Visiting the coastal cities of Lisbon and Porto is what comes to mind when most people imagine their holiday in Portugal. If you dare to venture inland, away from the big cities and major attractions, you will be rewarded with the most charming fairy tale villages and the cutest small towns you’ve ever laid eyes on.
From traditional coastal fishing villages to enchanting hilltop towns, these beautiful villages in Portugal are packed full of culture, history and incredible cuisine. Just picture white washed buildings, tiny walled hilltop villages, epic medieval castles and so much more! You certainly won’t regret getting off the beaten path in Portugal.
So why not escape the hordes of tourists and enjoy the peace and quiet of the idyllic Portuguese countryside? Here are 20 of the most beautiful small towns and villages in Portugal as shared by travel bloggers. Some are popular and well known while others are still relatively undiscovered but no matter which ones you choose to visit, they’re all bound to steal your heart!
The Top 20 Most Beautiful Small Towns and Villages in Portugal
Obidos is without a doubt one of the most popular and beautiful villages in Portugal to visit. Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the picturesque little hilltop village each year, most of them on a day trip from Lisbon. It’s no surprise that Obidos draws the crowds, its pretty white washed buildings with flowers creeping up the sides, winding cobblestone lanes and majestic medieval castle certainly add to the town’s charm.
One of the best things to do while visiting Obidos is taking a walk around the town’s ancient walls. Spectacular views can be seen over the red rooftops and surrounding countryside, but be warned: there are no hand railings! Make sure sure to check out the amazingly well preserved medieval castle that sits on a hill dominating over the town below.
Obidos Castle has protected the region for over 800 years and has been named one of the 7 wonders of Portugal! Exploring the streets of the town center is another huge highlight. It’s only small but wandering through the maze of narrow streets will lead you to all the prettiest corners and hidden secrets around the town.
As previously mentioned, Obidos makes an excellent day trip from Lisbon but it’s also the perfect stop on a road trip from Porto to Lisbon. Spending a few nights in Obidos allows you to explore the town when it’s quieter in the morning and evening, ie. before and after the day trippers arrive.
If you choose to visit on a day trip, Obidos is easy to reach from Lisbon by taking the express bus from the Campo de Grande station. Buses depart from Lisbon regularly throughout the day and the journey takes one hour.
Mention medieval towns and villages in Portugal and most travellers and locals alike will likely mention the walled city of Obidos. But, only about a 2-hour drive inland from Lisbon, you’ll find the gorgeous, white-washed, walled city of Monsaraz.
Given its close locality, around an hour, to another famous walled city, Èvora, you simply have to swing by this fortified village perched up high on a hilltop, especially if planning a day trip from Lisbon to Evora!
Entering through one of the cities gates you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a bygone era as you walk along the cobbled streets, admire the white-washed homes and buildings and explore the castle walls and bullfighting arena.
We visited late afternoon which was perfect. We were able to grab a spot up top the castle walls and watched the sunset over the Alentejo countryside. From these walls, you can admire the Algueva river that divides Portugal from Spain’s Beja district, also within view.
Some of the top things to do in Monsaraz include exploring all the quaint craft and boutique shops that line the main street as well as explore the actual castle too. If you’re up for something different, then you can also hop in your car and drive 10 minutes down to the Praia Fluvial de Monsaraz, a man-made beach on the river’s edge.