A rich and varied tourist destination, Portugal has a total of seventeen UNESCO World Heritage sites, sixteen cultural and one natural, with many more under consideration.
Chief among them is the historic centre of Porto (indicated on the map below), enveloped by a well-preserved 14th-century Romanesque wall.
Several of Portugal’s most striking monuments have also gained UNESCO World Heritage status, including the magnificent monasteries of Batalha and Alcobaça north of Lisbon.
The 12th-century Convent of Christ in Tomar, central Portugal, is equally notable for its rare octagonal tower supported by wide buttresses and the adjoining Castle of the Templars.
In 1999, the Laurisilva Forest of Madeira became Portugal’s first natural World Heritage site, being the world’s largest surviving area of laurel forest with a unique suite of plants and animals, including many endemic species such as the Madeiran long-toed pigeon.
More recent additions to the list include the Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications in the Alentejo region, the University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia, the Bom Jesus Sanctuary and Mafra Palace and Convent close to Lisbon.
The list of nominations for future sites is extensive, with the historic centre of Santarém, town of Marvão and the Serra da Arrábida among the options.
Need more inspiration for your next visit? Why not listen to or download the Portugal Travel Show, the podcast for people planning a trip to sunny Portugal…