Where is Portugal Located?
Did you stumble across pictures of the Algarve coast or Lisbon’s tiled buildings and wonder to yourself, “Where is Portugal?”
Portugal is located in western Europe. To the west and south, it has a long coastline on the Atlantic Ocean and it is bordered to the east and north by Spain.
Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, shares a latitude with Washington D.C.
The country of Portugal is home to the westernmost point of the European mainland, but Lisbon is actually even further west than Dublin, Ireland.
The Azores Islands and Madeira are also Portuguese. The Azores are located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and Madeira is located off the northwestern coast of Africa.
Top Reasons to Visit Portugal
The Portuguese have been a powerhouse nation for over 1,150 years. Meaning? It’s a country chock full of history and culture. On top of that, Portuguese cuisine embraces everything from dried salted cod to custard egg tarts (aka pasteis de nata!) and their wine region – Duoro – is one of the oldest in the world.
Where is Portugal: Cities to Visit
It may be hilly, but Lisbon is a very walkable city. Strolling around the central area is one of the best ways to explore Portugal’s capital.
Be sure to check out a Fado music show (Fado means fate in Portuguese). This music is a powerful part of Lisbon’s culture. It even made the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List. Yes, that’s a thing.
For the bigger hills, you’ll find funiculars all over the city. The Gloria Elevador will take you from downtown to the trendy neighborhood of Bairro Alto. The ride up is lined with an impressive street art gallery.
Otherwise, head to the main train station (Cais do Sodre) and take the train out of Lisbon. Hop off after a few stops in Belem for a historical walk to the tower and a Pasteis de Belem (the original pastel de nata!). Or continue up the coast to the end of the line (about an hour) to the quaint seaside town of Cascais.
The south of Portugal is home to the stunning cliffs and golden beaches that are the poster-child of Portugal’s tourism campaigns. Flights to this region land in Faro, a cute seaside city with a lazy harbor and a walled-in old town. Spend at least a day or two in Faro to enjoy a more local side of the Algarve. If you’re looking for (near) total seclusion, take a boat trip from Faro to the Ilha Deserta, (deserted island).
From Faro, you can easily head to all the favorite Algarve beach towns: Albufeira, Lagos, Portimao, Sagres, and all the tiny villages in between.
Portugal’s second-biggest city, Porto is quickly becoming a tourist favorite for those seeking a less crowded place to experience the country than Lisbon.
Porto has a bustling riverside area, magnificent churches, and many cellars which offer tastings of their most famous export: port wine.
To experience the Portuguese wine country you can easily do day trips from Porto to the Douro Valley. Rolling hillsides of vineyards hug the Douro river and many of the wineries in the area have been family owned and operated for hundreds of years. One of the best ways to explore Duoro is by renting a car (if you don’t plan on over-indulging!).
Back in Porto, don’t miss the top sites: The Torre dos Clérigos, Ponte Luiz I bridge, Casa da Musica, and Sé Cathedral.