Explore Portugal from north to south on this 10-day family adventure. Start in Porto, where you'll tour the historic city, learn how to paint authentic Portuguese tiles, and visit the famous "Harry Potter Library." Head to Lisbon for tuk-tuk tours and the hilltop palaces of nearby Sintra, then take a road trip south to swim and snorkel on the pristine beaches of the Algarve, stroll the city streets of Lagos, and cruise via catamaran to the stunning Benagil Caves.


  • Taste traditional Portuguese cuisine on a family-friendly food tour
  • Hike the secluded trails of Peneda-Gerês National Park
  • Tour the winding streets of Lisbon via electric tuk-tuk
  • Cruise on a catamaran to the amazing Benagil Caves

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Porto, Family Food Tour Porto
Day 2 Private City Tour, Harry Potter Library, Tile Painting Workshop Porto
Day 3 Peneda-Gerês National Park Porto
Day 4 Train to Lisbon, Guided Tuk-Tuk Tour Lisbon
Day 5 Lisbon Markets & Fairs Lisbon
Day 6 Day Trip to Sintra Lisbon
Day 7 Drive to the Algarve & Lagos, Explore Lagos Algarve
Day 8 Algarve Beach Day Algarve
Day 9 Catamaran Cruise to Benagil & Carvoeiro Algarve
Day 10 Drive to Lisbon & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Porto, Family Food Tour

Delicious pastries in Porto 

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 relax a bit, 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. You'll taste a range of traditional dishes and desserts, with adults sipping Portuguese wines while the kids might enjoy some Sumol Ananás—a fizzy pineapple soda that is one of Portugal's most popular drinks. And if you've got picky eaters, don't worry. Since this is a private tour, it can be curated to accommodate any and all palates! 

Day 2: Private City Tour, Harry Potter Library, Tile Painting Workshop

Colorful Porto

This morning, take a guided family tour around Porto. Visit some of the most well-known sights, while your guide explains the history behind each landmark and entertains kids and adults alike with stories of ancient heroes and battles. Walk the iconic streets of Boavista Avenue and the Foz neighborhood, then head to the city center to admire the area's renowned Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and neoclassical monuments and sites. Visit, among others, São Bento Railway Station, Clerigos Tower, Church of St. Francis, and Bolhão Market, then finish with Riberia Plaza and D. Luis Bridge

If you've got readers in the group, be sure to stop in at 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 and stunning Art Deco accents, the majestic winding staircase, and get lost in the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. 

Later, learn about the history and art of painting traditional ceramic tiles and try creating your own uniquely designed piece. These hand-painted ceramic pieces are an important part of Portugal's heritage, evidenced by the many buildings and homes in Porto that are decorated in this manner. Part of a non-profit project working to catalog all of Porto's facade tiles, the workshop shows you the traditional techniques used for painting and explains how and why the tiles are used. Best of all, you and the kids will create your own personal tiles to take home!

Day 3: Peneda-Gerês National Park

HIking Peneda-Gerês National Park 

Rise and shine early for an active guided hike in Peneda-Gerês National Park. Located about an hour from Porto, near the northern border of Spain, this is Portugal's only national park. The tour takes you along majestic mountains, waterfalls, and trails that include an old Roman road. You're also likely to encounter wildlife such as deer, wild horses, or golden eagles. 

Your guide will collect you from your hotel and drive you to the park entrance, where you'll have options on whether or not you'd like to hike on foot, take a 4WD vehicle along secluded trails, or even try out cliff-jumping into the park's crystal clear lagoons! The hike can be curated to suit your family's abilities and needs, with easier trails for the little ones or more challenging adventures for older kids. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the park, and stop in at some of the nearby villages on your way back to Porto. 

Day 4: Train to Lisbon, Guided Tuk-Tuk Tour

Guided Tuk-Tuk Tour
Lisbon's colorful tuk-tuk brigades

Make your way to the Porto train station this morning to catch the train to Lisbon, a relaxing ride of about three hours. Upon arrival in Lisbon, make your way to your hotel in the city center and get checked in. Afterward, you can explore the "City of the Seven Hills" at your own pace. As Portugal's capital city, this coastal town features a rich history, ornate architecture, and amazing scenery. 

Plan your trip to Portugal
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
A great way to see some of the sights here (and one the kids will love) is via an electric tuk-tuk tour. Led by a knowledgeable guide, zip through the modern and historic districts, from the neoclassical avenues of Baixa to the cobblestone alleys of the bohemian Bairro Alto. Discover the city's fascinating hidden corners, and stop at panoramic viewpoints like São Pedro de Alcântara, Parque Eduardo VII, Senhora do Monte, and Santa Luzia. Your guide will share the history behind these landmarks and provide insight into daily life in Lisbon. Later, enjoy a meal at a local restaurant before returning to your hotel.

Day 5: Lisbon Markets & Fairs

Fun vintage-style trams make great souvenirs! 

The markets and fairs of Lisbon embody the soul of the city, and spending the day exploring them is an excellent way to immerse yourself in local life. Each market has its own vibe and atmosphere, offering a little something for everyone regardless of whether you're looking for local foods, vintage items, traditional goods, or urban arts and crafts. 

