Discover all four corners of Portugal in this epic 15-day road trip. Start in Lisbon, where the sounds of live fado music will lead you on a drive north to Porto and the wine country of the Douro Valley. Turn south and stop in historic towns like the Knights Templar-built Tomar and ancient Roman Évora on your way to coastal Lagos, where you'll beach-hop under the spectacular cliffs of the Algarve.


  • Sample port and other local flavors on a Douro Valley wine tour
  • Meet Portugal's past in historic places like Évora & Guimarães
  • Marvel at the stunning beaches & cliffs of the Algarve
  • Go castle-hopping in Sintra

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon Lisbon
Day 2 Explore Lisbon & Watch a Live Fado Show Lisbon
Day 3 Day Trip to Beachside Cascais & Magical Sintra Lisbon
Day 4 Drive to the Douro Valley via Óbidos, Nazaré, the Batalha Monastery & Aveiro Douro Valley
Day 5 Explore the Douro Valley & Guimarães & Drive to Porto Porto
Day 6 Discover the Tastes of Porto with a Wine & Culinary Tour Porto
Day 7 Drive to Historic Tomar via Medieval Coimbra Tomar
Day 8 Travel Back in Time in the Ancient Roman City of Évora Évora
Day 9 Visit the Fortified Village Monsaraz & Drive to Tavira Tavira
Day 10 Get to Know Tavira & the Eastern Algarve Tavira
Day 11 Encounter Nature & History in the Central Algarve & Drive to Lagos Lagos
Day 12 Relax in Lagos Lagos
Day 13 Experience Sagres & the Wild Western Algarve & Drive to Lisbon Lisbon
Day 14 Immerse Yourself in Lisbon Lisbon
Day 15 Depart Lisbon  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon

The colorful buildings of Lisbon
The colorful buildings of Lisbon

Welcome to Portugal! Upon arrival at the Lisbon Airport, pick up your rental car and head into the capital to explore this fascinating place on your own time. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and its remarkable history can be seen and experienced all over. Explore more of the city with the iconic tram 28, riding it from Graça to the end of the line of Estrela Basilica. For a more off-the-beaten-path ride, try tram 24!

Take a stroll through one of the many museums, such as the Museu do Oriente, the National Museum of Ancient Art, or the Berardo Collection Museum. For those looking to get into Lisbon's food scene, head to Rossio Square for a drink or the Bairro Alto for an authentic Portuguese meal. Today also includes the option of taking a sunset cruise down the Tagus River to see Lisbon from a new perspective.

Day 2: Explore Lisbon & Watch a Live Fado Show

Explore Lisbon at Your Leisure
Lisbon's famous tram line
Explore Lisbon on your own today and discover more of what this vibrant city has to offer. Consider starting with the old town of Alfama. Walk its narrow and hilly streets, admire its intricately tiled sidewalks, and visit important historic sites like the 12th-century Sé Cathedral and the 11th-century Castelo de São Jorge, which offer panoramic views of the city. 
Or get to know the Belém quarter, filled with monuments from Europe's Age of Discovery. Its most famous landmark is the Belém Tower, a 16th-century structure that served as the point of embarking and disembarking for sailors. Visit the Jerónimos Monastery, a prime example of Portugal's Gothic style, and stop for a taste of pastéis de Belém, the area's delectable custard dessert. As night falls, you can experience the haunting traditional music of Portugal with a live fado dinner show. 

Day 3: Day Trip to Beachside Cascais & Magical Sintra

The magical Pena National Palace
The magical Pena National Palace

Pick up your rental car this morning and start exploring the picturesque countryside and coastline around Lisbon at your own pace. Start with a visit to Cascais, the former summer residence of the Portuguese royal family that sits next to the luxurious seaside resort of Estoril. For those looking for an outdoor adventure, there is the option of cycling along the 6-mile (9.7 km) coastal stretch between Cascais and Guincho, one of the most beautiful beaches near Lisbon.

End the day with a trip to the fairy-tale village of Sintra. Set among the lush mountains and forests of Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to fantastical palaces and manor houses. These include the iconic yellow and red Romantic style of the Pena National Palace, the imposing medieval stone walls of the Castle of the Moors, and the mysterious inverted Knights of Templar tower of Quinta da Regaleira.

