Looking for the perfect one week in Portugal itinerary? Maybe one that includes castles, boat tours, and plenty of food and wine? Look no further!
Portugal is known for its medieval castles, golden beaches, culture, tradition, history, idyllic sceneries, and its many captivating cities. You’ll come to find that there are many reasons to fall deeply in love with Portugal, as I did when I first visited Portugal in 2014. I fell for it, I went back a couple of times, and I still talk about Portugal with heart eyes to anyone who will listen.
If you want to truly experience the best the country has to offer, you should spend at least a week in Portugal. This should give you enough time to immerse yourself into the historical past of this country – palaces and castles, anyone? It will also give you a chance to taste the flavors of Portugal and its different regions, and to take in the impressive scenery that everyone who gets to visit it raves about.
By following this Portugal travel itinerary, you’ll be able to see more than just Lisbon and Porto in one week – so, let’s begin.
HOW TO GET AROUND PORTUGAL
➤ Public transportation in Portugal works pretty well, and you won’t have any problem moving from one place to another by train or bus. I’ve included detailed information in each destination’s section, which you can find under the “HOW TO GET TO…” paragraph.
➤ If you have less than one week, you can visit Lisbon and Porto and keep the rest for your next visit. I wrote a very detailed post about how to get from Lisbon to Porto.
➤ If you prefer to make this one week in Portugal itinerary into a legit Portugal road trip, that’s another great option. You can easily rent a car at Lisbon’s airport when you fly into the city, or pick one up on day 3 when it’s time to head to Sintra. I probably recommend this second option as parking in Lisbon can be a hassle. I always recommend booking a rental car in advance on Rentalcars.com or in the search box down here.
ONE WEEK IN PORTUGAL ITINERARY FROM LISBON TO PORTO
Your Portugal itinerary (one week) starts from Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, and ends in Porto. Check out the detailed itinerary to be sure you make the most of your visit.
Days 1 and 2: Explore Lisbon
There is plenty to do in Lisbon, check out these other posts as well that will help you plan your two days in Lisbon.
READ MORE: 25 Unmissable Things To Do in Lisbon
HOW TO GET TO LISBON FROM THE AIRPORT
Most of you will fly to Lisbon, so the first thing you have to plan is how to get to the city center from the airport. There are 3 options for every budget.
➤ This affordable Private Transfer to/from Lisbon Airport is the most convenient option. BOOK IT HERE
➤ The Lisbon Shared Transfer To/From the Airport and from/to your hotel is available 24/7 and affordable. BOOK IT HERE
➤ The AeroBus Lisbon Airport Shuttle runs daily from 7.30 am to 11 pm and makes multiple stops around the city. This is the cheapest option to get from the airport to the city and viceversa, but it won’t bring you to your hotel. BOOK IT HERE
WHERE TO STAY IN LISBON
BEST THINGS TO DO IN LISBON
Here it’s a short list of some of my favorite activities and destinations in Lisbon for helping you plan your trip. Of course, you could spend weeks in Lisbon and not see it all, so this is just a taste of what the city offers.
➤ If you want to join a city tour to make the most of your limited time, this top-rated tour packs a lot in half a day and costs less than $20.
➤ Otherwise, you can join this free walking tour of Lisbon. It’s free (although a tip is expected), but you need to book a spot in advance.
➤ If you’re going to visit a few attractions and museums in Lisbon, you might be able to save a good chunk of money by purchasing in advance a Lisboa Card for 1, 2 or 3 days that include unlimited transportation and free access to 25 attractions and museums and discounts for many others. ⇒ BUY HERE the Lisboa Card and save money!
Explore the Alfama Neighborhood
The Alfama neighborhood is the old soul of Lisbon, as it survived to the 1775 earthquake. Its narrow alleyways and quiet streets exude history, and they’re perfect for just wandering around at your own pace.
St. George’s Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge) is a must visit, with its towers, lookouts, and the magnificent views over the Baixa district and the Tegus River. St. George’s Castle is probably the most famous attraction in Lisbon, and the queues can be very long. Consider purchasing in advance a skip-the-line ticket.
