An EPIC 10 Days in Portugal Itinerary: Porto, Lisbon, Algarve

Planning a trip to Portugal but not sure where to start? With stunning architecture, rich culture, and beautiful beaches, there is so much to see and do! Personally, I can’t wait to visit again. So, in this 10 days in Portugal itinerary, I will be covering some of the top cities, towns, and attractions you won’t want to miss during your vacation!

This is a super detailed itinerary, with all suggested stops along with additional options. We were considering moving here, so I did a lot of research before our visit.

You will also find Portugal travel tips that I learned during our visit, where to stay, and more, so this can be your one-stop shop for planning the ultimate Portugal itinerary!

10 days in Portugal itinerary
10 days in Portugal itinerary

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How to Get Around Portugal

With 10 days, you have several ways of getting around the country, but they are not all created equally. For this Portugal itinerary, I think a combination of all the below transport options will make for an optimized trip.

Throughout the itinerary, I will explain in more detail how to reach each place, but here is a quick overview for now.

Portugal by Car

Having a car for part of your Portugal trip gives you the flexibility and ease of seeing more towns. This includes beachside towns and in the Algarve. Alex and I rented a car, and I think it is worth it.

The downside is having a car in Portugal can be expensive if you need an automatic car, and some of the towns have narrow streets. We rented a car for our road trip to the Algarve from Porto and Algarve to Lisbon. You DO NOT need a car while in the cities of Lisbon or Porto. You can use Discover Cars to find the best car options.

Portugal by Train and Bus

Portugal has a pretty good train line, making it a good option for those who don’t feel comfortable driving. You will definitely be able to do this itinerary utilizing the train and buses. While in Lisbon, you will utilize the tram/train – and it is very easy.

The con with this option is that you cannot see some of the smaller towns mentioned below, and the travel time is sometimes longer. Also, while in the Algarve, getting around without a car can be more difficult. You will likely have to utilize rideshare and taxi options. Moreover, the railway does strike every so often.

Rideshare in Portugal

During certain portions of your trip, you may want to use a rideshare app. We used Uber without any issues. I’ve seen others recommend Bolt. The prices were very affordable when we did use them (5-10$ for short rides). Make sure to download the app before you leave.

Taking Tours in Portugal

Every so often, taking a tour can be nice while traveling through Portugal. I wouldn’t recommend doing a tour for your whole Portugal trip. That is what this itinerary is for! But, for some day trips, it can be nice.

Luis I Bridge in Porto
Luis I Bridge in Porto

10-Day Portugal Itinerary Overview

Before getting into the day-to-day of this Portugal itinerary, here is a quick overview of how it is set up.

Most direct flights come in and out of Lisbon. With Lisbon being located right in the middle, you will likely find yourself backtracking. This is why we flew into Porto (OPO) and out of Lisbon.

If you can fly into Porto and out of Lisbon, I really think it is worth it. There is also an option to fly out of Faro International Airport, but I find those prices astronomical.

It is perfectly fine if you can only fly roundtrip from Lisbon (LIS). However, you will just need to account for a little more time for traveling, and you can definitely still use this itinerary. When you arrive in Lisbon, I would recommend heading straight to Porto and ending in Lisbon since you will fly out of Lisbon, and there will be less packing and unpacking.

Here is a quick breakdown of our itinerary to give you an idea. Then, we will get into all the nitty-gritty about the best things to do!

  • Day 1 – 3: Porto with a day trip to the Douro Valley
  • Day 4: Road trip down to Lagos with stops in Averio, Nazaré, and Obidos
  • Day 5: Explore Lagos & Beaches
  • Day 6: Benagil Cave & Algarve Hopping
  • Day 7: Road trip to Lisbon with a stop in Évora
  • Day 8 – 10: Lisbon, Sintra, and Cascais

If you choose not to rent a car, you just won’t be able to do the towns along the way as stops, but you will have no issues reaching Lisbon, Porto, and Lagos!

Evora Alleys in Portugal
Evora Alleys in Portugal

Day 1: Exploring Porto

Porto is one of the most charming areas in Portugal, so definitely don’t skip it! On your first day in Portugal, you will be exploring all over Porto, so make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes! There are lots of cobblestone hills. On day 1, here are some of the places you will visit!

  • Chapel of Souls
  • Church of Saint Ildefonso
  • São Bento Railway Station
  • Porto Cathedral
  • Ribeira do Porto
  • Cais da Ribeira de Gaia

And since it is your first day in Porto, I highly recommend doing a walking tour. Not only will you get a good lay of the land, but you will also learn a ton of Porto and Portugal’s history.

We did the Free Tour Essential Porto, and our guide was Raquel. She was born and raised in Porto and is passionate about her city! Free walking tour guides work on tips, and have a policy of “pay as you wish,” so make sure to tip your guide!

Porto Fun Fact: Did you know Porto is known for its famous Port Wine? It is actually only considered real Port wine if it is grown in the Duoro Valley.

Porto Day 1 Walking
Screen Shot Google Maps of Porto

Chapel of Souls (Capela Das Almas)

If you love blue tiles (azulejo tiles), you will want to add Chapel of Souls to your Portugal itinerary. While the church is not large, it is covered in beautiful azulejo tiles, which you have certainly seen in photos.

Some call it Saint Catherine Chapel, but if you Google Chapel of Souls, it will come right up.

While in the area, you can also stop by Mercado do Bolhão for a wide variety of eats or the famous Manteigaria – Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata, for you guessed it, Pastel de nata. If you’re unfamiliar, they are a sweet Portuguese treat; an egg custard pastry.

