We have designed a great tour of Portugal departing and returning to Lisbon. In two weeks you will have the opportunity to see the best of this country and experience the most famous destinations and the most picturesque villages.
In this itinerary you will pass by the main cities of Portugal such as Lisbon and Porto, as well as some of the main tourist destinations like Sintra, Obidos, Coimbra, Tomar, and Evora, until reaching Algarve, located in the south of Portugal.
Here comes the map of our two-week itinerary in Portugal: we recommend to move by car, perhaps by renting it at Lisbon airport.
Itinerary: 1800 km | Duration: 2 weeks | Best time: from June to September
The majestic Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, deserves our attention from the very first time we arrive to its city center. There are plenty of things to see, so you should go straight to your room, drop your bags at the hotel and get ready to start exploring the city.
Lisbon rises on seven hills, and it is clearly not an easy city to walk around! However, walking is by far the best way to appreciate its essence; stroll around its alleys to admire the local life and several houses decorated with azulejos, the traditional Portuguese ceramic tiles.
Start your journey by walking along Rua Augusta, the heart of Baixa, the main district of the city. Walk through the arch until reaching the beautiful Praca do Comercio, which overlooks the water where the Tagus river becomes sea. This is the place where more than 500 years ago ships loaded with unique goods that no one could find in Europe arrived from colonies.
This trade turned Portugal into an absolute power, and today you can still feel this energy by spending some time strolling around around this square.
From Praca do Comercio – leave the sea behind – you will find Barrio Alto to the left and the Alfama district to the right. These are two districts you can’t miss. On your first day, spend some time visiting Alfama, which is home to the majestic Sao Jorge Castle, an ancient fortress from where you can enjoy a stunning view of the city.
After visiting the castle, the best way to explore Lisbon is to stroll around the streets of Alfama; have a coffee, check some souvenir shops and wait for dinner time to arrive. Around this area there are many restaurants where you can enjoy a Fado show and listen to the traditional and melancholic Portuguese music. Is there a better way to end the first of your three days in Lisbon?
On your second day, after enjoying a generous breakfast with some Portuguese pasteleria (pastries), it is time to go to Barrio Alto. From the Baixa district, pass through the elegant Armazens do Chiado, an old warehouse that was transformed into a mall, and reach this beautiful district made of viewpoints, churches, hidden streets, and palaces decorated with azulejos.
Our Tip: It is possible to reach Barrio Alto also by taking the Santa Justa elevator, an iron lift dating back to early ‘900, which today is still perfectly functioning. A must visit attraction for tourists and locals.
An unmissable monument of Barrio Alto is the Carmo Convent, an old monastery that was destroyed during the devastating earthquake of 1755. Only its two main pillars have survived to date, creating a scenario that reminds of the Abbey of San Galgano located near Siena. By the time you shop around Barrio Alto, have a coffee and a pastel de nata, it is already time to go have some dinner. There are many restaurants around this area; do not hesitate to try some typical Portuguese dishes with bacalhau (cod fish), and other fresh ingredients.
At night Barrio Alto is the place to be; it is the heart of Lisbon nightlife. Between a cerveja and a cocktail it will soon be time to go back to the hotel to enjoy some rest before getting ready to your third day around the Portuguese capital city.
On your third and last day it is time the explore Belem, a district located along the banks of the Tagus river, a few kilometres west from the old city center. The Belem Tower represents the main symbol of this area, and probably it is also the symbol of the whole city of Lisbon. It is a small tower which, before the earthquake of 1755, was standing in the middle of the sea in order to guard and protect the city.
Not too far there are other interesting attractions, such as: the Jeronimos Monastery, a majestic structure that deserves a visit; the Monument to the Discoveries, which includes all the discoveries accomplished by Portuguese navigators from the XIV century; last but not least, foodies will be happy to know that the famous Belem pastry shop is located here. In 1837 the famous pastel de nata was invented here and since that moment this very popular cream pastry has become a real symbol of Portugal.
And now it is time to explore the rest of Portugal.
Tips on your itinerary around Lisbon
Do you want to study an alternative 3 days itinerary around Lisbon? Check our one week itinerary in Lisbon and surroundings
To plan your visit to Lisbon, click on the following links:
A little bit more than half an hour drive from Lisbon there is Sintra, a famous Portuguese city which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our stop in Sintra will be short as today’s main stop is Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Continental Europe.
However, Sintra deserves a more accurate visit to have the opportunity to admire its majestic monuments such as the Pena Palace from 1800; the Mouros Castle, built by the Arabs, the Sintra National Palace or the Quinta da Regaleira.
Of course the best way to experience Sintra is to walk around the streets of the old town looking for a picturesque corner, a balcony filled with flowers, a traditional cafe or a good restaurant where to have some lunch.
