When planning a roadtrip in Europe, one has to consider Portugal as a destination, as the country is incredibly filled with unique experiences, amazing food, and incredible sights!
How many days are enough for Portugal?
Allowing yourself a month in Portugal would provide ample time to visit popular destinations like Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve region, and other charming towns, as well as venture into the beautiful countryside, indulge in local cuisine, immerse in cultural experiences, and discover hidden gems!
Can you see Portugal in 5 days?
However, if you have limited time to travel, is Portugal a good choice for you? Absolutely! With a well-constructed travel schedule, and a rental car to help you move through the country at your own pace and without having to depend on trains and airplanes, you could see the main tourist attractions in just a couple of days.
What is the best time of year to tour Portugal?
Portugal is a beautiful country with a Mediterranean climate, offering pleasant weather throughout the year! The best time to visit Portugal depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to engage in during your trip.
What is a good month to visit Portugal?
Spring offers mild temperatures and fewer crowds, making it an ideal time to visit Portugal. In summer, the country sizzles with hot weather, perfect for beach activities, sunbathing, and vibrant nightlife.
From September to November, enjoy pleasant temperatures for wine tours and sightseeing. Portugal’s mild winter, particularly in the coastal region of the Algarve, makes December through February a great time to visit compared to other European countries.
Best Portugal trip itinerary
If you want to include Portugal in your travel plans, keep reading and discover a 7 day itinerary with tips for some unmissable visiting spots!
Portugal Itinerary Day 1: Porto
Our road trip begins in Porto, a city renowned for its enchanting riverside location and captivating architectural marvels. With its impressive landmarks and idyllic neighborhoods, Porto boasts a wide array of attractions and activities to ensure an unforgettable journey. Whether you seek awe-inspiring architectural wonders or charming streetscapes, this city has something for everyone!
If your travel budget allows for a comfortable and luxurious stay, The Yeatman is a wine hotel in Porto renowned for its exceptional service, breathtaking views, and world-class wine experiences.
The hotel boasts an extensive wine cellar with an impressive collection of Portuguese wines, including rare and vintage selections. Guests can partake in wine tastings, guided tours, and even meet with the resident sommelier to explore and appreciate the diverse flavors and nuances of Portuguese wines.
The Yeatman is home to two exceptional restaurants, both recognized with Michelin stars. The gastronomic experience at The Yeatman is a true culinary delight, featuring innovative and creative Portuguese cuisine paired with exquisite wines.
Porto Walking Tour
Exploring Porto on a walking tour allows you to immerse yourself in the city’s charming streets, vibrant culture, and architectural wonders.
Start by planning your route based on the attractions you want to visit. Porto’s historic center, Ribeira, is a popular starting point due to its picturesque streets and riverside location.
For a more curated experience, consider joining a guided walking tour. Local guides provide valuable historical and cultural insights, ensuring you don’t miss any significant landmarks or hidden gems. These tours often cover popular attractions, offering an engaging and informative experience.
While exploring, take breaks to indulge in Porto’s renowned food scene. Treat your taste buds to the famous “francesinha” sandwich, a meat lover’s delight, savor the traditional “bacalhau à Gomes de Sá” dish, featuring salted codfish, and be sure to sample the city’s world-famous port wine.
Cais da Ribeira Tour
The Cais da Ribeira is a charming and historic waterfront area in Porto, renowned for its picturesque setting along the Douro River. Its narrow, winding streets are lined with colorful buildings adorned with traditional Portuguese tiles, creating a postcard-perfect scene.
The tour of Cais da Ribeira offers a chance to admire and explore Porto’s iconic landmarks, the most prominent being Dom Luís I Bridge, an architectural marvel that connects Porto with the charming city of Vila Nova de Gaia.
In the evenings, Cais da Ribeira comes alive with enchanting live music performances and captivating street entertainment, adding an extra layer of charm to your visit!
DOP is a renowned dining establishment that offers a culinary experience infused with creativity and Portuguese flavors. The restaurant takes pride in highlighting the richness of the national gastronomy and reimagining classic dishes with a contemporary twist.
