Heading on a Portugal Road Trip? This guide to spending 10 days in Portugal is going to be your go-to!
The country has become one of the most visited places in the whole of Europe for the past 2 years. That is no surprise as Portugal has a lot to offer in terms of landmarks and attractions, especially if you are on a road trip in Portugal.
Portugal is probably one of the countries in Europe that has a very rich culture and history. It is the country with the most festivals to attend and events to enjoy every year. On top of that, Portugal is known for its infinite beaches, which will capture your attention for sure.
Thus, this road trip in Portugal guide has the main purpose to show you all of the best places in Portugal. From its beautiful capital Lisbon to the enchanting city of Sintra.
Then to the most beautiful coastal cities and to the north part of the country where you will learn more about its history.
And you’ll do some of the most beautiful drives, including the drive from Lisbon to Porto which is world-class, and the drive from the drive from Lisbon to Algarve is another stunner.
Spending 10 days in Portugal is for sure a dream come true for many so pack your bags and get on that plane!
Here is my ultimate guide to a road trip in Portugal…
Portugal Road Trip
Day 1 // Lisbon
The first stop on your Portugal road trip in Lisbon. And it is for sure a city you should stop by on your road trip in Portugal. The capital city of Portugal is rich in history and in culture and this can be observed in its oldest neighbourhood – Alfama.
Since Lisbon is a huge city, it needs more time to be explored. Thus, you will need to have at least 2 full days, so that you can explore the city’s most notable landmarks.
The first day in Lisbon will be dedicated to its oldest landmarks. Thus, you will have the chance to roam around the city’s oldest neighbourhood – Alfama.
Among some of the most notable landmarks of Alfama neighbourhood is São Jorge Castle. If you love history, you will for sure love this place. The castle was built on the highest hill in Lisbon and has witnessed most of the historical events that took place in the city.
São Jorge Castle is known as the castle that protected the city from the invasion of the Moors. It was the city’s main fortress and now is considered to be one of the most historically important buildings in Lisbon and in Portugal. To learn more about the history of the castle, visit its museum, which tells the true story about the castle.
The next historically and religiously important landmark is the Sé Catedral de Lisboa. The cathedral of Lisbon dates back to 2, 000 years in time, when the first religious building was built on this place.
Although the cathedral is not so impressive on the inside, as there are not lots of frescoes, there are cloisters one must visit for sure. Those cloisters are keeping Lisbon’s secret treasures and are telling the stories of the city. In addition to that, you will get the chance to enjoy some of the most beautiful vistas of the city from the cathedral’s last floor.
Eventually, you will be left with plenty of time to enjoy a stroll through the narrow streets of Alfama. Take a minute to enjoy the neighbourhood’s laid-back vibe and it’s a beautiful viewpoint that can be found almost anywhere.
Some of the most famous is Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, Miradouro Santa Luzia and Portas do Sol (Doors to the Sun). At Portas do Sol you can even grab a pint of beer and relax by watching the mesmerizing view over the old city and Tagus river.
Day 2 // Lisbon
Day 2 in Lisbon is about exploring the newer part of Lisbon and the one closely related to the Great Discoveries of the city.
The first step is for sure the Jeronimos monastery, which was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the end of the century. The monastery is surely one of the must-see sights in Lisbon. It’s architecture and design are truly a work of a mastermind and are truly captivating.
On top of that, Jeronimos monastery was visited by Portugal’s most famous voyagers a night before their next voyage around the world. In Jeronimos monastery one will also find many hidden cloisters, which are quite fascinating.
Along with that, there is also the tomb of Vasco da Gama, the greatest maritime explorer.
Going further, you can go by the monument of the Great Discoveries, which is built in remembrance of the great discoverers of the world. In front of it, there is a huge map of the world, which is also showing when every part of it was discovered.
If you want to take a look at it you can climb the monument to its very top and get a nice view of the map and the surrounding monuments.
Finally, you can head to Belém Tower, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, notable for its beautiful exterior.
However, back in the days, the tower was of great importance to the people of Lisbon. It was a defensive fortress protecting the city and it was the port from where all of the voyagers embarked on their adventures.
Now, you start your drive from Lisbon to Porto…
Day 3 // Sintra
On the third day in Portugal, you start your drive from Lisbon to Porto, stopping off at some incredible spots along the way. From Lisbon, you can head straight to the enchanting city of Sintra. This secluded hilly city is a magical place where everybody falls in love!
Not to mention that, Sintra is a symbol of the romanticism period in Europe and tells great stories of wealthy nobles.
Among some of the well-known landmarks in Sintra is the Pena Palace. Pena Palace is the symbol of Sintra and a great example of the Romanticism style of the 19th century. The palace was built for Kind Ferdinand and his wife and represents their extravagant taste and way of living.
The castle has quite fascinating ornaments and is coloured in various colours, which makes it easily noticeable. Not to mention its exotic garden that houses plants from all over the world and leads the way to the castle. A true masterpiece!
