Portugal 7 Day Itinerary for your First Visit

by | Jul 25, 2022 | Europe live work and play, Live Work Play Travel | 9 comments

Ride the yellow trams in Lisbon during your Portugal 7 day itinerary.

 

Portugal is known for its centuries old architecture, trams in Lisbon, sandy beaches, yummy seafood dishes, port wine and that soccer player – Ronaldo! And now you have decided to visit this magical country but you only have one week to spare to visit Portugal. Now a week in Portugal will give you a taste of this often overlooked European country. In this 7 day road trip itinerary I take you to the major places to see. Starting in Porto before heading south to the capital of Lisbon, then on to the Algarve, a sun worshippers paradise! So let’s get this Portugal 7 day itinerary started.

 

How to Spend 7 Days in Portugal At a Glance

 

Day
1 – Arrive Porto and get to know it
2 – Day trip to Douro Valley
3 – Morning Porto and afternoon drive to Lisbon
4 & 5 – 2 x Full days in Lisbon
6 – Morning drive to the Algarve and enjoy Lagos
7 – drive along Algarve beaches and visit Caves, end in Faros – the capital of Algarve.

 

 

Portugal Map Showing 7 Day Itinerary

Portugal 7 Day Road Trip Itinerary Map

 

How to Get to Portugal?

 

Portugal is a country right next to Spain so you can easily get to Portugal by car, bus or train. Plus there are airports and seaports to arrive at. On this occasion, with the road trip itinerary beginning in Porto, you can arrive by car, train or by plane at the airport.

 

How to Get around Portugal?

 

Portugal has very good bus and train systems however, the best way to see the country is by car. Having a car provides flexibility and enables you to go where you want, when you want. And deviate if you so wish. You can easily rent a car in Portugal. Get rates and availability here.

 

When is the Best Time to Visit Portugal?

 

It depends on what you want to do in Portugal as to the best time to visit. If you want to spend your time on the Algarve beaches then the summer months July-September have the warmest water and weather. If you want to miss the crowds then visit during Spring or Autumn. Winter offers nice weather with January being the coldest month and less tourists. As Portugal is known for its great weather you are best to take summery clothes, but throw in a jumper and long pants as well. But mostly I’d pack for a beach holiday.

 

TIP: You will be doing lots of walking while in Portugal. Best to have a pair of very good walking shoes or sandals.

 

Do You Need Travel Insurance for One Week in Portugal?

 

Definitely take out travel insurance to cover you for your holiday in Portugal. You just never know what might happen so I always recommend getting travel insurance. 

 

Portugal 7 Day Road Trip Itinerary

 

Day 1-3 – Porto, Douro Valley Wine Region and to Lisbon

 

Porto is the second biggest city in Portugal, with the historic centre designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. It houses one of the most beautiful train stations (São Bento). It is a capital of World-famous port wine and Francesinha. Every walk you take is decorated by Azulejos that are unique wall tiles on city buildings. In Porto you can use a metro lines, trams and buses, but I recommend walking to see all hidden treasures. 

 

Where to Stay in Porto?

 

A great place to base yourself in Porto is in the Ribeira District. This district is along Porto’s historic riverfront neighbourhood and offers a good selection of accommodation as well as dining and drinking options. Book for 2 nights. If you are after a bed in a hostel dorm check out The Central House Ribeira. For a hotel room I can highly recommend Ribeira Do Porto Hotel. It’s a 3-star hotel in the centre of Ribeiro overlooking the Douro River. You can find pricing and availability here. For more accommodation options check out Booking.com.

 

What to do in Porto?

 

As you are staying in the Ribeira district start your time in Porto with a walk along the Douro river. You will be treated to marvellous views and street art. Enjoy lunch by the river and maybe try some traditional grilled sardines or Francesinha. Afterwards, stroll around the old town to see the typical architecture. Cross the river by the Ponte Dom Luís I, a bridge with a breathtaking view. On the other side of the bridge, there is a hill called “Jardim do Morro” where you can go to see beautiful sunsets. This maybe enough walking for today so settle in for a nice dinner and then back to your accommodation. Or head out for the night.

