Portugal has landed squarely on the travel radar, attracting visitors from around the world. It blends old-world European charm, noteworthy landmarks, and delicious food all at relatively affordable prices when compared to nearby countries.
This 5 days in Portugal itinerary has everything you need to plan a successful trip from what to see in Portugal, how to plan out your days, and tips for getting around and where to stay.
5 Days in Portugal Itinerary: Lisbon, Sintra, and Porto
Lisbon is a vibrant, walkable city…that’s if you’re ok with steps and hills. Lisbon is on a serious gradient but with so many charming cafes there are plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the local food and drink.
The city has become quite popular because of its old-world European architecture, historic sites, great food and wine, and plenty of public transportation options to help you get around when your legs tire of the sloping streets.
Lisbon airport is the main international airport for all of Portugal. From the U.S, TAP Air Portugal operates direct flights to Lisbon from JFK-NYC, Newark, Washington-Dulles, San Francisco, Miami, Boston, & Chicago-O’Hare.
Once you arrive, book your Lisbon airport transfer with Welcome Pickups. I’ve used them for my own airport transfers in Europe and have always had a great experience.
2 Days in Lisbon
Lisbon has a number of attractions to see depending on your interests. No matter which you choose, keep in mind how fun it is to just walk around exploring Lisbon’s neighborhoods.
Stopping for small bites and something to drink a few times a day is the perfect way to balance a day of sightseeing. The food is light (lots of seafood) and delicious. The hills are a great workout. And, quaint cafes are aplenty. Can you think of a better combination for touring a new city?
With 2 days, my focus was on seeing Lisbon and its main sites and just absorbing the vibe of the city. This meant getting outside, walking, and riding trams, to explore the city.
Luckily, the region’s milder winter temperatures make this easy to do. But, make no mistake. Lisbon also has plenty of museums, from art galleries to architectural & historical museums. You could easily plan to visit a different one every day.
Day 1 in Lisbon
Begin the day catching the #28 Tram toward Castelo de Sao Jorge. The historic tram winds its way toward the Castelo and into the Alfama area.
This tram line still uses the old tramcars and is a great way to wind through Lisbon’s streets and sightsee along the route. Many Lisbon landmarks can be accessed from the #28 Tram.
Pro Tip: The Lisbon Card includes unlimited free travel on trams, buses, and the metro. The card comes in 24, 48, and 72-hour time periods. I never had to worry about having or getting a ticket and when my legs and feet got tired, I could hop onto these public transportation choices quickly and easily.
Hop off the tram close to the Castelo Sao Jorge (Use stop Sè or Largo das Portas do Sol). Walk up to the Castelo and on the fortress’ ramparts for sweeping views of the city.
Sao Jorge dates back to Lisbon’s Moorish period and its high perch makes it easy to see how the citadel was used for defense against invading forces.
If you didn’t stop on your way to the Castelo, visit the Lisbon Cathedral, also called Sè. It was built in 1147 and is a National Monument.
After admiring the views from the city’s highest point, meander through the maze-like streets, alleyways, and staircases of the Alfama neighborhood. You can even explore with a guide by e-bike.
It’s classic “old” Lisbon at its best. The streets are narrow and life seems to date back to an earlier time. Buildings show off gorgeous tilework. Grandmothers hang laundry from lines. Fishermen chat about the day’s events. Scents of authentic cooking waft from open kitchen windows.
Lisbon is one of the few cities in western Europe still with old-world charm. The opportunity to connect with a local for a one-of-a-kind food experience is the best way to sample the culture first-hand and add something truly unique to your Lisbon itinerary.
As with Romania, exploring affords you the chance to glimpse local life and discover small shops, cafes, and squares.
Pro Tip: Before your trip, use the offline feature of Google Maps app to download a map of Alfama and other areas of Lisbon to help find your way. Alternatively, this popular Lisbon Essential Tour takes visitors to all of Lisbon’s most interesting neighborhoods, including the Alfama and Bairro Alta, without the fuss of finding your way.
Once you’ve toured the Alfama (perhaps even by segway!), head back down to the Baxia area and into the Praca (Plaza) Dom Pedro IV, referred to as Rossio.
It’s the central square of Lisbon with fountains, monuments, and cafes. If you’re ready to give your feet a rest, Rossio is the perfect spot for people-watching along with a bottle of vinho Tinto or Branco, of course!
ProTip: Plan a little extra time in the Praca da Figueira, just nearby Rossio. The Praca hosts a historic, local market with local foods and products. It’s also in the Baxia area and close to the #28 Tram.
While you’re in Baxia, Lisbon’s commercial district, stop to admire the architecture at the Rossio Train Station before heading to Praca dos Restaurodores and the Elevador da Gloria just nearby. This “lift” carries passengers to the Barrio Alto neighborhood.
Up high, you’ll once again overlook the city and have access via a 5-8 minute walk to Largo do Carmo, a pretty, must-see Lisbon square and the ruins of the 14th-century Convento do Carmo.
By using the Elevador da Gloria, you’ll bypass the Santa Justa Lift which can often be very crowded with long lines of people waiting to go up to the viewing platform.
Once you’ve seen the ruins, finish by walking along Rua Garrett where you’ll find cafes and shops to enjoy.