Chapel of Souls in Porto

Church of Saint Ildefonso

Another great place to see Azulejo tiles is the Church of Saint Ildefonso. This 18th-century church is Baroque style and also has some lovely stained-glass windows inside. They are not always open, but even the outside is beautiful.

Church of Saint Ildefonso

São Bento Train Station

São Bento is more than just a train station in Porto! While not as large as say, Grand Central in New York, the train station is certainly a work of art. Covered in azulejo titles, the art adorning the walls is more than just pretty pictures. They tell a story in Porto’s history.

At one point or another, make sure to make a stop here. If you go on the free guided walking tour I suggested above, you will visit and learn more about this station.

Sao Bento Train Station in Porto

Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto)

One of the most beautiful Cathedrals to visit in Porto is none other than Sé do Porto. Located in the city’s center, the Cathedral is a National Monument and one of the oldest and most important buildings in the city.

Porto Travel Tip: From the Cathedral, you can see beautiful views overlooking the city.

Porto Cathedral

Ribeira do Porto (Praça da Ribeira)

Continue to make your way down the twists and turns of Porto’s cobblestone alleys until you make it to Ribeira do Porto. Located right on the Douro River (Rio Douro), this neighborhood is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is very lively by the water, with locals singing and doing all types of performances. You will also find tons of restaurants lining down the street. Get lost in the back alleys, have some ice cream by the River, and just soak in all that is Porto.

Regarding eating, I recommend going a little further from the river, as you will generally find better food.

Porto Fun Fact: Along the river, you can see wooden Rabelo boats that have been used for centuries to transport wine along the Douro River.

Ribeira do Porto
Ribeira do Porto from Vila Nova de Gaia

Vila Nova de Gaia

Make your way across the Luís I Bridge (lower level) to Vila Nova de Gaia. Even though it is just across the river from Porto, it is actually a totally different city! Stop by the scenic lookout, Cais da Ribeira de Gaia, walk down the river, and meander through the alleys.

Vila Nova de Gaia is also where Port wine is stored, so you will find tons of winery experiences here. Some of the most famous winery experiences are Taylor’s and Caves Cálem. If you want to visit either, it is recommended to buy a ticket beforehand. We visited Quevedo without a reservation and had a great experience just drinking wine in their cellar.

For a lively and trendy rooftop bar, head to Espaço Porto Cruz. They usually have a DJ playing. Or, you can take a boat ride down the Duoro River for the 6 Bridges tour.

You can end the night on this side of the river watching the sunset go down, as it is best for sunsets. One of the most popular places to do this is at Jardim do Morro. If you watch the sunset from here, make sure to cross back over the bridge from the top!

Portugal Travel Tip: You can openly drink alcohol in Portugal and will commonly see places to buy beer and wine to-go. Super Bock and Sagres, are both pretty cheap (2-3 euros in most places).

Porto wine cellar Quevedo

Day 2: Porto

Do you feel the burn in your legs yet? In my personal opinion, Porto is one of the hilliest cities in Portugal! Today we will be doing more walking, and a bit of climbing, so get ready!

  • Clerigos Church and Tower
  • Livraria Lello
  • Rua das Flores
  • Bolsa Palace
  • Monument Church Of St Francis (Igreja de São Francisco)
Porto Day 2 Walking
Porto Day 2 Walking Google Screenshot

Clerigos Church and Tower (Igreja e dos Clérigos)

If you haven’t had enough epic views in Porto, the Clerigos Tower is for you. When visiting, it is best to get a ticket ahead of time. I went with this skip-the-line ticket.

After climbing 240 stairs with many windows along the way, you will be rewarded with Panoramic views of Porto. The earlier you go, the better.

Clerigos Tower in Portugal

Livraria Lello

Dubbed one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, Livraria Lello makes the top of many people’s Portugal itineraries. Even more so that it is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling when writing Harry Potter.

And although she denies it, many resemblances say otherwise – especially since she spent time living in Porto, which by now, you will notice is a rather small city.

Because the bookstore is known for Harry Potter, it is probably the most crowded attraction in all of Porto. If you want to get inside, you must buy a timed-ticket ahead of time. Without a ticket, you likely won’t get in.

Is it worth visiting? It is hard to say. If you don’t mind being crowded and love bookstores, then yes. If you don’t, then probably not.

Nearby are also Igreja do Carmo and Fonte dos Leões. If you’re interested in nightlife, come back here to R. da Galeria de Paris, which is a famous street known for bars and partying.

Livraria Lello Staircase in Porto

Rua das Flores

Make sure to stroll down Rua das Flores, a notable shopping street in Porto. You will find tons of eateries, locals performing, and souvenir shops.

Entrance to Rua das Flores
Entrance to Rua das Flores

Bolsa Palace (The Stock Exchange Palace)

From the outside, Bolsa Palace looks like nothing more than any other building, but inside this historical landmark, you can explore beautifully decorated rooms with many antiques and art.

Tours must be done with a guide and last about 30 minutes.

Nearby is also the Church Of St Francis and the Porto Tram City Tour.

Igreja de Sao Francisco Church
Igreja de Sao Francisco Church

Day 3: Douro Valley Day Trip

The Douro Valley is absolutely stunning and easily a great place to see in Portugal – even if you’re not a wine drinker. The views of the Valley are sensational.

There are 3 ways to get to the Douro Valley. You can rent a car and drive there yourself (what we did), take the train, or do a guided tour.

