Steps to the beach in Lagos, Algarve M Swiet Productions via Getty Images
But it looks like visitors will be stopping over even more in 2017: Travel + Leisure recently named Portugal its Destination of the Year, calling attention to the fact that U.S. travel to Portugal increased 22 percent in the last 12 months. The travel experts at Fodor’s put the country’s Minho region on their “Go List” for next year, and Lonely Planet calls the Azores one of the world’s best regions to visit in 2017. Skift reports Portugal’s tourism “boom” shows “no signs of slowing,” as European visitors head there in droves.
It’s safe to say we’ll be hearing LOTS about Portugal in 2017. Some highlights to consider for your forthcoming to-see list:
Lisbon and Algarve: The popular city and beachesA first-timer’s trip to Portugal should include the capital city of Lisbon, which gets plenty of attention for its scenic day hikes and scene-y nightlife. A 2.5-hour drive brings you to the Algarve, Portugal’s equally popular coastal region, where you can search for the perfect hidden b each.
Minho: The lesser-known wine regionFodor’s calls Minho the most beautiful part of the country, with a national park that sounds straight out of a fairytale. This stunning river valley also turns out an incredible (and cheap!) local wine.
Comporta: The beach you may not have heard ofIf buzzy Lisbon sounds like too much action, Comporta will be your best friend. This uncrowded fishing village is a hit with Europe’s rich and famous.
MAAT: The newest museum on the map
Lisbon’s stunning Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology opened in October with a building design that will make architecture fans swoon. It’s just one of several top-notch museums in the area.
The Azores: The islands that put Hawaii to shame
Dubbed the “next Iceland,” these increasingly popular islands some 800 miles off the coast won’t be a secret much longer. Head over now to go free diving, waterfall rappelling, volcano hikes and whale watching before everyone else.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post mentioned “colonial towns” and “Lisbon bay.” Language has been updated to reflect that Portugal was a colonizer and Lisbon sits near the River Tagus.