Portugal is a country full of beautiful beaches, colourful cities, an incredible culinary scene. This itinerary is designed for food- and wine-lovers looking for a cultural city break.
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Portugal8 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.
Portugal is a spot that has become increasingly popular in recent years and for 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.
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!...Read More
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.
How was the food?
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
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.
If you feel comfortable, it is 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.
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.
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.