Best Places in Portugal for Solo Female Travel


1, Lisbon

Lisbon, the coastal capital city of Portugal, is beautifully situated along the Atlantic coast, bathed in Mediterranean sunlight and blessed with a rich tapestry of cultural and historical attractions. Known for its stunning pastel-colored buildings, ornate architecture, and magnificent hilltop vistas, Lisbon provides a feast for the eyes of every wanderlust traveler. This vibrant city showcases a unique blend of tradition and innovation, with its winding, cobbled alleyways leading to modern hubs of nightlife, shopping and dining. Key highlights include the historic Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the lively neighbourhood of Bairro Alto, and the iconic 28 tram. Furthermore, Lisbon's gastronomic scene, featuring the infamous custard tarts 'Pasteis de Nata' and fresh seafood, adds another layer to its irresistible charm.


2, Madeira

Madeira is a captivating archipelago that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Portugal, luring tourists around the year with its natural scenery and pleasant climate. This Portuguese gem comprises four islands, with Madeira Island being the largest amongst them. Known as the 'Garden of the Atlantic,' Madeira boasts exotic floral landscapes, lush vineyards, and the unique Laurel forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The islands also feature awe-inspiring volcanic geological formations, scenic hiking paths, particularly the levada walks, and the bustling marketplaces 'Mercados dos Lavradores' in the capital city, Funchal. Renowned for its New Year's fireworks display, one of the world's largest, and the fortified Madeira wine, the island is also the birthplace of the football legend, Cristiano Ronaldo. This idyllic archipelago offers a blend of natural enchantment and cultural fascination.


3, Lagos

Lagos, beautifully ensconced on Portugal's southern Algarve coastline, is popular for its mesmerizing blend of tradition, history and attractive beaches, making it an enticing destination for tourists worldwide. This charming town packs a punch with its vibrant nightlife, a well-preserved old town brimming with unique architecture, including the beautiful Lagos castle and St. Anthony's church. Spectacular cliffs and the crystal clear waters of Praia Dona Ana and Meia Praia are inviting jewels for beach lovers and surfers. Lagos also has a rich seafaring heritage and is known as the launching point of many voyages during the Age of Discovery. With a bountiful array of fresh seafood from the surrounding Atlantic Ocean, the local gastronomic scene is a delight for food enthusiasts.

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4, Porto

Porto, also known as Oporto, is a coastal city located in northwest Portugal, known for its rich history, charming cobblestone streets, and scenic views, stretching along the Douro River estuary. Famed for its production of fine port wine, this vibrant metropolitan area is teeming with culturally-rich sites such as the Ribeira district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with medieval relics, narrow paths, and cafes. Its most renowned icon, the Dom Luís I Bridge, provides a panoramic view of the city and its historic port wine cellars that line the river bank. Additionally, Porto is home to the beautiful Livraria Lello, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and a spot that inspired J.K. Rowling's depiction of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series.


5, Algarve

The Algarve, located on the southernmost region of mainland Portugal, is known for its sunny Mediterranean climate, breathtaking cliffs, golden sandy beaches, and scenic fishing towns. It's an all year round favorite for tourists worldwide due to its idyllic landscapes and the deep turquoise colors of the Atlantic Ocean. It enthralls visitors with its exquisite seafood cuisine, golf courses which are considered among the best in Europe, and the remnants of its Moorish architectural history. Offering a perfect blend of nature's beauty and cultural richness, Algarve is a must-visit spot for every travel enthusiast.


6, Sintra

Nestled in the foothills of Portugal's Sintra Mountains, just a half hour drive from the capital, Lisbon, the picturesque town of Sintra is an alluring blend of natural beauty and rich history. Known for its romantic 19th-century architectures, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a veritable treasure trove of captivating palaces, mysterious gardens, and ancient castles. Highlights include the pastel-colored Pena Palace, the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira, and the ancient Moorish Castle, which offers breathtaking views from its hilltop vantage point. The charming old town streets are equally inviting, filled with traditional pastries shops and authentic Portuguese restaurants. With its regal hilltop features and surrounding natural beauty, Sintra provides a fairytale backdrop that's perfect for a day trip or an extended stay.


7, Azores

The Azores, a stunning archipelago in the mid-Atlantic, is one of Portugal's best-kept secrets, offering visitors a surreal blend of breathtaking natural landscapes. Composed of nine volcanic islands, the Azores are famed for their lush green terrain interspersed with colorful hydrangea-lined roads, magnificent geysers, sparkling azure lakes and verdant crater fields. The islands also cater to a wide range of adventure activities such as whale watching, diving, hiking and birdwatching. Known as a strong bastion of Portuguese culture, Azores feature charming old towns abundant with historical architecture, local gastronomy, and vibrant festivals. The peaceful, laid-back ambiance and spectacular scenic beauty make Azores a unique travel destination.


