12 Reasons Why Portugal Should Be Your Next Adventure Destination

12 Reasons Why Portugal Should be Your Next Adventure Destination

Are you planning a vacation in Europe? Maybe you're stuck and unsure where to go. How about a destination with gorgeous scenery, year-round amazing weather, ancient sites and incredible landscapes? You guessed it – Portugal.

Are you looking for peace and relaxation or adrenaline pumping fun? Portugal has it all. The Algarve is a very popular tourist destination. For those of you looking to relax, you will enjoy a variety of golden beaches, picturesque cliffs and incredible shopping. But for you adrenaline seekers, take up a new water sport, hop on sea cave tour and take your chances on one of the world's scariest cliff dives.

it's the perfect country to travel to solo or with your family. Continue reading for reasons why Portugal should be your next adventure destination.

1. Gorgeous Beaches in Peniche

Picking one beach in Peniche was way too difficult. Peniche is full of incredible beaches. Visit Baleal Beach, a wide extension beach with fine white sand; Medao Beach, known for its incredible waves; and Gamboa Beach, with crystal clear waters and situated in a natural and cultural environment (portugaltravel.org).

2. The Lava Pools in Madeira

These non-volcanic pools are one of the most popular tourist attractions in this village. Surrounded by lava rocks, crystal clear waters and incredible scenery, it's no wonder the lava pools are such a popular bathing spot. You can only get to Madeira by plane or boat.

3. Zip lining

For one of the most exhilarating experiences of your life, zip line with LimiteZero, over the River Guadaina from Spain to Portugal. It's the first cross-border zip line in the world. It is approximately 2,362 feet long and reaches speeds up to about 40 to 50 mph. Once you reach the end of the zip line in Portugal, you can decide whether you want to hop on a ferry back to Spain, or stay in Portugal until the end of your trip.

4. Arrabida National Park

Beautiful beaches, massive cliffs, and natural beauty are some of the many things you have to look forward to at Arrabida National Park. Travel to the Serra da Arrabida to discover hiking trails through lush forests and a spectacular scenic drive along the Estrada de Escarpa.

5. Go on a Sea Cave Tour in the Algarve

This is by far one of the most unique adventures Portugal has to offer. Step onto the boat and float along the calm waters. Enter countless caves and explore the alcoves. Listen closely to the water as it crashes into the rocks beside you, and admire the clear water surrounding you. Tip: Book your tour online to ensure your spot on the boat!

6. Go Wine Tasting in Douro Valley

Douro Valley offers one of the most breathtaking landscapes in all of Portugal. The beautiful buildings and riverbanks will leave you speechless and the plant life is incredible. All of that is nice, but the truth is, if you have a love for wine, Douro Valley is your perfect destination. With a variety of vineyards and incredible dining options, it is no surprise that they have been producing wine in this region for over 2,000 years. Tip: For a day of wine and relaxation, check-in to the Douro Palace Spa.

7. The Lisbon Marathon

You're in luck; you still have time to make it to the Lisbon Marathon this year – October 2, 2016. The race starts in the city of Cascais and takes you through some of the most beautiful roads in the coast. Admire the clear waters in your surroundings and enter the historic area of Lisbon. The race ends in the park Expo – Parque das Nações.

8. Cycling Tours

From road bike tours, to hybrid bike tours and mountain bike tours, Portugal has a wide range of cycling tours to choose from. Take the Ancient Medieval Villages road bike tour through narrow roads and experience majestic castles and incredible landscapes. Stop and visit a winery and check out the marble museum on the way. If you would prefer a hybrid bike tour, look no further than the Amazing Algarve Coast. Explore the ultimate paradise – clear water, warm sand, orange trees, fields of vegetable crops and wildlife. For you adrenaline seekers, hop on the Cork Trees & The Algarve Wild Coast mountain bike tour. Ride through the Natural Park of Arrabida Hill, view gorgeous beaches, white-washed houses and Mediterranean vegetation.

9. Go Whitewater Rafting

The Paiva River is one of the most popular rivers for rafting in Portugal. It is considered one of the clearest rivers in all of Europe and offers a variety of wildlife viewing. Once you begin your whitewater rafting journey, you will quickly realize that this rocky river is going to push you to your limits; after all, the Paiva river is Class III. There are tons of natural obstacles, some of which include waves, bends, waterfalls, holes, jumps and trees (xtremespots.com). Also, for some of the fastest whitewater in Portugal, check out the Minho River.  

10. Big Wave Surfing, Nazare

Also known as "Portugal's Monster," Nazare is the home of some of the most enormous waves in the worldGarrett McNamara set the world record in 2011 for the biggest wave ever surfed at 78 feet. "In Nazare, the Hawaiian surfer told Time, the ocean is known as a place of death, not of riding waves" (npr.org). Nazare's waves are created much larger due to the Nazare Canyon. They are so dangerous that big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira was nearly killed during a wipeout in 2013. But if you're up for the challenge, Nazare's waves are patiently waiting for you.

11. The Jeronimos Monastery

You can't visit Portugal without visiting Lisbon, and you can't visit Lisbon without visiting the Jeronimos Monastery. It was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. It was founded in 1501 by King Manuel. It comprises the Monastery of the Hieronymites and the Tower of Belem. The monastery was built in memory of Prince Henry the Navigator. See its unique Manueline architecture, tombs of Portuguese royalty and incredible stonework.  A recent review on Tip Advisor said: "It is big, it is bold and it is beautiful. Every column is worth studying, and every door is worth touching. The church is also amazing to see."

12. Cliff Diving in the Algarve

This may be one of the most thrilling, yet terrifying, experiences of your life, which is why it made our list as one of the world's scariest cliff dives. Jump off cliffs into the Algarve, swim in the ocean and through caves, but beware of the rock formations and unknown waters. The speed you build up before hitting the water can cause serious injury.