Portugal Roadtrip

Portugal Road Trip: A Perfect 10-day Itinerary from Lisbon to Porto

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Sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and Spain sits the enchanting country of Portugal. As one of the cheaper countries in Western Europe, Portugal is quickly climbing the ropes to become one of the most remarkable tourist destinations for both city dwellers and outdoor enthusiasts. And the best way to experience the best of both those worlds is by embarking on a 10-day road trip from Lisbon to Porto!

This itinerary includes some of the must-see sights in the big cities as well as off-the-beaten-path destinations along the coast and in the mountains. So grab your camera and pick out your road trip playlist because this will be an adventure for the books!

What to See From Lisbon to Porto

This Portugal Itinerary for 10 days packs in a lot of sights and attractions for you to explore in such a short amount of time. This route covers over 300km (195 miles) and takes you through a diverse array of landscapes, including historic cities, sun-soaked beaches, mountainous forests, and cozy hilltop villages. 

And although you’ll spend a few days in the bustling cities of Lisbon and Porto, this Portugal road trip also makes a few stops in a few lesser-known regions that are largely untouched by mass tourism. 

You’ll spend some time on the coast relaxing on the beach or hanging ten on some of Europe’s most gnarly ocean waves. You’ll venture up rugged cliffs and mountains for unbelievable biking and hiking opportunities. And you’ll even see century-old castles and palaces that were once home to Portuguese royalty.

But before you jump in the car to hit the road, don’t forget to check out the essentials to pack for your Portugal road trip!

10-day Itinerary for a Portugal road trip from Lisbon to Porto

Renting a Car for Your Portugal Road Trip

One essential part of your Portugal road trip is booking a rental car for your entire 10-day itinerary. Thankfully, Auto Europe makes it easy for you to pick up a car in Lisbon and drop it off when you leave from Porto. 

You can arrange to pick up your car directly at the Lisbon Airport in the arrivals hall in Terminal 1. It’s also possible to book at one of their multiple locations around the city if you prefer not to deal with parking for the first part of your trip.

Car Rentals in Italy

Can’t drive yourself? No problem!

Even if you can’t drive yourself there are still plenty of opportunities for you to go on a Portugal road trip! One of your best options is to book a tour with G-adventures. This is a tour operator that organizes small group adventure travels.

To discover Portugal, they offer a 7-day trip or an 8-day trip that both cover Lisbon and Porto and some great places in between. All their tours include accommodation and transport when in Portugal.

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon

Welcome to Lisbon! Here you’ll find winding cobblestone streets, awe-inspiring architecture, and some of the best seafood you’ll ever eat. As Portugal’s capital and largest city, there’s plenty of things for you to see and do during your visit, so drop off your luggage and start exploring everything that Lisbon has to offer.

The best way to get a lay of the land is to take the iconic yellow Tram 28 around the city. It connects Martim Moniz and Campo Ourique while passing through the vibrant neighborhoods of Alfama, Baixa, and Estrela. Or you can simply walk around on foot, checking out the different sights and streets along the way!

Depending on your jet lag, we recommend taking it easy for the rest of the day and finding a cute bar in the Barrio Alto or a restaurant in Alfama. Don’t forget to stop by the Arco da Rua Augusta, a massive plaza near the waterfront for picturesque views of the Tagus River. 

Where to Stay:

What to Do:

  • Take the 28 tram or join a walking tour
  • Walk along the Lisbon riverfront
  • Explore the historic neighborhood of Alfama
  • Grab a drink in the hip Barrio Alto neighborhood
  • Try bacalhau (cod) or sardines

Day 2: Full Day in Lisbon

Lisbon is a big city, but it’s easy to check off a few big attractions if you have a full day. But before you see any sights or visit any museums, do yourself a favor and visit a local bakery for a pastel de nata. This creamy egg custard originated right here in Lisbon, and we know it’s going to be one of the best things you’ve ever tasted!

From there, make your way to one of the historic castles or museums for some sightseeing. You’ll have plenty to choose from, but we like the Castelo de São Jorge, which sits atop a hill overlooking the river and city. We also recommend the Museu Nacional do Azulejo to see beautifully hand-painted azulejo (tiles) that are famous throughout the city.

In the evening, find a cozy Fado house where you can listen to traditional Portuguese music while sipping on some wines from the Douro Valley. This melancholic genre of music originated in the Alfama neighborhood, and listening to it live is a great way to spend your last evening in Lisbon.

