Last Updated on August 11, 2023 by Molly Egan
Portugal is a captivating destination that offers an enchanting blend of history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture – 10 days in Portugal is the perfect timeframe to experience it all. Explore charming cities like Lisbon and Porto, indulge in delicious cuisine and renowned wines, relax on beautiful beaches, and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the Portuguese people!
You will fall head over heels for the beauty, Portuguese people, cuisine, tile, history, and wine! Read below to learn more about the best destinations for your Portugal itinerary.
The Best Time to Visit Portugal
There is no wrong time to visit Portugal; however, we highly recommend avoiding peak times. Enjoy the beaches sans crowds, and have easier luck securing the best restaurant reservations in Lisbon!
The shoulder seasons are the best time to visit – April to June and September to October! We went in early October and LOVED it. You could still have a beach vacation and not melt in the heat of high season in the city center.
July through August attracts the most tourists for a beach vacation. Wintertime, December to February, is mild in the Southern region and cold and wet in Northern Portugal. Based on your interest, pick the best time!
For wine lovers, hit Douro River Valley during the grape harvest and grape-crushing events!
Is 10 Days in Portugal Enough?
No, the more, the better. My Portugal trip itinerary was twelve days, and I wish I had an extra day in Douro Valley and Algarve. There is so much to see; you want to keep a relaxed pace and not rush through it!
Don’t fret; a 10 day Portugal itinerary is plenty of time to experience the best of Portugal’s major cities. This time frame is often the best to maximize American workforce holidays or time off allowances. July through August attracts the most tourists for a beach vacation.
Where to Begin and End Your Portugal Trip Itinerary
The best way to start your trip is at Lisbon airport or Porto airport! Especially those from international destinations – I flew into Porto and out of Lisbon airport for time efficiency and low costs.
You could start (or end) in Faro, the most Southern airport in Portugal. There are more options when you fly out of Lisbon airport to worldwide destinations, which is why I did that.
Are you continuing your European vacation or heading to other nearby destinations? Well, the options are great in Faro! Who wouldn’t want to fly British Airways, Air France, Aer Lingus, RyanAir, or SAS and have a couple of days’ stopover in London, Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, or Dublin? Those who try to maximize our points often do this – such a lovely circumstance!
Lisbon’s Santa Apolonia train station, is the train station that will connect you to Faro, Porto, and even Madrid! Due to the ease with buses and trains from Lisbon connecting you throughout Portugal, the Lisbon airport, with the most international destination routes, is a great start and end.
So as you can tell – you have options! We recommend starting in Northern Portugal, Porto, and ending in Faro or Lisbon. We took the train from Faro back to Lisbon to fly out of the Lisbon airport. You can use Lisbon as a base, but we recommend reducing transit and heading North to South or South to North – especially with 10 days in Portugal or less.
Travel Tips For 10 Days In Portugal Itinerary
Tips for Renting a Car in Portugal
The cheapest way to rent a car is a pickup and drop-off in the same location. We recommend snagging a rental car if you want to meander a few hours along the coastline from Lisbon to Algarve!
Renting a car while in the Algarve region – depending on where you plan on staying, for instance, Lagos could be a challenge to park it – will allow you to explore Portugal in the best way and maximize enjoyment and lack of dependence on tour guides and taxis.
Use Discover Cars to quickly compare your car rental options – you can save up to 70%!
- A “one-way” fee will cause a higher cost in a rental – ranging from 40-60 Euro.
- Automatic versus Manual – save money and rent a Manual engine rental car. If you drive a manual, you’re in luck with will up to 50% off the cost of Automatic. Compact Manual rental cars are 20-70 euros/day depending rental car provider, and compact Automatic is 40-90 euros/day.
- Toll Roads throughout Portugal – ensure an electronic transponder is included with your rental. Highways often have these. You’ll find this driving from Lagos and Faro on A22, Lisbon to Algarve on A2, and A1 from Lisbon to Porto. For example, the A2 from Algarve to Lisbon will cost under €20 in tolls.
Split Up Your Northern Portugal and Southern Portugal Trips
We highly suggest a minimum of two days in Porto, two to three days in Lisbon, three days in Algarve, and 2 days in Douro Valley. If you are crunched for time, then two days in Porto, Lisbon, Douro Valley, and three days in Algarve is plenty.
