Julie Itinerary, Portugal 4 Comments

If you are planning your trip to Portugal, this is a great place to start. There are many different ways to play your “perfect Portugal itinerary,” depending on your interests. Visit the highlights, spend a good chunk of your time on the beach, go off-the-beaten-path, or explore Portugal’s long list of historic sites and castles. If you have 10 days in Portugal, we have five itinerary ideas for you.

For first timers to Portugal, Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve usually make the “must-see” list. With 10 days in Portugal, you have just enough time to visit these three places. How to do this is spelled out in our “Big Three” itinerary.

A classic 10-day itinerary is to visit Lisbon and Porto, Portugal’s two largest cities, visiting a few small towns and landmarks along the way. We lay out two ways to do this: one using public transportation and the other with a rental car.

Our fourth 10 day Portugal itinerary is less busy, with your time spent in Lisbon and the Algarve. You get a lot of time in the Algarve on this itinerary, perfect for beach lovers, sun seekers, and families.

The final itinerary covers Porto, the Douro Valley, and small, incredibly scenic towns in northern and central Portugal. This one is great for wine lovers, foodies, and those who want to venture a bit off-the-beaten-path.

Which one will be your favorite?

About These Itineraries

These itineraries work all year. The best time to visit Portugal is in the spring and fall, when the weather is pleasant and crowds are low. Summer, in particular July and August, is very hot and crowded. Expect much higher hotel prices, packed beaches, and you will need to plan your trip far in advance to reserve hotels, rental cars, and tours. In winter, Portugal gets chilly, but it is still warmer than much of Europe, so it still makes a decent wintertime destination.

Several of these itineraries require a rental car for the best experience. There is a great network of trains and buses in Portugal but some smaller towns are challenging to get to, so having a car gives you more freedom and flexibility. We list the specifics of this in each itinerary.

All of these itineraries are on mainland Portugal. They do not include Madeira or the Azores.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Here are five different ways to plan your 10-day Portugal itinerary:

10 Day Portugal Itinerary #1

The Big Three: Lisbon, Porto & the Algarve

Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve are what we are calling “the big three.” These are the most popular destinations on mainland Portugal and on a very busy 10-day itinerary, you can visit them all. You will also have enough time to day trip to Sintra, another must-visit place in Portugal.

This itinerary moves very fast, so if you can, add another day or two, which gives you more time in Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve, depending on your preferences.

It starts and ends in Lisbon. We chose Lisbon because there are a lot of flight options to Lisbon, so it makes the perfect start and end point. To save a travel day back to Lisbon, you could look into flying from Faro (in the Algarve) on day 10.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary: Lisbon, Porto & the Algarve

 

Day 1: Lisbon
Day 2: Lisbon
Day 3: Sintra day trip from Lisbon
Day 4: Travel to Porto
Day 5: Porto
Day 6: Porto or Douro Valley day trip
Day 7: Travel to Algarve
Day 8: Algarve
Day 9: Algarve
Day 10: Return to Lisbon

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map Algarve

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map: Lisbon, Porto & the Algarve

Days 1 & 2: Lisbon

Arrive in Lisbon, ideally as early in the day as possible. This gives you almost 2 full days to visit the main sights in the city.

Some of the essential places to visit include Jerónimos Monastery, Belém Tower, the Alfama and Bairro Alto neighborhoods, São Jorge Castle, Praça do Comércio, and visiting the viewpoints throughout the city. Dine at the Time Out Market or at one of Lisbon’s long list of highly rated restaurants.

For the full list of things to do, read our Lisbon Bucket List.

In the future, we will be publishing itineraries for Lisbon. Until then, if you have questions, let us know in the comment section below.

Lisbon Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Bica Funicular, Lisbon

Day 3: Sintra

Visiting the palaces and castles in Sintra is the #1 day trip from Lisbon. In one day, you can visit 3 to 5 palaces and castles, or split your time between the palaces and the coastal sites.

