5 Historical Sites to Visit in Portugal

Belem Tower

Located on the banks of the Tagus River in Lisbon, the Belem Tower (Torre de Belém) is an iconic fortress that symbolizes Portugal's Age of Discovery. Built in the early 16th century, the tower was initially constructed to guard the entrance to the city's harbor. Its ornate Manueline architecture, characterized by intricate maritime motifs, reflects Portugal's maritime prowess during the era of exploration. Climb the tower's narrow staircase to enjoy panoramic views of the river and surrounding areas.

University of Coimbra

Nestled in the historic city of Coimbra, the University of Coimbra (Universidade de Coimbra) is one of the oldest universities in continuous operation worldwide. Founded in 1290, it played a vital role in shaping Portugal's intellectual and cultural heritage. Explore the Joanina Library, a stunning baroque masterpiece adorned with intricately carved bookshelves and ceilings. Don't miss the grand University Tower, which offers breathtaking views of the city. The university's rich history and architectural grandeur make it a must-visit for history buffs.

Évora's Roman Temple

In the charming city of Évora, you'll find the remains of an ancient Roman temple, known as the Temple of Diana (Templo Romano de Évora). Constructed in the 1st century AD, this well-preserved temple is an impressive testament to Roman engineering and architecture. Originally dedicated to the Roman goddess of hunting, Diana, the temple showcases the grandeur of the Roman Empire in Portugal. Wander through the nearby Évora Museum to discover more about the temple's history and see fascinating artifacts from the Roman era.

Batalha Monastery

Situated in the small town of Batalha, the Batalha Monastery (Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitória) is a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic architecture. Construction began in 1386 to commemorate Portugal's victory over the Castilians at the Battle of Aljubarrota. The monastery's ornate façade and intricate stonework are awe-inspiring, while the interior features magnificent stained glass windows and intricate vaulted ceilings. The monastery is also the final resting place of several Portuguese monarchs. A visit to the Batalha Monastery is a journey through history, art, and the profound religious devotion of the era.

Castle of Guimarães

Dubbed the "Cradle of Portugal," the Castle of Guimarães (Castelo de Guimarães) is an essential site for understanding the nation's foundation. Built in the 10th century, the castle played a pivotal role in Portugal's independence from the Kingdom of León. Legend has it that the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, was born within the castle walls. Wander through its ramparts, explore the historic halls, and admire the breathtaking views from the towers. The castle's historical significance and architectural beauty make it a must-see destination.