You will find that travel to and from Algarve will take a good day, so plan accordingly. If you love hiking and luscious green landscapes – think Hawaii – then travel to Azores and Madeira over Algarve!
Getting Around Portugal
There are multiple methods to get around Portugal – bus, train, rental car, and plane. The time can be similar by car, train, and bus; however, a fraction of that is typically by plane. The cost and time is something you can decide. And change the modes of transportation based on your preferences.
How To Get From Lisbon to Algarve, Porto to Douro Valley, Porto to Lisbon by all modes below!
For train tickets, use Omio to compare prices and timetables. The Comboios de Portugal has an excellent app for tickets.
By Car Rental:
Lisbon to Algarve is 173 miles (280 km), typically 2 hours and 50 minutes. There are two options for route, A12 to A2, which is the fastest, and N120 (160 miles/257 km), which runs the coastline and offers fantastic views and beautiful beaches.
Porto to Douro Valley is a beautiful drive of 1 hour and 30 minutes by car. Even though you have the flexibility to move easily throughout the valley, we recommend this tour guide.
Porto to Lisbon
Lisbon to Algarve is 2 hours and 50 minutes by train, and you have direct service between Entrecampos Station (Lisbon) and Faro Station (Algarve). Note Lagos is 90km and 60 minutes from Faro.
Porto to Douro Valley is 2 hours and 10 minutes from Regus train station – the most beautiful ride of Portugal’s train system!
Porto to Lisbon ranges from 3 or 3 hours and 30 minutes by train from Campanha to Lisbon’s Santa Apolónia Station.
Lisbon to Algarve is 3 to 4 hours, depending on traffic and timing. Catch the bus at Lisbon Oriente station and arrive in Faro for the cheapest option – typically 8-20 Euro depending on time and how far in advance you book.
Porto to Douro Valley is 1 hour and 20 minutes by bus from Campanhã to Vila Real and USD 12. The Flixbus offers Panorama View Seats at the front that we highly recommend!
Porto to Lisbon is 3 hours and 20 minutes to 4 hours and 20 minutes depending on the time of day and traffic and also ranges from $12-22 USD depending on the seat, time of day, and when booked.
Lisbon to Algarve is 45 minutes by plane nonstop with Tap Air Portugal and ranges from $47 to $150 USD – the timing sounds fantastic, yet you need to account for security and checking luggage (if you have procured Portuguese port and wine!)
Porto to Douro Valley is not available by commercial airlines, yet you can book a private for a few thousand dollars an hour.
Porto to Lisbon is 1-hour nonstop flight and ranges from $41 – $150 USD pending airline. Tap Air Portugal offers the cheapest fare.
Where to Stay in Portugal
Staying in Lisbon, the neighborhoods near or in the city center will be near to public transport and transit or within walking distance of many attractions and wine bars.
Baixa, Chiado, Principle Real, Barrio Alto, and Alfama are excellent areas to stay! Find a top Lisbon hotel recommendation here.
Stay North of the River to maximize your walkability to the city center and many worthwhile destinations. We stayed South of the Douro River and took the subway or street car into town and a taxi back at night.
Vignette Collection: Casa da Companhia is our top recommendation for staying in the heart of the city.
Depending on your interest, there are many places to stay. In the hills, walking distance to the beach, beachfront, or resorts with views.
Our recommendation is Holiday Inn Algarve – Armacao de Pera as it is less commercial and touristy, for a quiet and beachfront experience that is a close drive to so many great destinations and a midway point between Lagos and Faro.
Choose your day trips based on your travel style.
There are so many opportunities to savor the travel you prefer for your perfect Portugal itinerary. Read on and pick based on your preferences!
Whether that be a food tour, architectural walking tour, wine tour, organized tour, historical places, palaces, UNESCO World Heritage sites, beach vacations, or tourist attractions, there is everything for you in Portugal!
Be Prepared to climb lots of hills.
Porto and Lisbon hills will sneak up on you! Lisbon will remind you of the San Francisco hills – especially the Tram 28 (SF trolley) and the 25th of April Bridge (Golden Gate Bridge). Bring comfy shoes, pace yourself for this 10 day Portugal itinerary, and take a taxi (often just a few euros) when tired.