Driving to the Douro Valley

What is amazing about being able to drive to the Douro Valley yourself, is that you get to make stops along the way. The big downside, however, is that it is at least a 1.5 hour journey one way, and if you are going to sip on wine, all that driving may not be the best. Additionally, you have to set up the Vineyard visit.

Two stops that we made were at Lamego to see Santuario de Nossa Senhora da Peneda and the famous Miradouro São Leonardo De Galafura viewpoint. Pinhão is one of the most popular places to visit the vineyards.

Santuario de Nossa Senhora da Peneda
Santuario de Nossa Senhora da Peneda

Taking the Train to the Douro Valley

This is the most budget-friendly way to experience the Douro Valley and is recommended by locals if you choose not to go on a guided tour – especially if you’d like to taste wine. Plus, the train ride is very scenic!

Take the Douro Line train to the Pinhao train station using the IR line. Tickets are less than 15 euros. Here is the train timetable, and the official Portugal train website can be found here.

The downside is that you will not be able to make additional stops. You will also have to secure your spot at most vineyards beforehand.

Organized Tour to the Douro Valley

If you don’t mind touring with other people, doing a group tour of the Douro Valley will be the most pleasant experience. This is because you won’t have to drive or figure out any logistics. Moreover, you will have a guide teaching you more about the region. Some even include a Douro River cruise.

The only con here is that this option is usually the most expensive.

If I were to do it all over again, I probably wouldn’t drive, but instead, go with a tour because it takes all the hard work out of planning, and you’re on vacation after all.

Read: In an effort to not make this post incredibly long, I’ve gone into extreme detail in my Porto guide that covers the 3 days. It will give step-by-step directions, suggestions, and more tips.

Douro Valley is a must when visiting Porto Portugal

Where to Stay in Porto

Porto is a relatively small city, so almost anywhere you stay will be centralized. Since Porto is a smaller city, it is important to book in advance!

casaporto.207 C Airbnb: A recommendation from a friend told us to stay here. The location, views, and place were lovely. I didn’t like that they requested you throw out the garbage to the dumpster (you have to leave the building and go down the street), and they don’t give real Nespresso capsules. Other than that, I’d still recommend it.

NH Collection Porto Batalha: A great location and luxurious with an indoor pool. (4 Star). This is where we originally planned to stay.

Torel 1884 Suites & Apartments: Beautifully decorated hotel in central Porto location. (5 Star)

Oca Flores Hotel Boutique: Cute boutique hotel in a fabulous location. They also have a wellness center. (4 Star)

PortoBay Flores: Luxury and views in the heart of Porto. You may never even want to leave this hotel from the looks of it and raving reviews. (5 Stars)

View of Porto from our Airbnb
View of Porto from our Airbnb

Day 4: Porto to Lagos Road Trip

On your 4th day in Portugal, you will be making a long but beautiful road trip through the country. I highly recommend starting early (by 8 AM). This means it will be best to rent your car the day before. They were extremely slow at the counter during our visit. It might be best to go when they first open.

You can rent a car using Discover Cars and find parking at the Parking Comércio do Porto – SABA. It was 22 euros for the night. The road trip, all in all, takes a little under 7 hours. It is mainly all highways and very easy to drive.

If you park in the garage, leave the ticket in the car. When you go to leave, you need to go to the check-out machine (in the back beyond the lockers) and pay. Then, you will be able to get out of the gate.

Some of the spots you will stop at during your road trip include:

  • Aveiro
  • Costa Nova do Prado (Optional)
  • Nazaré
  • Óbidos
  • Lagos

If you choose the train route, it will still be just under 7 hours with one transfer. Tickets are just over 50 euros. On the off chance Portugal is having a railway strike, you can also use Flixbus.

If 7 hours is too long for you, I will give you the option to break it up below! Let’s get into the day trip with all that out of the way!

Road Trip from Porto to Lagos


The first stop is just under an hour from Porto. Aveiro is often called the Venice of the North, however, if you have been to Venice, you will be extremely underwhelmed.

So, while it certainly is not Venice, this city definitely has charm. Along the small canal are moliceiros (cute local boats) that offer tours through the city. The aesthetic is bright and vibrant, with colorful architecture to meander around.

Drive time: ~45 minutes

Aveiro in Portugal

Costa Nova do Prado (Optional)

Just west of Aveiro is the beach area of Costa Nova do Prado. It has become an Instagram hotspot for its striped homes throughout the town. If it is a nice sunny day, you may even consider stopping at the beach. However, the surf tends to be rough, making it not as ideal for swimmers, but great for surfers.

Drive time: ~ 15 minutes from Aveiro

Costa Nova do Prado Colorful homes


Nazare has become quite famous for surfers. If you’re visiting during the summer, it might seem like your average beach town, but during the winter, the highest surfing waves in the world can be found here.

Surfers have ridden waves over 100 feet tall! There is even a documentary called 100 Foot Wave.

The seaside village also has fantastic cliff lookout points. One of my favorites is Mirador del Suberco. Although the area has become quite popular with tourists, its fisherman-village culture still thrives. You can expect to enjoy some very fresh fish here.

Fun Fact: The Nazaré Canyon is the largest underwater canyon in Europe, and it’s this phenomenon that contributes to these large waves.

Drive Time: ~ 1.5 hours from Costa Nova do Prado

Nazare Beach overview - a great stop with 10 days in Portugal


One of the cutest and most unique towns we had the opportunity to visit during our time in Portugal was Óbidos. The town was first developed by the Romans, and after Rome fell, the Moors took over, and built the castle walls surrounding the town today. Eventually, the town was then taken over by Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal.