Pena Palace Sintra Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Pena Palace, Sintra

 

Palace of Monserrate Sintra

Palace of Monserrate, Sintra | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

This day trip is very easy to do with public transportation, so there’s no need to rent a car.

Learn how to plan your day trip in our article One Day in Sintra and we cover what to do in our Things to Do in Sintra.

Day 4: Travel to Porto

Porto is located 300 km north of Lisbon. It is smaller than Lisbon, home to hilly scenic streets and amazing views of the Douro River. Porto is where port wine is aged. Visiting the wine lodges for port wine tastings and tours is one of the most popular things to do in Porto.

You can get to Porto by car and by train. In about 3 hours, the high-speed train (the Alfa Pendular) connects Lisbon and Porto. You can travel directly to Porto using this train, which gives you time in the morning for Lisbon or time in the afternoon for Porto.

By car, it takes just over 3 hours to drive to Porto. As with the train, you can drive directly to Porto, or stop and a handful of historical sites or landmarks on the journey.

Top Places to Visit between Lisbon and Porto

If you plan to rent a car, here are a few places you can visit on the drive to Porto.

Óbidos. This small, walled medieval town is super fun to explore. Walk the castle walls, go shopping, and have lunch. If you want to visit Óbidos, it is best to have a rental car.

Obidos Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Óbidos

Nazaré. This seaside town is famous for its giant waves. The best time to see these waves is between October and March. I think it is only worth adding on Nazare if you will be in Portugal in the winter, when you have the best chances of seeing these waves.

Nazare Waves

Nazaré | R.M. Nunes/shutterstock.com

Alcobaça Monastery, Batalha Monastery and Fátima. These three sites are located relatively close to one another, just east of Nazaré.

Alcobaca Monastery Cloister | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Alcobaça Monastery

Coimbra. Coimbra is an ancient Roman city and it is famous for its university, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is easy to add on to the journey between Lisbon and Porto by train and rental car.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Of the places listed above, Óbidos is the most interesting, in our opinion. If you are interested in historical sites, you could also quickly visit Alcobaça Monastery or Batalha Monastery. However, I think it is worthwhile to get to Porto by mid-to late afternoon so you have enough time to have dinner and see a little bit of the city.

Days 5 & 6: Porto

Spend the next 2 days in Porto OR spend one day in Porto and use the second day to either day trip to the Douro Valley (great for wine aficionados) or Braga and Guimarães.

Plan your time in Porto with our 2 Day Porto Itinerary. In the future, we will be publishing information about the Douro Valley, so stay tuned (if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section below).

Porto Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Porto | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 7: Travel to the Algarve

Today is a big travel day. You have three options for getting to the Algarve: car, train, or plane.

The train is fast, budget friendly, and eco-friendly. It takes about 6 hours to travel from Porto to Faro on the high-speed train. Once in Faro, you can rent a car for the next three days and then get settled in your hotel.

Flights are also relatively cheap. There are direct flights between Porto and Faro. If you account for travel time (direct flights take just over one hour) and airport check in time, it takes about 4 hours to get to Faro. It’s the fastest option but it has the highest carbon footprint.

Finally, you can drive to the Algarve, which takes about 5 hours. You have the option to stop at one of the places listed on day 4 of this itinerary but I recommend heading directly to the Algarve. If you leave early, you can spend part of the afternoon on the beach, giving you a little more beach time.

For suggestions on where to stay, take a look at our Algarve Hotel Guide.

Days 8 & 9: The Algarve

Spend two wonderful days in the Algarve. Relax on the beaches, take a boat tour of Benagil Cave, walk the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail (one of the most beautiful walks in Europe), and/or visit Ponta da Piedade.

Best Algarve Beaches

The Algarve | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 10: Return to Lisbon

It’s worth researching flights home from Faro, as this could give you more time in the Algarve, versus driving back to Lisbon.

But to come full circle, it is roughly a 2.5-hour drive or a 3 hour train ride from Faro to get to Lisbon. Spend the day on the beach and then drive/take the train to Lisbon in the evening, if you want more beach time. Or make the drive first thing, if there is more you want to see and do in Lisbon.


