The ULTIMATE 10 Day Portugal Road Trip Itinerary [2021]

Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
/
Last Updated:
October 7, 2021
Get help planning the perfect Portugal Road trip. Check out this 10-day Portugal road trip itinerary and see the highlights of what Portugal has to offer
portugal road trip itinerary
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As part of our round-the-world trip, Bradley and I visited Portugal for around 10 days, and we had the most amazing time. Our road trip in Portugal took us from the north of the country, the whole way to the south and we got to see so many amazing Portugal attractions. 

We started in Porto and finished in the Algarve and our route includes the epic Douro Valley, which is regarded as one of the most beautiful road trip drives in the world - and I confirm it is!

So if you want to see the highlights of what Portugal has to offer then this 10 day Portugal road trip itinerary is the perfect one for you.

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Have you got your vehicle sorted?

You can’t road trip Portugal without your own set of wheels.

We recommend you opt for a campervan, as there are some really unique camping spots in Portugal to take advantage of. 

You can search and book for campervan rental in Portugal here.

Or if you’re just looking for a car, then check out Discover Cars right here.

Ultimate 10 Day Portugal Road Trip Itinerary

Below we take you through our ultimate Portugal road trip itinerary! Remember you can do this route back to front too, and it’ll be just as awesome. 

Stop 1: Porto (1 night)

Straddling the river Duorro, Porto is a charming and beautiful city with plenty to keep you occupied.

You could easily take an extra day here before you roadtrip Portugal.

Think quaint cobblestone streets, bright colourful buildings, great views and beautiful churches.

Porto really does have something for everyone.

Explore the historic centre (a UNESCO World Heritage site) with its narrow lanes and old buildings, wander along the Ribiera (waterfront quarter) lined with bars and restaurants and don’t forget to climb the Torre dos Clérigos for awesome views of the city.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan you can even see the cafe that J K Rowling supposedly wrote the famous books in and visit some sites that many think inspired aspects of the books.

Where to stay in Porto

  • Stay in Apartments Ribeira 24 is a convenient hotel that offers comfortable but affordable accommodation that’s close to some great sites.
  • Parque de Campismo Orbitur Angeiras is a campsite just 8km north of Porto, opposite the beach in a lovely fishing village.

Stop 2: Douro Valley (2 nights)

  • Drive time from Porto: 55 mins
  • Miles from Porto: 46

The Douro Valley isn’t just some beautiful countryside, it’s also the most famous wine region in Portugal and easily one of the most beautiful road trips Portugal has on offer!

The biggest draw for most is the chance to stay at one of the many wineries in the area and enjoy a wine tour.

Think endless rolling vineyards, a plentiful supply of excellent wines and delicious food to match. What’s not to love!

Even if wine isn’t your thing or you’re travelling as a family, the area is well worth a visit for the beautiful scenery.

Take a drive through the rolling green mountains and capture some beautiful shots.

Don’t forget to take a leisurely cruise down the Douro river to really appreciate the scenery.

Where to stay in the Douro Valley

  • Vila Gale Douro Valley is a truly special place to stay with amazing views over a tributary of the river Douro. It’s hidden amongst the vineyards and well worth a visit. The view from the restaurant is particularly impressive.
  • Quinta da Padrela is where we stayed and we highly recommend it! It’s free, has a swimming pool and even wifi!

Stop 3: Serra da Estrela Natural Park (1 night)

  • Drive time from Douro Valley: 2 hours 30 mins
  • Miles from Douro Valley: 120

This beautiful park is home to Portugal's highest mountain range and the countries only ski resort (although there is only snow during winter). Don’t worry though there is plenty to see and do all year round!

If skiing isn’t your thing, it’s still well worth a visit to take in the scenery and swim in one of the chilly natural pools (or just sunbathe if you’re not game for the icy water).

You can drive or hike to the top of Torre Mountain for some great views and on a really clear day, you might even be able to see all the way to the Atlantic.

All in all, it’s a beautiful spot and the scenery is constantly changing from green wooded valleys to rocky mountain terrain and crystal clear lakes. Well worth a look!

Where to stay

  • Luna Hotel Serra da Estrela is conveniently located in the National Park making it easy to explore the area. It has an indoor and outdoor pool and even a ski school during the winter months.
  • Camping Piao offers basic facilities inside the national park that are affordable and convenient.

Stop 4: Nazaré (1 night)

  • Drive time from Serra da Estrela Natural Park: 2 hours 45 mins
  • Miles from Serra da Estrela Natural Park: 139

Think white sand, picturesque seaside village and seafood and you’ve got Nazaré.

The really unique thing about this town though is the giant waves that pound the shore between October and February.

