Getting a read on Portugal: A place with a soul

22 “amazing” parts of Portugal that will win your heart


Portugal has many wonders and the world is starting to take notice. On the UNESCO World Heritage List, “a list that reflects the world's cultural and natural diversity of outstanding universal value,“ Portugal has now 15 places included, being one of the top countries in terms of numbers. This year, Portugal has 22 properties applying for the world recognition award. The applications include both single cities/buildings and joint applications.

Paço Ducal in Vila Viçosa by João Paulo - T09ASH00

Porto and the North

  • Caminhos Santiago de Compostela
  • Historic Center of Guimarães and Couro
  • Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga

Centro de Portugal

  • Mafra National Palace and Cerco Garden
  • Convent dos Carmelitas Descalços and Palace-Hotel in Bussaco


  • Aqueduto Aguas Livres
  • Baixa Pombalina  - Center of Lisbon
  • Historic Lisbon – Cerca Fernandina
  • Caloust Gulbenkian Fundation - Building and Park


  • Paço Ducal de Vila Viçosa 
  • Montado Natural Heritage
  • Town center of Mértola
  • Roman Complex of Salt and Fish Conservation in Tróia


  • Levadas
  • Ilhas Selvagens

The Azores

  • Medium-Atlantic Dorsal


  • Raia Fortress - Almeida, Elvas, Marvão e Valença
  • Magellan Route – Porto and Lisbon
  • Southwest Coast - Odemira and Aljezur, Natural Park and Costa Vicentina
  • Dinosaurs Tracks in Iberia – Pedreira do Galinha, Vale de Meios and Pedra da Mua
  • Álvaro Siza Vieira Buildings
  • Portuguese Globalization - Vila do Bispo, Lagos, Aljezur, Monchique, Portimão, Silves, Tavira and Castro Marim.


The World Heritage List has 410 properties, 304 were cultural sites and only 90 were natural and 16 mixed, while the vast majority is located in developed regions of the world, notably in Europe. The first Portuguese properties included on the World Heritage List were the town center of Angra do Heroísmo, Convento de Cristo in Tomar, Mosteiro da Batalha and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and Torre de Belém, all in 1983.  The last Portuguese property that took the big prize, in 2013, was one of the oldest universities in the world: University of Coimbra.



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