This fun-filled family adventure starts in Porto, where you'll take a food tour of delicious Portuguese cuisine. Enjoy a day trip to the stunning Paiva Walkways and hike down the steep stairways along the river. It's off to Coimbra to visit the nearby beaches of Figueira da Foz for some swimming and sun, then to Óbidos for a night in one of Portugal's prettiest towns. End your adventure in Lisbon, riding on an amphibious tour bus and soaring over the Tagus River by cable car.


  • Visit the Livraria Lello bookstore and its "Harry Potter" library
  • Hike the stunning landscapes of the Paiva Walkways
  • Descend into the breathtaking depths of the Mira De Aire Caves 
  • Jump on an amphibious bus for a land and water tour of Lisbon 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Porto, Family Food Tour Porto
Day 2 Porto for Kids Tour, Visit the Harry Potter Library Porto
Day 3 Day Trip to the Paiva Walkways Porto
Day 4 Drive to Coimbra via Avéiro & Buçaco Forest Coimbra
Day 5 Explore Coimbra, Figueira da Foz & the Schist Villages Coimbra
Day 6 Drive to Óbidos via Mira De Aire Caves Óbidos
Day 7 Drive to Lisbon, Hippo Trip Tour Lisbon
Day 8 Ceramic Tile Workshop, Explore Lisbon Lisbon
Day 9 Guided Day Trip to Sintra Lisbon
Day 10 Depart Lisbon  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Porto, Family Food Tour

Traditional Portugese pastries 

Welcome to Portugal! You'll land at Porto airport and be met by your driver, who will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Porto is Portugal's second-largest city, with a history that dates back to the Roman Empire—which also makes it one of Europe's oldest cities. Modern Porto is a thriving metropolis that manages to retain an old-world charm while also being very family-friendly.

Once you've had time to get checked in and settled, start your adventure with a guided family food tour. Porto has a very exciting food scene, which includes traditional foods like pastéis de nata (custard tart), sardinhas assadas (grilled sardines), and dishes containing bacalhau (dried, salted cod). You'll have a chance to try some of these local favorites, as well as other foods specific to Portugal.

The tour takes you to small, authentic restaurants, cafés, and bars as you're welcomed by the business owners and their families. Taste a range of traditional dishes, local pastries, Portuguese wines for the adults, and maybe some sumol ananás for the kids–a fizzy pineapple soda that is one of Portugal's most popular drinks! And if the kids are picky eaters, don't worry. Since this is a private tour, it can be curated to accommodate any and all palates. Relax at your hotel tonight before continuing your exploration of the city tomorrow. 

Day 2: Porto for Kids Tour, Visit the Harry Potter Library

Colorful houses along Porto's riverfront

Start your day with a guided "Porto for Kids" tour, which takes you to some of the city's must-see attractions and historic sites, all with a kid-friendly focus! Walk through some of Porto's most important landmarks, including the medieval townhouses stacked along the beautiful Duoro River and the historic town center. See the Dom Luís I Bridge, which traverses the river and towers at 147 feet (45 m), the Clérigos Church and its amazing bell tower (feel free to make the 30-minute climb if the family is feeling fit!), and the historic São Bento Train Station, which was once the site of a Benedictine monastery.

After your guided introduction to the city, you can continue this afternoon. Readers in the group will enjoy a visit to Livraria Lello, one of the oldest bookstores in Europe and thought to be the inspiration for the "Flourish and Blotts" bookstore in J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series. See the richly decorated ceiling, the majestic winding staircase, and the Art Deco touches throughout. Have lunch at a local restaurant, then head to Crystal Palace Gardens, located in downtown Porto and home to peacocks, ducks, and even roosters. There are easy paths for strollers, and plenty of shaded areas.
Visit Serralves, a contemporary museum with a large attached garden, and see Gaia Biological Park, a nearly 90-acre (35 ha) park dedicated to environmental education. The park is home to several species of animals and birds, many of which were rescued from illegal captivity. And for kids interested in marine life, stop by SEA LIFE Porto, an aquarium with an ocean tunnel and animals that include penguins, turtles, sting rays, and sharks. This evening, go for a walk or rent bikes to cruise through the Foz neighborhood, a seafront beach area with plenty of restaurants. 
Plan your trip to Portugal
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 3: Day Trip to the Paiva Walkways

Families explore the Paiva Walkways

Your driver will pick you up from your hotel and transport you to the Paiva Walkways, a 5.5-mile (8.8 km) trail of steep wooden walkways along the banks of the Paiva River and part of Arouca Geopark, a UNESCO Geological site. At the trailhead, you'll be met by your guide, who will share insight into the region's history as you make the three-hour trek. Keep in mind that while the hike itself is considered easy to moderate, there are no strollers allowed on the walkways, so make sure the little ones are able to walk the full distance. 