Nestled within the Palácio das Artes building, DOP offers more than just exceptional cuisine. Its privileged location provides sweeping panoramic views of Porto’s historic city center, creating a mesmerizing backdrop that elevates the dining experience to new heights.!
Hard Club is a renowned cultural and entertainment venue that hosts a wide range of events, including live music concerts, DJ sets, theater performances, art exhibitions, and cultural festivals.
Housed in a former 19th-century market building, Hard Club offers a distinctive and historic setting for events. The venue’s architectural charm adds character to the overall experience, creating a memorable atmosphere for attendees. The combination of old-world charm and modern cultural vibrancy makes Hard Club a unique and captivating space.
Hard Club strives to offer a diverse range of cultural and entertainment experiences, and they may have events specifically tailored for younger audiences shows if you’re traveling with the family!
Portugal Itinerary Day 2: Porto
Tram City Tour
Step aboard one of Porto’s vintage trams, known as “elétricos”, and embark on a journey through the city’s historic streets. These iconic trams have been in operation for decades and are part of Porto’s cultural heritage, adding a touch of authenticity to your city tour.
The tram routes are carefully designed to showcase Porto’s most beautiful and significant landmarks and many tram tours have audio commentary or live narration in multiple languages, providing informative insights into Porto’s history, culture, and landmarks.
Some tram tours offer a hop-on hop-off feature, allowing you to disembark at various points of interest and explore them at your own pace. This flexibility gives you freedom to dive deeper into specific neighborhoods, visit attractions, and then easily rejoin the tram to continue your journey.
Casa da Música
Designed by renowned architect Rem Koolhaas, Casa da Música is a masterpiece of contemporary architecture. The unique structure of this concert hall has become an architectural symbol of Porto, blending harmoniously with the surrounding urban landscape.
It is home to the Porto National Orchestra and hosts a wide variety of concerts, including classical music, jazz, contemporary, and experimental performances. Casa da Música also offers guided architectural tours that allow visitors to explore the inner workings of the building, providing insights into the design concepts, materials used, and the technical aspects that make Casa da Música a feat of modern architecture.
Baixa, also known as downtown Porto, is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood that offers a delightful mix of history, culture, and commerce.
Embark on your Baixa exploration at Avenida dos Aliados, the main avenue boasting grand buildings, including Porto’s City Hall. Next, marvel at the mesmerizing azulejo tilework of São Bento Train Station. Continue along Rua Santa Catarina, Baixa’s bustling shopping street, where you can find diverse shops. Don’t miss Café Majestic, an iconic Art Nouveau café offering delightful pastries and coffee.
Make your way to the stunning Capela das Almas, a chapel adorned with exquisite tilework depicting religious scenes—a remarkable showcase of Portuguese tile artistry. Literature enthusiasts will delight in a visit to Livraria Lello, a renowned bookstore with a breathtaking interior.
Finally, enjoy a leisurely stroll in Praça da Liberdade, a spacious square adorned with captivating sculptures and elegant fountains—a serene spot to unwind and observe the vibrant surroundings.
Mercado do Bolhão
Mercado do Bolhão is a beloved and historic market, known for its emphasis on local products, with vendors often sourcing their goods from nearby farms and producers. As you enter the market, you’ll be greeted by a bustling scene of people selling a wide array of fresh produce, local delicacies, and traditional goods.
The market has become an iconic landmark and an important part of the city’s cultural heritage. Its traditional architecture, with its wrought-iron structures and tiled façades, adds to the charm and nostalgia of the space!
The Douro Valley, located near Porto, is a breathtaking region known for its stunning landscapes, vineyards, and wine production! There, you can take part in guided wine tours where you can learn about the winemaking process, explore vineyards, and sample excellent wines.