With quaint cobblestone alleys that are painted in white and blue, it is picturesque at every turn – especially when the flowers are blooming. What makes this town even more unique is that you can walk the giant castle walls overlooking the town – for FREE!

While walking through the town, you can find tons of restaurants, so it is a good idea to grab a bite to eat. Moreover, consider trying the famous Ginjinha (Ginja), a local sour cherry liqueur that is served in an edible chocolate cup. You can usually find it between .50 cents to 1 euro.

Óbidos is located just about halfway to Lagos. From here, it is just over 3 hours to Lisbon. If you don’t feel comfortable driving an additional 3 hours in one day, you can consider spending the night in Obidos. Alex did the whole drive without any issues, but everyone is different.

Read: My detailed guide on Obidos!

Some options to consider staying in Óbidos that have parking are:

Óbidos Travel Tip: Park at the edge of town. The alleys are extremely narrow.

Drive Time: ~ 35 minutes from Nazaré

Obidos is a must with 10 days in Portugal


From Óbidos, it is a straight shoot to Lagos (a little over 3 hours). We arrived in Lagos around 7 PM, and if it is summer, it will still be light out. At this point, get settled in your hotel (hotel suggestions at the end), and then take a walk in Old Town Lagos to grab a bite to eat.

Lagos by boat in Portugal

Day 5: Lagos Beach Hopping & Old Town

Wether you arrived in Lagos late like us or early in the morning, today will be all about exploring what Lagos has to offer. Located in the Algarve, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the beaches you have to choose from. After relaxing at the beach, you will head into the Old Town to explore more of this beachfront city.

The Algarve is best explored by car, so if you have been using the train route, you may want to consider a car at this point. If that is not in the cards, you can use Uber, Bolt, or a taxi to get to and from the beaches.

Lagos Beaches

Start your day in Lagos with some much-needed R&R time at one of the incredible beaches in Lagos. Most beaches are located below the impressive cliffs, meaning you will have to climb up and down to the beach.

If stairs are not an issue for you, some of the best beaches to relax at today include Beach Estudantes, Praia do Pinhão, and my personal favorite, Praia do Camilo.

If you can’t do steep stairs, Praia de Porto Mós is a good option! The parking areas fill up quickly at the beaches, so getting there before 11 AM is best.

Algarve Travel Tip: Even during the heat of the summer, don’t be surprised it the ocean water is freezing cold.

Praia do Camilo beach in Lagos
Praia do Camilo beach in Lagos

Old Town Lagos

You would be remiss not to explore the Old Town of Lagos. This charming part of the city can be seen as touristy with tons of souvenir shops, but I believe it is more than that.

Usually, there will be local performances in the town square, colorful alleys to explore, churches, and Medieval Castle Walls.

After thoroughly exploring the town and getting a bite to eat, I suggest taking a boat tour that will bring you through caves and grottos along the Algarve.

Old Town Lagos
Boat Tour in Lagos

Day 6: Benagil Cave & Beach Hopping

When visiting the Algarve, seeing the Benagil Cave is a must-do. So today, we will explore the cave, and then I have some options for you!

Benagil Cave (Update!)

On September 10th, 2023 they were no longer allowing kayaks, paddleboards, etc, to go inside Bengagil Cave. Previous to this, these modes of transportation were the only way you were allowed to go inside the cave. However, I just got word, they are now letting people back on the beach of the cave again!

Even if you couldn’t land on the beach, I would still recommend kayaking or paddleboarding in this area because the seaside cliffs are beautiful, and there are other caves you can kayak inside that are very cool.

Benagil is located about 30 minutes from Lagos. Many locals would actually prefer there be fewer boat tours because of the pollution it causes, and rather tourists use kayaks/SUP boards instead.

We went with the Benagil: Benagil Caves Kayaking Experience, and it was really great. Our guide, Jack, went above and beyond! We kayaked through several caves and then by the famous Praia da Marinha (Marinha Beach). No matter what tour you choose, I highly recommend booking in advance – especially during the summer!

Benagil Cave Algarve

Marinha Beach (Option 1)

After enjoying your kayaking tour to the Benagil Cave, make your way over to what has been named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Marinha Beach.

Known for its calm turquoise waters and jaw-dropping cliffs, it is clear to see why this beach is a crowd favorite.

The only downside is that parking can be tough to find. The lot is rather small, and people are usually in no hurry to leave. In fact, we couldn’t get a spot when we visited, so I just got out of the car and walked around while my husband waited.

Marinha Beach in Portugal
Marinha Beach in Portugal | Portugal Itinerary

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail (Option 2)

One of the most popular hikes in the Algarve is probably The Seven Hanging Valleys hike. During the hike, you walk along the impressive coastline between Marinha Beach and Praia do Vale de Centeanes in Carvoeiro.

The hike is an out-and-back hike, so you will walk back the same way you came, and it is about 3.7 miles(5.7 km) one way, so about 7.4 miles (11.4 km) roundtrip.

Most people like to start at Marinha Beach. Again, parking will still be an issue.

It gets its name because you will cross seven hanging valleys that, in the past, were associated with a river mouth. I walked up a very small portion of the trailhead, and the views were indeed beautiful. The hike is estimated to take about 6 hours round trip and is considered moderate, although many hikers say it is easy.

If you do the hike, you can actually enjoy both options 1 and 2!

Park of the Valley Hike from Marinha

Algarve Town Hopping (Option 3)

An additional option to consider is town hopping around the Algarve. Because we couldn’t find parking, this is exactly what we did.

