Great 10 Day Itinerary of  Trip to Portugal

Great 10 Day Itinerary of Trip to Portugal Claimed

10 Days | March 2022 | Couple | Exploration

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Trip Overview

A wonderful 10 day trip that took us from the cities of Lisbon and Porto to the southern area of The Algarve and coastal and inland stops en route as well.

Full Itinerary

Portugal offers travelers so much – beaches, history, city exploration, wine country, great food and more. We had just 10 days (in March) to explore it all so had to pick and choose what to focus on. We walked a TON, had wonderful meals, saw a lot of variety of the country, and had a terrific time.


Here is the summary of the itinerary, and then I’ll give more day-to-day details.


Day 0: Fly to Portugal

Day 1: Arrive Lisbon

Day 2: Lisbon

Day 3: Lisbon

Day 4: Drive to Sintra

Day 5: Drive to Lagos in the Algarve, via Cascais and Comporto

Day 6: Lagos

Day 7: Drive to Coimbra, via Evora and Nazare

Day 8: Coimbra, then drive via Duoro Valley to Porto

Day 9: Porto

Day 10: Porto

Day 11: Fly home



Day by Day Details:


Day 1: Hotel: Alma Lusa Baixa. This beautiful boutique hotel is very centrally located in the Baixa area of town where we could walk to most everywhere. I had booked during Covid so got a super discounted rate (about ⅓ of regular price….)


Day 2: Explore Lisbon

Hotel: Alma Lusa Baixa

Activites:

-We walked and walked and walked. It’s a hilly town so bring your comfortable walking shoes and just go! After breakfast at the hotel (another place called Dear Breakfast that was nearby was highly recommended but our breakfast was included) we started off by wandering down to the water at the Praca do Comercio – main square – along the waterfront area and then around the downtown shopping area.

-We went up to the famous elevator (Elevador de Santa Justa) that separates two of the districts. We paid to go up the elevator but it’s a tourist trap/rip off for the price as you can just walk up and don’t need to pay the 10 euro each for a 10 second ride! Once up top in the Baixa-Chiado district we wandered, including a stop at the Convento do Carmo (we didn’t go to the Museu Arqueológico due to time but should have rushed to make it work) and the lookout at Rossio.

-Walked down the hill to get to our Discover Lisbon tuk tuk tour from 12-2 via airbnb which I highly recommend doing the first day. The tour us through the Alfama district and was terrific, stopping at all the highlighted spots/museums/lookouts. It does not go through the lower Alfama which needs to be done on foot (we did that later in the day).

-Lunch: We grabbed a good chicken lunch at Bonjardim after the tour

-Wandered back through the lower Alfama area where cars can’t fit on the narrow lanes. Fun place to get lost and have cherry brandy offered by ‘grannies’ sitting in doorways for 1 euro a pop. Such a charming area. You know you are in the right spot if cars don’t fit in the winding lanes.

-Dinnner at Maria Catita which had great service and fresh fish and is super highly rated – but we had dishes that unfortunately were not our favorites (cod and octopus which are so popular in Portugal but just aren’t our personal favorites even though they cooked them beautifully!).

-After dinner wandered to the TimeOut Market and down ‘Pink Street’ (area with umbrellas overhead where lots of bars are located). TimeOut (in a converted warehouse) has a bunch of curated restaurants and drink options and we grabbed a beer and dessert . Sat at the large communal tables and made a few new friends with other diners. Fun way to end the evening (you could also go here for dinner).


Day 3: Explore Lisbon

John went for a long morning run then breakfast at the hotel.

-Took the tram (not the famous Tram 28 but another one) out to the Belem area for the morning.

– We started at the famous Pasteis de Belem for pasties de nada, then went to the archeology museum (interesting), the monestary (beautiful!) and the maritime museum (super interesting), all of which are next to one another. We did the 15 minute walk to the Belem tower, which was interesting but a bit overrated we felt (just look from the outside and move on we feel….). Then we did a long walk to the MAAT museum (which was closed though…) and then on to the LX Factory (long way – it’s under the bridge) which is a great place to visit for lunch and shopping.

