This exciting two-week itinerary combines cosmopolitan cities, medieval architecture, and spectacular beaches for a Portuguese trip of a lifetime. After exploring Lisbon with a local guide, you'll stay in the fairytale village of Sintra and the surf town of Nazaré. Then work your way north to UNESCO-listed Porto and its nearby wine region before heading to the university town of Évora. End the trip in pure bliss with some beach time in the western Algarve.

Highlights

  • Get a taste of Lisbon's up-and-coming districts like Alfama and Bairro Alto
  • Learn about local gastronomy during two guided food tours (Lisbon & Porto)
  • Relax on Nazaré beach and ride the funicular to a surf-themed museum
  • Enjoy plenty of time to explore Porto's romantic streets and riverside architecture
  • Kick back in the fishing village of Salema with its award-winning beach

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon - Culinary Excursion Lisbon
Day 2 Half-Day Tour of Lisbon Lisbon
Day 3 Transfer from Lisbon to Sintra Sintra
Day 4 Transfer from Sintra to Nazaré, via Alcobaça Nazaré
Day 5 Transfer from Nazaré to Porto, via Coimbra Porto
Day 6 Get to Know Porto Porto
Day 7 Transfer from Porto to Douro Valley Douro Valley
Day 8 Free Day in Douro Valley Douro Valley
Day 9 Transfer from the Douro Valley to Évora Évora
Day 10 Transfer from Porto to Évora - Private Tour Évora
Day 11 Explore Évora & the Alentejo Region Évora
Day 12 Transfer from Évora to Salema Salema
Day 13 Explore the Algarve Region Salema
Day 14 Transfer from Salema to Lisbon - Depart Portugal  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon - Culinary Excursion

Welcome to Lisbon!
Welcome to Lisbon!

Welcome to Portugal! Upon arrival at Lisbon's airport, you will be met by a driver who will transfer you to your hotel. Take some time to rest before you start exploring. 

When evening hits, you'll take part in a gourmet food tour in Lisbon—a great way to experience the city for the first time! Wear a good pair of walking shoes because you, along with your English-speaking guide, will meander through a series of authentic winding alleys tasting the incredible flavors of Portuguese gastronomy, especially in the neighborhood of Campo de Ourique—practically a city within the city—that sets the food culture and gastronomic trends of Lisbon.

Over the course of four hours, you will visit seven spots that brilliantly link tradition with modernity. Experience ways that locals have reinvented restaurant concepts, including a market and hotel school while getting a taste of culinary recipes that have become world-famous.

Day 2: Half-Day Tour of Lisbon

Statue at Praca do Comercio
Statue at Praca do Comercio

Today you'll get to discover Lisbon on a half-day tour visiting key sites and some well-kept secrets, exposing the city's unique atmosphere and authenticity. This will be a fun adventure as you travel around the city utilizing the yellow tram system broken up with relaxed strolls. Make sure to wear a good pair of walking shoes. 

The tour includes the following:

  • Praça do Comércio: the largest of Lisbon’s plazas
  • Baixa: the 'new city', built after the devastating  1755 earthquake
  • Praça da Figueira: Lisbon’s traditional market square
  • Rossio: the heart of downtown Lisbon
  • Iron Lift Viewpoint: a stellar 360º view over the downtown district
  • Largo do Carmo: the setting for the democratic revolution of 1974
  • Carmo ruins: the only Gothic monument of the city
  • St. Roque Church: a Baroque extravaganza
  • Bairro Alto: the lively bohemian district
  • Chiado: the city's most elegant shopping area
  • Portas do Sol: a breathtaking view over Alfama (the Old Town)

In the evening, you'll dine at one of the best Fado restaurants in Lisbon for traditional Portuguese cuisine interspersed with authentic singing and music.

Day 3: Transfer from Lisbon to Sintra

Sintra
Sintra

After breakfast today, you'll check-out and meet your transfer to the fairytale village of Sintra situated in the forested foothills near the Lisbon. 

Upon arrival, check into your hotel and then enjoy free time to explore some of Portugal's best castles, historical mansions, and royal palaces on your own. You'll quickly learn why this UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered one of the most beautiful, magical, and romantic places in Europe. 

Perhaps you'll want to start with a visit to the Royal Pena National Palace, built on the ruins of an old 16th-century monastery with breathtaking views. You can also head to the quieter, lesser-visited area of Sintra (the west part of the village) for a chance to visit The Cork Convent of Capuchos—a stunning place, surrounded by nature, built 500 years ago for the Capuchin monks/friars. 

In the evening, choose between a range of restaurants while sitting back and soaking up the scenery.

Day 4: Transfer from Sintra to Nazaré, via Alcobaça

Sunrise in Sintra
Sunrise in Sintra

After breakfast at your hotel in Sintra, you'll make your way north to the coastal town of Nazaré. But first, the two-hour drive will be broken up with a stop at Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Alcobaça

This is one of Iberia's great monasteries, which is no surprise considering it dominates the town of Alcobaça. It was founded in 1153 by Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, honoring a vow he’d made after the reconquest of Santarém in 1147. The monastery estate then became one of the richest and most powerful in the country, apparently housing 999 monks, who held Mass, nonstop, performed in shifts.

