Where to Stay in Portugal – 8 Amazing Cities & Islands


Portugal is one of my favorite countries ever! Having lived there for 9 months, I was lucky enough to experience much of its rich culture, delicious food, great waves, ancient history…And I still have so much to see and do!

If you’re planning your holidays to Portugal, you should take into consideration that each city in every different part of the country is unique and has something different to offer you.  So choosing where to stay can really make the difference as it is all about what you’re looking for!

That’s why I made this guide with the best places to stay in Portugal, including a destination for any taste!

The best place where to stay in Portugal is Lisbon if you are looking for a well rounded experience. But that is not all, Porto is a great choice if you want to try its famous wine, Lagos is perfect if you love the outdoors, Madeira Island for a tranquil gateway, Sao Miguel (in the Azores) for couples, Sintra if you love history, Costa da Caparica is the perfect surf destination and the students in Coimbra really know how to party!

For each city in this post I have also included accommodation options for different budgets, from luxury hotels to cozy guest houses and affordable hostels. But remember to book them some months in advance if you want to be sure to find a spot, especially in the summer months as hotels in Portugal book so fast!

Are you ready to see them all with me? Let’s go!

Quick Picks for Your Stay

If you don’t have time to read the whole post, here are the top hotels where to stay in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon:

luxury hotel
mid-range hotel
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budget hotel
0 4%20Zurin%20Charm%20Hotel%20affordable%20accommodatio

Zurin Charm Hotel

Best affordable accommodation in the center

0 2%20Mid Century%20Apartment

Mid-Century Apartment

An Airbnb with amazing reviews

Here’s a map for you, so you can visualize where all the best cities where to stay in Portugal are located:

Where to Stay in Portugal MAP
  1. Lisbon : for first-timers
  2. Porto : the best wine
  3. Lagos : for the outdoors
  4. Madeira : for tranquility
  5. The Azores: for couples
  6. Sintra : for history buffs
  7. Coimbra: for nightlife
  8. Costa da Caparica: for surfing

1. Lisbon – where to stay in Portugal for the first time

0 Things to do in Lisbon

Well if it’s your first time in the country, what better place to stay in Portugal than its capital?

Located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is one of the most complete cities in terms of what it has to offer that I’ve ever been to in my life… And it’s so charming at the same time.

Here you will find a lot of urban art (which makes the city super colorful!) countless museums,  world-class nightlife, historical buildings, shopping options and panoramic viewpoints… There are so many things to do in Lisbon!

Among the things that I love the most about this city is the ancient tower of Belem, the Miradouro Graça Viewpoint, the Alfama district where you can attend a traditional Fado show (check out the best places to see Fado!) and drink the Ginjinha liqueur, or the Bairro Alto to dance the night away.

This is also THE place to try the delicious local cuisine. From the sweet pastries pasteis de nata, to the typical baccalao (codfish) prepared in any kind of way, and the petiscos, the portuguese version of the spanish tapas. All should be accompanied with a glass of green wine!

And if you love walking, this is definitely the place for you. Lisbon is built on seven hills, so even if everything is relatively close, you will walk kilometers up and down!

Luxury hotel
1 1%20Epic%20Sana%20Marqu%C3%AAs%20Family%20friendly%20Hotel

Located just a few minutes from Lisbon’s main attractions, this 5-star hotel offers multiple pools and a great rooftop terrace from which you can enjoy panoramic views of Lisbon city center and the Tagus River. In this luxury property you’ll also have access to all the amenities you need such as a shared lounge, a gourmet restaurant serving Japanese cuisine and an on-site spa and wellness center where you can relax. In other words, here you can enjoy the city life and comfort at the same time!

Other accommodation options in Lisbon

1 2%20Urbano%20FLH%20Hotels

This great hotel has everything you need: rooms with air conditioning, free wifi, and access to an in house restaurant!

1 3%20Zurin%20Charm%20Hotel%20where%20to%20stay%20in%20Portugal%20for%20the%20first%20time

Do you want to stay in Portugal on a budget? Then look no further than this cheap hotel, centrally located in Lisbon!

