12 Best Things To Do in Portugal For Young Adults: Cool Activities for Millennials + Gen Z

Jon Miksis Jon Miksis clock Updated December 26, 2023 tourism Dream Destinations
by Flora Backup
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Are you looking for fun things to do in Portugal for young adults? Heres our ultimate bucket list of cool and unique attractions for millennials and Gen Z-ers. So forget the typical tourist sites and lets dive into these amazing places to hang out in Portugal.

Portugal? It’s not just a country, it’s an epic adventure waiting to happen, especially for young and restless souls. Come and take on the wild Atlantic surf at Nazaré, home of the world’s largest and wildest waves.

But wait, there’s more to this vibrant land than just its legendary surf. Picture yourself strolling through Porto’s cobbled streets, where every corner whispers tales of the past, yet buzzes with a modern, artsy vibe. And let’s not forget Lisbon – this city is like the coolest friend you’ve never met. From the street art that tells a thousand stories, to the Berardo Collection Museum, where art comes alive, it’s a creative’s paradise.

Foodies, brace yourselves! Lisbon’s Mercado da Ribeira is a carnival of flavors. One bite of pastel de nata, and you’re hooked for life. Trust me.

But here’s the real deal – Portugal’s charm isn’t just in its places, it’s in its whole aura. It’s in the warm smiles of locals, the sun-kissed beaches that stretch for miles, and those moments where you find yourself thinking, “This is it. This is life.”

So let’s dive into twelve unforgettable experiences to start off your Portugal bucket list.

The best things to do in Portugal for young adults right now

Top Things To Do in Portugal for Young People

Are you ready to discover the most amazing spots in Portugal for young adults? Whether you’re a local or just dropping by, this ultimate guide is your gateway to the finest experiences Portugal has to offer. From electrifying nightlife to awe-inspiring outdoor escapades, here’s your essential list of all the must-see activities and attractions in Portugal.

1. Ride the Giant Waves of Nazaré

Welcome to one of the world’s most legendary beaches: Nazaré. For all you thrill-seekers and wave chasers, this is your nirvana. Known for some of the biggest waves on the planet, Nazaré is where you can truly test your surfing mettle. Picture yourself standing on a board, riding a towering wave, feeling like the star of your own surf flick. It’s one of the most exciting activities in Portugal for young adults.

Experience the electric beach vibe of Nazaré as you chill on the sand and watch surfing pros conquer waves.
Experience the electric beach vibe of Nazaré as you chill on the sand and watch surfing pros conquer waves.

The best time to catch these monster waves? Winter, especially from October to March. But hey, even if you’re not up for surfing, the beach vibe in Nazaré is electric. Chill on the sand, watch pros tackle the waves, and soak up the sun.

And if you’re wondering about the cost, surfing lessons here are surprisingly affordable. You can find plenty of surf schools offering packages that won’t break the bank. Just remember, booking in advance is key during peak season.

So, grab your board (or rent one), and get ready to conquer the waves. Nazaré is not just a surf spot; it’s a rite of passage for every young adventurer in Portugal.

2. Dance the night away in the iconic Friends Bairro Alto

In the heart of Lisbon, as the evening lights start to sparkle, Friends Bairro Alto emerges as the go-to destination for the city’s youthful and spirited crowd.

Entering Friends Bairro Alto, you’re immediately enveloped in an atmosphere that’s both buzzing and welcoming. It’s the perfect spot for any mood – no matter if you’re up for deep conversations in a cozy corner or dancing in a lively crowd. The décor is a cool fusion of contemporary and quirky. This makes every corner of this place a great backdrop for tales of wild nights.

Visit Friends Bairro Alto and stay for the awesome vibe, affordable drinks! | Image Credits: Friends Bairro Alto TripAdvisor
Visit Friends Bairro Alto and stay for the awesome vibe, and affordable drinks! | Image Credits: Friends Bairro Alto TripAdvisor

The music here is a dynamic mix, echoing the diverse tastes of a young, eclectic crowd. From laid-back vibes for chilling out to energetic beats that get everyone moving, the playlist keeps the night fresh and exciting. It’s a place where friendships are formed over shared laughs and dance moves.