Quinta de Regaleira is another place that yarns for your attention.
Although the gothic house is quite fascinating, it is not why people visit this landmark. Most of the visitors come to the part for its beautiful garden, its initiation wells, fountains and beautiful lush vegetation all around. Quinta de Regaleira is the most mystical place in Sintra and is for sure a place you should not miss.
Last on the list is the Castle of the Moors, which is a medieval hilltop castle, built by the Moors around the 9th century. The castle is slightly different from the rest of the palaces, as it is not so flamboyant. However, if you love history and walking around defensive walls, this is a place to stop by.
Also, you will surely enjoy beautiful views over the city of Sintra and the nearby palaces.
Day 4 // Cascais and Cabo da Roca
The fourth day of your trip is about exploring the less visited places near Lisbon, on your drive towards Porto.
You can start by first going to Cabo da Roca, which is the westernmost point in mainland Portugal and Europe. Although, there is nothing much to see or do, the feeling of reaching this point is somewhat surreal.
Additionally, you can even get yourself a certificate for reaching Europe’s westernmost point and bring it back home.
Then, you can head to Cascais and explore this coastal resort town of Portugal. The city is known for its beautiful coastal area with a couple of nice beaches. Some of them are Praia da Rainha, Praia da Conceição and Praia da Duquesa.
You can also check its fortress, which is quite fascinating and is located in the old city of Cascais along with the Art District.
Eventually, if you love watching sunsets you can opt for Boca do Inferno. These oceanfront cliffs will surely take your breath away once the sun starts setting. The perfect stop on your Portugal road trip as you drive from Lisbon to Porto.
Day 5 // Aveiro
Next stop is Aveiro is a little city located on the northern coast of Portugal near Porto. Recently, it was described as the Portuguese Venice. That is no surprise, as the city has many tunnels and people tent to use boats to get from one place to another.
To get around the old city it takes around 2-3 hours and you will see most of its landmarks. One of them is the cathedral of Aveiro, which is the religious highlight of the city. The cathedral is quite small and is not as fascinating as the rest of the religious buildings in Portugal.
However, it is one of the stops on a day trip to Aveiro. Then, you can roam around the streets of the Portuguese Venice and explore its flamboyant architecture.
Along with that, you can get on a Moliceiros boat and enjoy some port wine while sailing through the channels.
To truly fall in love with Aveiro, you should definitely visit the beaches of Costa Nova.
These infinite beaches will for sure take your breath away and you will enjoy a very beautiful sunset there.
You can also head to the colourful houses of Costa Nova, which are near Praia Nova. Recently, they have become an Instagram sensation with their colorful stripes and lots of people tend to visit them. Next up, is Porto!
Day 6 // Porto
Porto is for sure Portugal’s most charming and romantic city and well worth adding to your Portugal road trip. With all those colourful buildings all around with beautiful ornaments, it is for sure a place everyone wants to visit.
However, to explore Porto in a proper way you will need two full days to do so.
On the first day in Porto, you can focus on the historical landmarks of the city. Probably, exploring all of them will take you the whole day, but it will be absolutely worth it.
The first famous landmark to explore is the Carmo Convent. Although the Carmo convent is quite fascinating from the inside, probably most of the visitors would skip it if it wasn’t for its wall.
With its beautiful tiled facade representing various religious scenes, it is definitely a place to stop by.
Additionally, you can explore the cloisters of the church and Portugal’s tinniest house, which is set between Carmo Convent and Carmelitas church. Just a couple of steps away from Carmo convent is the Fonte dos Leões from where you can take a very nice picture of the churches.
Porto is certainly worth the drive from Lisbon to Porto!!!
Then, you can head to The Clérigos Tower, which was once Portugal’s tallest building. This landmark consists of a beautifully ornamented church, museum and the famous tower. Going to the church is absolutely free and is absolutely worth the visit, as it is quite fascinating from the inside.
Furthermore, a visit to the museum of Clérigos Tower will give you more insight on the story behind the building of the tower. Eventually, if you go to the tower itself, you will get the chance to see some of the most beautiful vistas of the whole city and the river coast.
At the end of the day trip, you can visit the cathedral of Porto. This beautiful Baroque and Gothic religious building definitely turns heads and is another highlight of the city.
Built-in the 12th century it holds lots of secret treasures. Some of them can be found in its cloisters and through the beautiful corridors of the church.
Day 7 // Porto
The second day in Porto is entirely dedicated to the old and its river coast. The famous Ribeira neighbourhood has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage in 1996 for its well-preserved architecture and rich culture.
This riverside neighbourhood is definitely a place to visit while in Porto, as it shows the true colours of the city and its vibe. While walking through the streets of Ribeira you will occasionally listen to Fado – the soul-feeding musical genre of Portugal.
Additionally, in Ribeira you will get the chance to try some of the best Francezinhas, which are a tradition for the north part of Portugal.