Once there, you should explore the Douro Valley’s enchanting Quintas, traditional Portuguese manor houses nestled among vineyards. Many of these Quintas welcome visitors, offering captivating tours, tastings, and even accommodation options. Immerse yourself in the valley’s rich wine culture and embrace the serene countryside by staying in a Quinta house. It’s the perfect way to fully experience the Douro Valley’s tranquility and indulge in its wine heritage.
You also shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore the enchanting villages scattered throughout the Douro Valley, including the captivating towns of Pinhão and Peso da Régua! These villages offer glimpses into the region’s rich history and traditional way of life. Wander through narrow streets, visit local markets, and admire the architecture of churches and historic buildings.
The Douro Valley is located approximately 75 miles east of Porto, but the distance can vary depending on the specific destination within the valley. The journey by car typically takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the route taken. Keep in mind that the roads in the region can be winding, so it’s important to plan your travel time accordingly.
Portugal Itinerary Day 3: Lisbon
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a city well worth visiting for its captivating blend of history, culture, and vibrant atmosphere. From its iconic landmarks to its charming neighborhoods, Lisbon offers a diverse range of experiences.
To reach Lisbon by car from Porto, take the A1 highway southbound for approximately 3 hours, enjoying the scenic drive along the way. Upon arrival, be prepared to immerse yourself in Lisbon’s rich heritage, indulge in mouthwatering cuisine, wander through its picturesque streets, and soak up the lively ambiance that makes this city so special!
Sidecar tours in Lisbon offer a unique and exciting way to explore the city’s charming streets, historical landmarks, and breathtaking viewpoints. Riding in a sidecar allows you to experience Lisbon’s sights and sounds in a fun and memorable way.
Sidecar tours typically accommodate small groups, making the experience more intimate and personalized. But remember: it’s essential to choose a reputable tour operator that prioritizes safety, provides comfortable and well-maintained sidecars, and offers knowledgeable guides who can enhance your experience!
Alfama is one of the oldest and most charming neighborhoods in Lisbon! Known for its narrow, winding streets, colorful houses, and historic atmosphere, Alfama offers visitors a unique and authentic Lisbon experience.
Often referred to as the birthplace of Fado, Portugal’s soulful and melancholic music genre, the neighborhood is home to numerous Fado houses and venues where you can experience the heartfelt performances of local singers.
Alfama also boasts several beautiful viewpoints, known as “miradouros”. Miradouro da Senhora do Monte and Miradouro das Portas do Sol are two popular spots where you can enjoy spectacular views while taking in the neighborhood’s enchanting ambiance.
If you visit Alfama on a Tuesday or Saturday, don’t miss the Feira da Ladra flea market! Located in Campo de Santa Clara, this market is a treasure trove of vintage items, antiques, handicrafts, and second-hand goods.
Saint George Castle
Saint George Castle, also known as Castelo de São Jorge, is a historic fortress located in Alfama. It is situated on a hilltop overlooking the city and offers breathtaking panoramic views of Lisbon and the Tagus River. The castle has a rich history that dates back to the medieval period and has played a significant role in the city’s defense over the centuries.
The Castle features a charming garden where you can relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The garden showcases a variety of plant species and offers additional viewpoints. Additionally, there is a café within the castle where you can grab a snack, enjoy a cup of coffee, or indulge in Portuguese delicacies!
Saint George Castle is a must-visit attraction for anyone exploring Lisbon. Remember to plan your visit accordingly, considering the opening hours and ticket arrangements, to fully enjoy the experience of exploring this magnificent castle.
Located near Alfama, Cervejaria Ramiro is a very well-known restaurant loved by locals and tourists alike.
The restaurant is renowned for its fresh seafood dishes, including prawns, clams, crab, lobster, and various types of shellfish. They are particularly famous for their take on garlic shrimp, known as “gambas alguillo”, tiger prawns, named “gamba tigre grelhada”, and for their unique dessert: “prego”, a meat sandwich with mustard!
Cervejaria Ramiro has a casual and lively atmosphere, and due to its popularity, there may be a wait for a table, especially during peak dining times. It is advisable to arrive early or be prepared to wait for a while – however, the food and experience are well worth the wait!