ProTip: These 3 Lisbon neighborhoods, Alfama, Baxia, and Barrio Alto, are made for exploring! With a morning start, this itinerary leaves time for things like stopping at an unexpected church, having (another!) Pastel de nata after lunch, wandering with your camera to capture Lisbon through your eyes, and/or using your Lisbon Card for free entry to one of the city’s popular museums.
If you’re looking for cool things to do in Lisbon later on, head over to Pink Street (Rua Nova do Carvalho) for a taste of Lisbon’s nightlife. There are loungy bars and speakeasy-style places to rest your feet and enjoy a good stiff cocktail.
Pensao Amor on Rue do Alecrim, but also with an entrance on Pink street, is a former brothel turned lounge authentically restored with comfy chairs and great music. It’s a unique look at Lisbon’s seedier past, but also a place (and area) to enjoy a late-night party scene.
Looking for a more serene way to end your first day in Lisbon? This sunset boat tour (with drinks) is the perfect way to let the memories of the day settle in before beginning anew tomorrow.
Day 2: Belém Lisbon
Today, begin by riding the #15 Tram from Lisbon to Belém. This area of Lisbon boasts numerous monuments, including 2 UNESCO Sites, and several museums. A visit to Lisbon wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Belém.
The Torre (tower) de Belém was built in 1515 as a means of defending Lisbon from possible invaders and was named a UNESCO Site because of its rich maritime history.
If you plan to climb the Tower, you should begin your day here, just as Portugal’s famous explorers began their discovery voyages here during the Age of Exploration.
The Tower is well-preserved but small. The lines of people queuing to enter and then again inside to climb to the top begin early in the day. It’s best to arrive in the morning with your Lisbon Card, which includes free entry to the tower.
When you’re Torre de Belém visit is done, follow the Tagus River to the striking Monument of the Discoveries. It celebrates Portuguese explorers like Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, and others who set off to map and discover routes to the Far East, India, and the Americas.
Afterward, head away from the water and through Belém’s park toward the Jerónimos Monastery. Built in the early 1500s, the Monastery’s architecture symbolizes the role the Monastery played during the Age of Exploration.
It’s a place where sailors prayed before their journeys and thus the ornate details reflect their life at sea. This UNESCO Site is also the final resting place of famed Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama.
Pro Tip: The Lisbon Card also includes free entry to the Jerónimos Monastery. If you’ve used the card for the tram, the metro and now for the tower and the monastery, the savings from the card make total sense.
Having seen Belém’s 3 most famous sites, reward yourself with a pastel de nata from Pasteis de Belém. Expect a line but it’s a small price to pay to sample these Portuguese egg tart pastries from where they originated.
On the Tram back into the center of Lisbon rev up your appetite again for an afternoon visit to the Mercado da Ribeiro.
The market itself isn’t the main draw, but the Time Out Food Court is a must-eat place. Lisbon’s best chefs combine local ingredients with their expertise for seriously delicious eats. Walk around and stop when you want to grab a bite.
The food court gets very crowded so you have to look for people getting up and hover to grab their table. You can also go to the north side and sit at one of the many restaurants or bars (or even sit outside) for a delicious meal.
The favorite by far was Tasca da Esquina. Indulge in fresh sea bass, clams, shrimps, cod, oysters, and of course, vinho branco. Before you realize it, a couple of hours will have passed!
Perhaps finish the night with a live Fado concert. The uniquely Portuguese style of music has actually been recognized by UNESCO for its cultural significance. Just listening to the music and you can learn a lot about Portugal’s people and history.
Best Area to Stay in Lisbon
Barrio Alto is Lisbon’s high (as in elevated 😉 ) neighborhood. It’s centrally located and has plenty of restaurants and nightlife nearby. If you’re searching for where to stay in Lisbon, I recommend it or somewhere between Barrio Alto and Castelo de São Jorge to the west.
Places to stay along the water are also a good choice. It’ll help you navigate and keep you within walking distance to most attractions.
If you’re traveling as a group or even as a couple and want to stay somewhere more unique, consider booking a vacation rental accommodation through Plum Guide. You’ll get the best of both worlds, feeling like a local and knowing that the apartment or home you booked was vetted by Plum Guide.
As with many cities, staying near the metro also makes getting around very easy. The #28 Tram passes by most of Lisbon’s main sites so easy access to this line makes getting to and from your hotel convenient.
If you’re planning to venture outside the main city center, look for a hotel or apartment rental near the “green” line.
I traveled solo and opted to stay at the 9Mercy Hotel. The hotel was perfectly situated in a neighborhood with the old-world feel typical of Lisbon. I was welcomed with a glass of Port and felt right at home in my comfortable room. The hotel also serves breakfast with a good variety of options from which to choose.
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Sintra is one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon. Although Sintra sits less than 20 miles from Lisbon, it’ll feel like a true retreat. With its castles, palaces, hilltops, and history, you’ll quickly see why it became popular with both the Portuguese royal family of long ago and today’s many travelers to Portugal.
Pro Tip: The Lisbon Card also includes free train travel to Sintra and Cascais, as well as discounts on admission for Pena Palace, Pena Park, Quinta da Regaleira, and other popular Sintra attractions.
