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Small Towns In Portugal That Will Leave You Amazed


There is more to Portugal than just the golden beaches of the Algarve or the cities of Lisbon and Porto. Often, the true charm of this culturally rich country lies in its lesser-known towns and villages. So go off the beaten path and explore these mesmerising small towns in Portugal and experience this amazing country like no other. Here are 10 small towns in Portugal that are sure to leave you amazed.

Top 10 Small Towns in Portugal

Escape the hordes of tourists and enjoy a little peace among these small towns in Portugal. Here are 10 small towns in Portugal that are bound to steal your heart. So what are waiting for? Pack your bags and embark on a memorable trip to the beautiful country of Portugal!

1. Carvalhal

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The small yet charming village of Carvalhal sits among the pine forests and rice fields near Camporta and is one of the best small towns in Portugal. Carvalhal is a traditional village that boasts mild weather throughout the year. This means that even if you visit Portugal during the off-season, you can enjoy its tranquillity. If you are in the mood for a swim or even a relaxing sunbath, the Carvalhal beach is located just at the exit of the village a short drive away. The small community of the village keeps the region alive throughout the year and is the perfect place for a holiday in Portugal.

Things To Do:

  • Enjoy a beautiful day at the Praia do Carvalhal beach
  • Surf the waves at Carvalhal beach
  • Go on hiking in the forest surrounding Carvalhal
  • Participate in wine tasting
  • Experience countryside horseback riding

Places To Stay: Comporta Beach House, Monte do Brejinho de Água, Sublime Comporta Country Retreat, Spatia Comporta, Villa da Comporta

Must Read: Hidden Gems In Portugal

2. Cacela Velha

This unique village with its white-washed houses and bordered by a fortress is one of the most beautiful small towns in Portugal

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Cacela Velha is a unique and small village that is bordered to the south by a fortress overlooking the Ria Formosa. The village is small enough that you can walk through its streets and see all of its charming features in less than an hour. One thing to pay attention to while you wander the streets of Cacela Velha is also the white-washed houses that are trimmed with a hint of blue. One of Cacela Velha’s main attractions, the Fortress of Cacela, was built during the reigns of King John III and King Sebastian of Portugal and also adds a bit of history to the town.

Things To Do:

  • Wander around and explore the historic village
  • Visit the Church of Nossa Senhora da Assunção
  • Head to the Miradouro de Cacela Velha and enjoy the views
  • Spend some time relaxing on the Cacela Velha beach
  • Embark on a boat trip through Ria Formosa lagoon

Places To Stay: A Casa de Cima, Casa Castor ,Casa de Cacela, Conversas de Alpendre, Villa ELTAEL

3. Belmonte

With a rich history and a wide array of beautiful views, Belmonte is one of the best small towns in Portugal

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The home of Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral, Belmonte is one the most beautiful small towns in Portugal. The town is known for its strong Jewish connections and heritage. One of the town’s main attractions, the Belmonte Castle, was built in the 13th century and became the birthplace of Pedro Alvares Cabral. The castle also offers visitors an amazing view of the Estrella mountains that surround the Lower Beiras countryside. With such a wide array of beautiful views and attractions, Belmonte is one of the best small towns in Portugal that you must visit.

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Things To Do:

  • Visit the Jewish Museum
  • Discover and explore the Belmonte Castle
  • Visit the history Synagogue of Belmonte
  • Take a stroll through the streets of Belmonte
  • Indulge in some of the town’s traditional cuisines

Places To Stay: Pousada Convento de Belmonte, Casa Marias, Cantinho Santiago, Belmonte Sinai Hotel, Casa dos Poetas, Hotel Belsol

Suggested Read: Portugal Travel Guide

4. Amarante

Situated in Northern Portugal, the stunning town of Amarante is well-known for being the birthplace of Saint Sao Goncalo.

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One of the most charming towns in Northern Portugal is the town of Amarante. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Serra de Marao mountain range, Amarante is well-known for being the birthplace of Christian Saint Sao Goncalo. The saint plays such a huge role in the town’s culture that almost every famous landmark in Amarante is named after Sao Goncalo. There is even a festival dedicated to Sao Goncalo celebrated in Amarante and takes place on the first weekend of June. If you are feeling hungry, it is also advised to try out the northern Portuguese specialities of duck rice or grilled goat!

