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Trip Report

10 Day Portugal Itinerary (Road Trip Porto to Lisbon)

This Porto to Lisbon road trip is full of food, wine and culture. Discover my trip for yourself with this 10 day itinerary.

  • Sintra+ 3
  • Porto
  • Porto
  • 10 Day Portugal Itinerary (Road Trip Porto to Lisbon)
About Me:Madeline Rae Away is a travel and lifestyle blog created by Madeline - A Canadian living in Sweden. read more

EuropePortugal8 days / April - May 2019

Highs & Lows

There's something for everyone. Nature, cities, beaches - and it is so affordable!

Visiting Lisbon during Easter weekend because it was so busy.

Itinerary Overview

Portugal is a spot that has become increasingly popular in recent years and for a good reason. It is easily one of my favourite countries I've visited. And while it may not be the "hidden gem" it once was, it is still a country that should be high on your bucket list. A great time to visit is in the springtime, where you'll be greeted by mild temperatures, amazing cities and scenery, so much food and wine, and less crowds than in the summer months.

In this 10-day Portugal itinerary, you'll find the best things to do and eat in Porto, Lisbon, the Douro Valley, and Sintra. While this itinerary is best experienced by car, it can also be done by public transport if you don't feel comfortable driving. Although, driving in Portugal is actually very easy.

This is the perfect itinerary for nature lovers, food and wine enthusiasts, and those looking for the ultimate city experiences. We'll skip the Portugal beaches because there is simply not enough time to visit Portugal properly in 10 days and fit in the Algarve as well (despite what other itineraries may tell you). Instead, we'll focus on lots of hidden gems, the best restaurants and wineries, must-stay hotels, and top tourist spots.

  • 2 Nights: Porto
    Beautiful Old Town, Great Food Scene, and Countless Wineries!
  • 2 Nights: Douro River
    Wineries, hikes, and views!
  • 1 Night: Sintra
    Magical palaces and untouched nature
  • 3 Nights: Lisbon
    Food, culture, and interesting architecture (especially the famous mosaic tiles!)
Porto - Beautiful Old Town, Great Food Scene, and Countless Wineries!

Porto Beautiful Old Town, Great Food Scene, and Countless Wineries!

Porto - Beautiful Old Town, Great Food Scene, and Countless Wineries! - null
Porto - Beautiful Old Town, Great Food Scene, and Countless Wineries! - null
Porto - Beautiful Old Town, Great Food Scene, and Countless Wineries! - null

Porto is often looked at as the "little sister" to Lisbon, but it is so much more than that and definitely has it's own identity! It's perhaps a bit grittier and less perfect than Lisbon, but the hilly river-side city is so charming. It was such a highlight of my time in Portugal. Here's a few of my favourite things to do (+ eat).

Cais da Ribeira: This is your spot of all the famous Portuguese tiles. You can walk along the riverfront and sneak into tiny alleyways. This area is meant to be explored (+ photographed).

Luis I Bridge: This famous bridge connects the two sides of Porto and offers such an amazing vantage point of Cais da Riberia.

Port Tasting: Once you've crossed the bridge, you'll be greeted by dozens and dozens of wineries. Here you'll find some of the best spots to try Portugal's famous port wine. We loved our tasting at Ramos Pinto, but I would imagine many of these spots would be amazing.

Clerigos Church: head up to the top of the tower of Clerigos Church for the absolute best views of the city!

Sao Bento Railway Station: This gorgeous historic train station is covered head-to-tow in blue and white tiles. It is a popular spot to visit, so my best advice is to go early. If you like blue and white tiles, another great spot to visit is Bolsa Palace.

Take a Porto Food Tour: An absolute highlight in Porto was our tour with Secret Food Tours. Our guide took us all around the city, showing us the best "secret" spots to try some of Porto's most famous dishes, like bifana and francesinha. They also take you for a port tasting!

Grab brunch at one of my favourite Porto brunch spots: A few of my favourites include Magestic Cafe, O Diplomata, and Zenith!

Douro River - Wineries, hikes, and views!

Douro River Wineries, hikes, and views!

