Things to do Portugal

Top 25 Adventurous Things to Do in Portugal

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Although Portugal exudes elegance like other western European countries, it’s a mecca for adventure. Prized for its rocky coastline and tropical islands, Portugal beckons thrill-seekers from around the world. And we experienced Portugal’s daredevil spirit on a life-changing road trip through the country. 

Not only does Portugal have sunny beaches and fantastic hikes, but it’s a thrilling spot for kayaking, surfing, and snorkeling as well. Whether you prefer land or sea excursions, Portugal has plenty of options for adrenaline junkies. 

To get you started, we’ve gathered our favorite 25 adventurous things to do in Portugal. From the craggy cliffs of the Algarve to the volcanic Azores, find the perfect activities to include on your Portugal bucket list. 

Things to do in Algarve & Faro

Famous for its rugged cliffs, sandy coves, and hidden caves, the Algarve attracts lovers of the sea. Kayaking, stand-up paddling, and boat tours are the only ways to access breathtaking sections of the Algarve coast. But don’t underestimate the raw beauty of the inland mountainous landscapes and rural villages, as they offer a beautiful setting for plenty of things to do in Portugal. 

1. Benagil: Benagil Caves Kayaking Experience

  • Duration – 2 hours
  • Important – This is the only experience to get out of your kayak inside Benagil Cave
  • Book your tour here

Kayak along the rugged Algarve coast to explore the mysterious caves of Benagil. The excursion takes you inside multiple big and small caves and makes a pit stop at Golden Beach of Marinha. As you enter Benagil Cave, your guide explains its formation and life inside the ancient natural wonder. 

2. Half-Day Jeep Safari of the Algarve

  • Duration – 4 hours 
  • Important – If you’re staying between Praia da Luz and Quinta do Lago, your booking includes hotel pickup and drop-off. 
  • Book your tour here

Buckle up and discover the Algarve by land on this epic jeep safari. Travel around the countryside in a 4WD vehicle to view mountainous landscapes and rural villages. Cross streams, meander down narrow roads and taste local products that include jams, liquors, and organic produce. 

3. From Albufeira: Half-Day Off-Road Quad Tour

  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Important – A security deposit of €100 is required for the booking. 
  • Book your tour here

The off-road adventures continue, and this quad tour tackles the rugged terrain of the Algarve countryside. Swerve along rural trails, immerse yourself in the scenic beauty, and visit historic sights on the way. With your guide’s help, you’ll see the 12th-century Paderne Castle and the village’s still-functioning windmills.

4. 2-Hour Dolphin Watching and Cave Tour: Algarve Coast

  • Duration – 2 hours
  • Important – Dolphin sightings aren’t guaranteed since they’re in their natural environment. 
  • Book your tour here

Watching dolphins is a unique thing to do in Portugal. So, board a luxury boat to explore the Algarve coast from the high seas and attempt to spot playful dolphins. Your vessel sails through caves, around jagged rock formations, and offers spectacular views of the Algarve. When you get the chance to swim, keep your eyes peeled for the dolphins who live in these waters. 

5. Algarve 3-Hour Windsurfing Lesson

  • Duration – 4 hours
  • Important – June, July, and August are the windiest months for the best conditions. 
  • Book your tour here

Learning to windsurf is one of the most exciting things to do in Portugal, and this lesson with qualified instructors helps you master the basics. From the lagoon in Alvor, you’ll learn windsurfing exercises and riding downwind and upwind. Whether it’s your first time or have previous experience, the instructors tailor the lesson to your skills.   

6. Algarve: Stand-Up Paddleboard Adventure from Sagres

  • Duration – 3.5 hours
  • Important – The tour isn’t suitable for those who can’t swim. 
  • Book your tour here

Head to the hidden grottos of the southwest Algarve and learn how to stand-up paddleboard from a certified instructor. Boats are unable to access these secret beaches, and it’s a fantastic spot to see wildlife. Leap from craggy cliffs, paddle inside caves, or swim with fish in this idyllic setting.

7. Carvoeiro: Benagil Caves Paddle-Boarding Tour

  • Duration – 2 hours
  • Important – Drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen before departure since you’ll be on the water for 2 hours. 
  • Book your tour here

If you’ve mastered the SUP basics, return to the Benagil Caves via your stand-up paddleboard. With instructors by your side, you’ll meander down the coast to view its immense cliffs, eerie caves, and spotless beaches. The tour makes several stops inside the Algar of Benagil to marvel at the breathtaking landscapes. 

Things to do in Lisbon

As the proud capital of Portugal, Lisbon boasts many of the country’s most historic attractions. But for thrill-seekers, the beauty lies in the sandy coastline and verdant hills just outside the city. Lisbon provides a perfect base many things to do in Portugal, like boat cruises, surfing trips, and hiking expeditions. 