Things To Do:

  • Visit the Sao Goncalo Church and Monastery
  • Walk across the picturesque bridge of Ponte Sao Goncalo
  • Stroll the city’s historic cobblestone streets
  • Explore the Municipal Museum Amadeo de-Souza Cardoso
  • Relax my Tamega River

Places To Stay: Villa Coura, Casa do Ribeirinho, Havan House, Casa do Nini, VianasHome

5. Obidos

Located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Obidos is one of the most beautiful small towns in Portugal

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Located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Obidos is without a doubt of the most popular and best small towns in Portugal. The streets of this town are lined with pretty white-washed buildings adorned with flowers creeping up on the sides. Perched on a hilltop is also the well-preserved Castle of Obidos which only adds to the town’s charm. One of the best ways to experience Obidos is to take a stroll through the town’s ancient walls and immerse yourself in its vibrant history. Obidos makes an excellent day trip from Lisbon but it’s also a perfect stop on a road trip from Lisbon to Porto.

Things To Do:

  • Explore the well-preserved castle walls
  • Visit the Castle of Obidos
  • Wander and explore the historic centre
  • Taste the local specialty of Ginjinha
  • Visit the Church of Santa Maria

Places To Stay: Valentine’s House, Lugares Com Historia, Casa Senhoras Rainhas, Hotel Louro, Hotel Vila D’Obidos

Suggested Read: Museums In Portugal

6. Porto Covo

While the small town of Porto Covo may have a small population, its cobbled streets are never lifeless.

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With its charming cobbled streets, traditional fishermen’s houses, delicious foods, and sandy beaches, Porto Covo has a lot to offer to its visitors! The town is located about 160 km south of Lisbon and is a great place for a relaxing weekend escape from the bustling capital. Porto Covo is also one of the smallest towns on this list. With a population of just over 1000 people. However, this has never stopped the town from feeling empty. The streets are full of life and dotted with various souvenir shops, restaurants, street cafes, and beaches. Porto Covo is one of the best small towns in Portugal.

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Things To Do:

  • Spend a day at Porto Covo’s beautiful beaches
  • Explore the Coastal Trails
  • Visit Ilha do Pessegueiro
  • Enjoy activities like surfing or bodyboarding
  • Take a stroll through Porto Covo’s town centre

Places To Stay: Chale da Baia, A Casinha da Baia, Calmaria guesthouse, Apartamentos Campos, Casa dos Buizinhos

7. Aveiro

Popular for its beautiful canals and colorful Moliceiros boats, the small town of Aveiro is a must-visit by tourists

Image Source: Michael Gaylard for Wikipedia Commons

Famed for its canals, Nouveau architecture and colourful Moliceiros boats, Aveiro is one of the most popular small towns in Portugal. This small town lies on the edge of Ria de Aveiro, a saltwater lagoon that was farmed for its seaweed, salt and fish in the past. However, today Aveiro is a prosperous university city with various beautifully adorned buildings and grand religious buildings. Aveiro also contains a multitude of natural areas for tourists to explore. The amazing beaches of Costa Nova, and the pristine pine forests of Reserva Natural das Dunas are some of the most visited places in the town.

Things To Do:

  • Take a Moliceiro boat tour
  • Explore the Aveiro Cathedral
  • Explore the Art Nouveau buildings
  • Relax on the beaches
  • Visit the Aveiro Museum

Places To Stay: Vagueira Guest House, Hotel Imperial, Family House, Hotel do Mercado, Casa Irene

Suggested Read: Theme Parks In Portugal

8. Pinhao

Just a few hours from Porto and dotted with restaurants and cafes, Pinhao is one of the best small towns in Portugal.

