We already know that Portugal is one of the most popular travel destinations for Britons – with 1.8 million tourists from the United Kingdom visiting the country in 2018. These numbers just tend to increase since Portugal was recently awarded with the World Travel Awards as the World’s Best Destination in 2019.
However, instead of choosing the already popular sites such as Porto, Lisbon and the region of Algarve; why not exploring some unique heritage sites in this fascinating country?
Here are some stunning UNESCO’s Heritage Sites in Portugal this year:
#1. University of Coimbra
Coimbra is a city of many archaeological structures and impressive history. It’s in the capital of Portugal that we can find one of the most important educational institutions in the world.
Not only one of the oldest universities in Europe, but the University of Coimbra is a prestigious institution that is also reference in architecture. Established in 1290, the building has a baroque style library that is a must-see.
These historical buildings were classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2013. Besides, the University of Coimbra is located in a privileged position in the city, from where you can have stunning overviews of the River Mondego.
#2. Prehistorical Rock Art Sites in the Coa Valley
The Coa Valley has over 7 thousand examples of prehistorical rock work arts. It’s one of the most impressive rock painting sites in the world with art works found all over the valley. If this is not enough reason visit this amazing UNESCO’s Heritage site, I don’t know what else could be.
Located in the northern east region of Portugal, these remarkable archaeological engraved pieces of art were discovered in the early 1990s.
#3. Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture
One of the World’s most unique wine region is located in the archipelago of Azores. The wine runs along the ground, and the vines are actually placed in little squares with stone walls – wish makes the wine production quite unique indeed.
The Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture is an UNESCO’s World heritage site since 2004.
It’s in this beautiful region in the island that is located the Pico mountain – which is the tallest Portuguese peak, and its surrounded by amazing fauna and beautiful coastline.
The small island of Pico is also known for its volcanic landscape. A perfect spot for hikers and wine lovers. You can also explore the island of Sao Miguel if you have some spare time.
#4. Monastery of Batalha
This Dominican convent located in the town of Batalha in the centre region of Portugal is one of the best and original examples of late Gothic architecture in the country.
The Monastery of Batalha was added in 1883 by UNESCO as another World’s heritage site spot in the country because of its architectural and historical value.
As Batalha means battle in Portuguese, we can understand why this stunning building was constructed as a thankful site for the Portuguese victory over the Castilians in the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385.
#5. Sintra’s Heritage
A single visit to Sintra would be enough to understand why this little Medieval village is considered one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage site since 1995. The Mouro’s castle, National Palace, The Pena Palace and its historical centre are must-see spots to visit.
The village is nearby Lisbon and it takes only 40 minutes to reach Sintra by train.
I would recommend you wearing comfortable shoes and be prepared to hilly streets to check the beautiful overlooks of the village from the top of Pena Palace.
#6. Laurissilva Florest in Madeira
Madeira is a popular destination for tourist in Portugal and it has also one of the most important UNESCO Heritage sites since 1999 – the Laurissilva forest.
The Laurisilva forest of Madeira, within the Parque Natural da Madeira (Madeira Natural Park) conserves the largest surviving area of primary laurel forest or “laurisilva”, a vegetation type that is now confined to the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands.
Its complex formation is a result of million years of biological integration. The botanical species preserved there are fundamental because of its biological diversity. There are trees with 40 metres height and the forest is responsible for the ecosystem found in the Madeira Island.
#.7. Alto Douro Wine Region
Here to one off the most popular sites in Portugal. The Alto Douro Wine Region has been producing wine for over 2000 years.
Port wine is not only one of my favourite drinks, but it’s also responsible for bringing tourists from all over the world to check the traditional of viniculture in Portugal.
The river Douro and its cultural landscape is undoubtedly one of the most interesting sites added by UNESCO to its fine list of World’s heritage spots.