Things to Do on a Sintra Day Trip
Sintra is approximately 40 minutes outside (northwest) Lisbon. Get up early because tiny Sintra has a ton to offer and you’ll want to make a full day of it. Getting from Lisbon to Sintra is straightforward and inexpensive.
There’s also a popular Sintra and Cascais tour from Lisbon if you prefer to remove any hassle that could come with traveling on your own and go with a local guide.
Pena Palace is a must on a Sintra day trip. It sits on a hill looking like it hopped from the pages of a fairytale. Its romantic style, brightly colored exterior, ornate interior, and closeness to Lisbon make it many Sintra visitors’ first stop. Visiting, I couldn’t help but think of the charming Peles Castle in Romania
From the Pena Gardens, you can make your way to Pena Park. From there, walk a bit back up the hill to reach the entrance to the Moorish Castle. The stepped stone ramparts leading to the castle’s perch take you back in time to Portugal’s Moorish years and offers unobstructed views of Pena Palace and the surrounding area.
When your visit is done, take the bus back down to Sintra’s historical center. While it’s possible to walk back from here, you’ll want to maximize your time.
For the rest of your day in Sintra, choose between the National Palace of Sintra or Quinta da Regaleira in order to have time left over to enjoy the cute little city that Sintra is.
There are guided day tours that combine seeing Sintra, Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, Cascais, as well. It’s easy to go from Lisbon to Sintra, but if you want to combine multiple sights for a Lisbon day trip, it helps to go with a guide who has all the logistics handled and can maximize your time.
If you’ve traveled to Sintra independently, be sure to grab a bite, try some port, and snap a few great shots before your trip back to Lisbon.
Quinta da Regaleira is a manor house purchased by a wealthy Brazilian businessman who turned over the design reins to an Italian opera set designer. Luigi Manini was only asked to blend a combination of artistic styles and to integrate Knights of Templar and other Masonic symbolism.
The result is a mystical blend of mosaics, beautiful gardens, hidden tunnels, grottos, and an inverted tower. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is discounted with your Lisbon Card, rated the #1 thing to do in Sintra, and is just a short 15-minute walk from town.
The National Palace of Sintra, on the other hand, is the only palace or castle situated in Sintra’s historic center. It was also built during the Moorish period but was later used by the Portuguese Royal Family as a summer home.
The architecture, tilework, and cone-shaped chimneys are the highlights. If you’d like to learn more about the Palace’s history, pick up an audio guide for your Palace stroll.
2 Days in Porto
Porto has gained quickly in popularity. It’s the second-largest city in Portugal, sprawling and perched on top of a huge hill along the Douro River. While you could plan a Lisbon to Porto day trip, the city is in the heart of wine and Port country and is well worth a 2-day visit as part of your Portugal itinerary.
Lisbon to Porto Train
The Lisbon to Porto train is very easy to navigate. The trains are clean, comfortable and have great views of the Portuguese countryside. Depending on the train you’re on, the ride can take 2.5-3 hours.
Buy your tickets online in advance to save money.
Lisbon-Santa Apolonia to Porto-Campanha is the main route for faster trains from Lisbon. Your ticket will also be good for a free transfer from Campanha Station to Porto’s other train station, Sao Bento, just inside the old city. These transfers come every 5-15 minutes and take just about 5 minutes between stations.
Pro Tip: If you’re new to European train travel, look at your tickets for your car and seat number. Be sure to look at these numbers marked on the train and to sit in the right seat. It can be hard to move to your correct seat with your luggage once the train is moving.
Before sharing Porto itinerary ideas, I want to add that Porto seemed harder to navigate than Lisbon or Sintra. Usually, when this happens, I join a free walking tour to orient myself.
So, if your timing is right, consider a free Porto walking tour to show you the city’s viewpoints, squares, and local favorites, all while learning more about Porto’s history and getting a sense of where everything is. Oftentimes, like in Brasov, you get a great overview and know which spots you’d like to visit. Plus, what’s better than access to a local expert for tips and recommendations?!
Day 1 in Porto
After you’re settled in, the Ribeira and the Douro River area should be at the top of your Porto activities list.
Dating back to Medieval times, it has the tiny, maze-like streets with old, colorful houses you’d expect and along the way, there are plenty of cafes and shops to discover. It’s a great area to wander on foot.
Walk through Ribeira Square, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, the square is popular with tourists, but historically, it was Porto’s marketplace where merchants sold bread, fish, and other items.
From the Douro River, you’ll see the two sides of Porto connected by the Ponte Luis I Bridge, the Riberia side and the Vila Nova de Gaia side.
At the time of its completion in 1886, the bridge was the longest of its kind in the world. You’ll want to walk over the second tier of the Ponte Luis I Bridge to marvel at the bridge’s design and for the birds-eye views over Porto.
Then, after a morning of walking, spend the afternoon doing one of the most fun things to do in Porto, a port tasting! After all, Porto is the home of Port wine.
You could even spend time on the river to see Porto from a different perspective and then enjoy an evening of Port wine and Fado.
For wine lovers, along the river on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the city, you’ll find many port houses that offer tours and tastings. There are even more Port houses up in the hills, like Graham’s, which also offers sweeping views of the river and the city.
While some Port Houses have walk-in tours and tastings, it’s best to reserve ahead of time. Hours vary, particularly if you visit in the off-season, and tours aren’t always available in English.