10 Day Portugal Itinerary #2

Lisbon & Porto by Public Transportation

This itinerary moves a little slower than the one above since it doesn’t include the Algarve. It gives you more time in Lisbon and Porto and the ability to take several great day trips.

This 10-day Portugal itinerary is done 100% using public transportation (aside from any tours you may add on), so there is no need to rent a car.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary: Lisbon & Porto by Train

 

Day 1: Lisbon
Day 2: Lisbon
Day 3: Lisbon
Day 4: Sintra day trip
Day 5: Lisbon day trip
Day 6: Travel to Porto
Day 7: Porto
Day 8: Porto
Day 9: Douro Valley day trip
Day 10: Braga & Guimarães or return to Lisbon

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map Lisbon Porto Train

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map: Lisbon to Porto by Train

Days 1, 2 & 3: Lisbon

On this itinerary, you have three days in Lisbon. This gives you plenty of time to visit the city sights. If you are arriving from outside of Europe, the first day can be a bit rough because of jetlag, so you can take it easy on day 1 and then spend 2 days exploring Lisbon.

For a list of things to do, take a look at our Lisbon Bucket List.

You will spend 5 nights in Lisbon.

Day 4: Sintra

On a day trip from Lisbon, visit the palaces and castles in Sintra. On this list are Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, Monserrate Palace, the Moorish Castle, and the National Palace of Sintra. Visit all five or pick your favorite three.

Sintra is very easy to visit using public transportation. Plan your day with our guide One Day in Sintra.

Sleep in Lisbon.

Day 5: Second day trip from Lisbon

There are still many nearby places to visit on a day trip from Lisbon.

Cascais is a lovely seaside town just a short train ride from Lisbon.

Óbidos is a small, walled medieval town and it is one of our favorite small towns in Portugal. You can get here by bus in about an hour. Check the bus schedule here (buses leave from the Campo Grande station in Lisbon).

Alcobaça Monastery and Batalha Monastery are two of Portugal’s top sights (they are both on the list of the Seven Wonders of Portugal). They are located relatively close to one another and a short drive from Nazaré and Fátima (an important pilgrimage destination). The best way to visit these places is on a tour from Lisbon. This 8-hour tour from Lisbon includes several great destinations, including Batalha, Nazaré, Fátima, and Óbidos.

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Here are more day trip tours from Lisbon.

 

 

Day 6: Train to Porto

Today, travel to Porto by train. It takes 3 hours to travel between these two cities on the high-speed Alfa Pendular train. Here is the link to the official website for the Portugal railway and Rail Ninja also has useful information about traveling by train in Portugal.

Once in Porto, check into your hotel and spend the afternoon in Porto. A good introduction to the city is visiting Cais da Ribeira, the riverfront along the Douro River, having drinks and dinner. You will spend 4 to 5 nights in Porto.

Days 7 & 8: Porto

On this itinerary, you have a full 2 days in Porto. This gives you plenty of time to visit the top sights in the city as well as spend a half to a full day port tasting in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Plan your time with our 2 Days in Porto Itinerary.

Livraria Lello | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Livraria Lello, Porto

Day 9: Day Trip to the Douro Valley

The Douro Valley is the oldest wine region in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On a Douro Valley day trip, you will visit a few wineries, have lunch, and have the option to cruise on the Douro River. There are lots of tour options that include your transportation and fees, so it is easy to plan your day trip, without researching which wineries and restaurants to visit.

On this full day tour, you will taste wine at two wineries, have lunch, and cruise the Douro River. This tour gets glowing reviews and is one of the top tours of the Douro Valley. It’s also one of the cheapest.

This small group tour is a little more expensive, but you visit two prestigious wine cellars, have a 3-course lunch, and cruise the Douro River.

If you want to take a private tour of the Douro Valley, take a look at this tour that includes two wineries and a Douro River cruise.