1 4%20Mid Century%20Apartment%20near%20Riverfront%20Promenade

Have a tranquil getaway in this stylish house with antique furniture, wooden furnishings, and parquet floors, plus a dining area for cooking

Things to do in Lisbon

  • Go to have a lunch in one of the delicious restaurants of LX factory
  • Just stroll around the charming and hilly city center
  • Check out the ancient tower of Belem!
  • Have the best city views from the Miradouro Graça Viewpoint
  • Attend a traditional Fado show at Café Luso in the Alfama district
  • Dance the night away in the many clubs of Bairro Alto

2. Porto – for the best wine in Portugal

Where to Stay in Porto SM

Located on Portugal’s northwest coast, the ancient city of Porto is perfect for a tranquil city break, offering as many attractions as Lisbon but with a smaller and more laid-back vibe. Here all the interesting sights are within walking distance of each other!

And, needless to say, this is where the delicious port wine was invented (if you don’t know it already, it is a strong red sweet wine), so you cannot leave the city without trying it. Check out the Calem Cellar, where you can do tastings in their port wine cellars and learn about their ancestral traditions.

Other than its traditional wine, there are plenty of other attractions and activities in Porto. Get ready for beautiful and ancient buildings like the iconic Livraria Lello bookshop or the neoclassical Bolsa Palace, gothic architecture, sandy beaches in the surrounding area, and much more.

But honestly, just strolling around the historic center itself is one of the best things you can do in Porto. I suggest you walk by the tranquil waters of the Douro River, reflecting the lights at night, and the historical district of Riberia with its winding streets and historical buildings!

Luxury hotel
2 1%20Torel%20Avantgarde

Located in Porto’s old town, only a 10-minute walk from the Douro riverside, this 3-time award-winning 5-star hotel has everything you need for a luxury holiday! Here you can chill in the outdoor pool, keep yourself in shape at the fitness center or enjoy panoramic views over the city from the rooftop terrace.

Other accommodation options in Porto

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This great hotel offers a restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and a bar… plus free WiFi on the whole property

2 3%20Best%20areas%20in%20Porto%20Casa%20d'Av%C3%B3

Check out this budget hotel in Porto, featuring spacious rooms with access to a terrace, free wifi and free parking

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Feel at home in this cozy studio fully equipped with a living/eating area and kitchen, offering stunning views of the river Douro!

Things to do in Porto

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3. Lagos, Algarve – where to stay for the outdoors

7 Where to stay without a car in Lagos

Lagos is a coastal city located along the Western Algarve Coast in southern Portugal. Its historical city center is full of shops, restaurants, and bars, plus sandy beaches, and buzzing nightlife. But there are also many other cool areas to stay in Lagos with different attractions and accommodation options!

Anyways, the best thing you can do here is definitely to try some adventurous sports! In fact, its position facing the Atlantic Ocean makes it perfect for kayaking, scuba diving, and surfing if you’re into watersports or hiking in the beautiful green area just nearby!

And in only a 20 minute drive, you’ll find the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, one of the largest parks in Portugal, rich in wildlife, green forests, pristine wind-blown sand dunes, hiking trails, and much more… This is THE place for nature lovers!

Other natural spots you should definitely check out are the scenic rock formations at the Ponta da Piedade, the spectacular Praia do Camilo beach (one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal), and the legendary Bengali Caves, reachable on one of the many boat tours.

Luxury hotel
3 1%20Casa%20M%C3%A3e%20best%20Areas%20and%20Hotels%20in%20Lagos

If you are looking for a luxury stay in Lagos, then stop here! In this 5-star hotel they will treat you like a king, with a concierge service, a beautiful outdoor swimming pool, and a restaurant serving delicious local cuisine! All the rooms are bright and spacious, and they come with a private bathroom, a seating area, and room service.

Other accommodation options in Lagos

3 2%20Lagos%20Atlantic%20Hotel%20with%20the%20pool%C2%A0

This 4-star hotel offers great value for the price, hosting a swimming pool, a garden, and a bar on site. And some of the rooms even have sea views!

3 3%20Reis%20de%20Gaia

If you want to save some money without renouncing quality, this is the hotel for you, located close to the renowned Port Wine Cellars

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This charming little house is located in a tranquil street right in the city center. It’s close to the best restaurants, and bars, and has a large balcony!

Things to do in Lagos

  • Join a boat tour to the scenic rock formations of Ponta da Piedade
  • Spend a tranquil day at the spectacular Praia do Camilo beach
  • Check out the legendary Bengali sea Caves on this boat trip
  • Try kayaking on a group trip from Lagos

4. Madeira – for a tranquil getaway in nature

2 best month to visit madeira

Madeira is a beautiful island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, near the coast of Morocco just a 2-hour flight from Portugal.