If your legs need a rest, this wine-tasting cruise with a classic Portuguese lunch is the perfect way to learn about Porto’s history and taste some of the wines of the Douro Valley.
If you have more time or prefer to use your time in Porto to explore the Douro Valley this boat tour with wine tastings and lunch is quite popular and a great way to spend the day.
Day 2 in Porto
Start by walking to the city center (via the river, if you’d like) to visit the Monument Church of St. Francis. It’s Porto’s 15th-century Gothic church designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Afterward, make your way to the Sao Bento Railway Station. The tile work in the station is as much a reason to visit as catching a train. The beautiful blue tiles show life in Portugal’s countryside and other important historical events.
Make sure to visit the Livraria Lello, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. Lonely Planet and other travel publications have repeatedly listed the bookstore as one of the best in the world.
It has ornate ceilings, gorgeous wooden spiral staircases, and stained glass. Reportedly, the bookstore was inspirational for JK Rowling in her writing. She lived in Porto teaching English years before writing Harry Potter.
Finish your Porto sightseeing by climbing the steep steps of the Clerigos Tower for panoramic views of the city. The narrow climb brings you nearly 250 feet up where you can see the Douro River and the orange rooftops of the old town.
Where to Stay in Porto
Staying too far outside the city was a mistake. The best places to stay in Porto will be within the old city.
Try to be relatively close to the Sao Bento Railway Station, which is also a tourist attraction because of its beautiful tile paintings. The railway station is in the middle of the city and a convenient spot from which to explore.
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Practical Portugal Tips for Success
1. The Portuguese are lovely and friendly people who know you can’t speak their language but are happy when you try. If you’re in a jam because of the language barrier and you speak another language like, French, Italian, or Spanish, give that a try.
Here are a few important words and phrases to know.
Ola – Hello (say hello all the time)
Bon Dia – Good Day (nice way to say hello)
Por Favor – Please (add to everything)
Obrigado – Thank you
Gostaríamos de uma mesa para dois. – We would like a table for two
Dois copos de vinho tinto por favor. – Two glasses of red wine, please.
Saude – Cheers
2. If you’d like to make reservations for fancier restaurants, use thefork.pt
3. The Metro in Lisbon is easy and cheap to use. But keep your ticket because you’ll need it to exit the station. Uber tends to be slightly cheaper than taxis.
4. Trams and streetcars are a way of life in Portugal and are free with your Lisbon Card. Keep in mind they are small and fill up quickly. If you’re using them to get to a tourist site, go in the morning to avoid long lines.
5. If you do want to visit museums, check when they’re open. Many museums close on Mondays.
6. Lastly, this itinerary was used for a successful trip in the off-season. 5 days in Portugal is likely not enough time if you’re interested in seeing all of the above and spending time on the beaches.
In that case, add extra days for a seaside break!
In addition, there were fewer people and hardly any lines at many popular sights and day-trip locations like Sintra. If visiting in the summer, plan to start your days early to get ahead of the crowds. Avoid popular day-trip locations on the weekends, if possible.
And if you have more than 5 days, consider combining destinations in Portugal and Spain. Madrid and Seville are popular next places to add to Spain and Portugal itinerary.
What questions do you have about visiting Portugal?
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94 thoughts on “5 Days in Portugal Itinerary: Lisbon, Sintra, and Porto”
Lisbon is one of the European capitals I’m yet to get to, but I can’t wait to jump in and discover it’s old world charm, and this food scene I’ve heard so much about! I like that you highlighted just walking around and exploring the neighborhoods – this is how I love to discover a new city, noted on the steep gradients around town – I often find that getting lost leads to discovering the soul of a neighborhood, and stopping for quick bites leads to some fabulous restaurant finds!
There’s so much incredible architecture here – we came back from Venice with a lot of photos of door knockers lol sounds quite strange, but they were surprisingly interesting! I bring it up as I notice you also highlighted the doorways of Lisbon. The view from the Castelo over the city rooftops would be a highlight though.
I hope you can visit Lisbon soon, Megan. The food scene is great and even better when you stumble upon a gem hidden on a small neighborhood street. 🙂
You had a very busy 5 days in Portugal We spent 4 weeks there and still wanted more! We chased custard tarts all over Portugal and the ones at Pasteis de Belem was still our favourite. Thanks for the tease about Sintra. Despite visiting Lisbon on 3 different occasions, we still missed visiting Sintra. A great reason to go back!
It was busy, but fun, Linda! It is always great to have a reason to visit a great place again. Sintra is super easy to get to from Lisbon and so worth the day. 🙂
Such a great and well organized itinerary. Lisbon looks overwhelming with potential must-sees, because everything is so beautiful and intriguing. And I sure didn’t know about the Port Wine connection! My grandmother was a huge fan of Port Wine (with her favorite Perry Mason TV show), so you just put a smile on my face. I’d definitely do a tasting tour and a make a few toasts to Granny.
Oh, I love that, Vanessa! Cheers to Granny, for sure! Lisbon has so much to do and can easily be a place you return to again and again.
This is a good itinerary for 5 days in Portugal. I did a similar one and included Tomar and Coimbra in to this.
I too have this interest in capturing doors around the world and some of these old time doors are so charming and colorful.
