This 9-day itinerary takes you on a scenic journey up the length of Portugal—taking in iconic highlights and some marvelous hidden corners along the way. Hop on Lisbon's traditional trams, discover the postcard-perfect villages of Sintra and Óbidos, and visit coastal Nazaré for fresh seafood and crashing Atlantic surf. After a tasting tour of Porto's incredible gastronomy, you'll head into the wilds of Peneda-Gerês National Park for a day of mountain biking before turning south to end your trip back in Lisbon.

Highlights

  • Get to know Lisbon's winding streets on a walking food tour
  • Explore Sintra's fantastical Pena Palace
  • Stroll along the sweeping Atlantic beach of Nazaré
  • Experience Porto's culinary renaissance & world-class wines
  • Cycle through the fresh air & cork forests of Peneda-Gerês National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon, Gourmet Food Tour  Lisbon
Day 2 Free Day in Lisbon Lisbon
Day 3 Transfer to Sintra via Cascais & Estoril  Sintra
Day 4 Transfer to Nazaré via Óbidos Nazaré
Day 5 Transfer to Porto, Explore Porto & Guimarães Porto
Day 6 Get to Know Porto & Evening Food Tour Porto
Day 7 Mountain Biking in Peneda-Gerês National Park Porto
Day 8 Transfer to Lisbon via Coimbra Lisbon
Day 9 Transfer to Lisbon Airport & Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon, Gourmet Food Tour

Views over Lisbon's Alfama district

Welcome to Lisbon! Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by your driver and transferred to your hotel in the city center. After checking in, you can unwind after your long journey or head out for a quick stroll. You'll find Lisbon to be an unheralded gem of a European capital. Hilly waterfront neighborhoods are dotted with grand plazas and pastel-colored buildings, many of which date back hundreds of years. Old cable cars lurch up winding cobbled roads, and medieval castles sit perched atop the highest points in the city. 

Acquaint yourself with Lisbon's culture through its traditional cuisine this evening with a gourmet food tour. Wear a good pair of walking shoes because you, along with your guide, will meander through a series of authentic winding alleys tasting the incredible flavors of Portuguese gastronomy. Over four hours, you will visit seven delicious spots that brilliantly link tradition with modernity, and discover classics like pastéis de bacalhau (cod fritters), grilled sardines, and pastéis de Nata (egg custard tarts).

Day 2: Free Day in Lisbon

Hop on Lisbon's iconic yellow trams and start exploring

Today is free for you to discover more of Lisbon at your leisure. Wander the hilly streets at your own pace, or get an in-depth look at the city with a half-day tour of key sites and some well-kept secrets. Soak up the city's unique atmosphere and authenticity as you explore via the famous yellow tram system broken up with relaxed strolls. Make sure to wear a good pair of walking shoes!

Along the tour, you'll enjoy the lively bohemian district of Bairro Alto, visit the "new city" of Baixa built after the devastating 1755 earthquake, wander the traditional market square of Praça da Figueira, and climb to Portas do Sol for breathtaking views of the historic Alfama district.

Day 3: Transfer to Sintra via Cascais & Estoril

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

Meet your driver today and head out of Lisbon for an incredible trip to a trio of picturesque locales. After a scenic stop at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of both Portugal and all of mainland Europe, you'll visit the fishing harbor and tourist center of Cascais, then continue to Estoril, known for its casino and beautiful gardens.

Your last stop of the day will be Sintra. This village—about 30 minutes by car from the capital—is a harmonic combination of history and fantasy, described as a "glorious Eden" by the 18th-century British poet Lord Byron. Your guide will give you plenty of information about the city's wonderful palaces, imposing monuments, and great eateries in the area; armed with these tips, explore Sintra on your own and have dinner amid the local splendor. 