Miradouros: Portuguese for viewpoints, await you at the top of these hills. Most of these in Lisbon have kiosks to order drinks and snacks – reward your efforts!
10 Days in Portugal Itinerary Breakdown
Highly recommend that you fly into Porto and out of Faro (flying out of Lisbon is fine as there are often more options). This way, you will have less back and forth with trains, planes, and driving – the most efficient way to travel through Portugal!
And if you fly in and out of Lisbon, that’s fine too; you’ll add another train or bus ride to your itinerary to catch your flight. Here’s how to spend your first 10 days in Portugal:
- Day 1: Arrive in Porto in AM
- Day 2: Porto
- Day 3: Porto or Day Trip to Douro Valley (recommend overnight)
- Day 4: Travel to Lisbon or Douro Valley Day
- Day 5: Lisbon
- Day 6: Day Trip to Sintra
- Day 7: Lisbon or Travel to Algarve
- Day 8: Algarve or Travel to Algarve
- Day 9: Algarve
- Day 10: Algarve and PM Travel to Flight Home (Lisbon/Faro)
- Day 11 – 12: Extend your time with more time in Douro Valley, Lisbon & Algarve, as well as day trips like Coimbra or driving along the Western coastline to Algarve.
Complete 10 Days in Portugal Itinerary for First Timers
Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city! The iconic blue tiles of this city will charm you, as well as the Ribeira district along the Douro River and the Dom Luis bridge.
Several Harry Potter locations are very crowded and touristy. However, Livraria Lello is unique with the curved staircase. Beware. You will need a timed ticket for entry.
You can visit various port wine cellars and tasting rooms in town. If you don’t have time to visit Duoro, you must visit these local tasting rooms!
Day 1 – Porto City Center
Porto is smaller than Lisbon but charming! The best part is that it is very walkable. These are the go-tos you must see on your walk through old town here.
The walking tours we recommend are X.
If you choose to meander the city center yourself, then make sure you see these iconic views and both architectural and historical buildings: Se do Porto cathedral, Palacio da Bolsa, Igreja de S. Francisco, and São Bento Station (Estação de São Bento has the most beautiful azulejo traditional Portuguese ceramic tile artwork throughout the interior – skip if you are using the train station).
Walking along the waterfront or a boat ride if jetlag has the best of you.
Day 2 – Foz Do Douro + Museu de Serralves
A Portugal itinerary will include a lot of walks along the coastal cities and beaches. Walk the beach along Av. de Montevideo – stop at multiple wine bars and restaurants – and visit the fortresses.
Are you an art enthusiast? Then Museu de Serralves must be on your Portugal itinerary – take advantage of the old pink house; the entrance is hidden! This is one of my top art museums – the views, landscape, garden, architecture, design, art, and installations are worthwhile!
Day Trips from Porto (Options: Day 2 or Day 3)
Lamego – This town is the heart of Douro Valley’s wine region; get a brief glimpse into the wine region. It has historic charm with old buildings, a cathedral, and traditional Portuguese cuisine.
Pinhao – Is another town in the Douro Valley wine region – just SouthEast of Lamengo. Another excellent day trip to wineries and possibly by train!
Guimaraes – the “Birthplace of Portugal” is 50km north of Porto and a UNESCO world heritage site with a castle, Palace of the Dukes of Braganza.
Douro Valley – UNESCO world heritage site and oldest wine region worldwide! It is a 3 to 4-hour train ride from Porto – worth the ride for amazing views. Prepare for a long day trip – recommend more time in Douro Valley and not rushing vineyard hopping.
Aveiro – this coastal city is often called the “Venice of Portugal” and is 45 min South of Porto by car or an hour by train. Consider this very touristy but fun for water lovers.
Braga is 50 km North of Porto and over 2,000 years old town. It’s known for its rich religious heritage and is called the “Rome of Portugal” due to the number of churches, cathedrals, and religious festivals. Bom Jesus do Monte is a pilgrimage site with beatitude Baroque style.
This valley is stunning with vistas, terraced hillside, Douro River, and several vineyards offering wine tastings. We highly recommend taking a wine tour and tasting the port wine and all sorts of wine this region provides!