Being the biggest island in the Madeira Archipelago, this magical place offers a lot of biodiversity, marine life, dramatic cliffs, panoramic points, forests, and a rocky coastline… If you want to connect with nature, there’s no better place to stay in Portugal than this one!

The things to do and tours in Madeira are countless, but some of the best ones are for sure exploring the Laurisilva forest, swimming with dolphins, and hiking from Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo!

FUN FACT: Thanks to the beautiful weather of the island, Madeira grows unique (and weird) fruits that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, like passion fruit with a tomato taste, banana passion fruit, and many more. Don’t miss the chance to try them at the Farmer’s Market!

And if you feel like having a city break, you can visit the capital Funchal, one of the best areas to stay in Madeira, brimming with cobbled streets, traditional houses, historical buildings, and delicious restaurants where you can try the local cuisine!

Luxury hotel
4 1%20Savoy%20Palace%20Top%20Pet%20Friendly%20Hotels

This is one of the best hotels in Madeira if you’re looking for luxury, located in a wonderful spot in Funchal where you’ll have incredible sea views! Staying here means having access to a restaurant and bar, a huge infinity pool, a fitness center, and evening entertainment every night. Other facilities you’ll find at this property are room service and concierge service, along with free WiFi.

Other accommodation options in Madeira

4 2%20Aqua%20Natura%20Bay

Check out this seafront 4-star hotel in Madeira, with an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a Turkish bath, a sauna and a hot tub!

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If you want to save money, check out this cheap hotel in the north of Madeira, where you’ll have a delicious breakfast included

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If you want to feel at home away from home, this house with open sea views is perfect for relaxing on an unforgettable holiday!

Things to do in Madeira

  • Explore the marine life around Madeira Island on a Snorkeling and Kayak tour 
  • Try all the exotic, and weird fruits at Mercado do Lavradores
  • Explore the Laurisilva forest and the evergreen Rabaçal valley on a tour
  • Go swimming with dolphins!
  • Hike between the Pico do Arieiro and Pico Ruivo

5. Sao Miguel, Azores – best island in Portugal for couples

Sao Miguel Island in Azores where to stay in Portugal for couples

Azores is another archipelago in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, of which the main island is Sao Miguel. This is one of the greenest places you’ll ever see in your life, which makes it the perfect setting for a romantic holiday with your special one!

In fact, it’s not by chance that they call Sao Miguel “The Green Island” (in Portoghese Ilha Verde), and when you get here you’ll understand why. You won’t see anything other than green hills, mountains, and verdant fields.

Compared to Madeira, Sao Miguel is way more tranquil and less crowded, so you won’t find big resorts but beautiful guest houses and cozy hotels overlooking the Atlantic ocean… Ideal for couples that want to enjoy some privacy and escape the real world!

And you can already imagine the kind of activities you’ll do there, all connected to nature. You can follow off-the-beaten-path hikes, immerse yourself in natural hot springs, go scuba diving or whale watching… And you can even surf on some beaches.

P.S. If you want a more detailed post on best places to stay in Sao Miguel in Azores, we have one right here!

So, in a few words, Sao Miguel is a real dream!

Luxury hotel
5 1%20White%20Exclusive%20Suites%20&%20Villas%20for%20%20romantic%20honeymoon

If you want to wake up with open ocean views and the sound of the waves, you will love these luxury suites and villas in Sao Miguel! The property offers an amazing rooftop terrace where you can enjoy the sun, chill in the infinity pool, or enjoy a cocktail while gazing at breathtaking sunsets.

Other accommodation in Sao Miguel Island, Azores

5 2%20Casa%20do%20Contador%20 %20Suites

This lovely and calm hotel is perfect for a tranquil stay, located in a very peaceful area. It offers a nice pool and a delicious free breakfast!