 

Day 2 – Day trip to Douro Wine Region

 

You could spend another full day discovering Porto however, a trip to the Douro Wine Region should be on the cards. Located in northern Portugal about a 3 hour drive east from Porto along the Douro River you will discover the Douro wine region which is home to the famous Port wine. If you don’t want to drive yourself through the region, why not go on a day tour. That way, you will be able to drink and not worry about driving over the limit! You can book a day tour to the Douro Wine Region here.

 

Day 3 – Morning in Porto, afternoon to Lisbon

 

This morning, start your day with a climb up the Clerigos Tower. It stands 76 metres or 248 feet high in the city centre and from the top offers fabulous panorama views over Porto. Beware, you will have to climb 240 steps to the top. After this maybe visit the historic library “Lello” with the beautiful old design inside, that was an inspiration for the Harry Potter library in Hogwarts. If after some souvenirs check out Fernandes, Mattos & Ca where you will find some great Portuguese products. 

This afternoon head to Lisbon. Lisbon is roughly 313km, taking around 3.5 hours to drive. You can take the bus or train if you prefer. However, if driving you could go via Cabo da Roca, the most western point of Portugal and Europe – just to say you have been there. Then on to Lisbon which is about a 45 minute drive from Cabo da Roca. If you don’t want to drive from Porto to Lisbon why not catch the train. The train ride from Porto to Lisbon offers some great views of the country. It passes through Coimbra, Portugal’s capital from 1131 to 1255 and still home to the 13th-century University. Also there is Aveiro, often referred to as ‘the Portuguese Venice’ due to its boats and waterways.

 

Days 4&5 – Lisbon

 

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and you should visit at least 2 full days. The city is composed of steep hills with distinct neighbourhoods accessed by a network of cable cars. You could refer to Lisbon as ‘the San Francisco of Europe’ with the number of cable cars similar to the American city. 

 

Where to stay in Lisbon?

 

Base yourself around the Chiado or Bairro Alto areas in the centre of the city as you will be within walking distance and cable car distance of many sights plus nightlife. Book for 3 nights in Lisbon. For a bed in a hostel check out Home Lisbon Hostel. If you prefer a hotel room check out Lisboa Prata Boutique Hotel – for rates and availability check here. For more options in Lisbon check out Booking.com.

 

What to do in Lisbon?

 

Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal. It’s also one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is a home of fado music, which is a traditional melancholic music. Usually performed by female or a male vocalist and typically accompanied by one or two guitarras. You can listen to it in restaurants throughout the city while enjoying good food and wine. The best and cheapest way to get around Lisbon is to commute by metro or traditional trams. However, to get your bearings and to discover what to see and do in Lisbon I suggest you go on the Hop On Hop Off bus. I often take these buses because they take me to all the places to see and give me history and tips about each place. It helps me to make my decision of what to spend my time seeing and doing.

The Best Things to See and Do in Lisbon

 

  • Enjoy the view from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Once at the top, you will be spoiled with splendid city centre views.
  • Catch the #28 tram for a scenic ride to ‘Upper Town’. And enjoy a ride on the Elevador Da Bica, one of Lisbon’s most famous sights where a small yellow tram zips up and down a narrow street while offering fabulous views – check out the main photo of this post. 
  • Lunch at Santa Rita to experience typical Portuguese cuisine. This is a family restaurant that was opened by a woman that was a very good person and helped many people, sometimes offering food for free (that’s why the place is called “Saint Rita”
  • Stroll Alfama, the oldest district of Lisbon. This is very rewarding for walkers and photographers thanks to its medieval alleys and outstanding views. Some of the best views can be found at Miradoura de Santa Luzia and Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.
  • Go to the “Pink street” Rua Nova do Carvalho where all the night life happens (bars, clubs etc) 
  • Go to the main square Praça do Comércio, and wander and marvel at the incredible architecture and the King Joseph 1 statue.
  • See the Belém Tower built as a military fortification, that was used as a political prison during the Liberal Wars.
  • Shop at Rue Augusta, the main shopping avenue of Lisbon. There are also plenty of diners you can stop by to eat at.
  • There are tons of churches in Portugal and it would be a crime not to visit Lisbon Cathedral. This church is the oldest in the capital and has been restored and renovated many times.