Bairro Alto is a vibrant neighborhood, renowned for its multicultural ambiance, lively nightlife, trendy bars, and eclectic atmosphere.
As evening descends, the neighborhood thrives with countless bars, clubs, and live music venues. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a fun-filled night out and immerse yourself in Lisbon’s vibrant party scene.
Bairro Alto frequently hosts cultural events, such as art exhibitions, music festivals, and theater performances. Check the neighborhood’s event calendar to see if there are any happenings during your visit!
When visiting Bairro Alto, it’s important to keep in mind that the neighborhood comes to life in the evening and remains lively into the early hours of the morning. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during the daytime to explore the neighborhood’s unique character in a more relaxed setting.
Portugal Itinerary Day 4: Lisbon
Belém is a historic neighborhood located in the western part of Lisbon. Known for its rich maritime heritage and iconic landmarks, Belém is a must-visit destination for travelers.
One of the most iconic landmarks in Lisbon, Torre de Belém, or Belém Tower, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. When visiting, you can explore its interior, where you’ll find various rooms, including the King’s Chamber. Also, the views from the terrace are particularly captivating on a clear day!
Adjacent to Belém Tower, you’ll find the Mosteiro Jerónimos, or Jerónimos Monastery, another UNESCO World Heritage site considered a masterpiece of Portuguese architecture. The intricate stone carvings, ornate cloisters, and tranquil atmosphere make it a must-visit attraction.
Of course, a visit to Belém is incomplete without trying the famous “pastéis de Belém”, a traditional Portuguese custard tart. The original recipe for these delicious treats is closely guarded by the famous Pastéis de Belém pastry shop, located near the Jerónimos Monastery!
Belém also boasts a scenic riverside promenade along the Tagus River! Take a leisurely stroll, enjoy the view, and relax in one of the riverside cafés. The promenade is particularly beautiful during sunset, offering a picturesque setting to unwind and take gorgeous photos.
The LX Factory complex itself is housed in a former industrial space, preserving the authentic architecture and industrial character. The mix of old warehouses and factories with modern creative spaces creates an interesting blend of the past and present, making it an appealing destination for art and architecture enthusiasts!
The complex is home to numerous art galleries, design studios, and exhibition spaces, where you can explore contemporary art exhibitions, attend cultural events, and engage with local artists.
The LX also has a variety of unique and independent shops, boutiques, and concept stores, as well as being a culinary destination – that ranges from cozy cafes to trendy restaurants, food trucks and gourmet eateries.
Street Art Hunting
Lisbon is renowned for its vibrant street art scene, offering numerous neighborhoods where you can embark on a thrilling street art hunt. In addition to the previously mentioned Bairro Alto and LX Factory, two hotspots brimming with incredible street art, there are other areas worth exploring.
Marvila, an emerging neighborhood in Lisbon, has fully embraced street art. Here, you’ll encounter striking large-scale murals, vibrant graffiti, and artistic interventions adorning building facades, creating an open-air gallery that will captivate your senses.
For another street art adventure, venture into the charming neighborhood of Mouraria. Walk through its labyrinthine streets and hidden corners, where you’ll stumble upon captivating murals that often portray cultural themes and celebrate local heritage.
Remember that street art is an ever-changing medium, with new pieces being created and older ones sometimes painted over. This is a starting point, but there may be additional areas in Lisbon where street art flourishes. Embrace the spontaneous nature of street art, and you may even stumble upon unexpected gems while exploring the city.
The Timeout Market in Lisbon is a vibrant culinary destination that will give you a unique and diverse dining experience!
With over 40 food stalls and restaurants, the market offers an extensive selection of dishes to choose from. This diversity allows you to explore different culinary styles and try a variety of flavors, making it an ideal destination for groups or individuals with different food preferences!
The market has a bustling and lively atmosphere, with communal seating areas that encourage a convivial dining experience. It’s a great place to mingle with locals and fellow travelers, and soak in the vibrant ambiance.