Enjoy the beautiful landscape alongside the soothing sounds of the river, and if heights aren't a concern, you can cross the Arouca 516, a pedestrian footbridge that goes across the river and is the second-longest footbridge of its kind in the world. At the end of the hike, you'll stop for a traditional lunch, which will include posta arouquesa, a delicious grilled meat that is popular here. On your way back to Porto, you also have the option of visiting a local distillery where the Portuguese liquor, pinguça, is produced. Relax at your Porto hotel tonight before continuing your journey tomorrow. 

Day 4: Drive to Coimbra via Avéiro & Buçaco Forest

Avéiro's colorful moliceiros

Pick up your rental car and drive to Coimbra, approximately 1.5 hours from Porto. There are some great sights to see, so plan to make a few stops! Start at Avéiro, sometimes called the "Venice of Portugal," thanks to its picturesque canals. You can take a privately guided tuk-tuk tour around the city, hop into a colorful molicerio (boats used for tours) and explore the canals, where you'll see brightly colored houses with tile facades. There are also beaches within walking distance, and nearby São Jacinto Nature Reserve is perfect for a bird-watching break.

If your family wants to spend some time in nature (or the kids need to burn some energy), the Buçaco Forest is another great place to stop. The forest forms part of the European Route of Historic Gardens and is home to more than 250 species of trees and shrubs. There are six different walking trails, and you'll also find lakes, fountains, and small chapels that were originally built by monks. Be sure to visit the Palace Hotel do Buçaco, located in the center of the forest, and see the beautiful boxwood gardens. This afternoon, continue to Coimbra and get settled at your accommodations.

Day 5: Explore Coimbra, Figueira da Foz & the Schist Villages

Discover historic Coimbra on foot today

Get out and explore Coimbra, one of Portugal's oldest cities. Primarily known as home to the University of Coimbra, this is a vibrant place with plenty to see and do. Start with a visit to the university, which sits in the city's upper zone. The incredible Baroque library should be your first stop, where you'll find a collection of over 200,000 books, all stored in beautifully carved bookshelves. You can also visit the 18th-century bell tower, and nearby you'll find the Chapel of Saint Michael with its elaborate interior wall tiles. Then, head to the Old Town, where you can stroll through lively markets and grab lunch at a local eatery.

If you're looking for beach time, take a one-hour train ride to Figueira da Foz, a coastal city with a large stretch of sandy beach. The waters near shore are calm and shallow, making it perfect for younger kids, and there are equipment rentals, restaurants, and shopping nearby. The kids will love playing in the waves all day, and the adults can enjoy a beverage while relaxing on the beach. Take some time to wander the charming streets of the city, walk to the nearby Mondego River and see the natural salt ponds, where you can see exhibits on the history of salt production in Portugal. 

For families who want a real off-the-beaten-path experience, take a drive to the Schist Villages. Named for the schist stone the homes were built with, the villages consist of 27 communities spread across the nearby mountains. You'll feel like time is standing still as you walk through the quiet streets and explore the forests and rivers. The most well-known village is Talasnal, which has a 3.1-mile (5 km) looped hiking trail that takes you to another of the Schist Villages, Casal Novo. Many other hiking and biking trails connect the villages.

Day 6: Drive to Óbidos via Mira De Aire Caves

The enchanting Mira De Aire Caves

Get back on the road today and head to your next destination, Óbidos, a drive of about 1.5 hours. Just before your arrival into the city, however, make a detour to visit one of the region's most impressive sights, the Grutas Mira de Aire. Formed during the Middle Jurassic Age more than 150 million years ago, these are the largest underground caves in Portugal. The caves were discovered in 1947, and in 2010 they were elected one of the "Seven Natural Wonders" of Portugal.

Your visit will begin with a short film that explains the history of how the cave system was found, then you'll head underground with your guide, descending more than 600 man-made steps into a world of mineral formations, cathedral-like rooms, and dimly lit pools. See stalagmites and stalactites and learn how they were formed, and take in the unusual beauty of this natural creation. While the caves are not stroller-friendly, the steps themselves aren't difficult to navigate as they go along several levels, so even younger children should do just fine.

