On our first ever trip to Portugal, we headed straight for the southern beach town of Lagos. While we had an amazing time at these stunning beaches, we heard that there was so much more to see in Northern Portugal! So on our return to this beautiful country, we planned an epic road trip and one week Portugal itinerary. Here are some of our favorite stops we experienced from Lisbon to Porto and even some hotel picks along the route!
Lisbon to Porto Portugal Road Trip
Lisbon ⸰ 2 Nights
Nazare ⸰ 1 Night
Porto ⸰ 2 Nights
Tomar ⸰ 1 Night
Cascais ⸰ 1 Night
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to rent vehicles on our travels. In Portugal, you will want a set of wheels to get to all the beautiful castles, cities, and towns.
One Week Northern Portugal Itinerary
Lisbon • 2 Nights
Unless you’re crossing the border and driving in from Spain, Lisbon will most likely be the starting point for your Portugal road trip. There’s no better place to jump into the country and get a taste for Portugal than its capital city. We recommend two nights as just one simply isn’t enough to see all of magical Lisbon.
- Hike up to one of the many viewpoints above the city for the best view in town.
- Spend the morning exploring St. George’s Castle.
- Visit the small “A Ginjinha” shop and sample the local cherry liquor.
- Head to Time Out Market to taste some Portuguese specialties.
- Spend the afternoon exploring the oldest part of the city in the Alfama district.
- Grab dinner at Bonjardin and try the famous Peri Peri chicken.
- Go out in the Barrio Alto district for drinks and take in some local Fado music!
Lisbon Hotel Picks
- Ultra Luxury – Pousada de Lisboa – This elegant accommodation is part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and is located in the very center of the city. Classic style rooms with a wellness center, sauna, and fitness area on the property.
- Fun Vacation – My Story Hotel Charming Augusta – My Story sits on one of the most famous streets in Lisbon, and some rooms even have views of the Rua Augusta Arch! There’s no better place to stay if you want to be close to the water and in the middle of all the action.
- Hostel Life – Home Lisbon Hostel – Amazing location right in the heart of the city. Onsite bar, kitchen, and both mixed and female-only dorm rooms.
For more places to stay in Lisbon you can explore the latest prices here!
Don’t Miss… The Pena Palace
When leaving Lisbon try to get an early start and drive to the Pena Palace before the crowds arrive. This beautiful palace and the surrounding national park will be one of the most incredible stops on your one week Portugal itinerary! Be sure to leave at least 2 hours to see the castle.
Nazare • 1 Night
Nazare is the type of small beach town that you can’t help but fall in love with. During the warm summer months, locals and tourists alike flock to the golden sands and fill the main beach. However, in the wintertime people come for a different reason!
Nazare is home to Portugal’s big wave competition, and where in 2017 the largest wave ever was surfed. Aside from 80 foot waves, Nazare also has some amazing seafood! So no matter what you’re coming for there’s something for everyone in this little beach town.
- Grab a slice of sand and sprawl out at one of the most beautiful beaches in northern Portugal.
- Eat your way through the town at the many seafood restaurants that fill the small streets.
- Jump on the Nazare Funicular and ride it high above to get a fantastic view of the town.
- Tour Praia do Norte Lighthouse, Fort of São Miguel, and the surfing museum to have your mind blown by big waves.
Nazare Hotel Picks
- Fun Vacation – Hotel Magic – This newly renovated upscale hotel is the perfect mix of luxury and fun beach charm. Right in the center of all the action, you’ll be steps away from the beaches with a large breakfast to enjoy each morning.
- Travel Couple – Casa do Mar – Nazaré – Set up on the hillside in Nazare’s old town, this amazing hotel is one of the best deals you’ll find in Northern Portugal. Each room has a cute patio and you’ll be welcomed with a warm embrace from the owner.
- Hostel Life – Lab Hostel Nazare – Bed & Waves – Located in the heart of lower town, you’ll have everything you need just steps away! It’s complete with dorm beds, private rooms, and a common area to meet other travelers. Continental breakfast also served daily.
For more places to stay in Nazare you can explore the latest prices here!
Don’t Miss… The Town of Aveiro
On your way from Nazare to Porto stop in the small but charming town of Aveiro for lunch. Take an hour to stroll through the canal filled streets and bright buildings before sampling a menu of the day.
Almost every restaurant will advertise this deal, and they won’t set you back more than 10 Euros for an appetizer, entree, and dessert! While Aveiro may not live up to the title as the “Venice of Portugal,” it’s still worth a stop on your Portugal itinerary.
Porto • 2 Nights
Okay you made it from Lisbon to Porto! This lively city in the North quickly became one of our favorite stops on our one week Portugal itinerary. Set beautifully on the Douro River, your days will be filled with exploring, eating, and cruising on the water under the six bridges. As Portugal’s second-largest city after Lisbon, it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with it!
- Indulge in all the Northern Portugal food specialties such as Cod, Octopus, and the Francesinha sandwich. Read all about the best food we ate in Portugal!
