7 Stunning Off The Beaten Track Places To Visit In Portugal
Portugal accommodates all kinds of travellers, with it’s warm weather, good food and top-notch beaches; the welcoming people have turned this Atlantic-bordered country into a hotspot and its popularity remains consistent.
Fortunately, there are many more places to visit in Portugal than the tourist centres, and even in the crowded Algarve it is possible to find locations still relatively under the radar and less populated.
A traditional fishing village situated approximately in the mid-point of Portugal’s Atlantic coast, it is known for its historic and colourful traditions. It isn’t uncommon to encounter female fishmongers who will wear the traditional seven skirts (layers of petticoats to keep their legs warm) and the seafood in Nazaré is heavenly. If you are into surf, the wild Atlantic waves and the huge community of surf camps should make for a perfect fit.
An older style three-bedroom townhouse in Nazaré will cost in the region of €200,000, while a new-build townhouse on an upmarket development in Albufeira will start from around €450,000.
2. SÃO MIGUEL ISLAND
São Miguel is the largest island in the Azores archipelago, in the mid-North Atlantic ocean. This group of volcanic islands is a true gem for nature lovers, with lots of opportunities to explore its lakes, cliffs and hot springs and unusual cooking techniques from locals! There’s more to see there than you might expect, but Sao Miguel’s well-paved roads and relatively low numbers of visitors make it an easy place to explore.
Just one hour away from Lisbon, this off-the-radar village is well-known by locals as a top-notch beach destination. There is an unique vibe of unpretentiousness combined with hip elegance in Comporta. José Mourinho and Monaco’s Royal Family, who are rumoured to own several properties in here, will surely agree. The 13km-long strip of golden sand situated at the heel of Tróia‘s peninsula is backed by dense forest and rice fields. It’s a lovely setting that accentuates that feeling of holiday getaway.
This area is pricier than the others, with apartments averaging at €500,000 and villas from €1m.
4. GERÊS NATIONAL PARK
The Peneda-Gerês National Park is located in the extreme north-east of the country and displays an area of 70,000 metric acres of wild vegetation, scenic waterfalls and rapidly flowing small rivers. It’s the ideal place to try some outdoor adventures like zip-lining, rafting, canyoning, rock-climbing or simply go for a walk on nature.
Óbidos is living heritage. This old village is a maze of cobbled-stone medieval streets, quaint handicrafts shops and bakeries that create a lovely setting. Walking the surrounding walls gives a completely different perspective of the city (on one side) and to the hills (on the other). While Óbidos can still be considered off the beaten track destination, it can get busy during the July and August. Try to go on the low season or early in the morning to have the whole walls for yourself. And don’t forget to try the local speciality, ginja: ginger in edible chocolate cups.
Houses range from €100,000 to €300,000.
6. SOUTHWEST ALENTEJO
This little-known region actually holds Europe’s largest coastal natural park, Alentejo’s coastline has endless wild Atlantic beaches alternating with quaint fishing villages and rocky cliffs. Some places are not to be missed:
- Odeceixe: its wide awe-inspiring beach is a reason to visit by itself
- Porto Covo: lovely small village with great food, just 5-min away from idyllic beaches with turquoise waters
- Arrifana: looks more like a cove/bay due to the tall cliffs backing up the strip of golden sand
This is as much as off the beaten track you can go in Portugal and you won’t be disappointed. 10km offshore – or an 30 min-long bumpy boat ride – from the Peniche region, lie the Berlenga islands. The largest one (Berlenga) has an area of only two and a half square kilometres, but what it lacks in size, it compensates for in wild beauty.
The whole island is a nature reserve and home to many protected species of plants and birds. You can expect several bays with turquoise waters, impressive rough cliffs and remote beaches you’ll share exclusively with seagulls. Around the island there are many ship wrecks, which makes diving or even snorkelling an interesting option.
Prices start at €1,600 per square meter to buy an apartment in the city centre, outside the city centre they start at €1,100.