The colorful architecture and old world details are just so pretty, Indrani. Glad you’ve gotten to experience Portugal. 🙂
Your photos are simply sensational! I have been wanting to visit Portugal for so long and this itinerary is perfect! You take the same types of photos I do and have similar interests – I can’t wait to explore!
Thanks, Nicki. It’s jam-packed with things to do, but proves you can still see a lot and have a great trip in just 5 days. 🙂
What a great quick guide! We’re going to Portugal for two weeks and we’re leaving in two weeks! We’re going to all of these places and so excited to visit for the first time. Thank you for some of the practical tips, like getting to the street cars early and that the museums are closed on Mondays.
How exciting, Paige! Glad you’ll be able to put these tips to use so soon. Enjoy your trip to Portugal!
I can’t believe how many great castles or castle like places in Portugal. I feel like you have to spend a month or two to explore them.
I would love to walk thru Ribeira Square and just explore all the hidden corners.
Totally, Jennifer! So many castles and historic sites to see. Hope you can visit someday!
Thanks for the comprehensive guide to Portugal. I would love to go on the near future and I have limited vacation days. This is the perfect framework to plan a trip. Thanks for including the maps as well!
Thanks for reading, Jessica. Even with limited days, you can see a lot in Portugal.
Your photos are so pretty! They really make me miss Portugal. I went to Belem as well and tried the pastries. They were fabulous! I went to Porto too, but by bus. Train would have been a cool experience. Next time!
Thanks for reading, Francesca. So glad to hear you have such good memories of your Portugal trip. Those pastries are worth another trip all by themselves!
we are thinking of doing this 5 day trip in december. 26-31 to be precise Do you think its feasible?
Thanks for reading, Sameera. One thing I would advise is to look at Christmas holiday closings or special schedules for transportation. Otherwise, I think it’s absolutely feasible.
Like your itinerary very much and I am also planning a trip during the first half of June to Portugal. In this trip, I like to enjoy mainly the natural scenic beauty, mountains, river cruises etc.. Is it worth staying 2 days in Sintra? Also, in my plan 2 days each in Lisbon and Porto.
Is it a good idea to add 4 more days and cover the best places in Spain also in this trip? Please give your valuable opinion.
Thanks for reading, V.K. My itinerary largely focuses on the sights and monuments to see. If you plan to also hike or go on a river cruise, I’d add a few days depending on your plans. Portugal and Spain are great countries to group together. With 4 extra days, I’d focus on 1 city or area in Spain and devote the time there. Enjoy your trip!
I Love your blog! This is very helpful as my boyfriend and I are planning a trip for April 2019. We are thinking of following most of your plan and try to fit a beach day in Porto and then fly over to Barcelona for a few days.
Do you have any recommendations for a beach in Porto?
Thanks so much for reading, Brittany, and for your kind words. I’m glad the article is helpful for your trip! I would look at the beaches in Vila do Conde which is easily accessed by public transportation. There are a few different beaches there that will give you great beach time away from the larger touristy beaches. 😉 Have a great trip!!
Thank you for the updates! Planning for a solo visit to Portugal next year.
Hence your updates are very useful in planning! Thanks again!
Thank you for reading, Chloe. Have a great trip!
Great writeup! I’m actually planning to be in Lisbon for 5 days and it looks perfect.
Planning to stay in Lisbon either at Rua Nova do Carvalho or Barrio Alto. Was planning to get a car rental for the duration of the trip which would make getitng to and from Sintra much more convenient.
Wondering if you’d be able to weigh in on getting a car rental or would Uber be good for getting to and from Sintra without having to worry about parking in the smaller streets in Lisbon.
Thanks for reading, Brian. If you’re planning to visit Lisbon and Sintra in the high season, I’d actually avoid driving altogether, especially if you’re visiting Sintra for just the day. The traffic and parking can be very difficult and time-consuming. If, though, you’re staying overnight in Sintra, look for a hotel that offers parking so you can have the best of both worlds, a car to explore the area and some help parking/driving in Sintra. Hope that helps and you have a great trip!
Thank you for the reply Jackie. Will skip the driving. Heading there end July. May just do a day trip with a car hire to avoid having to find parking.
Have a great trip, Brian! 🙂
i am planning to follow your itinerary for my visit as i really liked it. is september a good time to go and also any good recommendations about the hotels. i want budget hotels.
Thanks for reading, Rohini. September in Portugal will still be warm with plenty of sunshine. The fall should also be less crowded compared to the busy summer months. I encourage you to take a look at 9Mercy Hotel or to research Lisbon hotels. I hope you have a great trip!!
Read your most informative post. We are going to Portugal in Oct. 9th – 20th. Right now we are spending 3 days in Lisbon (have a day private tour scheduled for Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais), 1 day in San Martinho at a friends place, 3 days in Porto, 2 days in Evora, 3 days in Algarve (attending the jazz festival) and 1 day on the way back from Morocco in Lisbon. However, in reading other peoples posts and suggestions, with all the driving, I am thinking of dropping San Martinho and Evora. Extending a day in Algarve and go to Lagos, which we didn’t have planned, and either add another day to Lisbon or Porto. I didn’t see anything that I had to see in Evora. And we want to be a little bit more casual on our trip. Your thoughts are so very welcomed!