The Timeout Market is conveniently located in the trendy Mercado da Ribeira, near the Cais do Sodré neighborhood. It’s easily accessible and is situated in close proximity to other popular attractions, making it a convenient stop during your exploration of Lisbon.
Portugal Itinerary Day 5: Sintra
With its UNESCO World Heritage status, Sintra offers a unique blend of natural and architectural wonders, and it’s the perfect choice for a day trip from Lisbon. The old town will leave you in awe with its beautiful gardens, palaces, and castles.
Reaching Sintra from Lisbon by car is a convenient and straightforward journey, allowing you to explore the enchanting town at your own pace. From Lisbon, you can take the A37 highway, which connects the two cities. The drive typically takes around 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.
Here are some of the town’s most remarkable tourist attractions for you to add to your list:
Sintra’s Palácio Nacional, also known as the National Palace of Sintra, is a historic architectural gem. It attracts visitors with its rich history, stunning design, and unique features. Inside, visitors can explore luxurious rooms, beautiful tilework, and historical artifacts – the palace showcases different periods and styles, offering a glimpse into Portuguese royalty’s life.
The palace’s strategic hilltop location provides panoramic views of Sintra and the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. Tickets range from 8.5 to 10 euros, with a family ticket option. The garden is free for all visitors. The Palace is open daily, except on Christmas and New Year’s Day— however, always check their website to make sure there aren’t any changes in schedule.
Palácio da Pena, or Pena Palace, is another magnificent architectural gem located in Sintra, Portugal. Positioned atop a hill overlooking the town of Sintra, the Palace holds the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.
Inside the Palácio da Pena, visitors can explore the lavish rooms and halls that are beautifully decorated with ornate furnishings, intricate tilework, and stunning paintings. Surrounding the palace is an extensive park filled with trees, winding paths, and hidden gardens. The park also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the Serra de Sintra mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean.
Admission prices for the Palácio da Pena start at 13.5 euros. The palace is open every day, except for Christmas and New Year’s Day. However, it is advisable to verify the schedule on their website to ensure there have been no changes.
Castelo dos Mouros, also known as the Moorish Castle, is a revered Portuguese National Monument that sits majestically atop a hill, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Its strategic location made it an ideal defensive stronghold during the medieval period.
As you explore the Castle, you’ll encounter narrow pathways, steep staircases, and hidden nooks, as well as the castle’s well-preserved ruins – including the cistern and the remains of the ancient mosque. Its location within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park also offers an opportunity to be immersed in the beauty of the surrounding natural landscape.
Please note that ticket prices and opening hours may vary, so it’s advisable to check the official website for the most up-to-date information before planning your visit to the Castle.
Portugal Itinerary Days 6 and 7: Algarve region
The Algarve region is renowned for its stunning coastline, featuring golden sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters, as well as captivating natural landscapes, from dramatic cliffs to serene countryside. The Algarve is also home to picturesque towns and villages that showcase traditional Portuguese architecture, charming streets, and vibrant local culture!
To go from Lisbon to the Algarve, head south on the A2 highway (also known as the Autoestrada do Sul) towards the Algarve, and continue on it for about 168 miles. As you approach the Algarve region, the A2 will connect with the A22 highway, also known as the Via do Infante. Take the appropriate exit to merge onto the A22, following signs for your desired destination in the Algarve.
It’s important to note that this is a general route, and actual travel times and road conditions may vary depending on traffic, road works, and other factors.
To start your visit in Lagos, a coastal town in the Algarve, head straight to Ponta da Piedade, a must-see natural wonder known for its breathtaking cliffs and sea caves.
Make your way to Lagos Old Town, where you can soak up the historic charm, wander through the narrow cobbled streets, stopping by the main square, Praça de Gil Eanes, and the picturesque Santa Maria Church.
Since you’re in Lagos, it would be a shame not to experience one of its beautiful beaches, even if it’s just for a short time. Head to Meia Praia, the largest beach in the area, which is conveniently located close to the city center, and take a refreshing walk along the shoreline or (dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean!).