5 3%20A T%C3%ADpica%20GuestHouse

Check out this seaside guest house, perfect if you want to stay on a budget in Sao Miguel, with a shared kitchen, a shared lounge, and a terrace

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This modern guest house will offer you a private and luxury stay, featuring an infinity pool, a fully equipped kitchen and living space

Things to do in Sao Miguel Island in the Azores

  • Go on a boat tour to see whales in the Azores!
  • Relax in the thermal hot springs of the Azores in Furnas
  • Try surfing at the Santa Barbara beach

6. Sintra – where to stay in Portugal for history buffs

Sintra Lisbon places to stay

The old town of Sintra, located just a 30-minute drive from Lisbon, is one of the most unique and eccentric cities in all of Europe. Nestled in lush greenery, Sintra hosts historical palaces winning UNESCO world heritage status, like the Pena Palace and the Quinta de la Regaleira palace!

Even if a lot of people visit it just as a day trip from Lisbon, I believe it is definitely worth it to stay here if you really want to experience its unique vibe and visit all its ancient attractions without being in a hurry.

Also, the green hills surrounding Sintra are ideal if you want to spend some time in nature. If that’s the case, you should definitely check out the Sintra Natural Park, rich in vegetation, hiking, rock climbing trails, and caves!

Last but not least, here you’ll be just a short drive from some incredible beaches for surfing, like Praia Grande or Guincho, and to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in all of Europe (you probably know it for its famous lighthouse) where you can enjoy a breathtaking panorama!

Luxury hotel
6 1%20Sintra%20Marmoris%20Palace%20with%20jacuzzi%20in%20room

If luxury is what you’re looking for, there’s no better place than this hotel in Sintra. Divided across 2 huge buildings, this elegant property is a former 19th-century manor house, located in Sintra city center and surrounded by a 14.000 m2 garden, with views right over the Moorish Castle.

Other accommodation options in Sintra

6 2%20Storytellers%20Villas%20Unique%20places%20to%20stay%20in%20Sintra

These villas have a perfect location in Sintra, within 2 km of Quinta da Regaleira, 1.4 km of Sintra National Palace, and 1 km from Moors Castle!

6 3%20Villa%20das%20Rosas

Check out these villas set in 19th-century buildings, nestled in landscaped gardens, featuring native plants and an outdoor pool.

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This cozy apartment is comfortable and relaxing, with an open space on the ground floor, a living room, and a fully equipped kitchen.

Things to do in Sintra

  • Have a full-day tour to Sintra Cascais Natural Park and Cascais Beaches
  • Book this skip-the-line ticket to the Pena Palace
  • Go surfing in Praia Grande or Guincho
  • Enjoy the breathtaking panorama in Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in Europe!

7. Coimbra – where to stay in Portugal for nightlife

0 Ceremonial hall view things to do Coimbra

The picturesque city of Coimbra, located right between Porto and Lisbon, is actually the former Portuguese capital, with rich history, culture, and beautiful buildings. While this may not immediately sound like somewhere to go if you want to party, hear me out!

Hosting one of the oldest universities in Europe (make sure you visit it!), Coimbra attracts A LOT of students and young people, which makes it very lively at any time of the day, but especially at night. Everyone knows that students know how to party and since this entire city revolves around the university, there are countless bars where you can have fun and meet a lot of people!

Plus, if you happen to be in Coimbra during spring, make sure you don’t miss its crazy festivals, like the one on the 2nd Sunday of May, when senior students celebrate the end of academic life with colorful parades and sponsor the whole city to get drunk!  Yep! This is just one of the cool things you can do in Coimbra, check them out on this post!

Luxury hotel
7 1%20Quinta%20das%20L%C3%A1grimas

If you want to splurge a little, check out this historical palace-hotel featuring botanical gardens and a state-of-the-art spa with panoramic views across Coimbra. Here you will sleep in beautifully elegant rooms, eat in one of the 2 delicious restaurants on-site, or relax at its Bamboo Garden Spa, where you can get luxury treatments and beauty therapies.

Other accommodation options in Coimbra

7 2%20Solar%20Antigo%20Luxury%20Coimbra

Check out this hotel a few steps from the University of Coimbra, with spacious family rooms, free WiFi, and a delicious breakfast!

7 3%20Njoy%20Coimbra

If you are on a budget, check out these apartments with private bathrooms, free wifi, and access to a shared kitchen

7 4%20Duplex%20River%20View%20For%20couples

These apartments are perfect for exploring the beautiful city of Coimbra and offer breathtaking views of the city and the Mondego River

Things to do in Coimbra

8. Costa da Caparica – where to stay in Portugal for surfing

1 where is costa da caparica

If you are a surf junkie like me, you’ll fall in love with the rural village of Costa da Caparica. Located on the coast only 20 minutes drive from Lisbon, it offers 30 km (19 miles) of sandy beaches overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Here you can literally surf on a different beach every day, and if you are a beginner, there are countless surf schools open in the summer, the best period to practice your skills!

