See the best of Portugal in 10 days with this detailed road trip itinerary

10 Days in Portugal – Trip Itinerary from Lisbon to Porto

In Europe, Portugal, Trip itineraries by Jurga27 Comments

When we booked the flights for a 10 day trip to Portugal, we had a very different trip in mind than the one we ended up doing. At first we thought to visit Lisbon and Sintra, then head to the beautiful beaches of Algarve and all the way to Faro. After a little research, however, we quickly realised that we would be missing the most interesting places in Portugal. And so we decided to leave Algarve and the beaches for the next trip, and to visit the main highlights, most beautiful places of Portugal instead.

Read also: 16 Fun Things To Do in Portugal with Kids

10 days in Portugal. Our trip itinerary featuring the main highlights of Central Portugal from Lisbon to Porto

Portugal in 10 days – trip itinerary and map

See the best of Portugal with this 10 day itinerary

 

Day 1: Lisbon

We arrived in Lisbon late in the evening, so I’m not going to count this travel day. We stayed in the heart of Lisbon, close to Rossio square, and the location was perfect for dining and sightseeing.

While one day isn’t enough to see everything that Lisbon has to offer, you can still do a lot. We focused on the city centre, Alfama district, and did a sailing cruise on Tagus river. Here you can find all our tips and recommendations on what to see and do in Lisbon in one day.

Tip: If you have two days in Lisbon, make sure you also visit the Belém district as well. The main highlights there are the Jeronimos monastery, Belem tower, and the Discoveries monument. Count at least half a day.

See the best of Lisbon in one day with this itinerary that brings you to the most beautiful places in Lisboa, Portugal

Lisbon

 

Day 2: Evora

We had planned to visit Belem in the morning before leaving Lisbon. Unfortunately, one of our kids didn’t feel well and so we decided to leave Lisbon and head straight to Evora.

Driving time from Lisbon to Evora – 1,5 hrs.

Evora is a small cozy medieval town. The main sights in Evora are: Chapel of Bones, Templo Romano, and the Cathedral (tower). Other highlights include the Public Park of Evora, Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça, the Town Square, Evora Aqueduct and the City Walls.

Practical information for visiting Evora:

  • Evora is perfectly doable as a day trip from Lisbon, but I suggest you spend a night there. Hotels are much cheaper than in Lisbon, there are many good local restaurants, and very few tourists.
  • Book a hotel just inside the city walls. We stayed at the centrally located hotel M’AR de Ar Muralhas. I would have loved to stay 2 nights in Evora just for this hotel.
  • Leave your car outside the city walls (or at the hotel parking) and explore Evora on foot.
Chapel of Bones in Evora Portugal

Chapel of Bones in Evora

 

Day 3: Obidos and Alcobaca

Obidos

Driving time from Evora to Obidos – 2hrs.

The absolute must do in Obidos is walking the city walls. It’s really fun and the views are spectacular; just watch your kids! The biggest part of the wall has no railings or any other kind of protection on one side.

Make sure to taste the specialty of the area – Ginja de Óbidos – sour cherry liquor.

Practical tips for Obidos:

  • Park your car at one of the many big parking areas outside the city gate.
  • Count 2 to 4 hours to visit Obidos. We spent 2 relaxing hours sightseeing; this didn’t include time for lunch.
Kids walking on the city walls of Obidos in Portugal

Obidos

 

Alcobaça Monastery

Driving time from Obidos to Alcobaca – 30 minutes.

Our next stop for the day was Alçobaca monastery. Alcobaca is one of the oldest convents in Portugal, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Practical tips for visiting Alcobaça Monastery:

  • Count 1-1,5hrs for a visit.
  • Take a sweater with you. Despite the fact that it was really warm outside when we visited, it was quite chilly inside the church and the cloister.
Alcobaca Monastery in Portugal

Alcobaca Monastery

 

Where to stay for visiting Alcobaça, Batalha, Tomar monasteries and Fatima

To visit the monasteries I recommend staying in Alcobaca – Nazare area. There is so much to see and do that you can easily spend several days here.