Day 4: Drive to the Douro Valley via Óbidos, Nazaré, the Batalha Monastery & Aveiro

The fortified wall of Óbidos
The fortified wall of Óbidos

Drive north to the Douro Valley today and consider stopping at some of the many hidden treasures along the way. First up is Óbidos, a medieval fortified village filled with picturesque houses and streets. It's known as the Vila das Rainhas or "Town of the Queens," as it's been beloved by Portuguese queens for centuries.

Continue to the small fishing town of Nazaré for fresh seafood and epic waves, or stop in nearby Batalha to marvel at its magnificent 14th-century Gothic monastery. Make a final stop in the charming Aveiro. Known as the "Portuguese Venice," explore its system of canals via a traditional moliceiro boat. Make sure to sample the local sweets known as ovos moles or "soft eggs" before continuing to the Douro Valley, where you will spend the night.

Day 5: Explore the Douro Valley & Guimarães & Drive to Porto

The lush green hills of the Douro Valley
The lush green hills of the Douro Valley
Spend the day driving around the famous Douro Valley, a verdant and dramatic landscape where vines cling to terraces carved by hand into the hillsides along the Douro River. Portugal's legendary port wine is produced from the grapes grown here. In fact, this area was the first official demarcated wine region in the world. Options today include a guided visit to a historic quinta (vineyard) to sample local wines, as well as a cruise down the Douro River on a traditional wooden rabelo boat.
After getting your fill of wine country, drive to the small city of Guimarães. This historic location is considered the birthplace of Portugal: the nation's first king, Alfonso Henriques, was born there, and it was the site of a battle that helped shape the founding of the Kingdom of Portugal. Wander its exquisite medieval center, which features the imposing Guimarães Castle, the Dukes of Bragança Palace, and the church of Santa Maria da Oliveira. Continue to Porto, where you will stay the night.
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Day 6: Discover the Tastes of Porto with a Wine & Culinary Tour

A rainbow in Porto
A rainbow over Porto

Head out on your own today to immerse yourself in the colorful neighborhoods and rich history of Portugal's second city. Stroll through the cobblestone streets of the UNESCO-listed Ribeira district and admire the Baroque style of the Igreja dos Clérigos and the Gothic architecture of the Church of São Francisco. Enjoy a glass of port and a snack at one of the waterfront cafés along the Douro River.

Spend the afternoon taking a guided tasting tour of the wine cellars of Casa Ferreirinha, a local producer of port and Barca Velha, one of Portugal's most famous wines. You could also join a culinary tour of five family-run locations to savor a hand-selected tasting menu of classic Portuguese dishes and drinks. Sample flavorful offerings, meet local purveyors, and learn about the remarkable culinary renaissance that Porto is experiencing.

Day 7: Drive to Historic Tomar via Medieval Coimbra

Coimbre's historic core
Coimbra's historic center
Drive to the fascinating town of Tomar today with a stop first in Coimbra. This former medieval capital is most famous for its 13th-century University of Coimbra, which is a great place to start your sightseeing. Bibliophiles will love its Baroque library, home to over 200,000 books and considered one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Next door, you'll find the intricately tiled Chapel of Saint Michael, and don't miss a scenic stroll through the historic center, which leads to the banks of the Rio Mondego.

Continue to Tomar, which is known as the "Templar City." Visit the 12th-century Convento de Cristo, which was the headquarters of the Knights Templar and is a prime example of the architecture of this religious order. Other significant historical sites include the 15th-century Tomar Synagogue, which became a haven for the Jewish population expelled from Spain in 1492. See all that Tomar has to offer before spending the night here.

Day 8: Travel Back in Time in the Ancient Roman City of Évora

The Roman Temple of Évora
The Roman Temple of Évora

Drive to the historic city of Évora. One of Portugal's oldest cities, this UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the Roman era and offers an abundance of beautiful architecture and sights for history lovers and beyond. Marvel at the medieval architecture of the Évora Cathedral, go back in time with a visit to the 2000-year-old Templo Romano, and experience one of the most fascinating (and morbid) structures in the world with a trip to the 16th-century Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones). 

If you want to go even further back in time, consider driving to the nearby Cromeleque dos Almendres (Cromlech of the Almendres), a prehistoric site that goes back to the 6th millennium BCE. Here, you can see monoliths arranged in a geometric formation to form one of the largest megalithic structures in Europe and the most important on the Iberian Peninsula. After getting your fill of history, return to Évora to spend the night.