8, Coimbra

Situated in central Portugal, Coimbra sits alluringly along the banks of the Mondego River, offering a treasure trove of historical and cultural gems. Regally known for housing the University of Coimbra, one of the world's oldest academic institutions, the city melds modernity and tradition effortlessly. It is particularly renowned for its preserved medieval old town, relic-filled museums, charming café culture, and Fado music, a melancholic genre of music that speaks deeply of love, pain, and longing. Adding to the allure of Coimbra are the intricately designed gardens and beautiful parks, making it an exceptional mix of natural beauty and historical richness.


9, Funchal

Funchal, nestled on the sun-drenched southern coastline of Portugal's exotic Madeira Island, beckons travelers with its scintillating blend of natural beauty, cultural wealth, and easy-going Mediterranean charm. Renowned for its terraced landscapes, stunningly beautiful gardens like Monte Palace Tropical Garden and the Madeira Botanical Gardens, Funchal is a horticulturalist's dream. The city effortlessly merges historic, centuries-old structures, exemplified by its captivating Se Cathedral, with modern elements such as the CR7 Museum dedicated to Portugal's football legend - Cristiano Ronaldo, who was born here. Funchal is also famous for its fruits and vegetables market, Mercado dos Lavradores, and its traditional New Year's Eve fireworks display, regarded as one of the world's most extraordinary. In a nutshell, Funchal is the perfect cocktail of relaxing beach life, invigorating mountain hikes, and vibrant city culture – there is something for every travel enthusiast.


10, Aveiro

Situated on the west coast of Portugal, Aveiro is known as the Venice of Portugal, presenting a delightful maze of canals, charming color-painted houses, and captivating Art Nouveau architecture. Often overlooked by travelers, this charming maritime city is renowned for its historical seaport, abundance of salt pans, and its magnificent collection of religious sites such as the Aveiro Cathedral. Aveiro's waterways, adorned with traditional Moliceiro gondola-like boats, are a tribute to the city's prosperous fishing past. Also famous for its sweet delicacy called "ovos moles", Aveiro offers a unique blend of historical allure and culinary excellence that leaves visitors enchanted.


11, Loule

Situated in the heart of the sunny Algarve region, Loule is a charming Portuguese town known for its vibrant local culture and rich historical heritage. Lying just a short drive away from the popular coastal resorts, Loule is most renowned for its lively markets, which are housed in an Arabian-style market hall, selling a range of local products from fresh produce to handmade crafts. The town's rich history is evident in the impressive Loule Castle, a medieval structure offering breathtaking views from its turreted walls. Additionally, Loule is famous for providing visitors with an authentic Portuguese experience, particularly during its colourful annual Carnival, which ranks as one of the most important cultural events in the country. With its blend of traditional charm and modern amenities, Loule offers travellers a unique glimpse into the heart of Portuguese life.


12, Peniche

Located on the western coast of Portugal, Peniche is a charming fishing town renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, centuries-old cultural history, and thrilling water sports. This idyllic destination is best known for being the Surf Capital of Europe, with its spectacular beaches like Supertubos offering world-class surfing opportunities. Besides its thrilling waves, the town boasts alluring attractions including the 16th-century Peniche Fort, which stands as a historical testament to the city's past. Just off the coast, the Berlengas archipelago, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, lures visitors with its striking landscapes and diverse flora and fauna. Whether you are a surfer, a history enthusiast, or a nature lover, Peniche offers a unique blend of adventure, heritage, and tranquillity.


13, Ericeira

Ericeira, located along the Portuguese Atlantic coast, approximately 35 km northwest of Lisbon, is globally acclaimed as a surfing destination. Recognized as a World Surfing Reserve, the first one in Europe, it is well-appreciated for its consistent swells throughout the year and diverse surfing spots such as the Pedra Branca, Reef, Ribeira d'Ilhas and Coxos. Beyond the thriving surf scene, Ericeira charms its visitors with picturesque white and blue-hued traditional houses, narrow cobblestone streets, lush vineyards, and staggering sea views. Renowned for its fresh seafood, restaurants and seaside cafes serve the catch of the day in traditional Portuguese style that food lovers would immensely enjoy. The town’s relaxed atmosphere combined with its local cultural richness make it a must-see destination for travelers wanting to explore the genuine side of Portugal.