We spent two nights at the beautiful hotel Vale d’Azenha, just a few kilometres outside of Alcobaça. This modern hotel has amazing views, an infinity pool and a really nice spa area. On top of that, they have a very good restaurant that uses fresh local ingredients; it was one of the best meals we had in Portugal.

Alternatively, you might find bigger choice of accommodation in the nearby coastal resort Nazaré.

Day 4: Batalha monastery, Grutas de Mira de Aire, Nazare

Another top day in Portugal today!

Batalha Monastery

Driving time from Alcobaca to Batalha – 30 minutes.

If you visit just one monastery in Portugal, make it the Batalha! Do not miss the Unfinished Chapels, it’s an absolute must!

We chose to visit just two monasteries – Alcobaca and Batalha. Tomar seems to be worth a detour if you have an hour or two to spare. As for Fatima, I had read in several books and also hear from people who visited that it’s not really worth it from the touristic point of view.

Practical tips for Batalha Monastery:

  • Count 2 hrs for a visit.
  • Arrive early to avoid big groups.
  • Carry a sweater.
The Unfinished Chapels in Batalha Monastery - one of absolute highlights of our 10 day trip in Portugal

The Unfinished Chapels in Batalha

 

Grutas de Mira de Aire

Driving time from Batalha to Grutas de Mira de Aire – 30 minutes.

Our second stop today was Parque Natural de las Sierras de Aire e Candeeiros, and in particular the caves – Grutas de Mira de Aire.

We have visited many caves all over the world during our travels. However, I cannot remember that any of them would have been as big and as impressive as Grutas de Mira de Aire. We were a bit uncertain whether these caves were worth the detour, but yes, they absolutely are! It was one of the highlights of our Portugal trip for the whole family!

Practical information for visiting Grutas de Mira de Aire:

  • The caves are a bit outside the main tourist routes. You can find all the practical information on their official website.
  • You can only visit the caves with a guide. There is one tour hourly, at 40min after the hour.
Grutas de Mira de Aire in Central Portugal

Grutas de Mira de Aire

 

Nazaré

Driving time from the caves to Nazaré – 50 minutes.

A charming little coastal town of Nazare is a mix of old traditions and a busy beach destination. Don’t miss the O Sitio district up on the cliffs overlooking the city. Nazare also holds the record to the world’s largest waves. Even in calm weather, they were impressive!

Tip: If visiting in summer, consider spending an extra day in Nazare and enjoy the beautiful beaches in the area.

Practical information for visiting Nazaré:

  • Park your car in the city centre and explore the town on foot.
  • You can reach the O Sitio district by funicular (recommended). Alternatively, you can take a car.
View over Nazare in Central Portugal from funicular

View over Nazare from funicular

 

Day 5: Roman Ruins of Conimbriga and the city of Coimbra

Roman Ruins of Conimbriga

Driving time from Alcobaca to Conimbriga – 1hr.

Our first stop today was the ancient Roman city of Conimbriga. It’s one of the best-preserved Roman towns in Portugal, with lots of very impressive mosaic floors. A small adjacent museum is also worth a short visit. Plan to spend about an hour.

Floor mosaic at Conimbriga Ancient Roman Site in Central Portugal

Floor mosaic at Conimbriga

 

Coimbra

Driving time from Conimbriga to Coimbra – 20min.

Coimbra is the biggest town of Central Portugal and the ancient medieval capital of the country. The compact city centre of Coimbra is best explored on foot, just be prepared to do some serious climbing. Don’t miss the University of Coimbra and in particular the library and the Saint Michael’s Chapel.

Tip: Just on the other side of the river you can find Portugal dos Pequenitos – a park with miniature buildings of Portugal and the former colonies. Check it out if visiting Coimbra with kids.

Practical information for visiting Coimbra:

  • Book a centrally located hotel and explore on foot.
  • We stayed at hotel Oslo in the city centre. The terrace/bar had the best views of the old city you could wish for.
Coimbra old town at sunset

Coimbra old town at sunset from our hotel’s bar

 

Day 6: Mata Nacional do Buçaco – Costa Nova – Aveiro

Mata Nacional do Buçaco

Driving time from Coimbra to the forest – 30min.

