Portugal UNESCO World Heritage

“Portugal UNESCO” serves as a resounding testament to the nation’s rich cultural and natural heritage, proudly showcasing 17 sites and assets that have earned the esteemed title of UNESCO World Heritage. In a remarkable display of dedication to the preservation of its historical and natural treasures, Portugal has secured its place as the 15th country worldwide with the highest number of UNESCO-designated sites. This illustrious distinction not only underscores the nation’s profound commitment to conservation but also highlights the extraordinary tapestry of Portugal’s past and present that has captivated the admiration of the global community.

As we embark on a journey through Portugal’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, we will unravel the tales woven into the fabric of these extraordinary locations, each contributing to the collective narrative of Portugal’s global significance. From medieval monasteries to verdant vineyards, the UNESCO-recognized sites encapsulate the essence of Portugal’s identity, providing a window into its past, present, and future.

Let us delve into the enchanting world of these distinguished sites, exploring the architectural marvels, cultural landscapes, and natural wonders that have earned Portugal a place of honor on the international stage. Each site, meticulously inscribed on the UNESCO list, carries a unique story that unfolds through the annals of time, inviting us to witness the convergence of history, art, and nature in this captivating corner of Europe.

Exploring the Portugal's UNESCO World Heritage sites and assets

1. Centro Histórico de Angra do Heroísmo, nos Açores (Historic Centre of Angra do Heroísmo, Azores)

– Year of Inscription: 1983

– Description: The Historic Centre of Angra do Heroísmo in the Azores is a picturesque ensemble of streets, squares, and buildings that bear witness to the city’s historical role as a vital stopover for ships navigating between Europe and the Americas. Notable landmarks include the Cathedral of Angra, reflecting various architectural styles, and the Duke of Terceira Garden, a charming green space.

Foto: vagamundos.pt

2. Mosteiro de Batalha (Monastery of Batalha)

– Year of Inscription: 1983

– Description: The Monastery of Batalha, a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic architecture, stands as a tribute to the nation’s triumph over Castilian forces in the Battle of Aljubarrota. Its intricate detailing, including the Unfinished Chapels, showcases a fusion of styles, from Gothic to Manueline, illustrating the artistic evolution during the 14th and 15th centuries.

Mosteiro Batalha

3. Convento de Cristo em Tomar (Convent of Christ in Tomar)

– Year of Inscription: 1983

– Description: The Convent of Christ in Tomar is an exceptional example of medieval military and religious architecture. Originally a Templar castle, it evolved into a grand convent featuring the Charola, a round church with Templar influences, and the Manueline Window, a masterpiece of Portuguese decorative art.

portugal unesco - Convento Tomar

4. Mosteiro dos Jerónimos e Torre de Belém em Lisboa (Jerónimos Monastery and Tower of Belém in Lisbon)

– Year of Inscription: 1983

– Description: The Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém are iconic symbols of Portugal’s Age of Discoveries. The Hieronymites Monastery exhibits intricate Manueline architecture, while the Tower of Belém served as a maritime defense structure. Both monuments celebrate Portugal’s maritime prowess and exploration during the 15th and 16th centuries.

5. Paisagem Cultural de Sintra (Cultural Landscape of Sintra)

– Year of Inscription: 1995

– Description: The Cultural Landscape of Sintra is a harmonious blend of natural and cultural elements. Sintra’s enchanting terrain includes the Pena Palace, a Romanticist castle, and the Moorish Castle, set against a backdrop of lush gardens. The landscape embodies the Romantic spirit and architectural eclecticism of the 19th century.

6. Centro Histórico do Porto, Ponte Luiz I e Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar (Historic Centre of Porto, Luiz I Bridge, and Monastery of Serra do Pilar)

– Year of Inscription: 1996

– Description: The Historic Centre of Porto, along with the iconic Luiz I Bridge and the Monastery of Serra do Pilar, offers a panoramic view of the cityscape. Porto’s historic district features medieval alleys, Baroque churches, and the Ribeira district, showcasing the city’s maritime heritage.

