Experience two vacations in one on this diverse 13-day journey through Portugal. Start on the mainland to tour the highlights of Lisbon and Porto (with a slew of fascinating day trips to the Douro Valley, Coimbra, and Sintra in between). Then it's time to jet off toward the remote Azores archipelago, where you'll spend four days exploring the volcanic landscapes, verdant scenery, and wild beaches of São Miguel Island.


  • Get lost in Porto's riverside Ribeira district
  • Experience the haunting melodies of live fado music in Lisbon
  • Hike to the romantic hilltop castles of Sintra
  • Savor local dishes & wines on a food tour of Ponta Delgada
  • Explore the beaches, forests & volcanic wonders of São Miguel Island

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Porto, Afternoon Foodie Experience Porto
Day 2 Porto History & Heroes Tour Porto
Day 3 Explore Porto & the North Porto
Day 4 Day Trip to the Douro Valley, Wine Tasting & River Cruise Porto
Day 5 Transfer to Lisbon via Coimbra Lisbon
Day 6 Explore Lisbon, Evening of Fado Lisbon
Day 7 Free Day in Lisbon Lisbon
Day 8 Sintra Heritage Hike Lisbon
Day 9 Fly to São Miguel Island, Azorean Culinary & Wine Experience São Miguel Island
Day 10 Beaches of São Miguel São Miguel Island
Day 11 Hiking Adventure to Lagoa do Fogo São Miguel Island
Day 12 Explore the Geothermal Wonders of the Furnas Valley São Miguel Island
Day 13 Fly to Lisbon & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Porto, Afternoon Foodie Experience

Twilight in Porto's Ribeira Square
Welcome to Portugal! Upon arrival at Porto's airport, you will be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel in the city center. After settling in, get to know the city and its cuisine with a delicious afternoon walking tour. This is your chance to get off the well-worn tourist path for a side of Porto that most travelers rarely see. Local families will welcome you into their small, authentic restaurants, cafés, and bars as you taste a range of traditional dishes, local pastries, and Portuguese wines.

Day 2: Porto History & Heroes Tour

Get to know Porto's riverfront neighborhoods and hidden corners on today's tour

Explore more of Porto today with a private guided excursion, learning about the city's history, heroes, and battles as you make your way through the trendiest and most cultural areas of town. Start in the UNESCO-listed city center to admire its renowned Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque monuments and sites, including the São Bento Railway Station, Clerigos Tower, Church of St. Francis, Lello Bookshop, Sta. Catarina Street, Majestic Café, and Bolhão Market.

After visiting the imposing Porto Cathedral and its surroundings, you'll finish the tour along the banks of the immense Douro River for sweeping views over the city from the Miradouro da Vitória.

Day 3: Explore Porto & the North

Colorful traditional houses in Porto's Ribeira neighborhood 

After breakfast in Porto, you'll have a free day to discover more of the city on your own. A good place to start is the Ribeira neighborhood, which sits alongside the Douro River and is one of the oldest parts of the city. Famed for its narrow and brightly-tiled dockside houses and its views of the iconic double-decked Dom Luís Bridge, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is simply a must-see. For an authentic taste of Porto, be sure to also explore the warren of winding streets behind the riverside.

You can also opt to explore further afield. Within easy reach, you'll find the charming cities of Braga, home to the oldest cathedral in the country, and Aveiro, nicknamed the "Venice of Portugal" for its colorful canals. History buffs can head to Guimarães to see its medieval castle and the birthplace of the country's first king. Esposende offers white sand beaches and picturesque dunes for a relaxing retreat just a half-hour drive away. A bit further north lies the beautiful beach town of Viana do Castelo, the perfect spot for sampling some excellent seafood.

Day 4: Day Trip to the Douro Valley, Wine Tasting & River Cruise

Terraced vineyards along 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 (winery 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 an evening out in the city's lively Ribeira area.

Day 5: Transfer to Lisbon via Coimbra

A fountain Coimbra's city center
 Coimbra's bright and busy city center
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Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

After breakfast and check-out, it's time to meet your driver for the transfer south to Lisbon. About halfway through the trip, stop to spend some time exploring Coimbra. 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.

Upon arrival, you'll meet with a local guide for a private tour of the city. 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 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 a visit, and make sure to take a stroll through the atmospheric medieval streets of the historic center before getting back on the road and continuing to Lisbon.

Day 6: Explore Lisbon, Evening of Fado

Explore Lisbon's hilly streets by tram

First things first, get your bearings on a privately guided tour of the city's most happening neighborhoods as you hop on board an iconic tram and head into the Bairro Alto. Continue to Chiado and discover a cultural enclave where the great writers and philosophers of the 20th century used to gather to hone their ideas. Next up is the picture-perfect neighborhood of Alfama. Here, you'll get a feel for traditional Lisbon with its narrow cobblestoned streets and the stunning 12th-century Sé de Lisboa Cathedral.

After the tour, your guide will share recommendations for lunch, and you will have the rest of the day free to explore one of Europe's coolest cities at your own pace. As evening falls, head back into the Bairro Alto to enjoy a night at one of the city's best fado restaurants—where good food, a perfect setting, and the melancholic tones of fado music come together for a truly authentic night out.