What to Do:

  • Try a delicious pastel de nata
  • Visit a historic landmark (Castelo de São Jorge, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Torre de Belém)
  • Wander through a museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo)
  • Attend a live Fado show

Day 3: Sintra

  • Distance: 28 km (17 miles)
  • Driving time: 30 minutes

Marked by extravagant villas and colorful palaces, the breathtaking town of Sintra is a must-see after departing from Lisbon for your Portugal road trip. This UNESCO World Heritage Site encompasses a few iconic sights as well as a charming historic city center.

Start your day at the Palácio da Pena, a 19th-century castle located on the highest mountain above the town. Tour the staterooms and gardens before making your way to Castelo dos Mouros. After grabbing lunch in town, head to Quinta da Regaleira and spend your afternoon in this stunning palace and chapel.

Although it’s possible to visit Sintra as a day trip from Lisbon (there’s a direct train that leaves every 30 minutes), we recommend staying the night to really get a feel for this charming town. From Lisbon, it’s just a 28km (17m) scenic drive. Not to mention, you’ll get to see it in all its glory after the buses of tourists have left for the day.

Where to Stay:

What to Do:

  • Marvel at the Palácio da Pena
  • Walk the wall of Castelo dos Mouros
  • Explore the royal rooms of Quinta da Regaleira
  • Enjoy lunch or dinner in the charming old town center

Day 4: Peniche

  • Distance: 113km (70 miles)
  • Driving time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

On the fourth day of this 10-day Portugal road trip itinerary, you’ll go for a 113km (70m) drive from Sintra up the Atlantic Coast. It drops you off at the laid-back fishing town of Peniche. Built along a rocky peninsula surrounded by world-class beaches, you could easily spend the entire day on the water. 

Peniche is considered one of the best surfing destinations in Europe (the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal and the World Surf League Men’s Championship Tour take place here), however, it’s also a great place for bodyboarding, kite surfing, and fishing. Praia dos Supertubos is the best for water sports, as its powerful waves and massive swells rival those of any world-class surf spot.

If you’d rather explore Peniche’s natural wonders, then you can take a short boat trip to Berlengas Archipelago. There is plenty to explore on these uninhabited islands – on sea and on land. Snorkel through caves and grottos, trek up the hills to see wildlife, or explore the ruins of the 16th century Fort of São João Baptista das Berlengas.

Where to Stay:

What to Do:

Day 5: Óbidos and Lousã Mountains

  • Distance: 190 km (118 miles)
  • Driving time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Today, you’ll be heading inland towards one of the most underrated regions of Portugal – the Lousã Mountains. But on the way, we recommend making a quick stop at the colorful hilltop village of Óbidos for breakfast and an early morning walk.

Just 27km (16m) from Peniche, this charming medieval town is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and whitewashed houses with blue and yellow painted borders. Every corner looks like it belongs on a postcard, and you could easily get lost wandering around the alleys and plazas. After spending a few hours here, hop back in the car to continue your 172km (107m) road trip to the mountains.

The Lousã Mountains are a rugged wonderland of rocky cliffs, natural swimming holes, and wooded forests. Therefore this is a place you can’t skip in your Portugal itinerary. Tomorrow will be spent exploring the great outdoors. So for today, you can simply explore the numerous natural landmarks and adorable schist villages by car.

The schist villages are traditional hilltop communities made from shale stone. There are 27 different towns scattered around the mountains, although many of them are abandoned. However, you will find accommodation and taverns in places like Talansal, Candal, or Cerdeira.

Where to Stay:

What to Do:

  • Walkthrough the historic center of Óbidos
  • Explore the traditional schist villages

Day 6: Full Day in Lousã Mountains

Lace-up your hiking boots because today there’s no driving involved! Today will be spent exploring the pristine natural surroundings of the Lousã Mountains. There are several self-guided hiking trails in this area, although we can recommend the Lousã Schist Villages tour for a mix of history, culture, and stunning landscapes. 

Mountain biking is another popular activity here, and there are many wooded trails and bike parks for cross country, downhill, and enduro cyclists. 

After a day exploring the mountains, head to one of the many natural swimming pools in the area to cool off, like Praia Fluvial da Louçainha, Praia Fluvial da Senhora de Piedade, or Piscina Fluvial Ribeira do Amioso.

You can either choose to stay the night in the area and hit the road early morning, or already drive to Serra da Estrela after your day in the Mountains of Lousã. 

What to Do:

  • Hiking the four village trail
  • Cycling down the mountains
  • Swimming in a natural pool

Day 7: Serra da Estrela

  • Distance: 120km (112 miles)
  • Driving time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

From the Lousã Mountains you’ll head to another stunning natural landmark during this Portugal road trip – Serra de Estrela. Standing over 1,990 meters (6,529 miles) high, it’s the highest mountain range in the country and provides the perfect backdrop for a day of outdoor adventure. 

