Please note, your browser is out of date.
For a good browsing experience we recommend using the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.

Blog Travel Ideas

16 must visit UNESCO sites in Portugal

Portugal is one of the countries with the largest number of monuments in the world, classified as UNESCO world heritage sites.

So let us share with you 16 must visit UNESCO sites in Portugal! 

Beautiful landscapes, some natural areas of the country, unique historical monuments and historical centers await your visit! Take a look:

Historical centers:

The historic town of Guimarães, that is associated with the emerging national identity of Portugal in the century. XII, joins the historical center built on the hills overlooking the Douro River in Porto, making the two UNESCO historical centers of the north of Portugal.

Coimbra, in the center, was the last one to join this list, offering an excellent example of an integrated campus with a specific urban typology, as well as their own ceremonial and cultural traditions that have been kept alive through the ages.

Once the home of Portuguese kings, Évora‘s history goes back much further, as demonstrated by the well-preserved Roman temple ruins that stand in the city center.

The Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroísmo in Azores has been shaped by its role as a port-of-call for ships between Europe and America from the 15th century onwards. Its imposing fortifications, built over 400 years ago, are rare examples in military architecture.

Historical monuments:

For their historical and artistic significance, the Batalha Monastery in Leiria, the Convent of Christ in Tomar and the Alcobaça Monastery form a unique monumental group. Work done over the centuries reflects the history of Portuguese art, with examples from Gothic and Romanesque art. The Batalha Monastery is a masterpiece of creative genius and the major monument of Portuguese late Gothic, one of the most beautiful monastic buildings in Europe from the late Middle Ages. The Convent of Christ is a very complete monument with examples from Romanesque art, Templar symbolism, Gothic and Manueline styles from the era of the Discoveries, Renaissance art and, finally, Baroque in the architectural ornamentation. The Alcobaça Monastery is not far behind, being one of the most important European Cistercian abbeys, a symbol of the Cistercian Order.

Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower marked the golden age of the Portuguese Discoveries and are the main attractions in Lisbon due to their beautiful architecture, full of history and with breathtaking views over the river. The Jerónimos Monastery it’s considered the “jewel” of Manueline style, exclusively Portuguese, combining architectural features of late Gothic and Renaissance, associated with a royal symbolism that makes it incomparable. The Belém Tower is also from Manueline style and it’s consider a symbol of the King’s prestige.

Natural landscapes:

The Alto Douro Wine Region is a cultural landscape shaped by winemaking. Wine has been produced by traditional landowners for many years and its main product, port wine, has been world famous for its quality. This long tradition of viticulture has produced a cultural landscape of outstanding beauty that reflects its evolution.

The Prehistoric Rock-Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde (Spain) date from the Upper Palaeolithic and are considered a masterpiece of prehistoric art. These are located on the banks of the rivers Águeda and Côa, arms of the Douro River, documenting continuous human occupation and providing the best illustration of the iconographic themes and organization of Paleolithic rock art.

In the 19th century Sintra became the first center of European Romantic architecture. The Cultural landscape of Sintra embraces a slight mountainous strip with a group of gardens, parks, and monuments.

The Elvas and its Fortifications comprise a border town that was strongly fortified from the 17th to 19th century. It guards a key border crossing between Lisbon and Madrid. Within its walls, the town contains barracks and other military buildings as well as churches and monasteries.

The Laurisilva forest of Madeira is an outstanding relict of a previously extensive laurel forest type. It is the largest surviving area of laurel forest. It contains a unique set of plants and animals, including many widespread species such as the Madeiran long-toed pigeon.

The Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture is the result of the agriculture practice of viniculture on a small volcanic island since the 15th century. Evidence of this viniculture is manifested in the extraordinary collection of the fields, in the 19th-century manor houses, in wine-cellars, churches and ports. The extraordinarily beautiful man-made landscape of the site is the best remaining area of a once much more widespread practice.

Check-out our Unesco Heritage Tours in Portugal!