After visiting the caves, continue to Óbidos. Located in the Oeste region, this village is surrounded by a crenelated wall, whitewashed houses and a labyrinth of cobblestone streets. Once you've checked in at your hotel, take a self-guided tour. Start at Óbidos Castle, one of the town's main attractions. Now a hotel, this former palace features stone battlements and ramparts that offer panoramic views of the valley. Then, head to the town center and see Igreja de Santa Maria Church and its 17th-century tile panels. Later, stroll the main square and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 7: Drive to Lisbon, Hippotrip Tour

All aboard the Hippo Trip! 

It's off to Lisbon today, located just one hour from Óbidos. Upon arrival, you'll drop off your rental car and get checked in at your hotel. Portugal's capital city, a coastal town, features a rich history, ornate architecture, and amazing scenery. Once you've had a chance to regroup, take the kids out on a city tour that is unlike anything they've seen—a Lisbon Hippotrip Tour! These amphibious vehicles explore the heart of Portugal’s capital by both land and river, allowing you to see some of its most notable sights without ever leaving the comfort of your own seat. Is it a bus? Is it a boat? It's both!

Get ready to plunge into the Tagus River on this lively, fun-filled cruise. The tour starts in the city center. Your family will board the bus and enjoy a land tour first, then you'll head to the river and drive straight into it. Your guides will share the myths and legends of the city and local landmarks, providing an entertaining show for all ages. Tonight, relax at your hotel before seeing more of Lisbon tomorrow. 

Day 8: Ceramic Tile Workshop, Explore Lisbon 

Portuguese Tile Painting
Portuguese tile painting

Start your day with a family workshop, learning the history and art of painting traditional ceramic tiles or azulejos. Tiles in Lisbon are an architectural element, one you'll see throughout the city, and have been used for over five centuries as a social imaginary and cultural register. This hands-on workshop teaches how and why the tiles are used, you and the kids will also get to paint your own tiles to take home. 

Afterward, set out on a self-guided tour to see more of the city. Walk to Castelo de São Jorge, a castle that sits high on a hilltop. It offers spectacular city views, and there are often exhibitions with knights and archers, which the kids will love. Then, head to the Telecabine Lisboa or Lisbon Cable Car. Built for the World Expo in the 90s, it runs about a mile along the river, with views of the Vasco Da Gama bridge as you cruise for the 10-minute journey. Afterward, stop in at Estufa Fria greenhouse, which has lots of green space for the little ones to enjoy. 

If you're looking for bigger outdoor areas where the kids can run and play, head to Jardim da Estrela, one of Lisbon's largest parks. The park has a playground and duck ponds, and their café often hosts child-friendly activities and live music. And if the older kids are into street art, visit LX Factory, a buzzing district with creations by local artists everywhere. Stop by Jerónimos Monastery, a breathtaking piece of architecture with a vast chapel, and end your day at the National Azulejo Museum, a former convent now dedicated to the history of Portugal's traditional tilework. 

Day 9: Guided Day Trip to Sintra

Young imaginations will be captivated by the whimsical world of Sintra

For your final day in Portugal, take a private tour to the village of Sintra, located in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains. Your driver will collect you from your hotel, and you'll make the 40-minute drive to this lovely little town, home to a charming collection of palaces and villas, winding streets, and colorful art. 

The tour takes you through the village and to some of its most well-known palaces. Your first top will be the Quinta da Regaleira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with incredible neo-Gothic architecture, large gardens, and an assortment of hidden passageways and winding staircases. Then, you'll visit the National Palace of Sintra, which is located in the town center and was once a hunting retreat for the Portuguese monarchy.

End your day at the impressive Pena Palace, a vividly colored romanticist castle completed in 1854 and overlooks the whole town. Originally intended as a summer palace for the king, it was purchased by the state in 1889 and was later transformed into a museum. The castle is adjacent to Pena Park, which encompasses nearly 500 acres (200 ha) and has shaded walking paths, pavilions, lakes, and ponds. There are even some secret walking paths for the kids to discover, making it a great way to relax at the end of the tour. 

Day 10: Depart Lisbon

A final look at Lisbon

It's time to say goodbye to Portugal! At the appointed time, your driver will pick you up at your hotel to take you to Lisbon airport to catch your flight back home. Safe travels!

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Map of Family Fun & Culture in Portugal: Porto, Coimbra, Óbidos & Lisbon - 10 Days
Map of Family Fun & Culture in Portugal: Porto, Coimbra, Óbidos & Lisbon - 10 Days