How to Visit the Douro Valley

Douro Valley | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 10: Porto Day Trip or Return to Lisbon

Today you have two options: take a second day trip from Porto OR travel to Lisbon, if you will be flying home from Lisbon rather than Porto.

Guimarães and Braga are two small towns that sit side-by-side about an hour from Porto. In one day, you can visit both of them. Take the train to Guimarães and spend the morning in Guimarães, visiting the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza and the very picturesque city center.

Take the bus to Braga, have a late lunch, and spend an hour or two in town. In the afternoon, visit Bom Jesus do Monte, a place famous for its zigzagging staircase, basilica, and views from Mount Espinho. It’s easy to get to taking the bus from Braga.

Return to Porto by train from Braga.

Bom Jesus | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga

Alternatively, if you have to return to Lisbon for a flight home, travel by train to Lisbon. When planning your itinerary, it is worth researching flights home from Porto because this could give you a little more time in Porto.


10 Day Portugal Itinerary #3

Lisbon & Porto by Rental Car

This itinerary is very similar to itinerary #2. Renting a car gives you more flexibility to visit the small towns, historical sites, and beaches between Lisbon and Porto.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary: Lisbon & Porto by Car

 

Day 1: Lisbon
Day 2: Lisbon
Day 3: Lisbon
Day 4: Sintra day trip
Day 5: Day trip from Lisbon
Day 6: Travel to Porto
Day 7: Porto
Day 8: Porto
Day 9: Douro Valley day trip
Day 10: Braga & Guimarães or return to Lisbon

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map Lisbon Porto

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map: Lisbon to Porto by Car

Days 1 through 4: Lisbon and Sintra

This itinerary is the same as itinerary #2. To visit the sites in Lisbon and to day trip to the Sintra palaces and castles, there is no need to rent a car.

Day 5: Day Trip from Lisbon

Having a car opens up a few more options for your day trip from Lisbon.

Our #1 recommendation would be to spend a few hours in Cascais followed by the rest of the day visiting Cabo da Roca (the westernmost point in mainland Europe), a few incredibly beautiful beach towns (Praia das Maças and Praia das Azenhas do Mar), and having lunch at Moinho Dom Quixote. Many of these sights are challenging to get to by public transportation, which makes having a rental car an advantage. Learn more about these places in our Guide to Sintra.

Azenhas do Mar | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Azenhas do Mar | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 6: Travel to Porto

Today, drive to Porto. Without stops it takes just over 3 hours to make this drive. However, you can turn this into a full day of sightseeing.

Having a car also allows you to visit a few places on the drive between Lisbon and Porto. Since you have a rental car, it’s easy to travel with your luggage and still do some sightseeing.

Óbidos is our #1 recommendation of places to visit between Lisbon and Porto. Tim and I loved exploring this small town and it only takes a few hours of your time.

Historical sites that are worthwhile include Mafra National Palace, Alcobaça Monastery, Batalha Monastery, and Fátima. If you visit Óbidos, you can also visit two to three of these.

Mafra National Palace | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Mafra National Palace

Alternatively, if it is late fall to very early spring, you could spend an hour or two in Nazaré and keep your fingers crossed that the giant waves are pounding the coastline.

Coimbra and Aveiro are closer to Porto. They are nice but, in our opinion, the other towns and sites already listed are more interesting.

In the late afternoon/early evening, check into your hotel and have dinner in Porto.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: What about theft? We have heard from other travelers of instances in Portugal where cars were broken into and things stolen. We drove a fair amount throughout Portugal, leaving our luggage in the car unattended for hours at a time and never had an issue. We were very careful to keep all of our bags in the trunk with nothing sitting on the back seats or floor. It really helps to pack light to make sure all of your bags can be stowed in the trunk.

Days 7 & 8: Porto

Spend two days in Porto. Plan your time with our 2 Days in Porto Itinerary.

Day 9: Douro Valley Day Trip

Today, you can visit the Douro Valley on a tour or visit it independently, since you have a rental car. For a list of things to see and do, take a look at our Guide to the Douro Valley or ask us any questions you may have in the comment section at the end of this article.