-Had a great lunch at A Praca at the LX Factory, shopped (lots of options for Portuguese items plus other things as well), and checked out the upstairs rooftop patio at the LX Hostel (would be good at sunset for a drink). John had a great coffee nearby at Torte.

-Took a bus back to the hotel area and I wandered up to the Baxia and Bairro Alto area which has great shopping etc, like A Vida Portuguesa for locally made items.

– Dinner that night was one of our favorites of the trip at small great restaurant in Bario Alto called Mercearia do Seculo – small, family-run, delicious – book ahead. So good.


Day 4: to Sintra. Night in Sintra.

After John went on a run and we had breakfast, checked out and went to pick up the rental car from Europcar at the airport.

-We then drove to Sintra and checked in to Chalet Saudade, a bed and breakfast within walking distance of the old town. Most people do a day trip here from Lisbon but we decided to spend the night as we had a car at this point and enjoy the city after the day tourists left, which we are glad we did.

-We flagged down a tuk tuk to take us to the amazing Pena Palace (you can buy a ticket ahead of time for a specific time to skip the line or scan a QR code there to buy it instead of standing in line). It’s a beautiful and amazing palace (and very ‘instagrammable’) to walk through and has big gardens/grounds around it as well.

-We then walked 10 minutes down to Castelo dos Mouros (castle of the moors) where you wander the ruins of the castle – totally different from the Pena Palace.

-Our tuk tuk picked us back up (she’s given us her number) and took us back down the hill to town where we then walked 10 minutes to the world heritage site Quinta da Regaleira. This has a mixture of gardens, a chapel, a well that you climb down and end up in tunnels, and a small palace. Definitely worth going to as was very different from the other spots we visited. We then walked back through town to our hotel.

– Dinner: For dinner we walked to the less touristy part of town to eat at Sabores Domercade – it’s a really great restaurant that has amazing food, wine, and service (decor was just ok, but the food and service was really amazing!). One of the top meals of the trip. Be sure to book ahead as they were turning people away who didn’t have reservations.


Day 5: Sintra to Lagos, with stops in Cascais and Comporto

-Breakfast at Cafe Saudade, a popular spot for pastries and coffee that’s owned by our B&B (and breakfast there was included in our stay).

-Then walked the couple blocks to the Sintra National Palace when it opened (we were pretty much the only ones there as day tourists from Lisbon had not yet arrived). Really impressed by this palace – very worth the visit.

-Checked out and drove to the beach town of Cascais where we wandered the old part of town and had a drink at the House of Wonders (boho spot, great smoothie and coffee on their rooftop beck).

-Drove to Comportro in a pouring rainstorm. This small town, supposedly the ‘Hamptons of Portugal’ was totally shut down due to the rain but we found an open restaurant and had lunch.

-Then continued down the coast in the rain to the Algarve. We didn’t have time to stop at Odecexie, which had been recommended to us.

-Arrived in Lagos in time to check-in at Residence Lagos (B&B), located in the old town within the city walls. We decided to stay here instead of nearer the beach given the time of year and the short time we had here and were really glad we did. We imagine in the summer months when overrun with tourists it would be a totally different place vs the charming old word town it felt like to us.

-Dinner at Don Sebastiao which was delicious and reasonable and wandered by the waterfront and through the old town.


Day 6: Lagos

-John hiked/ran along the spectacular cliffs of Ponta da Piedade.

-Breakfast at the hotel (they leave your basket of food and you can choose where to eat it – outside in the courtyard etc). An extra coffee with a bit of email time at the Black and White cafe, which also serves great breakfast food.

-Drove back out to the cliff area of Ponta da Piedade for a hike which is spectacular and offers the views for which the Algarve is known – parking a the lighthouse parking area.

-On from there we drove to the fishing town of Burgau and had lunch at Cafe do Burgau as other spots were closed.

-As our afternoon Benagil cave boat tour (booked ahead of time) was canceled to due to wet weather/big waves in the late afternoon we went shopping and wandering in the old town – just wander up and down the cobblestone streets and there’s lots to explore.

-Dinner at Gorilla – an amazing Asian fusion spot that we’d highly recommend- great dinner and cocktails!


Day 7: Evora, Nazare and Coimbra

John ran at the beach and around the marina. Then breakfast and checked out (after one more coffee from Black and White!).

