PORTUGAL HIDDEN GEMS: 9 Unique Places to Visit in Portugal!
Portugal is a gorgeous country with a huge variety of activities, delicious food, and rich history. Thanks to its mountains, vineyards, farmlands, and medieval villages Portugal is quickly becoming one of the most desired and popular destinations in Europe.
Portugal off the beaten track is easier than expected, believe it or not, this country offers a lot more than wild beaches and colorful cities to explore. Discover some of the most beautiful places in Portugal: 9 hidden gems you need to discover!
9 Portugal Hidden Gems: Unusual and unique places to visit in Portugal
This particular house is definitely one of the most unusual and unique places to visit in Portugal. Casa do Penedo (or stone house) is a particular type of house built between four giant boulders. The house is in perfect harmony with nature and surrounded by a beautiful landscape. Therefore, this location offers incredible photo opportunities. It was originally built in 1970 as a rural holiday retreat, today is a small museum, full of memorabilia and photographs. The ground floor has a kitchen and small living room while the sleeping area is on the top floor. There is even an outdoor swimming pool that follows the natural shape of the large boulder: one of many Portugal hidden gems.
Village of Monsanto
Where: Coimbra – Monsanto
The village of Monsanto was voted the most “Portuguese town in Portugal”. This is a beautiful traditional village in the countryside with peculiar granite houses sandwiched between gigantic boulders. No wonder why Monsanto is considered one of the best unique places to visit in Portugal. Furthermore, on top of the hill stands an old castle that played an important role in Medieval times. The village of Monsanto has something to offer at every corner, therefore give yourself plenty of time to explore this incredible and unique town.
Fort of Sao Joao Baptista
Where: Peniche – Berlengas archipelago
This old military fortress is located in the Berlengas archipelago, 45 minutes by boat from Peniche. The fort itself is a treasure and an unforgettable experience, different from anything you’ve ever seen. If you are up for an adventure you can sleep in the fortress, which is described as “camping with walls” or a “bare-bones hostel”. With 15 euros or less, you will have access to a room but you must bring your own linen, food, drinking water, and a torch for light. However, another option is to pitch a tent on the beach!
There are a cafe and a restaurant on the island but they are often very busy, therefore is always advisable to bring your own food and water.
Furthermore, Berlengas Archipelago is considered one of the best natural swimming spots in Portugal and definitely one of the most beautiful places in Portugal.
Convent of the Capuchos
Where: Serra de Sintra National Park- Sintra
The Convent of the Friars Minor Capuchin is a monastery set in the dense forest of the Serra de Sintra National Park. It was built in direct contact with nature and with the extensive use of cork for decoration purposes. It used to be a religious complex that allowed monks to complete segregation from the outside world. Today, the Convent of the Friars Minor Capuchin is amongst the best and unique places to visit in Portugal. The building was completely abandoned, it’s now hidden in the middle of the National Park covered in greenery and surrounded by nature.
Quinta da Regaleita Palace
Where: Serra de Sintra National Park- Sintra
This is a majestic Gothic-style mansion, near the city of Sintra, that can be considered an adult playground.
The palace combines a romantic style with gothic, mythical, and exotic symbols. Most people come to Quinta da Regaleita to visit the gardens. This includes wild woodlands, bridges, caves, fountains, and lakes. However, a special mention goes to the Cappella da Santissima Trindale, where you can admire a monumental spiral staircase that leads to the crypt. Today you can visit the palace and gardens at your own pace or organize a guided tour. Despite being a popular destination, this remains one of the most unusual and unique places to visit in Portugal. Therefore, make sure you include this Portugal hidden gem in your itinerary.
Carmo convent ruins
In 1755 an earthquake destroyed the city of Lisbon and this ancient church. Today, the ruins are visible from all over the city and they are a reminder of the horrible catastrophe.
You can visit the inside, admire the roofless church, and enjoy the small archaeological museum with a big collection of tombs. Despite being one of the most popular destinations in Lisbon, it’s still a unique experience you must include in your Portugal itinerary.
Chapel of Bones
This is a fascinating and macabre sight, not a tourist attraction for the faint-hearted.
The Chapel of Bones in Evora was built in the 16th century on top of 43 cemeteries. For this reason, the monks decided to build the Chapel and relocate the bones to avoid condemning the souls. Today you can walk inside the chapel where the human bones are incorporated into every aspect of the interior and the design.
The main entrance to the Chapel greets visitors with the Portuguese inscription: “We, the bones, are here, waiting for yours”.
Ossos Bone Chapel
Another macabre and unique Chapel in Portugal. This is a reminder of the simple, holy lives of the monks who once lived here. The interiors are decorated with human remains, including a complete skeleton covered in gold. The Chapel welcomes you with a Portuguese inscription: “Stop here and think of the fate that will befall you”. A reminder that life is precious and fleeting.
Drowned Village of Vilarinho da Furna
This small village has been submerged underwater since 1972 due to the construction of a dam. Today, in a rare occurrence (when the water levels are extremely low), the village of Vilarinho da Furna emerges from beneath the water creating a unique sight. An entire preserved roman town hides just beneath everyone’s eyes making this one of the best hidden gems in Portugal.
These are some of the best unique places to visit in Portugal. Chapels made of bones, abandoned monasteries, and peculiar cities are waiting to be discovered. Therefore, if you are planning a trip to Portugal make sure to include some of these Portugal hidden gems and off-the-beaten-track locations.