The giant waves attract serious big wave surfers and it’s even a stop on the world surf competition.

Whether it’s surfing season or not, definitely head up to the Farol da Nazaré lighthouse for a great view of the beach, waves and surfers.

The annual Our Lady Of Nazaré Festival begins on the 8th of September and is a 10 day spectacular that includes music, parades and bullfighting.

Even if you’re not around at these times, Nazaré is still well worth a visit for the picturesque fishing village vibes and some excellent seafood with a view of the beautiful beach and ocean.

Where to stay in Nazare

  • Nazaré Hostel offers affordable accommodation right next to the beach. They have double rooms, family rooms or mixed dormitories and there are shared bathrooms and kitchen facilities. It’s a no fuss place to stay that’s clean, comfortable and won’t break the bank.
  • Ohai Nazaré is a great spot for campers but it’s more than just a campsite. Located 3km from Nazaré beach, it’s actually a full on resort that also offers bungalows, apartments and glamping. There’s swimming pools, playgrounds, a restaurant and more.

Stop 5: Óbidos (1 night)

  • Drive time from Nazare: 35 mins
  • Miles from Nazare: 26

Óbidos is a unique medieval village, filled with traditional whitewashed houses, that’s loaded with culture and history.

Óbidos Castle is a must see. The interior is now a hotel so the only way to see inside is to book a room. Anyone can still walk the exterior wall that was built to defend the city. 

There are many more churches and historical buildings to explore too.

Don’t miss the chapel lLagoa de Óbidos located at the southern gate and the Igreja de Santa Maria in the town square.

From mid-March to early April the International Chocolate Festival takes over the streets of Obidos.

There’s tasting events, live entertainment, demonstrations, market stalls and more.

If chocolate isn’t really you’re thing, there’s also the Mercado Medieval de Óbidos taking place in July and August.

There are market stalls, re-enactments, jousting and an abundance of atmosphere.

Where to stay in Óbidos

  • Casa de S. Thiago do Castelo is a quaint little family run guesthouse that’s full of charm and located right in the historical centre of Obidos. Guests can make use of the free wifi throughout and enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast on the outdoor terrace.
  • The Obidos Aquaduct is the most convenient place to camp if you want to explore the town which is just a 10 minute walk away. It’s a basic site just on a concrete car park/block but it has facilities to empty waste and fill your water.

Stop 6: Sintra (1 night)

  • Drive time from Obidos: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Miles from Obidos: 59

Itineraries for Portugal wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the historical town of Sintra. It has it all.

Medieval buildings, awe-inspiring palaces, beautiful walks, delicious food and even pristine beaches.

Get there early to avoid the crowds.

Make sure to visit Pena Palace with its quirky colourful towers, named one of Portugal’s seven wonders.

There’s also the Palace of Sintra which is the oldest building in Sintra but impressively well preserved.

Don’t miss the ​​Castle of the Moors either which is set into the cliff face and impressive from below but also offers great views out to the Atlantic.

If you want some exercise, hike up to the scenic lookout at Cruz Alta. It’s the highest point of Serra de Sintra, the trail winds through the forested landscape and you’ll be rewarded with amazing views.

You’ll also find some of the best beaches in Portugal at Sintra.

Praia da Ursa is sheltered and safe to swim thanks to the lack of big waves. It is down a cliffside trail but you’ll be rewarded with some great rocky scenery.

There’s also Praia da Adraga that you can drive down to.

There is a bit more surf but there’s also a lifeguard all year.

Where to stay in Sintra

  • Sintra Boutique Hotel is in an excellent location right in the heart of the historical centre of Sintra with plenty of great things to do and see within easy walking distance. Rooms are clean, modern and comfortable and you even get an excellent breakfast included.ORBITUR Guincho is about 30 minutes drive from Sintra
  • but there are very few camping spots closer than this. It’s still a great place to spend the night though amidst pine trees and overlooking Guincho Beach.

Stop 7: Algarve: Lagos, Portimao, Albufeira (Seven Hanging Valleys Trail) 3 nights

  • Drive time from Sintra to Lagos: 3 hours 10 mins
  • Miles from Sintra to Lagos: 200

The Algarve is best known for its pristine beaches and stunning rocky coastline. Road trips in Portugal wouldn’t be complete without a visit and it’s a great place to spend a few days exploring outside.

Many of the best beaches in the Algarve are near Lagos so it’s a great place to base yourself in the area.

Make sure to take a boat trip or kayak tour out to see the coast and visit the famous Bengali Sea Cave.

The town of Portimao is worth a visit so you can see the double arch beach of Tres Irmaos and take in some more rocky scenery.

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is a must do when you’re in the area.

It’s an easy 11.5km return hike along some stunning coastline that is well worth it.

