Get to know Portugal at a relaxed pace on this 12-day itinerary that lets you explore Lisbon and Porto in-depth. Begin in the capital, where you'll uncover the ancient city's history and heart, then visit surrounding areas like Sintra, Évora, and Batalha on guided day trips. Next, catch a train to Porto to immerse yourself in the splendors of the north—wandering the colorful streets of the Ribeira district, taking a river cruise in a traditional boat, and spending a day in the rolling wine country of the Douro Valley.


  • See Portugal by train on a journey between Lisbon and Porto
  • Experience haunting music at a live fado show in Lisbon
  • Get lost in the magic of Sintra's fairy-tale castles
  • Sample port wine in the northern Douro Valley

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon & Explore Portugal's Capital Lisbon
Day 2 Walking Tour of Lisbon & Live Fado Show Lisbon
Day 3 Tour the Castles and Cliffs of Sintra & Cascais Lisbon
Day 4 Experience the Ancient Roman City of Évora Lisbon
Day 5 Historical Day Tour in Fátima, Batalha, Nazaré & Óbidos Lisbon
Day 6 Enjoy a Free Day in Lisbon Lisbon
Day 7 Take the Train to Porto  Porto
Day 8 Tour Porto by Foot Porto
Day 9 Wine Tasting in the Douro Valley Porto
Day 10 Get to Know Porto Porto
Day 11 Take the Train to Lisbon  Lisbon
Day 12 Depart Lisbon  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon & Explore Portugal's Capital

Explore Lisbon
One of Lisbon's colorful squares
Welcome to Portugal! A driver will meet you at the airport to take you to your accommodations in Lisbon, the second oldest city in Europe. This 2,000-year-old metropolis was once home to some of the world's greatest explorers, like Vasco da Gama, Magellan, and Prince Henry the Navigator. Lisbon stands out thanks to its authenticity; it's a place where old customs, ancient history, and modern times all intermix.
After settling in, take the rest of the day to explore the Portuguese capital on your own. Start in the Baixa neighborhood, which is the heart of Lisbon with its hilly cobblestone streets, historical squares, and neoclassical buildings. Visit one of the area's famous plazas like the Rossio or Comércio and stop for a delicious pastel de nata—a traditional custard pastry sprinkled with cinnamon. Hop on the famed tram line 28 and take it through the city before enjoying a meal of Lisbon's local flavors and dishes.

Day 2: Walking Tour of Lisbon & Live Fado Show

Comércio Square in Lisboa
Lisbon's Old Town at sunset
Put on comfortable shoes for a group walking tour this morning. Discover Lisbon's downtown area, beginning with Alfama, the city's oldest quarter. Here you'll find the 11th-century fortification of the Castelo de São Jorge. Learn how the Baixa was rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1755. Stroll around the bohemian area of Chiado, where 19th and 20th-century writers like Fernando Pessoa and Eça de Queiroz once gathered to find inspiration and write.
The afternoon is all yours to explore the city at your own pace. Consider visiting Belém, the area of Lisbon that's famously tied to the era of Portuguese Discoveries. The Belém Tower is one of Portugal's most recognizable sights. It once marked the beginning of voyages for sailors, as it was the last landmark they saw before heading out on the open seas. Visit the 16th-century Jerónimos Monastery, and make sure to get a pastéis de Belém from the place that introduced the world to Portugal's most storied confection.

In the evening, enjoy a dinner of traditional Portuguese cuisine and fado. This distinctive folk music dates back to the 1820s and is known for its melancholy, expression, and longing characteristics. Some describe it as similar to the blues, but this Portuguese artform is truly all its own and a can't-miss experience while in Lisbon.

Day 3: Tour the Castles and Cliffs of Sintra & Cascais

Pena Palace in the clouds
The Romantic Pena Palace in the clouds

Embark on a private tour of Sintra today, a hilly landscape filled with castles and impressive natural beauty. For those interested in a day of castle-hopping, there's no shortage of sites to visit here. Begin with the 19th-century Pena Palace, whose colorful romantic style comes straight out of a fairy tale. Continue to the Palácio and Quinta da Regaleira, which features impressive decorations and an inverted tower laden with Masonic symbols. Marvel at the Gothic and Indian influences of the Monserrate Palace.

If you're also interested in exploring nearby areas, head to Cabo da Roca after visiting some castles. This is the westernmost point of mainland Europe, once believed to be the end of the world, and it boasts spectacular views of the Atlantic from its lighthouse and rugged cliffs. The next stop is Cascais, a charming seaside town that was once the summer vacation spot for Portuguese royalty, where you can spot the mansions and estates that still line the coast.
Plan your trip to Portugal
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Experience the Ancient Roman City of Évora

Évora Shared Day Tour
The Roman Temple of Évora
This morning, embark on a group tour to the city of Évora. One of Portugal's oldest cities, Évora dates back to Roman times and also holds many visible remnants of Moorish and Celtic occupations. Wander its narrow streets, feel the cool stone of its medieval walls, and see millennia-old sites like the 1st-century Templo Romano (Roman Temple). Visit the Gothic-style Évora Cathedral as well as the 15th-century São Francisco Church and its macabre and marvelous Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones). 

