Your Portugal travel guide for the perfect first-hand vacation!
If you are looking for your next vacation destination, Portugal should be on your short list. The year-round temperate climate, low prices and wide range of attractions and scenery have attracted visitors to the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula for centuries. To help you plan, here's a 10-day travel guide for your next trip to Portugal. It includes information about food, accommodations, the coolest places and some fun leisure activities.
Day 1: Lisbon – Porto
After landing in Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, change planes and take a 55-minute flight directly to Porto. This Portugal travel guide will take you to three corners of the country. The Portugal trip will eventually end in Lisbon.
Porto, the second largest city in Portugal and sprawling. Perched atop a huge hill along the Douro River, it's one of the best places to visit in our Portugal travel guide. Ideally, explore the city on foot, with its small, labyrinthine alleyways and ancient and colorful streets all around.
Find a hotel in the old town, near the Sao Bento train station, and rest up for the rest of the evening.
Visit the old quarter of Ribeira and the Douro Valley
The first morning starts with a visit to the Ribeira and the Douro river basin, two of the best places to visit in Portugal. Ribeira Square was once a marketplace and is now considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular tourist attraction. From the Douro River you can see both sides of Porto, which are crossed by the Ponte Luis I bridge. are connected, the Ribeira side and the Vila Nova de Gaia side. Here you have a great view from the bird's eye view to take beautiful photos.
After lunch you should not miss the "Natas do Cebu" or "Cream of the Sky. This is a lovely homemade caramel and cream meringue combination for dessert. This is a fun place, with great food, an energetic atmosphere, and low prices.
In the afternoon, a wine tasting is definitely not to be missed. You may know that Porto is the home of the famous Port wine. Stay on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the Douro River for this one, as you can find many wineries for tasting here. You can spend a few hours here and have a relaxing evening.
Day 2: Porto
You were lucky to find a hotel near the Sao Bento train station? Then you should definitely visit this one, even if you don't actually have to take a train during your Portugal trip. The beautiful blue tiles show rural life in Portugal and other important historical events.
After visiting the train station, we'll continue on to the city center. You can either take a long walk or explore the city from the waterfront. Also visit the monumental church St. Francis. The Gothic church was built in the 15th century. It was built in the 16th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Right next to the monumental church of St. Francis is Porto's old stock exchange "Palacio da Bolsa", which was built in 1832. It's worth going inside to see the variety of sculptures, decorative carvings, stucco work, frescoes, chandeliers and tiles. The stuccoed Moorish Revival-style "Salao arabe" is a stunning sight, while the monumental "Patio das Nacões" courtyard is imposingly lit by an octagonal metal and glass roof. It is open from Sun-Sat from 9:00-17:30.
Casa da Música
The next part of the day is an absolute must in Porto, especially for architecture and music lovers. The "Casa da Música" is a concert hall designed by the famous Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. The modern architecture gives a different facet to the city. The institution's program is dynamic and very innovative, presenting everything from classical music to the latest urban trends. You should definitely treat yourself to a ticket for a concert and also join a guided tour to explore the architecture of the building. The guided tours take place daily at 10 am and at 4 pm in Portuguese and English and cost 7,50€ per person. You can also visit the restaurant on the top floor of the "Casa da Música" or have a coffee in the artist bar. Afterwards you can go back to the hotel and rest there.
Don't forget to check out JoinMyTrip to find unique trips to Portugal and around the world to travel with like-minded people!
Day 3: Porto – Aveiro – Coimbra
Day 3 is dedicated to the road trip that will be integrated into your vacation plans. Of course you will need a rental car.
After a 45 minute drive, you will reach Aveiro. Aveiro is considered the Venice of Portugal because of its many canals and is one of the most beautiful places in our Portugal travel guide. During your stay in the city, you can experience the cultural delights and explore the innovative architecture. Stores, office buildings and houses have incorporated features of Art Nouveau with elements of traditional Portuguese decoration, such as. B. decorated tiles, combined.
Boat trip with a Moliceiro
Afterwards, be sure to take part in one of the most popular and captivating activities in the place: a boat ride on a moliceiro. A moliceiro is a colorful, flat boat that looks like a gondola. The word moliceiro comes from the word molico, an aquatic plant that was once caught by fishermen and used as fertilizer. You can get the tickets for the boat trip at the pier.
After the boat ride it is time for lunch. The best place to get this is still in Aveiro, because in this particular region the cooking and food culture is different from other parts of Portugal. Find a good restaurant that serves fresh seasonal fish dishes. After lunch, be sure to try the "Ovos Moles" – a delicacy made of rice paper filled with egg yolk and mixed with sugar.