 

Days 6 – To Algarve

 

The Algarve In Portugal Has Many Beaches With Rocky Outcrops.

One of many beautiful beaches along Portugal’s Algarve

 

Leave Lisbon on the morning of day 6 in Portugal and head to The Algarve. The Algarve is Portugal’s most southern region and is known for its beaches and laid back lifestyle. It’s about 300km away and will take you around 3 hours to drive so you will be on the Algarve by lunch time. Here you will find beautiful whitewashed villages on cliffs overlooking sandy coves. The two major towns to visit are Lagos and Faro where there are many accommodation options, restaurants and bars. We are staying in Lagos for 1 night.

 

Where to Stay in Lagos

 

Accommodation is aimed at tourists who come to holiday for a week or two to enjoy the beautiful beaches. Lagos has some great places to stay from budget to splurge options. Book for one night on this 7 day Portugal itinerary. Try the Casa Ida Falfeira B&B – for rates and availability check here. For more options in Lagos visit Booking.com.

 

What to Do in Lagos

 

After arriving and checking into your accommodation spend the afternoon in Lagos. This town is known for its walled old town – yes more walking! – cliffs and beaches. So after walking around the old town head down the steep wooden steps leading to the sandy cove of Praia do Camilo for a relaxing time by the ocean. Then ascend for a night out enjoying seafood and good wine.

 

Day 7 – Algarve and leave Portugal

 

For the last day on this 7 day holiday in Portugal, jump in the car and explore the beaches along the Algarve. The Tavira coastline is the main attraction on the Algarve. You will find long, golden sandy beaches waiting for you to soak up the sun. Though some of the small towns are worth some time with their cobbled streets and cute houses and pretty churches. Many visit the Benagil Sea Cave, a gorgeous natural rock formation. You can always visit the sea cave on a tour Ras it is only accessible via the ocean. Many kayak to the Benagil Cave. Check out tours to Benagil Cave here.

End the day in Faro, the major city on the Algarve. There is an International airport here to catch a flight home or you could stay the night in Faro before driving, catching the bus or train to wherever you are going next – probably to Spain.

 

Final Thoughts on Spending One Week in Portugal

 

Seven days in Portugal provides you with a taste of what the country has to offer. If possible, and you have the time, you could always extend your holiday in Portugal as it has so much more to offer. If I had longer, I would extend my time along the Algarve and enjoy the beaches and historic cathedrals and convents. I hope you will find my Portugal 1-week itinerary useful in planning your time in Portugal. If you have any questions on this Portugal 7 Day itinerary, just let me know in the comments below!

 

Want to travel more of Europe? Check out these itineraries.

1 Month Europe Itinerary for First Timers
How to Spend 3 Days In Amsterdam
14 Day Italy itinerary
More Europe Itineraries here

 

Ride Lisbon Tram In Portugal 7 Day itinerary

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!

 

Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, Booking.com is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from Eurail and Interrail Passes. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. World Nomads is great for general travel insurance while SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers.

Need something else? Check out my Resources page.

 

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Hi. Sharyn here, the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve been travelling all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline. My aim with this blog is to help you work abroad or work online and travel the world.   Read more.

 

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Hi, Sharyn here. I’m the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve travelled all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline – thanks dad! I’ve been a travel writer/blogger and living a location independent lifestyle since 1993. My aim with Live Work Play Travel is to provide you with the info to start living, working and travelling around the world like I do. I currently live in Melbourne with my partner and 2 kids. 

9 Comments

  1. Jenn | By Land and Sea

    Would love to visit one day – thanks for all the great info!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I hope you can. Portugal is a wonderful place to visit.

      Reply
  2. Lauren

    great guide! I hope to make it to Portugal one day!

    Reply
  3. Andrea

    Ahh Portugal is very high on my list. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Reply
  4. Monica Woerner

    Sounds like the perfect week! Can’t wait for my trip to Portugal, saving this writers for later 🙂

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I thought it was the perfect week – I would have liked to have stayed 14 days but I only had one week! Next time. I hope you have a great trip to Portugal when you get there.

      Reply
  5. Ketki

    Such beautiful places to visit in Portugal! I have been wanting to visit the country because many Indian towns have Poto influence. I would love to explore it!

    Reply

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