Skip to Main Content

Most Beautiful Places in Portugal During Winter

Contrary to popular belief, Portugal is much more than just a summer hotspot. While the country is often celebrated for its stunning beaches and welcoming atmosphere, the charm of this Western European gem extends far beyond the warmer months. With its mild climate, rich history and breathtaking landscapes, Portugal offers a unique and unforgettable experience during the winter season.

Unlike its snowy counterparts, Portugal remains fairly temperate, making it a paradise for those seeking a winter sun getaway — with the bonus of fewer crowds and more affordable accommodation and transportation options. Don't worry about finding things to do during the off-season because Portugal has a plethora of winter activities to keep you entertained. So if you're planning a winter vacation and wondering where the best places to travel in Portugal are, this comprehensive guide has got you covered.


Top Places To Go in Portugal in Winter


While it may be hard to decide on the best city to visit in Portugal, the capital city of Lisbon retains its enchantment even when temperatures drop. The charming narrow streets of Alfama and the iconic São Jorge Castle offer a glimpse into the city's historic past. Stroll along the Tagus River and admire the magnificent views from the scenic viewpoints of Miradouro da Senhora do Monte or Miradouro da Graça. Don't miss the famous Belém district, where you can indulge in warm pastéis de nata, a delicious Portuguese custard tart.


Known for its port wine and colorful architecture, Porto is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal, captivating visitors throughout the year. The city's charm is accentuated in winter by its cozy cafés and bustling markets. Explore the historic Ribeira district, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and cross the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge for panoramic views of the Douro River. For a unique experience, take a river cruise and marvel at the scenic views of the surrounding landscapes.


Just a short distance from Lisbon, Sintra transports you to a fairytale realm. The town is adorned with majestic palaces, lush gardens and mystical forests. Visit the lively Pena Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site perched atop a hill, and immerse yourself in its romantic and whimsical atmosphere. The misty forests of Sintra are perfect for leisurely walks and provide a tranquil escape from the bustling cities.


Steeped in history, Évora showcases Portugal's rich cultural heritage. This UNESCO World Heritage city boasts well-preserved Roman ruins, including the impressive Temple of Diana. Wander through the medieval streets and admire stunning architecture, such as the Évora Cathedral and the Chapel of Bones. The peaceful ambiance of Évora is particularly captivating during the winter, allowing for a more intimate exploration of its historical treasures.



While the Algarve region is celebrated for its sunny beaches, it also presents a unique allure during winter. Experience the tranquility of its coastal towns, such as Lagos and Tavira, without the crowds. Take scenic hikes along the dramatic cliffs of Ponta da Piedade or explore picturesque fishing villages like Olhão. The mild winter climate makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat.

Serra da Estrela

For a winter wonderland experience, head to Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in Portugal. Covered in snow during the colder months, it offers spectacular landscapes and a variety of winter activities. From skiing and snowboarding to sledding and snowshoeing, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere of mountain villages like Covilhã and sample the local cuisine, including the famous Serra da Estrela cheese.


Known as the city of students, Coimbra is home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Explore the narrow streets of the historic center, visit the stunning Coimbra University Library, and enjoy the soulful melodies of traditional fado music. During winter, Coimbra's cozy cafés and vibrant cultural scene provide a delightful atmosphere for exploration.


Step back in time to Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal. This medieval city offers a wealth of historical sites, including the Guimarães Castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza. The lively streets, with multi-colored houses and the famous Largo da Oliveira square, exude a timeless ambiance. Take a moment to savor the local cuisine and try the famous "Bolas de Berlim," Portuguese donuts filled with sweet cream.



Douro Valley

Embark on a journey through Portugal's famous wine region, the Douro Valley. While the vineyards may not be flourishing during winter, the terraced slopes and winding Douro River still create a stunning backdrop. Explore the quaint villages of Pinhão and Peso da Régua, and indulge in wine tastings at renowned wineries. Cruising along the river offers a unique perspective of the valley's winter beauty.


Known as one of the more special places in Portugal, often referred to as the "Venice of Portugal," Aveiro is a picturesque coastal town characterized by its canals and colorful moliceiro boats. Take a leisurely boat ride through the canals, admiring the art nouveau buildings that line the waterways. Don't forget to try the local specialty, ovos moles, sweet pastries shaped like shells and fish, before strolling along the sandy beaches.


Although not on mainland Portugal, the island of Madeira is an enchanting winter destination comparable to Hawaii or the Caribbean. Known as the "Pearl of the Atlantic," Madeira offers impressive landscapes, charming villages and mild temperatures year round. Explore the capital city of Funchal, wander through the scenic Levada trails, and marvel at the dramatic coastal cliffs. Madeira's winter festivities, including the spectacular New Year's fireworks display, add an extra touch of magic to your visit.

Explore Magnificent Portugal Tours for Seniors With Road Scholar Today

Embark on a curated adventure that combines educational experiences with the opportunity to discover the most beautiful places in Portugal during winter. Just sure to check the forecast before you pack your bags! With expert guides and a vibrant community of fellow travelers, Road Scholar ensures an enriching and memorable journey through this captivating country.