8 Magnificent Natural Wonders to Visit in Portugal

By: Gerelyn Terzo of Sharemoney 

There may only be seven natural wonders of the world, but one Southern European country has a number of awe-inspiring landmarks in its own right: Portugal. Whether you’re after adventure, history, or fun in the sun, Portugal is sure to provide the experience you’re craving. We’ve rounded up eight magnificent natural wonders to visit in Portugal for some inspiration and excitement. 

  1. Mt. Pico 

When you are in the Azores region, you won’t be able to miss Mt. Pico, a volcano-encompassed island whose horizon is comparable to that of Mt. Fuji. Visible from surrounding islands and reminiscent of Scotland or Ireland, you can visit Mt. Pico by boat from Sao Jorge or Faial or fly in from the mainland. If you’re up for the challenge to hike this volcano, you can, but be sure and bring plenty of water. As Portugal’s highest mountain and the second biggest island in the Azores, Mt. Pico sits over 7,700 feet above sea level.  

  1. Litoral Norte Natural Park 

By the river and by the sea, Litoral Norte Natural Park offers 16 km of stunning coastline from river Cávado in the Braga district to the town of Apulia. It comprises white beaches, wildlife, dunes to protect against the winds, reefs, and estuaries. Established as a protected area in 1987, the national park achieved requalification status in 2005. Walk along these undisturbed beaches and bathe in the tranquil, clear waters. Capture the beauty of this natural wonder either by camera or paintbrush. Breath in the sea air and take in all this natural wonder has to offer. 

  1. Flores Island

While you’re in the Azores area, you might as well take the time to see another one of Portugal’s natural wonders — Flores Island. Known for its rare beauty, Flores Island, also dubbed “nature’s garden,” is a place to unplug and enjoy the sound of the waterfalls. While there, you can visit the historical center and appreciate the traditional architecture while mingling with the locals. Take a dip in the natural pools that  Santa Cruz das Flores has to offer and take home memories for a lifetime. Flores Island has the distinction as the “westernmost island…in the North Atlantic.” 

  1.  Douro International Natural Park

Situated on the border between Portugal and Spain, Douro International Natural Park will make you feel more like a local and less like a tourist. Following the Rier Douro, the park has more to offer than just its natural beauty, which in addition to the river includes steep, rocky cliffs. It extends to towns and villages, all designed to safeguard the natural habitat, including plants and wildlife. Bring your binoculars and set up at the  Santa Maria de Aguiar reservoir to catch a glimpse of the endangered species in the area, including Iberian Griffin and Egyptian vultures. Environmental cruises are also available.    

  1. Praia da Falesia 

If serenity is what you have in mind, you won’t want to miss Praia da Falésia, which is also known as “Cliff Beach.” Praia da Falésia is located in Southern Portugal and is not only considered one of the country’s most beautiful beaches but also one of the world’s. Stretching for 6 kilometers, from  Vilamoura on one side and Olhos de Água on the other, half of Praia da Falesia is adorned with bright red sandy cliffs on which pine trees and flowers have grown. Visit in the morning for some tranquil meditation time and then go for a dip in the translucent sea or soak in the rays of the sun all day.  

  1. Belém Tower

The Belém Tower was constructed in the 1500s and was declared a World Heritage Site in the early 1980s by UNESCO. The tower was built on the Tagus River and was designed to protect the city of Lisbon. Built with some of the same stones from the  Monastery of Santa Maria de Belém, it later served as a lighthouse until it was renovated as a customs center. Marvel at the rhino-shaped gargoyle, one of the earliest animal sculptures in Western European art

  1. Benagil Caves

Your trip to Portugal wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Benagil Caves in Algarve in the country’s southernmost region. Opt for one of the tours available to get the most out of the experience, with the morning hours showcasing the best light to see these structures. The Benagil Caves were formed by the pounding of the sea but have the added feature of a skylight that makes visibility better than most other caves. Enter by boat, which is also where you’ll most likely experience the Benagil Caves, though you can also go by kayak. Watch out for any falling rocks or chunks of cliffs. 

8. Sintra-Cascais Natural Park

No you’re not in the middle of a fairy tale, it’s just Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. This park is located outside of Lisbon on the Portuguese Riviera and has enough to take in for days on end. This historic site has everything you could want in a park and more — a beach, castle, and a 19th-century palace. Magoito is considered one of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches, not to mention a good lunch spot, while the Castle of the Moors will give you a feel for traveling back to medieval times. Not to be outdone, the famous Pena Palace will capture your imagination with its bright colors and unique architecture, all on top of a mountain range. Take a tour by way of jeep or by bicycle to enjoy the views at their finest.