Get to know the real Portugal on this immersive 11-day itinerary that blends culture, cuisine, and coastline. Savor world-class food and wine in Porto, then head south to discover Lisbon's authentic neighborhoods and traditional music. After a busy week of day trips and excursions, you'll trade the city for the coast and settle into a slower pace of life on the golden beaches of the Algarve.

Highlights

  • Celebrate Porto's culinary renaissance with a walking food tour
  • Spend a day wine tasting in the spectacular Douro Valley
  • Hop on an iconic yellow tram to explore authentic Lisbon
  • Climb to a fairytale palace in the clouds at Sintra
  • Wind down on the golden beaches of the Algarve

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Porto, Afternoon Culinary Experience Porto
Day 2 Expore Historic Porto Porto
Day 3 Wine Tasting Experience in the Douro Valley Porto
Day 4 Transfer to Lisbon via Coimbra Lisbon
Day 5 Discover Authentic Libon, Evening of Fado Lisbon
Day 6 Day Trip to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril Lisbon
Day 7 Train Journey to Lagos Lagos
Days 8-9 Free Days in the Algarve Lagos
Day 10 Train Journey to Lisbon Lisbon
Day 11 Depart Lisbon  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Porto, Afternoon Culinary Experience

Twilight in Porto's Ribeira Square

Welcome to Portugal! Upon arrival at Porto's airport, you will be met by your driver, who will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. After settling in, get to know the city and its cuisine with a 3.5-hour walking tour of the historic downtown. Guided by a local expert, this small-group excursion offers a first-hand look at the culinary renaissance Porto is experiencing, including the rebirth of specialty food shops and new restaurants that are adopting old methods.

You'll take part in several distinct tasting locations that harken back to an era of simple, quality products. Learn about these family-owned businesses and why they are an integral part of Porto's gastronomy. Along the way, you'll witness the revival of Portuguese cuisine while you explore local restaurants, cafés, and stores offering the best of Porto. End the evening with an introduction to the region's most famous export: port wine. Taste three different versions, including one vintage, as you learn about the history of this timeless drink.

Day 2: Explore Historic Porto

Traditional fishing boats along Porto's riverfront

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, Baroque, and neoclassical 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: Wine Tasting Experience in the Douro Valley

Douro Valley
Terraced vineyards overlooking 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. Learn about the history and process of wine-growing in the region, and discover the varietals that thrive in the valley's unique terroir.

After a leisurely wine tasting, you can enjoy a traditional lunch at one of the valley's famous quintas (estates). Your return to Porto will be just as memorable as you follow one of the most beautiful roads in the world—winding along the Douro River and past terraced vines and steep mountain hillsides. 

Day 4: Transfer to Lisbon via Coimbra

Coimbra's Largo da Portagem Square

Today, after breakfast and check-out, you'll meet your driver for the transfer south 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. 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 the 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 5: Discover Authentic Lisbon, Evening of Fado

Statue at Praca do Comercio
A statue of King Joseph I at Lisbon's central Praça do Comercio

Today you'll discover Lisbon in-depth 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 Old Town of Alfama.

Afterward, you will have the rest of the afternoon to explore Lisbon on your own. In the evening, head back into the Bairro Alto to enjoy a night at one of the city’s best fado restaurants, where good food, the perfect setting, and the melancholic tones of Portugal's beautiful fado music come together for a truly authentic night in Lisbon.

Day 6: Day Trip to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril

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

After breakfast, your private driver will pick you up to start today's adventure in Sintra. Located just half an hour east of the city, this resort town in the Sintra Mountains is known for its forested hills, upscale villas, and Moorish palaces. Start with a visit to the Palacio Nacional da Pena (Pena Palace). This 19th-century Romanticist castle mixes Moorish and Portuguese late-Gothic architectural styles with distinct features like gargoyles, ornate battlements, and colorful terraces. 

After touring the palace, you'll have a break for lunch, at which point you can also stroll through the historic village of Sintra and do some shopping and/or sightseeing. Then it's off to Sintra Cascais Natural Park. Some can't-miss locales in this area include the dramatic coastal cliffs of the Cabo de Roca, the wide and inviting Guincho Beach (a popular surf spot), and the glamorous towns of Cascais and Estoril.  After the tour, a private transfer will take you back to your hotel in Lisbon.

Day 7: Train Journey to Lagos

Lagos is famed for its sandy beaches

This morning, you'll head to the train station for the 4-hour train journey to Lagos. This popular town is located on the western end of the Algarve region, situated along Portugal's picturesque southern coast. Once you've arrived at Lagos Railway Station, make your way to the hotel for check-in, then spend the rest of the day exploring at your own pace.

Lagos is known for its charming inner-walled Old Town, pretty harbor, dramatic sandstone cliffs, and beautiful beaches, as well as authentic restaurants and buzzing nightlife. Locals are proud to say that Lagos has not succumbed to mass tourism like other cities in the Algarve, and the city still retains its distinctive character and laid-back charm. 

Days 8-9: Free Days in the Algarve

Take the wooden walkway to scenic Praia do Camilo in Lagos

The next two days are free for you to enjoy the Algarve at your leisure. Spend some more time discovering the 16th-century city of Lagos and its cobblestoned streets, inviting squares, and great restaurants. Near the city center are a number of dreamlike beaches, with plenty of watersports and boat excursions on offer. Pinhao Beach is a peaceful cove known for its secluded setting, while Ponta da Piedade offers more dramatic sandstone cliffs and bright turquoise water. Praia do Camilo is a gorgeous spot accessed by walking down 200 wooden steps to a sheltered sandy cove.

You could also head further east for more beautiful sights and attractions, ranging from bustling resort towns to white-washed villages offering mouth-watering cuisine and exhilarating coastal scenery. Lovers of peace and quiet should explore more of the massive Costa Vicentina Natural Park, which extends all the way north to Odeceixe. The park covers a whopping 182,857 acres (74,000 ha) of protected land, including beaches, cliffs, rolling hills, and marshland, with more than 750 species of flora and 200 species of birds. 

Plan your trip to Portugal
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Day 10: Train Journey to Lisbon

Traditional trams climb Lisbon's hilly streets

Enjoy a final leisurely morning at the beach. When the time comes, you'll bid the Algarve farewell and catch the train back to Lisbon. After settling into your hotel, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to catch any Lisbon highlights you might have missed earlier in the trip or browse some local shops for souvenirs. As evening falls, toast your final night and savor some Portuguese specialties in one of the city's charming neighborhood restaurants.

Day 11: Depart Lisbon

Sunset over Lisbon's Abril Bridge

It's time to say goodbye to Portugal! You will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your departure flight. Safe travels and boa viagem!

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Map

Map of Ultimate Portugal: Porto, Lisbon & Lagos - 11 Days
Map of Ultimate Portugal: Porto, Lisbon & Lagos - 11 Days