Hikers are spoiled for choice when it comes to trails, although the 6-mile trek to see the Covão dos Conchos is a must-do. Here, you’ll find a perfectly round spillway with cascading waterfalls sitting in the middle of a lake, which looks like a portal to a different planet!

If you’re visiting in winter, then you’ll also have plenty of snowy sports to keep you entertained. It’s one of the only spots in Portugal that sees snow, which means you can go skiing, snowboarding, or sledding at the resort near the peak. 

Where to Stay:

What to Do:

  • Take a jeep tour in the mountains
  • Hike to the Covão dos Conchos
  • Spend the day skiing or snowboarding
  • Drive to the Sera da Estrela Torre (the highest point in the park)

Day 8: Aveiro

  • Distance: 150km (93 miles)
  • Driving time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Day 8 of this Portugal itinerary you’re saying goodbye to the mountains and it’s time to make the 150km (93m) drive back to the coast to visit the “Venice of Portugal.” Aveiro was once a prosperous seaweed and salt mining town, although its inner-city canals and art-nouveau architecture have made it increasingly more popular with tourists.

There are plenty of fascinating things to see while you walk around the vibrant town center. History buffs will enjoy visiting the stunning Mosteiro de Jesus or Church of São João Evangelista while architecture lovers can stroll along the Rossio, admiring the colorful buildings. Of course, it’s also worth jumping aboard one of the traditional Molicero fishing boats to explore the sights by water.

If you have more time on your hands, you can drive outside the city to Costa Nova, a picturesque beach town lined with red, blue, yellow, and green candy-striped houses. It’s an ideal destination for sun, sand, and surf just 13km (8m) from the center of Aveiro.

Where to Stay:

What to Do:

Day 9: Full Day in Porto

  • Distance: 75 km (46 miles)
  • Driving time: 1 hour

No Portugal road trip would be complete without a visit to the seafaring city of Porto. Nestled on the mighty Douro River banks, Porto has gained popularity with wine connoisseurs as the go-to destination for port wine. And while port production is indeed one of its biggest tourists draws, Porto also has plenty to offer in terms of history, culture, and cuisine.

Start by walking through the Ribeira, Porto’s most photogenic neighborhood. Flanked by tiled facade buildings and terraced houses, this steep maze of zig-zagging streets is packed with boutique shops, cafes, and wine bars on every corner. From here, you’ll probably end up at the waterfront, where you’ll see the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge and the massive port cellars across the river in Vila Nova da Gaia.

There are literally dozens of cellars and caves open to the public, although we recommend just choosing two or three of your favorites for a tour and tasting. For dinner, head back to the waterfront, which buzzes throughout the night with live music, buskers, and happy diners soaking in the riverside views. 

To celebrate your last night in town, head to the artsy Cedofeita neighborhood for a late-night drink at one of the many cocktail bars dotted along the narrow streets.

Where to Stay:

What to Do:

Day 10: Leave from Porto

Unfortunately, this is the end of your 10-day Portugal road trip itinerary. It’s time to pack your bags and say goodbye to this amazing country. This is your last chance to pick up any souvenirs or bottles of port to take back home with you. And don’t forget to fill up on Bolinhos de Bacalhau (fried cod cakes) or a Francesinha (sandwich with ham, sausage, steak, and melted cheese) before you head to the airport.

If you still have time to kill, you can always get one last look at Portugal’s stunning scenery with a boat ride down the Douro River. It’s the perfect way to end a fabulous vacation in one of Europe’s most spectacular countries.

What to Do:

  • Pick up souvenirs at Mercado Bom Successo or Mercado do Bolhão
  • Take a boat tour on the river

Have a little bit more time to spend in Portugal?

While a 10-day Lisbon to Porto road trip is a great way to see the major sites in Portugal, more time will allow you to scratch below the surface to fully experience its diverse landscapes and regions. 

The south of Portugal in the Algarve is another fantastic area that’s worth visiting. If you have more time, we recommend flying into Faro (there’s a major international airport) and starting your road trip from there. 

You can spend 2 or 3 days visiting the beachy towns of Albufera and Lagos before leaving the southern coast. Feel free to also plan for another 3 or 4 days to see the Alentejo wine region and several medieval cities (Evora and Elvas) in the central part of the country. 


This was our 10-day Portugal road trip itinerary from Lisbon to Porto. If you have any questions or tips for must-see places to visit, please leave a comment below! Don’t forget to check out our Portugal Travel Guide for more Portugal travel inspiration.

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