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Blog Ideias de Viagem

The 10 small & prettiest places in Portugal

Por We Love Small Hotels

Portugal boasts stunning coastlines, vibrant cities and a rich history. But beyond the usual tourist spots lie hidden gems – charming small towns overflowing with beauty and local character. Here's a peek at 10 such Portuguese treasures:

1. Marvão, its castle and Alentejo breathtaking views

Soaring atop a mountain peak, Marvão is a true eagle's nest. Hike or drive up the winding roads to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views and if lucky, observe the vultures that fly in the skies. Explore this historic town, the well-preserved 13th-century castle and wander through the narrow-cobbled streets lined with traditional houses. While in Marvão you can also explore its nature and delicious gastronomy in the local restaurants. Visit Ammaia Roman Ruins and explore the river beach at Portagem.

Where to stay: Quinta das Lavandas, a small farm hotel based on sustainable principles and with a soft scent of lavender.

2. Cacela Velha, Algarve's Tranquil Escape

Overlooking the beautiful Ria Formosa, Cacelha Velha is a small and well-preserved village near some of the best beaches in Algarve. The whitewashed houses adorned with vibrant bougainvillaea contrast with the blue skies and its 16th-century fort, Forte de Cacela Velha, offering panoramic views and a glimpse into the town's rich history. You can also relax on the pristine beach, Praia de Cacela Velha, swim in the crystal-clear waters and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere.

It’s a tranquil escape for those who want to explore the off-beaten south of Portugal. When here, also don’t miss your visit to Tavira, an incredible gem.

Where to stay: Monte do Álamo, where you can relax between the countryside and the ocean.

3. Ponte de Lima and its rich patrimony

Ponte de Lima is often recognised as "Portugal's oldest village," with a rich history dating back to Roman times. While there, you can step back in time as you stroll along the medieval bridge, Ponte Romana, a symbol of the town's heritage and path to so many pilgrims from Camiño de Santiago. If you have the chance, don't leave without visiting the lively market, Mercado Municipal de Ponte de Lima, overflowing with fresh produce and local crafts.

Where to stay: Terra Rosa Country House & Vineyards, a farm hotel located at the heart of Minho.

4. Sintra, the fairytale village

Escape to a world of true enchantment in Sintra. Its pastel-coloured palaces, like the extravagant Pena National Palace and romantic villas like the Quinta da Regaleira with its hidden grottoes and mysterious passages, create a fairytale-like atmosphere. Wander through the lush Pena Park, breathe in the fresh mountain range air and immerse yourself in the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also taste the famous “travesseiros de Sintra”.

Where to stay: Quinta Vale da Roca, a place to feel the calmness between the forest and the Ocean.

5. The wine village of Provesende, overlooking Douro Valley

Provesende is a picturesque village nestled in the heart of Portugal's Douro Valley, renowned worldwide for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and of course, its fine wines. One of the village's most captivating features is its breathtaking panoramic views of the Douro River and the terraced vineyards. Hike or bike along the surrounding nature trails, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the serenity.

Where to stay: Morgadio da Calçada, an enchanting location with the Douro River as its background.

6. Odeceixe, a playground for nature lovers and surfers alike

Odeceixe is a haven for outdoor activities, hike along the cliffs of the Rota Vicentina trails feeling the invigorating ocean breeze and marvelling at the stunning coastal views. Catch some epic waves on the world-renowned surf breaks or simply relax on the golden sands of Praia de Odeceixe and soak up the laid-back surfer vibe. For sure one of the most beautiful beaches of Portugal.

Where to stay: Casas do Moinho, where you can enjoy the best of the Algarve with a taste of Alentejo.

7. The schist village of Gondramaz, hid between mountains

Discover the captivating beauty of the schist villages like Gondramaz. Located in Serra da Lousã and is considered one of the 7 marvels of Portugal. The traditional houses, built from the distinctive dark schist stone, create a harmonious blend with the surrounding mountains and nature. Explore the village on foot or by bike immersing yourself in the peaceful atmosphere.

Where to stay: Vale Ninho Nature Houses, relax and enjoy the calmness of the village.

8. The historical village of Monsanto

Considered the most Portuguese village of Portugal, the historical village of Monsanto located in the center of Portugal boasts a truly unique character. Granite houses here aren't just built around massive boulders – some are even built on top of them. Explore its streets and climb to the ruins of the ancient castle, Castelo de Monsanto, for some dazzling panoramic views. While there, let yourself be amazed by the village's harmonious blend of nature and human ingenuity. Also, enjoy some great trails in the surroundings.

Where to stay: Moinho do Maneio, an inspiring corner in the heart of Serra da Malcata.

9. Monsaraz and the Alqueva sky cloaked by a huge blanket of stars

Settled atop a hill overlooking the vast expanse of Lake Alqueva, Monsaraz is a charming village in the Alentejo region. While visiting it, explore the well-preserved 13th-century castle walls, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Wander the narrow streets adorned with whitewashed houses soaking in the tranquil atmosphere. Alentejo is a perfect region for gastronomy lovers, so be sure to savour the region's delicious cuisine, featuring fresh local ingredients and traditional recipes. Also don’t miss the Dark Sky Alqueva, a protected area and an amazing place to see the stars.

Where to stay: São Lourenço do Barrocal to feel the true authenticity of Alentejo.

10. Óbidos, one of Europe's most romantic villages 

Step into a storybook in Óbidos, one of the most well-preserved and charming villages in Portugal. Surrounded by medieval walls, explore the narrow-cobbled streets, climb the imposing castle walls for panoramic views and visit the José Saramago bookstore, a haven for book lovers. Finally, don’t leave Óbidos without tasting a local drink called Ginginha with its chocolate cup.

Where to stay: Rio do Prado, the perfect symbiosis between sustainability and simple luxury.