8. Lisbon: 2-Hour Sunset Cruise by Vintage Sailboat

  • Duration – 2 hours
  • Important – The meeting point for the cruise is at Gate 2 of the Belém Dock.
  • Book your tour here

Board a gorgeous sailboat and view Lisbon’s top sights while cruising the Tagus River. Beneath a dreamy sunset, your vessel sails past the Jeronimos Monastery, Belém Tower, São Jorge Castle, and other historic structures. To complement your cruise, the crew offers Portuguese snacks and a glass of wine.

9. Sesimbra: Coasteering Adventure in Arrábida Natural Park

  • Duration – 4 to 5 hours
  • Important – Make sure you bring waterproof athletic shoes, a towel, and change of clothes. 
  • Book your tour here

Arrábida Natural Park is the place to be for adrenaline junkies, and this coasteering tour offers a bag of thrills. From the Sesimbra coast, the activity requires walking, swimming, rappelling, and rock climbing. The emerald waters, protected coves, and rocky embankments make this the perfect spot for a coasteering adventure. 

10. Costa da Caparica: Surf Experience

  • Duration – 2 to 4 hours
  • Important – Meet your guide at the Praia da Mata restaurant in Costa da Caparica.
  • Book your tour here

We can’t list adventurous things to do in Portugal without surfing, and this tour helps you discover the best surf spots near Lisbon. With the stunning Caparica coastline as your backdrop, ride the roaring Atlantic Ocean waves. An expert instructor is available to help you find the right surfboard and the swells suitable for your skill level. 

11. From Lisbon: Hiking Tour Along the West Coastline

  • Duration – 7 hours
  • Important – The average length of the hike is 14 km (8.7 miles). 
  • Book your tour here

Lace up your hiking boots and climb the rugged cliffs near Lisbon for dramatic views of the sea. As you trek along the coastline, spot golden beaches, rock pools, and fossilized dinosaur footprints. The well-marked path on the Lisbon coast is full of wildlife, colorful wildflowers, and heart-racing vistas. 

Things to do in Porto

While Porto is renowned for its port wine, the coastal city sits near one of Portugal’s grandest national parks. Peneda-Gerês National Park boasts crystal-clear lagoons, forested valleys, and dreamy lakes for unforgettable adventures. The diverse landscapes host off-road tours, kayaking excursions, and canyoning trips for the ages, so get ready for some adventurous things to do in Portugal! 

12. From Porto: Off-Road Buggy Adventure

  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Important – Bring your driver’s license and Passport/ID Card. 
  • Book your tour here

Drive through the majestic mountains of Serras do Porto Natural Park in this off-road expedition. Your journey transports you to Castromil’s gold mines and the Castro Mozinho Roman ruins for a Portuguese history lesson. Before exploring the rural Quintandona Village, you’ll taste delicious local snacks to recharge. 

13. From Porto: Peneda-Gerês Park 4×4 Tour with Lunch

  • Duration – 11 hours
  • Important – Bring swimwear and adequate hiking shoes for 2-4 easy/moderate hikes. 
  • Book your tour here

An off-road adventure in a 4×4 vehicle is the perfect thing to do in the Peneda-Gerês national park of Portugal. This Park is the largest national park of the country and paradise for nature lovers. After a 90-minute drive from Porto, you’ll be moments away from green lagoons, cascading waterfalls, and rugged mountains. 

14. Peneda-Gerês National Park: Kayak & Waterfall Trek w/ Lunch

  • Duration – 10 hours
  • Important – Pack your sunscreen, swimwear, a towel, and comfortable walking shoes. 
  • Book your tour here

Sticking with Peneda-Gerês National Park, this kayaking excursion lets you paddle the park’s serene waters. After lounging on a sandy beach, sample Portuguese cuisine and wine while gazing at Rio Cavado. Cap off your adventure by chasing waterfalls, soaking in a crystal-clear lagoon, and wandering a rural village. 

15. From Oporto: Gerês National Park Canyoning Tour

  • Duration – 6 hours
  • Important – You must pass the Tobogã Canyoning Middle-Level course to advance to the next difficulty level. 
  • Book your tour here

If you have limited time in Gerês National Park, get your adrenaline pumping by rappelling through rocky canyons and rushing river channels of Portugal. Make daring leaps into swimming holes, race through chutes, and feel crashing waterfalls around you. Some of the rappels reach heights of 60 meters (197 feet), and this challenge will push any thrill-seeker to the brink. 

Things to do in Madeira

Situated on the northwest coast of Africa, Madeira is a four-island archipelago with immense diversity. From its rocky coastline and sandy beaches to rare laurel forests, Madeira enchants each visitor. There are plenty of things to do on this Portuguese island. Off-road tours tackle its mountainous terrain, while canyoning trips help you navigate cascading waterfalls.

16. Quinta do Lorde: Swimming with Dolphins

  • Duration – 2.5 hours
  • Important – Bring swimwear, a towel, and change of clothes. 
  • Book your tour here

Madeira Island boasts a playground of waterfalls, swimming pools, and natural water slides for canyoners. Before you reach the canyoning spot, hike through the untouched beauty of Madeira’s forested mountains. After rappelling down plunging waterfalls, go for a refreshing swim in its sparkling pools.

