Portugal's gastronomy and history intertwine on this lively 11-day itinerary. A series of guided excursions and private transfers will start you off—from wine tasting in the Douro Valley to cruising the canals of Aveiro and exploring Porto by vintage car. Then it's time to switch to a rental car and head south toward the Algarve, where you'll explore spectacular beaches and charming villages at your own pace.

Highlights

  • Work up an appetite on a walking food tour through Lisbon's ancient alleys
  • Sample local delicacies & float down the romantic canals of Aveiro
  • Hop in a stylish vintage car to explore Porto's riverside neighborhoods
  • Learn about the golden age of Portuguese history in stately Évora
  • Discover golden beaches, hidden coves & sea caves in the Algarve

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon, Roots, Food & Cultural Walk Lisbon
Day 2 Explore Lisbon by Tuk-Tuk Lisbon
Day 3 Day Trip to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril Lisbon
Day 4 Transfer to Porto via Aveiro, Tuk-Tuk & Boat Tour of Aveiro Porto
Day 5 Porto by Vintage Car & Port Wine Tasting Porto
Day 6 Day Trip to the Douro Valley, Wine Tasting & River Cruise Porto
Day 7 Pick Up Rental Car & Drive to Évora, the Capital of the Alentejo Évora
Day 8 Drive to Lagos & the Algarve Coast Algarve
Day 9 Catamaran Sailing Cruise to Benagil, Beaches of the Western Algarve Algarve
Day 10 Explore the Eastern Algarve Algarve
Day 11 Drive to Lisbon, Drop Off Rental Car & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon, Roots, Food & Cultural Walk

Lisbon's Market
Today's food tour introduces you to Lisbon's vibrant outdoor markets

Welcome to Portugal! Upon arrival at Lisbon's airport, your private driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in the city center. After resting up and settling in, you'll set out to explore two of Lisbon's most ancient neighborhoods on a small-group food tour.

Take a trip through time as you stroll from the ancient alleys of the 12th century into the bustling modern-day city, soaking up the laid-back vibes of each area and stopping along the way to sample authentic Portuguese dishes and snacks. The walk includes six stops for tastings at favorite local haunts, where you'll learn more about the staples of Portuguese cuisine and its many influences.

Day 2: Explore Lisbon by Tuk-Tuk

Lisbon by Tuk-Tuk
Colorful tuk-tuks lined up in Lisbon's Praça da Figueira 

Explore the "City of Seven Hills" in style today by electric tuk-tuk. Led by your knowledgeable guide, you'll zip through the charming capital's modern and historic districts, from the neoclassical avenues of Baixa to the cobblestone alleys of the bohemian Bairro Alto. Discover the city's fascinating history and hidden corners along the way, and stop at stunning panoramic viewpoints like São Pedro de Alcântara, Parque Eduardo VII, Senhora do Monte, and Santa Luzia.

This afternoon is free for you to explore Lisbon at your own pace. Head to the LX Factory for cool street art alongside a selection of restaurants, bars, and shops, or treat your tastebuds to an afternoon at the Timeout Market, where the shining stars of Lisbon's gastronomy are gathered under one roof. The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian should be at the top of the list for any art lovers visiting the capital, while the breathtaking Jeronimos Monastery in picture-perfect Belém is one of Lisbon's can't-miss highlights. 

Day 3: Day Trip to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril

Sintra's hilltop setting near Lisbon
Sintra's dramatic 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 and/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, your driver will take you back to your hotel in Lisbon.

Day 4: Transfer to Porto via Aveiro, Tuk-Tuk & Boat Tour of Aveiro

Aveiro
Colorful traditional boats lining Aveiro's canals

Today, you'll be picked up at your hotel for the transfer north to Porto. 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.

Start with a privately guided visit by tuk-tuk before hopping into a molicerio to cruise down the canals while admiring the city's unique tile facades and colorful houses. Aveiro is also known for its rich and varied gastronomy—make sure to try the local pastry delicacy known as ovos moles de Aveiro (soft eggs of Aveiro) before getting back on the road toward Porto.