Just 30km North of Coimbra lays the beautiful Bussaco forest (Mata Nacional do Buçaco). It’s a true hidden gem! Not to be missed is the beautiful Palace Hotel, the gardens, but also the staircase of Fonte Fria and the Via Sacra.

Practical information for Buçaco forest:

  • Entrance fee: 5 EUR/ car
  • Ask for a map at the entrance. The forest is huge and without a map you’ll quickly get disoriented.
  • Pack a picnic and plan to spend at least 3-4 hours. Alternatively, you can have lunch at a small cafe close to the hotel.
  • Leave your car at the Palace Hotel and explore the forest on foot.
  • If I were to go back, I’d spend at least one night at the beautiful Buçaco Palace Hotel.
Bussaco Palace Hotel at Mata do Bucaco Portugal

Bussaco Palace Hotel

 

Aveiro and Costa Nova

Driving time from Bussaco forest to Aveiro – 45min.

Aveiro (50km drive from Bucaco) is a nice little town, also called the Venice of Portugal. One of the musts here is a boat ride on the canals. Aveiro is a nice place to spend a couple of hours, but then you have seen it all.

Tip: visit the nearby town Praia da Costa Nova with its colourful striped houses.

Depending on how much time you have and on your other plans, you can either spend a night in Aveiro, or drive to Porto (less than 1hr drive).

Aveiro in Portugal

Aveiro

Praia da Costa Nova in Portugal

Praia da Costa Nova

 

Day 7: Douro Valley and the vineyards of Porto and to Porto

Driving time: depends on the route you choose. Count at least half a day.

We chose to visit the Douro Valley by car. If you stay in Porto, consider one of the many available organised day tours to Douro valley (like this highly rated experience). There are also boat trips you can take from Porto, from Peso de Regua or from Pinhao. There is also a possibility to explore the wine region by train. Check here for the best Douro Valley tours and experiences.

If you drive by car, as we did, don’t miss the scenic road from Sabrosa to Pinhao – in this direction, as you’re driving down and have incredible views all the time. Other highlights include Solar de Mateus just outside Vile Real, Casal de Loivos viewpoint near Pinhao, and also the towns of Amarante and Guimaraes.

Douro Valley Portugal

Douro Valley

 

Day 8: Porto

Porto is a beautiful city with a really nice atmosphere. You can easily spend more than a day in Porto. However, Porto isn’t as big as Lisbon and we found that one day in Porto was enough for the main highlights.

Practical tips for visiting Porto: 

View over Porto old town centre

Porto

 

Day 9: Porto to Sintra. Visit Pena Palace and Castle of the Moors

Driving time from Porto to Lisbon (Sintra) – 3 hours.

Sintra

Sintra is a well known UNESCO World Heritage Site area, just outside of Lisbon. It has a lot to offer, but most visitors only come for one day. We had a day and a half, but it still felt rushed.

On the first day we visited the Pena Palace (see the featured image all the way on top) and the Gardens of Pena. We then walked to the nearby Moorish Castle. Palacio Nacional right in the town centre is also worth a visit.

Exploring the Castle of the Moors in Sintra Portugal with kids

Castle of the Moors

 

Day 10: Sintra: Quinta de Regaleira and the Palace of Monserrate

On our second day in Sintra we visited Quinta de Regaleira and the Park and Place of Monserrate.

Tip: If you have more time in Sintra and have a car, you can drive to the nearby Cabo da Roca or the coastal town Azenhas do Mar.

Practical information for visiting Sintra:

Initiation Well at Quinta de Regaleira in Sintra Portugal

Initiation Well at Quinta de Regaleira

 

Portugal trip itinerary for any duration

The above is our trip itinerary for 10 days in Portugal with kids. The distances in Portugal are quite small, so you can easily adapt this itinerary to your interests and any trip duration. If you have two more days, visit Algarve as well. If you have less time, skip the places that don’t interest you, or try to squeeze more in a day. We traveled to Portugal with kids, so our days were not fully packed with sightseeing (although the kids would probably disagree :)). We found that this itinerary left quite some free time to explore deeper, have long meals, take a dip in the pool, etc.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions or share your experiences by leaving a comment below.

