Amazing Portugal Itinerary: 10 Days Road Trip
How to Spend 10 Days in Portugal On A Road Trip
Have 10 days in Portugal? Then this post is for you! Portugal flew under my radar for a long time, until I saw photos of Lagos and the small towns in Alentejo, and I knew then I had to visit. Lisbon and Sintra may be what Portugal is known for, but trust me Portugal’s charm lies in its small towns and countryside.
You may notice Porto missing on this itinerary, but I wanted to have a good mix of everything that Portugal has to offer – from the bustling capital of Portugal to the charming towns of Alentejo, to the breathtaking cliffs of the Algarve. And with so much to see, I decided to leave it for another trip. But if you have extra days, definitely include Porto on your Portugal road trip.
Let’s begin this Portugal 10 day road trip adventure!
10 Days in Portugal Itinerary
Day 1-3 Lisbon
Day 4- Sintra
Day 5 Evora
Day 6 Elvas and Monsaraz
Day 7-10 Lagos
How to get to Portugal
Depending on where you are coming from, most likely you will be flying into Lisbon Airport (LIS), which serves most of the international flights.
From Europe: There are two options; you can either fly to Lisbon (LIS) or Faro (FAO) airport, the latter is located in the Algarve region. You can adjust the itinerary and start in Lagos instead. You can pick up the car at FAO airport and drop it off in Lisbon.
From South of Spain: If you are in Seville, you can take the bus to Faro. It will drop you off at the airport (FAO) where you can pick up your rental car.
10-Day Portugal Itinerary
Day 1- 3 Lisbon
Lisbon is such an incredible city with plenty of things to do and see. Every little nook exudes charm, delicious restaurants abound, and getting lost in the maze-like neighborhood of Alfama is simply a must! It doesn’t matter how long you stay, you won’t get enough of the Portuguese capital.
More on Lisbon: To learn more about this fabulous city, check out my Lisbon Guide + food recommendations included!
Things to do in Lisbon
- Explore Lisbon’s neighborhood of Alfama, Bairro Alto, and Chiado
- Go on a walking tour and learn about the rich history of Lisbon. Check out this walking Tour that will take you to the most popular neighborhoods and on a train ride!
- Go on a sailing tour on the Tagus River. You will get some amazing shot on this sailing tour.
- Tour of Lisbon's traditional eateries. This food tour will take you to many local places and feed you delicious food.
- Get a unique souvenir from Livraria Bertrand the oldest bookstore in the world.
- Visit the LX Factory
- Enjoy a coffee break at one of the many cafes in town
Download my PDF: Lisbon Coffee Shop Guide
Where to stay in Lisbon
Depending on which neighborhood you would like to stay in Lisbon, there are many great options. On my Lisbon guide, I discuss more in-depth about the pro and con of each neighborhood and the hotels recommendations. You can check out my Lisbon Guide here.
Day 4 Sintra
Sintra is probably on everybody’s Portugal itinerary and for good reasons! Here you will find the famous Palacio da Pena and other gorgeous palaces, including my favorite Palacio de Monserrate – which you cannot miss! It’s also a UNESCO Heritage Site and its picturesque old town is not to be missed either. With long lines even during low season, a day in Sintra may not be enough to see everything you hope to, so make sure to arrive early!
More on Sintra: Complete Guide To Visiting Sintra
9:15 am - Arrive at Palacio da Pena, so you have time to find parking and be at the gate by 9:30 am. Make sure to purchase the ticket online so you can skip the ticket line and go straight to the palace. Tour buses start arriving at 10 am so I highly recommend getting there before them, especially in the summer.
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm Lunch: After working an appetite at Palacio da Pena, head to town for lunch and explore the old city afterward. It’s small but very charming.
2:15 pm - Belly full, checked. Charming old town, checked. Now, Castelo dos Mouros! Allocate about here and hour and a half to two hours to explore the wall of the Moorish castle.