Day 10: Guimarães & Braga Day Trip or Return to Lisbon

Today, day trip to Guimarães and Braga, either using public transportation or your rental car. Having a rental car will save you a little bit of time. Plan your day trip using the recommendations in our Guide to Braga.

If you have to return to Lisbon for a flight home, it is roughly a 3-hour drive.


10 Day Portugal Itinerary #4

Lisbon & the Algarve

This 10-day Portugal itinerary is the most leisurely on the list. After a few days sightseeing in Lisbon, travel to the Algarve, where you get to spend five full days on one of the most beautiful coastlines of Europe.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary: Lisbon & the Algarve

 

Day 1: Lisbon
Day 2: Lisbon
Day 3: Sintra day trip
Day 4: Travel to the Algarve
Day 5: Algarve
Day 6: Algarve
Day 7: Algarve
Day 8: Algarve
Day 9: Algarve
Day 10: Return to Lisbon

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map Lisbon Algarve

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map: Lisbon & the Algarve

Days 1 & 2: Lisbon

Arrive in Lisbon, ideally as early in the day as possible. This gives you almost 2 full days to visit the main sights in the city. If you want more time in Lisbon, you can add another day (taking one from the Algarve), since you have so much time in the Algarve.

Some of the essential places to visit include Jerónimos Monastery, Belém Tower, the Alfama and Bairro Alto neighborhoods, São Jorge Castle, Praça do Comércio, and visiting the viewpoints throughout the city. Dine at the Time Out Market or at one of Lisbon’s long list of highly rated restaurants

For the full list of things to do, read our Lisbon Bucket List.

Day 3: Sintra Day Trip

On a day trip to Sintra, you can visit 3 to 5 palaces and castles, or split your time between the palaces and the coastal sites.

Castle of the Moors Sintra Portugal

Castle of the Moors, Sintra | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

This day trip is very easy to do with public transportation, so there’s no need to rent a car (yet).

Learn how to plan your day trip in our article One Day in Sintra and we cover what to do in our Things to Do in Sintra.

Tonight, sleep in Lisbon.

Day 4: Travel to the Algarve

Today, make your way to the Algarve. You have the option to do a little more sightseeing in Lisbon before traveling to the Algarve, but if you prefer as much beach time as possible, go first thing in the day.

To get to the Algarve, you have a few options.

In Lisbon, you can rent a car and drive to the Algarve. This is a bit faster than using public transportation and you can go directly to your hotel to get settled. It takes two and a half hours to drive to the Algarve, a little more or less depending on the town you choose to make as your home base.

You also have the option to travel by public transportation. From Lisbon, you can travel by train to Faro, Albufeira, and Lagos. High-speed trains (the Alfa Pendular) leave from the Lisbon Oriente station and go through Tunes. From Tunes, the Alfa Pendular continues to Albufeira, Loule, and Faro. If you plan to travel by train to Lagos or Portimão, you will board a regional train in Tunes.

It takes 3 hours to travel from Lisbon to Albufeira and Faro on the Alfa Pendular. It takes about 4 hours to travel to Lagos and Portimao by train. Check timetables on the official website.

Once you arrive in the Algarve, pick up a rental car and then check into your hotel. If you don’t plan to rent a car, then hire a taxi or Uber or Bolt (or another ride share app) to get you to your hotel.

Get recommendations on the best towns to stay in the Algarve and the top hotels in our Algarve Hotel Guide.

Days 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9: The Algarve

On this 10-day Portugal itinerary, you get to spend 5 glorious full days in the Algarve. This gives you plenty of time to relax on the Algarve’s best beaches, take a boat tour of Benagil Cave, hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, explore the small towns, go surfing or golfing, and explore this region’s fabulous food scene.

Camilo Beach Best Algarve Beaches

Camilo Beach | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

 

Marinha Beach Algarve

Marinha Beach

Day 10: Return to Lisbon

Today, return to Lisbon, either by car or by train. Alternatively, you can look into a flight home from Faro, which would save you the journey back to Lisbon, giving you even more time on the coast.