Leave Sintra behind and head towards Cabo da Roca. The powerful waves of the Atlantic Ocean crush against the rocks. The view from here is just incredible; a way to feel so small in front of the endless vastness of nature.Accommodation in Sintra
On your fifth day wake up early; a very long day is waiting for us as we will drive about 200km North. We are going to make three stops along the way: Obidos, the Alcobaça Monastery, and the maritime city of Nazarè.
It takes a little more than one hour to get to Cabo da Roca to Obidos. As soon as you have reached your destination, you will discover an old town characterized by white houses with red roofs that contras with the gray walls of the castle overlooking the city. Do not miss Porta da Vila, the main gate to the city decorated with colorful azulejos shaping a mosaic representing the Passion of Christ.
If you are fit enough, then walk along the city walls and enjoy the view of Obidos and its valley.
It takes about one hour to walk along the walls. Now it is time to head towards the Alcobaça Monastery, another UNESCO site, which was founded by the first Portuguese king Alfonso I during the 12th century.
The structure was built in Gothic style and inside the monastery there are two wings built in Baroque style. The church was extended in the 18th century. Inside the monastery there are: the tombs of some of the most important Portuguese royal members, the Royal Pantheon, as well as a room that was destroyed during the earthquake of 1755 and which was rebuilt in Neo-Gothic style.
Do not miss a visit to the Cloister of Silence, built by oder of King Dinis I, featuring columns decorated by capitals with animal and vegetal motifs. Here there is the Fountain Hall, with a renaissance fountain decorated by coat of arms and reliefs of gryphs.
Now it is time to leave to our third and last stop of the day: Nazarè, a popular beach destination among the districts of Praia, Sitio and Pederneira. Praia is located on the beach, while Sitio is located on a 900 high-meter cliff. To get to the top you can take the Nazarè cable car, which was built in 1893 and has an extension of 318 m and 42% slope.
Once in Nazarè you can walk along the promenade, relax on the beach, and enjoy some traditional food. Surf lovers will love Nazarè: on the 11th of February 2017, a 25 meters wave surfed here, breaking the record of this discipline.
On the sixth day it is time to leave Nazarè to visit one of the main stops along your tour of Portugal. Welcome to Porto, the so called “capital of the north”, a city that somehow reminds of Lisbon but which keeps its own identity.
Porto became internationally famous because of its wine, which produced by some of the world’s best wine cellars and then it is exported worldwide. Cellars are located along the banks of the Douro river, which passes through the city. Here it is possible to enjoy a guided tour to learn about all the secrets of its production and history. At the end of the tour, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy some wine tasting.
After visiting the cellars it is time to explore the city. The most touristic district is Ribeira, which overlooks the northern shore of the Douro river. Here there are many restaurants and bars where to enjoy some local delicacies.
After taking a break admiring the Dom Luis I bridge and the several boats that navigate through the city, it is time to start exploring the area.
Warning! Porto, just like Lisbon, is not an easy city to visit; there are several gaps, ups and downs. Although it is easy to move around by metro or bus, walking around is the best way to get to know the city.
From Ribeira you can walk to Sè do Porto, the cathedral of the city; next to it there is a panoramic terrace from where you can admire Porto, the Douro river, and the cellars.
On your next day keep visiting Porto, do not miss the following attractions:
Porto deserves more than just two days. You will fall in love straight away and you will be looking forward to come back soon.
Tips on your Porto itinerary
Do you want to study a 3 days alternative itinerary of Porto? Check our one week itinerary of Porto and surroundings.
To learn more and plan your visit to Porto click on the links below.
After two days in Porto it is time to reach Braga, which is located not too far from the border with Spain.
Braga is the second most important city of Northern Portugal, and it is known as the “Portuguese Rome” due to its historical importance. It is a major university city and it offers plenty of things to see.
Let’s start by visiting the Braga Cathedral, one of the most important monuments of the city. Construction works started at the beginning of the 11th century and lasted so long that the result is a real mix of different styles ranging across Romanic, Gothic, Manueline and Baroque. Among other interesting attractions there are the Episcopal Palace, which dates back to the XIV century, and the Menagem Tower, which represents the remains of the old city walls.
After a lunch break in Braga, visit the Casa dos Crivos, a typical building from the XVI century which today is home to the Civic Gallery. In addiction, take some time to visit the Museum of Sacred Art, where it is possible to admire the treasure of the Cathedral.
But Braga is not the only stop of the day; we are heading to Guimaraes, which can be reached in less than 30 minutes heading towards east.
Guimaraes, an old Celtic settlement, became the capital of the County of Portugal in 1095 and for this reason its historical importance is essential. Its old town was declared UNESCO heritage site, and among its most important monuments there is the Guimaraes Castle with its beautiful walls, the Duques de Braganca Palace, which dates back to the XV century, and the Church of Nossa Senhora de Oliveira, which was rebuilt in the XIV on the ruins of an old monastery.