Nearby towns include:

  • Albufeira – A popular party town. Has nice beaches & tons of restaurants. It is known as a tourist town. (We visited)
  • Ferragudo – A more local feel when visiting. (We visited)
  • Faro – The capital of the Algarve region. (Didn’t make it here)
Ferragudo in Portugal
Ferragudo in Portugal

Back to Lagos (Option 4)

Last but not least, you can just head back to Lagos. While there, you can check out another beach, grab drinks and food in the Old Towne, and do anything else you may have missed the day before!

Staying in Lagos longer? Use this Lagos guide for the best things to do.

Beach Estudantes in Lagos
Beach Estudantes Beach

Where to Stay in Lagos

Since you have a car in Lagos, you will want to look for a hotel with a parking lot or paid parking nearby.

Tivoli Lagos: We stayed here, and I was not impressed – actually disappointed. While the location is great, the standard room looked like something a 2-star hotel would offer, and it is located at the very back of the hotel (~5-minute walk and lots of stairs). The breakfast and coffee were also pretty bad, in my opinion. If you stay here, I would not stay in a standard room.

Hotel Marina Rio: Overlooks the city marina and just about a 10-minute walk to the city center. The rooms look nice & have good reviews.

Vila Gale Lagos: Located by the seaside and is highly rated – especially for families.

Lagos Atlantic Hotel: Also located on the beach. Lovely grounds and updated rooms.

Additionally, I find it rare to find good food in the main squares, but we enjoyed good meals at Café Gil Eanes.

Day 7: Road Trip to Lisbon (Optional Stop in Évora)

After enjoying some relaxation along Portugal’s Algarve, it is time to return to city life, where you will be exploring tons of attractions. If you choose to drive, I am going to suggest making a stop in Evora, before ending in Lisbon.

Car: Lagos to Lisbon is just under 3 hours. Lagos to Evora to Lisbon is about 4 hours.

Your public transportation options are the train and the bus.

Train: There is no direct train to Lisbon from Lagos, so you will have to transfer at Tunes. A train ticket will be around €22-30, and you will take the train from Lagos to Lisboa – Santa Apolónia station. It is recommended to get these tickets in advance to secure your seat. You can do this on the official railroad website. The train ride is usually a little over 4 hours.

Bus: You can take a direct coach bus using Flixbus. Prices range depending on availability, but if you book your ticket in advance (highly recommend), you can expect to pay around €9 – 15.

Évora (Optional)

While I am leaving Evora optional, I truly believe it is worth the stop. The capital of Portugal’s south-central Alentejo region, this old Roman city has a lot of unique attractions to offer.

One of the coolest attractions is the Chapel of Bones, where, you guessed it, the chapel is decorated with old human bones. Another unique landmark is the Roman Temple of Évora, an old Roman ruin and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Cathedral of Évora was another favorite of mine.

We had one of our most affordable meals in Évora at A Muralha, and it was very tasty. Use this guide to spend the day in Evora before reaching Lisbon.

Évora Parking Tip: You can find free parking near the Chapel of Bones as long as the carnival is not happening. Address: Av. Dinis Miranda 25 7005, Évora, Portugal

Bones Chapel Evora
Bones Chapel Evora
Evora Roman Temple in Portugal
Roman Temple in Evora | Portugal Itinerary

Arrive in Lisbon

If you rented a car, this is the time to return it. From there, you can Uber to your accommodation. After settling in, it is time to get out and explore the busy streets of Lisbon, the Capital of Portugal.

Still have a lot of daylight left? Consider doing a walking tour or even tuk tuk tour (expensive but popular).

Since it has been a long day, it is fine to just wander around the city. If you will use a Lisboa Pass (like us), this is the perfect time to pick it up.

If the sun hasn’t set, I recommend heading to one of the closest Miradouros (viewpoint) to enjoy the sunset. A favorite (although very busy) is Miradouro de Santa Luzia.

Miradouro de Santa Luzia Viewpoint
Miradouro de Santa Luzia Viewpoint

Lisboa Card

If you are planning to visit a handful of Lisbon attractions and use public transportation, I believe the Lisboa Card is worth it.

To be honest, I am not sure having the card came out cheaper, but it did save a ton of hassle when buying public transportation tickets and trolleys since it is all included. This included our train ticket to Sintra as well.

They offer 24-hour, 48-hour, and 72-hour. We did the 48-hour card, and the simplicity of having the card is what I enjoyed the most. You can learn more about all the covered attractions and get your Lisboa Card here. I believe it was well worth it.

You have to pick the card up in person at an official tourism desk. After purchasing the card, they will tell you the locations you have to choose from.

Lisbon Travel Tip: However, if you are visiting Lisbon on a Monday, don’t activate your card because most attractions are closed on Monday!

Riding the Tram in Lisbon Portugal
Riding the Tram in Lisbon Portugal included in Lisboa Card

Day 8: Exploring Lisbon

Start your day out early and get your comfortable shoes back on because you will be walking up and down cobblestone alleys and stairs all day – I promise it will be fun!

Can’t do a lot of walking? A tuk tuk tour will be your best friend, or take use of Uber and public transportation.

One thing to keep in mind is most Lisbon attractions do not open until 10 AM – except for Castelo de S. Jorge, which opens up at 9 AM.

