Portugal Itineraries

Whether you’ve got a few days, a week or longer, here are four itineraries to give you a taste of Portugal’s varied attractions. Our Grand Tour takes in the country’s unmissable historic towns and natural attractions, while the wine route will guide you around remote rural gems. We also recommend the best beaches in a country famed for its fabulous sands, and finish with a nature tour focussing on Portugal's wildlife.

If you are planning your travel to Portugal yourself, use these itineraries created by our travel writers as a starting point for inspiration.


The Algarve, Portugal

Portugal Itinerary 1 - Grand tour of Portugal

Portugal is a small country so you can easily see the best of it quickly. The Grand Tour takes in the must-see destinations.

1. Lagos

The Algarve’s most historic town, from where the great navigators departed in the Age of Discoveries.

2. Évora

A superbly preserved Alentejan town containing Portugal’s finest Roman temple.

3. Elvas

Explore the walls – with their far-reaching views – that encircle this fortified border town.

4. Lisbon

One of Europe’s most fascinating capitals is a captivating mix of ancient and contemporary – and beautifully located, overlooking the Tejo river estuary.

5. Coimbra

A former Portuguese capital, the ancient university town also has the superb Roman site of Conímbriga on its doorstep.

6. Serra da Estrela

The country’s highest mountains – with its only ski resort – make a great destination for a night in the hills.

7. Porto

A unique city, famed for its wines, football team and amazing riverside cityscape.

8. Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês

This wild, rugged mountain region, hugging the border with Spain, is ideal for a walking holiday – or for a panoramic drive.

Portugal Itinerary 2 - Wine routes

Portugal produces terrific wines and its vineyards tend to nestle in bucolic countryside – views and booze, our favourite combination.

1. Quinta Miradouro

Cliff Richard’s wine estate in the Algarve is a good introduction to Portuguese wines – with the chance of spotting the great man himself.

2. Alentejo wine route

Some of the best Portuguese wines are produced in this beautiful inland region, with top producers located near the historic towns of Beja, Évora and Estremoz.

3. Rota do Vino do Dão

Check out the classic reds produced along the Dão valley.

4. Port wine lodges

No visit to Porto is complete without a tour of the port wine lodges in Vila Nova da Gaia, many overlooking the Douro River.

5. Peso da Régua

The classic port-wine estates can be visited from this town on the Douro, which is also home to the headquarters of the Rota do Vinho do Porto and the Douro Wine Institute’s exhibition centre.

6. Pinhão

The main centre for quality ports with a classic backdrop of Douro wine terraces.

7. Melgaço

Portugal’s northernmost outpost is the centre for the country’s famed vinho verde. The Solar do Alvarinho offers tastings and tours of local estates.

Portugal Itinerary 3 - Life’s a beach

Most people come to Portugal for its beaches and there are hundreds to choose from – here’s a tour of the best.

1. Foz do Minho, Minho

Portugal’s northernmost beach is a hidden gem, a sandy bank facing Spain across the Rio Minho river estuary.

2. Nazaré, Estremadura

This former fishing village has a great town beach – and is also where the world’s largest-ever wave was surfed.

3. Caparica

A favourite for surfers and day-trippers from Lisbon.

4. Galapos, Parque Natural da Arrábida

This beautifully positioned bay has calm waters in one of Portugal’s loveliest natural parks.

5. Comporta, Alentejo

Deserted sands stretch as far as the eye can see at this remote part of the northern Alentejo.

6. Porto Covo, Alentejo

The Portuguese love this unspoilt coast, studded with idyllic sandy coves.

7. Praia do Amado, Algarve

A wild and wonderful stretch of sand with its own surf school in a remote corner of the Algarve.

8. Praia da Marinha, Algarve

A classic cliff-backed cove beach, perfect for families.

Portugal Itinerary 4 - Back to nature

Tour Portugal to see an amazing array of marine life and migrating birds, along with mammals such as badgers, otters and wolves.

1. Parque Natural da Ria Formosa

Protected by five barrier-islands (with great beaches), these wetlands and waterways shelter chameleons, seahorses and aquatic birds.

2. Cabo de São Vicente

Europe’s most southwesterly point is part of the little developed Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina.

3. Parque Natural da Arrábida

Just an hour south of Lisbon, the coast off this craggy wilderness supports the country’s only resident dolphin community.

4. Ilha da Berlenga

It’s a 45-minute boat ride to a sea-blasted island packed with millions of puffins, cormorants and seabirds.

5. Paiva Walkways

Take the 8km boardwalk alongside the Paiva River through superb unspoilt terrain, with river beaches on the way.

6. Parque Natural do Douro Internacional

The deep Douro valley demarcates the frontier with Spain, an area of rocks and craggy cliffs that are ideal for birds of prey.

7. Parque Natural de Montesinho

Wolves are said to roam these remote borderlands, a wild, forgotten corner of the country that’s ideal for hiking.

8. Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês

An almost Swiss mountainscape rich in flora and with its own stumpy garrano ponies.

Mani Ramaswamy

written by
Mani Ramaswamy

updated 26.04.2021

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