What makes Friends Bairro Alto a favorite among young adults is its approach to a great night out that doesn’t break the bank. The drinks are inventive and affordable, letting you enjoy the evening’s thrills without worrying about your budget.

Come to Friends Bairro Alto for its iconic status in Lisbon, then stay for its awesome vibe, affordable drinks and the cool friends you’re bound to make here!

3. Ride through history on Tram 28

Are you up for an offbeat adventure through Lisbon’s charming streets? Trust me, this is your golden ticket to a fun, Instagrammable exploration of Lisbon’s most iconic neighborhoods.

Imagine weaving through the narrow, twisty streets of Alfama, where every corner whispers a different story. On this iconic trip through Lisbon, be prepared to be met with lively street scenes, historic buildings and cool cafes whizzing by your window. It’s this amazing mash-up of old-world allure and contemporary buzz – exactly what we, the curious wanderers, live for.

Tram 28 is a nostalgic journey through time, offering an Instagrammable exploration of Lisbon's iconic neighborhoods.
Tram 28 is a nostalgic journey through time, offering an Instagrammable exploration of Lisbon’s iconic neighborhoods.

Riding Tram 28 is more than just getting from A to B; it’s an unmissable Lisbon experience! You’re gonna want to capture those perfect, postcard-worthy shots for your feed, showcasing Lisbon’s picturesque landscapes and hidden treasures. And the vibe? Oh, it’s laid-back, authentic, and so unique to this awesome city.

This tram journey is a budget-friendly gem for soaking up city vibes. It’s the perfect alternative to paid city tours. Just hop on, snag a window seat, and let Lisbon show you its magic. It’s a relaxed yet exhilarating way to see the city, and definitely a must-do for anyone looking to experience the real Portugal. Let’s make some memories!

4. Visit the iconic Pastéis de Belém

If you love to explore new flavors and indulge in sweet delights, a visit to Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon is an absolute must. Here, you get to experience the iconic Pastel de Nata, a creamy, crispy pastry that has won hearts across the nation.

For almost 200 years, in the picturesque district of Belém, Pastéis de Belém has stood as Portugal’s most iconic beacon of deliciousness. Are you ready for the chance to witness the magic of pastry-making in an authentic setting? You’ll see local pastry chefs at work, expertly crafting these famous tarts, a skill honed to perfection over years.

Love exploring new flavors and sweet delights? An absolute must in Lisbon is a visit to Pastéis de Belém.
Love exploring new flavors and sweet delights? An absolute must in Lisbon is a visit to Pastéis de Belém.

As you wait to try one, you’re surrounded by stories of the tart’s history and the secrets of its recipe. You do realize there are only seven people on the planet who know how this tart is made, right? 

The best bit? You get to savor these heavenly creations, fresh and warm, right where they’re made, perfectly paired with a traditional Portuguese coffee.

This experience is a chance to take a piece of Portuguese culinary art back home. It’s a delightful, must-do activity for anyone looking to experience the true essence of Portugal’s sweet side.

5. Enjoy a Douro River Cruise in Porto

For the young and adventurous looking to experience Porto’s vibe from a different angle, a cruise down the Douro River offers a blend of chill vibes and stunning views. It’s an ideal way to see the city’s iconic landscapes while kicking back with friends or making new ones.

Picture this: you’re on a sleek boat, drifting past Porto’s colorful riverside houses and under its famous bridges. It’s a scene straight out of a travel influencer’s feed, offering endless opportunities for those epic photos and selfies. The Douro River, with its calm waters and scenic banks, provides a backdrop that’s both serene and Insta-worthy.

Young and adventurous? Experience Porto's vibe differently with a Douro River cruise—chill vibes and stunning views await.
Young and adventurous? Experience Porto’s vibe differently with a Douro River cruise—chill vibes and stunning views await.

These cruises often come with cool insights into Porto’s rich history and culture. This turns your relaxing ride into an impromptu history lesson. And what’s a cruise without some local flavors?