With that being said, some of the top attractions you will be visiting today include:

  • Castelo de S. Jorge
  • Old Alfama
  • Arco da Rua Augusta
  • Santa Justa Lift
  • Carmo Convent
  • Pink Street
  • Elevador da Bica
  • Praça Luís de Camões

Castelo de S. Jorge

Since Castelo de S. Jorge (Saint George’s Castle) is one of the earliest opening attractions, I think it is best to start here. Additionally, if you don’t get to this castle when it first opens, some say it can feel overwhelming. I visited when they first opened and the crowds were not bad at all.

I read a lot of mixed reviews about visiting Castelo de S. Jorge. Ultimately, we decided to visit, and I am glad we did. Aside from a community of peacocks, you will enjoy stunning views overlooking the Tagus River, see old weapons, and have the ability to climb some of the castle walls.

The castle was damaged considerably by the great earthquake of 1755, but it was restored. Speaking of which, you will hear a lot about the earthquake during your time in Lisbon. Most of the city was destroyed after the earthquake, which then resulted in a tsunami and fire outbreaks. Just about everything had to be rebuilt.

Castelo de S. Jorge in Lisbon

Old Alfama

Next, head to Old Alfama. It is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, and it wasn’t destroyed by the earthquake. When visiting, you can get a real feel of Lisbon life.

I must warn you there are a ton of stairs that wind through these small alleys, but I believe it adds to the charm. Many locals still live here. A festival was happening during our trip, and it was a huge party throughout the whole area with locals playing music, dancing, and grilling fresh fish.

Nearby is also the Fado Museum. With the Lisboa Pass, you can get 20% off if you’re interested to learn more about Fado.

Old Alfama Neighborhood in Portugal

Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)

Built in 1147, The Lisbon Cathedral is the oldest in the city and a National Monument. Although it was almost completely destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, this Roman Catholic cathedral has been restored.

If you wait a little, you will be sure to see one of the historic trams pass the front of the cathedral.

Lisbon Cathedral Portugal

Arco da Rua Augusta

Make sure to take a walk down to the Rua Augusta Arch. This is actually a memorial Arch that was built to celebrate the reconstruction of the city after the 1755 earthquake.

Praça do Comércio public square is on one side of the arch facing the river, and on the other is a popular shopping street – although I wouldn’t recommend eating at any of those restaurants.

Arc da Rua Augusta in Lisbon

Santa Justa Lift

This is a well-known paid attraction that is included in the Lisboa Card, but the line is usually quite long. So, instead of taking the elevator, I am going to let you in on a little tip.

You can actually walk to the viewpoint for free without having to wait in line.

  1. Walk behind the lift to R. do Carmo and turn left.
  2. On the right-hand side, you will see a blue “Left Luggage” sign with stairs. Go up the stairs and turn right.
  3. Walk up the path, and not only will you see the side of Carmo Convent, but another small staircase to Casa Portuguesa Pastel De Bacalhau.
  4. Go up those stairs, and now you are standing at the top of the Santa Justa Lift.
Santa Justa Lift

Carmo Convent

Located in the Chiado neighborhood, this former Catholic convent was badly destroyed by the earthquake and left in ruins as a reminder. In my opinion, it makes exploring the grounds that much cooler.

After walking through the ruins, there is a small museum with a handful of unique artifacts. The building is also unique.

Entrance into this Areological museum is 5 €, and 4 € with a Lisboa Pass.

Carmo Convent in Lisbon

Pink Street (Optional)

You have likely seen the famous pink street on Instagram, so it only makes sense you go visit it. The street is actually a party street that comes alive every night. Therefore, this is not a place you want to visit early in the morning, but later in the day instead.

It is located in the Cais do Sodre neighborhood, and during the day, it is a place where you can get drinks. But before you decide to get a bite, you may want to consider instead heading to the Lisbon Time Out Market nearby, which has been highly regarded as a good place to grab a bite. Plus, they have a free restroom.

I must admit that this is really just a pink street and nothing else. So, if you don’t care about getting Instagram photos, you can probably skip this one.

Pink Street in Lisbon
Famous Pink Street in Lisbon

Elevador da Bica

Known as one of the steepest hills in Lisbon, enjoy taking the Bica Funicular to the top. Not only is it very picture-worthy, but it is also a unique experience. With the Lisboa Card, it is free to take the ride to the top.

A single ride on the tram is usually between 3-5 euros. You can find additional public transportation prices here. We didn’t worry about any of this because we had the Lisboa Card.

Elevador da Bica in Lisbon

Classic Lisbon Tram

You have likely seen the yellow trams all over the city by now, and with 10 days in Portugal, you should certainly ride one. The trams are actually not a tourist attraction, although they have surely turned into one.

Locals use the trams to get around the city, and tourists enjoy having an “authentic” Lisbon experience while taking in the sites.

The most famous tram is Tram 28. I am actually going to recommend you skip this tram unless you see that it is somewhat empty. Why, you ask? Because you will be waiting in line forever, and most pickpocketers target this tram.

Instead, I recommend you take tram 12E, which runs almost identical to tram 28 – I’ve been on both. Moreover, tram 12E is usually way less packed; therefore, your ride will actually be enjoyable. If you have the Lisboa Card, you can ride the tram as much as you want.

Catch the tram at Praça Luís de Camões. This square actually separates the neighborhoods of Chiado and Bairro Alto.

Make sure to enjoy the sunset at one of the Miradouros. If you take tram 12E to the end, you will be near Miradouro da Graça.

Lisbon Tram is a must on your Portugal itinerary

Day 9: Day Trip from Lisbon to Sintra

If you thought climbing hills was tough in Lisbon, well, welcome to Sintra. Full of Palaces and castle walls, you really shouldn’t miss this day trip.