Start at the Feira da Ladra flea market, one of the city's most popular spots, where you can find everything from vintage clothing, quirky antiques, souvenirs, and even toys for the kids. The market is held on Tuesdays and Saturdays near São Vicente de Fora monastery. You can also visit Feira das Almas, a cool and creative hub with a monthly art and flea market that includes food, drinks, and music. 

The kids might enjoy the trendy neighborhood of LX Factory, a buzzing district home to a weekly market with vintage clothing and locally made crafts. And, of course, you won't want to miss the city's local produce markets, such as the huge Mercado da Ribeira, where you'll find fresh fruits, vegetables, and other artisan goods. After exploring the Mercado, you can stop next door at the Time Out Market, a spacious food hall that offers a wide variety of lunch options. End your day with a stroll through the city streets or along the waterways. 

Day 6: Day Trip to Sintra

Sintra's hilltop setting near Lisbon
Sintra's hilltop setting near Lisbon

Today's private tour to the village of Sintra, located in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, will surely be a highlight of the trip. Your driver will pick you up in the morning, and you'll make the 40-minute drive to this historic town, home to a collection of palaces and villas, winding streets, and colorful art. Learn about the legends and myths surrounding the village, as well as the great authors and international artists who have passed and left their marks there.

The tour takes you through town and 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.

You can also stop by the impressive Pena Palace, a vividly colored romanticist castle completed in 1854 and overlooks the whole town. 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 7: Drive to the Algarve & Lagos, Explore Lagos

Church of St. Anthony and town square in Lagos

Pick up your rental car today and head south to Portugal's beautiful Algarve region and the city of Lagos, which is located about three hours from Lisbon. Once you've arrived at your accommodations and had a chance to regroup, step out into the city for a self-guided tour. Known for its walled Old Town, beautiful harbor, and magnificent beaches, Lagos maintains a laid-back charm that sets it apart from other tourist destinations.

Start with a stroll through the Old Town, where you can visit the historic St. Anthony's Church, a Baroque masterpiece with ornate carvings and gorgeous artwork. The church is attached to the Municipal Museum, which has exhibits of archaeological remains from the Neolithic, Roman, and Islamic periods, as well as old weaponry and coins. Let the kids play in the pop-up fountain park just outside of the church before continuing with a walk around the Governor's Castle, a walled fort located at the tip of the harbor and dating to the 16th century. 

Spend some time at Lagos Zoo, where young animal lovers can see hippos, monkeys, and assorted birds, or combine waterpark and wildlife at nearby Zoomarine, with wildlife shows and several water slides. If waterparks are on the kids' to-do list, you can also head out of the city to visit Aqualand, located about 30 minutes from Lagos and home to the highest water slide in Portugal! Along the way, stop at Sand City, a park with more than 100 sand sculptures created by local and international artists. 

Day 8: Algarve Beach Day

Kids at play in the calm waters of Algarve beaches 

Get out and enjoy what Algarve is most known for today—miles of beautiful beaches! If you travel west from Lagos for about 30 minutes, you'll reach the quiet coves of Ingrina, which has calm and shallow waters that make it perfect for little ones. The cove itself is quite sheltered, and there is a restaurant located just at the top of the beach for lunch or snacks. 

You can also head east, stopping at Praia da Marinha, where the clear blue waters invite curious snorkelers, and the silky white sand stretches endlessly alongside the sea. There are boat tours available to see the surrounding caves, and a small beach hut that serves snacks and beverages. From here, it's not far to Praia do Anção, one of the coast's popular family beaches. There are equipment rentals available here, fun watersport activities for the kids, and plenty of restaurant options. 

If you've got any budding surfers in the family, travel north from Lagos to Praia de Odeceixe. Shaped like a flat tongue, this white sandy beach is at the mouth of a river, with shallow, calm waters on one side and more boisterous waves on the other. There's a surf school on the beach, and a 30-minute walk takes you to the village of Odeceixe, where you can have a meal at a local restaurant.

Day 9: Catamaran Cruise to Benagil & Carvoeiro

Inside Benagil Caves

Depart from nearby Portimão today for a catamaran tour of the world-famous Benagil Caves. Leaving the harbor in the morning, you'll sail along the famous beaches of Carvoeiro and Algar Seco, as well as the Alfanzina Lighthouse and Praia da Marinha. Relax on the catamaran's sunbathing nets and enjoy the gentle breeze as you cruise along the coastline and to Benagil, an astounding natural wonder sometimes called the "Benagil Cathedral" due to its size. Spend some time here, then anchor in the coves of João de Arens, where the kids and adults can dive in for swimming, snorkeling, or paddle boarding.  

Day 10: Drive to Lisbon & Depart 

Goodbye to Portugal! 

Sadly, it's time to say goodbye to Portugal. This morning, you'll drive back to Lisbon and to the airport, where you'll return your rental car and catch your flight home. Safe travels! 

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Map of Portugal Family Vacation: Porto, Lisbon & the Algarve - 10 Days
Map of Portugal Family Vacation: Porto, Lisbon & the Algarve - 10 Days