From historic cities to rural countryside and rugged coastlines, you'll delve deep into Portugal on this 15-day grand tour. Hop between Lisbon and Porto for cosmopolitan cuisine and countless cultural highlights, then head south through Coimbra, Évora, and the Alentejo plains to reach the wild Algarve coast—where a relaxing itinerary of boat trips and beach time awaits.

Highlights

  • Get off-the-beaten path with a locally-led food tour of Lisbon
  • Head into the Douro Valley for wine tasting and river cruising
  • Explore two of Portugal's most historically rich cities in Coimbra and Évora
  • Discover the Algarve's golden beaches and hidden coves by boat
  • Watch the sunset from the edge of Europe at Cabo de São Vicente

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon, Gourmet Food Tour Lisbon
Day 2 Explore Lisbon with a Local Guide, Fado Evening  Lisbon
Day 3 Day Trip to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril Lisbon
Day 4 Transfer to Porto, Porto Evening Food Tour Porto
Day 5 Get to Know Porto, Canning Factory Visit Porto
Day 6 Day Trip to the Douro Valley, Wine Tasting & River Cruise Porto
Day 7 Transfer to Coimbra via Aveiro Coimbra
Day 8 Transfer to Évora, Capital of the Alentejo Évora
Day 9 Free Day in Évora & the Alentejo Region Évora
Day 10 Transfer to Lagos & the Algarve Lagos
Day 11 Explore Lagos & the Greater Algarve Region Lagos
Day 12 Boat Tour to Ponta da Piedade Lagos
Day 13 Algarve Sunset Experience Lagos
Day 14 Transfer to Lisbon, Free Afternoon Lisbon
Day 15 Depart Lisbon  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon, Gourmet Food Tour

A tram passes colorful tiled buildings in Lisbon
Welcome to Lisbon! Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by your driver and transferred to your hotel in the city center. After checking in, you can unwind after your long journey or head out for a quick stroll. You'll find Lisbon to be an unheralded gem of a European capital. Grand plazas and pastel-colored buildings dot hilly waterfront neighborhoods, many dating back hundreds of years. Old cable cars lurch up winding cobbled roads, and medieval castles are perched atop the city's highest points. 
 
As evening falls, take part in a gourmet food tour in Lisbon—a great way to experience the city for the first time! Wear a good pair of walking shoes because you, along with your English-speaking guide, will meander through a series of authentic winding alleys tasting the incredible flavors of Portuguese gastronomy in the neighborhood of Campo de Ourique (practically a city within the city) that sets the food culture and culinary trends of Lisbon. Over the course of four hours, visit seven delicious spots that brilliantly link tradition with modernity. 

Day 2: Explore Lisbon with a Local Guide, Fado Evening

The red rooftops of Lisbon's Alfama district
Your private guide will pick you up at your hotel today for an excursion around Lisbon. Your first stop is the beautiful area of Belém, an ode to the age of the Portuguese Discoveries—the numerous territories and maritime routes discovered by the Portuguese during the 15th and 16th centuries. Here you'll visit Belém Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries, followed by the magnificent Jeronimos Monastery, considered one of the most stunning monuments of Portugal. Make sure to taste some sweet pastel de Belém, a delicious pastry found here.

Next, you will proceed to the charismatic Alfama district, home of traditional fado music, with twisting streets that wind up to an imposing castle on one of the city's highest hills. This neighborhood is a perfect mix of historical landmarks and charming residences, with whitewashed houses, flower-laden balconies, and red-tiled roofs. For dinner tonight, you'll head to one of the city's best fado restaurants, where good food, the perfect setting, and the melancholy tones of Lisbon's traditional music come together for a truly authentic night out.

Day 3: Day Trip to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril

Sintra's hilltop setting near Lisbon
Sintra's hilltop setting near Lisbon

After breakfast, your private driver will pick you up to start today's adventure in Sintra. Located just half an hour east of the city, this resort town in the Sintra Mountains is known for its forested hills, upscale villas, and Moorish palaces. Start with a visit to the Palacio Nacional da Pena (Pena Palace). This 19th-century romanticist castle mixes Moorish and Portuguese late-Gothic architectural styles with distinct features like gargoyles, ornate battlements, and colorful terraces. 

After touring the palace, you'll have a break for lunch, at which point you can also stroll through the historic village of Sintra and do some shopping or sightseeing. Then it's off to Sintra Cascais Natural Park. Some can't-miss locales in this area include the dramatic coastal cliffs of the Cabo de Roca, the wide and inviting Guincho Beach (a popular surf spot), and the glamorous towns of Cascais and Estoril. After the tour, a private transfer will take you back to your hotel in Lisbon.

