Combining the exploration of vibrant cities like Porto, Lisbon, and Coimbra with exceptional nature in Tomar and the Portuguese Riviera, this trip showcases the unique and diverse culture of Portugal. You'll peruse historical city streets and monuments, plus UNESCO sites like the Roman ruins of Évora, the Pena National Palace and forest in Sintra, and the birthplace of Portugal, the town of Guimarães. Escape the city vibes with the impressive Almourol Castle along the Tejo River, the scenic town of Cascais along the Riviera, and the most westerly point in mainland Europe, Cabo da Roca.

Highlights

  • Stroll around the historic center of Porto and discover its architectural heritage
  • Wander the streets and Roman Temple ruins in Évora
  • Explore the distinctive neighborhoods of Lisbon, riding the trams through historic streets
  • Fall in love with the fairytale palace and forest of Sintra
  • Discover the views of the Tejo River from the hilltop Almourol Castle

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Porto - Guided Walking Tour Porto
Day 2 Day Tour to Braga and Guimarães Porto
Day 3 Transfer by Train to the University City of Coimbra - Explore Coimbra
Day 4 Ride the Rails to Lisbon and Enjoy a Fado Performance Lisbon
Day 5 Discover Castles and Convents in Tomar and Along the Tejo River Lisbon
Day 6 Explore Sintra and the Portuguese Riviera with a Guided Tour Lisbon
Day 7 Peruse the Roman Ruins and Moorish Streets in Évora Lisbon
Day 8 Depart Portugal  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Porto - Guided Walking Tour

Porto's Skyline
Porto's Skyline

Welcome to Porto! After arriving at the airport, your driver will deliver your documents for the trip and transfer you to your accommodation in the city. Take some time to settle into your hotel before venturing out to discover vibrant Porto, an old-world city drenched in music and art.

As the perfect introduction, a private guide will take you through the hilly city. Beginning at São Bento Station, you'll admire the impressive atrium lined with colorful tiles. Your next stop will be the 12th-century Porto Cathedral, followed by Clérigos Tower, which is worth the climb for incredible views over the city. 

On your way down the hill, head to Café Majestic for a little reprieve, stopping into Lello bookshop, which was inspired by the Harry Potter stories. For lunch, continue south down the medieval steps in the Ribeira neighborhood to find hip cafés with terraces and picturesque corners. Afterward, you'll have some free time to do a little shopping, take photos, or simply relax with an espresso as the locals do.

Day 2: Day Tour to Braga and Guimarães

The Historical City of Braga, Portugal
The Historical City of Braga, Portugal

Today's adventure is all about Portugal's incredible history. In the morning, your driver will transfer you to the city of Guimarães, known to be the birthplace of Portugal. The city's historic center is often associated with the country's formation, as well as its identity. The old town core is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the originality and authenticity of its restoration. 

In Guimarães, you'll find many interesting and well-preserved medieval buildings, the most significant being the 10th-century castle that sits proudly atop of the city's hill. You can also visit the Dukes of Bragança Palace, as well as the 13th-century São Miguel do Castelo Church.

After lunch in Guimarães, you'll continue north to Braga, one of the oldest cities in Portugal. Braga, or "Bracara Augusta", was the capital of the province of Gallaecia under the Roman Empire. Braga’s Cathedral, built between the 11th and 13th centuries, is also the oldest in the country and acted as a significant religious symbol for many centuries. Don't miss the Braga Tower, the Archbishops's Court, or the baroque Palácio do Raio, the former, grandiose home of a prominent merchant.

In the late afternoon, you'll return to Porto. Relax at your accommodation before heading out into the city for some more sightseeing and dinner.

Day 3: Transfer by Train to the University City of Coimbra - Explore

Coimbra, Portugal
Coimbra, Portugal

After breakfast, you'll say goodbye to Porto and head to the train station for a one-hour trip towards the university city of Coimbra. Upon arriving in Coimbra, you'll be transferred to your accommodation where you can settle in and relax.

Your hotel will be located in the historic downtown area, with many restaurants and interesting sites within walking distance. It's the perfect place to help you explore this interesting city, which was once the country's capital. To help you learn more about Coimbra's history, a guided tour will lead you through the city. Probably the most interesting site is the university, one of the oldest in Europe and built on the grounds of a former palace. The buildings are excellent examples of baroque architecture. Take a look inside its famous library, Biblioteca Joanina, and gaze up at its stunning bell tower.

Don't miss the Sé Velha Cathedral, which was built in the 12th century and resembles a fortress. You can also visit the Church of Santa Cruz, which houses the remains of Portugal's first king.