Day 3 Douro Valley
Pack up and have a guide pick you up in Lisbon, or take the train to Douro Valley! Stay in the valley and organize a tour guide through a hotel, or stay at a winery and save yourself time and planning! The Wine House Hotel – Quinta da Pacheca is unbelievable!
Top favorite vineyards worth visiting – read here for the 7 best Douro Valley wineries to see near Pinhao and the 7 Best Hotels to stay in the Douro Valley.
These are our favorite tour guides of the Douro Valley Wine Region.
Day 4 Douro Valley + Transit To Lisbon
Pending your taste or love of wine, we recommend heading to Lisbon by train or spending a second day in Douro Valley and driving to Lisbon. It will be 3 1/2 to 4 hours by car or 6 hours by train.
You can have a morning tasting or bike ride through the area, grab a packed lunch for your train around noon, and arrive early evening for dinner in Lisbon!
Lisbon is the capital city, known for its captivating blend of history and modernity, charming neighborhoods, stunning viewpoints, Portuguese tile, delicious culinary restaurants, wine bars, and Fado music.
What is the Historical Significance of Lisbon?
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, stretching back to old Phoenician outposts and indigenous Celtic settlements around 800 BC. Lisbon flourished during the 15th and 16th centuries; many of Lisbon’s most famous landmarks were built at that time – Jeronimos Monastery and Belem Tower.
Lisbon suffered a significant earthquake that almost destroyed it in 1755. The city grew immensely in the late 18th and 19th centuries and was rebuilt with ceramic tile – Marques de Pombel supported the idea of one pattern tile and repeating it. Visit the Azulrjo Tile Museum to learn more!
Arrive in Lisbon and start exploring the city
Alfama is the oldest neighborhood full of Fado music options, narrow streets, and charm. Belém has iconic historic landmarks and famous Pastéis. Baixa and Chaido are great for strolling through the heart of the city, cafes, shops, and wine bars. Tram 28 is a great way to see so much of the town!
Evening: Sunset Boat Tour or Fado Show
If the weather permits, you must take a sunset boat tour of the Tagus River (Rio Tejo). A fantastic waterfront path and the MAAT museum nearby are very worthwhile attractions before your boat tour.
Day 5 Lisbon – Portuguese Capital City
This city is so charming! We recommend taking it easy on your first day and grabbing the Tram 28 in Martim Moniz Square (Praça Martim Moniz), which ends near Prazeres Cemetery (Cemitério dos Prazeres).
Insiders Tip: The Tram is quite famous, so to avoid the crowded Tram and long lines – catch it early in the morning or during off-peak hours!
After departing the Tram in the Estrela neighborhood, walk or take a taxi or Uber to LX Factory. Enjoy the art, shops, food, street art, and restaurants – an excellent spot for lunch!
Then head straight over to the Belem area and visit the MAAT museum, the Jeronimos Monastery, Pastéis de Belem (well-known Pasteis’ so expect crowds), and take a boat ride of the Tagus River.
The Belem area has plenty of bicycle-sharing and scooter-sharing to spend time in this area easily. Most boat rides depart from Belem and include dinner or happy hour – so eat on the boat or treat yourself to these recommended Lisbon restaurants.
This town is fairytale-like and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is very much worth a visit. You will spend a long day exploring, so start early and expect a late arrival in Lisbon.
Tour guides are available; however, find that the bus that lets you off at several destinations is all you need. There are hiking trails connecting the famous estates and castles as well!
Planning Your Day Trip to Sintra
Be honest; what do you love – deep dives or highlights? This town is impressive; you can very easily spend quite a long day discovering all the estates. Buy tickets in advance for the Palaces – especially for the Pena Palace and Moorish Castle.
Day 6 Lisbon – Day Trip to Sintra
Start your day trip to Sintra early, around 8:00 AM in Lisbon, and take the 40-minute train ride. Visit the colorful Pena Palace first, then go down to the Castle of the Moors (also called Moorish Castle – it reminded me of the Great Wall of China, er, Portugal), then have lunch in the town and historic center.
Then in the afternoon, explore Sintra National Palace and Quinta da Regaleira – save your time on this one, as the gardens are magical! Then catch the train back to Lisbon for dinner!
