Here’s how to get the best out of 10 days in Portugal, ranging from the big-cities to the coasts. I hope that you enjoy this 10 Day Portugal Itinerary which covers Porto, Lisbon and the Algarve.
The Perfect 10 Day Portugal Itinerary
Fly into porto
Take the rest of the easy by fighting off jet-lag and enjoying a glass of wine at one of the city’s many Port wine cellars. The famous wine comes from the Douro Valley in Portugal, but is named after Porto because the wine is aged and exported from there. Many of the cellars are situated around the river and offer tours and tastings that elaborate on the history of Port wine.
Calling all book lovers! According to Lonely Planet, Livraria Lello is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Entry is free but photography is limited. You can buy a book, have a cup of coffee, or just simply take in this beautiful store that allegedly inspired J.K. Rowling’s descriptions of Hogwarts.
Just a short walk from Lello is the Clérigos Tower and adjoining church. The tower sticks out in the city’s skyline—which means the view from the top is iconic! And you can walk up the 225 steps to get your bearings of the city from above (and get a little workout).
Another must see is the Sao Bento Train Station, often referred to as one of the most beautiful train stations in Europe. The walls are covered with azulejos, or elaborate tilework that depict historical scenes. The building and art took eleven years to complete.
Not a far walk from the Sao Bento Station is Se Cathedral, also known as Porto Cathedral, is a Roman church in the city’s medieval historical center. The cathedral itself dates back to the 12th century and was expanded further in the 13th century. Over the centuries, several different architectural styles have been added or renovated, including Gothic and Baroque styles.
There are plenty of things to do in the city center, so wander around and find what calls to you.
If you’re itching to see more of the country, consider taking a day tour to Braga and Guimaraes. Guimaraes is a UNESCO heritage site and is considered the birthplace of Portugal and its first king. Nearby Braga is one of the oldest Christian cities in the world. Both have cobblestone streets and medieval architecture. Taking a guided tour will allow you to learn more about the origins of Portugal and its earliest history. Use the link here to book your trip: https://www.getyourguide.co.uk/porto-l151/minho-monuments-tour-full-day-from-porto-and-gaia-t32568/
After arriving in Lisbon, head to Time Out Market for a lunch or evening meal. The massive food hall has over 40 restaurants and shops, ranging from streetfood to bars to vendors selling premium meats. On average, people spend almost two hours in the market. With 500 indoor seats, and an additional 250 seats outside, finding a spot to munch shouldn’t be too difficult, but you should still expect a crowd.
Get a good night’s rest then wake up and head to Lisbon’s historical center for more exploration. Check out the Santa Justa lift, a Gothic-style tower that provides a panoramic view of one of the city’s main neighborhoods. Lines can be especially long at peak tourist season in the summer. From the top, you can glimpse the Carmo Convent ruins as well. The convent was built in 1389 but was destroyed in a magnitude 9 earthquake in 1755, which according to Atlas Obscura, also destroyed 85% of the city and killed anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 people. The ruins are preserved to this day as a reminder of the worst day in Lisbon’s history.
Close by is The Cathedral of Saint Mary Majo, simplified as the Lisbon Cathedral or Se Cathedral. The national monument was built in 1147 and has survived numerous disasters and earthquakes and remains the oldest church in Lisbon.
Plenty of restaurants line the main streets, so it’s easy to grab dinner after sightseeing in the area.
Venture out a bit further to the outskirts of Lisbon to visit Belem. There you can view the Monument to Discoveries on the bank of the Tagus River. The monument was built to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator in 1960 and features 33 historical figures from Portugal’s Age of Discovery. Inside, you can find temporary exhibitions.
Also in Belem is the Jeronimos Monastery, built in 1502 as a tribute to Vasca da Gama’s famous voyage. You can find da Gama’s tomb inside among other prominent figures of the 16th century.
Another landmark is the Belem Tower, part of a fortress built to guard Lisbon’s harbor in 1515.
Take a full-day tour from Lisbon to explore Sintra, the recognizable colorful castle and UNESCO heritage site. With this tour, you can also enjoy a ride along Portugal’s coast. The National Palace of Pena is a MUST. The vivid-colored castle overlooks a forest and is one of the most photographed attractions in Portugal. You can book this magical experience with this link: https://www.getyourguide.co.uk/lisbon-l42/sintra-cabo-da-roca-and-cascais-tour-t72607/
Less colorful but just as epic is the Moorish Castle, built between the 8th and 9th centuries, and located at the top of the Sintra mountains. The medieval castle offers a 360 degree view of the Sintra region.
Say goodbye to Lisbon and spend time on Portugal’s Algarve coastline in either Faro or Lagos. Lagos is known for a walled historic center, gorgeous beaches, cliffs, and has less tourism, so it’s perfect if you’re looking to relax somewhere less crowded. Faro is known for its palaces, archaeological museum, and beaches as well. Both cities have a plethora of local restaurants and nightlife.
If you stay in Faro, consider taking a day trip to Algarve to explore the historical area of Henry the Navigator. Use this link to see the full tour itinerary: https://www.getyourguide.co.uk/algarve-l66/from-faro-full-day-historical-algarve-tour-t70979/
Or, you can also spend the day on a boat tour around the Bengali Sea Cave from Lagos. The guided tour takes you around to see the natural rock formations and surrounding breath-taking scenery. This link can give you all the fine details: https://www.getyourguide.co.uk/lagos-l2896/lagos-benagil-sea-cave-tour-t222006/
On the last day of your 10 day Portugal itinerary, stroll around, have a relaxing meal and then take a flight home.
Staying longer than 10 days? Perfect! Portugal has so much more to offer. If you stay near the Algarve region, investigate the Ria Formosa Natural Park, which is full of a variety of landscapes and is known for local bird-watching. Or consider a trip to the Azores, a collection of islands off of Portugal’s coast, perfect for adventure like hiking and canoeing.
For an in-depth guide for how to travel Portugal by train, click this link to read our article: https://movetoalgarve.com/portugal-train-tickets/
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