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How to see the best of Portugal in 10 days. Detailed itinerary and map for the best places of Portugal from Lisbon to Porto

How to spend 10 unforgettable days in Portugal. See the best of Portugal with this trip itinerary and practical tips...

 

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10 Days in Portugal – Trip Itinerary from Lisbon to Porto was last modified: May 6th, 2017 by Jurga

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Comments

  1. Nice and extensive post! I enjoyed Portugal during my visit a year ago. My favorite was Lisbon. I wanted to love Oporto as a lot friends are enchanted by that place. However I couldn’t. I think the dull and rainy weather played a huge role in this. Sintra was fun too! The Palacio de la pena (Vale la pena ;))is a wonder!

    1. Author

      You’re not the first person who tells me that they couldn’t love Porto. So I guess it’s a hit or miss a bit… We found it very enjoyable. Beautiful weather helped for sure, but also the atmosphere was really nice. So maybe give it a second chance? 😉

  2. I love an itinerary so detailed. Thank you for including a lot of information. Although I have been to Portugal twice I have never traveled around the country so I am bookmarking this 🙂

    1. Author

      From what we saw, most of Portugal is still very much underrated. It was so busy in Lisbon and in Sintra, also in Porto, but for the rest it felt really authentic and quiet. In most places in Central Portugal we met very few foreign tourists, more Portuguese traveling around. I’d say go for it before it gets flooded with tourists, it’s such a beautiful country to explore deeper!

  3. Is there any way to do this itinerary with public transportation? I don’t drive when I travel (or at home , for that matter).
    Thinking of Portugal for our next wedding anniv (2018), as we go to Greece this year.

    1. Author

      You can certainly see a lot of Portugal by taking just public transport, Cris. There are good train connections between the main cities, and you can take busses as well. You can definitely visit Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, Coimbra and several other bigger places, but you won’t be able to explore everywhere, unless you prepare very well, study bus schedules, etc. Alternative is to travel to big towns and look for organised day trips to the nearby places that are not as easy to reach on your own. Taxis are also very cheap.
      Since you don’t drive, this won’t interest you I guess. But renting a car in Portugal is so cheap that it’s almost not worth it to even consider other options, especially if you are traveling with a partner or a family. We rented the biggest 5-p car we could find for just 18EUR/day.

      1. Please tell me where you rented a car so cheap. With the insurance it seems like the cost is more like $50 a day.

        1. Author

          Hi David, for the best deals for car rental, please check the car rental links on our travel resources page (Momondo or RentalCars.com). For Portugal we rented the car through one of these links, with Avis in Lisbon. The price was better than direct. We had a category F (Medium Station Wagon), as it was the biggest station wagon available at that time, and we paid 178EUR/10 days. Also, we travelled in April which is probably not as high season as summer, so the prices might be different now. And we rented our car 6 months before the trip, which is also probably much cheaper than if you would be looking for a car only a few weeks in advance.
          As a general rule, we always use search engines as the ones in the travel resources, as booking directly is often more expensive, and we always book a car as soon as we know where/when we will be traveling. Hope this helps.

  4. This is such an excellent article, Jurga! I’m actually planning a roadtrip in Portugal this autumn, so I might just bookmark this and base my itinerary on it 🙂 Thank you!

  5. I’ve been to Portugal twice, but never for more than a few days. I sooo want to go back and spend more time there, so this is really helpful. I especially love castles, and the ones you show here look great. Hopefully I’ll get back to Portugal in the next year or so!

    1. Author

      Hope you get to explore more, Ali. I also really hope that we can return to Portugal and visit the places we missed this time. I really fell in love with the country!

    2. I’m going to Portugal next week for ten days and plan to visit many of these same places. This post was very helpful and has some great links to great information. I will be traveling solo, so I wonder how much ground I can cover without three kids in tow. This is a really impressive itinerary for a family with three kids! Ali and Jurga, my goal is to write a post as helpful as this and get some equally great pictures! Thanks for the info, Jurga.