Portugal Travel Guide


10 Day Portugal Itinerary #5

Porto, Douro Valley, Monsanto & Central Portugal

This itinerary explores a few of Portugal’s must-see places as well as some smaller, off-the-beaten-path towns and castles. This is a great itinerary for foodies, wine lovers, those that prefer smaller, less touristy sights, and those on a second or third trip to Portugal.

For those with more than 10 days in Portugal, you can combine this itinerary with itinerary #4, getting a bigger tour of continental Portugal.

You will need to rent a car for this itinerary, which makes it easier to visit the Douro Valley and many of the small towns that come in the second half of the itinerary.

10 Day Portugal Itinerary: Porto, Douro Valley & Monsanto

 

Day 1: Porto
Day 2: Porto
Day 3: Porto
Day 4: Braga & Guimarães
Day 5: Douro Valley
Day 6: Douro Valley
Day 7: Serra da Estrela Nature Park & Monsanto
Day 8: Monsanto to Nazaré
Day 9: Nazaré
Day 10: Nazaré to Porto or Lisbon

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map Douro Valley

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Map: Porto, Douro Valley and Central Portugal

Days 1, 2 & 3: Porto

Three days in Porto may look like a lot, but this town is packed with charm, fantastic sights to see, wine cellars and places to go port wine tasting, and some amazing restaurants.

If you are arriving from overseas, the first day can be challenging, so with 3 days, you can take your time and recover from being jetlagged, without feeling like you are in a race.

Take a look at our article 2 Days in Porto to help you plan your time and our Porto Bucket List for a big list of things to do in Porto.

RENTAL CAR: Pick up your rental car on day 1 at the airport (most expensive but also the most convenient option, but it will be parked for the first few days in Porto), on the morning of day 4 (to use it on the day trip to Braga and Guimarães), or on day 5 (the day you leave for the Douro Valley).

Day 4: Braga & Guimarães Day Trip from Lisbon

Today, day trip to Guimarães and Braga, either using public transportation or your rental car. Having a rental car will save you a little bit of time. Plan your day trip using the recommendations in our Guide to Braga and Guide to Guimarães.

Guimarães Portugal

Guimarães | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Days 5 & 6: Douro Valley

On the morning of day 5, check out of your Lisbon hotel, pick up your rental car if you don’t have one yet, and drive to the Douro Valley (100 km, 1.5 hours).

You have today and tomorrow for sightseeing and wine tasting in the Douro Valley.

Some of our favorite experiences in the Douro Valley were lunch at Quinta do Tedo, lunch at Quinta de la Rosa, the views from Quinta do Seixo (Sandeman), and wine tasting at Quinta da Pacheca and Quinta de Santa Eufemia. For more information, read our Douro Valley Travel Guide and our article 8 Great Wineries to Visit in the Douro Valley.

The Six Senses is the best place to stay in the Douro Valley. This 5 star hotel is located inside of a renovated 19th century manor house. They have an onsite spa, multiple restaurants, an outdoor pool, and wine tastings. We ate dinner several times at the Vale de Abraão Restaurant.

Douro Valley Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Six Senses, Douro Valley

We had a long stay in the Douro Valley and we also stayed at Quinta da Pousada. This very small property is located in the hills above Peso da Régua. We also had an excellent experience here and recommend it for those who want more of a local experience. You can have a home cooked dinner, which we opted for, and it was very good.

Day 7: Serra da Estrela Nature Park & Monsanto

Today is a day of scenic drives, ancient castles, and hilltop medieval towns.

The day starts with a scenic drive, as you leave the Douro Valley. The amazing views continue with another scenic drive through Serra da Estrela Park to the highest point on mainland Portugal. Spend an hour or two in the tiny hilltop town of Sortelha and then continue to Monsanto. You have the options to add on visits to a few more castles.