In the late afternoon, you'll have more time to explore this city at your own pace, and to find a cozy restaurant for dinner.

Day 4: Ride the Rails to Lisbon and Enjoy a Fado Performance

Sunrise Over Beautiful Lisbon
Sunrise Over Beautiful Lisbon

After breakfast, you'll leave Coimbra by train and head for Portugal's bustling capital city, Lisbon. Upon your arrival, you'll be transferred to your accommodation where you can freshen up before your guided walking tour through the city's historic core.

You'll start in the hip Alfama and Castelo districts, home to some of the most fabulous views over Lisbon and the Tagus River. In Chiado and Bairro Alto, the most bohemian parts of the city, you can stroll the winding cobblestone streets, feel the breezy attitude of the locals, and do a little shopping.

In the evening, opt for a typical dinner at a Fado house where you can enjoy Portugal's historical musical genre, Fado, which can be traced back to the early 19th century. Whether or not you like the style of music, dinner by candlelight listening to Fado in Lisbon is an experience not to be missed.

Day 5: Discover Castles and Convents in Tomar and Along the Tejo River

The Stunning Convent of Tomar
The Stunning Convent of Tomar

Enjoy a leisurely morning before heading out to explore the quaint, riverside city of Tomar and the unique Almourol Castle. If you're a history buff, you'll  surely be amazed by Tomar, a Templar City once ruled by the Catholic military of the 12th century.

First you'll visit the Templar Castle, also known as the Convent of Christ, which was built by the Templers (the Order of Christ), upholding their power, knowledge, and wealth in Portugal. The Convent boasts several styles of architecture, plus beautiful frescoes and stone work inside the church.

After enjoying Tomar, you'll set your sights on Vila Nova da Barquinha. Here you'll take short boat ride along the Tejo River to  the gorgeous Almourol Castle. Set atop a hilly islet, you'll get an impressive view from the river. Walk to the top for stunning stretches of the river valley, then explore the castle's medieval walls.

In the late afternoon, you'll return to your hotel in Lisbon for a free evening.

Day 6: Explore Sintra and the Portuguese Riviera with a Guided Tour

The Pena National Palace in Sintra
The Pena National Palace in Sintra

Today starts early with a group tour to the stunning town of Sintra, home to the famous National Palace of Pena and its surrounding greenery. The town and the northern slope of the Serra de Sintra (Sintra Mountains) have wonderful natural characteristics and impressive historic landmarks.

It's difficult to see all that Sintra has to offer in one single day, so it's best to focus on one of the most romantic palaces in Portugal, the Pena Palace. The castle's history starts in the 15th century, but its current state is a prime example of Romanticist architecture, brought back to life in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II. You'll surely feel like you've stepped into a fairytale as you wander the grounds and gaze out to the forest, the valley, and the sea.

After exploring the castle, take some time to enjoy the town of Sintra. Many tourists overlook Sintra itself, but it's home to charming, winding cobblestone streets, colorful facades, and quaint shops, all nestled into the surrounding hillside.

On the way back to Lisbon, stop at westernmost point of mainland Europe, Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca), for gorgeous views over the Atlantic Ocean. Continue your journey towards the Portuguese Riviera in the towns of Cascais and Estoril, one of the most cosmopolitan and touristic regions in Portugal. It’s worth stopping for a quick stroll around the towns, absorbing the emerald waters and truly beautiful scenery.

You'll return to your hotel in time for a little rest and relaxation before dinner.

Day 7: Peruse the Roman Ruins and Moorish Streets in Évora

The Ruins of Évora
The Ruins of Évora

After breakfast, you'll join a guided tour to the city of Évora, home to the spectacular Roman Temple ruins. The city's old town is exceptionally well preserved, earning it a UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It's full of medieval walls, churches, monuments, and more.

Founded in Roman times, Évora is a true book of Portuguese art and history. The city's golden age started when it was chosen as the residence of kings and nobles in the 15th century. Wander through the narrow Moorish streets and enjoy the wonderful monuments hiding in every corner. The medieval walls, the Cathedral, the Graça Church, and São Francisco Church, with its curious Chapel of Bones, are all unmissable.

After stepping back in time and enjoying this marvelous city, you’ll return to Lisbon for your final night of the trip.

Day 8: Depart Portugal

The Famous Trams of Lisbon
The Famous Trams of Lisbon

It's time to say goodbye to beautiful Portugal. In the morning, your driver will transfer you to the airport in time to catch your flight home, or onto your next destination.