Thanks for reading, Ronita. I’m not sure I can be of much help because I haven’t been to Evora or San Martinho. But, if you’re flying out at the end of your trip from Lisbon, why not have the last day back in Lisbon? This way, you don’t have to feel rushed at the beginning of your trip. And if there’s something you missed in those first few days you’d still have a chance to go at the end of your trip. Have fun at the jazz festival! Sounds like so much fun. 🙂
Cool! Great images ! I’m planning to be in Lisbon for 7 days and it looks perfect.
Thanks for reading, Brandy. Have a great trip! 🙂
Very informative and nicely written, thank you.
Do you think April would be the good month to visit Portugal? specially on ester weekend…
Thanks for reading, Vikas. April would be a nice month to visit Portugal, but I would avoid Easter. Things will be closed or have limited holiday hours.
Thanks For Sharing
Thanks for reading, Katlyn. 🙂
Great article. I want to visit somewhere in Europe this February and I want to go somewhere warm (relatively) in order to escape from the cold Canadian winter. Portugal seems to fit the bill, as it is the warmest country in Europe. The issue is I only have around 9 days, and I have to be in Amsterdam for two of those days, which leaves me only around 6 full days in Portugal. I know some time is better than nothing, but do you think that is enough time to take in some of the main sights? Is it worth going there just for 6 days, or do you think I am better of leaving it for when I have more time? Any advice appreciated!
Thanks for reading, Art. 6 days is definitely enough time to enjoy some of what Portugal has to offer. Even if you think the itinerary is too rushed, Lisbon and Sintra in 6 days are totally doable. Happy travels!
We (my husband and I) would like to visit Lisbon /Porto and surrounding area in March, and thinking of a 6 day break. A hotel/inn would be ideal or anywhere comfortable that is reasonably priced. Happy to do a 3 day stay in 2 hotels.
Dates to be sorted but thinking of the end of March (2019).
Can you advise please?
J & R
Thanks so much for reading, Judy. Portugal is such a great year-round destination and 6 days is a nice amount of time to see Lisbon and Porto. I’ve listed the hotels where I stayed in the guide. You can also check here for hotels for your trip. It’s what I use when I start any type of travel research. 🙂
Thank you for this. I am planning a trip for next January – would this itinerary work during that time. Also we would like to visit Nazare to see the waves and tips or tricks and is this something we could do at the end of the trip or do in the beginning. Thanks. NK
Thanks for reading, Nancy. January is when I went to Portugal and used this itinerary so it’s a great time to go. 🙂 I’d go to Nazare during the time you’re based in Lisbon. It’s less than 90 minutes by car and could be a great day or partial day excursion. Enjoy Portugal!
I am planning a last minute trip to Portugal next week (Jan 22-27). I know very short and sweet and possibly rushed but I think it’s possible. I was thinking Wed and Thursday Lisbon with side trip to Sintra. Two days (Friday and Saturday) in Porto and head home Sunday evening. I was worried about the weather but I am sure it will be much warmer than NY. I hear it rains a lot in Lisbon.
You input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for reading, Tish. Your quick trip sounds great. It might be a tad rushed in Lisbon so I’d really prioritize your musts if you want to fit in Sintra, too. But, I think you’ll find you can pack a lot in and have a great getaway in Portugal with just a few days. 🙂
Taking advantage of the 5 day stopover with Tap after visiting friends and family in France. So happy my husband found this. Can’t wait.
Thanks for reading, Karen. Stopovers like that are fantastic. Enjoy Portugal!
Thanks so much for posting these details for travel suggestions in Portugal. We have a trip set up in mid April staying in both Lisbon and Porto. We are using your itinerary as our guide for a first time visit. The tip about the “Lisbon card” is priceless. Thanks for helping travelers like us have a travel guide to make the trip more enjoyable. Any other special tips would be appreciated.
Thanks so much for reading, Bill. I’m thrilled the guide has been helpful for your trip planning. Remember to wear good walking shoes and have some Euros for those places that don’t take credit cards. When in Porto, don’t miss out on some of the scenic viewpoints around town, including the view from Miradouro da Vitoria, Miradouros das Virtudes, and the Jardins do Palacio de Cristal. Have a fantastic trip to Portugal!!
We plan to use your 5-day itinerary for our first visit to Portugal at the end of May 2019! We will be visiting Barcelona, then will fly into Porto, do your itinerary in reverse, then fly to Paris for the rest of the time before we fly back to the States. We might be able to add one more night to Portugal to experience a scenic, relaxing beach day. Where might you suggest we add a day? Thanks in advance!!
Thanks so much for reading, Lisa. Glad to hear the itinerary will be useful for you. Cascais and Estoril are popular beaches close to Lisbon if you wanted to have a beach day at the end of your trip. Costa da Caparica is also nearby to Lisbon and not as crowded as the other two beaches. Enjoy your trip!!
Great recommendations! Will certainly be using this as a guide for my 5 day trip in Portugal. I plan to stay two days in Lisbon, day trip in Sintra and two days in Porto. Then we plan to go to Spain. Do you have any suggestions on how I should schedule my trip in order of city? I was thinking the first two days in Porto then one day in Lisbon and then the day trip in Sintra and then the last day in Lisbon before making our way to Spain. What do you think? Your feedback is appreciated!