Castle of Penedono

This is optional, but from the Douro Valley, you can make the Castle of Penedono your first stop. This small medieval castle is fun to explore and takes less than 30 minutes of your time. Adding on the castle adds 45 minutes of driving time plus additional time to visit the castle. For those who like visiting castles, it is worth it. But there is a second castle on the list plus two really interesting hilltop towns, so you could skip this to save your time.

Penedono Castle

Castle of Penedono | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Serra de Estrela Park

Serra da Estrela is the highest mountain range in mainland Portugal. You can drive to the highest point (1,993 meters/6,539 feet) to the Torre, a wide plateau that sits at the summit of the highest mountain. It’s a scenic drive as you cross over the mountain range. At Torre, there are a few cafes where you can get a snack or lunch, but don’t expect anything fancy.

Nossa Senhora da Boa Estrela | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Nossa Senhora da Boa Estrela, Serra Estrela Nature Park

Castelo de Belmonte

This castle is located in the town of Belmonte, which sits to the east of Serra da Estrela Park. Again, this is optional and very quick to visit. We liked the Castle of Penedono more, so if you only want to visit one castle today, we recommend Penedono. The town of Belmonte is a good place to get a bite to eat.

Belmonte Castle

Castle of Belmonte

Sortelha

Sortelha is a hilltop medieval village located 25-minutes from Belmonte. We loved exploring this town, with its medieval walls you can walk and views from the highest tower. A visit here lasts about an hour. We were here mid-afternoon and not much was open in the way of food, so if you haven’t had lunch, make sure you get food before leaving Belmonte.

Sortelha Castle | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Sortelha Castle | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

 

Sortelha Portugal

Walking the castle walls in Sortelha

Monsanto

The big finale of the day is Monsanto. This tiny town is famous for its gigantic boulders. Stone houses are sandwiched between and under these boulders, making this one of the most unique villages to visit in Europe.

Get settled in your hotel, have dinner, and enjoy exploring the quiet streets. We recommend staying in Old House or Sun Set House (both of these are in town) or Bode Country House (outside of town).

Monsanto Portugal | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Monsanto | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

 

Monsanto Castle

Monsanto Castle | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 8: Monsanto to Nazaré

Spend the first part of today exploring Monsanto. Midday, drive west to Nazaré. Before getting to Nazaré, you have the option to visit Tomar, Fátima, Batalha Monastery, and/or Alcobaça Monastery.

In the late afternoon, check in to your hotel and have dinner in Nazaré. For hotel and restaurant recommendations, and a list of things to do, read our Nazaré Guide. You will spend two nights in Nazaré.

Day 9: Nazaré

You have a full day in Nazaré, which gives you plenty of time to explore the town and see the giant waves. A full day gives you time to relax on the beach or day trip to nearby places, such as Batalha and Alcobaça Monasteries or even Óbidos.

Praia da Nazare

Nazaré | 10 Day Portugal Itinerary

Day 10: Nazaré to Porto or Lisbon

Today, travel to Porto, completing the loop, or to Lisbon. This sets you up for your flight home or your next destination.


How to Get Around Portugal

There is a very handy network of buses and trains in Portugal. You can get to most towns and cities using public transportation. There are a few areas where having a car is ideal, such as the Douro Valley, the Algarve, and eastern Portugal, where the public transportation network is not as extensive.

There are two types of trains in Portugal: the high-speed Alfa Pendular trains and the slower regional trains. The Alfa Pendular train is a great way to connect cities that sit far apart, such as Lisbon to Porto, Lisbon to the Algarve (Albufeira and Lagos), and Porto to the Algarve.

Learn more about the trains on the official website (which is very easy to use) and Rail Ninja (which has a lot of useful information about using the trains in Portugal).

The regional buses are very useful for day trips from Lisbon and Porto as well as getting around the Algarve if you don’t have a car.

Having a rental car is great for exploring the areas outside of Lisbon and Porto. These two cities are challenging to drive in, and a car is not necessary to get around these cities, so if you will be spending most of your time in Lisbon and Porto, there is no need to rent a car. Having a rental car is beneficial if you plan to visit the Algarve, the Douro Valley, and eastern Portugal.

