Choosing Portugal as your holiday destination ultimately leads to one of the best, most fulfilling trips you could ever have. However, you should try to explore a bit more than just the most significant cities and the most popular attractions – the real essence lies in the hidden and undisturbed places, untouched by big crowds. Especially if this is not your first time visiting the country. So, let’s say you have a week to explore – look through our 7-day itinerary of secluded places you should visit in Portugal!
Days 1-2: La Ponta da Piedade and Berlengas Islands
Start off strong by exploring Lagos and Leiria and their most beautiful yet unfrequented sites. Get ready for once-in-a-lifetime sights, gorgeous landscapes, and hidden Portuguese gems!
- La Ponta da Piedade
Portuguese for point of mercy, La Ponta da Piedade is an extraordinary headland of rock formations, with sea arches and impressive hidden caves that you can take your time exploring.
These cliff-like formations go up to 20 meters high, and when you are done with the inspection, descend down the stairs to the beach. The views are crazy beautiful, and you can enjoy Lagos itself when you are done with La Ponta de Piedade!
- Berlengas Islands
After a short 3-hour journey, you will reach the city of Leiria. Here, you can spend the whole day exploring Berlengas Islands, a stunning Portuguese archipelago consisting of small Atlantic islands, all 10-17 kilometers from Peniche.
The largest one of them, Berlenga Grande, is the only one inhabited, but you are welcome to visit them all if you are up for a boat ride! Bask in the Meditteranean sun and crystal clear waters in the daytime, and when relaxing is pretty much done, head to the Sao Joao Baptista fort, a tower connected to the island by a bridge. It was built in the 17th century to protect the Berlengas from attackers and pirates! Now, you can tour it.
Days 3-5: Passadicos do Paiva, Porto Moniz
After two relatively calming days in Lagos and Leiria, get ready for three days of adventures and a bit more active time in Aveiro and Madeira. Only an hour away from your last stop, Aveiro is awaiting you!
- Passadicos do Paiva
It is time for you to put on comfortable shoes and fill your bottle of water! Passadicos do Paiva, or Paiva Walkway in English, is one of the most impressive routes in the country, located on the left bank of the Paiva River. Prepare for 8 hours of untouched trails surrounded by the best natural sights in the region. These include downhill waters, quartz crystals, and some of the most impressive wildlife in Europe. While it is a shame more people are unaware of Paiva Walkway, it will prove to be in your favor when you do not have to brush shoulders!
Afterward, spend some time exploring and enjoying the rest of Aveiro, but ultimately, make sure you rest before heading to Madeira. Unfortunately, the trip can be quite tiring, as you will first have to take a train to Lisbon and then catch a short flight to Madeira.
- Porto Moniz
Undoubtedly the most beautiful region of Madeira, Porto Moniz, captivates many with its secluded areas, natural attractions, and great spots for entertainment.
The first thing you should know is that it is super easy to drive around the town, so you might want to consider renting a car if you are here for two days after Aveiro. However, if you choose Madeira as a day trip only, forgo the car and simply walk around.
Firstly, you should see the natural lava pools. There are two of them, and they are probably the most impressive yet remote sectors in Porto Moniz. The first one, Piscinas Naturais do Porto Moniz, is safer for swimming and more easily accessible. However, Piscinas Naturais do Aquario/Valhas/Cachalote is more picturesque and photogenic, so head there if you want to capture the moment on camera!
Afterward, make sure to visit other Madeira highlights such as the Calhau da Lapa stairway, the Banana route, or the Garganta Funda waterfall!
Days 6-7: Azores
Since Madeira no longer has a railway system, anywhere you wish to go next must be done by plane. Therefore, we suggest you spend the last two days visiting the Azores region!
A stunning archipelago of nine volcanic islands, the Azores is one of the top holiday destinations in Portugal and Europe. However, you can still find quiet, secluded places here to enjoy.
Start with Santa Maria, the biggest and quite heavily populated island, so big that you will easily find remote beaches to enjoy the warmth and baby blue waters. It is also a great place to try out the most excellent Portuguese wine, as there are many beautiful vineyards.
If you enjoy the wildlife, visit Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico, Faial, or Graciosa, where you can spot dolphins and whales. If you choose Terceira, you will also get to learn about the historical background and maybe attend one of their famous festivals!
However, suppose you want to spend your last days in Portugal surrounded by nothing else but nature. In that case, we suggest you head to Flores or Corvo, both of which are rich in charming natural landscapes and scenic corners, including waterfalls, lakes, and craters. Most of which are formed by the volcanic effect!
Follow our preliminary itinerary to find the best plans for you! Remember to do some research and check off beaten tracks if you want to relax and avoid big crowds. These are usually the most beautiful places, after all. Good luck!