After you've visited the monastery, continue to Nazaré and check into the hotel. You'll have the rest of the afternoon and evening to explore this charming town and beautiful beach on your own. Keep an eye out for the locals preserving Nazaré's ancestral tradition of fish drying in the sand.

Day 5: Transfer from Nazaré to Porto, via Coimbra

Stop in Coimbra on your way to Porto
Stop in Coimbra on your way to Porto

Today, after breakfast and check-out at your hotel in Nazaré, you'll be picked up for the journey north to Porto. About halfway through the trip, you will make a stop in Coimbra where there will be free time to walk around and have lunch. 

Coimbra is the medieval capital of Portugal and the site of the country’s greatest university: the University of Coimbra, established in 1290. Coimbra wears its weighty importance in Portuguese history with dignity and pride, witnessed by its multicolored collage of buildings that span nearly a millennium. In fact, the city's historic core cascades down a hillside creating a lovely setting along the east bank of the Rio Mondego. Explore the streets your own with a self-guided tour before you finish the road trip to Lisbon. 

You'll then continue the 1.5-hour drive to Porto. This edgy-yet-opulent city entices travelers with its historic center, sumptuous food and wine, charismatic locals, and beautiful setting along the Douro River. Check into your hotel for a little rest and then explore the streets.

Day 6: Get to Know Porto

Porto's scenic skyline
Porto's scenic skyline

Today is a great introduction to Porto! After breakfast at the hotel, you'll join a half-day tour of the city with a local guide. This excursion will lead you through the most important landmarks of Portugal’s second most populous city as you travel from place to place in a comfortable private vehicle. 

Your guide will explain the rich history of this city, also called Invicta (the Unbeaten City), with stories of heroes and battles, as you make your way to the trendiest and most cultural area of the city. Here you'll explore Boavista Avenue, one of the city's most important streets, and Foz, home to some of the most important museums and modern local treasures.

Next, you'll head to the city center—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—to admire the most renowned Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Neo-Classical monuments and sites, including the São Bento Railway StationClerigos TowerChurch of St. FrancisLello BookshopSta. Catarina StreetMajestic Café, and Bolhão Market, to name a few.

After visiting the imposing Porto Cathedral with its superb silver altarpiece, you will finish the tour along the banks of the immense Douro River with views of Ribeira Plaza and the D. Luís Bridge.  

But that's not all: In the evening (after some time to rest), it's time for another tour—this time centered on the city's exciting food scene. This is your chance to get off the well-worn tourist path for a side of Porto that travelers rarely see. You'll be welcomed by local families in their small, authentic restaurants, cafés, and bars as you taste a range of traditional dishes, local pastries, and, of course, Portuguese wines.

Day 7: Transfer from Porto to Douro Valley

Sunrise in Porto
Sunrise in Porto

This morning, you'll have breakfast at your hotel in Porto and perhaps some free time to walk around the neighborhood before you check-out. At the designated time, a driver will pick you up for the transfer to Douro Valley—a scenic journey that takes just under two hours. 

Departing the city, you'll follow along the Douro River towards green, hilly landscapes where fantastic wines (table wines and Port wine) are produced. The valley is actually listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you'll easily see why as you encounter various viewpoints, towns, and villages allowing you to admire breathtaking landscapes on both sides of the river.

When you get to your hotel, take the rest of the afternoon and evening and relax on the property.  

Day 8: Free Day in Douro Valley

Visit some of Douro Valley's best vineyards
Visit some of Douro Valley's best vineyards

Today is a free day to spend in Douro Valley any way you wish! The area is known for its vineyards chiseled into green mountains and beautiful wine estates dating back to the 18th century drawing visitors from around the world. You could spend days exploring idyllic villages, tasting wines, and sampling fantastic regional restaurants—all accessed by driving along the valley's winding scenic roads. 

There are even some cultural opportunities. For instance, the town of Lamego offers the Museu de Lamego, one of Portugal's best museums. Located in a grand palace, the collection showcases important paintings, tapestries, and chapels dating back to the 16th century.

You also have the option to sign up for a guided tour where you can learn more about the production process of Port wine with visits at some of the most notable vineyards in the Douro Valley. If you are not particularly fond of Port wine, you can alternatively visit a table wine vineyard or two. There's also an option to visit a local olive oil producer since this is one of the most beloved products of the region. 

A great way to end a day here is to take a relaxing boat trip along the Douro River offering photo ops at several magnificent viewpoints.

