By Rick Steves
So much to see, so little time. How to choose? To help you get started, I've listed my top picks for where to go in Portugal, my plan for your best two-week trip, and tips on when to go.
Depending on the length of your trip, assuming you're using public transportation, and taking geographic proximity into account, here are my recommended priorities.
- 3 days: Lisbon, Sintra
- 6 days, add: Algarve (Salema, Lagos, Cape Sagres)
- 8 days, add: Coimbra, slow down
- 10 days, add: Nazaré and nearby sights (Óbidos, Alcobaça, Batalha, Fátima)
- 12 days, add: Porto
- 14 days, add: Évora, Douro Valley
- More time, add: Tavira, slow down
Rick’s Best Two-Week Portugal Trip (by Car)
Day 2: Lisbon (sleep in Lisbon)
Day 3: Lisbon (sleep in Lisbon)
Day 4: Lisbon, or side-trip to Sintra by train (sleep in Lisbon)
Day 5: Morning in Lisbon; in the afternoon/evening, pick up car and drive 3 hours to the Algarve (sleep in Salema)
Day 6: Beach day in Salema (sleep in Salema)
Day 7: Side-trip to Cape Sagres and more beach time (sleep in Salema)
Day 8: To Lagos (30 minutes), then Évora (3 hours) (sleep in Évora)
Day 9: Morning in Évora; afternoon to Nazaré via Óbidos (3 hours) (sleep in Nazaré)
Day 10: Nazaré (sleep in Nazaré)
Day 11: To Coimbra (2 hours) with possible stops in Alcobaça, Batalha, Fátima, or Tomar (sleep in Coimbra)
Day 12: Coimbra (sleep in Coimbra)
Day 13: To the Douro Valley (2.5 hours) (sleep in the Douro Valley)
Day 14: To Porto (2 hours), drop off car (sleep in Porto)
Day 15: Porto (sleep in Porto)
Day 16: Fly home
Driving times are estimates and could be longer in bad traffic. If you plan to fly home from Lisbon, park your car while in Porto, then drive to the Lisbon airport (about 3 hours) and drop it there.
By Bus and Train
Using public transportation, modify the itinerary as follows: From Lisbon, take the bus to Salema (change in Lagos). Take the bus or train to Évora (with transfers). From Évora, bus to Nazaré (changing in Lisbon). Using Nazaré as your home base, see your choice of nearby sights (Alcobaça, Batalha, and Fátima; add an extra night to fit in everything), or skip the sights as it’s less efficient without your own wheels. Or consider spending the night in far-flung Tomar before heading to Coimbra. From Nazaré, take the bus straight to Coimbra. From Coimbra, catch the train to Porto. Visit the Douro Valley on a day-long boat tour from Porto. Fly out of Porto or return to Lisbon by train for your flight out.