If you want to go slow here, you can spend the night and even go to the beach nearby.
Top Five Places to Visit in Sintra
Pena Palace (Palácio da Pena) is a fairytale-like castle atop a hill, boasting vibrant colors and eclectic architectural styles. Its romantic and enchanting setting makes it the most iconic landmark in Sintra.
Quinta da Regaleira is a mystical estate with underground tunnels, lush gardens, and the famous Initiation Well, surrounded by esoteric symbols and stunning architecture.
Sintra National Palace (Palácio Nacional de Sintra) is Portugal’s oldest surviving royal palace, distinguished by its twin conical chimneys and beautiful tilework.
Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros) is a medieval fortress with ancient walls and towers, offering panoramic views of Sintra’s surrounding landscapes.
Monserrate Palace (Palácio de Monserrate) is a captivating palace with a mix of Gothic, Indian, and Moorish architectural elements, set amidst exotic gardens.
Enjoy more of Lisbon’s Highlights
When viewing the Santa Luzia Church – a beautiful baroque church – don’t miss the most beautiful panoramic view of the capital city and the Tagus River from Miradouro de Santa Luzia.
The wine bars in Lisbon are fantastic and the fabric of the entire city! Enjoy a food tour, or meander the fabric of this beautiful city from one restaurant or wine bar to another!
Purchase our Guide to the Best of Lisbon wine bars, restaurants, and miradouros here – save time researching with the best local tips!
Day 7 Lisbon
Lisbon is charming, so we recommend meandering or flaneuring through the city and historic center, taking a walking tour if that’s your fancy, heading straight towards Castelo de Sao Jorge (Castle of São Jorge) and taking a tour and enjoying the views! Insiders Tip: Buy tickets in advance online for a timed tour or roam it yourself.
Afterward, meander your way to some of the best wine bars in Lisbon – read more on the best here. Use google maps if you get lost or enjoy the experience.
You have several options from the town to stay and visit. Depending on your mode of transportation and the timing of trains and flights, you may want to be closer to Faro or midway between Faro and Lagos or in Lagos.
Lagos is a historic town center that is not rental car friendly. The farther East you go on the coast, the smaller and less touristy it gets. However, Faro has its fair share of crowds.
The coastline, rock formations, caves, walking trails, and views will have you in awe!
Day 8 Algarve
Take the train to the Algarve region or rent a car and drive!
Best of Lagos + Nearby Towns
We loved all the towns along the Southern Portugal coast – such as Silves, Porches, Portimão, Armação de Pêra, and Lagos. Albufeira is known for the nightlife, and Ferragudo is more laid back – both a short drive from Lagos.
Day 9 Algarve – Hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail and Kayak to Benagil Cave
You must go on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail as you will get the most gorgeous views yet in your Portugal itinerary. Suggest you start at one end of entire country and circle back to get all the sights in!
There are restaurants scattered among the beaches that make a lovely stop. You can plan ahead and take a kayak from several of the beaches to Benagil Cave – you’ll most recognize this from Microsoft screensavers!
Portimão has several boat tour guides taking you along the coast to many caves.
Evening Tour: Ponta da Piedade + Lagos’ Historic Center
Lagos is a worthwhile stop but quite touristy, yet, the history is there!
Ponta da Bandeira is worth a look and has one of the most stunning viewpoints, and the rock formations are dramatic and breathtaking. Insiders Tip: Go for sunset! If you can’t make it, the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail delivers on the same level!
Visit Local Wineries And Have Wine Pairing Dinners
This region has several wineries – a great afternoon activity when the rain rolls in!
We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and wine pairings at Morgado do Quintão and highly recommend this for a memorable experience in Algarve!
Portimão has a charming beach and rock formations to admire – Praia dos Três Castelos is a great beach to walk! Enjoy this beach or a local one before returning to Lisbon via train or plane, or depart home through Faro airport.
Praia da Marinha is a beautiful beach mentioned in many guidebooks and blogs – you will see it when hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, yet it’s worth another visit. There is plenty of parking.
Insiders Tip: If you are leaving from Lisbon, you can make the most of your last full day in the beach town and drive three hours back in the evening.