- Explore the historic Ribeira district which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Sample the local Port wine which is made nearby in the Douro valley. You can even add a wine tour from Porto to your Northern Portugal itinerary if you’d like!
- Tour the Old Stock Exchange Palace to learn the vast commercial history of Porto.
- Walk across the Luis I Bridge for a spectacular view of the city.
- Jump on a six bridges river cruise to see Porto from the water.
Porto Hotel Picks
- Ultra Luxury – Porto A.S. 1829 Hotel – Our home during our stay in Porto! The luxury hotel offers all the upscale comforts you’d need right in the center of old town. We loved being able to pop into the 1829 hotel in between stops on our Porto itinerary.
- Fun Vacation – Downtown Porto Mouzinho Studio Apts – Beautiful apartments in the heart of the city. Complete with an easy check-in and a balcony with views over the Porto streets. The apartments even have kitchens if you’re not feeling up to going out for food in Northern Portugal one night!
- Hostel Life (Budget) – Porto Spot Hostel – Modern hostel with a kitchen, group dinners, and a game room. Perfect for both groups and solo travelers.
For more places to stay in Porto you can explore the latest prices here!
Don’t Miss… The City of Coimbra
On the way to Tomar make a stop in the beautiful city of Coimbra. As the home of the famous University of Coimbra and a gorgeous medieval old town, it won’t be hard to spend the afternoon exploring. The only downside is that parking can be very limited. If you see a spot make sure to jump on it!
Tomar • 1 Night
By the time we arrived in Tomar we were exhausted from a packed few days of adventures. Honestly, it felt this small town was just what we needed to slow down. Only having 7 days in Portugal is tough so we wanted to spend a night soaking in a different side of the country.
Still, you shouldn’t let its small size fool you. Tomar is packed with history and tradition! Undoubtedly, the jewel of this Northern Portugal town is the impressive Knights of Templar Castle sitting high above.
- Grab an espresso or orange juice and sample some of the special almond and egg yoke pastries from Tomar.
- Walk along the river and down the main street towards the castle taking in the views of the beautiful town.
- Hike or drive up to the Tomar Castle and take a self-guided tour of the famous monument.
- Take a couple hours to explore more of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and end at the Convent of Christ church.
- Have a traditional Portuguese dinner at Restaurante Sabores Ao Rubro, and make sure to try the steak smothered in creamy peppercorn sauce!
Tomar Hotel Picks
- Ultra Luxury – Thomar Boutique Hotel – While there aren’t many luxury hotels to stay at in Tomar Portugal, this is definitely the best in town! The boutique hotel has a modern design and amenities while also within walking distance to all the great Tomar sites and restaurants.
- Fun Vacation – Central Family Palace – A large traditional house that really feels like you’re staying in a palace! Huge rooms with beautiful Portuguese architecture, antique furniture, and wonderful gardens.
- Hostel Life – Hostel 2300 Thomar – Set in the historical center of the city and just a few minute walk to the main square. Dorms and private rooms are available with a large common area and 24 hour front desk.
For more places to stay in Tomar Portugal you can explore the latest prices here!
Cascais • 1 Night
Instead of heading back into Lisbon before your flight we recommend staying in the small seaside town of Cascais. Specifically, if you’re visiting during the summer months, this is the perfect opportunity to get some beach in as you end your 7 days in Portugal!
Being just a 20 minute drive from Lisbon International Airport, you can spend your last day swimming in the water and enjoying some relaxation. Get ready for some fun and sun in what’s known as the best beach town near Lisbon!
- Rent a bicycle and cruise down the coastline. Be sure to make plenty of stops to jump in the ocean!
- If you haven’t gotten enough history on your Lisbon to Porto itinerary, make sure to tour the 15th century Cascais Castle.
- Stop and try a Bola de Berlim donut. If you see a guy with a cooler on the back of his bike he’s got the best ones!
- Grab a beer or sangria at the main beach and catch some rays.
- Swim at one of the many unique ocean swimming pools!
Cascais Hotel Picks
- Ultra Luxury – The Albatroz Hotel – Set on the cliffs overlooking Cascais, this 5-star hotel has beautiful views of the ocean and uniquely decorated rooms.
- Fun Vacation – Pergola Guest House B&B – Mediterranean-style mansion surrounded by gorgeous flower gardens. A quick walk to the main beach and many great restaurants.
- Hostel Life – Change the World Hostels – Located conveniently in nearby Monte Estoril, this is a great budget option if you’re stopping in Cascais during your 7 days in Portugal. Large common room with a nice kitchen and washing machine as well.
For more places to stay in Cascais Portugal you can explore the latest prices here!
Have any recommendations for places to go on a Portugal road trip? How about any questions for us about driving from Lisbon to Porto? Let us know about your own Northern Portugal itinerary in the comments below!
Brigitte and Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
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Portugal Travel Planning
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. Book a sunset Sailboat tour in Lisbon, go Wine tasting cruise of the Douro Valley from Porto, or explore the Ponta da Piedade on a boat trip in Lagos!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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