Day 4: Transfer to Porto, Evening Food Tour

Porto's Ribeira neighborhood overlooking the Douro River
Today you'll bid the capital farewell and meet your driver for the transfer north to Porto—Portugal's second-largest and most populous city. Take some time to settle in, then head out to start exploring. An excellent place to start is the Ribeira area, which sits alongside the Douro River and is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. Famed for its narrow and colorfully-tiled dockside houses and views of the iconic double-decked Dom Luís Bridge, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see. 

Afterward, you'll join your guide for a fascinating and flavorful tour centered on the city's exciting food scene. This is your chance to get off the well-worn tourist path for a side of Porto that most travelers never see. Local families will welcome you into their small, authentic restaurants, cafés, and bars as you taste a range of traditional dishes, pastries, and, of course, Portuguese wines.

Day 5: Get to Know Porto, Canning Factory Visit

Let your guide should you the old town of Foz
Let your guide show you Porto's characterful Foz neighborhood
Get to know more of Porto today with a private guided excursion, where you'll learn about the city's history, heroes, and battles as you make your way through the trendiest and most culturally-rich areas of town. Explore Boavista Avenue, one of the city's most important streets, and Foz, home to some of the most revered museums and modern local treasures.

Next, you'll head to the city center—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—to admire renowned Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque monuments and sites, including São Bento Railway Station, Clerigos Tower, the Church of St. Francis, Lello Bookshop, Sta. Catarina Street, Majestic Café, and Bolhão Market. After visiting the imposing Porto Cathedral with its silver altarpiece, you'll finish the tour along the banks of the Douro River with views of Ribeira Plaza and the Dom Luís Bridge.

After your guided tour of Porto, you can also visit a small-scale canning factory, which produces gourmet-quality tinned fish. What makes this purveyor unique is its hand-made processing techniques, which have been used here for the last century. Tinned fish isn't only a delicacy in Portugal; it's a traditional way of life that continues to adapt to the times.

Day 6: Day Trip to the Douro Valley, Wine Tasting & River Cruise

Terraced vineyards in the lush Douro Valley
Today, your private driver will be waiting to whisk you into the mountains and valleys of the famous Douro Valley wine region, where you'll visit traditional wineries accompanied by your expert guide. After a wine tasting, you'll enjoy a traditional lunch at one of the valley's famous quintas (estates). 

After lunch, it's time to hop aboard a riverboat for an hour-long cruise down the tranquil Douro River. Relax and admire the beautiful scenery of the valley and the rolling hills along the riverbanks. At the end of the day, your guide will return you to Porto, where you can spend the evening at leisure in the city's lively Ribeira area.

Day 7: Transfer to Coimbra via Aveiro

Explore Portugal's ancient medieval capital of Coimbra

Meet your driver this morning for the transfer south to Coimbra. En route, make a stop to explore Aveiro (uh-vey-roo), situated on the edge of an extensive coastal lagoon system. This prosperous town, with its good-looking center and youthful, energetic buzz, is occasionally dubbed the "Venice of Portugal" thanks to its small network of picturesque canals. But where the Italian city has gondolas, Aveiro has moliceiros—colorful boats traditionally used for seaweed harvesting but now repurposed for canal cruises.

Continue to Coimbra, where a local guide will be waiting to lead you through a private tour of the city. This former medieval capital wears its weighty importance in Portuguese history with dignity and pride, witnessed by its multicolored collage of buildings that span nearly a millennium. The historic core cascades down a hillside to create a lovely setting along the east bank of the Rio Mondego.
 
Coimbra is considered one of the most ancient university towns in the world, and the 13th-century University of Coimbra remains the star attraction, with a tremendous amount of history and knowledge accumulated within its walls. A must-see is the University's Baroque Library, home to an incredible collection of over 200,000 books stored in carved and gilded bookshelves. The Chapel of Saint Michael next door is also worth the visit, and make sure to take a stroll through the atmospheric medieval streets of the historic center.   

Day 8: Transfer to Évora, Capital of the Alentejo

Évora Cathedral rising behind the Templo Romano
Continue south today with a transfer to Évora, capital of Portugal's Alentejo province. Get settled in, then head out to discover the city's most impressive treasures with a private tour.
 
Explore the compact, UNESCO-listed historic center and visit its main monuments, like the medieval Évora Cathedral, the 2,000-year-old ruins of Templo Romano, the 16th-century Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones), and many landmarks of the golden age of Portuguese maritime discoveries. This tour is especially perfect if you're interested in an overview of the city's major events, which have always been linked to the most significant moments in Portuguese history.