Main Regions Visited on this Portugal Itinerary
In this Portugal itinerary, you will visit Porto in the Northern Region of Portugal. Douro Valley encompasses several districts in northern Portugal – Vila Real, Bragança, Viseu, and Guarda.
Lisbon is the capital city in the central western part of Portugal. Algarve is the southernmost part of Portugal, known for its coastline, sandy beaches, and Mediterranean climate.
Starting Your 10 Days in Portugal in Lisbon
When Starting in Lisbon, you will be exploring both North and South! If you don’t like wine, skip Douro Valley and have a 2-day trip and 1 night in Porto!
Early Morning Train to Porto, Then Explore
If you start your trip in Lisbon, I recommend an early morning train to Porto and then spend a night there and then a night in Douro River Valley or a day trip to Douro River Valley and a night in Porto.
Beach-Focused Time in Portugal
Since Portugal has a very long coastline, you have many beach time options.
Lisbon Beaches: Cascais – Praia do Guincho is well known for windsurfing, and kiteboarding is a 35-minute car ride or 90 minutes train ride. Praia da Duquesa is 35 min car ride and an hour’s train ride from central Lisbon.
Porto Beaches: Praia de Miramar is a beautiful beach area to walk but farther South of Porto. The beach along Av, de Montevideo is highly recommended for the restaurants, beach, running paths, and wine bars scattered throughout.
Algarve Beaches: Praia de Marinha. Benagil Beach, Praia do Carvalho Beach has a very cool hidden staircase providing access, Praia do Vale de Centeanes, Praia dos Três Castelos,
Other Things to Add If You’ve Got More Than 10 Days in Portugal
Highly recommend the Azores and Madeira islands if you have additional time. If you prefer a beach vacation or adventure vacation full of breathtaking hiking landscapes, these islands are just for you.
This island is a subtropical climate year-round destination with comfortable temperatures. This area consists of nine volcanic islands subdivided into three groups – Eastern. Central and Western. The rugged terrain, volcanic landscapes, and lush greenery are a must on your Portugal itinerary.
These four islands are famous for the “levada walks,” where you can hike along irrigation canals and breathtaking landscapes. Island is known for its vibrant festivals, Port wine history, exotic flowers, dramatic cliffs, mountainous terrain, and sun all year round.
Alternative Day Trips: Obidos + the UNESCO Monasteries
Óbidos is a charming medieval town in the Centro Region of Portugal – 80 km north of Lisbon. It is one of the country’s most picturesque and well-preserved medieval towns.
It is a great day trip from Lisbon if you have extra time. Ginja, a cherry liqueur served in a small edible chocolate cup, is a fun and popular drink!
Coimbra is Portugal’s “third city,” the former capital city from 1100-the- 1300s, and has architecture worth visiting! The University of Coimbra is a UNESCO World Heritage – one of the oldest universities in the world, dating back to the 13th century.
Coimbra is a great stop going between Porto and Lisbon.
There are several UNESCO Monasteries that are worthwhile, pending your travel taste. Monastery of Batalha in Batalha and the Monastery of the Hieronymites in Belem are the top two significant cultural, historical, and architectural landmarks.
What to Do with Less Time in Portugal
If you are going under the recommended 10 days in Portugal, we recommend sticking to either Porto or Douro Valley, two days in each.
Visiting Portugal for five days is best spent in Lisbon for two days, Porto for two days, and Douro Valley for one day. If you do not drink wine, substitute Douro Valley for day trips to Sintra and a beach day!
7 Days in Portugal Itinerary
If you only have a week in Portugal, then we suggest Lisbon (2 days) – Sintra (1 day) – Porto (2 days) – Douro Valley (1 day). This leaves you a few days flexible travel day as a pending mode of transportation – bus, train, car, the plane. We want to make sure your time in Portugal is manageable!
Packing Essentials for Any Portugal Itinerary
Find the essential packing list for Portugal Trip Itinerary here.
For those that want to fly throughout, we highly recommend these carry-on suitcases for your travels!
Itinerary in Portugal Conclusion
As you can see, there is plenty to see and do for all travelers – food enthusiasts, wine lovers, architectural aficionados, surfers, lovers of beautiful beaches, or history buffs.
This ten day trip is just scratching the surface. This Portugal itinerary is a great way to taste Portuguese culture and discover what you want to return for!