Central Portugal is full of magnificent places to visit. From cities that tell some of the most incredible stories of the country, to waterfalls that make us fall in love a little bit more with nature, to river beaches that delight many people on the warmest days. And that’s exactly what this post is about, the 24 top places to visit in Central Portugal.
If, on the one hand, there are some classic and already well-known places in this region, on the other, Central Portugal still has many surprises waiting to be discovered. Throughout this blog post, I will tell you about several destinations in Central Portugal: some are better known, others less so. But one thing is certain: ALL ARE WORTH IT!
And, that’s why I decided to put together this list of places to visit in Central Portugal. So, keep reading to get inspired and, who knows, book your next getaway to Portugal.
The following list of the top places to visit in central Portugal is far from including all the fantastic places you can visit in this region of Portugal. So, it is only natural to be missing some places here. I suggest you consider this post merely as a source of inspiration for a getaway in Central Portugal 🥰.
What is the best location to look for accommodation in Central Portugal?
The Central region of Portugal is still quite big, so where to look for accommodation depends a lot on the places you want to visit in central Portugal.
However, if the aim is to visit some of the sites in Central Portugal, it may make sense to choose one of the main cities in this region of Portugal to look for accommodation:
Map of top places to visit in Central Portugal
Top places to visit in Central Portugal
01 | Fragas de São Simão
Casal de São Simão Village and the Fragas de São Simão walkways are one of the best places to visit in central Portugal. The village is simply lovely, since it is a Schist Village.
By parking the car near the village’s entrance, it is possible to explore the village from there. This can also be the starting point for a walk along the recently opened walkways of Fragas de São Simão or to visit the São Simão river beach.
💡 EXTRA TIP: Would you like to know more details to plan a visit to Fragas de São Simão? Then I suggest reading this post with all the tips to visit Fragas de São Simão.
02 | Paiva Walkways
This is one of the places to visit in Central Portugal that is most worthwhile for nature lovers. The Paiva Walkways, which gave origin to the walkway boom in Portugal, are one of the best walkways in Portugal.
Get ready for a pleasant path amidst green landscapes that make us realize how beautiful Portugal is! Although the route is at least 8 km long, there are some shorter or even longer options, for those who enjoy walking.
💡 EXTRA TIP: Find out all the tips for visiting one of the most famous walkways in Portugal in this post.
03 | Dornes
Dornes was considered one of the 7 wonders of Portugal in the category of villages. As such, it could not be missing in this list of the best places to visit in central Portugal. The village is very small, and you quickly visit its main points of interest.
What really surprises are the views to the Zêzere river. Although the river is visible from many parts of the village (it is a riverside village, after all), the view from the Pentagonal Tower is the best.
04 | Batalha
It is in Batalha that we can find one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal – Batalha Monastery. Although there is not much to visit besides the Monastery, this is a place in Central Portugal not to be missed.
📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The ticket to visit the Batalha Monastery costs 6€. You can check the most up-to-date timetable here.
05 | Agroal River Beach
The Agroal River Beach has a different feel to all the river beaches I’ve visited in Portugal. It looks like something straight out of a postcard – perhaps that’s why it appears so often on the Instagram feed 😉.
The water is ice-cold, but that doesn’t stop it from being almost always crowded when the temperatures outside are more pleasant.
06 | Tomar
Known as the city of the Templars, Tomar is one of the most amusing cities in the central region of Portugal. Despite being a relatively small town, it has architectural works of high national value, such as the Convent of Christ of Tomar.
The time there seems to run slowly, making Tomar a friendly town and perfect for a weekend getaway in central Portugal.
💡 EXTRA TIP: Discover 9 must-see sites in Tomar in this post, so you can plan the perfect itinerary in the city of Tomar.
07 | Serra da Lousã
Visiting the Schist Villages in Serra da Lousã is to be willing to travel back in time. While some of the villages are very popular, others seem to be frozen in time, remaining the exact same as the way they were left years ago.
Besides the spirit of each schist village, there are several trails available in the region that allow us to get to know it even better.
💡 EXTRA TIP: If you would like to know more about what to visit in Serra da Lousã, I suggest you read this guide with what to visit in the municipality of Lousã.
08 | Fernandaires Viewpoint
Located in the region of the Castelo de Bode reservoir, the Fernandaires Viewpoint is one of the best viewpoints in Central Portugal.
With a fairly simple climb to the top and parking right next to the viewpoint, there is no reason not to stop here. The views are simply superb!
09 | Serra de Aire e Candeeiros
Serra de Aire e Candeeiros is one of Portugal’s best kept secrets. It is a perfect place for those seeking tranquillity, where the hustle and bustle of everyday life doesn’t seem to have arrived (yet).
One of the most popular places in the Serra de Aire and Candeeiros are the Mira de Aire Caves – one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, but also Porto de Mós.
💡 EXTRA TIP: Find out the best tips to visit the Serra de Aire and Candeeiros and an excellent accommodation suggestion, in this blog post.
10 | Poios Waterfall
The Poios Waterfall is part of the Waterfalls Trail. However, we can visit it separately. The trail is about 2 km long (round trip) and is relatively easy, despite some more technical parts (where there is a rope to hold on to).