Douro River - Wineries, hikes, and views! - null
Douro River - Wineries, hikes, and views! - null
Douro River - Wineries, hikes, and views! - null

I didn't know much much about the Portuguese wine region before visiting The Douro Valley. But, wow. This place is such am untouched gem. It is most often visited as a day trip from Porto, but if you have time, I highly suggest spending a couple days in this little paradise.

Did you know that the drive from Peso da Régua to Pinhao along the N-222 has been rated the "best road in the world?" If you have an option to drive this drive, you'll understand why. It is truly stunning. However, if you aren't keen on driving, you can take a river cruise or a train to Pinhao from Porto.

If you're wondering where to base yourself in The Douro Valley, I can really recommend the Pinhao region. If you have a car, Casa Cimeira is a small family-owned wine hotel in the hills surrounding Pinhao and it is such a special spot. If you decide to stay here, make sure you join the evening family dinner for a true local experience. However, it would be hard to access without a car. So, if arriving by boat or train, you should stay in Pinhao.

Wondering what to do in The Douro Valley? Here's a few suggestions:

Visit a winery: Port wine originates from this region so you must do a port wine tasting. I can recommend visiting the very famous Sandeman winery, as well as the smaller family-owned Quinta da Corte.

Go on a boat cruise: From Pinhao, you can go for a river cruise through the valley of the Douro.

Just hike or walk through the towns of the Douro: I haven't been many places as idyllic as this region. The town we stayed in, Valenca do Douro was a remote little paradise. Around the town you could wander into paths through the vineyards and enjoy the views - without anyone else in sight.

Sintra - Magical palaces and untouched nature

Sintra Magical palaces and untouched nature

Sintra - Magical palaces and untouched nature - null
Sintra - Magical palaces and untouched nature - null

Sintra and the Cascais is magical. It's filled with untouched greenery, old relics, palaces, and stunning coastline. Many people opt to make Sintra a day trip from Lisbon only to visit the most famous landmark - Pena Palace. However, there is so much more to see in this region and the best way to visit is with a tour. I can only recommend Greenwalk Tours for visiting this region. 

We opted for a private tour with Greenwalk Tours to make sure we made the most of our experience. We started super early at Pena Palace when i was opening to beat the crowds, and continued on an off-roading Jeep tour through the most remote areas of the gorgeous Cascais. The tour brought us to popular landmarks, but also to more off the beaten path spots that can only be reached by 4x4. It would be really difficult to do this tour on your own and it was worth every penny.

One of the highlights of this tour was Convent of the Capuchos, a 500-year-old monastery that used to be the home to local monks. Our guide told us stories about the monks and their lives, and exploring the existing ruins was super unique.

Another can't miss spot in this region is Cabo da Roca - the most western point in Europe. You can also stop by local beaches including Azenhas do Mar and Praia Grande for some beautiful coastline views.

Lisbon - Food, culture, and interesting architecture (especially the famous mosaic tiles!)

Lisbon Food, culture, and interesting architecture (especially the famous mosaic tiles!)

Lisbon - Food, culture, and interesting architecture (especially the famous mosaic tiles!) - null
Lisbon - Food, culture, and interesting architecture (especially the famous mosaic tiles!) - null
Lisbon - Food, culture, and interesting architecture (especially the famous mosaic tiles!) - null1+

We arrived in Lisbon on the tail end of our trip on the Easter long weekend and it was BUSY. Admittedly, this meant it was difficult for us to do some of the things we hoped to do. However, what we did do well is eating our way through the city. Lisbon is a city made for wandering and has an incredible food culture.

Here's some of my tips for the best places to visit in Lisbon. 

Hunt for street art and tiles: Like I said, Lisbon is made for wandering. The city of mosaics is beautiful and my favourite thing to do was just wander and photograph. I can especially recommend doing this in the historic Alfama and Bairro Alto neighbourhoods.

Visit Belem Tower: This historic tower is beautiful to visit. But the most important thing to do here is eat the famous Pastel de Nata, which is an incredible Portuguese custard tart famous to the region.

Spend an afternoon at The LX Factory: The ultimate urban playground, here you'll find quirky patios and shops to visit. If you're looking for amazing views of the bridge and river, head up to the patio at Rio Maravilha for a drink. 

Ride Tram 28: You can go for a ride on the iconic yellow trams of Lisbon.