If you’re not into sports, no worries. In the area there are countless beautiful and untouched beaches to just chill, swim, and enjoy a sunny day, like Fonte de Telha or Lagoa de Albufeira. If you want to discover more, check my travel guide to Costa da Caparica!

Last but not least, here you’ll enjoy some of the best sunsets you will ever see. I lived in Costa da Caparica for 9 months and every day was precious!

Luxury hotel
8 1%20Paradise%20best%20Airbnb%20on%20Costa%20da%20Caparica

This beautiful beachfront hotel has a great location in Costa da Caparica, a few steps from the main surfing beach, and offers apartments with private balconies, fully equipped kitchens with barbecues, and free parking. And if you want to discover the area on 2 wheels, the hotel can arrange a bicycle rental service for you!

Other accommodation options in Caparica

8 2%205th%20Element%20Beach%20House%20Panoramic%20Sea%20views

This lovely hotel is just 3 minutes walking from the beach and offers a shared lounge and terrace

8 3%20Villa%20Maria%20Hostel

Check out this cheap hostel with clean dorms and cool facilities like a swimming pool and a shared kitchen!

8 4%20Apartamento%20da%20Praia

This apartment has direct access to the beach and will make you feel at home, offering a living room and kitchen.

Things to do in Caparica

👑 Luxury price:€300
💵 Mid Range:€150
🛏️ Budget:€80
🏠 Airbnb:€100
💰 Accommodation prices:Medium
📍 Best area:Lisbon
👪 Best area for families:Madeira
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:Epic Sana Marquês Hotel
💵 Best mid-range hotel:Urbano FLH Hotels Lisboa
👛 Best budget hotel:Zurin Charm Hotel

FAQs about where to stay in Portugal

0 Incredible Neighborhoods Where to Stay in Lisbon with Hotels for Every Budget

📍 Which are the best places where to stay in Portugal?

The best places to stay in Portugal are Lisbon in Epic Sana Marquês Hotel if you are visiting for the first time or Lagos if you like the outdoors, in the luxury Casa Mãe or the cheap Reis de Gaia.

🌆 Which is the most beautiful town where to stay in Portugal?

The best towns where to stay in Portugal are either the capital Lisbon, offering many cool attractions and hotels like Lagos Atlantic Hotel, or the more laid back Porto, where you can also try the delicious Port wine.

💑 Where to stay in Portugal for couples?

The best place to stay in Portugal for couples is Sao Miguel Island, part of the Azores archipelago, offering untouched nature, outdoor activities, marine life and beautiful guest houses, and cozy hotels overlooking the Atlantic ocean!

🏖️ Where to stay in Portugal for beaches?

The best place to stay in Portugal for beaches is the small town of Lagos, where you’ll find the spectacular Praia do Camilo (one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal) but also the Bengali Caves and the scenic rock formations of Ponta da Piedade.


Where to stay in Portugal for beaches

So, have you decided where to stay in Portugal between the capital Lisbon, the laid-back Porto, Lagos with its outdoor activities, the natural Madeira, the romantic Sao Miguel Island, or the historical Sintra?

We have just been through all the best cities to stay in Portugal, each one offering different attractions, vibes, and hotel options, so by now, you should have made your choice!

But if you are still undecided, check out my 2 favorite hotels in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal and one of the best places where to stay in the country:

  • Epic Sana Marquês Hotel – This 5-star hotel offers multiple pools and a great rooftop terrace from where you can enjoy panoramic views of Lisbon city center
  • Urbano FLH Hotels Lisboa – Check out this great hotel offering everything you need including rooms with air conditioning, free wifi, and access to an in house restaurant!

If you like these hotels as much as I do, book something right now or at least some months in advance, so you’re sure you’ll find availability and maybe also some good offers!

I hope my guide will help you find what you are looking for, and if you have any questions for me, please drop them in the comments below. I will answer you in a blink of an eye!

Have an amazing holiday in Portugal!


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One Response

  1. Rach 28.01.2024 at 06:55

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