Day 5: Historical Day Tour in Fátima, Batalha, Nazaré & Óbidos

A view into the ornate courtyard of Batalha

Discover the western part of Portugal with today's group tour, which begins at the Sanctuary of Fátima. A vision of the Virgin Mary appeared to three children here in 1917, and since then, this has been an important pilgrimage site for people worldwide. Continue to the 14th-century Batalha Monastery, which symbolizes Portugal's resistance to former Castille (modern-day Spain) and includes the intriguing Manueline-style Unfinished Chapels.

The next stop is the fishing village of Nazaré, home to amazing fresh seafood and the largest wave that's ever been surfed. After enjoying lunch in this picturesque spot, head to the day's final location: the medieval town of Óbidos. Scale its 12th-century preserved wall that circles the castle before exploring the castle itself. Make sure to try ginja, the local liqueur made with sour cherries and spices, before being brought back to Lisbon.

Day 6: Enjoy a Free Day in Lisbon

A view of Lisbon during sunset
Today is all yours to explore Lisbon on your own. The city is home to a thriving cultural scene, so consider checking out one of its museums. The National Azulejo Museum features the intricately painted blue tiles seen around Portugal. The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian boasts an art collection that spans the centuries, as well as a tranquil sculpture garden, while the National Coach Museum displays fascinating and complex horse-drawn carriages and coaches.

Day 7: Take the Train to Porto 

Porto's narrow and colorful buildings
Travel due north today by train to Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and 2000-year-old city marked by narrow, colorful buildings, façades of ornate azulejo tiles, and impressive feats of engineering like the Dom Luís I Bridge. Upon arrival at the train station, a driver will take you to your accommodations so you can discover Porto on your own.
Porto has historically been an intersecting point for various cultures, with Celtic, Roman, and Moorish occupations through the centuries. Take a walk through the 19th-century gardens of Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, whose walking paths overlook the city or meander the cobblestone streets and alleyways of Ribeira, Porto's medieval center.

Day 8: Tour Porto by Foot

Porto's tile church...
The blue tiles of Igreja do Carmo
Learn about Porto in-depth today during a group tour that begins in the morning. Start with the 12th-century Cathedral and climb the steps of the Clérigos Tower for one of the best views of the city. Browse the shelves of the Lello Bookshop and grab a drink and snack at the Café Majestic, both of which inspired the first Harry Potter book. The tour ends in the Ribeira, where you can get local insight into the formation and history of this medieval quarter.
The afternoon is all yours to see more of Porto. Consider taking a short cruise of the Douro River on a replica of a traditional rabelo boat. For those who love wine and local flavors, venture to the left bank of the Douro, which is home to a number of port wine distilleries. These fortified wine producers offer tasting tours, where you can see their cellars and sample Porto's most famous export. 

Day 9: Wine Tasting in the Douro Valley

Loivos viewpoint in the Douro Valley...
The Loivos viewpoint in the Douro Valley
Embark on a group tour of the Douro Valley this morning. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. The tour begins with a scenic drive through the valley, followed by a visit to one of the area's many vineyards, where you can sample both port and table wines over lunch. After the vineyard, take a short Douro River cruise on a rabelo boat like the ones that locals have used for centuries to traverse the region.

Day 10: Get to Know Porto

Sun shining over Porto
This last day in Porto is all yours to explore the city on your own. Porto is home to some fantastic museums, which bring the past into the present in special ways. The 200-year-old Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis was Portugal's first public art museum located in a former royal residence. Music-lovers can catch a show of the National Orchestra of Porto in the modern structure of the Casa da Música. Venture to the Serralves Museum, which includes a sculpture garden filled with contemporary pieces.

Day 11: Take the Train to Lisbon 

Lisbon at sunrise
Take the train from Porto to Lisbon this morning and reach Portugal's capital by the early afternoon. A driver will take you from the Lisbon train station to your accommodations, and you will have the rest of the day to get in any last sights, tastes, or experiences in the City of the Seven Hills. Stock up on pastéis de Belém, see one last fado show or just get lost in the city's streets to take in all that Lisbon has to offer.

Day 12: Depart Lisbon

A plate of pastéis de Belém
A plate of pastéis de Belém

It is time to say goodbye to charming Portugal. A driver will pick you up and transfer you to Lisbon Airport to catch your flight to your next destination. Adeus and boa viagem!

More Great Portugal Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Portugal? Check out these other Portugal itineraries, explore different ways to spend 12 days in Portugal, or discover the best time of year to visit Portugal.


Map of Laid-Back Portugal: Lisbon, Porto & More - 12 Days
Map of Laid-Back Portugal: Lisbon, Porto & More - 12 Days