4:00 pm – Quinta da Regaleira is probably the second most popular attraction in Sintra after Palacio da Pena. Allocate two hours to explore this mystical place.
6:00 pm – Palacio de Monserrate is by far my favorite attraction in Sintra. The architecture and gardens are breathtaking, and by far the less visited, so you are guaranteed a peaceful visit.
It’s hard to stick to a schedule when you are wandering and admiring beautiful locations. If you want to allocate more time to each of these places, pick only three to visit: Palacio da Pena, Quinta da Regaleira, and Palacio de Monserrate.
Day 5-6 Alentejo: Elvas, Monsaraz, Evora
There’s an abundance of picturesque villages in Portugal, especially in Alentejo. The region’s history and landscape lend itself to idyllic towns. And if you didn’t know, I absolutely love visiting charming small towns. I spent two days in Alentejo, exploring three of its beautiful villages. Although these places offer plenty of sightseen, I found it best to just wander around town soaking in all the countryside charm.
Elvas is a small town that exudes Portuguese charm with its local residents, narrow streets, and whimsical facade – truly a hidden gem. Located east of Alentejo near the border with Spain, Elvas was once a strategic defense point. As evidenced by its famous star-shaped fort Forte de Nossa Senhora da Graça and strong encompassing wall. But war days are in the past and what’s left is a quaint town. Elvas is also a UNESCO Heritage Site and features an impressive aqueduct.
If you are a military history fan, you may need a full day to explore the museum and the Forte de Nossa Senhora da Graça located off-site. For those who are just want to enjoy the small-town charm, half a day is good enough to walk around and grab lunch.
Parking: There’s street parking as well as a parking lot – just follow the signs.
Perched on a hill overlooking Alentejo’s plains, Monsaraz is a small medieval village full of charm with its cobblestone streets, whitewashed cottages, and impressive views. Here visitors can experience the true essence of medieval Portugal in tranquility. The town can be tourist-oriented, but you will be captivated nonetheless. And while you stroll its narrow streets, don’t miss the many shops selling locally produced wine, sweets, and ceramics – they are hard to resist!
Parking: There’s a parking lot right outside the entrance of the village.
Evora is a UNESCO Heritage site and one of Portugal’s most beautiful medieval towns. In its winding cobblestone roads, you will find the remains of a Roman temple, a commanding cathedral, noble houses, hearty Alentejan cuisine and much more. Evora is ideal for wandering around and finding picture-worthy spots. And in my quest to find hidden gems, I found a few cute cafes and boutiques - like this one where I found my favorite locally made ceramic jar.
Lunch: Grab lunch at one of the many mom and pop’s restaurants in town. Check out Botequim da Mouraria.
Dinner: treat yourself to a nice dinner at 5 Amendoas Restaurant located in Vitoria Stone Hotel. It’s menu offer a mix of traditional Portuguese cuisine, modern fare, and Mediterranean influences.
Michelin Star: If you are looking for a culinary experience, check out L’AND Restaurant. It’s located inside the stunning L’AND hotel 15 minutes away from the city center. The restaurant’s menu is a unique mix of Portuguese gastronomy with Mediterranean cuisine, all prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
Parking: Street parking available
Where to stay in Alentejo
São Lourenço do Barrocal is a 19th-century farm turned boutique hotel set amid vineyards and serene landscape. It’s the perfect hotel if you are looking for a tranquil stay, scenic views, and quintessential Portuguese countryside experience. The hotel also features a restaurant, spa, winery, and stables.
L'AND Vineyards is an architectural gem set amid Alentejo’s scenic countryside. The jaw-dropping wine resort features state-of-the-art suites with panoramic patios and an outdoor fireplace. If you need more privacy, the resort also offers private villas. L'AND Vineyards also boast an in-house Michelin star restaurant for those seeking a culinary experience. This resort is perfect for those looking for a luxurious and serene stay.
