Portugal Travel Itinerary
Get ready for an unforgettable Portugal travel experience! (road trip) The route starts and ends in the south of Portugal, in Faro, and is best done by campervan. Using a car/public transport is also possible, but plan for accommodation and getting to more remote locations.
Please spend a few hours here during the day exploring its quaint streets, sandwiched between white and yellow-painted cottages. Make sure to pay a visit to the ruins of the Roman temple and the Evora cathedral.
Once you have enjoyed a few hours in Evora, continue your drive further north to Elvas. Just 1km from the walled city, discover the impressive Forte de Nossa Senhora da Graca: a huge star-shaped fort that sits high on a hill, where you can see an amazing sunset. The enormous fort walls are imposing, but the fort’s unique shape really takes your breath away.
Before you leave Elvas on day 2, take an early morning trip to the Amoreira Aqueduct. This is a huge 4 tiered archway bridge that sits at the entrance to the town of Elvas. The 16th-century aqueduct was used to facilitate water movement in the town for many years and is still used today. The impressive 8km long structure is also a UNESCO site and is an absolute must-see.
Portugal road trip
Day 2-3: Monsanto Rock Village
On day 2, head to one of the most mesmerizing locations in Portugal: Monsanto Rock Village! Named as ‘the most Portuguese village in Portugal’, this hilltop village takes you back to a simpler time.
Here, houses emerge out of gigantic boulders, with ladders and doors that take you up to rooftop rock terraces. Enjoy the spectacular views out across the valley from Monsanto and the most magical starry night sky!
Staying the night is a good idea, as most people visit Monsanto on an organized day tour. Because of this, after 5 pm, the village will be totally peaceful and free of tourists. It also allows you to stay in one of the unique rock houses.
Day 4-5: Douro Valley, Portugal
One of the highlights of a Portugal travel road trip has to be time spent in the stunning Douro valley, amongst its endless vineyards and rolling hills. Enjoy time in the valley towns, such as Peso Regua, take part in water sports on the mighty Douro river, and drive along some of the most spectacular roads in Europe.
Monsanto to Douro Valley: 3 hours driving. Alternatively, make your way down into the valley by taxi to the town of Covilha. From here, there is a public bus to Peso Regua, taking 3 hours. Be aware that only two buses run per day.
Day 6: Braga
Walking around Braga is a pleasure, with its beautiful gardens and squares filled with colorful flowers. What’s more, it’s home to the oldest cathedral in Portugal, so dedicate a day to visit the city itself.
Peneda Geres National Park, Portugal
If you have time, drive a little further north to Peneda Geres National Park’s remote landscapes. Here you will find many waterfalls, lakes, and deep valleys, peppered with quaint hillside villages and Roman ruins. The largest national park in Portugal is well worth the trip if you are traveling Portugal by campervan, as it’s the ideal way to explore nature.
Peso Regua to Braga: 1 hour 20 minutes driving. If using public transport, you will need to go to Porto first and access the bus or train from there. From Porto, Braga can be visited easily by train in just under an hour, with a regular service running throughout the day.
Braga to Porto: Traveling by camper van? Drive 45 minutes to Porto and park your camper outside of the city, so you can spend a few days in a hotel for easier sightseeing.
Day 10-11: Arouca and Aveiro
The Arouca Paiva Walkways is an 8km long stretch of stairs and boardwalks that scale the rocks and valley surrounding the river Paiva. If visiting in the summer, there are also deep pools in certain areas that are suitable for swimming.
It is a fairly steep and difficult walk that takes around 2 hours 30 mins. Because of this, you’ll need to wear proper walking shoes, bring a hat, and lots of water if walking in the summer. The fast-flowing river also makes it an excellent place for kayakers who want to enjoy the white water and rapids.
Porto to Arouca: 50 minutes driving from Porto. Alternatively, take a taxi or join an organized tour leaving from the city.
The gondolas of Aveiro are called ‘Moliceiros’, and most of the guides that row these boats will also provide you with interesting historical information about the maritime town.
Arouca to Aveiro: 1 hr 20 minutes by car. If you are using public transport, it’s easiest to go back to Porto and transfer onto a train from there.
Walk the 1.6km-long and 13-meter high castle walls surrounding the town, marveling at the beautiful views across rolling hills and vineyards, before exploring the charming cobblestone streets filled with traditional shops bougainvillea flowers.
Aveiro to Obidos: 1 hour 50 minutes driving. There is also a public bus from Aveiro to Obidos that takes 3 hours, with a change in a town called Caldas Rainha.
Spend your days basking in the sunshine, enjoying live music next to the river as the sun goes down, and jumping from one cafe to another sampling custard tarts and drinking coffee: bliss!
Obidos to Lisbon: 1 hr 10 minutes drive. There is also a direct train running throughout the day that takes 2.5 hours.
Day 17-20: Algarve
Drive down to the southern Algarve region of Portugal to spend your final days relaxing on sandy beaches, exploring caves with emerald water, and learning how to surf under the great cliffs of Portugal. Lagos’ gorgeous whitewashed town is the perfect place to base yourself for a few days in the Algarve.
Not only is the town beautiful, with a lively atmosphere and plenty of amazing restaurants, but it’s within walking distance to some of the best beaches in Portugal, as well as world-famous surf spots. Also visit the small fishermen village Ferragudo.
Lisbon to Lagos: 2 hr 45 minutes drive. There is also a 4-hour train, with one change in the town of Tunes.
Carvoeiro & Albufeira
While staying in Lagos, don’t forget to visit towns like Carvoeiro and Albufeira. Both coastal towns boast a variety of outdoor activities for travelers. Whether it’s hiking along the boardwalks that sit on the dramatic cliffs or paddleboarding amongst the caves off the shoreline, there is something for all adventure enthusiasts. Albufeira is also known for its buzzing nightlife if you’re looking for a more lively atmosphere while on your Portugal travel route.
Day 21: Faro
End your Portugal travel route by spending the night in the beautiful old town of Faro. The Algarve region’s capital is often only used as a jumping-off point to the rest of Portugal. However, it’s well worth spending a day here admiring the ancient cathedral and walking amongst the white-washed houses that overlook the nearby lagoon and harbor.
Lagos to Faro: Direct train in 1 hour 45 minutes OR drive in less than an hour.
Costs of Traveling in Portugal
Portugal is one of the cheapest countries to travel to in Europe! Enjoy a coffee for around 2 USD and stay in a beautiful apartment for 25 USD per night.
How to Get Around Portugal
Portugal is home to some of the most beautifully remote locations. Because of this, we highly recommend hiring a camper van or renting a car. Especially in the east, and the very north of Portugal, it will be necessary to have your own transport.
Despite this, there are bus services running between villages, so it is possible to use public transport. Consider following a west coast route, as there are great rail and bus links between Lisbon and Porto.
Best Time to Travel in Portugal
Portugal is stunning all year round. However, the spring and the fall is the best time to visit Portugal. This is the shoulder season, when there are fewer tourists and prices will be cheaper. Additionally, there are still many sunshine hours, but it’s not quite as hot and sticky as the summer months.
September/October is also the harvest season, so a great time to visit the wineries in Douro valley. Additionally, you can see the surf sessions happening in places like Nazare where some of the highest waves in the world are surfed.