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5 Underrated Destinations In Portugal To Avoid Summer Crowds

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Portugal is one destination that travelers can't seem to get enough of.

This European country has been growing in popularity with American travelers, and during the first quarter of 2023, it actually surpassed previous tourism records.

View of city in portugal

According to Skift, Portugal received 2.8 million visitors in the first three months of this year — a significant increase from 1.8 million visitors in the first quarter of 2022 and even a sizable jump from the 2.5 million visitors that Portugal received in the first quarter of 2019.

If this record is any indicator of what's to come, Portugal will continue to set even more records during the busy summer travel months of this year.

But while popular destinations like Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve coast of the south will continue to increase in popularity, here are five underrated destinations in Portugal where you can still avoid crowds.

Young woman tourist enjoying beautiful landscape view on the old town with river and famous iron bridge during the sunset in Porto city, Portugal

1. Viana do Castelo

Located in the far northern reaches of Portugal, close to the border with the Spanish region of Galicia, Viana do Castelo is a beautiful underrated city that travelers shouldn't miss.

Although many travelers visit Porto, few venture much further north. But located less than an hour north of Porto by car, this historic city is well worth a visit.

You can explore a beautiful medieval old town, enjoy the scenery and beaches of northern Portugal, and visit Santa Luzia Basilica, a church on a hill with amazing views over the city.

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Viana do Castelo Portugal

2. Sagres

Although it's technically part of the popular Algarve region of southern Portugal, Sagres feels a world away from the crowded resorts further east.

Located on the westernmost point of the Algarve, this laidback and rugged town is the perfect destination for adventure-seekers.

It's known as a challenging surfing destination due to the intense waves, although there are also some quieter, sheltered beaches for swimming or relaxing in the sun. Sagres is also a great place for hiking and cycling away from the crowds.

Sagres Portugal

3. Coimbra

Coimbra is a historic riverfront city in central Portugal, located about midway between Porto and Lisbon, that is the perfect underrated destination to explore.

This city is known for its preserved medieval old town, as well as being the home of the University of Coimbra. Founded in 1209, this university is one of the oldest in the world, and it inspired author J.K. Rowling in her descriptions of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series.

If you're looking for a destination to visit in Portugal away from the crowds during the summer, this is a great place to go.

Coimbra Portugal

4. Viseu

If you're looking for a beautiful city that is off the tourist radar in Portugal, look no further than Viseu. Located in central Portugal, this city is often overlooked by visitors.

There's no train station in Viseu, so you'll need a car to visit. But it's worth the effort because you'll be rewarded with an ancient city with well-preserved medieval streets and architecture.

Viseu is known for its art and culture, especially from the Renaissance period. It's an excellent destination if you want to get off the beaten path in Portugal.

Viseu Portugal

5. The Azores

The Azores are not part of mainland Portugal at all but rather an archipelago of islands in the Mid-Atlantic. This autonomous region of Portugal is certainly off the beaten path, but it's worth a visit.

You can get to Ponta Delgada in just 2.5 hours on a nonstop flight from Lisbon. Located on the island of São Miguel, it's the largest city in the Azores and a gateway for exploring the rest of the islands.

Made up of nine volcanic islands, the Azores are known for having stunning and dramatic scenery and great hiking paths. This is a great place to go to get away from it all.

Azores

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