In 2007, the Ministry of Culture of Portugal set up a list showcasing the stunning seven wonders of Portugal. Which is the ultimate list of the best places to visit in Portugal? You should definitely take the advice of these places to visit and add them to your itinerary for when you visit Portugal. These wonders were voted by the Portuguese people themselves and were selected from a long list of 793 national monuments.
The seven wonders of Portugal are Belém Tower, Hieronymites Monastery, Pena National Palace, Obidos Castle, Alcobaça Monastery, Batalha Monastery, Guimarães Castle. These are Monuments that are worth visiting if you are in Portugal, but what are these monuments and how do you get to them? We are going to present you with all you need to know about these beautiful destinations.
To begin visiting Portugal all you have to do is book the ticket, a large number of trips to Portugal begins in the capital city Lisbon (Lisboa). Lisbon, the capital and largest city in Portugal, is Considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the country. The bustling streets of Lisbon are full of historic buildings, heritage sites, sightseeing opportunities and cobblestone neighbourhoods, among which, the spectacular scenery, coastline and landscapes can be found.
Let’s take a look at the most beautiful cities in the country. Photo Source: Unsplash
The Torre de Belem or the Belem tower is located in Lisbon, by the sea in the area of Santa Maria de Belem. It was built by Francisco de Arruda in 1514 and is a 30m high tower which was built to defend Lisbon at the foot of the city. If you climb to the top of the tower, at its summit, you get a breathtaking view. It was then moved from its original location after an earthquake in the 18th century. The building was listed as a National Monument in the 20th century.
How to get there?
Take Tram 127 or 15 from Figueira square or comercio square in the downtown area. Once you pass the Jeronimos Monastery which is an easy landmark to spot. It will be on the other side just get off walk toward the sea, it is hard to miss it.
The Hieronymites Monastery Also known as The Jerónimos Monastery is one of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed monuments. Not only because of its Awe inspiring construction and the beauty of the buildings but because of it is one of the most enchanting monasteries and examples of the Archaeological Gothic Manueline style.
This site certainly deserves your attention for a few hours, and once you have finished, you must visit one of the surrounding bakeries that sell mini pastries which were invented by the monks of this monastery. The Jeronimos Monastery is a must in Portugal!
How to Get There?
City bus lines: 727, 28, 729, 714 and 751
Suburban train: Belém station
Ferry: Belém Ferry station
You may never have heard of the city of Sintra, but it is one of the cities not to be missed during a stay in Portugal. Because it is here that you will find the magnificent Pena Palace. The palace is Set in a 200-hectare park/forest on a high hilltop, the palace overlooks and dominates the environment while exposing itself with bright colours such as red, yellow or blue. The Palace was built under the reign of Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, a German who became Portuguese by Marrying Queen Maria II.
Designed by Ludwig von Eschwege, the palace is built on ruins of an old Hieronymite monastery. The work began in 1839 and did not end until 1885 when the king died. Visiting this Palace allows visitors to immerse themselves in a set of architectural styles between Moorish, Baroque, Gothic, and Manueline styles.
How to get there?
Walk from Sintra Train Station – National Palace of Sintra (10-15 minutes). Or take the Scotturb buses No. 434 and 435, which run from the railway station to the National Palace of Sintra.
The Alcobaça Monastery located 120km north of the Lisbon city. It is a roman catholic complex, the monastery is huge and houses some royal tombs. The monastery of Alcobaça is one of the seven wonders of Portugal, and It is also Classified as UNESCO World Heritage site. An argument that should motivate you to do the few kilometres to discover this beautiful building built in the 12th century. Best known for the beauty of its architectural Gothic art style.
Portugal has interesting cities to visit. Photo Source: Unsplash
The Castle of Guimaraes is Also on the Portuguese list of wonders. Guimaraes Castle, located in the city of the same name in northern Portugal, was built in the 10th century. It was the residence of Alfonso I, the first king of Portugal. It was Henri of Burgundy who took charge of its construction, including the design of its seven square towers. It has had some restoration over the years and so remains in top condition for the pleasure of its visitors. It is Open all year long, you only have to pay to enter its dungeons. Which is funny because I am sure in the past its prisoners would have paid to leave.
The architecture of the Monastery of Batalha is remarkable. It is one of the most famous monuments in the history of Portugal, and for good reason. The site of the monastery began in the 14th century commissioned by King John I of Portugal. The Monastery of Batalha was built to celebrate the victory over the Castilians and the and independence that followed in 1385. Built as a gift to god the king then decides to build the most beautiful monastery he could.
Visible from the road between Lisbon and Porto, the building reflects Gothic art as well as Manueline art thanks to its sanctuary. It is also part of UNESCO World Heritage-listed buildings in Portugal.
Castle of Obidos is located in the city of Obidos, it is a well maintained medieval castle that sits on a hill over the city. In the 8th century, the fortification was built by the Moors with modifications in the 12th and 14th centuries. The castle is part of the seven wonders of Portugal. If you want to stay within such a place, you will be happy to know that you can actually stay in this castle as it has enclosed within its walls a luxury hotel. To enjoy the building and the city in general, go in July to participate in the medieval festival with costumes, parades and knights. All for the enjoyment of adults and children, what a great way to discover historical Portugal.
No matter where you visit in Portugal, you will certainly find something to discover the history. Photo Source: Unsplash
The Dom Luis I Bridge (Ponte Dom Luis) give you are good alternative If the castles and monasteries are not your things. Perhaps the Ponte Luis I will captivate you and bring modern pleasure to your photos. The bridge connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, crossing the river Douro. This architectural work is also classified as World Heritage by Unesco. Indeed it looks modern, but it was built in 1881 by engineer Theophile Seyrig (who was a disciple of Gustave Eiffel) it was finished in 1886. The metal bridge has two floors, one for the railway, the other for road traffic. Both original and modern, this bridge is worth a visit if you wander to the north of Portugal.
The many tiles in the National Museum of the Azulejo will impress you. While in Lisbon it is Impossible to miss the National Museum of the Azulejo, presented in the heart of a former convent which was built in 1509, the museum exhibits the largest collection of ceramic artwork displayed on tiles. In the district of Beato, the national museum will help you to discover the azulejo: a type of traditional glazed tile painted on one side. This is an opportunity for tourists to discover Portuguese art while enjoying beautiful historic buildings from the 16th century. This building is a must because of its originality.
In Tomar, in the central region of Portugal, you will discover this superb convent which primarily belonged to the Knights Templar. Built in the 12th century, it was originally a fortress for the Temple Order. When this order disappeared, the knights of the order of Christ took place in the building. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, like most of Portugal’s most beautiful monuments, the convent bears an eclectic Gothic architectural style with some Manueline, Neoclassical and Romanesque included.
Exploring these sites on your trip to Portugal is a great way for the traveller to immerse themselves into Portuguese history and culture. Have a great time!