Day 4: Transfer to Nazaré via Óbidos

Nazaré's clifftop fort and lighthouse
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel for a transfer to Nazaré, stopping en route in adorable Óbidos. Surrounded by a classic crenelated wall, this fortified village's historic center is a labyrinth of cobblestoned streets, riotous flowers, and whitewashed houses livened up with dashes of vivid yellow and blue paint. You will have time to take a self-guided visit around the historic center and its stunning castle, which dates back almost a thousand years.
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After a morning spent in Óbidos and a traditional Portuguese lunch, continue to Nazaré and check into your hotel. You'll have the rest of the afternoon and evening to explore this charming beach town with its narrow, cobbled streets that lead to a stunning stretch of sand along the Atlantic. During the winter months, the town attracts surfers from all over the world to test some of the biggest waves ever recorded at Praia do Norte. As evening falls, choose from a plethora of excellent seafood restaurants. 

Day 5: Transfer to Porto, Explore Porto & Guimarães

Porto's colorful neighborhood of Foz
This morning, you'll have relaxed free time to enjoy the sand and surf in Nazaré any way you'd like. If you're feeling energized and haven't seen the landscape from above yet, make sure to take the funicular up to Promontório do Sítio for a birds-eye view of the cliffs, beach, and town below. And whether you're into surfing or not, the Surfer's Museum inside the Fortress of St. Michael in Nazare Sitio is an excellent way to experience a slice of local culture.

Then it's time to transfer to Porto, where you'll get settled in before heading out to explore. Start with a walk through the historic center, where you'll visit monuments by leading world architects from the past and the present, including some fantastic Baroque carvings. Optionally you can visit one of the city's finest port wine cellars for a tasting of the famous fortified wine. In the afternoon, you'll visit nearby Guimarães, a small, UNESCO-listed city considered the cradle of the Portuguese Nation, before returning to Porto and its thriving restaurant scene for dinner. 

Day 6: Get to Know Porto & Evening Food Tour

Twilight in Porto's Ribeira Square
Get to know more of Porto today with a half-day tour, where you'll learn about the city's history, heroes, and battles as you make your way through Boavista Avenue, one of the city's most important streets, and Foz, home to revered museums and modern local treasures. Within the UNESCO-listed center, you'll find 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 with its superb silver altarpiece, finish the tour along the banks of the immense Douro River with views of Ribeira Plaza and the D. Luís Bridge. Later in the day, 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 most travelers rarely see. Local families will welcome you 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: Mountain Biking in Peneda-Gerês National Park

An ancient Roman road in the forests of Peneda-Gerês National Park
Today, after breakfast in Porto, you'll take an active day trip to Peneda-Gerês National Park for a guided mountain bike tour. While there are many listed natural parks within Portugal's borders, Peneda-Gerês is the only official national park and takes up a whopping 436 square miles (703 km2) in the north near the Spanish border.
 
The well-maintained trails capitalize on the park's scenery, history, and wildlife, making it a great place to go for a ride. During the adventure, you'll encounter a range of spectacular views, including granite massifs, deep valleys, and lush forests of cork oaks and pines, as well as deer and golden eagles. If time allows, you can pay a visit to a few nearby highlights like the spa town of Gerês or the traditional village of Lindoso with its medieval castle and stone granaries. At the end of the excursion, return to your hotel in Porto.

Day 8: Transfer to Lisbon via Coimbra

Coimbra's Largo da Portagem Square

Today you'll be picked up for the transfer back to Lisbon. About halfway through the trip, stop to spend some time exploring Coimbra. This medieval capital of Portugal 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. Don't miss the Baroque library, home to an incredible collection of over 200,000 books stored in carved and gilded bookshelves. After the tour, your guide will make suggestions for a delicious lunch amidst the atmosphere of Coimbra before you get back on the road and finish your journey south to Lisbon.

Day 9: Transfer to Lisbon Airport & Depart

Sunset over Lisbon's Abril Bridge

After spending a leisurely final morning in Lisbon, you'll say your goodbyes and transfer to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels and boa viagem!

More Great 9-Day Portugal Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Portugal? Check out these other 9-day Portugal itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.  

Map

Map of Scenic Portugal Loop: Lisbon, Sintra, Nazaré & Porto  - 9 Days
Map of Scenic Portugal Loop: Lisbon, Sintra, Nazaré & Porto - 9 Days