20/08/2015

The most charming towns of Portugal

The neighboring country, internationally recognized for its historical and cultural heritage and its great beaches, is much more than Lisbon, the capital and largest city. The only Portuguese-speaking country in Europe has small towns and cities whose streets are full of magic that give them features as their tradition or their beauty. From Five Sensations, we present some of the most attractive towns of Portugal.

Oporto

The second most important city after Lisbon has a rich historical heritage that still provides a great cultural value despite having undergone modernization in recent decades. Porto has the greatest distance meter of Portugal, which covers not only the center of the city, but also the metropolitan area. Its historic center has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Not surprisingly, it has attractions such as the Tower of Clerics, the highest steeple in all of Portugal and cultural tourism; Porto Cathedral, declared a National Monument, or the spectacular library, selected as the third most beautiful in the world by the British newspaper The Guardian in 2008 and in which some of the scenes of the film saga inspired Lello & Irmao Harry Potter.

catedral Oporto

Guimarães

The charm of this town in northern Portugal led her to be recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its medieval neighborhood of narrow streets and small houses colorful facades, is one of the main historical attractions. But if there is a claim in Guimarães, this is the highest part of the city, known as the Sacred Hill, where their three most important monuments: the Castle, built in the tenth century and is, since 2007, one of the seven wonders of the country; the church of San Miguel do Castelo, which was named the first king of Portugal and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, an impressive fifteenth century building that houses a rich art collection.

Castillo-de-Guimarães

Coímbra

This Portuguese city bathed by the waters of the Mondego River boasts one of the oldest universities in Europe and the first one in Portugal. The architectural beauty of its Romanesque buildings enchants all visitors. Its main asset is the emblem University of Coimbra that houses real jewels of incalculable historical value inside, example of which is its Joanina Library, which has about 300,000 old books on theology, philosophy and law and is composed by tables of rosewood, ebony and jacaranda; chinoiserie designs with gold glazes and delicate frescoes ceilings. In addition to the campus, the town is well-known for its Cathedral Sé Velha from the twelfth century, one of the leading exponents of Portuguese Romanesque.

Coimbra1

Braga

The most populous city in Portugal after Lisbon and Porto is one of the two points most famous Marian pilgrimage in the country along with Fátima. Its Sanctuary do Sameiro receives each year millions of visitors in search of spiritual redemption. Near the famous temple, it is the not less famous Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, a church of the nineteenth century with a neoclassical style that has a long stairway on its outside. From the hill of Monte Espinho, where the shrine is located, there is a viewpoint from which you can see the whole city and the wonderful natural environment that surrounds it. But the ecclesiastical architecture of this city does not finish there, then its Cathedral holds the not inconsiderable honor of being the oldest one in Portugal.

Sintra

Sintra is one of the places most visited by all those who, having gone to Lisbon decide to make a tour around the Portuguese capital. It is a small town that, despite its reduced size, has many attractions –divided by a mountain– that earned it the declaration of World Heritage by UNESCO. On the hillside there is the historic center, the beautiful Sintra National Palace –decorated Manueline style–, the Museu do Brinquedo -dedicated to the toys- and the Quinta da Regaleira, an impressive manor house that usually lie unnoticed. In the upper part of the city, is the incredible Palacio da Pena, a building declared a World Heritage Site for its great beauty and historical significance. Very close to it are the ruins of the Castelo dos Mouros, a castle that was instrumental in the recapture of Portugal.

sintra-palacio-pena

Óbidos

The name of this small town comes from the Latin “oppidum”, a name used in ancient times to refer to the walled cities. So it is not surprising that one of the main attractions of Obidos is precisely the belt medieval walls surrounding it. Built on a hill, this town counts among its heritage insignia with stunning Castelo de Dom Dinis who became, in 2007, in one of the seven wonders of Portugal, which currently houses an exclusive hotel. The picturesque village, very well preserved, was declared a National Heritage and has, in addition to the castle and the wall, a number of churches among which the Santa María, and an aqueduct 3 kilometers built in the sixteenth century at the request of Catherine of Austria and classified as Property of Public Interest.

Obidos_77c