17. Madeira Island: 5-Hour Guided Mountain Bike Tour

  • Duration – 5 hours
  • Important – The difficulty of the tour will vary based on your technical skills and average daily distance. 
  • Book your tour here

One of the things to do in the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira is to explore the island on two wheels by racing down mountain slopes and through laurel forests. As you ride towards the sea, admire the subtropical flora carpeting the landscape. If you’re a skilled rider, you can choose a single-track path for a more challenging thrill. 

18. Madeira: Level-1 Canyoning Adventure

  • Duration – 2 hours
  • Important – It will be at the guide’s discretion if the sea conditions and dolphins’ behavior let you swim safely. 
  • Book your tour here

Head to Ponta se Sao Lourenco for the rare chance to swim with dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. You’ll remain connected to your vessel as you jump into the water with these adorable creatures. And for a memory to place in your scrapbook, the guide will snap photos of you swimming with the dolphins.

19. Madeira: Half-Day Off-Road Buggy Tour

  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Important – Since the tour takes place rain or shine, bring waterproof shoes for the ride. 
  • Book your tour here

Explore Madeira’s mountainous terrain by going on a 4×4 adventure with a trained guide. With a GoPro handy, snap epic photos and videos of Madeira’s most scenic viewpoints and majestic birds. The highlight will be the 580-meter (1,903ft) Cabo Girão Seacliff, the tallest in Europe. 

20. Porto Santo: Private Snorkeling Tour

  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Important – Bring swimwear and a towel for your snorkeling excursion. 
  • Book your tour here

Wander the depths of Porto Santo and discover fascinating underwater species in this Marine Protected Area. The natural pool showcases a bevy of creatures at low tide, including starfish, octopus, and moray eel. Your guide will educate you about the ecosystem as you get up close and personal with marine life. 

Things to do in the Azores

The Azores sit in the mid-Atlantic, but those who venture to this isolated archipelago of Portugal will witness unbelievable volcanic landscapes. São Miguel features some of the most dramatic sights with its crater lakes, sea cliffs, and colorful wildflowers. From scuba diving to crater rim hikes, the Azores provide plenty of things to do to top your Portugal bucket list.

21. From Ponta Delgada: Sete Cidades Kayak & Bike Adventure

  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Important – The tour operates with a four person minimum, so bring a group of friends or family on this excursion. 
  • Book your tour here

Explore Lagoa das Sete Cidades from the land and water on this combined kayaking and cycling trip. Whether you want a guide or go by yourself, appreciate the stunning beauty of the emerald lake. Start by kayaking across the sparkling waters, then hop on your bike to pedal around the crater. 

22. São Miguel: Sete Cidades and Crater Lakes Hike

  • Duration – 8 hours
  • Important – Bring rain gear and a waterproof backpack in case of showers. 
  • Book your tour here

If you prefer a hike, this guided trek escorts you across the crater for remarkable vistas of the crater lakes. The hike makes pit stops at the Grota do Inferno and Vista do Rei viewpoints before you overlook the crater at Miradouro das Cumeeiras. After a filling lunch at Sete Cidades, you can soak in thermal pools or swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

23. Sao Miguel: Vila Franca Do Campo Islet Scuba Diving

  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Important – Pickup and drop-off isn’t included with the tour. 
  • Book your tour here

Scuba diving inside this volcanic crater is sure to be among the most epic things to do in Portugal. After a brief tutorial from your divemaster, plunge into the crater and find cannons from the 16th century. As you explore the deep-blue waters, discover the colorful marine life living amongst the wreckage.

24. Ponta Delgada: Full-Day Hiking Tour to Sete Cidades

  • Duration – 7 hours
  • Important – If rough waters prevent you from the post-hike swim, the thermal spa is an alternative for a separate cost. 
  • Book your tour here

On this 11 km (6.8 miles) hike, explore the rim of the Sete Cidades volcanic crater for sensational views of the lake. Marvel at the lush landscapes of São Miguel, wander into the peaceful Sete Cidades Village and view colorful wildflowers. After your hike, enjoy a relaxing soak in the volcanic waters in Ferraria to ease your legs. 

25. São Miguel: Caldeirões Canyoning Experience

  • Duration – 3 to 5 hours
  • Important – Pickup service is available from Ponta Delgada, Capelas, Lagoa and Ribeira Grande.
  • Book your tour here

Head to Parque da Ribeira dos Caldeirões for the exhilarating thrill of canyoning through untouched Azorean landscapes. As you navigate the rushing streams, you’ll perform jumps, slides, and rappels to navigate the terrain. It’s a 20-35 minute hike to reach the starting point, and you have the option of including a picnic. 


These were our choices for the top 25 adventurous things to do in Portugal. Are you ready to discover more about Portugal? Check out our Portugal Travel Guide for more travel inspiration!

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