10 Reasons to Visit Portugal as a solo traveller


Discover ten reasons why you need to visit Portugal as a solo traveller. From quaint towns to mouth-watering gastronomy, there’s so much to experience here.


Coimbra has been the medieval capital of Portugal for over 100 years, and is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe, founded in 1290. During your visit here, look out for the Cathedral of Santa Cruz, the Royal Palace of Alcáçova, the Baroque Joanine Library and the stunning botanical gardens.

There’s a whole host of churches, temples, monasteries and monuments around Coimbra, it’s considered a bit more under the radar than the city of Lisbon or Faro, but a must-visit if you love history, architecture and beautiful gardens.

It’s also believed that the city was the birthplace of Fado music – look out for live music performances around the city.


If you are a seafood lover you will be in your element in Portugal, where restaurants are brimming with some of the finest fish stocks in the world, owing to Portugal’s ideal climate. The best dish to try has to be cataplanas. Believed to be inspired by a Moorish tagine, it's traditionally packed with prawns, clams, mussels and fish.

Gaia, in the Douro Valley, is also a key producer of port. Discover one of the town’s many port wine cellars to sample the sweet red wine. The area, as well as the lodges where the wines are aged, are deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so you’re definitely in the right place.

A visit to Portugal would not be complete without sampling a Pastéis de Belem, a popular and deliciously sweet Portuguese egg custard tart and best enjoyed alongside an after dinner coffee. You can sample one (or two!) of these delicious tarts as part of our walking tour of Lisbon.

The ancient, and closely guarded recipe, dates back to the 1800s and was passed from the monastery to master confectioners who hand-crafted these iconic desserts.  Even to this day, the recipe remains unchanged, and production still takes place in a ‘secret room’ at Pastéis de Belém. Why not try making your own before you travel? Click here for a recipe.


With a rich and varied history, as well as some of the oldest borders in Europe, there seems to be heritage attractions at every turn in Portugal.

One of our favourites, is the famous Livraria Lello - one of the country’s oldest and most beautiful bookshops and among the best in the world. Located in Porto, the bookstore has been distinguished by Tiqet’s Remarkable Venue Awards 2022 as the world’s most innovative attractions with creative installations, as well as stunning and bold interiors and architecture.


Considered one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal, Ria Formosa Natural Park in the Faro region, is an 18,000 hectare ecosystem protected from the sea by five barrier islands and two peninsulas. A unique coastal lagoon that’s constantly changing, there’s an array of different habitats here including marshes, dunes, lagoons and woodland.

It’s also a birdwatching haven, in fact many birds choose this area to nest after migrating from the north of Europe – at any one time the area can be home to as many as 20,000 birds. It is also home to Bottlenose Dolphins, the endangered Chameleon and one of the world’s largest populations of seahorses.


Of course it would be remiss not to include the island of Madeira in our Portugal round up – affectionately monikered the Pearl of the Atlantic. Madeira, as well as carrying many of the traditions of the mainland, is most notable for its subtropical horticulture with over 3,000 species of plant growing here.

Unsurprisingly, the best time to visit is during spring to see the best plants in bloom, however its subtropical climate means there is something spectacular to see all year round – not forgetting of course numerous festivals celebrating flowers, wine, nature and even the explorer Christopher Columbus, who spent time on the island.


With over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year and 850 kilometres of beaches, it’s unsurprising that millions of visitors flock to Portugal’s shores for a sunshine break.

And the best place to enjoy the warmth of the sun is by the water’s edge. Aveiro, known as the Venice of Portugal, rests along the edge of a lagoon and home to a small network of canals. Wander along the city’s canal side to admire all the colourful ‘moliceiros’ cruising along the water past the region’s pastel coloured Art Nouveau houses.


Much of Portugal’s history can be unearthed through its artisanal crafts with stonework, pottery, decorative tiles (the Portuguese azulejo) and weaving just some crafts which draw on their history to reinvent their crafts into more contemporary styles.

During your time in Portugal and Madeira, look out for some of these remarkable creations from intricately-woven baskets proudly displayed and ready for sale, to palace buildings and fountains in squares adorned with the detailed blue tiles depicting scenes that traditionally told the life stories of saints or fables.


With such dramatic and varied landscapes, Portugal is a great place for hiking. The Fisherman’s Trail along the Atlantic Coast is made for adventurers with small coves and hidden beaches along the route.

Or take a step back in time with the Historical Way route from the charming town of Santiago de Cacém, to Cabo de San Vincente in the south.


The city of Lisbon is one of contrasts where it’s far-reaching history rubs shoulders against its reputation as one of Europe’s most exciting cities.

LX Factory is a welcoming array of cool street art, weekend markets and over 50 independent boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops and bars in the otherwise quiet neighbourhood of Alcântara.

With a unique location in an old manufacturing complex under the Ponte de 25 Abril Bridge – it’s a fantastic example of urban regeneration and if you’re quite creative and love art, you’ll want to add this to your list during your free time in the city.


If it’s your first time travelling solo, Portugal is a small country to explore so perfect for your first adventure, affording you the opportunity to see more in a day. And most importantly, it’s a really welcoming place, so a great introduction into the wonderful world of travelling solo, yet you’ll never feel completely alone.

Feeling inspired? Learn more about solo guided holidays to Portugal