Loulé, a charming town known for its rich history, traditional architecture, and vibrant cultural scene, is located approximately 69 kilometers (43 miles) from Lagos. The car ride typically takes around 50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic.
Begin your Loulé exploration at the vibrant Loulé Market, where you can immerse yourself in the energetic atmosphere and indulge in regional delicacies. Then, visit Loulé Castle, offering panoramic views and a glimpse into the town’s history.
Finally, wander through the narrow streets of Loulé’s historic center, admiring the ornate facades, colorful tiles, and don’t miss the splendid Church of São Clemente, showcasing Algarvian Baroque architecture.
Tavira, a charming town known for its rich history and well-preserved architecture, is located approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Loulé. The car ride typically takes around 30 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic conditions and the chosen route.
Start your visit to Tavira by exploring the town’s historic center, and admire the traditional whitewashed houses adorned with colorful tiles – also, don’t miss the opportunity to walk across the iconic Roman Bridge, which offers picturesque views of the town. Next, make your way to Tavira Castle, perched atop a hill. Despite its ruins, the castle provides panoramic vistas of the surrounding area.
Continue your exploration by visiting Mercado da Ribeira, Tavira’s lively local market. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as you browse through the stalls filled with fresh produce, local products, and traditional crafts.
If you have more time available, consider taking a short boat trip to Ilha de Tavira, a renowned sandbar island with stunning beaches. Enjoy a peaceful walk along the shoreline, soak up the sun, or take a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters.
Ilha Deserta, also known as Ilha da Barreta, is a pristine island located in the Ria Formosa Natural Park in the Algarve. It is renowned for its untouched natural beauty, pristine sandy beaches, tranquil atmosphere and no urban development.
It’s important to keep in mind that facilities on the island are limited, so it’s recommended to come prepared with essentials like water, sunscreen, and snacks to ensure a comfortable visit. Amidst this serene setting, Restaurante Estaminé stands out as a highly recommended dining option, renowned for its mouthwatering seafood delicacies and warm, welcoming service.
Visitors to Ilha Deserta can enjoy long stretches of golden sand, crystal-clear waters, and a sense of unspoiled wilderness. The island is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and leisurely walks along the shoreline. It is also a popular spot for birdwatching, as the Ria Formosa Natural Park is home to a diverse range of bird species.
To reach Ilha Deserta, visitors can take a ferry from Tavira – the journey offers scenic views of the Ria Formosa lagoon and the surrounding natural landscapes!
How to plan an amazing Portugal itinerary?
Planning an amazing Portugal itinerary involves considering your interests, preferences, and the time you have available. Think about the activities and experiences you want to include. Are you interested in history and culture, beaches and water sports, wine tasting, or exploring charming villages? This will help shape your itinerary!
Based on the destinations and activities you’ve identified, create a rough itinerary. If you can, leave room for spontaneous discoveries or to extend your stay in places you particularly enjoy. Also, make sure to consider practical aspects such as accommodation bookings, transportation arrangements, and any necessary travel documents like visas or travel insurance.
How to get to know Portugal more comfortably?
To get to know Portugal more comfortably, renting a car is often the best choice! With a car, you can plan day trips, visit hidden beaches, explore vineyards, and immerse yourself in the countryside, everything at your own pace!
Moreover, you have the convenience of carrying your luggage, making spontaneous stops, and venturing into lesser-known areas that may not be easily accessible through public transportation.
Having a car also provides the advantage of avoiding crowded public transportation, especially during peak travel seasons, ensuring a more comfortable and personalized experience throughout your journey!
With its diverse landscapes, charming towns, stunning coastline, and rich cultural heritage, Portugal offers a captivating journey for road trip enthusiasts! Whether navigating the winding roads of the countryside or cruising along the stunning coastal highways, each mile brings you closer to the heart and soul of Portugal.
So, gather your travel companions, map out your route, and embark on an amazing road trip through Portugal!