Join the Living Tours River Cruise, where (for less than 80 EUR)  you can visit two wineries and cruise down the Douro. And the best part? Delicious wine tastings and a dinner are included. 

6. Step into a fairytale at Pena Palace in Sintra

Young adults with a passion for history or fantasy, let me present to you your next obsession: Pena Palace. This place, located in Sintra, is literally like walking into a fairytale. Perched atop a hill in the Sintra Mountains, this palace is an awesome blend of colors and architectural styles. This makes it a dream destination for those who seek the extraordinary.

As you wander through the palace, each room tells a different story, with lavish decorations and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The mix of Moorish and Manueline architecture is a feast for the eyes. This offers a perfect backdrop for those surreal Instagram shots that will have your followers swooning.

History or fantasy fans, meet your next obsession: Pena Palace, a must-visit for young adults in Portugal.
History or fantasy fans, meet your next obsession: Pena Palace, a must-visit for young adults in Portugal.

But Pena Palace is more than just its interiors. The surrounding park is its own adventure, with hidden paths leading to enchanting nooks and crannies. It’s a place where you can lose yourself in nature, vibe out in secret gardens, and catch breathtaking shots of the wild Atlantic Ocean.

Prepare to step back in time at Pena Palace, a real break from the modern world. It’s a must-visit for those who love to explore unique places with a tonne of history. This makes it a top pick for fun things to do in Portugal for young adults.

7. Listen to Fado music in Chiado

For the young and culturally curious, a night of Fado music in Chiado is an essential Lisbon experience. Are you ready for an emotional journey through the literal rhythm of this nation? This is a night you’ll never forget!

Chiado, with its trendy cafes and artistic vibe, sets the perfect scene for your Fado adventure. Imagine stepping into a cozy, dimly-lit Fado house, where the air is thick with anticipation. As the first chords of the Portuguese guitar fill the room, you’re instantly drawn into the heart of Portuguese culture.

Chiado's Fado nights offer a chance to sense the city's pulse and tunes. | Image Credits: Fado music in Chiado  TripAdvisor
Chiado’s Fado nights offer a chance to sense the city’s pulse and tunes. | Image Credits: Fado music in Chiado TripAdvisor

Fado is all about raw emotion and storytelling. The powerful, soulful voices of the Fadistas (Fado singers) express tales of life, love, and longing that every young heart can relate to.

This experience is an awesome opportunity to connect with Lisbon’s vibrant cultural scene. Fado nights in Chiado are a chance to feel the pulse of the city, meet locals and fellow travelers, and maybe even find a new favorite song that speaks to your soul. For young adults exploring Lisbon, this is one of those unforgettable things to do in Portugal that stays with you long after the night ends.

8. University of Coimbra: Walk the halls of one of the world’s oldest universities

Brace yourselves for an epic adventure at the University of Coimbra, where age-old traditions crash into the lively world of student life. This is an electrifying dive into one of the world’s oldest and most renowned academic havens, a total dream for young folks hungry for a mix of history, culture, and buzzing energy.

As we wander through the historic campus, it’s like every nook and cranny is bursting with tales itching to be told. From the jaw-dropping Joanina Library to the grand Royal Palace of Alcáçova, it’s like you’re stepping right into a history book, but with the vibrant zest of today’s students all around you.

Coimbra University is a dream for young minds seeking history, culture, and vibrant energy in Portugal.
Coimbra University is a dream for young minds seeking history, culture, and vibrant energy in Portugal.

You can literally feel the energy of student life here, where bright minds from every corner of the globe come together to learn, debate, and create something new. The University of Coimbra is a living, thriving hub where the passion for knowledge is just infectious!

This tour truly captures the heart of what makes Portugal cool for young, curious explorers. Let’s get lost in the magic of Coimbra!

9. Take a hike in Buçaco National Forest

Step into the enchanting world of Buçaco National Forest, a haven for young adults seeking an escape into nature’s embrace. Prepare to adventure in a lush, mystical forest that feels like something straight out of a fantasy novel.

