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5 Lesser Known Destinations In Portugal To Avoid The Record-Breaking Crowds

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Portugal is a beautiful country with incredible beaches. This year alone it has been listed as one of the cheapest European vacation destinations as well as one of the most popular.

So it should come as no surprise that Portugal’s travel and tourism industry is on target to break records in 2023. Data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that by the end of the year, Portugal’s tourism industry will exceed its 2019 peak.

5 Lesser Known Destinations In Portugal To Avoid The Record Breaking Crowds

Locations such as Lisbon, Porto, and Madeira are listed as the most popular destinations in Portugal, and they all attract big crowds during the summer months.

But what about if you want to explore Portugal without the record-breaking crowds?

Here are 5 lesser-known destinations in Portugal to explore:


Miramar is a small coastal village located between the towns of Gulpilhares and Arcozelo. Despite boasting a beautiful beach, Miramar doesn’t attract the same level of crowds as the beaches of the Algarve. Even in the high season, the beach here is pleasantly uncrowded.

Miramar Beach Portugal

If you’re looking for tourist attractions, then you won’t be disappointed here either. Miramar is home to the Capela do Senhora Pedra. This is a 17th-century chapel that looks striking against the wave-beaten headland that juts out from the beach.

Miramar isn’t far from Porto, so it’s not exactly off the beaten track. But it is much quieter than many of the other easy-to-access tourist resorts in Portugal.

Alto Alentejo

If you’re hoping to explore the authentic heart of Portugal, then Alto Alentejo is the perfect region to visit.

You won’t find luxury all-inclusive resorts here. And as it is an inland destination, you won’t be able to spend your days lazing on the beach. But Alto Alentejo offers an incredible mixture of pretty towns and medieval cities.

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aerial view of city in portugal

It is the best place in Portugal to mingle with locals and enjoy the country’s history and culture.

The best way to stay here is in small, locally run hotels or farm stays. Alentejo cuisine is regarded as amongst the richest and best in Portugal.


Marvao is a small, fairytale village with a population of just 2,972. Located in the mountaintops near the Spanish border, Marvao is a Medieval village, and the castle here is considered to be one of the most beautiful castles in Europe.

Narrow street in Marvao

Marvao boasts white-washed houses and incredible views. People often stop at Marvao as part of a wider road trip around Portugal, but it is less popular as a stand-alone vacation destination.

Marvao is a vacation destination that is small but perfectly formed and is best suited to active, outdoorsy types. From hiking in the surrounding mountains to horseback riding and mountain biking, Marvao is best explored slowly, with plenty of stops to admire the breathtaking scenery.


The most off-path locations are the ones that are hardest to reach, and that is true of beautiful Viseu.

There is no train station here, so you will need to hire a car to reach your destination. But it’s worth making the effort to enjoy the incredible views, cultural attractions, and the lack of crowds.

Viseu Portugal

Viseu is a medieval walled city that is home to a monumental cathedral, beautiful cobbled alleyways, and immense plazas perfect for people-watching and unwinding after a busy day. As the location is in one of Portugal’s main wine-producing regions, you’re in the perfect place for a glass of red.

And art lovers will find Renaissance treasures to savor in the Museu Grão Vasco.


Ferragudo is known as the prettiest village on the Algarve. And while there are no completely tourist-free locations here, if you want to visit the Algarve, then this is one of the best places to choose.

Ferragudo is a traditional fishing village filled with whitewashed cottages, hillside streets, and beautiful riverside views. The squares and terraces here have a buzzing night-time atmosphere, and you’ll find a host of great restaurants here too.

On the narrow Alleys of Ferragudo, Algarve, Portugal

One of the more unique characteristics of this area is the many cliff-top forts that you can explore. Ferragudo is at the mouth of a river rather than offering direct beach access.

While the famous beaches of the Algarve are close by, this distance makes Ferraguda a much quieter location to explore.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Bárbara Arauz

Tuesday 25th of July 2023

I recommend Armona island in Algarve 🔝🔝🔝


Tuesday 25th of July 2023

You can take a Rede Expressos bus to Viseu, they’re quite good.

Albino Santos

Sunday 23rd of July 2023

As portuguese, I would like to underline that those options are quite good. It is a different Portugal, not for the typical tourist that end up visiting Lisbon, Porto, Sintra or Algarve.


Sunday 23rd of July 2023

Furadouro is also a great place!