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How to Spend 10 Days in Portugal (From Porto to Lisbon)

10 days in portugal

Guest Post by De Wet Moolman

Portugal is a wonderful country to visit. Once you’ve been there, you’ll understand why it’s such a favourite destination with visitors, who often return for more. Portugal has something for everyone with fantastic food and wine, friendly people, vibrant cities, beautiful beach towns, quaint villages, culture and history and so much more. 

Thanks to its small size, it’s easy to see the best Portugal offers in only ten days. With excellent roads and short distances, the most rewarding way to spend your ten days in Portugal is to rent a car and go on a road trip. 

Those who don’t drive can also undertake this road trip itinerary by public transportation.  

This ten-day itinerary for Portugal starts in Porto and ends in Lisbon, but cal also be done in reverse. Both these cities have international airports and are well connected to the rest of the world. 

10 Day Portugal Itinerary Overview

  • Day 1: Porto
  • Day 2: Porto 
  • Day 3: Porto to Nazare
  • Day 4: Nazare
  • Day 5: Nazare-Evora
  • Day 6 :Evora
  • Day 7: Evora-Lisbon
  • Day 8 & 9: Lisbon
  • Day 10: Sintra 

If you’re renting a car, consider only picking up the car on day 3 in Porto and returning it on day 7 in Lisbon. Free parking can be challenging to find in Porto and Lisbon, and both cities have excellent and affordable public transportation for sightseeing in the city. Save your time and money for eating pastel de nata in a sunny plaza instead of searching for parking. 

Day1 – Porto

Portugal’s second city is drop-dead gorgeous to the extent that it often steals the limelight from Lisbon. Baroque, Gothic and Romanesque architecture covered in azulejos tiles, famous port wines, the Harry Potter bookshop and vibrant nightlife make Porto one of the coolest cities in Europe.   

The Douro River snaking its way through Porto divides the city into two parts, Porto city and Vila Nova de Gaia. 

Spend your first day exploring the Porto side of the city. A walk around the neighbourhoods of Ribeira, Vitoria and Baixa will show you the best this side of the city has to offer. Some places you must see include:

  •  See the Igreja do Carmo church with its blue and white tiles.
  • Go inside the magical Livraria Lello, or the Harry Potter Bookshop.
  • Admire the interior of the Sao Bento Station, one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.
  • Eat a francesinha (Porto’s famous meat sandwich) at O Afonso.
  • Go up the Clerigos Tower for a sweeping view over Porto.
  • Marvel at the excuisite Capela das Almas church, completely covered in clasic azulejo tiles.
  • Have a few pasteis de Nata and coffee at Cafe Majestic.
  • Enjoy a sundowner drink in colourful Ribeira (also called the Porto Riviera).

Day 2 Porto

Today, cross the Douro River on the imposing Dom Luís I Bridge to revel in Vila Nova de Gaia, home to Porto’s famous port wine cellars. There are dozens of wine cellars offering cellar tours and tastings, bars, cafes, restaurants and live music to keep you entertained all day long. 

The view of the Dom Luís I Bridge and Ribeira across the river is one of the most beautiful in the city. 

Things to do in Vila Nova de Gaia:

  • Go on a cellar tour followed by a port and wine tasting.
  • Jump onboard a traditional Rabelo boat for a cruise along the Douro River.
  • Grab a drink and sit on the riverbank while enjoying live music and the views.
  • Relax and have a picnic (with more wine) in Jardim de Morro with its panoramic view over the river and Ribiera.
  • Head up to Serra do Pilar for the best sunset view in Porto.

Day 3 Porto to Nazare

Time to hit the road today and get this road trip on its way! 

Nazare is located on the Silver Coast, 215 km south of Porto. An easy drive should get you to Nazare in about 2 hours. 

Beautiful Nazare is partially a traditional fishing town and partially a holiday town with excellent waves. 

Nazare will welcome you with wide-open stretches of beach, enormous waves, mouthwatering seafood and coastal vibes that might want to extend your road trip by a few days. If you have more than ten days in Portugal, spend a few extra days in Nazare – you won’t regret it. 

Day 4 Nazare

Did someone say beach day?

Nazare has two beaches, Praia do Norte and Praia de Nazare. Praia do Norte (North Beach) is world-famous for its enormous waves; the highest waves ever surfed in the whole world. Even if you’re not a surfer, head over to Praia do Norte to see the power of the Atlantic Ocean. The beach here is expansive and empty – perfect for long walks with no care in the world.

The beach in town has a gentle swell and is great for sunbathing and families. It’s also a great place to take a surf lesson.

Highlights Nazare

  • Ride the funicular to clifftop Sitio for a panoramic view over the red-tiled roofs of Nazare and the blue Atlantic.
  • Visit the Nazare lighthouse.
  • Join the pilgrims at the Igreja Nossa Senhora da Nazaré church.
  • See the traditional fishing boats on the beach.
  • Grab the freshest seafood (try the barnacles) at one of the many restaurants along the beachfront.
  • Snap a photo with Veado, a statue paying tribute to Nazare’s surf culture.
  • Eat petiscos (Portuguese tapas) at Sitiado.