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Pinhao is a beautiful hidden gem just a few hours from the bustling city of Porto. This small town in Portugal, with its handful of restaurants and mini-markets, offers a calm, relaxed vibe. Most people visit as a day trip from Porto. However, it is advised to at least spend 1 night in this amazing city. The scenery along the Duoro River is beyond stunning and the Green Hills, dotted with vineyards, offer a calming view. So the next time you are in Portugal, do yourself a favour and add this amazing town to your list.

Things To Do:

  • Take a stroll along the Douro River
  • Visit the renowned winery of Quinta do Bomfim
  • Wander and explore the town
  • Check out some of the local cuisines
  • Embark on a scenic journey from Pinhao to Pochino

Places To Stay: LBV House Hotel, Quinta de la Rosa, The Vintage House, Dois Lagares House, Casa Rodrigues

9. Ferragudo

The cobbled streets and iconic white cottages of Ferragudo definitely makes it one of the best small towns in Portugal

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Sitting at the Arade River’s mouth, this attractive fishing village of Ferragudo is one of the prettiest small villages in Portugal. Strolling through the narrow, cobbled streets of this town is an activity in itself. With typical white cottages adorned with a variety of summer flowers, Ferragudo is the perfect place for your social media. Ferragudo is also quite popular for its cafes and restaurants. The streets of this small town are lined with several cafes that serve as the perfect spot for an early morning coffee paired with a piece of pastry. Head a little way along the river and you will also find restaurants where locally caught fish are served.

Things To Do:

  • Spend a day at one of Ferragudo’s beaches
  • Explore the narrow streets and alleyways of Ferragudo
  • Visit the Fort of Sao Joao do Arade
  • Take a boat tour
  • Indulge in some of the town’s most popular dishes
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Places To Stay: Pestana Gramacho Residences, Hotel Casabela, Agua Hotels Riverside, Vitor’s Village, Vila Monte Luz

Suggested Read: Villas In Portugal

10. Santana, Madeira

With its traditional houses and natural landscape, Santana is the perfect place if you want to learn about Portuguese culture

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Located in Madeira, Santana is renowned for its traditional A-frame houses and natural landscape. The isolated nature of this small town has helped it preserve its tradition and history. So if you would like to learn about Portuguese traditions (and you like walking), Santana is the perfect place for you. Surrounded by lush forests and stunning views, Santana has plenty to offer to tourists. So what are you waiting for? Embark on a memorable journey to one of the best small towns in Portugal.

Things To Do:

  • Check out some of Santana’s traditional houses
  • Learn about the history of Madeira
  • Explore the lush landscapes surrounding Santana
  • Hike to the tallest peak in Madeira, the Pico Ruivo
  • Sample the local delicacies

Places To Stay: Hotel Quinta Do Furao, Casa do Ribeiro Frio, Santana in Nature Bed & Breakfast, Hotel O Colmo, Casa da Olides

Further Read: Foods In Lisbon

Portugal is an amazing country that is brimming with culture and unparalleled beauty. And while the big cities, like Lisbon and Porto, rightfully deserve the attention they get, the true soul of Portugal often remains hidden with its less popular smaller towns. On your next trip to Europe, make sure to add these amazing small towns to your list and stray off the beaten path to explore the true culture and soul of Portugal.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Small Towns in Portugal

What is the most visited town in Portugal?

The Portuguese capital of Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and the most popular place among travellers in Portugal. Most foreign travellers also begin their journey within Portugal from Lisbon.

Which region in Portugal is the most beautiful?

Portugal is a beautiful country with several stunning regions and places. However, the Algarve is considered to be the most beautiful place in Portugal. The breathtaking coastline of this stunning region paired with its charming villages attracts tourists from all over the world.

What is the best month to visit Portugal?

Generally, the months of March to May are considered ideal for visiting Portugal. Portugal during this time is in full bloom and waking after the winter. You could also consider visiting the country between September and October to enjoy warm weather and fewer crowds.

What are 5 interesting facts about Portugal?

Some of the most interesting fun facts about Portugal are given below:

  • Portugal is the oldest country in Europe
  • The biggest wave ever surfed was in Portugal
  • Portugal is home to the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in the world
  • Portugal is one of the world’s top surfing spots
  • Portugal is the world’s largest cork producer

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