Portugal has so much to offer visitors, whether you are interested in exploring its culture and history, or enjoying its sandy beaches and leisure activities. If you are looking for a vacation that will allow you to satisfy both your cultural interests and your desire for some fun in the sun, consider combining a visit to Lisbon and Porto with a few days relaxing on the Algarve. In this sample itinerary you can explore the history, monuments and museums in the main cities of Lisbon and Porto and take a break in between to soak in some sun on the sandy beaches of the Algarve. If you have more time you can easily add a few more days to extend you stay in any or all of the locations.
The itinerary begins in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. It is the oldest city in Western Europe, and one of the oldest cities in the world. History buffs will enjoy the many cultural attractions that this city has to offer. But there are also other attractions, including a thriving art scene, trendy shops and boutiques, and a growing food scene that is turning out new young chefs who are collecting Michelin stars. To get to know Lisbon you have to really explore the different neighborhoods, such as the historic Alfama topped off with the São Jorge Castle, the sophisticated Chiado with its theaters and designer stores, or the vibrant restaurants and nightlife of the Bairro Alto. For more information on what to see in Lisbon, click here.
Your next stop is the sandy shores of the Algarve, one of Portugal’s most popular destinations for visitors. Located under 3 hours from Lisbon by car on the southern coast of the country, the Algarve has 100 miles of coastline that spans from the border with Spain to the town of Sagres, which is the most south-westerly tip of Europe. Many come to the Algarve to enjoy the 300 days of sunshine per year and the beautiful sandy beaches. But there is much more to the Algarve than just a beach. For sports enthusiasts and people who enjoy the outdoors there are numerous activities to choose from, including golf, cycling, tennis, surfing, horseback riding, kayaking, rock climbing, kite surfing, and wake boarding, to name a few. Golf lovers can choose from the 70 courses found throughout the region and the many resorts that cater to all of their needs. For more information on what to do on the Algarve, click here.
For the last leg of the itinerary you can hop a short 1 hour and 10 minute flight from Faro to Porto in northern Portugal. Porto is the second largest city, and is perhaps best known for the fortified wine that bears its name. Many visit to learn more about Port wine and sample it at the many wine cellars that dot the banks of the Douro River, just across from the historic city center. But Portugal’s second largest city has much more to offer than just its eponymous wine. The city has a special old world charm and enchantment that you can feel as you stroll along its riverfront, visit its monuments, or walk down its ancient narrow streets and alleyways. For more information on what to see in Porto, click here.
- Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon in the morning; sightseeing in the afternoon
- Day 2: Sightseeing in Lisbon
- Day 3: Day trip to Sintra, or Sintra, Cascais & Cabo da Roca
- Day 4: Morning sightseeing in Lisbon, afternoon drive to the Algarve (270 km)
- Day 5: Beach/sightseeing
- Day 6: Beach/sightseeing
- Day 7: Morning flight to Porto (1 hr 10 min); afternoon sightseeing
- Day 8: Sightseeing in Porto
- Day 9: Day trip to Douro Wine Country; visit vineyard with wine tasting
- Day 10: Depart Porto to return home
Since all 3 cities have airports, you can switch the itinerary around to start and end in different cities. For example, you can start in Porto and work you way south to Lisbon and end in the Algarve, or you can fly into Faro to start on the Algarve and then work your way up to Lisbon and finish in Porto.
For more information on Lisbon day trips, click here.
For more information on Porto day trips, click here.
Book a private tour! You may want to consider booking a private tour with an English-speaking guide. Private tours are a great way to make the best use of the limited time you have in each city. Your English-speaking local guide will make sure you don’t miss any must-see sights, and will provide you with the history and insights behind the places you will visit. For more information on all of our Lisbon City Center, Day Trips and Wine Tours, click here. For more information on all of our Porto City Center, Day Trips and Wine Tours, click here.
Photo credit: Freebird / Photo of Praia dos Tres Irmaos beach
For assistance with your travel plans, including hotel and private tour reservations, click here.