Travel Tips

Sustainable Places in Portugal


The mild climate, Mediterranean cuisine, wine-growing, unspoiled landscapes, and approximately 850 kilometers of breathtaking Atlantic coastline make Portugal an ideal destination all year round. Besides its cultural diversity, historical trams, and charming cities, this marvelous country can also be discovered as an authentic and sustainable destination.

Whether you are on a short trip to one of the regions of Portugal or for a luxurious natural, cultural, or beach holiday, here are some Sustainable Places in Portugal, that have been awarded in 2020 by Green Destinations and partners with the aim to showcase sustainability good practices of emerging and established destinations.


Lagos, Algarve

Lagos was chosen as the Algarve’s most sustainable destination. More than 60% of its territory is a nature conservation area and all of the beaches and the marina of Lagos have been awarded with the Blue Flag certification. Furthermore, this place has a unique and rich cultural heritage with many important monumental and historic buildings, in which its local traditions, heritage, and culture are well preserved. Due to being one of the most visited places of the region and the country and in order to reduce the environmental impacts of tourism in Lagos and to respond to the recent increase in environmental awareness among tourists, several hotels in Lagos have demonstrated their corporate commitment to sustainability. Moreover and in the last years, Lagos has won numerous awards for its diverse sustainability practices.



Cascais is a beautiful coastal town that is next to the cosmopolitan Lisbon. This destination is engaged in many efforts, one of them was « to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20% until last year. Besides, this town promotes the use of soft mobility, offering free bicycle rentals at various points around the town, it gives great attention to environmental education by giving informing about the local cultural, natural, and historical heritage at the Eco park of Pisao. Also, it gives information about the rich coastal biodiversity of the area at the Environmental Interpretation Center of Pedra do Sal (CIAPS), the first “Zero Energy Building” in Portugal. And not to forget that this destination participated in the 2020 Sustainable Top 100 Destination Awards at ITB Berlin and was the 2nd place in the ITB Earth awards category.



Another destination located in the Lisbon region. A fun fact that most visitors don't know is that Sintra beaches with excellent bathing water quality, after all this place is mainly known due to its precious natural, architectural and archaeological relics which were recognized already in 1995 as World Heritage by UNESCO. It maintains its heritage very much alive and well preserved. Moreover, Sintra stays as one of the first few Portuguese municipalities to develop a local strategic plan to face climate change.


Alto Minho

The destination of Alto Minho includes part of the only National Park in the country (the famed Peneda-Gerês National Park) which is also classified as a World Transboundary Biosphere Reserve. Some curiosities are that two Protected Landscapes (Bertiandos and Corno de Bico), the Litoral Norte Natural Park, the Minho, and Coura Estuaries, represent safe havens for several species, such as migratory birds, almost 30% of this destination is classified as Natura2000, another one is that it more classified national monuments than any other subregion on Northern Portugal and 1ten historical centers of excellence for visit. It is considered as a top destination for energy consumption reduction measures, which in 2015 became the only Portuguese subregion fully certified with the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism. It has also put into motion an Action Plan for Sustainable Urban Mobility, with which a great effort has been put on active modes of transportation that have a small impact on the environment. There are several eco-paths and eco-tracks and multiple pedestrian routes with interpretative itineraries that encourage the discovery of Nature and Culture on this destination. Moreover, the Municipalities hold several awareness sessions and campaigns, such as the European Day without Cars or Go on Bicycle for work /school, and it has a very strong inclusion of the higher education student community, through the adhesion to the U-bike project, which aims to promote the use of bicycle among this community. It has been awarded with the 2nd place in the Best of Europe awards category.



The Azores are composed of nine volcanic islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and of course, we couldn't end the article without mention this very renowned sustainable destination. The archipelago offers a lot of activities like walking around stunning landscape marked by dense coastal woods, playing golf at one of the best and least exploited courses in the world, relaxing in natural carbonic water, waterfalls and iron water pools, whale watching, canoeing, and kayaking, sailing, and horse riding. And take in mind that each island is beautiful in its own way. The islands have a rich and protected geodiversity and marine life, natural areas with well-regulated hiking trails as well as an Eco school, besides renewable energy is also widely used on the islands, as well, the rational use of water is supported by the Regional Plan for the Water (PRAA). In the ITB Berlin, it has won the 1st winner of the Best of Nature awards category.



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