Day 9: Free Day in Évora & the Alentejo Region

A cork oak tree in the Alentejo countryside
Today is free to explore more of Évora at your own pace—a small city blessed with a large number of national monuments inside its ancient Moorish walls. Alternatively, you head out into the surrounding Alentejo region, Portugal's largest, which covers about 30% of the country. The sparsely populated yet vast swath of land between the Algarve region and Lisbon offers scenic rolling hills, olive groves, vineyards, charming fortified towns with many walking trails, and Neolithic monuments, rustic wineries, and cork production facilities.

No matter how you spend your day, enjoy the slow pace of life; residents in the Alentejo region are more traditional than other parts of Portugal, reflected in their homecooked cuisine and local handicrafts.

Day 10: Transfer to Lagos & the Algarve

Head south to the seaside town of Lagos
It's time to head to the beach! Your driver will take you south today toward Lagos, a maritime town on the western side of the sun-soaked Algarve coast.

Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day exploring on your own. Lagos is known for its charming inner-walled Old Town, pretty harbor, dramatic sandstone cliffs, and beautiful beaches, as well as authentic restaurants and buzzing nightlife. Locals are proud to say that Lagos has not succumbed to mass tourism like other cities in the Algarve, and the city retains its distinctive character and laid-back charm.

Day 11: Explore Lagos & the Greater Algarve Region

Descend a staircase to reach Praia do Camilo in Lago

Spend some more time discovering the 16th-century city of Lagos and its cobblestone streets, inviting squares, and great restaurants. Near the city center are several dreamlike beaches, with plenty of watersports and boat excursions on offer. Pinhao is a peaceful cove known for its secluded setting, while Ponta da Piedade offers more dramatic sandstone cliffs and bright turquoise water. Praia do Camilo is a gorgeous spot accessed by walking down 200 wooden steps to a sheltered sandy cove. 

You could also head further east for more beautiful sights and attractions, ranging from bustling resort towns to whitewashed villages offering mouth-watering cuisine and exhilarating coastal scenery. Lovers of quiet should explore more of the massive Costa Vicentina Natural Park, which extends north to Odeceixe. The park covers a whopping 182,857 acres (74,000 ha) of protected land, including beaches, cliffs, rolling hills, and marshland, with more than 750 species of flora and 200 species of birds.  

Day 12: Boat Tour to Ponta da Piedade

Explore the caves and hidden coves of the Algarve
Set sail today on a half-day excursion along the wild Algarve coast to reach the stunning Ponta da Piedade. You'll be taken from Lagos to Burgau and back, passing the famous golden beaches of D. Ana, Camilo, the cliffs and caves of Ponta da Piedade, Canavial, Porto de Mós, and the iconic black rock of Praia da Luz. Stop along the way in a secluded bay near the fishing village of Burgau where you can enjoy a complimentary lunch. Go for a swim, use the paddle boards and snorkeling gear, and bounce from the water trampoline for a true afternoon of water fun! 

Day 13: Algarve Sunset Experience

Sunset over the Cabo de São Vicente Lighthouse
Spend a free morning in the Algarve relaxing at the beach, or fit in another memorable Algarve adventure with a guided excursion: a boat trip to the famous Benagil Caves, kayaking to hidden coves, or snorkeling in the turquoise seas.
 
Later in the day, you'll get the chance to witness one of the most beautiful sunsets on earth from the far southwesterly point in continental Europe. As twilight approaches, your guide will transfer you to the spectacular Cabo de São Vicente of Sagres, where you can watch the sun sink into the Atlantic Ocean while you sample Portuguese wine and bread with chorizo.

Day 14: Transfer to Lisbon, Free Afternoon

Street art murals in Lisbon

After a leisurely breakfast (and maybe one final morning at the beach), it's time to meet your driver for the transfer back to Lisbon. After settling into your hotel, the rest of the afternoon is free to catch any Lisbon highlights you might have missed earlier in the trip or browse some local shops for souvenirs.

Don't miss a walk around the bohemian-style Bairro Alto, where you can ride the Bica Funicular, visit the São Roque Church, and take in the views from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. As evening falls, toast your final night and savor some Portuguese specialties in one of the city's charming neighborhood restaurants.

Day 15: Depart Lisbon

Sunset over Lisbon's Abril Bridge

It's time to say goodbye to Portugal! At the designated time, you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your departing flight. Safe travels and boa viagem!

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Map

Map of Epic Portugal: Lisbon to the Algarve - 15 Days
Map of Epic Portugal: Lisbon to the Algarve - 15 Days