Another place to visit is the Lisbon Cathedral, also called the Sé. It’s the oldest church in Lisbon, with construction dating back to the 12th century. Admission is free.
Sample Portuguese Food at Time Out Market Lisboa
The Time Out Market in Lisbon is home to over 40 different stalls that serve up a variety of Portuguese food items. This has all of the best tastes and flavors that Portugal has to offer under one roof – it’s a perfect place to go for foodies. You’ll find from curated burgers, to curated cod, and sandwiches, and more. This market is located at Cais de Sobre, which is a trendy district in Lisbon.
The Time Out Market Lisboa is open daily from 10 AM to 12 AM.
Climb the Belém Tower (Torre de Belem)
Torre de Belem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site within the Portuguese capital, along Tagus River and is a towering display of genuine architectural fusion at the seafront. The tower features a blend of Moorish, Mudejar, Gothic, and Romanesque architectural styles. Go up the tower and enjoy some incredible views over the Tagus River, the April 25 bridge, and the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Torre de Belem is open from 10AM to 6:30PM from May to September. The rest of the year it closes earlier.
The entry ticket costs €3.00 for adults (children that are 14 and under are free to enter). It’s free with the Lisboa Card. You can also buy your skip-the-line ticket in advance, or a Belem combo ticket that includes access to both Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery.
Explore the Youngest Museum in Lisbon – MAAT
If you are a fan of contemporary art, head to the MAAT or Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology. Because of its unique architecture, it almost looks like a ray deflecting off the river. This is a project by the EDP Foundation that launched in 2016, and it has plenty of temporary and permanent exhibitions held throughout the year that are worth visiting.
The MAAT museum is open daily (except Tuesdays) from 11AM to 7PM.
Ride Tram 28
The Tram 28 is like the iconic tram lines in San Francisco, California – they are a must-try. The vintage Tram 28 has been riding up and down the steeped and cobbled roads of the old Alfama District for many decades now. The journey begins at the hills of Graca and ends at the stunning Estrela Basilica, you’ll drive by some of Lisbon’s most famous destinations.
A single ticket costs €3.00 at the time of writing (when purchased onboard).
➤ You can also choose a tour that combines a ride on tram 28 with a walking tour of the beautiful Alfama neighborhood. ⇒ BOOK IT HERE
Get Rid of Your Sweet Tooth at Pasteis de Belem
You can’t visit Lisbon without tasting its most popular delicacy – pasteis (also known as Portuguese tarts). The Pasteis de Belem bakery is known as the best place in Lisbon to enjoy a bite of them so it’s a recommended pit-stop for tourists. Yes, tehre might be a line, but trust me – totally worth it. Combine this sweet stop with a visit to Torre de Belem.
Pasteis de Belem bakery is open daily from 8AM to 11PM.
Party at Bairro Alto
The Bairro Alto is considered the top nightlife spot in Lisbon packed with international restaurants, al fresco cafes, bohemian drinking joints, and old Fado music holes. Imagine that many shops in this area don’t even open in the morning! Sip Morangoska (a cocktail made with vodka and fresh strawberries) and Caipirinha in one of the many bars.
Day 3: Take a Day Trip to Sintra
On your 3rd day, you can travel to Sintra for a day filled with sightseeing, colorful palaces, and pastry sampling.
HOW TO GET TO SINTRA
➤ Sintra is only 25 km away from Lisbon and the travel time is about 30 minutes by train (which is the recommended mode of transport if you want to go on your own). Take the train from Lisbon’s Rossio Station which is close to the popular tourist areas and easily accessible.
➤ If you’re looking to visit the palaces with a guide, then it makes a lot of sense to book a day tour from Lisbon. This one brings you to not only Sintra and the Pena Palace, but also Cascais and Cabo da Roca (other two great destinations near Lisbon). It’s affordable and it comes with free cancellation up to 24 hours before the tour. CHECK IT OUT
THINGS TO DO & PLACES TO VISIT IN SINTRA
Sintra is a popular day trip route from Lisbon, and you’ll see how a day trip is enough to see the best of what Sintra has to offer. This picturesque town is best known for its stunning scenery, ancient castles, and magnificent palaces.
Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros)
A beautiful castle in Sintra is Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors). This is a hilltop medieval castle in the midst of a lush rainforest. Established in the 9th century, it was meant to guard the town of Sintra but it later fell into despair following the Christian conquest.
➤ BOOK HERE the Castle of the Moors Fast Track ticket to skip the line.
It’s open from 9:30 AM to 8 PM in the summer months or 10 AM to 6 PM during the winter months.
Pena Palace (Palacio da Pena )
Howewer, the one palace you absolutely can’t miss adding to your Sintra day trip itinerary is the Palacio da Pena (Pena Palace). This is the most exxentric palace in Sintra, and it exemplifies the Romantic style of architecture from the 19th century. It’s so fun and colorful, it almost looks like a kid designed it!
➤ If you want to avoid the very long queues, it makes sense to book in advance a Pena Palace and Park Skip-the-Line Ticket ⇒ BOOK IT HERE
The regular opening hours are from 10AM to 6PM.
National Palace of Sintra (Palacio Nacional da Sintra)
The last stop on your exploration of Sintra can be the Palacio Nacional da Sintra, which is known as the best-preserved medieval royal palace in the country. Although it features a minimalist gothic architectural style, on the inside it’s filled with wonderfully decorated state rooms. The palace is also famous for its two massive chimneys that have made it an icon in town.
➤ BOOK HERE the National Palace of Sintra Fast Track Ticket to skip the line.
This palace is open from 9:30 AM to 6 PM daily.
Eat Traditional Pastries from Sintra
Just like in Lisbon, trying out traditional Portuguese pastries and sweets is also a great idea when in Sintra. One of the must-try sweets is the Travesseiro de Sintra, which literally means “Sintra’s pillow”. It’s a dough-based pastry that comes in a stick form filled with egg cream and almonds.
This pastry originated here in Sintra and one of the best spots to enjoy them is in Casa Piriquita where you can also try other pastries like Pasteis de Cruz Alta (pictured up here), Nozes Douradas, and Queijadas.
Day 4: Coimbra
On the fourth day in Lisbon of your one week-Portugal itinerary, make your way to Coimbra, a charming and historic college town. You’ll find it 200 km north of Lisbon, halfway towards Porto. In fact, I recommend staying in Coimbra for one night to break the journey between the two cities… plus, the destination totally deserves it.
HOW TO GET TO COIMBRA
➤ The train is the fastest and best option to travel from Lisbon to Coimbra even though it’s more expensive than the bus. You can take the Alfa Pendular train (high speed train) for around 23 Euros. The entire train ride will take 1 hour and 30 minutes.
➤ Another option is the intercity train, which will cost 19.20 Euros and will take nearly 2 hours of travel). You can buy the ticket onboard or book it at the station ticket office or online.
WHERE TO STAY IN COIMBRA
THINGS TO DO IN COIMBRA
Once you arrive to Coimbra, you have a variety of things to see or do. Here I put together just the highlights.
Visit the University of Coimbra
The University of Coimbra is the oldest university in Portugal and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This university is built on a hill in the middle of the city.
You can reach the highest point of the university by climbing up 180 steps to the top of the 16th century tower. If you have the chance to visit, the 17th century ceremonial hall, Sala dos Capelos, is also a must-see.
Monastery of Santa Cruz
The Monastery of Santa Cruz is another must-visit tourist attraction in Coimbra. Although this monastery was built in the 12th century with ties to the Portuguese monarchy, the current architecture of the monastery is a result of a restoration in the 16th century. The features that really stand out in this building are the impressive portal, unique cloisters, and its eye-catching ceiling.
Old Cathedral of Coimbra
The Old Cathedral of Coimbra is another historical attraction and the proof of the glory days of Christianity and Islam in Coimbra so you can’t miss it when in the city.
Day 5 and 6: Porto
Just my two cents, but I love Porto even more than Lisbon. Porto is quieter, more charming, and more authentic. It makes for the perfect end to this Portugal one week-itinerary.