      1. Author

        Thank you and have a nice trip, Mary. I’m sure you can see much much more if traveling alone! As I said, our days were not fully packed, but plenty enough to tire the kids out every day 😉

  6. Jurga,

    I love reading post about my own country, it actually makes me smile to know that travellers usually know or visit more places that the locals hahaha Like when we travelled in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, India, etc.
    We are heading to Portugal for the summer, not the best time of the year, but can’t really complain. Portugal is gorgeous!
    I see you didn’t visit the south, perhaps one day if you go back you should. It’s beautiful! 🙂

    Telma @ Blank Canvas Voyage

    1. Author

      I know exactly what you mean, Telma. It’s always the new, the unknown that appeals to us the most…
      As for the South of Portugal, Algarve in particular, as I said in the post, we decided to leave it for the next time. One of the reasons was the uncertainty about the weather in April. We booked this trip months in advance and could have never expected that we could have such a beautiful summer weather the whole time. But we will be back for the beaches for sure.

  7. Boy, you travel at quite a pace – I know these places and you must’ve been exhausted by the end of it! I think I’d squeeze some beach/pool days in between some of these sights. I do love a good road trip though and this is certainly a good itinerary. Nice one Jurga!

    1. Author

      It was actually quite relaxing, Alex. 😉 The distances in Portugal are so small and traffic was so quiet everywhere that it didn’t feel rushed at all. If traveling in summer, I would definitely foresee some extra time for the beach/ pool. I can’t imagine doing so much sightseeing in the heat of the summer with kids…
      Actually we had plenty of time for the pool, but the pools were still too cold everywhere. Lucky for us they had spa areas with a jacuzzi in some hotels ;).

  8. I have not yet visited Portugal for some reason! When I do I shall keep this itinerary in mind. It does seem like a lovely country to visit – my daughter had a short break in Lisbon and throughly enjoyed it! I can see why!

    1. Author

      We were so positively surprised with Portugal, Tracy. It’s a great destination that really has it all. I think you can compare it with Italy in terms of things to see, food, friendliness of people; and that says it all. 😉

    1. Author

      The map is made with photoshop, Alexandra. I always use it for all my pictures, pins, etc. There might be other ways to do it, but that’s how I do it.

  9. My wife and I will be traveling with her three-year-old daughter to Portugal in the fall. This was an immensely helpful article for us to decide what we can cover on our trip as we were torn about the different regions of the country. Thanks!

  10. Hi Jurga,
    Thank you for this article! I am travelling with my four year old twin boys to Portugal this summer (end of August). We are staying in a house about half an hour north of Sintra in an area called Baril de Baxio for four days, and then Lisbon for four days. Im trying to plan some fun activities for us to do (my boys are very adventurous) but Im having a hard time telling what is near there and what will be too far to drive to. Do you have any suggestions on places nearby that I should consider? Thank you!!

    1. Author

      Hi Miriam, nothing is really far in Portugal. Just some places (like Sintra and Lisbon downtown) have terrible traffic. But for the most parts the roads are actually really quiet and very easy to drive (just don’t rent a big car, as the roads can be really narrow). My best suggestion is to choose a few places that really appeal to you and use Google maps to figure out if it’s doable – it always give you a very accurate idea of driving times.
      As for suggestions, I have a post on Lisbon and also one with some of the family-friendly places we really liked in Portugal. So take a look there. In Lisbon you can do a lot in 4 days in addition to things mentioned in my post, e.g. visit a zoo, take a longer sailing cruise, take more time in beautiful Alfama, explore Baixa, Belem district… On the other hand, the city might be too much for 4-year olds in summer heat. Maybe try a little beach town Cascais, just close to Lisbon, it looks really nice (we haven’t been though). Sintra is definitely worth a visit, but it’s a nightmare by car. But you are staying so close that maybe you can manage if you get there very early in the morning. Sintra has so much to offer, you can easily spend two days there. Also the coastline is beautiful.
      If you want to go further North, Obidos is not far and one of our favourites. Just watch the kids on those walls! We loved the Bussaco forest, not sure if that’s not too far for you, and also not sure how the situation is there now with all the forest fires of the last weeks…
      Hope this helps. August will probably be hot. My suggestion for you would be to plan short half-day sightseeing trips followed by a couple of hours by the pool. And then in the evening you can go out for dinner, and maybe see a few other villages or little towns at the same time.
      We loved Portugal so much, that we’re actually already planning another trip there next year.

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