For information on renting a car, including rental car fees, drop fees, and things to know ahead of time, take a look at our article Important Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Europe.

Designing Your Own Portugal Itinerary

These Portugal itineraries are a great starting point for designing your own custom itinerary. For more tips and tricks to help you plan the perfect trip, consider reading this article:

7 Things to Know When Planning Your First Trip to Europe

To see all of our articles about Portugal, take a look at our Portugal Travel Guide. For more great itineraries in Europe and around the world, visit our Travel Itineraries page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days do you need in Portugal?

At a minimum, plan on spending 7 days in Portugal. This gives you just enough time to visit Porto or Lisbon, to visit one city plus do a few day trips, or to visit one city and spend a few days in the Algarve. Adding 3 days, for a full 10 days in Portugal, makes a big difference and you can see and do a lot more with that extra time. If you want to thoroughly explore continental Portugal, plan on spending 3 to 4 weeks here.

When is the best time to visit Portugal?

The best time to visit Portugal is late April to early June and mid-September to early November. During this time, the weather is pleasant and crowds are manageable. Summer is peak season with the busiest months being July and August. During this time, expect high prices for hotels and crowded beaches and landmarks. Winter is the off season. Crowds are low and hotel prices are cheap. If you don’t mind cool temperatures and cloudy skies, this is still a very nice time to visit Portugal.

What are the best things to do in Portugal?

The top 3 places to visit in Portugal are Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve. Sintra is the most popular day trip from Lisbon. The Douro Valley is a famous wine region in northern Portugal. There are also many towns and historical sites to visit, such as Óbidos, Nazaré, Fátima, Coimbra, Braga, Guimarães, Monsanto, Évora, Cascais, Cabo da Roca, and Alcobaça and Batalha Monasteries.


If you have any questions about how to play your 10 day Portugal itinerary, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Portugal & Europe

EUROPE ITINERARIES: Check out our article 10 Days in Europe: 10 Amazing Itineraries for 10 different ways to visit the best places in Europe. And if you have less time, check out our guide to 25 Ways to Spend One Week in Europe.

EUROPE TRAVEL INSPIRATION: For more great ideas on where to go in Europe, check out our article 30 Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: For more information about the camera gear we carry, check out our Travel Photography Gear Guide.

We have TONS more information about Portugal in our Portugal Travel Guide, including Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, the Algarve, and the Douro Valley.

 

More 10 Day European Itineraries

If you are looking for more ideas on how to spend 10 days in Europe, these itineraries may interest you:

 

10 Day Lisbon Portugal Itinerary

 

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Comments 4

  1. Avatar for Yvonne Soo Kaim
    Yvonne Soo Kaim

    Love reading about your travels and seeing all the beautiful photos.

    We are a group of 6 adults and we’re planning a 2 week road trip from the north to south of Portugal from about 20th of May. We will probably use your 10 day itinerary from Porto to Algarve as a starting point.

    Do you have any recommendations for rental cars from Lisbon airport? Also do you have any information about health spas there?

    Thank you so much,
    Yvonne

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Yvonne. That’s great that you will have 2 weeks in Portugal! We rented our car for our trip at the Lisbon airport with Avis (Avis has been our go-to lately). You could also price out the other major rental car companies, such as Hertz, Sixt, National, etc. We don’t have experience with health spas in Portugal, however, we did spend one wonderful day at the spa at the Six Senses in Douro Valley. If you have plans to visit the Douro Valley, you could look into staying a night or two here, wine tasting and getting your spa time. Let me know if you have more questions. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Michael
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Michael. I think it is very doable to visit both on the same day. If you spent two and a half hours at Ponta da Piedade, walking the trails and spending a short amount of time on Camilo Beach, and started at 8 am, you would have the entire afternoon and evening at Cabo de Sao Vicente. That’s a great place to watch the sunset so the timing would work out. But for Ponta da Piedade, you’d have to choose between walking the trails or taking a boat tour; you wouldn’t have time for both (we liked the trails more). Cheers, Julie

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