Ancient trees tower above you, creating a canopy that filters sunlight into a dizzy blend of green. The air is fresh and filled with the sounds of nature, from the rustling leaves to the distant calls of birds.

Buçaco National Forest is a must for young adults—blending adventure and serene beauty for a unique exploration day in Portugal.
Buçaco National Forest is a must for young adults—blending adventure and serene beauty for a unique exploration day in Portugal.

In Buçaco National Forest, don’t be surprised to find winding trails that lead to hidden waterfalls and serene lakes. Each path offers a new discovery, whether it’s a rare plant species or a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking the forest below.

Buçaco has the perfect vibe to just chill out and be at one with the natural world. Bring your yoga mat or picnic blanket and bask in the shade of giant trees and leafy woodland. It’s a chance to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with nature.

For young adults looking for a day of exploration and tranquility, Buçaco National Forest is seriously a must. It’s one of those unique activities in Portugal for young adults that combines the thrill of adventure with unspoilt natural beauty.

10. Sip wine in Douro Valley

Get ready for an epic journey in the Douro Valley, where wine tasting turns into an unforgettable sensory experience. Prepare to blend the buzz of discovery with the joy of sipping exquisite wines in one of the world’s most stunning landscapes.

It’s not hard to picture yourself cruising down the Douro River, vineyard-clad hills rolling by, as you head towards a day of wine exploration. The valley, with its terraced vineyards and historic quintas, is literally like a fantasy tale!

Douro Valley stands out as one of the most exhilarating things to do in Portugal for young adults.
Douro Valley stands out as one of the most exhilarating things to do in Portugal for young adults.

But the Douro Valley is more than wine. It’s about connecting with new friends, sharing laughs over a glass, and indulging in local cuisine that perfectly complements your wine. It’s a place where every moment is worth celebrating. This makes it one of the most exhilarating things to do in Portugal for young adults.

So raise a glass, soak in the breathtaking views, and let the Douro Valley show you how wine tasting is done in style!

11. Hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in the Algarve

For young adults craving a mix of adventure and stunning natural beauty, the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in the Algarve is a dream come true. If you’re ready for a journey through some of the most breathtaking landscapes Portugal has to offer, keep reading!

As you trek along this famous trail, you’re spoiled with some seriously dramatic cliffside views, overlooking the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. The path winds through picturesque coves and natural arches, each turn revealing a new, awe-inspiring vista. It’s a perfect opportunity for those Instagram-worthy shots that’ll have your friends back home green with envy.

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail ensures an unforgettable experience, ranking it among Portugal's top outdoor activities for young adults.
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail ensures an unforgettable experience, ranking it among Portugal’s top outdoor activities for young adults.

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail offers a chance to challenge yourself, to feel the exhilaration of conquering new heights, and to revel in the sense of accomplishment as you reach each viewpoint. The trail is dotted with hidden beaches and secret spots, perfect for a refreshing swim or a relaxing break amidst nature.

This hike is a must-do for young adventurers looking to explore the Algarve’s wild side. If you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a day of exploration, the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail promises an unforgettable experience. This makes it one of the top outdoor activities in Portugal for young adults.

12. Go urban Exploring in Lisbon

Calling all young urban adventurers and art enthusiasts! Lisbon’s street art scene is your gateway to an exhilarating journey through the city’s modern and edgy side. This is a typical walk turned into an immersive experience that will connect you with Lisbon’s vibrant street culture.

Lisbon has become a global hotspot for street art, and each corner of the city is a canvas for world-renowned artists. As you traverse neighborhoods like Bairro Alto, Mouraria, and Graça, you’ll see colossal murals, eye-catching graffiti, and thought-provoking street installations. It’s like entering an open-air gallery where the streets themselves tell stories.

Lisbon's street art is not just art; it's a lifestyle, a culture, an authentic way to feel the city's energy.
Lisbon’s street art is not just art; it’s a lifestyle, a culture, an authentic way to feel the city’s energy.