Day 5: Porto by Vintage Car & Port Wine Tasting

Porto's colorful Foz neighborhood

Today's glamorous tour—half on foot, half by vintage car—is one of the most unique and unforgettable experiences that you can encounter in Porto.  Discover the city's most important highlights and hidden corners in style, then take a drive toward the fishing village of S. Pedro da Afurada or head to the city's colorful Foz neighborhood to get a glimpse of local life, Porto-style. End the excursion with a guided visit to a port cellar for a tasting of the area's famous fortified wine.

After lunch, you can explore some of Porto's characterful neighborhoods at your own pace. A good place to start is the Ribeira area, which sits right along the Douro River and is one of the oldest parts of the city. Famed for its narrow and colorfully-tiled dockside houses, as well as its views of the iconic double-decked Dom Luís Bridge, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is simply a must-see.  For a true taste of Porto, be sure to also explore the warren of windy streets behind the riverside. 

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

Vineyards overlooking the Douro River

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: Pick Up Rental Car & Drive to Évora, Capital of the Alentejo

Évora's spectacular medieval cathedral

Today you'll pick up your rental car and leave Porto behind as you drive south to Évora, the capital of Portugal's Alentejo province. Get settled in, then set out to discover the city's most impressive treasures with a private, guided tour.

Explore the UNESCO-listed compact historic center and visit its main monuments, including the well-preserved ruins of the Templo Romano and many landmarks of the golden age of Portuguese maritime discoveries. This tour is especially perfect if you're interested in gaining an overview of the city's major events, which have always been linked to the most significant moments in Portuguese history.

Day 8: Transfer to Lagos & the Algarve Coast

Take the wooden walkway to scenic Praia do Camilo in Lagos
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Continue south today toward Lagos and the golden beaches of the Algarve coast. Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel and have the rest of the day to explore 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 still retains its distinctive character and laid-back charm. 

Day 9: Catamaran Sailing Cruise to Benagil, Beaches of the Western Algarve

Benagil Caves
Explore the magical Benagil Caves by boat

Set sail today from Lagos to the world-famous Benagil Caves. Along the way, you'll pass the famous beaches of Carvoeiro, Algar Seco, the Alfanzina Lighthouse, Benagil, and Praia da Marinha’s stunning views. Relax on the catamaran's twin sunbathing nets and enjoy the gentle breeze as you cruise along this unforgettable coastline, then anchor in the lovely coves of João de Arens for some swimming, paddleboarding, or snorkeling.

Back on dry land, the rest of the day is yours to explore the incredibly scenic Algarve region in any way you'd like. If beaches are high on your list, you'll find several dreamy options to choose from—offering a variety of services, water sports, and boat excursions. The peaceful cove of Pinhao Beach is known for its secluded, picturesque setting, while the Ponta da Piedade features more dramatic sandstone cliffs and bright turquoise water. Praia do Camilo gives way to a memorable view from the top of a staircase whose 200 wooden steps lead down to a sheltered sandy cove. 

Day 10: Explore the Eastern Algarve

A magical sunset in the eastern Algarve town of Tavira

Today, you're free to opt for some more relaxing beach time, or if you're feeling adventurous, hop in the car and head east toward Tavira arguably the Algarve's most charming town. The ruins of a hilltop castle, an old Roman bridge, and a smattering of Gothic and Renaissance churches are among its historic attractions. An enticing assortment of restaurants and guesthouses makes it an excellent base for exploring the Algarve’s eastern reaches.

Along the way, you can make stops in Albufeira, with the lovely beach of Praia da Galé to the west, or take some time to explore the pretty inland villages and the area’s high-quality rural restaurants before heading back to Lagos for the evening. 

Day 11: Drive to Lisbon, Drop Off Rental Car & Depart

Sunrise over Praia do Camilo

After a final morning in Lagos, you'll say your goodbyes and drive to Lisbon's airport to drop off your rental car and catch your departing flight. Safe travels and boa viagem!

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Map

Map of Explore Portugal's Culture & Cuisine: Lisbon, Porto, Évora & the Algarve - 11 Days
Map of Explore Portugal's Culture & Cuisine: Lisbon, Porto, Évora & the Algarve - 11 Days