In the evening you will take your time to go to Coimbra, which is about 65km away. After an eventful day and drive, you'll put sleep to good use.
Day 4: Coimbra
Coimbra is a rather hilly city, but one of the most beautiful places on your trip to Portugal from our guidebook. The old town and the university are located on a very high and steep hill, where a castle once stood. Fortunately, the most interesting sights are within easy reach. To keep things simple, you should book a hotel in the city center.
Here are a couple of Coimbra's attractions:
- O Portugal dos Pequenitos – the miniature world shows scaled-down versions of some of Portugal's most important monuments and buildings.
- Museu Monografico de ConImbriga – home to an extensive collection of objects and artifacts from the city's Roman and pre-Roman eras. The museum documents the life and development of the inhabitants of the region. It can take up to two hours to visit the entire plant.
In the evening, it is worthwhile to experience the local markets of Coimbra. The narrow streets around the Se Velha de Coimbra (Old Cathedral) are definitely worth a visit. They are full of independent stores selling locally made souvenirs, crafts and jewelry. If you are looking for postcards, you will find them here. Immerse yourself in this ancient city from one of the many bistros and cafes located in the area.
Day 5: Coimbra
On the second day in the university town of Coimbra, hop in your rental car or take the local bus. The Universidade de Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in the world, was founded in 1290. The university is full of examples of traditional Portuguese architecture. This particularity earned it the designation of UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the first stop of your second day in Coimbra. We recommend you allow two hours to explore the town.
The city, also known as the City of Students, offers a variety of cultural attractions, such as the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro, one of the most interesting places on our Portugal trip. This is home to a fascinating collection of art, ranging from Gothic religious sculptures to 16th-century Flemish paintings. from the early twentieth century to ornate furniture. The tour lasts about two hours. After visiting the museum, you should have lunch in a restaurant like "Loggia", which offers a fantastic view of the city.
Within walking distance of the Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro is the Se Velha de Coimbra, one of Portugal's best-preserved cathedrals and an important Roman Catholic building.
Rounding out the day trip is a visit to the Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha (Old Monastery of Santa Clara), a bold piece of Gothic architecture.
After a few hours of rest at the hotel, the evening is free to roam the city at your own pace. A good idea to explore the culture is to indulge in the fado music. This type of Portuguese music is characterized by melancholy melodies and lyrics, usually about the sea or the life of the poor. Live fado performances can be found in pubs, restaurants and bars.
Day 6: Coimbra – Sintra
You can leave the rental car today. After a two-and-a-half-hour train ride, you'll arrive in the palatial town of Sintra. A one-day trip to Sintra can include exploring the historic part of Sintra, which includes the following:
- Palacio e Quinta da Regaleira
- Lunch in downtown Sintra
- The Moorish castle Castelo dos Mouros
- Palacio Nacional da Pena
- The gardenJardim do Palacio da Pena
- Hike to the Cruz Alta
After a day of sightseeing, head to the center of Sintra, the best place to sleep after a long day.
Discover unique trips to Portugal and other destinations with JoinMyTrip and join the world's largest community of trusted travelers today! Share your expenses and memories while you just sit back and relax.
Day 7: Sintra – Cascais
The next stop on our Portugal trip is bus 417 (2€). Within 25 minutes drive it will bring you to Cascais.
The urban village of Cascais, located on the beach, has much to offer, starting with the Palacio da Cidadela de Cascais (Cascais Citadel Palace). Located right in the center of the village, next to the Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Luz and Cascais Marina.
Visit the magnificent halls
During your tour of the city you can also visit the glamorous halls of the former palace and a museum. The Arab Room was the bedroom of King D. Luis and much later the office of President Craveiro Lopes and a museum. Aside from these historical encounters, be sure to check out the area's ancient architecture, art installations and graffiti. You can walk along the coastal highway and see the flora and fauna of the region. After lunch from the neighborhood market you can go swimming in the sea and indulge in some activities on the beach. In the evening, be sure to visit the rooftop bars like the "Cafe Galeria House of Wonders" and have a relaxing time with friends, family or even alone. Spend the night in Cascais.
In Cascais there are mainly luxury accommodations, which can be hard on your wallet. So if you plan to stay out most of the day, book yourself something inexpensive in advance. If you want a luxury experience, there are a number of options.
Day 8: Cascais – Lisbon
Getting to Lisbon from Cascais is easy. There are trains to the Cais Do Sodre train station in Lisbon about every 20 minutes; the trip takes 40 minutes.