After having dinner at one of the several traditional restaurants, you should get back to your hotel room; tomorrow you have a long and intense day ahead.Accommodation in Braga
Today we are going to head to the south: from Guimaraes we are going all the way to Coimbra, a city famous for its historical university to the extent that more than 20.000 foreign students have chosen to move here. Coimbra and its university are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Get there by lunch time and after trying some traditional dishes start exploring the old town where you will find several important palaces including the republicas, that is to say the centuries-old student housing. These accommodations represent a real institution in the city. Students living in these communal houses live in complete autonomy throwing parties and managing everything they might need.
It is also interesting to visit the gate and tower of Almedina, which represents the main gateway to Coimbra. Go shopping and buy some traditional products at very convenient prices.
At night, after trying some traditional Portuguese dishes, have fun at one of the many clubs in town: being a university city, Coimbra offers a great nightlife. Prices are affordable and there are many chances to socialize.Accommodation in Coimbra
Keep rolling to the south: from Coimbra it takes a little less than one hour and a half to reach the Monastery of Batalha, our stop before heading to Tomar.
The Monastery of Batalha, known also as the Monastery of Saint Mary of the Victory, is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was built between 1300 and 1500 in Gothic-Manueline style, and today it represents one of the most important monuments of Portugal.
Its architecture is majestic, and its facade was made of white stone from Porto de Mos, while its interiors are embellished by 78 statues representing angels, Old Testament Kings, and saints.
Inside the Monastery of Batalha there is a chapel dedicated to King John I as well as an unfinished chapel that confirms the fact that the monastery was never actually finished. Near the royal cloister there is the Cloister of Alfonso V, built in Gothic style with double pointed arches.
Leave the Monastery of Batalha and head towards Tomar, an elegant town in Central Portugal located on the shores of the Nabao river. Tomar has a beautiful old town and it is known for being an ancient Templar fortress. Speaking of which, the Templar church is located behind the entrance to the Convent of Christ, about one kilometer from the city center.
It is one of the most interesting monuments to visit in Tomar, especially if you are interested in religious architecture. If this is not your cup of tea, then enjoy some shopping around the center.
At night Tomar is a quiet town; there are some cheap restaurants serving some delicious traditional food, beer shops and bars to enjoy a drink before going to sleep.Accommodation in Tomar
Today we are going to keep hitting the road and those 200 kilometers that separate Tomar from Evora will be over before you even know it. Enjoy the landscape of this rural region of Portugal.
Evora, a city in the Alentejo region, is characterized by a city wall and a medieval cathedral. Evora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is a very pleasant place where to make a stop thanks to its pedestrian center filled with alleys and small shops. Visit the Cathedral of Evora, which dates back to the XVI century, and the Church of Saint Antony; visit also its prestigious university or spend some time enjoying a coffee at one of the many cafes located near Giraldo Square.Accommodation in Evora
Today we head towards the deep south of Portugal: from Evora we are driving to Albufeira, one of the most famous destinations along the Algarve coast.
Albufeira could be a real shock after spending so many days traveling around central Portugal and Alentejo, where time seems to be frozen. Albufeira is a city that was created around half of the last century to meet the needs of tourists, especially British and Northern European tourists who come here during summer.
Albufeira is a great base to visit Algarve; here there are some great and fully equipped beaches, bars, restaurants, and supermarkets. On the one hand you may miss that spirit of authenticity that you have experienced in the last few days, but on the other you will be happy to have all the comforts you need. Today you can relax at the beach or at the pool, sip a coffee along the sea or go shopping.
From Albufeira it is time to move west and reach Portimao, another famous destination in the Algarve region which is located just 2 kilometers from Praia da Rocha, a very popular beach and tourist destination. Spend your first night in Portimao, which is quieter than Albufeira but at the same time it offers a wide choice of hotels, restaurants, and night clubs.
The last two days of this tour around Portugal are all about relaxing by the stunning beaches of the Algarve. Our base will be Sagres, a town located in the extreme west of the region not far from Cabo de Sao Vincente, the last piece of land before the Atlantic Ocean.
Located at the westernmost point of the Algarve coast, it is a great place for those who are looking for some calm and tranquility, as it is off the flows of massive tourism.
Sagres is the mecca of surfers who love the natural conditions of these beaches caressed by the wind. Here surfing classes are well priced, so it could be a good opportunity to try this sport for the very first time.
There are some beautiful beaches in Sagres such as Praia da Mareta, which is the largest in the area, Praia do Tonel, where surfers surf the tallest waves, and Praia da Baleira which is not too far from the city port.
If after two weeks around you still feel like keep exploring, the Algarve is an endless source of inspiration; you can reach Cabo Sao Vicente to admire its high cliffs on the ocean; you can explore Tavira, a traditional Portuguese city at the border with the natural park of Ria Formosa, or you can simply relax on the beach.
On the last day we will have to drive for more than three hours to get back to Lisbon and end this complete tour around Portugal and head back to the airport.