Thanks for reading, Brinda. Your idea about how to order the days is just how I’d do it, Porto, Lisbon, Sintra, Lisbon, Spain. I’m just back from 2+ weeks in Spain! Between Portugal and Spain, you’ll have a fantastic trip! 🙂
Enjoyed reading your 5-day itinerary in Portugal. Have read quite a lot but yours is concise and sounds exciting. I just have another stop though, Fatima.
Would you know if I will make Lisbon my base to go to Fatima, or if based on the map, i wil stick to the plan of Lisbon (day trip to Sintra) – Fatima – Porto – Barcelona?
I have tons of questions for Spain too, but since I have done my IT from Madtid to Seville, let me focus on Portugal for now.
Also, did you have to book your rain ticket ahead of time ?
Looking forward to your reply!
Thanks for reading, Vivian. I’d go from Lisbon to Fatima on your way to Porto. Just verify the trains you need are available at good times for your plans. I would book your train tickets ahead of time because usually, it’s cheaper with advance purchase compared to buying it on the day you want to travel. I’m just back from Spain so let me know if you have questions. I’m based in NYC. 🙂 Happy travels!
We are seriously thinking about going to Lisbon later this month for 5 days. I am wondering if the crowds will be so bad that we we won’t be able to see Sintra?
Thanks for reading, Sara. Summer is a popular time to visit Portugal. If possible, plan a Sintra visit on a weekday instead of a weekend. Enjoy!!
Hi!! Thank you for sharing all those helpful tips! We are planning a 5 day trip to Portugal in September and were not sure about doing the 2 days in Lisbon (with sintra) and 2 days in Porto, or 2-3days in Lisbon and 1 day somewhere with nice beaches? I’ve heard Faro and portimao are great. What would you suggest? Do you think a 1 day trip from Lisbon is doable?
Thanks for reading, Maria. Faro and Portimao are both beautiful, but I think they’re a bit far for a day trip. If you planned an overnight, you’d have more time to enjoy. Cascais and Carcavelos are popular coastal spots within easy access by train from Lisbon. Hope that helps and you have a great trip to Portugal! 🙂
We are just back from a WONDERFUL stay in Portugal, and I thought I’d share my experience here so others might get some tips in addition to the valuable ones Jackie shared here. We did 2 nights in Porto (we had flown in from a 5 night stay in Barcelona), which was the perfect amount of time. Just be aware that Porto is over-run with tourists, and we went in late May!!! But we had a great time, and really enjoyed the port and chocolate tour and tasting at Calem Winery. We then took the train to Lisbon, where we spent 4 nights. We did a day trip to Sintra — and it was the highlight of our trip!!! We also did a day trip to the beaches at Cascais and Estoril, but to me they just didn’t live up to the hype and I wouldn’t go again. Whatever you do, try the pasteis de nata, aka pastels de nata, aka the little custard cups that Portugal is known for. The best we found were from Padaria Ribiero in Porto (also be sure to try the merenda mista ham and cheese sandwiches), but you can get these yummy little cups anywhere in Portugal.
Thanks for coming back to share about your trip, Lisa. So glad you had a great time in Portugal. 🙂
Good evening, thank you for this interesting entry. It helped me a lot!
Thanks for reading, Everett. Enjoy Portugal! 🙂
Hi Jackie. Your blog inspired me to plan the 60th.bday vacation trip for my husband including my adult (mid 20’s to early 30’s) kids and their spouses -8 of us in total to Portugal. I will be planning this for April 2020. We were planning on traveling from a Saturday to Saturday ( thinking of evening flight out on a Friday ). It seems like we would have extra days from the 5 day itinerary you planned. What would you suggest to do/go with a few extra days ?
Thanks for reading, Mindi. Your trip to Portugual sounds like a great 60th Birthday trip! Have you considered Madrid? A lot of people plan a combined Portugal and Spain itinerary. Lisbon and Madrid both have great airports with lots of flights. TAP Air Portugal even allows a free stopover (which must be more than 24 hours so it works for you). You could fly into one airport and out of the other…If not Madrid, what about Barcelona? I have guides on the site for both cities if you’re interested in reading more. 🙂
We are very thankful you took the time to post such helpful information about visiting Portugal. We will probably follow much of your itinerary with Porto being our final destination. However, we tend to like our final destination to be the city where we fly out from, Did you fly out of Porto or Lisbon? If Lisbon, did you take a train from Porto to Lisbon on the day of your flight?
Thanks for reading, Wanda. Yes, I did take the train back to Lisbon from Porto. It’s really easy to do. Hope you have a great trip to Portugal!
We are planning to visit Portugal in June 2020 and will be flying in from Rome. We plan to spend 5-6 days there and your itinerary looks great for us. Would you start the trip from Porto or Lisbon?. We can fly into either, although Lisbon flights look easier and greater selection of airlines and direct flights from observation but will take any advice..
Thanks for reading, Norm. It doesn’t matter if you started in Lisbon or Porto for the itinerary. It can certainly be done in reverse. I’d go with whichever one gives you the best flight options from Rome. Enjoy your trip!!
Enjoy your trip! 🙂
Thanks for the itinerary! My question is do you stay overnite in Sintra and then take train to Porto and fly out of porto to home to save time backtracking?