-Drove a few hours to have a quick visit of the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage medieval town of Evora (visited the skull chapel, the roman ruins, museum and had poor lunch at which point the rain started)

-Drove on in the rain a few more hours to Nazare to see the famous ‘100 foot wave’ surf spot. Google maps got us lost but we found it finally. The lighthouse’s museum was closed but we checked out the waves/beach/statue and were happy to see it, even if raining, late and rushed!

-Then we drove in more pouring rain to the university town of Coimbra and checked in at Republica House B&B, with such kind owners!

-Dinner at Fangas Maior after wandering to it via the meandering cobblestone streets of the wonderful old town, which had terrific tapas dishes and wine.


Day 8: Evora, Douro Valley, Porto

-Great breakfast at our B&B followed by a speedy visit of top sights of Evora, which is home to the second oldest university in Europe.

-We visited the beautiful library for which they are famous (bats live in the ceiling which help protect the books from insects), the chapel, and the palace (all located within the palace area). Note that you need to get a ticket for the library and that’s located a few blocks away from the palace itself where the library is located.

-We then drove to Pinhao in the Douro Valley (2 hrs but got lost via google maps at the start and ended up in a farmer’s home…) for a one hour 2pm boat ride in the Duoro Valley that we’d booked ahead of time via Living Tours). Beautiful valley where all the vineyards are located, with the river going down the middle (the boat ride is very slow/serene drifting up and then down the river on a traditional boat).

-Drove on to Regua (30mins) for lunch (should have stayed in Pinhao for lunch) Didn’t have time to visit a winery unfortunately.

-Drove on to Porto and dropped the car off at the train station (where the rental car office was) and checked into NH Collection Batalha hotel downtown (via AmEx deal).

-Dinner at Tapabento near hotel which was excellent Asian fusion and Portuguese food (book ahead) and we’d highly recommend it – it was hopping and SO delicious.


Day 9: Explore Porto

-In order to get our bearings on this beautiful town we had booked a 10am ebike tour via airbnb experiences. We met on the Gaia side of the river and our guide was excellent. We rode all over the city to various viewpoints, the train station known for it’s amazing tiles, the cathedral (went back the next day on our own to go inside), various viewpoints, the park, across two bridges etc. The ebikes make it so easy to get up the hills and cover a lot of territory so you really get a sense of the city.

-Then we were on to coffee and a bite to eat at 7G Roasters and wandered the Gaia area backstreets.

-Joined a port tour at Sandeman, as all the port houses are on the Gaia waterfront area. -Walked back over bridge and through town – such a fun town to wander through on foot.

-One our favorite dinners of the trip (book ahead!) at Porto 4 – a tiny 4 table restaurant that seats 8 people next to the teeny kitchen area. We were all great friends by the end of the meal. Book ahead!


Day 10: Last day in Porto/Portugal

-John ran to the Atlantic and back (where there are fishing villages that are great for dinner but we didn’t get to for dinner this trip).

-Then we had a quiet last day doing further walking/exploration of Porto.

-Coffee at Esquire coffee near our hotel.

-Visited the famous Livraria Lello bookstore (the ‘harry potter bookstore’) – you can buy tix online to avoid long line for anytime that day. Although it’s odd to have to buy a ticket to get into a store (!), it is incredibly beautiful.

-We went inside the cathedral (great!), back to train station for another visit of the tiles (a block from the cathedral), and wandered the Rua das Flores for shopping (explore all the little streets around it as well).

-Lunch at Cafe Santiago for their famous heart attack sandwich called the francesinha that has everything but the kitchen sink in it (cheese, sausage, egg, variety of meats, covered in a beer sauce).

-Afternoon final shopping and wandering.

-AMAZING dinner at the 5 table Viva Creative Kitchen – best meal of the trip with the chef doing his magic right in front of us in his tiny kitchen. Don’t miss it!!!!


Day 11: Fly home


Photos

Author

Time of year

Jan-Mar

Type of Trip

Food/Culture/Arts, Urban exploration

Duration

2 weeks

Who Went

Couple

Accommodation Type

Hotel

Budget

$200-$400

Statistics

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