HOW TO GET TO PORTO
➤ As seen before, the train system in Portugal is remarkably efficient, which makes it a great option to get from Coimbra to Porto. The Comboios De Portugal is the main service provider for this route, and there are train services available on an hourly basis. The cost of your ticket journey from Coimbra to Porto is around 8 to 12 Euros for a one hour trip by train.
➤ Another option is to take the hourly bus from Coimbra to Porto, which is available at 9-12 Euros. However, the trip takes longer at 1 hour and 25 minutes.
WHERE TO STAY IN PORTO
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN PORTO
The second-largest city in Portugal is famous for its wine production and stately bridges, but architecture and art lovers, foodies, and Harry Potter fans will find plenty to do here as well.
➤ Looking for an introductory tour? You can join this free walking tour of Porto. It’s free (although a tip is expected), but you need to book a spot in advance.
Explore Cais da Ribeira
The riverside area of Porto called Cais da Ribeira is one of the most chaotic yet fun districts to explore in Porto. Go and sit down at Ribeira Square, a picturesque square where you can mingle with locals and tourists alike. From here you can admire the iconic Luis I Bridge before you get lost in a maze of steep stairways and narrow streets.
That bridge has become an industrial symbol for the city of Porto; it’s a twin-level metal arched bridge that was officially opened to the public in 1886. Besides the famous bridge, you shouldn’t miss the pastel-hued houses in this district.
Go on a Boat Tour Along the Douro River
Going on a Douro river cruise is one of the most popular activities in Porto. You’ll drift under the 6 bridges of Porto and take some great shots of the city. Rather than paying for the boat tour individually, most visitors choose to buy a package that on top of that includes other attractions.
➤ The top-rated tour on Get Your Guide includes a boat tour, a porto tasting at the historical Caves Calém cellars, and a 2-days pass for the hop on hop off bus, all for less than $30.
Taste Porto Wine in Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia isn’t technically isn’t Porto, but you just have to cross Dom Luis I Bridge to get here, and trust me, you want to get here. This is where all the port wineries are!
➤ For a good wine tour, check out this one that will bring you to 3 wineries in the city and includes wine tastings, of course, plus traditional Portuguese snack (you gotta eat, Port’s pretty strong stuff!).
Go Chasing Azulejos
Azulejos, or glazed ceramic tiles, are the white a blue tiles you can find alla round in Portugal. I personally love them, and in Porto there are some incredible examples of buildings decorated with azulejos (which, just saying, also make for some great IG photos).
A few places to check them out are the Sao Bento Train Station, the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso (Church of Saint Ildefonso), which is my favorite one, and Capela das Almas.
Feel the Magic at Livraria Lello
One of the oldest bookstores in the world, Livraria Lello is also in every list of the most beautiful bookstores in the world…. and it’s rumored to have inspired J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter books. After all, she lived in Porto and was a regular customer at the bookstore, so it totally makes sense. There’s always a line to enter, but the place is so magic that it’s worth the wait.
➤ Harry Potter fans will love this tour that’ll bring you around all the locations that inspired the books, including Livraria Lello and the cafe where the books were written.
Wander around Praça da Liberdade
The Praça da Liberdade is a square and boulevard with grand open spaces which was laid out in the 18th century and features the Neoclassical Palacio das Cardosas nearby (a convent that was converted into a hotel).
A curiosity: on this square, you’ll find the most beautiful McDonald’s in the world – no kidding. Have you ever seen one with crystal chandeliers and stained glass windows? Even if you aren’t a fan of the brand, go and check out the interiors of the buildings.
Day 7: Take a day trip to Douro Valley
The majestic Douro Valley in Portugal is something that should be in your itinerary. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 and is an adventure waiting to happen for those who visit. On your 1 week in Portugal itinerary, you simply can’t miss the oldest designated wine region in the world.
READ ALSO: The Perfect Douro Valley Day Trip from Porto
HOW TO GET TO THE DOURO VALLEY
You have two ways to get to the Douro Valley by public transportation. However, once you get to the Douro region, it will be very difficult to get around.
➤ Take the train from Sao Bento or Campanha stations in Porto. There are quite a few trains a day, check out the timetable. They say it’s a super pretty train ride, it takes about 2 hours.
➤You can also take the bus that links Porto to Régua 6 times a day. It takes about 2 hours but the train ride is more pleasurable.
➤ Renting a car is a good option (compare prices on Rentalcars.com) as it only takes about 1 hour and a half by car to get here from Porto. However, there will have to be a designated driver, and who wants to be that person where there are tons of wine tastings to be made?
➤ This is one case where I strongly recommend joining a tour, and that’s how I did it myself. The company I went with doesn’t offer the Douro tour anymore, but I found one that is an exact copy. Joining a tour doesn’t mean you have to visit with a big group: this top-rated tour is for a maximum of 8 people.
You’ll start off your tour by visiting two of the best wine estates in the area- it’s Porto time! You’ll also get to enjoy a hearty lunch and get onboard a traditional Portuguese Rabelo boat for a cruise along the Douro River. CHECK IT OUT HERE
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN THE DOURO VALLEY
I included here some of the other highlights you could enjoy on your day trip to the Douro Valley.
Learn about Porto’s History at the Douro Museum
Museu do Douro (Douro Museum) a modern and high-ceiling museum and a great place to visit for those who want an in-depth lesson about the wine culture and history of the region. I was afraid I’d bored but it was actually really interesting! Aside from the exhibition areas, there are also a library and a wine bar where you can get a tasting.
The museum is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Incredible Views at Quinta do Seixo
Quinta do Seixo is another must-add to your itinerary in Douro Valley. This old winery dates back to the 17th century but boasts of a cellar with a contemporary design.
Aside from that,the highlight of your visit will be the breathtaking views of the winery’s amazing landscape. The picturesque Pinhao village offers a beautiful contrast to the Douro River nearby. I mean, look at this picture!
This winery is open daily from 10:30 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 6:30 PM.
Visit the Pinhao Train Station
Pinhao is right at the heart of the demarcated wine region in Douro Valley. The picturesque town of Pinhao is home to the beautiful and historic Pinhao train station, along with unmatched views of the wine region landscape.
Go for a Wine Tasting at Quinta do Popa
Quinta do Popa is another stellar winery within the Douro Valley region, named in honor of Francisco Ferreira, also known as Popa. His son and grandchildren eventually went on to continue the legacy of the family’s famous winery and is now known as one of the top producers of the best wines in Portugal’s Douro Valley region.
When you visit this vineyard, you can go for wine tasting, picnic on the vineyard, and even participate in wine harvest. If you want to visit this famous winery, I’d recommend booking in advance, unless of course it’s included in your guided tour.
Have a Hearty Meal at Tasca da Quinta
This small restaurant in Douro is one of the most popular ones so I’d definitely recommend booking in advance, also because it’s pretty tiny. It’s an authentic restaurant in Peso da Regua that offers traditional Douro cuisine showcasing the best flavors from the region. Order a little bit of everything.
It’s open on weekdays (except Mondays) from 7-10 PM and on weekends from 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM and 7-10 PM.
This day trip concludes your one week trip to Portugal. See how much you can see of Portugal in one week only? I’m sure by now you’ll have already fallen in love with this beautiful country and you’ll start planning the next trip soon!
PORTUGAL IN A WEEK: TIPS & FAQ
What’s the best time to visit Portugal?
➤ The best time to visit Portugal, especially for this itinerary which doesn’t include the beach, is either the spring (April and May), or the fall (September and October). The temperature is great at this time, and you won’t find big crowds even in the most touristy places.
➤ I’d say avoid the summer if you can. The period from June to August coincides with the high season, which means bigger crowds and higher prices. Plus, it can get extremely hot in Lisbon and Coimbra.
➤ It never gets super cold during the winter in Portugal so that is an option too. It might not be as pleasurable as during the spring and the fall, but you will find discounted rates during this time.
Is Portugal safe?
Yes, yes, yes. In fact, Portugal was ranked as the 3rd safest country in the world (yes, in the world) by the Global Peace Index. Of course, you should always pay attention to pickpocketers and use common sense, especially if you’re traveling alone.
If you have any questions or suggestions to add to the itinerary, please let me know in comments below.
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you book something through one of my links I might get a commission, at absolutely no extra cost to you.