Thanks for reading, Wendy. The ride from Lisbon to Sintra is so easy, I’d recommend basing yourself in Lisbon. The train from Porto back to Lisbon is also easy. But if the flight home from Porto doesn’t make a difference in terms of price, that is also a good option. 🙂
I am reading your Portugal Write up during my return home to Florida, so it is a little late. Anyway I want to add my take on our one week visit to Porto & Douro..
A 2 day Hop on/off Bus Tour of Porto & an hour long Cruise on Duro river gave us a good feel of the place. I second your idea of staying close to San Bento to get exposed to how the locals live,. although the Metro is very frequent & convenient
Douro & it’s country side with its grape vine yards is just beautiful & gives you a glimpse into the lives of an average Portugal resident.
The Mansion (& many other such homes ) our group stayed in was built in & has been continuously lived in since 1486.( Much before America was even born )
It is a very different world out there when compared to where we live, & very reasonable when compared to rest of Europe.
2 challenges we faced were
1) Language – 3 out of 4 people on the street do not speak English, no street signs period ( although Google Maps tried )
2) Some roads in Douro are very narrow, in fact our rental car got stuck & damaged in between the sides of the road & we faced a dangerous situation high up on a cliff( our trusted Google Maps guided us there)
So, yes it is very beautiful, a very different place taking us back centuries & grand in its own way, but for gods sake a little english & street signs for a tourist to follow won’t hurt.
Thanks for reading, Disneydoc. It sounds like you had a great time in Portugal. I appreciate you sharing your experiences. They’ll come in handy for future Portugal visitors. And yes, I agree with needing a small car, which is true anytime you drive in small European cities and towns.
Hi. Small correction it is bom dia instead of bon dia
Thanks, Armando! I’ll make the fix. 🙂
Hi Jackie. Do you think it’s possible (and enjoyable) to visit Portugal and Morocco in 9 days? We were thinking of traveling in late April.
Thank you very much.
Thanks for reading, Sara. Yes, I do think you can do that, as long as your Portugal visit is confined to the major spots like Lisbon, Sintra, and Porto. Portugal and Morocco will be a great trip. Enjoy!
Hey Jackie, thank you so much for your recommendations, I am planning to implement it this coming March!
I read you took the flight there and back from Lisbon, eventhough your last 2 days were in Porto. I am planning to do exactly the same, I just wondered how far is the airport from the train station in Lisbon, in order to know how early we have to leave Porto if our flight is at 2:30 pm from Lisbon..
Thanks so much for reading, Roni. So glad the guide is helpful for your Portugal trip. I would say you’d need between 30-45 minutes to get from the train station to the airport in Lisbon. Hope that helps and you have a great time. 🙂
I’m taking my mom to Portugal next month, and yes, we’ll only have 5 days. Your itinerary sure came handy, and the recommendations are outstanding! I am so glad I’ve come across your blog, and really enjoyed reading it. Thank you!
Thanks so much for reading, Luiz. I’m so glad the guide came in handy. Hope you and your mom have a great trip! 🙂
OMG – thank you so much, Jackie! I’ve been voluntold to plan/book a 5 days stay in Portugal with my fiance, his bf and bf’s wife. I am so thankful to have stumbled across your blog! This is the PERFECT itinerary – pictures, maps and all! Can’t wait to explore and indulge Portugal!
Obrigado and Saude! 🙂
Thanks for reading CC. I’m so glad the itinerary will come in handy. And, P.S. “voluntold” might be my favorite new word! lol! Enjoy Portugal. 🙂
I enjoyed reading your site. I love the pictures and maps.
1: Travelling with 2 adventurous boys (11 and 9) and the wife who expects the finer things in life.
How would you blend these two requirements for a 6 day trip over easter?
Thanks for reading, Clifford. Why not splurge on a nice hotel to make your wife happy and then plan some “adventurous” things to keep your boys happy for example doing a food tour where everyone is tasting different foods or climb the ramparts of the Moorish Castle in Sintra. Travel on local transport, too. The more local experiences you can have will certainly add a layer of adventure to the trip. Have fun in Portugal!
I’m going to Portugal for 5 days so this guide is perfect. I’ve bookmarked it and will use all your recommendations.
Thanks for reading, Goldie. I’m glad the guide will come in handy. Enjoy your trip! 🙂
I’m thinking about a 3 week trip to Portugal and Spain this June. Which city would you recommend we fly into and out from, roundtrip? We want to visit Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, Algarve (still a maybe), Madrid, Seville, Córdoba, Grenada and Barcelona. Any advice would greatly be appreciated.
Thanks for reading, Jeri. What a great list of places! I’d look to fly into Barcelona and out of Lisbon, if you could. It’s easy to see Barcelona and then fly on a quick flight to the south of Spain. I did Barcelona to Malaga and rented a car from there. Granada is a short drive from there. You could use the car to see Cordoba and Seville. From Seville you could take a train to Madrid which is just a couple of hours on the high-speed rail (I just did this. Stayed in Seville and took the train to Madrid to catch my afternoon flight back to NYC.)From Madrid to Lisbon you could take a sleeper train and then go about your Portugal itinerary, Sintra and Porto. Thanks again for reading!