Day 5 Nazare to Evora

After breakfast, perhaps take one last dip in the Atlantic before turning your car’s nose inland. Expect to cover the 240 km between Nazare and Evora in about two and a half hours in regular traffic. 

The medieval town of Obidos, not too far from Nazare, is worth a quick stop to see the castle.

As you head inland towards the Alentejo region, the coastal blues and greens gradually fade into shades of brown and yellow. The stunning drive takes you into rural Portugal with white-washed villages scattered between the rolling landscape of vineyards and cork forests. 

Once in Evora, park your car in one of the free parking areas outside the city wall. Old town Evora, surrounded by a city wall, is full of narrow cobblestoned alleys that are no good for driving or finding a place to park. 

The historic centre of Evora is a UNESCO city dating back to Roman times and had its golden age during the 15th century. Exploring the historic centre will show you incredible architecture, which had a significant influence on that of Brazil.

Besides stunning architecture, you’ll love Evora for its outstanding regional cuisines and wines.

Day 6 Evora

Evora’s historic centre is a treasure trove of history with many classic buildings, including a Roman Temple. Between seeing the sights, you’ll have ample time to sit in sunny squares to indulge in the local cuisine and have a glass or two of the region’s famous red wines. 

With a designated driver, you could also head out to the wineries near Evora. There are also a few places to do wine tastings in Evora if you can’t decide on a designated driver. 

Highlights of Evora

  • See the macabre Bone Chapel (Capela dos Ossos)
  • Go up to the roof of the Evora Cathedral.
  • Walk along the Aqueduct of Silver Water
  • Admire the nativity sets in the Igreja de São Francisco church.
  • See the Roman Temple of Diana.
  • Try the local speciality, Queijadas de Évora, a delicious cheese tart.
  • Go for a wine tasting at Rota dos Vinhos do Alentejo in the centre of town.
  • Explore the cork forest, megalithic sites and wineries in the countryside near Evora.

Day 7 Evora to Lisbon via Belem

Head back to the coast today and head towards Belem. The distance between Evora and Belem, a district of Lisbon, is about 130 km, and another easy drive should get you there in about an hour and a half. 

Belem, located on the banks of the Tagus River estuary, is home to a few of the most famous landmarks in Portugal. Of course, no visit to Belem would be complete without having a few of the world-famous Pasteis de Belem. 

Plan to spend most of the day in Belem to see the sights before driving the last few kilometres to Lisbon. Once in Lisbon, ditch the car as the city has excellent public transportation.

Best Things to Do in Belem

  • Climb to the top of the Belem Tower.
  • See the incredible view from the top of the Monument to the Discoveries.
  • Admire the stunning architecture of the Jerónimos Monastery.
  • Check out the royal wheels at the Coach Museum.
  • Stuff yourself with one and only Pasteis de Belem bakery – home to the best egg tarts in the universe.

Day 8 & 9 Lisbon

Your ten-day Portugal trip (sadly) comes to an end in Lisbon – but not before you get to see this fantastic city. Lisbon is such a cool city, and we’ve saved the best for last!

Portugal’s capital is drop-dead gorgeous with incredible architecture, captivating museums, sunny squares, funky street art, and unbelievable food. Most of all, Lisbon has an upbeat vibe like no other city in Europe. 

With two days in Lisbon, you can see most of the city’s highlights while also having a good time.

Must Do’s in Lisbon

  • Ride the iconic yellow Tram 28 through the cobblestone streets of Alfama.
  • Photograph Lisbon from one of the many miradouros (viewpoints).
  • Drink a bica (Portuguese espresso) at Cafe a Brasileira
  • Haggle for souvenirs at Feira da Ladra, the city’s flea market.
  • Eat at the Time Out Market.
  • Ride the Santa Justa elevator for some of the best views in the city.
  • Bask in the hip and creative vibes at LX Factory.
  • Don’t miss the Ler Devagar, one of the coolest bookshops and Instagram hotspots globally.
  • Admire the stunning Portuguese tiles at the National Tile Museum.
  • See a Fado show. 

Day 10 Daytrip to Sintra 

Sintra is straight from a fairy tale with its castles, mansions, and gardens. Thanks to the beauty of the buildings and gardens, Sintra is the most popular day trip from Lisbon.

Catch a train from Rossio Station in central Lisbon to the town of Sintra. Several daily trains run from Rossio Station to Sintra and take about 40 minutes. Once in Sintra, shuttle buses run various routes between the multiple castles and mansions.

The absolute must-sees in Sintra are the iconic Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira. If you have more time (and energy), the National Palace of Sintra is also worth a visit. 

At the end of your beautiful day in Sintra, catch the train back to Lisbon. Go pack your bags or drown your sorrows since this really is the end of your Portugal trip!

Ten Day Portugal Itinerary Variations:

This ten-day itinerary for Portugal shows the very best of the country. If you’re unlucky to have less time, skip Nazare or Evora and add an extra day in either Porto, Lisbon or Evora.

With more time, add a day or two in Porto and take a trip to the nearby Douro Valley. More beach time in Nazare will also be very rewarding.

You could also include Aveiro in your itinerary. Aveiro, between Porto and Nazare, with its Art Nouveau and Romanesque architecture and canals with gondolas, is rightfully known as the Venice of Portugal. 

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