Sao Miguel

14, Sao Miguel

Sao Miguel, Portugal, located in the Azores archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean, is known as the "Green Island" due to its vibrant landscapes of verdant pastures, crater lakes, scenic seacoasts, and hot springs. The island impressively combines cosmopolitan city life in the capital, Ponta Delgada, with numerous natural attractions. Sao Miguel is renowned for its beautiful 18th-century architecture, botanical gardens, and the enchanting Sete Cidades twin lakes. The rich marine life, including various species of whales and dolphins, promises unforgettable whale-watching experiences. For food lovers, local Azorean culinary delights are a feast not to be missed, accentuating the charm of this island getaway.

Ponta Delgada

15, Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada, a picturesque destination centrally located on Sao Miguel, the largest island in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, is known for its enchanting blend of historic architecture and natural beauty. The city's charming cobblestone streets lead to splendid points of interest such as the 18th-century City Gates and the Gothic-style St. Sebastian Church. Home to exceptional marine life, it provides opportunities for whale watching and swimming with dolphins. Its surrounding lush green landscapes, geothermal pools from Furnas, and the stunning Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lagoon) illustrate the island's unique volcanic origin. The mix of scenic outdoors and rich cultural heritage makes Ponta Delgada an attractive stop in the ecotourism circuit.


16, Faro

Faro, the charming capital of the Algarve region in Portugal, offers a blend of immersive culture, enchanting natural beauty, and fascinating historical perspectives. Situated on the southernmost tip of the country, bordered by sparkling turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Faro captivates visitors with its magnetic allure. The city is renowned for its captivating Old Town adorned with cobbled streets and grand monuments such as the neoclassical Arco da Vila. Faro's picturesque marina, cathedral, exquisite seafood restaurants, and atmospheric cafes provide a delightful experience. Not to forget, it is the gateway to the Ria Formosa Natural Park—a haven for bird-watching enthusiasts—and offers vibrant nightlife attracting party-lovers worldwide.


17, Fatima

Fatima, Portugal, located in the heart of the country, is renowned worldwide as one of the most important Catholic pilgrimage centers. Nestled approximately 142 km north of Lisbon, Fatima is a magnet to religious devotees due to its remarkable history linked to the Marian apparitions that reportedly occurred in 1917. The globally famous Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima is the heart of the city, drawing millions annually to its grounds, where three shepherd children claimed to see visions of the Virgin Mary. Besides its spiritual allure, Fatima also offers visitors a remarkable blend of serene landscapes, local gastronomy, and a vivid cultural aura that exuberates the Portuguese heritage.


18, Braganca

Bragança, located in northeastern Portugal, is an illustrious city bursting with historical charm and natural beauty. Known for its striking medieval fortress, the Castle of Bragança, it boasts a rich illustrious past, along with its well-preserved old town complete with charming narrow streets and age-old houses. Visitors are not only drawn by the city’s intrinsic connection with the past but also its proximity to the Montesinho Natural Park, offering superb opportunities for hiking and wildlife spotting. Montesinho is also famous for gastronomy featuring the traditional smoked meats and other local specialties. With its vibrant folk culture and stunning mountainous backdrop, Bragança offers a unique travel experience, often underscored as a high point of authenticity within Portuguese heritage.


19, Chaves

Chaves, a captivating city nestled in the north of Portugal close to the Spanish border, is steeped in historical charm and natural beauty. Known for its rich Roman heritage, Chaves is punctuated with beautiful landmarks such as the 14th-century Fort of São Francisco and the Roman Bridge of Trajano. Visitors can soak in the therapeutic hot springs at Chaves Thermal Spa, which have been celebrated for centuries for their healing properties. With a range of traditional Portuguese cuisine to delight in, particularly the famous local smoked ham, ‘Presunto de Chaves’, the city offers a unique blend of history, cuisine and culture that leaves every traveller intrigued and wanting more.


20, Braga

Braga, nestled in the northwest part of Portugal, offers a captivating blend of ancient history, rich culture, and vibrant modern life. Known as the religious heart of the country, it boasts an impressive number of churches, the most famous probably being the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary. Its cobbled streets are lined with brunch cafes, exquisite eateries, and unique shops that bring the city's old-world charm to life. With its well-preserved remains from Roman times, stunning baroque architecture, and tranquil gardens such as Santa Barbara Garden, Braga is a city that persuasively combines tradition and tranquility with youthful energy and contemporary creativity.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best places in Portugal for solo female travellers?

The best places in Portugal for solo female travellers are: