Portugal Road Trip: Itinerary & Planning Tips for 2023

portugal road trip costa vicentina

This is a non-pretentious guide for a Portugal road trip along the coastline. This will allow you to drive along one of the wildest areas and most idyllic landscapes of Portugal. Information fully updated for 2022.

It’s funny how all the conversations I have about my home country with foreigners follow a trend.

  1. Chit-chat about Cristiano Ronaldo. Yeah, he’s an awesome player, makes a lot of money and I don’t get his love life either, bla bla.
  2. Random discussions about Portugal as a country.May or may not include clarifications that Portugal is NOT part of Spain.
  3. Where do you recommend to go to in Portugal?

Now, #3 is where the conversation gets interesting.
My answer is always: explore Costa Vicentina on a road trip!

This article is a full guide and itinerary to explore southwest Portugal on a road trip. Pumped up? Let’s start the engines!

Portugal Road Trip 🚗
portugal road trip Alentejo coastline
You can almost feel the wild Atlantic breeze in your face, can’t you?

Why do a road trip in Portugal?

See, Portugal has million of tourists but the overwhelming majority is heading to Porto, Lisbon and Algarve, neglecting the rest of the country.

And trust me: despite being a small country, Portugal has a LOT to uncover. For starters, 500 km of Atlantic coastline home to a tremendous set of landscapes and experiences. There are dozens of other reasons why Portugal is worth visiting.

Plus, a road trip alone is something magic by itself. It’s all about the journey, not the destination, right? The adventure. Sticking your head out of the window and feel the wind ride your hair.

A road trip is one of the best ways to practice slow travel and budget travel. Not rushing things, enjoying the moment and investing deeply in getting to know a country.

portugal road trip itinerary travel blog trip portugal - Comporta
Comporta beach.

Costa Vicentina: Southwest Portugal’s coast

Costa Vicentina sits on the southwestern coast of the country, belonging to the Alentejo region.

It still retains the authenticity and wild feeling, but with the same delicious food, the friendly people and the stunning landscapes that you can find in the rest of Portugal.

It’s characterized by dramatic beaches separated by dramatic cliffs, untouched landscapes and a raw Atlantic ssence hard to find elsewhere. Apart from the kilometers of beaches, there are also quaint villages, blissful coastal cities and vast natural parks.

While it’s starting to get a lot of hype, it’s still overshadowed by Algarve and generally overlooked by foreign tourists.

portugal road trip road trip portugal - cows in Alentejo
A cow reunion. A common scenery found in Alentejo.

Portugal road trip itinerary

After almost 10 years living in Lisbon, I had the chance to do a few road trips and several summer explorations. I’m now delighted to share with you my guide for a road trip in southwest coast of Portugal.

ℹRoad trip details
  • Starting Point: Lisboa
  • Ending Point: Faro
  • Recommended Duration: 10 Days
  • Journey: Going south from Lisbon, it includes beach paradises like Comporta and Odeceixe and the untouched natural landscapes of Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e da Costa Vicentina (70.000 ha of pure virgin landscapes in the west coast of Algarve).
  • Transportation: I highly recommend renting a car for this trip.

Here are the stops I recommended on this road trip if your trip is 10-day long.

If you have more time, great, spend more time in each place of just take some of my extra suggestions.

Portugal Road Trip Itinerary 🛣️

Portugal road trip map

Nothing like a map to see where you’re going, right?

I’m about to mention several places in this guide, so I created this map to follow the journey easily.

Orange pins: Main road trip stops – preferred places to base yourself
Yellow pins: Scenic landscape spots – don’t miss these if you’re a nature lover
Blue pins: Beaches within route – places for a dive along the way
Green pins: Extra & Add-Ons to this route – try to squeeze these in!

You can also open the map in a new window following this link. Find detailed descriptions of some of these places below.

LISBON: Starting off big!

You’ll need at least 3 days to get to know Portugal’s capital. To help you plan, I’ve put together a 3-day itinerary for Lisbon, with detailed tips on what to see and do.

Walking around the downtown is a must, but more than ticking off tourist attractions off the checklist, you might want to explore the most typical neighbourhoods of Alfama, and Graça.

The awe-inspiring miradouros (viewpoints) and the narrow steep streets crowded with the moorish castle on top – Castelo de São Jorge -are the true essence of Lisboa.

Make sure you reserve some time to indulge in some experiences not to miss in Lisbon and to explore some of its secret places.

Lisboa portugal road trip itinerary
Lisbon’s light is something.

Before you’re gone, don’t forget to grab a stock of pastéis de nata and start your trip south, crossing either the Vasco da Gama or the 25 de Abril bridges.

Best hotels in Lisbon

I’ve made the hard work for you.
This is a pre-filtered list of hotels in the safest areas of Lisbon.

My choice: Hotel Fenix Music

Charmingly music-themed hotel, super close to the center. Oh it comes with this stunning rooftop swimming pool.

ARRÁBIDA: Green and blue landscapes

portugal road trip arrabida

Stretching along the south coast of the peninsula of Setúbal, Arrábida natural park is rich in golden beaches edged by impressive green mountains. It’s home to some of my favorite beaches around Lisbon.

The ex-libris of this area is the stunning Portinho da Arrábida with azure waters and a 17th-century fort. Personally, I’d rather endure a 20-min hike and reach Praia dos Coelhos to a more off the beaten track experience in direct contact with nature.

Both options ensure an awesome beach day.

Getting around Arrábida

Arrábida is a special place to get around. First of all, the road along the coast is one-way which means you always need to start your journey in the city of Setúbal to get there.

Secondly, parking is a mess. Since 2018, parking can only be done until Praia da Figueirinha (paid). Especially in summer weekends, this can be a nightmare. I recommend you get there as early in the morning as possible.

★ Where to stay in Arrábida ★


road trip portugal arrabida - best place to stay arrabida
Image source: Booking.com

Casa da Adôa

Superbly located between the sea and the mountains, it’s a refreshing place to spend a day or two.

COMPORTA: The perfect beach getaway

When you arrive here, you’ll officially be in the Alentejo region. I’ve praised Comporta before and how this perfect beach getaway is still kept a semi-secret beach destination is beyond me turned into a luxury getaway for the European elite doesn’t surprise me.

Imagine a small village, stuck between the Atlantic, endless rice fields and the plain landscape (sort of an european savana) of Alentejo. Oh and 15km of the wildest beaches you’ll find in Europe.

It’s the perfect pitstop to disconnect and step into a new state of mind for the rest of your trip. The Royal family of Monaco, who comes here every summer, appears to agree.

💰 My value-for-money hotel recommendation in Comporta 💰


road trip in portugal comporta best hotel
Image source: Booking.com

Comporta Villa Suites

Comes with an outdoor pool, but the ocean is just 3km away.

PORTO COVO: Summertime charm

Title of a well-known and melancholic portuguese song, Porto Covo is also a little hidden gem close to the port city of Sines. Somewhere in the maze of bright blue, red and white houses you’ll find many family-run restaurants with delicious and inexpensive food.

Portugal road trip - Porto Covo colors architecture
Detail of a door of a typical house in Porto Covo.

A 5-min drive out of the town center takes you to beaches with golden sands and turquoise waters. Try Praia de São Torpes – popular amongst surfers – or Praia da Ilha – with a great view for the small Pessegueiro islet.

Where to stay in Porto Covo

road trip in portugal alentejo southwest portugal hotel
Image source: Booking.com

Monte Cerro, Porto Covo

Peaceful country house, perfect to relax a few days in a rural setting.

ZAMBUJEIRA DO MAR: Music for your ears

Zambujeira do Mar is not particularly exciting as a town. Period.

Apart from the MEO Sudoeste summer festival happening each August (had a great time there partying my ass off at the sound of Calvin Harris!) there’s nothing much going on.

portugal road trip alentejo coast travel blog
Sunset @ Carvalhal beach.

However, it’s a VERY interesting strategic point to spend a few days. There are lots of great affordable accommodation available as it generally attracts younger crowds.

Zambujeira is close enough to explore some of the best spots like the western most point of the whole Alentejo’s coast, Cabo Sardão, and some more striking beaches such as Praia do Tonel and Praia do Carvalhal. Great hiking trails available as well.

Find your place to stay in Zambujeira

Search amongst the places to stay in Zambujeira do Mar with WiFi and a minimum overall rating of “Very Good”. Hard to go wrong with these!

ODECEIXE: Atlantic bliss

Where the river Ceixe meets the Atlantic, lies Odeceixe, technically already in the Algarve region. But this is not the typical Algarve you are used to.

Odeceixe is well known for one of the largest and glorious beaches in Portugal, surrounded by giant tree-covered cliffs of a giant natural park. Little confession to make: this is my favourite place of them all.

road trip in Portugal coast - Odeceixe beach
Odeceixe. Now THIS is a hell of a view!

Save 2 or 3 days to explore the surroundings of Odeceixe. I’ve been here several times, but never stayed more than one full day. I REALLY want to come back not only for the top-notch local beach, but also to hike some of the surrounding cliffs.

💰 Where to stay in Odeceixe: my value-for-money suggestions 💰


road trip in portugal alentejo southwest odeceixe monte do cardal hotel
Image source: Booking.com

Monte do Cardal, Odeceixe

A peaceful guesthouse surrounded by nature and the sound of the ocean in the morning. Breakfast with healthy homemade food.

road trip in portugal alentejo southwest odeceixe casa vicentina
Image source: Booking.com

Casa Vicentina, Odeceixe

Quiet, peaceful and charming, it’s the ultimate getaway spot. Just a short drive away from beaches.

Or… find your own!

Search amongst the places to stay in Odeceixe with WiFi and a minimum overall rating of “Very Good”. Hard to go wrong with these!

ARRIFANA: Cliff fantasy

Hidden at the bottom of a steep cliff, Praia da Arrifana is both a postcard landscape and a paradise for surfers. Down there, Restaurante da Praia has great grilled fish, yummy salads and is also great for a relax drink at the evening at the sound of the waves.

portugal road trip alentejo coastline arrifana
Arrifana coastline. This is how nature expresses drama.

Kayaking, windsurfing, SUP, surfing and water sports in general are HUGE in Portugal. If you haven’t tried these before, this is absolutely the time to do it. Arrifana in particular is a well-known destination for watersports lovers.

Where to stay next to Arrifana Beach

The Amazigh Bed & Breakfast is a great value place to stay next to the beach.

road trip in portugal alentejo southwest portugal hotel
Image source: Booking.com

Utopia Guest House, Aljezur

Luminous rooms with private bathroom and breakfast included.

FARO/ALGARVE: The perfect farewell to Portugal

Although I prefer hands down the wild and vibe of Alentejo’s coastline, I got to say I’ve always enjoyed my time in Algarve.

Even though massive tourism threatens to take away some of its personality, it’s still home to some top-notch beaches in the world. There’s nothing wrong in saving 2 or 3 days to lay on them. It’s the perfect farewell to Portugal!

Faro is the only international airport in the region and it might be convenient to return back home. However there are much more beautiful places in Algarve, including some almost-deserted islands around – like the stunning Ilha do Farol. By all means don’t stick to Faro.

portugal roadtrip coastline alentejo beaches
What if I told you Algarve’s coastline is full of these unreal places?

No matter what you do, it’s advisable to avoid the booze hotspots of Algarve: Albufeira and Vilamoura . These are nothing but bland touristy places with meh beaches nearby.

A slightly better option is Portimão, where there are excellent beach options: Praia do Vau or Praia dos Três Irmãos.

Lagos is one of my favorite areas in the Algarve. It’s a very tranquil place, even though the top beach there has suffered a massive reengineering project which made it unrecognizable. Faro airport is no far and there are transfer companies doing the journey.

There are some other great options around Lagos town like Praia do Camilo, Praia dos Pinheiros or Praia da Luz – where they say some are still looking for Maddie McCann.

Check the road trip map for other suggestions for beaches in Algarve.

⚠ Beware of the cliffs!

I remember hearing on the news some fatal accident involving cliffs in Algarve every single year. DON’T be the one on the news!

When you’re standing on top of the cliffs, watch your steps when you’re trying to get a better view for your photos and don’t get too close of the edge. Also, there are not usually fences on the cliff line so don’t be tempted to lay your towel right next to it. As good as a shade may feel in a hot summer day, cliff rock falls can happen anytime.

Where to stay in Algarve

Lagos is a great place to base yourself in the Algarve, giving you access to a series of top-notch small beaches.


Extra stops to add to this road trip itinerary

This itinerary has got a minimum recommended duration of 10 days, but if you have more time, make sure you explore other highlights of Portugal.

It’s relatively small country after all and you can easily add more places to your route and enrich your holidays. There are many other places in Portugal worth discovering.

Here are some suggestions:


portugal road trip porto oporto se
The iconic Sé cathedral of Porto dominating the cityscape.

Why not start your road trip route upper north in Portugal’s second largest city? Porto is very different from Lisbon – and of the rest of the country for that matter – in many ways.

But both are clearly national winners in two things: the sympathy of people and food. Read more about it in my Porto guide for dummies or in my weekend itinerary of the city.

porto travel guide and blog

The Essential Porto City Guide

Continue reading more about Porto on my complete city guide for dummies. Budget, itinerary and the best places to eat, it’s all in here!

Nazaré, Portugal

Nazaré is the most traditional fishing village in Portugal. Look around and notice the drying the fish and women with their typical set of seven-layered skirts.

While the main beach in the town is OK to get into the water, this is a place well-known for its GIGANTIC waves which has become a tourist attraction by itself. Praia do Norte is the location for the world record of the largest wave ever surfed – by Garret McNamara in 2013. The monster wave was 100ft or 30m high and can be seen in this video.

Sintra, Portugal

Located the northern-most extent of the protected Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, 30km from Lisbon, Sintra displays an alluring fairy-tale nature setting. This little town has been a summer retreat for the portuguese royal family for centuries and is lush with green forests, exotic flowers and exquisite architecture.

portugal road trip along the coast - sintra Pena Palace
Palácio da Pena (Pena Palace) in Sintra.

Make sure you don’t miss Castelo dos Mouros -the moorish castle overlooking the village – and Palácio da Pena, a Romanticist palace on a hilltop with great views over the entire Lisbon metropolitan area. Also, since you’re already in the area get a look at continental Europe’s most western point: Cabo da Roca. Beware of the wind!

Évora, Portugal

Since you’re at Alentejo already, venture out to the interior, entirely different from the coast. Évora in particular is drenched in history, heritage and culture, making it a constrasting break from all the beach and ocean. Also, a chance to have a sneak peek at how’s life in the interior of Portugal.

Warning: it can get VERY hot in peak summer months.

Seville, Spain

I know this road trip is about Portugal, but why not take a detour and include one more country in your itinerary? Iberian power! Seville is less than 200km away from the portuguese border and is the cultural centre of the region of Andalucía.

There’s a lot to do and specially to eat here. Grab some hot churros con chocolate, jamón or a freshly-made sangria in between your visit to the city’s main sights. Don’t miss El Alcazar, a royal palace built for Moorish kings, and the magnificent Plaza de España.

Driving in Portugal

While you can technically do this road trip with a scooter or motorbike (heck, even with a bike if you’re in the right shape!), renting a car is definitely the most convenient option to do this road trip, giving you total freedom and independence.

Public transportation is NOT reliable and will not reach most beaches and other spots mentioned here.

Renting a car in Portugal

For some reason I can’t understand, renting a car in Portugal is slightly more expensive than in other countries of Southern Europe.

That said, you can still find some great deals, specially if you book early! I always use this Skyscanner or my new favorite RentalCars to compare prices.

How are the roads in Portugal?

Driving in Portugal is not anywhere near like a Gran Turismo game and roads are usually in good shape. That said, you’ll need to be careful, as we’re talking about a country with one of the highest accident rates in Europe.

Although there is a direct highway from Lisbon to Algarve (A2 motorway), the cheaper  and more scenic route for this road trip is through the regional and national roads. These skip the expensive toll system and go very close to the coast so it’s a more enjoyable journey.

If you happen to pass by any of the main tolls, take care NOT to use the green lanes Via Verde (a giant green V). These are strictly reserved for vehicles subscribed to their automatic toll payment system, so you will get fined and charged for the entire stretch of motorway!

Important information for drivers in Portugal

Some other useful driving numbers to remember – updated to 2022:

ℹDriving tips in Portugal
  • Navigation: use Google Maps or Maze to drive around in Portugal.
  • Alcohol Limit: 0.5g per liter. Equivalent to 2-3 small beers.
  • Speed Limits: 50km/h in the built-up area, 90km/h outside of the built-up area and 120km/h on the motorways. Inside some limited residential areas and town historical centers the limit goes down to 30km/h.
  • Safety: All vehicles should carry a safety triangle and reflective jackets.
portugal road trip coast travel blog alentejo
Don’t get distracted by the views in Alentejo when you’re driving!

Finding accommodation in Alentejo and Algarve

Having a lot of media attention lately, the accommodation in Alentejo has risen a lot in recent years, both in quantity and quality as resorts, rural houses and guest houses pop up like mushrooms.

My personal suggestion is Herdade do Amarelo, a stunning homestead next to Vila Nova de Milfontes, but there is a choice to all tastes and wallet sizes.

To make your life even easier, use this shortlist of the best-reviewed rural accommodation in the coast of Alentejo.


In the Algarve region, the offer accommodation is much higher but the best places can get fully booked with months in advance.

What is the best time of the year to do a road trip in Portugal?

Short answer: you should be fine to do this road trip anywhere between April and October, as warm weather in Portugal lasts for about half a year.

That said, along this route you’ll be driving along a wild Atlantic coastline, so weather can be chilly, rough and particularly windy very unpredictably.

If possible, avoid the month of August entirely. It will surely save you 20-30% of the overall budget, as everything since accommodation to a single bottle of water is inflated. Plus, it’s the default holiday month in Europe so all the towns I’ve mentioned turn into mini-Algarves.

In summary, if you can avoid peak months and at the same time maximize the probability of warm sunny weather, come to Portugal in May, June, July or September.

Should I visit Portugal in winter?

Between November and March it’s winter time and it can get especially cold next to the ocean. In Costa Vicentina, forget about beach weather it will be chilly and windy, although hiking is possible. It might be an interesting time for surfing enthusiasts.


Food in Portugal

portugal road trip food sardines

OK, almost dinner time at the time I’m writing this, so let’s talk about food. I know this is suspicious coming from me *a bold statement is coming* but food standards in Portugal are simply great.

I honestly can’t find a better combination of taste, price, and healthiness in Europe. If you are really to take this road trip, I bet my pinkie finger you will not have one mediocre meal. #highexpectations

Take advantage of your time in Portugal to eat food generally unavailable or expensive elsewhere: fish. Grilled fresh fish with a simple pinch of salt and herbs to season is one of my favorite summer pleasures. Luckily, that’s not hard to find at all in the entire Costa Vincentina, with equally delicious prices.

What to eat in Alentejo

And speaking of Alentejo in particular… oh dear. We’re talking about one of Portugal’s gastronomic edens! Don’t miss the big peppery olives (azeitonas) for starters and a glass of regional wine to drink. After all, half of the country’s wine is produced here.

portugal road trip travel blog roadtrip - Carne Porco Alentejana
Carne de Porco à Alentejana. YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS. Photo by Anita’s Feast.

Bacalhau (codfish) dishes are frequent as well as porco (pork), but you can’t miss to try a local plate and my personal favorite: Carne de Porco à Alentejana – a mouth-watering combination of pork, wine, potatoes and clams.




How to get to Portugal

Lisbon and Porto are very well served by airline connections from all over Europe and also from the U.S., South America and Africa.

If you’re coming from the United States, take a look at Azores Getaways. They have great flight + hotel + transfers deals for Portugal.

5 Stars Azores from $899

If you’re not into travel packages or you’re not coming from the US, I recommend Skyscanner or the new online sensation TravelPerk to find the cheapest flight prices.

Where to stay in Portugal

To make your life easier, start your search with my pre-selection of the best hostels/hotels/guesthouses/villas for each of these amazing spots:

These include only accommodations with great-to-excellent rating and a good free WiFi . You can’t go wrong with these!

Best time to go to Portugal

While summers are long in Portugal and you can expect good weather anywhere between May and October, make sure you avoid August. Unless you have a thing for packed beaches!

portugal road trip Cabo Sao Vicente
Cabo de São Vicente, in the southwestern-most end of Portugal.

Enjoy the ride and help me improve this guide!

You know I always love to put together a complex travel plan – just like I did with my Croatia road trip guide, my Japan itinerary or my island hopping guide in Thailand. This one is different though. Being my country, I did it with little or no research: it was written all from the heart 💖.

This guide will be updated regularly from now on, so after you use it and visit Portugal yourself, let me know of any additional suggestions or tips, I’d love to hear what I’ve missed!

Creating this guide made me want to do this road trip it all over again. It’s cheap, it’s still unspoiled by tourism and comes with a getaway feeling to it which is harder and harder to find nowadays.

I really hope you can have the same experience. Because contrarily to the immense coastline of awe-inspiring beaches of Alentejo, Cristiano Ronaldo does not need any more hype!

reasons visit Portugal travel guide reasons to go

Reasons to Visit Portugal

Continue reading more about Portugal with these 40+ reasons why it should be on your immediate travel plans.

My travel tips valid anywhere

  • 🏨 To find the best deals and book your stay with free cancellation, I recommend Booking.com (from my experience, often cheaper than Airbnb)
  • 🚗 Always compare car rental prices before you book anything (and if possible use local rental shops!)
  • ☑️ Travel insurance is a must these days – don’t overlook it! I recommend Allianz or Safety Wing if you’re always on the go
  • 💰 Use Revolut to save in exchange rates and payments abroad; it’s a game-changer!
  • ⚙️ Amazon has the largest offer in travel gear, clothing, and accessories – check out my Travel Store!
  • ✈️ Are you dealing with a delayed or cancelled flight? Airhelp may help you get a compensation for it!

Did this help plan out your vacation? What have I missed for a memorable Portugal road trip?
Leave a comment in the comments below 👇

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  1. Thank you for sharing a scenic route through Portugal. We will be visiting in early December. Should we make the drive to Algarve or should be stick to day trips near Lisbon? We are not interested in swimming or sunbathing. Our main interests are the cliff line and caves.

    1. Hey Andrea! While the views are still lovely, winter time is a rough time to be so close to the ocean. I’d probably go deeper inside Portugal exploring historical villages like Évora, Elvas, Monsaraz, or go to the Centro region.

  2. My husband and I are planning a 3-4 week driving trip to Portugal and of course we are on a budget. Your comments and suggestions appear sincere and authentic. I am especially in need of good advice regarding interesting accommodations in central locales.

  3. I love this itinerary, my husband and I are renting a camper van for the last week in July so we can just get a break away from the city with our kids!
    We’ve been living in Lisbon for 2 years now and before that, we lived in Algarve for 7 years….so we’ve never done the Silver Coast and are thinking of exploring it on our road trip. Kids are 7 and 3 years old…love the beach and forests etc! Any road trip tips on where to stay where we won’t be overwhelmed with crowded beaches etc? I’m sure there will be fewer tourists than usual because of COVID but just wondering in general, any hidden gems?
    Your article is great! Very detailed and helps so much

  4. Good morning,

    I came across your excellent blog, thank you for sharing it. September 2020, planning too tour Portugal , from England, driving through France and Spain, arriving in Alejento, Then onto Lisbon, Douro wine area and the Algarve. Looking forward to receiving further tips and suggestions for my tour.

    Kind regards

  5. Do you have any recommendations for a route and perhaps one or two stops along the way for a one day drive? We arrive in Lisbon at 6am on Mar 27th and will be renting a car to drive to Albufeira. We can’t check in until late afternoon so we plan on taking our time. We’ll be driving back to Lisbon on April 4th, again taking the day to get there. We thought of taking the coast on the way down and perhaps an inland route on the way back North. Any suggestions would be welcome! Thanks.

  6. Cheers for this Guide! It’s good to finally find a comprehensive article, which gets straight to the point and includes all the smaller details you need to plan a visit!

  7. We used your 2018 (?) roadtrip guide to Portugal and it was so helpful! I love your style. Yor sit is practical, intelligent and easy to use. Thank you.

  8. the belem tower reminds me of my trip to Portugal where I met Lisbon, Oporto, Aveiro, Coimbra, and Sintra. Amazing landscapes. (link removed)

  9. Hi Bruno, we have friends in Tavira and are thinking of a September Road Trip from Lisbon, ending with a stay with our friends. I use a wheelchair, how accessible is your itinerary? For example, I have heard that Lisbon is very hilly. How accessible are the beaches you mention, some or none?! Thanks, Sandra

    1. While there has been some effort to make beaches and towns accessible, I would be lying if I said all beaches are wheelchair-friendly. You’re most likely to find them in Algarve than in the wild beaches of Alentejo.

  10. Hi Bruno
    Thank you very much for this helpful post!
    I am going to do a road trip with my friends in September and i’m wondering where we can leave the rented car during our stay in the cities (ea Lisbon) ? do you have any suggestions?

    Take care,

    1. You mean for free? Nearly impossible in Lisbon downtown.
      I suggest you look a bit on the outskirts of the city or alternatively, do separate car rentals? I wonder if rental companies would let you park your car there while it’s being rented…

  11. Hi Bruno, I love how you have done this road trip. There will be 4 young seniors and renting a car. We have 12 to 14 days. We would fly into Lisbon and our of Madrid. We are from Miami Florida and like hidden towns and gems ( more local) to visit. We can stay at a few central places and do day trips or move every 2 days. We really would like for you to map out your suggestions for us. We will be traveling the end of August to first week in September. We hop you are able to help us with our itinerary. Thank you so much!


    1. I can’t help with creating an itinerary from scratch for you guys, this really depends on your pace, travel goals and style, etc.
      You have here already a good amount of material to start off though, let me know if you come up with any specific doubts or questions. Good luck!

  12. Hi! I just love how you’ve done this with classy, cool places to stay but not quite yet “ plagued” by tourism. I’m planning a 10 ish day trip to Portugal and struggling with my itinerary. I would love something just like this, but geared not so much just towards the beach cities. I’d like to see Coimbra, and perhaps Sintra, ( little bit of tourism/ culture) the megaliths, the chapel of bones, Roman ruins, etc. even if just passing through. But also would like to see the beach. I’ll be traveling alone, so while I tend to want to stay away from tourist traps I do enjoy the chance to meet others and not so isolated. Any chance you’d feel up to throwibg together a suggestion of how I might go about this ? Preferable using trains and such . But csn rebt car too . I just love the suggestions you gave .
    Cheers !!

    1. Sintra is heavily touristy right now, but still worth a visit IMHO. The Chapel of Bones is in Évora, which is in Alentejo region, entirely different.
      Personally, I wouldn’t go as far north as Coimbra on purpose, unless you want to visit other places in the center region (Nazaré, Aldeias de Xisto?).

      10 days is not that much so I suggest you throw all the places you want to see on the map and start planning a route from there. Sadly trains are a bit crappy in Portugal. The buses from Rede Expressos are a good option though.

  13. Hi Bruno, we used your guide to the azores last year and it was brilliant! We spent just over a week on Sao Miguel and didi pretty much everything you recommended. Thankyou! This year we are going to try Porto and Evora – again, thanks for the tips!

  14. Hi Bruno!

    I was looking for recommendations to send to a friend going to Portugal and saw your article.

    After visiting Portugal more than 7 times and knowing some of its hidden gems, I can say that your guide is pretty much complete. Excellent recommendations about places to go, what to eat, when to go, etc.

    The only thing you could also recommend is doing all this with a RV or a campervan. This way you avoid all the bookings, check ins/outs and just go at your rhythm. I think it can give even more value to your readers.

    Let me know if you need help with that, I would be more than happy to share some info on how to do all this with a campervan.

    Anyways, thanks for taking the time writing the article. I will definitely share it with my friend.


    1. Thank you Luis, having the seal of approval of a Portugal expert like you is great news! 🙂
      Great idea on the RV/campervan thing, it definitely takes out a lot of the hassle with the planning; plus, it’s an adventure within another adventure. I’d be happy to add a section on the article about it, if you want to contribute, please send me an email or contact me on Twitter/Instagram!

  15. Hi Bruno, what an amazing article, so glad I came across it whilst planning our trip to Portugal. We’re driving from London and staying in Sarges for a week. Will spend another week on the road trip there and back. Looking forward to exploring some of your recommendations, very grateful for your insights. Thanks

  16. Hi Bruno
    We are spending a month May/June driving around pretty much all of Portugal with the last leg back to Lisbon driving up the coast from Sagres spread over two days. I have looked at Google maps which shows an unsealed “road” along the coast running from just north of Porto das Barcas all the way to Cabo Sardao. Do you know if this is actually driveable or is it just a hiking path? Cheers.

    1. First of all, I envy you, a full month of traveling is great!
      I can’t be sure of this road as I never took it. It seems like a hiking path from Google Maps, but I suggest going there and see it with your own eyes. Worst that can happen is you having to take the main road to Cabo Sardão via the CM1158 road.

  17. Hello,
    the most helpful read!
    one question, my husband and I are going in June.
    We would love to follow the same itinerary you’re suggesting.
    Question: in which cities do you suggest to stay in order to do the entire thing?
    we are thinking to sleep (base ourselves) in the following places:
    Porto, Lisbon, zambujeira do mar, odecixe, and faro.
    Do you agree? do you have other recommendations?
    The objective is to be based in places where we can do day trips and come back without changing accommodations more than 5 times for the entire 10 to 12 days.

  18. Hey Bruno, love the guide, thanks for sharing it! I’m looking at following this guide for a solo trip in May.

    Anyway, I’ve got 14 or so days to play with so have been sketching out a route in my head. I’m thinking of adding Porto in at the start and then moving down through Nazare and maybe Sintra before going to Lisbon. Would it be possible to those places without a car and then pick up a car once I’ve finished in Lisbon? Would you recommend doing it that way?


  19. Hi,

    Your article has been a great help. I am planning for 10days road trip Lisbon to Lisbon. My dates are 29th June to 8th July. This is my first time in Portugal.
    Start with
    1) Lisbon – 2 nights
    2) Arrabida – 2 nights
    3) Comporta – 2 nights
    4) Odeceixe – 2 nights
    5) Faro – 2 nights
    Drive Faro to Lisbon —> Drop off the car at airport —-> fly back home.

    What would be your recommendation? I am traveling with my family with a 10 years old child.


    1. Seems like a fairly balanced and rested itinerary. Probably wouldn’t go as far as Faro in Algarve though.
      Can you be more specific on the type of recommendations you’re looking for?

  20. Ola! Em primeiro lugar, artigo fantástico ! (quase) tudo o que preciso saber. Só umas perguntas… um dia é suficiente pra ver os pontos principais na serra da Arrábida? É possível ver golfinhos lá em abril? Já se pode ir dentro de água no Algarve (desculpa eu sou do Porto não sei como são as temperaturas no sul), 2 dias são suficientes para ver a Costa vicentina?

    Muito obrigada e aguardo resposta.


    1. Oops só agora reparei que os comentários são todos em inglês podes responder em inglês se for melhor pro teu blog!

    2. Obrigado Carla!
      Depende sempre do que queiram fazer, mas acho 1 dia é suficiente para a Arrábida, o maior obstáculo é o estacionamento. Aconselho a começar cedinho.

      Nunca estive na Arrábida em Abril. Mas suponho que a água seja bastante fresquinha – quiçá difícil de mergulhar – por essa altura, mas tudo depende da coragem de cada um, verdade? 🙂

      Para a Costa Vicentina inteira, 2 dias é “possivel”, claro, mas bastante curto. Vais passar as férias a correr. Aconselho pelo menos 4-5 para visitar vários pontos e ver vários tipos de paisagens.

  21. We are Amna and Tarun from India looking to travel to stunning Portugal this summer.We would love to explore your services – however, only upto the closing the itinerary stage by working closely with a local tour guide. We would prefer to make our stay arrangements personally. Is that possible?

    Some more things about us..

    We are a family of four with two children (aged 10 and 12). Portugal has been on travel this summer we are looking to tick this one off our list. We would love to explore the country, its culture, art and rugged beauty over two weeks in May 2019. While we would look to have an intense experience, we are also looking for quiet, slow moments with each other as a family. Does that make sense:)?

    we have browsed through your website. Your love for Portugal shines through. That is why we would love to have you draw up a personalised itinerary for us? Would this be possible? Let us know the next steps please…

    Keen to hear back.

  22. In May we are staying a couple of nights in Lisbon then are planning to take a week to travel up the coast where we visit Oporto for another couple days then fly out from that city. Any suggestions for towns to stop at along the coast? It is like Croatia where there are lots of rooms in peoples homes they rent out on a nightly base? We are hoping to do it by bus. Do you recommend this?

    1. There’s plenty of suggestions in this article, take a look at the map. My #1 would be Nazaré.
      More people are renting out their homes, but it’s still mostly small guesthouses I think.

      I always recommend getting a car.

  23. Hi thanks for this article. It made me change my itinerary. We are going late dec not the best time but the only time we can find. I started with the intention to drive from Lisbon to evora then to Tavira but now I think I would like to include the southwest. Below is an outline of the itinerary. Can you let me know if I’m trying to do too much..it’s our first time in Portugal.
    Lisbon -3 nights
    Lisbon to Evora & Monsaraz – 2 nights ( or should I do one night)
    Ecora to Tavira – 3 nights ( or should It be 2 nights)
    Tavira to Odeciexe – 2 nights ( reduce Tavira and add one more night to 3 nights)
    Odeciexe to Lisbon -2 nights
    I look forward to hearing your views!

    1. Overall it is a balanced itinerary, taking into account it’s December and can’t do beach. It all depends on your goals but I feel Monsaraz might be a big detour unless you have a specific reason to go there?

      I’d probably make it just one night in Évora and squeeze in another place – how about a more remote guesthouse or stay? Look for “monte alentejano”, these are huge farmhouses or wineries which double as a hotel in Alentejo region. Just a thought.

  24. Eu estou sonhando com fazer um viagem à Portugal. Agora preciso de aprender a língua portuguesa e penso que vou viajar para o Porto para estudá-lo. Obrigada pela maravilhosa informação sobre o teu país.

  25. Where is the picture “What if I told you Algarve’s coastline is full of these unreal places?” taken? Looks amazing?

  26. Would you still recommend this route travelling in winter (January)? I’m keen to explore the country, but only have time in January to travel.

    1. Let’s put it this way: unless you’re a beach bum, I wouldn’t call off a trip because it’s January. The landscapes, the food, and the getaway feel are all there. Just with chilly and windy weather.

  27. I just came across your amazing article. My husband and I are planning a kind of last minute (late September) trip to Portugal. Will be about 10 days. We are very outdoorsy and athletic and love to day hike. Would you suggest following your itinerary as it is in the article or heading to a different area? I know the north has National Parks and is more mountainous but the idea of being able to combine hiking and beaches and culture in your itinerary is very appealing. I know it is hard to see any country in 10 days and need to prioritize but hoping to fit in exercise, beauty and culture. Any suggestions?

  28. Dear Bruno,

    Just came back last Friday from Portugal and took your itinerary step by step (except Lisbon, which we’ve seen in 2017).

    I want to thank you very very much, it was extremely helpful.

    All best wishes from Romania!

    Nicoleta & Adrian

  29. Hi
    I have skimmed through your article and find it good to revisit. Many thanks

    Any advice? Hubby and I are visiting Alentje (South) and Algarve in June 2019 for 2 weeks. We will be driving about with a view to finding a nice place to live for 6 months.
    We love sunshine, coastal walking, kayaking and swimming. We are looking for a quiet town of locals and tourists with great local fish and fresh friut and veg

    Any recommendations very welcome

  30. Hi Geeky Explorer
    Thank you for your wonderful heartfelt info on Portugal. I am planning a trip and will read everything here with interest.

  31. We spent 10 days in Portugal. Thanks for your recomendations (places, beaches and the Amazigh Hostel). We enjoyed the journey, the country, the food and got to know nice people. Now we have to return to our daily life. A little bit sad and melancholic because of the impresions and experiences we lived.

    1. Going back to reality it’s always hard…but the memories will stay with you forever 😉

  32. We kind of made a mistake to fly into Faro and out again at the end of 2 weeks. Now after researching more, the earlier price was too good to wait, we realize we should have flown into one and out the other, meaning Faro in, Lisbon out or visa versa. We want to see the western coast as well so should we just immediately drive straight across to Aljezur and go down and the coast from there to Faro? Thanks or any reply at all!!

    1. I’d do that yes, immediately start driving along the coast to don’t waste any more time.

  33. Hello!
    Thanks you so much for this! I am travelling for 9 days in June and was hoping to go from faro to Lisbon. Do you know any affordable places to rent a Scooter that we can collect in Faro and drop off in Lisbon? Also, I was hoping to bring my tent and camp a few nights? Id really appreciate some tips!

    1. Not an expert with scooters, I’d start by asking normal rental companies what they have. Wild camping is illegal by law, but fortunately there are many camping sites in the journey.

  34. Hi! We are planning a trip to Malaga & Seville & decided to add Algarve & Lisbon to the trip. We have some 4-5 days for Portugal. What do you suggest we cover? We’re traveling with kids & want to do seaside/ nature.
    How easy/ difficult is it to drive into Portugal & then back to Spain? Any recommendations on where we can book cars from?

    1. 4 days to do Algarve and Lisbon and then back to Spain is very tight I’m afraid.
      I’d stick to the southern region for the entire time there.

      Not sure what you mean with “how easy to drive”, it’s the EU, so there are technically no borders.

  35. Thanks for sharing this. Your tips are very helpful. I am a travel freak and travel a lot. Next year Alaska is on my card.Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness., and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Next year I definitely want to explore Albany.
    People often have a theme that they base their worldly travels on, but how about a mental mantra for your travel? Out of a cheerleading event that consisted of our family shouting supportive words at our daughter who was attempting to kill a rather monstrous spider that the rest of us were too chicken to get close to, came this great quote, “If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!”

    This quote came back to haunt me when on vacation in Seattle. I thought it would be a great idea to take the kids on the Seattle Great Wheel, the ferris wheel overlooking the ocean, but as we approached it, I realized how high it went and immediately panicked! Just as I had decided to put the kids on it on their own, my daughter says, “Come on dad…If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!” What could I do at that point?! She was telling me to stop thinking and creating more fear about the situation and just get on the thing!
    “If you don’t think, and you just do, then it’s done!” We all now keep this quote in our back pocket, ready to whip out at any time to push one of us forward into an adventure we know they won’t regret. No hesitations, don’t allow any time for fear to set in, and be prepared for your kids to turn your life advice back on you

  36. How are Faro and Lagos during the summer months outside of August? Are they still very touristy? Or are they worth hanging out in for a bit?

  37. Thank you for your incredible guide. I’ll be visiting Lisbon this summer for 9 days…traveling with my family (husband and 2 kids, 10 and 5). We want to be able to take it easy and enjoy our vacation without feeling like we need a vacation after we leave. We enjoy exploring, taking in the culture and lazy beach days. So, I’m torn with staying Lisbon for the entire trip and doing day trips to Sintra and nearby beaches (Praia Carvalhal, Praia da adraga and Portinho da arrábida) or split our trip 3 days in Lisbon (with trip to Sintra), 3 days in Lagos and 3 days back in Lisbon. I’m worried that drive back and forth will be too much…and then be overwhelmed with crowded touristy beaches, but we also don’t want to miss out on an experience that you may not get anywhere else. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I’d advise between about 4 days in Lisbon and the remaining in Tróia/Arrábida/Comporta for some lazy days laying on the beach. This way you get the best of both worlds.

  38. I love your guides! i used your guide for Sao Miguel for my honeymoon, it was perfect!
    and now I am looking into this one for my next holiday. Would you recommend this roadtrip for end of March/beg of April?

    1. It’s doable, for sure, although I wouldn’t count on beach weather. If you’re okay just driving for the views, then go for it, but overall it would be better to wait for the warmer months.

  39. Hi, just bumped into this article and skimmed through it. Wanted to point out a correction:

    Regarding speed limits:

    It’s actually 50 kph in the “built up areas”, instead of 60. Also bear in mind that in some very limited residential areas the limit is actually 30 kph, but I doubt most travelers will drive by those.

    Cool article, cheers


  40. This was an exceptional read and a very inspiring post, Bruno! Portugal is indeed an excellent road trip destination and this country has lots to offer. Lisbon and Porto are truly astonishing and definitely worth exploring. Plus, the wine there will leave everyone speechless! 🙂

    1. Thank you Agnes, wine is definitely a highlight, although I’ve seen the opposite: it can make everyone VERY talkative 😀

  41. Hi! I’ll be traveling with my family to Portugal in March for the first time and are really looking forward to it. You have given us some great suggestions. As we only have one week there I’m wondering if you could help me in deciding if we a trip to Porto or to Algarve is better. My family enjoys the outdoors such as hiking more than museums and such. We will be spending 2 days in Lisbon and I’m trying to figure out where to spend the reminder of our trip. We will be renting a car

    1. For just two days, I wouldn’t go to neither of them. I’d stick around Sintra, Comporta, Arrábida, Nazaré and explore a bit the outdoors. 🙂

  42. Dear geekyexplorer
    My husband and I are traveling to Portugal August 14-25. -10 travel days. Wanted to see Lisbon, Sintra Obidos, Aveiro Porto and duoro valley. I saw a beautiful beaches in the Algarve (praia da Marinha) but wondering if this is adding too much. We would drive. Is this doable in 10 days or should we cut out the Algarve?
    3 days Lisbon including Sintra
    Pick up car in Lisbon
    2 days Lagos
    1 day Obidos Aveiro
    1 night duoro valley Quinta da Pacheco or another winery you recommend
    2 days Porto. Drop off car train to Lisbon to fly home.

    1. It’s doable but you’d be spending many hours on the road. I’d go a bit south but not all the way down to Algarve.

  43. Hello Bruno,
    We are planning our first visit to Portugal for late June this year and will have our 6 yr old with us. After two nights in Lisbon – we are planning to drive to South – we are up for some driving, but would like 3 -4 nights in one great location to explore the coast and not always move to the next spot. Where should this be? Is Sagres a good spot to spend this time? We will of course be tourists and want to see some touristy things, but feel comfortable and enjoy good food and culture! Many thanks!

  44. Hi!

    The Benagil cave is the most beautiful part of the Algarve both from the top and inside the cave! If you ever go to Algarve, be sure to see the cave of Benagil.


  45. Hello, very excited to be heading to Portugal for New Years Eve 2018. Have reserved a motorcycle for just this sort of thing, but sadly, don’t have 10 days for the exploration. Just 3. First day, to Evora and overnight in Faro. 2nd day, this coastal drive you elabaorate up to Grandola, then back to Lisbon to fly home. Any advice about road travel for motorcycles? Obrigado!

    1. Never done in Portugal, but I hope you had good luck with the weather, it can be rough in winter along the coast!

  46. Thank you for such an excellent comprehensive guide, it was really helpful. My family is planning a road trip late December this year, do you think this road trip could be an option or would it not be advisable to do it in winter? Would appreciate your opinion. Thanks.

    1. I can’t predict the weather, but if you don’t mind skipping the beach (too cold for that), the nature landscapes and relax vibes are still there!

  47. Thank you for this brilliant guide. This is a trip I really want to take. So glad I fell on your website following a search for info on such a trip. I don’t think I can make it until 2019, but I sure will enjoy the planning meantime.

  48. Bruno, Thanks for the great info. My wife and I are planning a 10 day trip in late May, and considering your recommended itinerary from Lisbon south to Faro. I have a couple of questions:
    – For the few days stay in Lisbon, does one need to rent a car?
    – Heading south from Lisbon, which towns would you stay in overnight (or more) vs, just drive-through ?
    – Is heading up to Porto (before heading south to Faro) doable within the same 10 day trip? What towns would you shave off from the south-bound itinerary?
    – In late May-early June, are pre-booked accommodations a must?
    Thanks you very much,

    1. – I’d totally skip car in Lisbon
      – This is covered on this same page, take a look
      – I think 10 days os to short to cover the entire country, but it’s up to you if you want to spend that much time in the road
      – It depends if you’re on a budget or not. Leaving everything for the very end can rise prices. Also looking for accommodation can consume you precious time of your trip.

  49. Hi! My 26 yr old daughter and 24 yr old son are doing a road trip in November 2017. Can you help us with itinerary. My son and I are arriving from USA and my daughter Paris. We want to see Lisbon, fatima, Porto and faro.

    1. Looks like you have an itinerary right there? Plus I don’t know how many days you did have… Hope it went well!

  50. That sounds like a lovely weekend trip, despite the weather. Road trips are really enjoyable. Thanks for sharing an excellent road trip guide.

  51. hello there! I stumbled across your guide and found it superb reading. Thank you for spending the time to pass on your knowledge and experience. I’m planing a road trip from France where I currently live, to the Alentejo region…I have a very specific reason for going…it’s to research for my dream semi-retirement plan which involves looking for a place to base myself and build a surfer camp-hostel, eco-farm, sustainable living place, (using all recyled stuff to construct) for like-minded people to come and live/work/visit. My trip this time (maybe I will have to do more than one!) can only last about 3 weeks, so I found your suggested 10-day itinerary very helpful, however, what I am aiming for on this trip is to try and establish exactly where I might be able to afford to buy a plot of land with water source and a derelict house/farm to re-build. Somewhere not too built up, not too touristy, quaint, loads of hiking and outdoor stuff to do in the area, maybe a village nearby or not too far to bike to, likewise beach cant be more than a short hike/bike ride as I want to attract surfers and the camper van community. Do you think you have the knowledge to help me plan a bit further, if you don’t mind that is?? As my time is quite limited, I want to narrow it down before I go if at all possible. I am thinking of starting off in Lagos to stop and see some friends there first, then work my way up the coast as far as Mila Nova de Milfontes (where I also have friends)/Sines area (thinking the latter may be cheaper for property?) Is this something you could possibly help with some further advice? Hope you don’t mind my asking. Best regards, Jane

    1. First of all, I’m inspired by your life plan. What an amazing goal!

      In Alentejo, there are many villages like the ones you described. I really depends on the level of “touristy” you want.Places like Porto Covo and Milfontes might be too touristy already so I’d look into Arrifana, Carrapateira, Carvalhal, Almograve.

      Suggestion: maybe it’s a good idea to connect to some local surfers and ask what some of their favorite beaches are and start from there.

      I wish you all the luck in the world, maybe I’ll pass by your property one day!

  52. Hi Bruno! Thank you so much for this blog post. I just came back from Portugal, spent one week there, and mainly planned all the holiday using this post. We started in Lisbon, went to Arrábida, Comporta, Porto Covo, Odeceixe, Arrafina and Lagos. We had an amazing time, enjoyed the food, the beaches and even had the chance to take two surfing lessons. Without this guide, I would have never get such an accurate inspiration to plan all the trip, knowing exactly which beaches to visit and which cities to stay in.

    I am definitely planning to go back!! Thanks again, great job 🙂

  53. hi! i enjoyed the read about the road trip. Were staying longest in Lagos hoping to visit the beaches there and Benagil. Can you recommend any good accomodations?

    1. Sorry but haven’t been in Lagos in years, can’t really recommend anything! I suggest using the boxes here on this article.

  54. We have been thinking about a three-to-four-week trip, and prefer traveling off the main tourist routes, in order to better enjoy the local people, food, culture. Small towns and scenic roads are our favorites… and we don’t like to feel in a rush. I’ve been reading about the network of pousadas, and wonder if you feel that making a ‘pilgrimage’ amongst them both inland and at the coast is a good approach. Ideally we would be able to arrive in country and then ‘wing it’ a few days at each location, but without having to make firm reservations in advance. If we plan on being there in May/June, when it’s not too crowded, will we have a lot of trouble finding vacancies on short notice?

    1. May/June should be OK, specially in this area of the country. If you go later you’d have a potential problem.

  55. Is there a good public transportation option to do an itinerary like this if we don’t want to drive ourselves? I did trains and buses in south of France last year quite easily.

    1. There are trains and buses, but not quite like the south of France. You need to plan very well. Have a look at CP website to start and then you’ll need to dig deeper in regional buses.

      Another option is by bike. Good luck!

  56. Hi Bruno,

    Great site!
    We are traveling to Portugal in the end of September. During the travel, after a 4 days stay in Lisbon, we will do a road trip from Lisbon to Porto and back. The plan is Lisbon -> Nazare (including night stay) -> Porto (stay for 2 days) -> ? (spend 1 night) -> Lisbon.
    The idea is not having the long trip from Lisbon to Porto in one day.
    Can you suggest nice place to visit and stay on the way back from Porto to Lisbon?


  57. Great site Bruno. We will be in Portugal in February next year. Flying into Lisbon, might take your suggested drive with the Seville option. Any tips about the weather etc in this time of the year?

    1. Hard to predict how the weather is going to be, but expect cold and rain. Once you get to Algarve and South of Spain, it should get warmer.

  58. Hi Bruno. I’ve just read your blog, very interesting. I’ve took note of a few places. We hVe been in Lisbon for 3 days, and off to pick rental car up tomorrow to drive to algarve, feeling nervous as I’ve seen how crazy they drive here. But I’ve picked up few ideas off you for when we stay in Lagos next week. Great guide well done

    1. The journey to Algarve is actually a very relaxed one, once you’ve crossed the bridge. Enjoy!

  59. Thanks so much for the guide !
    Sounds great
    I was wondering is there a problem with parking? We are planing to drive from Spain to Lisbon and back is there where to park? Especially in Lisbon where it is safe and free?
    Thank you in advance 🙂

    1. Finding a FREE parking spot in Lisbon is a nightmare. Every Lisboner wants to know the same as you. There are some places outside of the city center and fortunately many of the spots are free on weekends (not in downtown), but otherwise it’s a pain.

  60. Hi Bruno,

    I wondered if you could give me some advise please, I am coming next week and have most of my trip booked up (travelling from Lisbon to Faro) but I need to book the last two nights. We are on the bottom part of the trip Should we (boyfriend and I) go to sagres, somewhere in algarve or head to tavira? I don’t won’t anywhere that is too busy, near lovely beaches obviously – do you have any advice please? I have left it late, so accomodation is a nightmare too-I do not want resorts of any sorts, small little places. We will have a car so that is not a problem. Let me know.

    Many thanks


    1. Sorry I’m terrible at answering comments. Unfortunately this might not help you anymore, but more people could have the same questions,

      Stay away from Albufeira and Vilamoura. Based on what you’ve told me I recommend Monte Gordo (very local and quiet) or Lagos (a bit more laid back, great beaches).

  61. Thanks for the suggestions in this guide! We used your guide to take a make nice little weekend road trip from Lisbon through Porto Covo, Vila Nova de Milfontes, Odeceixe, and Lagos. Even though it was rainy for a good chunk of it, the scenery was still beautiful. Odeceixe is definitely a pretty locale. We booked a night at Casa Vicentina off your link and were pretty happy with it.

    The beaches in Lagos were nice as well. Doing the small boat tour to see the rock formations at Ponta da Piedad was worth it! I didn’t know what it would look like before going on the boat, so it was a really nice surprise.

    1. That sounds like a lovely weekend trip, despite the weather. The scenery in Odeceixe is just stunning isn’t it?

  62. Hello Bruno,
    Thank you for your informative website and engaging style of writing! My husband and I are looking forward to spending eight days in Portugal this September. We will land in Lisbon, tour around (exploring many of your suggested stops), and will then be heading over to Malaga in Spain. We were hoping to hop on a train from Faro to Malaga (or elsewhere in Spain), but haven’t had any luck finding such an option. I identified a couple of bus companies that go into Spain from Faro…Could I be overlooking an inter-country train system? I suppose if we use an international car-rental company, we could book a rental car in Lisbon and drive it to Malaga. Do you have any insights into getting from Point A (Faro) to Point B (Malaga)? Cheers and Thanks, from British Columbia, Canada!

    1. You can definitely book a car in Portugal and ditch it in Spain, most international rental companies will allow it (for an additional fee).

      As for train, sadly the rail network in southern Europe is not great. I don’t think there’s a direct train between Faro and Málaga, but for sure there’s a bus (check ALSA).

  63. Thanks for this guide. We will be in Portugal in July for 3 weeks.
    We are wondering if we will be able to find small guesthouses, rooms, B&Bs or similar as we pass by? Basically walk-in. And what is the price range then?

    We will travel by rental car and are flexible.

    1. Yes you will, but obviously depends on where you go. In July some places get really really busy and you might struggle to find an accommodation.

      I wouldn’t expect to pay more than 50EUR/night per room for a low-budget accommodation in Alentejo.

  64. Great guide. My wife and I are planning a trip in November, which is definitely off season, so can you recommend a trip from Lisbon north, ending in Porto? I would think the southwest coast would be deserted , so we want to hit some coastal and some inland spots that you could suggest. We have 9 days of travel time. thank you

    1. You can find some of the suggestions north in this post. Please note that custom itineraries are subject to a fee, contact me via email if you are interested.

  65. Hi, we are travelling from Seville (Spain) to Lisbon via Lagos in end Dec to early Jan by car, is there anything which we should take note?

  66. Hi Bruno,

    Thanks for an excellent road trip guide. We will do a 9 day trip Lisbon – Faro early Sep and after Lisbon have booked the first days with Carla at Monte do Cardal.
    o you have good suggestions for accommodation in Tavira or Lagos for the rest of our trip?
    Would greatly appreciate your advice.

    Thanks again,

  67. This is great info and a wonderful itinerary!! But you missed the most beautiful town in the Algarve – TAVIRA!

  68. Hi Bruno – so much great information! Can I ask for some of your expert advice?! I will spend all of July in Portugal with my husband and 2 little boys (4 and 1). Our plan is to rent one villa/apartment with maximum 20 minute walk to a beach, in or quite close to a nice village but also near enough to Lisbon that a day trip is not a crazy idea (we will there all July and will need a few city trips!). (we want to relax, go to the beach, have nice walks, eat nice food, meet nice people). A friend had said that Carcavelos would be a good option but from your advice above, we should avoid it! Is Sesimbra or Troia a better option? Or is there a good choice a little north of Lisbon? Is San Martinho do Porto too far north to make day trips to Lisbon feasible? Im thinking the Alentejo region is a little too far south for Lisbon trips. Any advice is much appreciated! Obrigada!

    1. Personally I think Sesimbra, Arrabida or Troia are much better options for what you need, and you still are perfectly able to do a day trip to Lisbon (40-min drive). The beaches there are much better than in Carcavelos.

  69. Hi Thanks for this. It was very informative. I am travelling to Portugal in July and we are flying directly into Porto. After a few days in Porto we will drive to Portimao in 1 day and want to stop along the way in 2 smaller towns to break up the drive (We know it will be a long day). Where do you suggest we stop that won’t take us off the path (the route does not need to be scenic). I am thinking Coimbra and Evora OR Nazare and Evora but do not know if either option are realistic or actually manageable. Any tips you can provide would be helpful. Thanks in advance!

  70. Hi Bruno –
    I am loving your road trip itinerary, I am just starting my plan for April 2018 road trip in Portugal. Probably only have 8 or 9 days. can you suggest best route? I’ll be travelling w/ my 2 best friends. Want to be able to absorb as mush of the local culture as possible, with of course the “must dos” while there. thank you

    1. The above article is for 10 days, if you can cut 1 or 2 places you’ve got a pretty good itinerary to experience the local culture + beaches!

  71. Thanks a lot for your tips and ideas. You’ve really made may plans for next september. Hope i’ll manage to write a review of my trip in september.

  72. Hello Bruno and thank you so much for the article! I’m glad i found it, my husband and I are plannig a honeymoon in portugal and the cannary islands in september.
    We want to see Porto, Lisbon, and drive south to lagos by the coastline with stops in interesting places. Do you think 15 days is enough to see and feel Portugal? What would you reccomend to see?
    We are interested in beaches, wineries, countryside, villages, food, and alot actually 🙂
    Thank you!

    1. 15 days is a good amount of time, but maybe I’d skip one of the stops on your itinerary (Porto or Lagos).

  73. Hello,

    This is a great resource for our upcoming vacation! I was wondering if you could also recommend a location that is good to get scuba certified and maybe a shop?

    1. Try Peniche, there are good diving spots near the Berlenga Islands. Also Sesimbra. But the best is in the Azores islands! 🙂

  74. Hi Bruno, Great Article! would you recommend to do this same itinerary on a Camper Van with 2 kids? Is it generally safe? Is it easy to find camping areas along the road?

    Grazie Mille,

    1. I don’t see any reason why this itinerary is not suitable for kids. Portugal is generally very safe, don’t worry.

  75. Bruno – this is incredible!
    Currently planning a trip with my boyfriend in August for 10 days or so. We’ll be flying into Lisbon and out of Faro and we are hoping to camp on the beach and find some kayaking, hiking, or other outdoor activities on the way!
    I’ve been thinking about how to best spend our time and wonder if you have any recommendations for this type of trip? I know it will be busy during that time of year and we would like to find some more secluded areas if possible.

    1. Just FYI wild camping is illegal in Portugal, do it at your own risk. The more you down the coast, the more likely you’ll find remote areas, so I’d look into places near Arrifana, Carrapateira, etc.

  76. I have just read your very nice blog with content..great web page.. Thanks for the sharing this advice for me..good information.!

  77. I have just read your wonderful Blog Trip to Portugal, we arrive in Lisbon October 19th so hopefully that’s not too late. We had planned on spending 14days driving around but now we may spend longer, we have no time limits which is great. Think we will add on Seville from your advice.
    Is there much to see above Porto? We plan to drive from Lisbon to Sabres, Evora, Marvao, Belmonte, Regua, Duro Valley, Guimares, Porto, Coimbra, Obidos and back to Lisbon. Now we will add on Seville along the way. We intend to book our accommodation as we go which will allow us the freedom to stay extra time in places we enjoy. Is there any extra suggestions you may have for us. We are retired and come from Sydney so we have all the time in the world. We are also spending time in Holland and France.
    Thank you for the wonderful blog.

    1. Your itinerary will give a very good grasp of the country already. Douro Valley and Guimaraes are my top suggestions above Porto, you can also look into Gerês Natural Park – gorgeous place!

  78. Hi Bruno, great site. I am thinking of a family trip for May 18-28. My sons are 13 and 7. Like the idea of driving along the coast. Thinking 3 days in Lisbon then not much else determined. Anything in particular for the kids? Thanks again

  79. Hi Bruno! I am so glad to have come across your blog – this is absolutely helpful with trip planning and a pleasure to read. We are planning to drive from Lisbon down along the coast to Lagos in about three weeks time. Thinking of staying in Odeceixe for a couple of days and Lagos for 3-4 days. Also, I was wondering if you could possibly suggest any nice easy to medium shorter hikes along the way? Thank you in advance! Oxana from Vancouver, Canada

  80. hello Bruno, love your blog ! I decided to visit Portugal end of June after reading your “43 Reasons Why Visiting Portugal Is A (Really) Good Idea” article !
    I’m starting to make some outlines for my trip so if you could help in answering the following : the plan is for 7 days in Portugal ; I’m planning 3 days in Lisbon and 4 days in the Al Gavre region (maybe one of those days could be used to visit Sevilla!) – me and my buddies are interested in nice beaches, good food , sightseeing , partying (nothing too crazy) .. Does our initial plan seem reasonable ? Please feel free to suggest changes as you think is fit !

    1. Yes, that sounds reasonable. I would skip the trip to Sevilla though, if you only have one week it’s too much to squeeze it in!

  81. Hi Bruno! Great article. The hubby and I are visiting Sao Miguel and then flying to Porto for a mainland driving tour to Lisbon in the beginning of May. We have four nights in PDL, then 3 nights in Porto, 2 nights in Coimbra, 1 night in Tomar, 1 night in Evora and 3 nights in Lisbon. My question to you: could you (or do you know of good resources/blogs) help us identify places to see on our mainland drive in between our stops? Or places which are overrated and we should avoid?
    I found your Azores blog, which was very well done and helpful, we plan to follow your recommendations there. Thank you!

    1. It’s hard to suggest something without knowing what are your interests or what to you want to see. Like suggested in the article, Nazaré and Óbidos are one of my favorite towns in Portugal. If possible I’d reconsider 2 nights in Coimbra, might be too much IMHO!

  82. Hi there….fantastic article, and we have exactly 11 days travelling down the coast, before we volunteer near Guarda for 4 weeks, cant wait…Due to finances we might need to catch public transport between places instead of hiring a car. What is your cheapest and local public transport that would take us via these routes? And we are going to be travelling with surfboards, will local transport allow us with the luggage we will have ? Boards and our backpacking luggage?

    1. Well that’s something I’m not sure about. There ARE some local buses running between these towns, just not very frequent.
      Rede Expressos
      also makes some connections and I think you are ok to bring surfboards with you.

  83. Hi Bruno,
    I really appreciated this article! thank you very much for your recommendations.
    My friends and I are planning a road trip in Portugal and in Andalusia , but we are 19 years old and we have one year of driving licence. What do you suggest? Do you know a driving company for young drivers?

    Thank you! 🙂

  84. Hi Bruno, Thank you for the great article and road trip recommendations. We are planning a girls trip mid-September and would like to include a few wineries. Do you have any recommendations?

    1. Nice plan for a girls trip! 🙂

      Well you can try the most famous one, Herdade do Esporão but is a bit far from the coast. Closer to the coast there’s L’AND Vineyards (Montemor-o-Novo) and Herdade dos Grous.

  85. My husband, myself, my brother and his wife as our parents aregoing to Protual the second week of March. We will spend the first part of the week in Lisbon and want to go somewhere the second week. My brother surfs but he is the only one but would like to surf. Is there enough to do if we go to the Algarve or south? We would like to explore, experience the culture etc. I’m worried because it isn’t as warm there isn’t much to do besides the beach. Where do you recommend going along with Lisbon?

    1. The whole coast of Alentejo is good for surfing. If there’s not good weather, you can always go to the interior and explore some towns like Évora.

  86. Hi Bruno,
    Lovely article. We are planning a road trip with three boys, 10,7,4. Is this a good idea to be traveling with kids on this trip? Do you have specific tips that we should bear in mind for the kids, places to visit? We will be traveling this April for about two weeks. I know you recommended May till September, but would there be channces of beach weather in April? To the best of your knowledge that is, based on previous years weather in April. We will fly in on Lisbon and fly out in Porto, renting a car for the journey. Would you recommend camping also?

    1. I don’t see why kids shouldn’t be a good idea. In fact it’s exactly the opposite, the places are usually not as crowded as Algarve so they’ll feel they have more ground to explore.

      Beach weather in April is more tricky. You might be lucky with warm sunny days, but you might not either. It all depends on your cold-water tolerance I guess!

  87. Road Trip is always a great way for planning your holidays. I love to have a road trip, I was wondering if you can give me tips for my trip to Sydney, I am planning it for next month.

    1. Unfortunately I’ve never been to Sydney, it’s on my bucket list! Maybe you can give back some tips when you are back 🙂

  88. Excellent Bruno. I am coming mid February – next month. Will weather be half way decent. Don’t need to much warmth but not cold for the road trip south of Lisbon. What can I expect?

    1. Weather is unpredictable in this part of the country, you can be lucky and get warm sunny days, but you can also get cold gloomy days.

      I wouldn’t expect more than 15C degrees though.

  89. Wow,,,just read through your Portugal guide. Brilliant! We will be travelling in a motorhome this year, but the places you recommend will be so useful. Thank you.

  90. Interesting very help full leaving from malta in lats april to discover portugal an overland trip

  91. G’day, My wife and I are driving the following routes in April. I am
    concerned about how to pay tolls, although will avoid where possible.
    (driving, not paying 🙂  I would prefer to use manual payment but will
    arrange EasyToll if I can. ( It seems that there aren’t many places
    where EasyToll can be bought)
    Can you please advise if I am likely to have trouble on these routes,
    and if manual payment is available on all of them.


    Thanks for a great website,

    1. Hi Don, I’m afraid I don’t have this information. I suggest you heading to ViaMichelin.com website, it will more or less accurately tell you the tolls you need to pay.

  92. Hi,

    I enjoyed your tips. Next time in Portugal, visit Coimbra. With its Old University (unesco wh and 3rd oldest of Europe) and the kayaking trip on the Mondego (www.opioneirodomondego.com)

  93. Hi, Bruno 🙂 my family including myself are planning road trip in Portugal in mid September 2017. I am very happy I found your article as I am sure I will get loads of good advices out of. We would really like to go throuh entire Portugal (North to South) and then take a ferry to Madeira. What would you say, 14 days – would it be a reasonable amount of time to explore Portugal? Where could I possibly find ferry tickets online? Any tips of nature/landscape places to go to in Madeira? P.S. ehat about the place of “the biggest waves in the world”, where is it located as I cannot find the actual place?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. 14 days is a good amount of time, but I would skip Madeira to make it less rushed. I’m not sure what is the latest info, but a few years ago the ferry to Madeira was only once per week operating in peak summer months only. In my opinion, if you really want to go to Madeira, pick the option of a 1h30 flight.

      I think the place with the big waves is Nazaré, about 100km north of Lisbon and also mentioned in this article.

      Hope you have a wonderful trip in Portugal!

  94. Hello,
    Me and my friends would like to do a surf trip through Portugal around June/july, we would like to visit places obviously with waves we could surf but also places where there are not a lot of tourists, we are going by car, if you could tell us where we could go it would be awesome!
    Thank you!!

    1. You can find some of my suggestions in this very same article. Pretty much the west coast next to Algarve is great for surfing and there are not a lot of tourists. Carrapateira, Arrifana, Amado, all are great spots!

  95. Hello,
    We are now in Portugal and thoroughly enjoying ourselves and the lack of too many tourists to compete with!!!!
    We are now in Lagos and need to be in Setubal tomorrow sometime. I know this is spur of the moment, but please can you give us some advice. Would you take the A2 or the N120? Also, would you recommend us going to Sagres before leaving the area?
    Thanks very much!!!

    1. Great to hear you’re having a good time Chris 🙂

      N120 is more scenic, but A2 is faster. If you’re not in a rush, I’d skip the highway. Sagres is a great spot to see how tiny you are compared to the huge ocean in front of you, definitely worth it!

  96. Nice post Bruno! But don’t forget the middle of Portugal. Pure nature with natural parks and the highest mountain of Portugal. Just a tip 🙂

    1. I sure have to explore the center, shame on me. But the highest mountain in Portugal is Pico in Azores!

  97. Is parking an issue in Portugal? Do you need to pay for parking at tourist attractions?
    Also, is English widely spken in Portugal.

    1. I’m afraid that’s a very generic question to answer, like all countries there are areas more problematic for parking than others. If you can be more specific, maybe I can give you a more detailed answer.

      Yes, English is widely spoken in the country!

    2. Hi Bruno, thank you for your reply. Apologise for being to generic.
      If I were to follow your itinerary, would there be any issues with parking?

      Also, when is it a good time to travel to Portugal?
      I come from Asia, so I don’t want to feel the heat when travelling.

      Windy, breezy weather would be ideal. Wouldn’t want to dress like a Michelin man.

  98. Hi Bruno,
    We are planning on going to Portugal for about one month maybe the end of Jan., just to get away from our Canadian winters and snow! Just wondering at this time of year, where it would be the best to go? The Algarve area or Porto area? I want to make sure that certain towns or villages don’t close down during these times and that we are still able to do a lot of touring around. We would probably fly into Lisbon and then head north or south and would like to try and stay mainly in one city and take day trips from there, either via car/bus or train, whichever is more economical. If we head to the Algarve, which city would you suggest that we stay in, and same with the north keeping in mind the time of year. And if we really like it, we will come back year after year and do more exploring. Any insight would be very helpful and appreciated. Thanks so much.

    1. There’s not much going on in Algarve at that time of the year. I’d probably try Porto and do day trips in Braga and Guimarães, but count on chilly rainy weather, it’s the peak of winter! Also head to Nazaré to see the big waves!

  99. Hello Bruno,
    My partner and I are returning to Portugal next week for 6 nights and our plan this time is renting a car in Lisbon and driving to The Algarve. We want to pick a location as a base. Not to many available in Lagos.
    We currently chose one in Albufeira, (we can change it) in town, Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa even though we hear it is the busiest with tourist. However, it is in town, where we do not feel the need to drive if we just want to venture out to dinner or bars at night. We most definitely will be exploring other towns and beaches during the day. What are your suggestions for two men, in 50’s. We do not want to be limited to Resorts where they are to remotely located and unable to walk around and enjoy some nightlife.
    Thank You. Eagerly awaiting your response.
    Any suggestions where to visit during our six day visit. We will have a car.
    Wil and Charles

  100. Hi, very nice article, very useful while planning our trip in Portugal. I am wondering if October is still nice, warm and sunny in Portugal?

  101. Hi Bruno,

    We are using your blog as a guide for our trip to Portugal next month. Thank you so much for the information. It makes planning a lot easier.

    I have a few questions –

    1. Cellphone. We don’t really need a cellphone plan there but we are wondering how easy it is to get on wife in public places

    2. car rental. Looks like most of the rental cars are standard/manual. Do people there just don’t drive automatic?

    3. Do people leave tips at restaurants?


    1. 1. In bigger cities not really an issue, in more remote places not so much. Don’t know where are you going, but I wouldn’t count on it in Alentejo.

      2. Usually no, it’s all manual.

      3. Only if you really enjoy the service or the meal. While it is common to round up to make the change easier, there are no mandatory tips.

  102. Hi Bruno, thanks for your blog!
    We are going for 7 days in September but I wouldn’t want to miss any of the places you mentioned. If you would have to reduce the time spent in any of them how do you think the itinerary should be? We will start either in Porto or Faro.
    Thanks in advance!

    1. With only 7 days this is too short, my advice is to drop some places off the list.

      It’s better that you spend your time in fewer places and make the best out of them, otherwise you will be always on the go!

  103. Hi Bruno,

    It was a really good article to read. I am very intrigued by it.

    My family and I (Hubby, daughter who is 6 years old and myself) will be driving down from Barcelona to Portugal. I am wondering if you have any suggestions for us as we have about 17 days in total (bearing in mind that we do need to drive back to barcelona to fly back to our home country in Singapore). We will be travelling from 25th September onwards….
    We were thinking of skipping Barcelona first (leaving it for the end of the trip since we need to drive back there to fly off) and head straight for Valencia, then to Granda, Seville, Lisbon, Sintra, Salamanca, Madrid and back to Barcelona.
    What is your opinion of this and how many days do you think we should allocate for each place? Should we stay a day or 2 at each place or is there any possibility of having a base at on place and do day trip with one or more of the places that i mentioned.
    It will be awesome if you can give us more suggestions and I am excited to hear from you.

    1. 17 days is not a long time and keeping in mind you have 8 places to go, that gives an average of 2 days per place (not taking into account travel times). That might be enough for places like Salamanca, Sintra and Granada, but it will only “scratch the surface” of cities like Lisbon and Barcelona.

      My suggestion is try to cut one or two places from the list and enjoy more time on the remaining!

  104. Hi Bruno,

    I read your articles on Portugal early this year and since then it is been always in my mind to make it to Portugal. I live in Paris on work and planning to make a 6 day (includes travel days) trip to Portugal end of Oct 2016.

    I would like to know your suggestions on how I can plan it out.

    I was thinking of two options – basing myself in Lisbon for the 6 days and see places in and around Lisbon. or spend 4 days in Lisbon and 2 days in Porto.

    I would want to base myself in Porto and go around the Duro valley, but I read having a car helps there and Oct not being the right time to visit the valley, I was thinking to plan the Porto side in another trip and cover the Lisbon and surroundings this time.

    Would really like to get your opinion on this. Would I be able to cover around Lisbon using Public transport? I am more interested in country side and smaller villages.

    Thank you!

    1. If you are more interested in the country side, you will need a car. 6 days are more than enough for Lisbon, so maybe stay in Lisbon for 3 days and then spend the rest in smaller villages like Nazaré and Óbidos?

      You can leave Porto & Douro Valley for another trip!

  105. Hi Bruno! Thank you so much for this road trip guide, it’s amazing! I’m planning to go with my boyfriend in September, starting from Faro; but we have to take the flight to come back from Oporto. Do you think it could be possible if we follow your suggestions in an inverse order, stopping in Lisboa and finishing in Porto, in 10 days in total? In that case, how many days suggest in every area? We are more into enjoying the summer and Portugal’s beaches, but, of course, we would love to spend some time in the beautiful cities and villages. Many thanks! I really appreciate your help!
    Faro – Algarve / Comporta and Odeceixe – Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e da Costa Vicentina / Lisbon / Nazare and Oporto

    1. I don’t see any reason why you can’t take this on the reverse order 🙂

      Well I can’t give you advice knowing so little about your travel lifestyle, but I’d say spend a couple of days (2-3) in Lisbon and 1-2 in Porto and then distribute the rest of days for each stop! Good luck!

  106. Thanks for sharing this info Bruno! I’ve been gathering similar notes from my Portuguese friends for an upcoming 11 day trip with my girlfriend mid-august – peak season, I know! But it’s for her 30th bday, so…

    We’re staying with friends in Lisbon for a couple of days, and then thinking of basing ourselves near Porto Corvo to then drive up and down the west coast. Your suggestions for this are perfect.

    However as an english expat myself (to the US) I had eliminated the whole south coast to avoid my american girlfriend from witnessing the brits-abroad situation, but have been wondering (since you mentioned Lagos, which I had eliminated) if there are any other places that you’d recommend on the south coast that would still be safe to go? Even if it meant driving towards the border of Spain. My Portuguese friends have no idea cause they never go there.
    We’re very much into the wilder beaches and stark surroundings, hiking to avoid crowds, open to nude beaches also. Would you have any tips??

    Thanks again!

    1. During August in Algarve is going to be very hard to find uncrowded places. Even Lagos.

      You may find some peace in some of the islands near Faro and Olhão – Ilha Deserta, Ilha do Farol – and maybe towards east, near the border with Spain. Monte Gordo, Vila Real de Santo António are usually a bit more calm.

      If you’re into hiking, I’d recommend Alentejo though.

      Good luck!

    2. Definitely spending most of the trip in Alentejo, but maybe we’ll venture out to the south coast for a day and check out the islands.

      Thanks for the tips!

    3. hi Bruno! I have one more question, hope you don’t mind 🙂
      What’s your opinion on the Berlenga islands? We have a few days in and around Lisbon and wondering if this could be worth a day trip out to. I see there’s a lot of boat traffic, tours etc. The kayaking in and around the caves sounds pretty cool, but not if amongst dozens of others bumping into each other trying to avoid getting hit by selfie sticks etc. I can’t seem to find much insider info on it. Know anything about these islands?

      Thanks a lot

    4. Unfortunately I’ve never been to Berlengas, but I don’t think they are thaaaat touristy. I think there is a daily limit of people allowed since it’s a natural reserve. Plus, it’s quite a boat ride to get there so I want to believe that is enough to scare away the crowds. 🙂

  107. Hi!

    Can you tell me about where you hired a car from/ how it worked in terms of renting a car in one area and dropping it off in another. Also, which side of the road do the Portugese drive on, and is it easy to get from one area to the other with a GPS?


    1. I think that is possible, you just might have to pay an extra fee.

      In Portugal, we drive on the right. As far as how it easy it is, well it depends on where you’re going. Worst case scenario, you can also stop and ask, I’m sure people will gladly help you!

  108. Hi Bruno,

    My Wife and I are planning to take a lazy drive from Lisbon to the Algarve’s and then up to Porto starting on the 1st September after having spent a few days in Lisbon. Much along the line you have recommended. We have done so in many countries around the world and tend to not pre book accommodation but find suitable places as and when we come across a town / village we like or have had enough driving for the day. Is this advisable in Portugal or not – Should we rather pre book? Regards, Colin (South Africa)

    1. If it was August, I wouldn’t advise to go without pre-booking. September is way better, but I would still give it a look to hotels for at least at some nights just to try to get some good deals.

      Enjoy your stay!

  109. Hello, I will be traveling to Portugal the first week of September. I will be starting in Porto, then driving to Fatima and Nazare. Then going to Lisbon for 2 days. After Lisbon I wanted to take the road trip from Lisbon to Portimao where I will be staying for the remainder of my vacation. Even though we need to get to Portimao in the same day, I still want to take this scenic route and stop at a few of these places. Can it be done? Also can you send me the directions or the routes of this roadtrip please? Thank you so much. SO very excioted. I was born in America. BOth of my oparents were born in the Azores. I go to the Azores every year but this is my first time in Continente! I am so excited.

    1. So you’re semi-Azorean, how nice! 😀

      One day is very tight to make all these places. You can maybe quickly stop in two or three places, but that’s not the ideal way to experience them I guess!

    2. Sim,
      Somos da Terceira!

      Se tiver que escolher dois sitios, quais sao os dois?

      Eu agradeco a sua ajuda Bruno!!

  110. Hi Bruno,

    Following your 10day trip; where should we spend a (some) night (s)?

    How much is it to rent a car with a driver for a day?

    Can we commute using public transport instead of the car?

    Many thanks in advance for your assistance.

    1. Trying to answer your queries separately:

      – The above all are great places to spend a night!
      – Well that really depends on so many things it’s hard to say: vehicle, the company, etc… I would say anywhere between 25-50USD per day.
      – I don’t recommend public transport in this part of the country, you can’t get to the best beaches without it.

  111. Hi Bruno,
    I found your guide really interesting and.it made me want to travel Portugal straight away!
    We landed (me and my girlfriend) in Lisbon just 4 days ago, the plain was to stay just for a couple of week, but you know, while you travel plans always change, so we decide we want to stay till the end of the month!
    We are thinking about doing a 10-12 days road trip south then spend the rest of the time in Porto, or picking 4 different areas south regions and from there moving with public transport. We ‘re budget travellers, we being travelling for quite a while and we came here to enjoy the awesome Portuguese summer, my question then is… what you would recommend to do when you ‘re on a budget? And if you have to pick 3-4 areas,which would be in good position to be able to explore the surrounding??
    Hope I was clear 😉
    Thank you so much!

    1. Well it depends on what you are seeking. Stay in Algarve for a few days but not too much. The beaches are great but very crowded these days.

      I’d say to try Comporta, Porto Covo and Arrifana too, all idilic villages next to the sea, perfect to unwind.

  112. reat post and beautiful photos. I arrived at Faro airport and travel to Quarteira with a transfers company. Friendly and good price. I Love Algarve.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, however links can’t be posted on comments. Thanks

  113. Bruno, what an excellent guide. Can I ask your advice : in august we will will spend 18 days in Portugal: in Algarve for 8 days (and will follow all your tips) and then Sintra region for 5 days: we have another 5 days left (departure again from Faro): what would you suggest? We will be travelling with 10-12 y old boys. Not sure if to go to the north or inland. We have a car

    1. I would spend those days along the coast, so many blissful places on the way! Try some of the suggestions on the article, including Comporta, Porto Covo and Arrifana.

  114. Next time you are in Odeceixe, try kiosk Agapito. Thank you for the extensive road trip, we did it all in 2 weeks and love your country. The best part so far was Alentejo. We would have missed it without your information. Off to Tavira tomorrow.

  115. My husband and I are traveling to Faro in mid july – staying in Vilamoura for only 5 days. do we need to rent a car. We want to see the best of the algarve – eat well – he may want golf but our resort offers that and we want to relax also at the beach at least once. Suggestions? Best tours? Would love a dinner cruise if worthwhile. thanks so much!

    1. Seems like you have everything sorted. Around Vilamoura there are many villages and beaches you can eat well and relax. Avoid Albufeira and Vilamoura center though.

  116. Hi Bruno,
    Great! great! great Article by the way. I had this idea then I thought let me Google and see if it’s possible and clearly it is with this brilliantly written article.

    So I have a question. I am flying from London and Me and 8 of my friends are planning a Lisbon to Faro road trip, a 10 day trip, 13th August till 23rd August for my 25th. We will be staying days & nights in cities along the coast then move to the next and so on till we get to Faro (much like your trip)

    I wanted to know what the best form of transport would be? I may be with people that dont drive so hiring a car may be difficult. But if there is someone to drive do you think that is better Than getting taxis, city to city?

    Also wanted to know what dangers to look out for. I hear it can be racist there lol I am black and my friends are white and black, with 1 Portuguese.

    Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you!!

    1. Thanks for the kind words Kayzee.

      I highly recommend getting a car. There are some buses from city to city, but they will slow down your trip immensily and you still need to get taxis to go to some of the best beaches.

      I don’t think there will be any problem with your skin color, Portugal is a safe and tolerant country.

  117. Bruno, love, love, love, your guide. I hope you will entertain a question for two from me. We are in our 60’s and are planing a trip Porto – Lisbon – Algarve, with car with stops along the way, mainly your suggestions. We are overwhelmed with where/town to stay in Algarve. We are traveling in October, our ideal place/base in Algarve would be a smaller town where we can park the car and roam to the beach and through town. Eat, drink and sit on the beach (if the weather allows). A base to stay. We can drive to other places for day trips. Thank you again.

    1. Well you should stay away from Albufeira and Vilamoura, these are not calm or relaxing places. I’d recommend Carvoeiro, check it out!

      Hope you have a great time! 🙂

  118. Some good suggestions, but beware! The main motorway from Lisbon to the Algarve is the A2 not the A1 – the latter goes north from Lisbon to Porto!

    Also, a trip via the Serra de Monchique (turning east at Aljezur), then down to Silves is well worth it.

    1. You’re absolutely right, it’s the A2. Thanks for spotting!

      Sadly I never been to Silves, good tip 🙂

  119. Hi Bruno. Thanks for the post. I’m reading it one year after you’ve posted it. Anyway, I was wondering whether you have some tips about car rentals from Lisbon ? I found some websites for booking rentals, but it would feel good to hear some tips from a local. Thanks D

  120. Hi Bruno, thanks really alot for your post! It all sounds great and I am really looking forward to my trip to Portugal. Just a short question, I was thinking about renting a scooter doing this trip kind of the other way around. Starting in Faro, maybe even going up to Porto. Now I have seen that it seems to be alot easier (and maybe even cheaper) to rent a small car instead 1-2 scooters (we are 2). Nevertheless, I kind of picture it a bit nicer and adventurous on a scooter than in a car. What is your thought about it? Would there be a difference in roads / places that could be travelled? Are there good places to get scooters from? Would I have to pay attention to something here? Thanks alot in advance! Have a great day! Cheers, Ben

    1. I don’t think there is any difference, but going from Faro all the way up to Porto is a LONG way to go on a scooter. It can get hot and uncomfortable real fast. Just my opinion!

    2. Hi Ben, just wondering which scooter company you decided to rent from? I’m planning a trip from Lisbon to Lagos and would like to do it on a scooter as well. Are there scooter rental companies who operate in multiple cities that would allow me to pick it up in Lisbon, and then drop it off in Lagos? I might be crazy, but would it be possible to then go from Lagos to Seville on a scooter?


  121. Hi Bruno! Thank you so much your blog is fantastic! I’m planning this trip with my girlfriend for this summer. We are going to stay 3 days in Lisbon and then we want to rent a Campervan to explore the south of the Portugal, . Do you know how long would it take in terms of days (including visiting landscapes ecc.)? We would return in Italy from the airport of Faro. Thank you


    1. How long a destination “takes” it’s entirely up to you. It depends on your own pace, things you want to do, travel goals, etc.

      Also, the south of Portugal is not very specific. Are you visiting the Alentejo or the Algarve only?

      Anyway if you want a number I’d say at least a week to see it all!

  122. Nice Post!! I felt like I was on one of those beaches having a beer or some codfish while reading it. Where are planning a roadtrip in Portugal in July of this year, and I´ll definetely follow all your recommendations.
    Thank you very much

  123. I feel so lucky that I came across this blog post! We are planning a 11 day road trip in October. We are flying to Lisbon, renting a car and going to Porto for a few days then heading south and then return to Lisbon to fly home. Love the idea of small off-beat towns. Thank you for all of your info. Can you tell me the best location to stay in Lisbon? Bruno, thank you.

    1. Thanks for your kind words!

      You mean area? I would go for somewhere central – Baixa, Cais do Sodré, Avenida da Liberdade – or somewhere super local like Alfama or Sé. Hope you have a great time!

  124. I am reading with great interest your itineraries for both Portual and the Azores. My husband and I are planning our 3 week “road trip” in Sept/Oct 2016. Can’t wait!

  125. Hi Geeky Explorer, my husband and I are looking to travel to Portugal in September 2016. Could you help me with recommendations for a 6 day trip. We were planning to fly into Faro and do the southern coast (Albufiera, lagos, Algarve, etc.) and then go to Lisbon and do Sintra and Belem and a few places around. We will not be doing Porto (#sulking) due to lack of time. Your blogs are great but I am a little overwhelmed because theres so much to do and see. How can I get the best of Portugal in 6 days? Just for an idea, my husband and I love beaches, beach parties, dancing, water sports, driving, exploring and of course shopping! Please help me make the most of my time there! Thank You

    1. Why is it overwhelming? What I write about are only suggestions and some guidances. You don’t need to do absolutely everything on the list, in fact it’s much more rewarding to do completely the opposite: slow it down a notch and enjoy the ride.

      So my suggestions are:

      #1 Accept the fact 6 days are not enough to see everything.
      #2 If you’re more beach-oriented, just spend 1 or 2 days in Lisbon and the rest in the coast just to relax.

      Having that said, your itinerary seems a good fit. I just personally don’t see the appeal in Albufeira, but it is a good nightlife spot.

  126. HI, I am in Cascaise for a conference next week and only have Thursday-Sun to adventure (I can here you cringe – but some good time spent in Cascaisse) Due to my am departure on Sunday from Lisbon, I was thinking of gettig a car and driving to Odeceixe for the THursday night and then Friday towards Farrow then back to Losbon Friday afternoon where I can spend Friday night and all day/night in Lisbon. (I have Starwood points so I will stary at the Sheraton there. If you only had this 1.5 days from Cascaise to Faro would this sound like a plan ? I am a huge foody and lover of coastal experiences. Thanks

  127. Arrifana and odeceixe were my all time favorites! Such perfect suggestions and so easy to sleep in your car or outside! Thanks for the itinerary! I’m heading north from liabon to Porto for the next ten days. I will be doing public transport! I’d like to maintain the beach theme! Really love cliffs! Any suggestions for towns to stay in? Close to the beach since I won’t have transport!

    1. Hard to go wrong with Arrifana and Odeceixe, they’re such stunning places, aren’t they?

      Looks like you’ll have to pass by Nazaré and Peniche. 🙂
      Have a great time!

  128. Hey Bruno! Thank you very much for this guide – exactly what I was looking for. Gonna use it this June!

  129. Dear Bruno

    We are going to travel from Faro to Lisbon for 10 days at the end of June. Your travel plan is really what we needed! Thanks for that. We are going to travel with a tent. Do you have any camping recommendations?

    1. Yes, same here. We are gonna travel with a CamperVan.

    2. Try Parque de Campismo do Porto Covo and specially Zmar. There are many along the way though!

  130. Hi Bruno, You’re guide is so helpful!

    We’re going to spend a day driving from Portimao to Lisbon, we want to stop along the way a hike- nothing too intense, but something scenic, do you have any recs?

  131. Hi Bruno. Nice to come across a blogger from Portugal because we are planning to make it our base in late summer/early fall for 1-2 months (we’re slow travellers and work as we travel). I’ll be checking out more of your site as we get closer but possible bases for now are Lisbon and Porto. But for sure we’d rent a car at some point to drive around the Algarve (I was last there over 20 years ago)
    Any suggestions for bases appreciated!
    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. Well it really depends on what you’re looking for in your base. Lisbon and Porto obviously have the convenience of being big cities.

      If you want something more “getaway” style, I recommend Comporta. If local village is more of your thing, look into Nazaré. Options are endless!

  132. We will be traveling by car from Porto to Lisbon area or further? We have 4 nights and days… looking for the best “base camp” to do day trips to Lisbon, Sintra, Evora…. We are hoping to hit Aviero, Coimbra, Obidos maybe on the drive from Porto, but I think that is probably too much. Our hope was to have at least beach atmosphere (even if it is too cold to actually be in the water) wherever we stay and do the day trips from there. I love thought of Alentejo, but is that too far to get to Lisboa, Sintra, etc…easily? Would public transportation be work in a reasonable amount of time back and forth? Thanks so much, your article was amazing! We are visiting our daughter who is studying in Barcelona since January, and after traveling with her she is going to Croatia with her friend, so I am going to be sure she reads your Croatia article! Thanks! Mischelle Charleston, SC USA

    1. I’m sorry but I’m not clear as what you need?

      If you only have 4 days to go from Porto to Lisbon, I wouldn’t base myself anywhere and just stop along the way in places like Nazaré, Sintra and Óbidos. Personally don’t think Coimbra is that worth it.

      Wishing both you and your daughter great trips! 🙂

  133. Hey! I’m going to Portugal for 10 days in May and doing a road trip from Lisbon to Faro. This is the perfect guide – thanks so much!

    1. Hi Bruno,
      Thank you for this! its GREAT
      Do you have any ideas for North of Lisbon up to Porto?
      If you dont, do you know of any other blogs?
      We are travelling for a week up from Faro to Porto.

  134. Hi! I am planning to visit in July and was thinking if it is possible to take a train to Faro? Is it near Algarve? Thank you!

    1. Faro is IN Algarve. In fact, it’s its capital.
      Yes, you can take a train from Lisbon all the way down to Faro.

  135. Hey, Bruno! Qual o orçamento base para uma roadtrip destas? Um abraço!

    1. Esta viagem consegue-se fazer por menos de 40 euros por dia. Atenção fiquei em sítios muito low-cost e viajei com mais 3 pessoas, que ajuda a dividir os custos. Contaria com à volta de 50 Euros por dia.

    2. Pois, foi o que pensei 🙂
      E sítios para ficar, o que recomendas?

    3. Podes encontrar as minhas sugestoes no “Finding accommodation in Alentejo” acima. Obrigado!

  136. Hi there, this is amazing! But is this roadtrip suitable for a family with 2 year old kid ? Is it safe for kids? do you have any tips for that because I’m a bit worry that it might not be a kid friendly trip!

    1. I don’t see any reason why this itinerary wouldn’t be for kids too.

      In fact, you can find many relaxing and uncrowded places in Alentejo which are more suitable for kids than in Algarve for example. There’s also some accommodation places called “Herdades” where you can have direct contact with animals – something interesting for children too.

  137. This is perfect!! Have a 10 day trip from Lisbon to Faro coming up in June and this is exactly what I was after! Was trying to find spots along that west coast and this helps so much. Thank you!

    1. Hey Bruno!

      I’m also planning a road trip from Lisbon to Faro late June to July this year and 10 days is perfect! Basically described the exact vibe we’re looking for! Thank you for the helpful tips. I’m travelling with 3 other young Australians and we will definitely let you know how we go!

    2. Also, do you think we’ll have trouble booking accommodation as we go? We want to leave it open to spend less or more time in certain places depending on how we like it…

  138. Hi there, great guide, Im thinking of leaving london in a month and head towards a trip around portugal too! Could you advise me what were the best road maps you used (paper version). Also, did you find that the police where a bother? I’ve heard they are quite treacherous if they want to be.

    1. I’m afraid I can’t help you with that, we actually didn’t use any paper maps and always sticked to Google Maps. You can find them in any petrol station though.

      As for the police, it’s a matter of luck really. Though they do surprise controls to verify documentation and alcohol levels quite often. Radars are frequent too, but 90% of them are signalized in advance. And don’t get pass the green lanes in the tolls (Via Verde)! If you comply with these basic rules, you should be fine.

      Let me know if you have any further questions!

  139. Hi, this is amazing! Thank you- planning a portugal trip for summer! Do you have a rough estimate on how much we should budget for gas daily? I was actually thinking about getting a campervan so we could just park and stay where ever we want! I’d love to know of any tips you have!

    1. You welcome Holly, glad it was useful.
      Gas is actually more expensive in Portugal than in most of European countries. I actually can’t remember the exact value we spend, but I guess that also depends on the car you’re using?

      Campervans are a great option for Alentejo, you can easily find scenic places to stay along the coast!

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  141. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will come back down the road. I want to encourage you continue your great work, have a nice holiday weekend!

  142. Grande embaixador do nosso querido Portugal! Estou a planear fazer a rota vicentina em 2016. Obrigada pelo reforço positivo. O nosso país é um espectáculo. Visit it !!! 😉

  143. Thanks Bruno, great itineraries. I am traveling the first week of January for 6 days. Will start in Lisbon but would love to do a roadtrip Given weather is not the best, which roadtrip would you recommend? Thanks!!

    1. Well, you can still go to Nazare and Obidos in the center of the country. Then, maybe explore the interior – Serra da Estrela, Marvao, Zezere – these places have stunning landscapes. I would finish the roadtrip in Porto!

  144. Hello Bruno, excellent post, thank you so much for all these tips! I’m an Italian girl living in Madeira, but I’ve never explored the mainland: here we go! I’m planning a road trip for February, and I’ll have my dog with me. Any suggestion about accommodation? Do you think I’ll be able to find apartments or B&B where I can keep her with me? Thanks again!

    1. Glad you found it useful.

      Where exactly are you going?
      I believe you won’t have a problem to stay with your dog, but try to keep to guesthouses / villas. Basically anything with a garden or something, just in case. People in those places are more open to animals, but I’d ask them as soon as possible.

  145. Great tips, just in time for planning my Portugal coastline trip next summer. So inspiring, feel more confident in persuing my dream, thank you!

  146. fantastic site with great info. Am looking for a March vacation (to escape winter in Canada). We love road trips and exploring small villages and the cities – wouldnyou recommmend this time of year (knowing we won’t get a beach vacation)?

    1. Thanks Jodi, glad you like it!

      As long as you don’t expect beachy weather, March is fine. I suggest you try some small towns in the interior of Alentejo, like Evora, Monsaraz and Marvao. While they’re too hot to visit in summer time, in spring they are great to experience!

      Hope you have a great time! 🙂

  147. Looking forward to our road trip with a VW-Bus. What`s the weather like in the end of september?

    1. September is a great choice. Weather should still be warm. It might get a bit chilly at night though, since in most places there is no natural protection from the Atlantic breeze.

      For how long are you going Sophie? Hopw you have a great time!

  148. We are going to Algarve in December so we are hoping to avoid all the tourists and we are taking advantage of free accommodation. We definitely want to explore more of the region though so this itinerary is perfect! We can’t wait to explore Portugal as it will be our first time 🙂

    1. Algarve in December should be very calm and relaxing!
      Alentejo’s coast might be too cold though, but maybe you’re lucky with the weather.

      Hope you enjoy it!

  149. I have to admit that we thought about visiting Portugal this summer.
    You mentioned nice accommodations. Do we need to book in advance or do you think it’s available last minute?

    1. You can find decent guesthouses in every little town, but if you want more high-end stuff (e.g. with pools, breakfast, etc), I’d book it. Also if you’re going in August, specially around MEO Sudoeste festival, I’d definitely book it. For yesterday!!

  150. What a coincidence! I was just talking to my husband yesterday about a road trip. He’s been wanting a beach vacation, so l showed him pictures of Faro and Lagos. It’s great for us as we can just drive down from Sevilla along the coast. I think we might go all the way to Lisbon since l think we can take the dogs (yikes..at least l hope so with their pet passports). We’re thinking next month sometime. Thanks for this.

    1. Looks like I had the timing right for you!
      Well I think this is a great place to take dogs as well. Places are much less crowded than in Algarve, specially beaches.

      In a few weeks I want to know how it went! 😛

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  151. Haven’t been to the southwest coast of Portugal besides Setubal and now you’ve made me want to return to Portugal! To be honest, I couldn’t get tired of Portugal and if it were up to me, I would go there every year. By the way, I LOVE carne de porco a alentejana, it’s my favorite thing to eat in Portugal. 😀

  152. Thanks for this handy guide to road-tripping in beautiful Portugal! So much to see here, especially when you’re able to live it like a local…and of course, the food. The food and wine. The scenery. Portugal hits all the right notes!

    1. You welcome Anita. Portugal is definitely a great place to spend a relaxing summer holidays! I love living in Barcelona but I crave portuguese food every day!