11 | Aveiro
Usually known as the Venice of Portugal, Aveiro needs no introduction. However, besides the usual and well-known moliceiro ride through the canals of Aveiro, do you know everything you can visit in Aveiro?
If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘not sure’, then I suggest a read of this complete 2 day itinerary to visit Aveiro. I promise there are some suggestions that may not be so obvious, such as the Aveiro Salt pans, Águeda or Pateira de Fermentelos.
12 | Vila de Rei
The municipality of Vila de Rei has some places that deserve our attention (as is, for example, the case of the Poios waterfall mentioned earlier in this post). However, my specific mention of Vila de Rei is related to the visit to the geodesic centre of Portugal.
13 | Berlengas
Nature lovers, are you reading this? This place to visit in central Portugal is for you. Berlengas Island is one of the most special places in Portugal. Transparent water almost unmatched on the Portuguese coast and a handful of sea activities available for the more adventurous.
Visiting the Berlengas should be a must on any itinerary of the Central region of Portugal.
💡 EXTRA TIP: You can find a detailed guide to visit Berlengas here.
14 | Penedo Furado
Penedo Furado is another place to visit in Portugal’s central region. We can spend a few pleasant hours here, or even a whole day. Everything depends on what we’re looking for 😉.
Apart from the Penedo Furado fluvial beach that attracts various locals during the hottest days, you can also choose to walk along the Penedo Furado walkways (a pleasant walk for the whole family) or visit the Penedo Furado viewpoint.
💡 EXTRA TIP: If you would like to visit Penedo Furado, I suggest you read this practical guide to access all the tips you need to plan your visit to Penedo Furado.
15 | Nazaré
Nazaré has become especially known for its giant waves that attract thousands of surfers and visitors every year. But there is more to Nazaré than just the giant waves! It is the local fish-based gastronomy, the traditional skirts women from Nazaré wear, or even some of the best viewpoints on the Portuguese coast.
It is true that the weather in Nazaré is very uncertain, but if the weather is in our favour, Nazaré can be one of the best destinations on the Portuguese coast and Central region of Portugal.
16 | Cristo Rei Viewpoint
No, this viewpoint of Cristo Rei is not the one located in Almada! This Cristo Rei viewpoint is inserted in the Castelo de Bode reservoir and has a completely different surrounding, but nevertheless beautiful.
Although it is not possible to drive to the top (the road is in very bad condition), the route to the viewpoint is relatively easy to walk. It is about 1,4 km round trip, with a slightly steep climb in the beginning.
17 | Óbidos
Óbidos is one of the most magical places in Portugal, and you only have to enter this small town to realize it. The narrow streets, the ginjinha shops, the flowers on every corner. It looks like a scenario worthy of a film… and you really have to see it to believe it!
Although it’s no secret to most foreign tourists (and much less national ones!), a visit to Óbidos is always a good idea.
18 | Aldeia do Mato
Aldeia do Mato is another riverside village located on the Castelo de Bode reservoir. The most beautiful place to appreciate this village and its river beach is from the Aldeia do Mato viewpoint.
19 | Coimbra
The student city of Coimbra is already known by many and needs no long introduction. But the truth is that it is an excellent starting point for those who want to visit the central region of Portugal.
Besides, it’s always good to return to Coimbra since this is one of those cities that always leaves us with the desire to return 🥰. The best way to explore Coimbra is on foot, despite the several steep climbs we find along the way.
20 | Alverangel River Beach
Alverangel river beach is another of the fantastic river beaches in central Portugal. And I especially recommend visiting this one during golden hour.
However, I warn you that access to the beach is a bit difficult. Parking is scarce and part of the route has to be done on foot (a very steep descent). But if there are cases where the effort is worth it, this is one of them 😊.
21 | Caldas da Rainha
How many times have you thought of visiting Caldas da Rainha? I bet not many. But believe me, Caldas da Rainha, despite being far from being one of the biggest Portuguese cities, is a real gem.
From the majestic D. Carlos I Park to D. Leonor Forest, get ready to discover the charm of Caldas da Rainha.
💡 EXTRA TIP: You can find a complete 1 day itinerary of Caldas da Rainha in this post.
22 | Pedra Ferida Waterfall
The Pedra Ferida waterfall is one of the most beautiful in Portugal and one of my favourites. You can quickly access it, although the route to get there is of moderate difficulty. But any effort is worth it when you get closer to the waterfall!
💡 EXTRA TIP: You can find all the tips you need to organize your visit to the Pedra Ferida waterfall here.
23 | Peniche
Peniche is known for its good fish and waves that attract hundreds of surfers. Its beaches are also some of the best in Portugal, especially when the weather allows us to enjoy them. So, if you haven’t considered Peniche for a weekend getaway in Portugal yet, what are you waiting for 😄?
24 | Alcobaça
Alcobaça is known for its apples, but that’s not the reason I included Alcobaça on the list of places to visit in central Portugal. It is the Alcobaça Monastery – also one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal – that deserves all the attention.
📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The ticket to visit the Alcobaça Monastery costs 6€. You can check the most up-to-date timetable here.
And this post comes to an end! I hope that after reading this list of the best places to visit in Central Portugal, you got inspired to get to know this beautiful region in Portugal.
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