Portugal and Spain are two countries that have recently seen a surge in popularity when it comes to tourism. Vacationers all over the world are drawn to the history, scenery, and food that these two interesting and fun countries offer. If you’re planning a visit to either of these dreamy areas, we compiled a list of 5 unique things to do in both spots to get you in the right places and off the beaten path. Here’s 10 under the radar things you need to do in Spain and Portugal.
1. The City of Arts and Sciences
The incredible architecture in Spain is renowned for a reason, it is composed of both historical and modern buildings. An example of modern architecture that can’t be missed is the City of Arts and Sciences located in Valencia. The beloved cultural complex is visually stunning and futuristic, due to unusual angles and shapes. Visiting this spot is like stepping into a different time and place.
2. Mount Teide
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It’s also the home of Mount Teide, a dormant volcano that boasts the title of tallest peak in all of Spain. The island puts on festivals and is comprised of many beaches, but you can’t go to Tenerife without hiking Mount Teide. From the altitude to the scenery, it’s the closest thing to walking on the moon.
3. La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona is known for its beaches, nightlife, and shopping, but there are so many other things worth checking out in the capital of the Catalonia region. La Sagrada Familia is an unfinished Roman Catholic church by architect Antoni Gaudi. Now designated a World Heritage Site, the basilica is a big part of Spain’s history. Make sure you bring your camera, this place is extremely photogenic.
4. The Alhambra
Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ornate Alhambra, located in Granada, is a complex of palaces and gardens, with a view of the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains in the background. This beautiful Moorish fortress was originally constructed in AD 889. The ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century.
5. Picos de Europa
The scenery in Spain is one of the main reasons people vacation there. One of the country’s spectacular feats of nature are the Picos de Europa mountain ranges located on the northern coast. The peaks, valleys, and rivers, make this area one of the best hiking spots in Spain. It’s also a great place to visit if you’re interested in whitewater rafting or snowshoeing.
1. São Miguel
São Miguel is the largest island in the Azores archipelago, located in the mid-North Atlantic ocean. This remarkable group of volcanic islands is a dream for nature lovers, with many opportunities to explore lakes, cliffs, and hot springs. When it comes to hiking, there’s the impressive Lagoa do Fogo trail.
The old village of Óbidos is filled with cobbled-stone streets, shops full of handcrafted goods, and delicious bakeries. With approximately 3,100 residents, Óbidos is a quiet town for those who want to escape the ordinary and unwind in a relaxed environment. Visit the castle grounds, try the local specialty, ginger in chocolate cups, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere Óbidos has to offer.
3. Porto Côvo
Porto Côvo is the perfect example of a traditional Portuguese fishing village. Located along the western Alentejo coast, the area boasts white sand beaches, rock-cliff shores, secluded coves, and turquoise warm water you can’t help but jump into. Praia de São Torpes and Praia da Ilha de Faro are two of the region’s most popular beaches.
4. Peneda-Gerês National Park
Located in north-east Portugal, the Peneda-Gerês National Park covers 70,000 acres of lush vegetation, beautiful waterfalls, and small rivers. It’s the ideal spot for adventure seekers or for those who are looking to do something a little different on their vacation. You can go rock-climbing, zip-lining, rafting, or canyoning at this awesome park.
5. The Berlenga Islands
The Berlengas Islands are offshore from the Peniche region, a boat ride that lasts about 30 minutes. Berlenga is the biggest of the islands, even though it’s only two and a half kilometers in size. Those two and a half kilometers are comprised of cliffs, beaches, and surrounding turquoise waters showcasing many shipwrecks you can explore while scuba diving.