Portugal is a diverse and captivating country that is great for a one-week vacation. For such a relatively tiny country, there are plenty of historic towns, stunning scenery, and glorious beaches. With so many amazing destinations, it can be challenging to design the perfect tour for a 1-week vacation in Portugal. This Portugal tour itinerary is created for tourists who are new to Portugal and covers three major Portugal cities - Lisbon, Sintra, and Porto. Portugal is a hassle-free and a very safe country for a touring vacation. All those budget travelers will be happy to know that Portugal is the cheapest country in Western Europe and hence this is going to be a cheap travel Europe Package.
(Day 1-2): Lisbon
(Day 3): Belém Lisbon
(Day 4-6): Sintra
(Day 7-8): Porto
Lisbon, Belém Lisbon, Sintra, Porto
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Lisbon is a lively city having so many delightful cafes and a number of opportunities to stop and relish the local food and drink. The city is quite famous thanks to its European-style architecture, historic sites, amazing food and wine and the convenience of public transportation options to help you get around.
Lisbon boasts plenty of attractions to see depending on particular interests. Whatever you choose, know that just walking around and exploring the vibrant neighborhoods of Lisbon is absolute fun. The city also has plenty of museums, from architectural & historical museums to art galleries.
You can begin your Lisbon journey catching the historic Tram toward Castelo de Sao Jorge. The tram makes its way toward the Castelo and later into the Alfama area. This tram line which still uses the old tram cars is a great way to explore the Lisbon’s streets and access many Lisbon landmarks along the way. You can get down of the tram near the Castelo Sao Jorge and wander up to the Castelo to catch some spectacular views of the city. In case you miss the stop to the Castelo, you can visit the Lisbon Cathedral, also called Sè and is a National Monument built in 1147.
After praising the stunning views from the highest point of the city, wander through the alleyways, maze-like streets, and staircases of the Alfama neighborhood.
After the Alfama tour, make your way to the Baxia area and into the Praca Dom Pedro IV, known as Rossio. This area is the central square of Lisbon having monuments, fountains, and cafes. If you are in a mood of having a quiet time, then Rossio is the perfect spot for you to do some people watching along with a bottle of Branco or Vinho Tinto. Admire the amazing architecture at the Rossio Train Station before you head to Praca dos Restaurodores and the Elevador da Gloria which are just nearby.
This morning, start your day by riding the #15 Tram from Lisbon to Belém. This particular area of Lisbon boasts plenty of monuments, including 2 UNESCO Sites, and numerous museums. A Lisbon tour wouldn’t be complete without stopping in Belém.
The Torre de Belém, built in 1515, was a means of protecting Lisbon from potential invaders and was named a UNESCO Site thanks to its rich maritime history. In case you plan to climb the Tower, start your day here, just as Portugal’s famous explorers started with their discovery journey here during the Age of Exploration.
The Tower is small yet well-preserved. The lines of people queuing in order to enter and then again inside to climb to the top start early in the day. So, It is best to reach early in the morning with your Lisbon Card, which includes free entry to the tower.
Sintra is one of the most famous day trips from Lisbon. Though Sintra is less than even 20 miles from Lisbon, it will feel like a retreat. With its palaces, castles, hilltops, and amazing history, you’ll see why it became famous with both the Portuguese royal family of long ago as well as today’s many travelers to Portugal.
NOTE: The Lisbon Card also includes absolute free train travel to Sintra and Cascais, and discounts on entry for Quinta da Regaleira, Pena Palace, Pena Park, and many other famous Sintra attractions.
Sintra is approximately 40 minutes outside of Lisbon. So, start early in the morning because small Sintra has a number of things to offer and you’ll wish to make a full day of it. Reaching Sintra from Lisbon is straightforward and inexpensive.
There is also a famous Sintra and Cascais tour from Lisbon in case you wish to remove any inconvenience that could come with traveling on your own and go with a professional guide.
On a Sintra day trip, Pena Palace is a must. Sitting peacefully on a hill, it appears like it has been hopped from the pages of a fairytale. It’s ornate interior, brightly colored exterior, romantic style and closeness to Lisbon make it the first stop for many Sintra visitors.
Later head out to Pena Park from the Pena Gardens. From there, meander a bit back up the hill in order to reach the entrance to the Moorish Castle. The stepped stone ramparts that lead to the castle’s perch takes you back in time entirely to Portugal’s Moorish years and offers bird’s-eye views of Pena Palace and its surrounding area.
Once done with your visit, take the bus back down to Sintra’s historical center.
For the rest of your time in Sintra, you can choose between the National Palace of Sintra or Quinta da Regaleira and enjoy the cute tiny city that Sintra is. Grab some delicious bites, try some port and click a few great pics before you make your trip back to Lisbon.
Porto earned popularity quickly. The second largest city in Portugal, Porto sits sprawling on top of a majestic hill along the Douro River. While you could cover the city tour in a day, exploring properly this beautiful city is well-worth a 2-days trip.
You can go for a free Porto walking tour and witness the city’s amazing viewpoints, local favorites, squares, all while also learning about the city’s history.
After settling in, the Ribeira and Douro River area must be at the top of your activities list. Boasting maze-like streets, old vibrant houses and numerous shops and cafes to discover, this tiny city is an amazing place to meander on foot.
Wander through Ribeira Square, which is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area today is quite popular with tourists.
From the Douro River, witness the two sides of Porto linked by the Ponte Luis I Bridge, the Vila Nova de Gaia side and the Riberia side. Walk over the second tier of the Ponte Luis I Bridge and marvel at the design of the bridge and for having some amazing birds-eye views over Porto.
Begin your next day in Porto venturing to the city center to visit the Monument Church of St. Francis which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Make sure to visit the Livraria Lello on your Porto trip, which is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. The bookstore is said to be inspirational for JK Rowling in her writing. Years before writing Harry Potter, she lived in Porto and used to teach English.