also has a cozy beach bar that serves drinks and light meals throughout the day. Visitors can enjoy the stunning views of the statue while sipping on a refreshing cocktail or indulging in a local snack.

➡️ Book this private tour of Madeira Island

Tours available in Spanish, Dutch, English, French, German.

FAQ Famous Places in Portugal

What is Portugal’s Famous Landmark?

Pena Palace. Sintra’s colorful palace is an absolute must see for families and anyone interested in Portugal’s most famous palace and probably the best of the top 10 attractions in Portugal altogether.

This 19th-century castle is a brilliant showcase of Romanticist architecture and is famously painted in eye-catching shades of yellow and red.

Located on a hilltop in the verdant Sintra Mountains, Pena Palace offers spectacular views of the surrounding woodland.

Famous landmarks in Lisbon Portugal

There are many cultural and historic landmarks in the beautiful city of Lisbon. The easiest to access is the Praca do Comercio next to the main shopping area on the bay. Sitting over the top of Lisbon’s historic old town is the Castle of Sao Jorge and offers tours. The Belem tower is also a famous Lisbon historical landmark.

Where do storks live in Europe?

While hiking on the Fisherman’s Trail in Portugal, you can find the last wild breeding ground for white storks in Europe. Near Zabu do Mar, there are hundreds of giant nests perched atop oceanside cliffs and fossilized sand dunes.

What is Portugal Famous for?

Lisbon and Porto
Wild Atlantic Beaches
Mellow Sunny Algarve Beaches
Authentic Fishing Villages
Pastel de nata
A blend of African and European Culture and Food
Simple and Fresh Seafood

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.

I hope you enjoyed this guide to famous Portugal Landmarks!