There are a ton of sites to see in Sinta, and you’re not going to be able to see them all, but if you get there early, you can see a lot!

The two best ways to get to Sintra are either by taking the train or going on a guided tour. We took the train, and it was very easy. If you have the Lisboa Pass, your train fare is covered.

National Palace of Pena

The Pena Palace is arguably the most popular attraction to visit in Sinta. This stunning castle is brightly colored, and the design is even more unique.

King consort Ferdinand II, who was also widely known as the King-Artist, acquired the land, along with several other estates in the area, and had the palace built. The palace incorporates many different architectural references, making it that much more unique.

Some question if the Pena Palace is worth visiting. The views alone make the Pena Palace worth visiting, while the rooms and art are just a bonus.

With that being said, you will need to book tickets in advance if you want to go inside. This can be done on their official website. Without a ticket, the lines are outrageous otherwise. Or you can choose to go with a tour guide.

Pena Palace in Sintra is a must with 10 days in Portugal

Moorish Castle

About a 10-minute walk from the gate of the Pena Palace, you will find the stunning Moorish Castle. If you love castles, I wouldn’t skip this one. Plus, the views are spectacular.

This military fortress was built around the 10th century by the Moors (Muslim) occupiers of the Iberian Peninsula. The fortress walls acted as a watch tower over the Atlantic Coast.

If climbing is tough for you, however, you may want to skip this as it does require climbing up the fortress walls.

You can get tickets at the machine, but you will be better off if you pre-purchase them.

The Moorish Castle in Sintra Portugal

Sintra City Center and Sintra National Palace

From the Moorish Castle, make your way down to the city center (Centro Histórico) to grab some lunch. There are a lot of restaurants to choose from. If they are trying to make you sit at the table, I found the food to be sub-par. If they are good, they don’t need to force in customers.

Nearby is also the Palace of Sintra. It often gets overlooked compared to other palaces in the area, but if you’re interested in seeing tiled rooms, this palace is for you. The palace was built between the 10th and 11th centuries.

Sintra City Ceter
Sintra Historic Center

Quinta da Regaleira

If you add only one more palace to your Sintra itinerary, it should certainly be Quinta da Regaleira. This romantic palace was built in the late 1800s by António Augusto de Carvalho Monteiro.

The palace itself is stunning, but the grounds are breathtaking. One of the most popular attractions on the grounds is the Initiation Well – a picturesque spiral staircase leads you down into caves.

Quinta da Regaleira

The Palace of Monserrate

It would be hard to see all the above palaces in one day, but I would be remiss not to mention the Monserrate Palace. Although much smaller than other palaces in Sintra, this palace represents excellent romantic architecture. It also arguably has the most uniqueness in terms of design.

Read: A MORE detailed step-by-step guide to help you plan your Day Trip to Sintra from Lisbon – Comming soon!

Monserrate Palace in Sintra Portugal

Day 10: Belém & Cascais

This will be your final full day in this Portugal itinerary, and you should explore Belém and Cascais. Just make sure the day you visit Belem is not on a Monday. Some attractions you can stop at today include:

  • Jerónimos Monastery
  • Belém Tower
  • Padrão dos Descobrimentos
  • MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology
  • Praia da Rainha or Mirador Casa de Santa María
  • LxFactory & Ler Devagar

To get to Belém from Lisbon, you can easily take public transportation (train & tram). Depending on where you are coming from, you can expect it to take 40 minutes to an hour to arrive.

The Tram (15E) leaves from Cais do Sodré. Make sure you press the button to make the tram stop at your desired stop.

Jerónimos Monastery

Starting off in Belém, make your first stop at the Jerónimos Monastery. This 16th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site is not only historic, but the architecture is also remarkable. It is free to enter with the Lisboa Pass, but you still have to wait in line with no shade. Oh, and people start lining up almost an hour before it opens.

I don’t blame them because this former monastery is simply gorgeous, but waiting over an hour is not worth it, in my opinion. So if Jerónimos Monastery is high on your Portugal bucket list, make sure to get here before opening (9:30 AM).

You may be able to buy a timed-entry ticket ahead of time, which would make visiting this national treasure much more enjoyable.

Belém Travel Tip: Pastéis de Belém is located just a minute away and is famous for the Pastel de Belém Nata. It is believed the monks originated the Pastel Nata with all the leftover egg yolk.

Inside Jeronimos Monastery

Belém Tower

Another historic landmark to visit in Belém is the Belém Tower (Tower of Saint Vincent). The tower is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 16th century. The tower was built as a defense system, and now you can go inside and tour it.

It is also free to visit the Belém Tower with the Lisboa Card. The line can also get long for this attraction as well, but you can enjoy it from the outside and even walk along the small sand shore if it is low tide.

Belem Tower is a must on your Portugal Itinerary

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

When arriving in Belém, it is hard to miss Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries). This giant monument was not the original. The first monument was built in 1940 to celebrate the “Exposition of the Portuguese World.”

After being demolished, a new, much larger monument that we see today was built in 1960 to honor the death of Prince Henry the Navigator.

Monument of the Discoveries

MAAT & Coach Museum

While slightly less central, the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) and the Coach Museum (16th–19th-century royal carriages) are two popular museums to visit while in Belém.

The Coach Museum is free to visit with the Lisboa Card, and the MAAT museum offers a discount.

Explore Cascais

In my humble opinion, you don’t really need a full day to explore Belém, unless you have been stuck in line all day. I recommend adding beautiful Cascais (cash-kai) to your itinerary. You can get here by train (~45 minutes) or simply get an Uber (around $20 USD & ~ 25 minutes).