Day 7: Free Day in Lisbon

The red rooftops of Lisbon's Alfama district

Take a free day in Lisbon to enjoy the city however you'd like! 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. At the same time, the fascinating Museu Nacional do Azulejo or the National Tile Museum offers a deep dive into the city's most famous decorative art. Head to Belém at sunset for views over the breathtaking Jeronimos Monastery and Torre de Belém, and make sure to sample a pastel de Belém (custard tart) or two while you're there. 

Day 8: Sintra Heritage Hike

Pena Palace peeks through the clouds around Sintra

Located just outside the capital, Sintra's lush hills dotted with fairy-tale palaces and extravagant villas have enchanted visitors for centuries. Today you'll hike through these extraordinary landscapes of dense forest and exotic flora as you discover this mystical region's best trails and viewpoints. Reach the incredible 8th-century Moorish Castle, then continue to the mountaintop Pena Palace. Towering above the clouds, this Romantic-era national monument is full of historic treasures and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.

At the end of the hike, your driver will be waiting to transfer you back to Lisbon for the evening, where you can put your feet up and get some rest before tomorrow's flight. 

Day 9: Fly to São Miguel Island, Azorean Culinary & Wine Experience

Ponta Delgada's Portas da Cidade (City Gates)

Bid the mainland farewell today as you transfer to the airport and catch your flight to the Azores. Located roughly 1,000 miles (1,609 km) off Portugal's Atlantic coast, this archipelago of nine islands is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and distinctive landscapes of dormant volcanoes, lush greenery, and turquoise crater lakes. Your destination is the Azores' largest city of Ponta Delgada, located on São Miguel Island, where you'll pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel. 

This evening you'll discover some of the best food and wine in the Azores with a guided walk through Ponta Delgada's trendiest eateries and neighborhood bars. Wind through the vibrant downtown as you sample a progressive menu of fruit, honey, bread, pastries, seafood, artisanal meats, and homemade desserts—all washed down with locally-produced wines. Along this flavorful culinary experience, you'll also visit some of the main city sights, discover off-the-beaten-path highlights, and pick up some great local recommendations for your time in the Azores.

Day 10: Beaches of São Miguel

Soft sand and crashing Atlantic surf at Praia de Santa Bárbara 

Spend today exploring the plentiful praias (beaches) of São Miguel at your own pace. Head to Praia de Santa Bárbara for over half a mile of soft sand and a great lunch spot at the nearby Tuka Tulá Bar. During the summer you can also attend nighttime concerts here. At Praia de Água D'Alto, you'll find a wide stretch of volcanic sand, clear water, and dramatic cliffs—a combination that makes it one of the most popular beaches on the island.

If you're looking to swim, the sheltered Vila Franca do Campo Islet is a bather's paradise as well as a great snorkeling spot. In contrast, the oceans around Praia do Fogo remain naturally warmer due to nearby hot springs. Praia dos Moinhos can't be beaten for quiet, while Praia dos Mosteiros—with its dark volcanic sand and towering rocks emerging from the sea—remains one of the best photo-ops on the island.

Day 11: Hiking Adventure to Lagoa do Fogo

Views over the volcanic Lagoa do Fogo

Today, you'll experience an invigorating hike to Lagoa do Fogo, one of the largest and most pristine of São Miguel's spectacular crater lakes. Reachable only on foot, your trip to the lake starts with a drive to Água D'Alto, a stunning area on the south coast where you'll park and set out on a hiking trail heading north. An early uphill climb takes you to an altitude of nearly 1,968 feet (6,000 m) before leveling out onto a levada—an ancient drainage system that crisscrosses the island and creates a popular walking path for hikers.

Catch your breath on this flat portion and enjoy the surrounding vegetation, including the many rare and endemic species. As you reach the lake's edge, get settled on the scenic south bank and enjoy a picnic lunch and a swim. On your return journey, you can also stop at Caloura for some beach time before heading back to Ponta Delgada for the evening.

Day 12: Explore the Geothermal Wonders of the Furnas Valley

Volcanic fumaroles on the shores of Lagoa das Furnas

Today you'll discover the Furnas Valley, a volcanic caldera that has lain dormant since 1630. Here at one of São Miguel's most intriguing and otherworldly geothermal spots, you'll find a fantastical series of bubbling mud pots and steaming fumaroles (volcanic steam vents) amid the verdant landscapes.

Follow the trail along the peaceful lakeshore, passing the Capela da Nossa Senhora Das Vitórias (a lovely neo-Gothic church built in the late 19th century). Continue through the forest, passing a century-old sequoia to reach the idyllic Salto do Rosal waterfall at the end of the route. You can also take a dip in the thermal pools, where mineral-rich water remains invitingly between 95°F (35°C) and 104°F (40°C).

Day 13: Fly to Lisbon & Depart

Sunrise over São Miguel's Ponta do Arnel Lighthouse

It's time to bid your island paradise farewell. After a final morning on São Miguel, you'll drop off your rental car and catch a flight back to Lisbon for your onward journey. Safe travels and boa viagem!

More Great Portugal Itineraries

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Map of Porto, Lisbon & the Azores - 13 Days
Map of Porto, Lisbon & the Azores - 13 Days