7. Sítios de Arte Rupestre do Vale do Côa e de Siega Verde (Rock Art of the Côa Valley and Siega Verde)

– Year of Inscription: 1998

– Description: The Rock Art of the Côa Valley and Siega Verde preserves an extensive collection of prehistoric engravings, providing a fascinating glimpse into the daily life, rituals, and artistic expressions of early human societies. The petroglyphs, distributed across open-air sites, are among the oldest in Europe.

Foto: arte-coa.pt

8. Centro Histórico de Évora (Historic Centre of Évora)

– Year of Inscription: 1986

– Description: The Historic Centre of Évora is a remarkably well-preserved example of Portuguese medieval architecture. Dominated by the Roman Temple of Évora, the cityscape features Gothic cathedrals, the Bones Chapel, and Moorish influences, showcasing the cultural and historical layers of Évora.

portugal unesco - Évora

9. Palácio Nacional de Sintra (National Palace of Sintra)

– Year of Inscription: 1995

– Description: The National Palace of Sintra, distinguished by its twin chimneys, is an architectural gem reflecting Moorish, Gothic, and Manueline influences. The palace served as a royal residence, and its rooms, including the Sala dos Cisnes (Swan Room), are adorned with exquisite tiles and decorations.

10. Santuário do Bom Jesus do Monte em Braga (Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary in Braga)

– Year of Inscription: 2019

– Description: The Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary in Braga is a pilgrimage site distinguished by a monumental Baroque staircase leading to the sanctuary. The complex includes chapels, fountains, and a church, creating a spiritual and scenic experience atop a hill overlooking Braga.

portugal unesco - Braga

11. Florestas Tropicais da Madeira (Madeira’s Laurisilva Forest)

– Year of Inscription: 1999

– Description: Madeira’s tropical forests, part of the Laurisilva biome, showcase a unique blend of laurel species and other flora. These forests, with their ancient trees and diverse ecosystems, contribute significantly to the island’s ecological richness.

portugal unesco - Madeira

12. Alto Douro Wine Region (Alto Douro Wine Region)

– Year of Inscription: 2001

– Description: The Alto Douro Wine Region is a UNESCO site celebrated for its terraced vineyards, which have produced renowned wines, including Port wine, for centuries. The landscape reflects the human adaptation to the challenging terrain and a rich cultural tradition of winemaking.

portugal unesco - Douro

13. Centro Histórico de Guimarães (Historic Centre of Guimarães)

– Year of Inscription: 2001

– Description: The Historic Centre of Guimarães is closely linked to the foundation of the Portuguese nation. The well-preserved medieval architecture, including the Guimarães Castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, provides a glimpse into Portugal’s early history.

portugal unesco - Guimarães

14. Paisagem da Cultura da Vinha da Ilha do Pico, nos Açores (Cultural Landscape of the Vineyard Culture of Pico Island, Azores)

– Year of Inscription: 2004

– Description: The cultural landscape of Pico Island showcases the unique vineyard culture adapted to the volcanic terrain, with stone-walled vineyards known as “currais.”

portugal unesco - Açores

Foto: agriculturaemar.com

15. Cidade-Quartel Fronteiriça de Elvas e suas Fortificações ( Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications)

– Year of Inscription: 2012

– Description: The Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications is a military architecture ensemble, showcasing the evolution of defensive structures from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

portugal unesco - Elvas

16. Universidade de Coimbra - Alta e Sofia (University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia)

– Year of Inscription: 2013

– Description: The University of Coimbra, situated in the historic city center, is an outstanding example of academic architecture and tradition, dating back to the 16th century.

17. Royal Building of Mafra - Palace, Basilica, Convent, Cerco Garden and Tapada

– Year of Inscription: 2019

– Description: The National Palace of Mafra is Portugal’s most important Baroque building. It consists of a Palace, which integrates a Basilica, with its axial frontispiece uniting the King and the Queen wings, a Convent, the Cerco Garden and a Hunting Park (Tapada). It represents one of the most magnificent works undertaken by King João V, who had exceptional cultural and economic conditions that allowed him to stand out among other European monarchies as a powerful sovereign of a vast multicontinental empire.

portugal unesco - Mafra

In conclusion, our country stands out and as we journey through the Portugal UNESCO wonders, we are not merely observers; we become participants in a story that spans centuries. Each site, with its unique narrative, whispers tales of resilience, innovation, and the enduring beauty that transcends time.

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