Tourism in Portugal and Popular Destinations

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Tourism in Portugal, attracts holidaymakers who flock to explore historical sites, taste unique cuisine and indulge culturally. Consistently outranking Spain in terms of tourism growth, awards include leading destination for travel, World’s Leading Tourist Board and Websites, and the best-golfing destination.

This recognition of a reinvented and diverse country that knows how to welcome everyone makes sure everyone enjoys themselves in Portugal. Not only is the country striving to boost the tourism market even further, but the success also impacts the housing market, as many foreigners buy holiday homes or retire to live in Portugal permanently.

Overnight Stays and Gross Domestic Product of Portugal

Portugal’s GDP relies on tourism for 10% of its revenue and is a significant employment source. As well as mainstream promotion, new hotels and renovated old apartment buildings increase self-catering accommodation choices in places like Lisbon. In the height of the tourism season, there are approximately 8 million overnight stays. An impressive figure, yet much like other countries, Portugal is still striving to reach pre-pandemic era figures. So, let’s look at destinations making Portugal a leading country for tourism.

Popular Destinations for Tourism in Portugal

Tourists in Lisbon – Capital of Portugal

Portugal’s capital is Lisbon, and this cosmopolitan city delights everyone, even though parts can be hilly. The impressive 5th-century Sao Jorge Castle is an important landmark and glorious day and night. Lisbon attracts those on summer holidays and weekend city breaks with upmarket and cosmopolitan hotels.


Lisbon is also one of Portugal’s best cities for foreigners to buy apartments because everything is on your doorstep, including cafes, bars and restaurants, great shopping, art galleries and umpteen museums. Just on the outskirts of Lisbon, you will find one of the best national parks in Portugal.

Sun in The Algarve Region of Portugal

Anyone buying rental property for summer holidays in Portugal should head to the Algarve. Daily life in this part of Portugal is top-notch. Popular places include Lagos, Alcoutim, Tavira, Loule, Albufeira, and Vilamoura. However, Faro commands respect from all.

Dividing into two areas, the Faro nature park includes a beach, river, lagoon system, and dunes, where flora and fauna thrive. If beaches are your passion, Faro delivers an ample range, including Baretta, Faro Culatra and Ancao. Separating into four separate parishes, the town offers plenty of restaurants, bars, and cultural history. Read about the famous Qunita Do Lago.

Tourists in Porto

Porto ranks highly for tourists and ex-pats. Given the northern position, residents compromise on yearly sunshine compared to south Portugal, but places still attract visitors all year round. Expect to find great modern and old architecture, as well as cultural heritage, on all corners. Known to produce Port wine and for a rich historical timeline, tourists and residents enjoy vibrant shopping and nightlife scenes.

tourism in portugal

Indulge in port wine-tasting sessions; otherwise, hop on Douro Riverboat trips for leisurely cruises. For beaches and promenade strolls, stay in the Foz district. Spend evenings in Ribiera or head to bars and clubs nearer the university. For ideal weather conditions, visit in late spring or early autumn since crowds flock to see significant attractions during summer.

Madeira in Portugal

Surrounded by blue seas, beautiful landscapes make Madeira a haven for outdoor activities on vacation. Prominent places for walking include Levadas channels and Funchal city. Otherwise, go scuba diving, or enjoy coastline boat rides. Madeira embraces time-honoured festivals like Carnival parades, flower festivals, and the annual firework festival but also sample regional delicacies like Black Scabbard, tuna, octopus, periwinkles, kebab on a bay stick, abundant tropical fruits, Madeira wine and garlic-marinated beef.


The Azores Islands of Portugal

This collection of nine islands belonging to Portugal makes exploring fun. Santa Maria boasts sandy beaches and vineyards. Sao Miguel, the largest island, features beautiful lagoons, hot thermal waters, and volcanic lakes. Sao Jorge, Faial, Graciosa, and Pico are the best places to go whale or dolphin spotting.


Food also comes to the forefront in Sao Jorge, with the Fajas dish and local cheese, while Faial is known for the extinct Capelinhos volcano. Sitting to the west, Flores boasts beautiful waterfalls and small lakes, while Corvo attracts birds on the migration route. All islands are unique in themselves and worth exploring.

Also About Portugal

Popular Cities in Portugal: Altogether there are just over 500 towns. Called a vila in Portuguese, some are municipality seats, while others belong to one. Additionally, 159 cities sit supreme as transport, shopping, nightlife, arts, and culture hubs. Whether you want a weekend Algarve getaway or somewhere to live in Portugal, most towns and cities present a delightful blend of neighbourhoods to consider.

Best Places to Buy Property: Alongside tourism in Portugal, the country also earns admiration and respect from the large number of foreigners who buy property and live there all year round. The country promotes various lifestyles, a welcoming attitude to foreign ex-pats, low taxes, affordable living, excellent value for money with property prices, and a strategic position that makes getting to Portugal from other countries easy.

About Natalie

Natalie is a dedicated real estate professional currently working at Spot Blue International Property. With over a decade of experience in the industry, she has acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding global properties.

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