Day 9: Visit the Fortified Village Monsaraz & Drive to Tavira

Monseranz seen from above
Monsaraz seen from above
Head southeast today to Tavira, one of the most charming towns in the Algarve. Take in Portugal's spectacular landscape along the way, and consider stopping at the fortified hilltop village of Monsaraz. This village overlooks the Alqueva Dam and is rich in history and atmosphere. The tiny, whitewashed center is easy to explore, and its medieval castle offers impressive panoramic views of the town, plains, and lake below.
You have the option of making a stop in Mértola, a town that's perched on a hill above the Guadiana River. Mértola is a "museum-town," as a number of different monuments and ruins have been transformed into fascinating museums like the Islamic Art Museum, the Castle of Mértola, and the Paleo-Christian Basilica. You can also detour to Pulo do Lobo, a natural bottleneck in the Guadiana River, which has beautiful whitewater rapids rushing through it. Continue on to Tavira, where you'll spend the night.

Day 10: Get to Know Tavira & the Eastern Algarve

Tavira at sunset
Tavira at sunset
Today is yours to see more of Tavira, known for its picturesque historic center and beautiful churches like the Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo, which stands on the ruins of a former mosque, and the 13th-century Igreja de Santiago. If you're looking to explore more of the eastern Algarve, head to Cacela Velha, which has a stunning view over the Ria Formosa Natural Park, the impressive castle in Castro Marim, or Vila Real de Santo António, which sits on the border between Portugal and Spain.

Day 11: Encounter Nature & History in the Central Algarve & Drive to Lagos

The city and beach of Faro
The city and beach of Faro
Drive from Tavira to Lagos today and stop at highlights in the central Algarve along the way. Wander through the picturesque coastal towns of Carvoeiro, Ferragudo, or Alvor. Marvel at the red Moorish castle of Silves. Discover Faro, the capital of the Algarve. Visit the famous beach destination of Albufeira or float in the natural swimming pools of Alte. Head to the beach and cliffs of Praia da Marinha, where you can hike one of the best trails in Europe, or visit the Benagil Cave before reaching your destination of Lagos.

Day 12: Relax in Lagos

The epic beach of Lagos
Stairs down to Praia do Camilo
Located at the western end of the Algarve coast, the 16th-century city of Lagos has retained its local, authentic feel amid the region's more modern resorts and development. Explore its charming inner walled town and castle, sample fresh seafood at one of its many excellent restaurants, or take a stroll to one of the area's renowned beaches. Beach highlights include the dramatic golden cliffs of Ponta da Piedade and Praia do Camilo, whose 200 steps lead down to a sheltered, sandy cove. 

Day 13: Experience Sagres & the Wild Western Algarve & Drive to Lisbon

A lighthouse overlooks Cape St Vincent
A lighthouse overlooks Cape St. Vincent
Spend the day discovering the rest of the Algarve, focusing on its wild western stretch filled with incredible cliffs and pristine coastal landscapes. Head to the town of Sagres, situated on the westernmost tip of the coast. Here, you can visit a 16th-century fortress and take in the nature of the Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Natural Park. Just nearby is Cabo de São Vicente, the southwesternmost point of continental Europe that's worth a visit before the drive back to Lisbon.

Day 14: Immerse Yourself in Lisbon

Belem Tower
Belem Tower under blue skies
Today is all yours to explore more of Lisbon. Consider visiting the Parque das Nações, designed for the World Exhibition of 1998. It houses a fascinating selection of museums and attractions, including the Oceanário, which many consider the best aquarium in Europe. If you're looking to take in more of Lisbon's culture, get lost in the stacks of Livraria Bertrand, the world's oldest bookstore still in operation, or marvel at the intricate blue tiles at the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (the National Tile Museum). 

Day 15: Depart Lisbon

Pastéis de Belém
If you have free time before departure, relax at your accommodation, go for a walk, try to see some sites that you missed before, or eat more Portuguese delicacies! When you're ready, return your rental car and head to the airport for your departure. Safe travels and boa viagem!

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Map of Portugal Castles, Beaches & Vineyards: Lisbon to the Algarve - 15 Days
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