Vitória Stone Hotel is a hotel with a modern design located in the heart of Evora. It features a rooftop infinity pool and sauna for those looking for a more city-like stay. At the hotel, you will also find one of the best restaurants in town.
Hotel Convento de Sao Paulo it’s a beautifully restored convent turned boutique hotel that could also double as a museum. You could easily spend a few hours roaming around its surroundings and long hallways. The restaurant may be the only option in the area, but it won’t disappoint.
Day 7 – 10 Lagos
Lagos boasts some of the most spectacular beaches and jaw-dropping views in the world. It’s is a great place to reconnect with Mother Nature, enjoy outdoor activities, or relax by the stunning beaches. You may encounter a big crowd during the summer months, but it’s remarkable nonetheless.
More on Lagos: Complete Guide To Lagos
Things to do Lagos
Explore Lagos Old Town
Go kayaking and explore the caves up-close
Enjoy the many beaches
Marvel at Ponte de Piedade
Where to stay in Lagos
Casa Mãe is a chic hotel that offers “sunny relaxing vibes” with a promising restaurant and great atmosphere. It’s located in the heart of Lagos, so you are only a few steps away from the beach.
Aldeia Azul, located 10 minutes away from the town's center, is a beach resort type villa that comes with a full kitchen and laundry machine.
Onyria Palmares Beach House Hotel is the retreat you didn't know you deserved. The modern and minimalistic design amid the blue scenery of Meia Praia and Lagos Bay is the perfect oasis for those looking for a luxurious escape.
Driving in Portugal
Driving in Portugal is relatively easy if you don’t mind the countless roundabouts. The roads are well kept, and drivers are relatively calm, at least compared to Miami and LA. You may encounter a few that like to get up close and personal - even when you are already going above the speed limit. Oh, and overtaking is a national sport.
Finding parking isn’t too hard when you get into towns – but it may be a different story during high season so plan accordingly and arrive early. A lot of places provided parking spaces and some even multi-level parking lot. Most of the hotels outside the cities offer parking as well.
Driving distances in Portugal are actually short compared to other European countries. For example, from Lisbon to Lagos only takes about 3 hours.
Renting a car in Portugal
To rent a car in Portugal, you are going to need your driver’s license and passport – some websites mention an international driver’s license. But from my experience, my U.S. driver’s license was enough. I rented my car at Sixt, which is my go-to in Europe.
Renting a car in Portugal tips:
Make sure to rent the Via Verdi transponder. Portugal has many toll roads without booths, especially in Algarve.
Be aware of extra fees like additional driver fee and GPS that you didn’t request.
You won’t need to rent a car while staying in Lisbon. Most of the attractions are at a walking distance, and you can get Uber everywhere.
Only have 7 days in Portugal?
If you only have a week in Portugal and would still like to follow my Portugal itinerary, you could visit Evora, Elvas, and Monsaraz on the same day. It will be a tight schedule, but doable. The towns are very close to each other, and you could visit the three of them in a day. Also, you could cut short your stay in Lagos to one day instead of three.
Want to include Porto to your 10-day Portugal road trip?
The same way you will cut short this itinerary to seven days, you can allocate the extra two to three days to Porto.
Want to explore more of northern Portugal? Check out This Darling World post on the beautiful town of Coimbra.
Best time to visit Portugal
Portugal is wonderful all yearlong! If you want to avoid the crowd, I highly recommend visiting off-season in the spring or fall – my favorite time of the year to travel - when you will get a bit of the warmer weather sans crowd. But, this itinerary also includes Lagos, and if you want hot sunny days to enjoy the beach, you will want to visit in early June or September. Lagos can get chilly in the spring, fall, and winter as the cold winds from the Atlantic Ocean hits town. Portugal can get extremely busy in the summer so avoid peak season in July and August.
What to eat in Portugal?
Wandering what kind of food to expect in Portugal? Check out my Portugal Food guide for 15 delicious dishes you have to try.