I’ve travelled to well over 100 countries. So when I decided to pick Portugal, of all the countries I’ve been to live, there was a little bit of surprise. But, for anyone who’s spent time out with their camera in this beautiful country they kind of understand why. From a life perspective, Portugal is the 3rd safest country in the world, it get’s 300-plus days of sunshine a year, and can we talk about the food? And as a travel photographer, there are few countries in the world that inspire quite as much.
So, without further ado, this is my massive list of the best photography locations in Portugal. Also know as every place in Portugal I’ve photographed.
Let’s run this list from North to South. Oh, and I should mention that this post only includes the mainland. I’ll create a separate post for Madeira and the Azores.
Not far from Porto (close enough to be able to do a day trip), Amarante is actually a really cool town. It’s not so touristy, and really off the beaten path for non-Portuguese people. There is a really cool photo down along the river, and there are a couple other cool photo locations up in the town itself.
Obviously, there are dozens of photos to be made in Porto. A guide will be made for photography in Porto itself at some point. But for this post of photo spots in Portugal, I’ll focus on the very best location. And for me, that photo spot us up on the bridge looking across at the old city.
I should also say that in my opinion, Porto is actually much more photogenic than Lisbon. I much prefer taking my camera out here.
Chapel of Senhor da Pedra
This location is just south of Porto. It’s a very easy evening trip if you’re staying in the city. I think there are a number of really cool compositions to be made here along the coast. The chapel, obviously, is the obvious photo, but there are also really nice seascapes to be made here.
Azenhas do Mar
Just west of Lisbon and north of Sintra there’s an epic photo location over the town of Azenhas do Mar. In fact, this might be my favourite photo spot in Portugal. It’s just one of those classic views. And although I don’t think there’s too many compositions of the view, it’s one of those photos that just doesn’t get old.
The natural swimming pool built gets hit by heavy waves and is just a spectacular sight. An absolute classic in Portugal.
Describing Sintra is funny. Because sure, it’s a town. But it’s also not really a town. Sintra is a collections of palaces built throughout Portuguese history by the extremely wealthy. Within the Sintra area, there are likely dozens of potential photography locations. And in my opinion, you’ll definitely want to devote an entire day here.
You can visit Sintra on a day trip via train from Lisbon, but I highly recommend spending a night here. It will give you a chance to visit the photo locations at sunrise and sunset after most of the tourist crowds have left.
I don’t know how to say this without sounding like an absolutely terrible photographer, but here it goes. I’ve seen thousands of incredible photos of Lisbon, but I haven’t taken any. I struggle photographing Lisbon. And maybe that’s due to the fact that most of my photos are open epics and vistas, whereas the best photos of Lisbon are generally street photography images. But, either way, though Lisbon is a beautiful city, I have a hard time capturing the best of it.
Still, it shouldn’t be missed.
Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina
Whenever I come down to this area, I’m blown away by the epic photo spots. My personal favourite is a location called Cabo Sardao. It’s just south of the lighthouse where the cliffs breakaway into sea stacks and arches. Sunsets here are among my favourites in Portugal.
I do have to say, though, if you’re taking photos along these cliffs, please be careful. The cliffs are crumbly and the fall is fatal. Please, be safe.
I found the town of Mertola when I was scouting some dark sky areas for one of my photography workshops. As soon as I arrived, I knew I had found one of the best photography locations in all of Portugal. It’s epic.
There are some pretty classic views down the river towards the castle. And there are also some beautiful old windmills just outside of town. If you’re into astrophotography, there are some really nice bits of dark sky just outside of town, too.
The far southwest corner of Portugal is maybe the most beautiful. Near the town of Sagres you’ll find countless photo locations. In fact, if you’re a landscape photographer of any kind, you should probably spend at least 2 full days exploring this area. Some of my favourite photo locations are Praia Beliche, Sao Vicente Lighthouse, Castelejo Beach, and Sagres Castle.
There’s a reason I call Lagos home: it’s beautiful.
Lots of the best photo locations in Portugal are found within a short drive of town. And, honestly, town itself makes for some great photos. The main square and cathedral are beautiful in the reflecting ponds out front, for example.
Near town, you’ll find some really cool photos at Praia do Camilo, Ponta de Piedade, and Praia da Luz. My personal favourite spot is to go out to the boardwalk area around Praia do Camilo and photograph the city back down the cliffs.
Though I’m not a huge fan of the town of Albufeira itself (it’s very “drunk touristy”) the area around it is probably the most photogenic in the whole Algarve. There are so many photo spots that for photographers it makes a pretty smart base in the south of Portugal.
My personal favourite photo spot in the area is Praia da Marinha. There are countless photos here from so many different angles.
That said, the whole coast of the Albufeira area has photo spots. Carvoiero is a good spot for photos, you also have the Benagil Caves, and spots like Submarine Beach.
Portugal Photography Spots and Workshops?
If you’re interested in coming to Portugal on a photography workshop, I do have at least one photo tour of Portugal per year. Sometimes that’s out to Madeira or The Azores, sometimes it’s on the mainland. And sometimes it combines them both.