The last stop of your Portugal trip is in the capital Lisbon. The charming city is a successful blend of ancient heritage, innovative modern culture, natural beauty and delicious food. Here is some basic information that can help ensure a smooth experience.
In Lisbon, take it a little slower and allow yourself to explore the variety of attractions the city has to offer at your leisure. The best time of year to visit Lisbon is late spring (May-June) and September. The days are bright and sunny, but the temperatures are not so high. Also, this is mostly Portugal's low season, so you can expect fewer crowds and cheaper prices. Be sure to get a 24-hour public transportation pass. You can buy it at any metro station for 6,40 € and it covers the metro as well as all streetcar and bus lines.
Wine tasting in Alfama
In the afternoon you should try the wine tasting in Alfama. A local wine lover will guide you through the maze of narrow streets to bars serving a variety of Portuguese wines, from a crisp and aromatic Arinto white from the Lisbon region to a full-bodied Alentejo red. Giving you the local feel and old world charm. Your host will recommend wines according to your preferences. It's best to also ask for some small plates of nibbles (petiscos) to try with your wine, just like a local. After the wine tasting, you can enjoy the Moorish architecture that surrounds you here on the way back to your hotel.
Are you ready to lead your own trip and share your travel experiences with other like-minded travelers? Become a TripLeader and create your own trip to Portugal or other destinations today!
Day 9: Lisbon
Visit the elevator "Elevador de Santa Justa"
The next stop in our Portugal travel guide is rather flexible. It's best to start your day early and visit the Elevador de Santa Justa. You can get there on foot, by any public transportation or by tuk-tuk. Also known as the "Elevator of Carmo," this extraordinary structure was designed by Portuguese architect Raoul de Mesnier du Ponsard and installed in 1902 to connect the city center and Bairro Alto (the lowest and highest points of the city). From the observation deck at the top, the whole city stretches out before you. To avoid the crowds, get here as early as possible. The ticket for the public transport is also your entrance ticket for the elevator. Complete the experience by having breakfast at the Bellalisa Elevador. The restaurant at the top of the Santa Justa elevator is one of the most famous attractions in downtown Lisbon. Its panoramic view resembles a painting of the city of Lisbon.
Get on the streetcar 28
After breakfast, we continue on Tram 28, which connects Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique, passing through popular tourist neighborhoods along the way. You can host your own do-it-yourself hop-on hop-off tour to experience the local feel of the city. For this you only need a ticket for the public transport. Since both tourists and locals use this streetcar, you'll have to try hard to get a seat. Also, be sure to watch out for pickpockets. Wear comfortable shoes, because many roads are very steep. The streetcar will take you to popular places, such as:
- Graca – This stop offers views of the rooftops of Lisbon and beautiful cafes.
- Portas Sol (Alfama district) – Get off here for views of the Alfama rooftops and the Tagus River, the statue of Sao (Saint) Vincent and Castele de Sao Jorge.
- Se – The historic sites "A Igreja de Santo Antonio" (1 minute walk away) and "O Castelo de Sao Jorge" (10 minutes away) will take you on a journey into the past.
- Chiado – The shopping stop of the route with luxury shopping destinations, rooftop bars, upscale restaurants, boutiques and hotels. It's a great place to grab some lunch and do some retail therapy.
- Jardim da Estrela – At this station you'll find a picturesque park area. Here you can take a break and relax for a few hours in the countryside. The park is bursting with fascinating plants and trees, a small duck pond and a playground.
Take the streetcar back to the hotel and recharge your batteries for the last day of your Portugal trip.
Day 10: Lisbon
Unfortunately this is the last day of your Portugal trip. Check out the Praca da Figueira today. This is a great square in the center of Lisbon and one of the highlights from our Portugal travel guide. You can stroll along the stalls where you can buy locally made goods and enjoy authentic Portuguese food.
On your last day, don't forget to try the Pastel de Nata, a Portuguese pancake batter dusted with cinnamon.
Back at the hotel, have a nice dinner and pack your bags, because the next day you're heading back home. You are real night owls? Then I should take the chance to visit Pink Street (Rua Nova do Carvalho) to get a taste of Lisbon's nightlife. There are lounges, traditional bars and speakeasy-style pubs there to enjoy a good sparkling cocktail.
Your Portugal trip ends the next morning.
Hope you like this Portugal travel guide and find it useful. We have left enough space for you to follow your own rhythm and explore Portugal in your own way. Use this travel guide as a template and make the trip your own. If you haven't planned a trip yet, check out JoinMyTrip to start an incredible adventure. Find like-minded travel partners and lots of cool and unique trips here. Join already planned trips or lead your own trip!