Street tours not only introduce you to the masterpieces but also provide insider insights into the artists and their messages. Plus, it’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with fellow young travelers who share your passion for creativity.

After you’ve seen the world of street art, take some time to explore the hip cafes, lively bars, and quirky shops. Lisbon’s street art scene isn’t just about art; it’s a lifestyle, a culture, and an authentic way to experience the city’s youthful energy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Best Things To Do for Young Adults in Portugal

Looking to learn more about the top things to do in Portugal for twenty-somethings? Here are some common questions I get a lot about the best attractions and activities for young adults.

What city in Portugal has the best nightlife?

Lisbon is renowned for having the most vibrant nightlife in Portugal. Neighborhoods like Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré come alive after dark with a plethora of bars, clubs, and live music venues. It’s the go-to city for young adults looking to dance the night away.

Is Portugal expensive?

Portugal is relatively affordable compared to many Western European destinations. This makes it one of the best cities for digital nomads. While prices can vary depending on the region and your choices, Portugal offers great value for money, making it an attractive option to live in Europe for budget-conscious travelers.

Where are the best cities to visit in Portugal?

Besides Lisbon, Porto and Sintra are among the top cities to visit in Portugal. Porto is famous for its historic charm, port wine cellars and its affordable cost of living makes it an unbeatable choice for a cheap European vacation. Sintra boasts stunning palaces and a fairytale-like atmosphere. These cities offer diverse experiences for every traveler.

Explore Portugal's best for young adults—adventure, exploration, and unforgettable memories in the ultimate playground of experiences.
Explore Portugal’s best for young adults—adventure, exploration, and unforgettable memories in the ultimate playground of experiences.

Does Portugal have good beaches?

Absolutely! Portugal is blessed with a stunning coastline, and its beaches are renowned for their beauty. The Algarve region, in particular, is famous for its golden sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it a paradise for beach lovers.

When is the best time of year to visit Portugal?

The best time to visit Portugal depends on your preferences. Spring (April to June) and early autumn (September to October) offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Summer (June to August) is perfect for beachgoers, while winter (December to February) is ideal for exploring cities and enjoying lower prices. In January, Lisbon is surprisingly a mild and sunny place to visit in Europe compared to other cold cities. It’s like a little pocket of spring in the middle of winter.

How long should I visit Portugal for?

The ideal duration for your Portugal trip depends on your interests. A week is a good starting point to explore Lisbon and Porto. If you want to see more regions, consider 10-14 days. Longer trips allow you to delve deeper into Portugal’s diverse landscapes and culture.

What are the best Portuguese dishes to try?

Portuguese cuisine is a delight for food lovers. Don’t miss out on trying dishes like “Bacalhau à Brás” (salted cod), “Francesinha” (a hearty sandwich), “Pastel de Nata” (custard tarts), and “Arroz de Marisco” (seafood rice). These dishes offer a delicious taste of Portugal’s culinary heritage.

Conclusion: Portugal – Your Endless Adventure Playground

As we wrap up our journey through the best things to do in Portugal for young adults, one thing is clear – Portugal is your ultimate playground for adventure, exploration, and unforgettable memories. From the buzzing streets of Lisbon to the tranquil shores of the Algarve, this country offers a lifetime of jaw-dropping experiences.

Whether you’re chasing the thrill of coastal hikes, diving into the vibrant street art scenes, or savoring the mouthwatering Portuguese cuisine, there’s something here for every adventurous soul. Portugal is a place where history meets contemporary culture, where stunning natural landscapes meet vibrant urban life.

The best part? Portugal’s charm isn’t limited to one season. Whether you visit in spring, summer, autumn, or winter, you’ll find something uniquely wonderful about each moment in this captivating country.

With Portugal as your backdrop, every moment promises excitement, discovery, and the joy of living life to the fullest. Each city, each hike, and each bite of Portuguese pastry is a chapter waiting to be written in your travel diary. So, grab your passport, embrace the spirit of wanderlust, and let Portugal become the canvas for your next great adventure.

The best things to do for young adults in Portugal for all types of travelers
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