Day 9: Transfer from the Douro Valley to Évora

Olive groves in Alentejo
Olive groves in Alentejo

Today begins with breakfast in the Douro Valley. From here, you'll pack up and hit the road for a four-hour drive to Évora by way of a private car. The scenery is sure to impress as you enter the Alentejo region with olive groves, fortified towns, and traditional villages offering an unhurried pace of life. 

Once you arrive,  you'll have the rest of the afternoon and evening to enjoy on your own. Spend some time walking around the compact ancient walled town, once a major trading and religious center. Évora has a lot to offer and boasts the second-largest number of national monuments in Portugal (behind Lisbon) including an impressive Roman temple. You'll also find a vibrant atmosphere—and great dining options—with a large student population, thanks to one of the world’s oldest universities: The University of Évora.

Day 10: Transfer from Porto to Évora - Private Tour

Évora's medieval architecture
Évora's medieval architecture

This morning, after breakfast at your hotel, you'll be picked up for your private transfer to the town of Évora—a driving distance of about three hours. 

After lunch in town, you will begin a private guided tour to discover the most impressive treasures of this UNESCO-listed city (awarded in 1986). Your guide will cover Évora's main monuments including those pertaining to the golden age of Portuguese maritime discoveries while answering questions along the way. This tour is especially ideal for visitors wishing to get an overview of the city's major events, which have always been linked to the most significant moments of Portugal history. 

In the evening, you'll have the free time to explore Évora's streets and dining scene on your own.

Day 11: Explore Évora & the Alentejo Region

Vineyard in Alentejo
Vineyard in Alentejo

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll have the entire day to explore more of Évora at your own pace—a small city blessed with a large number of national monuments inside its ancient Moorish walls.

Alternatively, you could get in a car and drive around the surrounding Alentejo region, Portugal's biggest, which covers about 30% of the country. The sparsely populated yet vast swath of land between the Algarve region and Lisbon offers scenic rolling hills, olive groves, vineyards, and charming fortified towns with a number of walking trails, Neolithic monuments, rustic wineries, and cork production facilities.

No matter how you spend your day, enjoy the slow pace of life; residents in the Alentejo region are more traditional than other parts of Portugal, reflected in their homecooked cuisine and local handicrafts.

Day 12: Transfer from Évora to Salema

University of Evora
University of Evora

Today, after breakfast in Evora, you'll begin the three-hour drive to the tiny former fishing village of Salema along the country's southern coast. Though much of Portugal's Algarve region has been developed through the years, this hidden section along the far western shore is unspoiled thanks to its location within the protected Costa Vicentina Natural Park.  

Upon arrival, take the rest of the day to relax on the beach if it's a nice weather day. Simply walk along the Rua dos Pescadores, a charming street lined with fishermen’s houses—some of which have become restaurants serving fresh seafood.

Once your feet hit the soft golden sand, you'll find a glorious half-mile-long beach along the bay boasting the Blue Flag certification, meeting the high standards for safety, water quality, and environmental education. Even better, the sea in Salema is great for swimming and families because it lacks the strong waves found further west, which attracts surfers. Speaking of the west, make sure to look for a series of rocks on the western end of the beach where you can see actual dinosaur footprints from many millions of years ago.

Day 13: Explore the Algarve Region

Praia da Dona Ana near Lagos
Praia da Dona Ana near Lagos

Today, you'll have the entire day to relax in town or head deeper into the Algarve. If you are enjoying Salema's secluded surroundings, you can explore more of the massive Costa Vincentina Natural Park, which extends all the way north to Odeceixe. This is ideal for peace-and-quiet lovers'—the park covers a whopping 182,857 acres of protected land including beaches, cliffs, rolling hills, and marshland, with more than 750 species of flora and 200 species of birds. 

In the other direction, you can take an easy day-trip (30 minutes by car) to the 16th-century city of Lagos for cobblestoned streets, inviting squares, great restaurants, and a bustling nightlife. Near the city center are a number of dreamlike beach options to choose from with watersports and boat excursions. For example, Pinhao Beach is a peaceful cove known for its secluded setting. Another option is the Ponta da Piedade, which offers more dramatic sandstone cliffs and bright turquoise water (a range of boat tours depart from here). Meanwhile, Praia do Camilo is a gorgeous spot accessed by walking down 200 wooden steps to a sheltered sandy cove. 

You could also head further eastward along the Algarve for more beautiful sights and attractions ranging from golf courses, bustling resort towns, and white-washed villages offering mouth-watering cuisine and exhilarating coastal scenery.

Day 14: Transfer from Salema to Lisbon - Depart Portugal

Sandstone rock in Salema
Sandstone rock in Salema

It's time to say goodbye to Portugal! This morning you can enjoy any last bits of free time in Salema with breakfast at your hotel and a beach walk. At the designated time you'll be picked up for the three-hour transfer to Lisbon Portela Airport for your return flight home. Safe travels!

Map

Map of Best of Portugal: Lisbon, Porto, Douro Valley, & More - 14 Days
Map of Best of Portugal: Lisbon, Porto, Douro Valley, & More - 14 Days