Then, you can pass through the Dom Luís I Bridge, which is the symbol of Porto. This massive double-decked bridge was built in the 19th century and is connecting Ribeira with Gaia, the other must see neighborhood of Portugal.
Gaia is actually known as the birthplace of Port wine. Thus, there you will find the most famous wine cellars of Sandeman, where you will learn the way of producing this incredible wine.
Eventually, you can enjoy the sunset at Jardim do Morro in Gaia or head to one of Porto’s beaches – Praia do Carneiro or Gondarem beach.
However, you can also get a pretty good view at Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, which is the city’s beautiful park. A great spot on your Portugal road trip.
Day 8 // Braga
Braga is the religious center of Portugal and as such it has been attracting many visitors each year for the past centuries. Going to Braga from Porto is quite easy and lots of people tend to take on this trip, as it is also a short one for their Portugal road trip.
The city of Braga is famous for its religious complexes located on its hills around the city. The most famous among them is Bom Jesus do Monte, which was built in the 14th century and was a notable pilgrim site.
Nowadays, many visitors are fascinated by its 577 stairs that lead you to the top of the religious complex, where is its basilica. While one walks up the stairs can observe its beautiful ornaments and statues.
What is also fascinating of these stairs is that they are built in a zig-zag way, which makes them to be quite fascinating to visitors. As the story goes, pilgrims used to climb these stairs on their knees showing their devotion and faith to God.
After visiting Bom Jesus do Monte you can head to Sameiro Sanctuary, which is 20 minutes away from it. It is another religious landmark, which is dedicated to the worship of Virgin Mary of Portugal.
Although it is not as flamboyant as Bom Jesus do Monte, Sameiro Sanctuary is known to have one of the most beautiful churches in the region. Along with that, it offers an incredible view of the city of Braga, which is jaw-dropping!
Within the city of Braga, one should visit its cathedral, which is the oldest religious building in Portugal. It is also the founding building of the city.
Inside of the cathedral you will be fascinated by its beautiful ornaments, colours arches and the incredible artwork on its ceiling!
Day 9 // Peneda – Gerês National Park
Day nine of your Portugal road trip is at Peneda – Gerês National Park, Portugal’s only national park and known for its beautiful nature. The park is known for having some of the best hiking trails in mainland Portugal. Thus, if you are a nature lover and you don’t mind hiking a bit, head straight to Gerês and explore.
One of the most well-known trails of the park is the Trilho dos Currais. This trail leads to the top of the hill and offers an incredible view over the valley of Gerês. The hiking trail starts at Vidoeiro camping and climbs up the road, which is surrounded by gigantic pine trees.
Following the trail and the signs, one would reach the Miradouro da Pedra Bela from where can enjoy a breathtaking view of Gerês.
From this point, one can continue to Cascata do Arado, which is a path leading to a very beautiful waterfall.
Eventually, after hiking all day in Gerês one can dip in the Termas do Gerês, which are the thermal pools of the city. This is probably the perfect way to finish a day full of adventures!
Day 10 // Viana do Castelo
The last day of the road trip in Portugal will take you to one of Portugal’s most prosperous cities of the past.
Nowadays, Viana do Castelo is known for its beautiful beaches, coasts and charming old city. However, in the past, Viana do Castelo was one of the most important cities and a port, which welcomed the voyagers from their adventures.
These days, Viana do Castelo is still magnificent and does not lack attention from many visitors each year. That is no surprise, as many of them visit the city to climb up to the famous church of Santa Luzia. The church of Santa Luzia is quite new and is only 80 years old.
It is built in the typical Gothic Portuguese architectural style and is not as flamboyant as most of the churches in Portugal.
However, visiting it is still worth it, as it is quite magnificent from the outside. On top of that, the view from the top is truly mesmerizing.
After visiting Santa Luzia church, you can head to the old city of Viana do Castelo, which is quite small. It consists of a square – Praça da República, and a couple of old buildings. Among these buildings is the magnificent church of Igreja da Misericordia.
The walls of this church are entirely covered in typical blue painted tiles and have golden ornaments, which only add to its magnificence.
Eventually, you can finish off your 10 days road trip in Portugal with another stop by the beach at Praia de Luzia Mar. With its dunes and lush vegetation this beach definitely promises you to have a good time, without getting too cold from the ocean breeze.
The perfect end to your 10 days in Portugal!!!
Want to visit the Algarve too? You could start your trip 4 days earlier and spend two weeks in Portugal and do the drive from Lisbon to Algarve….
JUST AN IDEA!!!
Enjoy your Portugal road trip! Let me know your route on Instagram.
Author Bio: Alex is a blogger at EarthOSea who has extensively travelled around Europe for the past 3 years. She has lived in Portugal in 2019 where she got more familiar with the Portuguese culture, traditions and language.
Alex’s speciality is mainly in travelling in a sustainable and less harmful to the environment way. She is focusing more on ways to travel on a budget or money-for-value. Along with that, she loves hiking and discovering uncharted islands, but she also loves staying at the beach with a book in hand.
My Travel Tips and Recommendations
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