The beachside town was known as a royal retreat and is still frequented by the rich and famous – and you can definitely feel it when visiting.

If the weather is nice, make sure to bring your bathing suit!

Some of the best things to do in Cascais are relaxing on Praia da Rainha, viewing the medieval Nossa Senhora da Luz Fort, and heading by the Santa Marta Lighthouse.

One of my favorite spots to relax waterside in Cascais is Mirador Casa de Santa María.

Lisbon to Cascais by train is ~ 1 hour. If you take the train to Cascais, sit on the left-hand side, and on the way back, the right-hand side for ocean views.

Cascais Lighthouse and water

LxFactory & Ler Devagar

On the way back to Lisbon, you can hop off the train or tram to LxFactory and Ler Devagar. They are located right at the base of the Ponte 25 de Abril.

LxFactory is a lively and artsy area of the city that many people love. You can find shops, food, and clubs. It is especially lively on the weekends and a bit different from the main city center of Lisbon.

If you’re a book lover, make sure to also stop by Ler Devagar, a quirky and fun bookshop.

From here, you can also see pretty decent views of the Sanctuary of Christ the King-Portugal statue.

Explore Lisbon (Option 2)

We truly enjoyed doing all the above, especially visiting Cascais, but you are also totally free to just wander around Lisbon more, see anything you missed, or just relax since it is your last day.

Don’t forget to catch your last sunset in Lisbon before you leave – and this will conclude your 10 full days in Portugal itinerary!

Views from Lisbon Viewpoint

Where to Stay in Lisbon

Lisbon has a plethora of places to stay, so choosing a hotel can feel overwhelming. Lisbon tends to have the most expensive accommodations in Portugal. Here are some highly-rated places to choose from.

Lisbon Art Stay Apartments Baixa (where we stayed): This quirky boutique hotel is centrally located to everything, and I would easily stay here again. They also have a lively rooftop bar and street-level bar that often has live music. (4 Star)

Browns Central Hotel: This hotel is just across the street from The Lisbon Art Stay, and it looked really lovely inside. They have an outdoor restaurant with good food, and it is highly rated. (4 Star)

TURIM Boulevard Hotel: If you are looking for an elevated experience just outside of the hustle and bustle, this is the place for you. With the metro right outside and many are not too far away. (5 Stars)

Hotel ibis Lisboa Jose Malhoa: If you are looking for something a little more on a budget, you may consider this ibis hotel. It is located a little further from attractions but is close to the metro and has relatively good reviews.

View from our Lisbon Hotel Terrace
View from our Lisbon Hotel Terrace

When is A Good Time to Visit Portugal

Arguably the best time to visit Portugal is at the end of Spring or the beginning of Summer (May/June). This is when you will experience the best temperatures in Portugal with fewer crowds.

Porto can still be a bit chilly during the Springtime since it is located in Northern Portugal. You can expect temperatures to fluctuate from 50°F – 68°F.

Lisbon and the Algarve will be much warmer during the Spring, with temperatures in the low 70s and 80s.

Summer will have the best temperatures in Portugal, however, this is when there will be the largest crowds. If you plan to visit during the summer, booking all your accommodations and special tickets well in advance is extremely important!

The beginning of Fall is another good option if you want to experience relatively warm temperatures with fewer crowds. The Algarve and Lisbon should still be around 70°F to 80°F, and Porto will be around 60°F to 70°F.

While it never snows in Portugal, the winter can get cold. In the north, you can expect temperatures to be between 40°F – 50°F, and more south, around 50°F to 60°F. This will be the least crowded time to visit Portugal.

Praca do Rossio Square in Lisbon
Praca do Rossio Square in Lisbon

Additional Travel Tips

I know we covered a lot, but I want to leave you with some additional travel tips to know.

  1. In Portugal, they speak European Portuguese, which is different from Brazilian Portuguese. While some may understand Spanish, they DO NOT speak Spanish.
  2. Tipping is not expected in Portugal (unless it is a pay-as-you-wish tour). You can consider tipping 5-10% if you receive excellent service.
  3. They use the Euro in Portugal and accept Visa and Mastercard at most establishments.
  4. The water is considered safe to drink, although it could still bother non-locals stomachs.
  5. Pedestrians have the right of way to cross the street unless there is a light indicating for pedestrians to walk. If you drive, always stop for pedestrians.
  6. For cell phone service, you should get an esim, or a local sim when you land. I always go with the esim option.

If you’re big on tips, then check out this guide with over 30 tips to know in Portugal!

Porto Portugal colorful buildings
Small charming alleys of Porto

Is 10 Days Enough

The amount of time you need in Portugal really depends on how many cities you’d like to see. Ideally, 10 days allows you to explore the 3 major regions in Portugal. This includes Porto, Lisbon, and the Algarve.

Anything less than 10 days, and visiting all 3 cities would be very hard. With 5-7 days, I suggest visiting Lisbon and Porto or the Algarve. If you have 5 days or less, I would suggest doing whichever city sounds most interesting to you above and then doing some day trips.

Porto Skyline
Porto Skyline

10 Days in Portugal Itinerary Wrap-up

This concludes everything you should need to know for planning your Portugal trip! It will be a busy vacation, as it was for us, but I cherished every moment I had in this magical country.

For more, check out my Ultimate Travel Guide with all my Portugal guides and practical information!

Have any questions or need more help with this itinerary? Let me know in the comments below.

Did you find this itinerary helpful? I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

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