And if you want to eat your way through the city like I did, here's my favourite spots:

Taberna da Rua das Flores: This spot is very, very popular - and the hype is real. They don't take reservations so pop by as soon as they open and put your name on the waitlist. They will tell you when to come back to be seated.

Time Out Market: This famous food hall is a city staple and gives you the opportunity to try many classic Portuguese dishes, all in one spot.

Cervejaria Ramiro: This is THE spot to go for seafood. They also don't take reservations, but when you arrive, you can take a number and have a drink on their patio while you wait. And trust me, it is worth the wait.

Zero Zero Pizza: Tired of traditional eats? Here you can find great food in the trendy Principe Real area.

Le Consulat Bar: Fantastic cocktails (also a great place to grab a drink while waiting for your table at Taberna da Rua das Flores).

Topo: Trendy rooftop bar with amazing views overtop Lisbon. It is especially beautiful at sunset!

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I would have spent more time in Lisbon. There is so much to do in Lisbon and it is impossible to see everything in just three days. Additionally, I would have considered staying overnight in Lisbon instead of Sintra. We chose to stay overnight in Sintra because we thought it would be easier to leave the rental car here. However, it actually was a bit of a pain to drive into Sintra with traffic and tolls. Instead, I would have drove to a car drop off site nearby Lisbon, and then taken public transit to the hotel. However, it is so important to be in Sintra early, so if you're going to stay in Lisbon and take the train to Sintra, be prepared for an early morning!
  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    There was a small issue with the rental car drop off, so pay attention to the rental car shop hours. We had said our car would be dropped of at 6pm and the shop closed at 5pm. They wanted to charge us a fee for being late, so just double check these times.
  • Restaurant recommendations?

    I loved the food in Portugal. To get a real feel for the food culture, I highly recommend doing a food tour with Secret Food Tours in either Lisbon or Porto. Below you'll find some of my top Porto and Lisbon restaurant recommendations. Porto: Magestic Cafe, o Carniceiro, O Diplomata, Zenith, Mercado do Bolhão Market, Capa na Baixa Lisbon: Taberna da Rua das Flores, Time Out Market, Cervejaria Ramiro, Zero Zero Pizza, Le Consulat Bar, Topo
  • Packing tips?

    If you're going in the spring or autumn, bring layers! Summer clothing is likely suitable during the day, but it can get chilly in the evening. A light jacket or sweater should do the trick, but I'd recommend bringing a rain jacket too - just in case.
  • Transportation Tips?

    If you feel comfortable, it's easy to drive in Portugal. Just make sure you check the license requirements to make sure yours is valid, and always get car insurance (because it is just the responsible thing to do). If driving, you'll need to be aware of toll roads. There are a lot of them, but they are quite cheap. We were billed after the trip and the total was around 25 euros. If you don't feel up for driving, buses and trains are perfectly suitable.
  • Any surprises?

    The Douro Valley blew me away. I expected it to be gorgeous, but it didn't even look real. Many people often only visit as a day trip from Porto, but it is absolutely worth spending a couple nights here.
  • Booking details?

    We booked everything directly ahead of the trip. Portugal has a fantastic tourism infrastructure, which means making bookings is easy.


  • Eat and Stay at the Best Hotel in Porto: Zero Box Hotel. This super trendy hotel is its own experience by experience. They have adopted a small almost-capsule-style room, and have a popular onsite restaurant and bar. We ate dinner at O Carniceiro one evening, and it was one of my favourite meals in Portugal. They also offer a fantastic breakfast for hotel guests!

  • Casa Cimeira is a wine hotel (yes, you heard that right - WINE HOTEL) located in a tiny town in the hills of the Douro Valley near Pinhao. It is a family run home stay, where they make their own wine. In the evenings, you can choose to join a family-style dinner with other guests and the authentic Portuguese food is cooked by the family who owns it. It is truly a special place.

  • Chalet Saudade - Vintage Guest House is a great central spot to stay in Sintra. The guest house includes breakfast and has a clean, charming interior. The building itself was old French Colonial style and reminded me of something you would find in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

  • Hotel White Lisboa is a new centrally located hotel in Lisbon. It has modern clean rooms and is located right on the metro line. The best part about Hotel White Lisboa? The rooftop pool with incredible views of the Lisbon skyline.