There are a couple of steep sections and stairs but nothing too strenuous and it’s very well signposted.

Albufeira is just as filled with rugged coastline and pristine beaches as any other town in the Algarve region. It’s also a great spot for a night out though. Whether you want a good seafood restaurant where you can sip on great wine or a full-on night with nightclubs and bars - there is an area in Albufeira to suit your needs.

Where to stay in the Algarve

  • Hotel Marina Rio is a great little hotel overlooking the marina right in the middle of Lagos and it even has a rooftop heated pool. If you like the idea of enjoying a bit of nightlife a stay at Hotel Sol e Mar Albufeira will put you close enough to the old town to explore but still right on the beach.
  • Camping Alvor is a quiet little campsite that’s got great facilities and is close to the town of Portimao. It would make a great base to explore the Algarve from or just an easy spot to pull up for the night.

14 day Portugal Road Trip itinerary 

Portugal road trips can definitely last longer than 10 days. If you have more time, you can add these extra stops to your Portugal road trip itinerary

Lisbon

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and is right next door to the historical town of Sintra so it would be super easy to slot a day or two into your itinerary for Portugal.

The Lisbon trams make it super easy to get around and riding for a few stops is a bit of a novelty and a great way to take in some of the quirky narrow streets.

The iconic tram 28 in particular is a lovely ride up through the cobbled streets in a vintage tram.

Be sure to head over to the Alfama District for a wander around and to check out St. Jorge’s Castle.

Walk around exploring the ruins and looking at the historical artefacts and there’s also a lovely view of the city.

Take a 30 minute tram ride from the city centre and you’ll reach the Belem area.

Here you can visit the famous Belem Tower and Jeronimo Monastery, which together have been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Where to stay in Lisbon

  • The Madalena by The Beautique Hotels is close to the Alfama District and St Jorge’s Castle. It’s quirky, stylish, comfortable and the service is excellent.
  • If you want to camp, Lisboa Camping and Bungalows has all the facilities you’ll need and the city is easy to reach by bus so you can leave the van parked up.

Evora

This well preserved medieval town lies to the east of Lisbon that is filled with traditional whitewashed houses with red roofs and beautiful azulejos tiles.

At the highest point of the city lie the ruins of a Roman temple that was built in the 1st century and is surprisingly well preserved.

Close by you’ll find the Evora Cathedral that is open to the public and you can get a view of the town from the rooftop.

The Evora University and the town’s museum are also worth a look and the town square is an adorable cobbled area that makes a great starting place to explore the maze like streets.

If you’re not particularly squeamish and want to do something a little bit different, take a trip to Capella dos Ossos (the Chapel of Bones). Here you’ll find a beautiful old building where the walls and pillars are covered with the bones of dead monks!

Where to stay in Evora

  • ADC - Albergaria Do Calvário is a bright and modern hotel within a 16th century olive mill with thin the city walls of Evora. There are some great attractions within a 5 minute walk so it’s a great base to explore the city from.
  • Orbitur Evora is a campsite that’s just 2km from the city and has everything you need for a comfortable stay as well as a swimming pool if you fancy a dip.

Monsanto

Monsanto is probably the most unique town in all of Portugal.

It’s perched on a small mountain top and all the houses are built into, squashed between and underneath huge boulders.

Spend the day wandering through the quirky cobbled lined streets and try to spot the quirkiest possible houses.

There is also a signposted 4.5km hike that will take you higher up the mountain to enjoy even more spectacular views.

Make sure to make a visit to the Castle of Monsanto to check out the castle walls and ruins of the old Roman chapel.

Where to stay in Mosanto

  • Casa Pires Mateus is a beautiful traditional guest house with a small terrace and shared kitchen for guests. It’s only 400m from Monsanto Castle and you’ll get a comfortable night sleep and be close enough to the action to get an early start.
  • There aren’t any camping spots actually within Monsanto but Parque Campismo Monsanto is just a 25 minute drive away. It’s a quiet, rural area that’s perfect if you just need somewhere to pull up for the night.

Portugal road trip FAQ

When is the best time to road trip Portugal?

Travelling Portugal is enjoyable at pretty much any time of the year but which month you should visit might be affected by what you want to do the most.

If you want a large part of your Portugal trip to involve sunbathing and enjoying some hot weather, you’ll want to visit during the summer months (June to August).

If the idea of really hot weather fills you with dread but you still want it to be nice then September would be a great time to tour Portugal. The hottest of the summer months are over but it’s still nice and warm.

How do you get to Portugal?

Depending on how you are travelling you will probably either be driving or flying into Portugal.

If you’re driving, there are plenty of spots you can cross the border from Spain into Portugal up and down the country.

Flights land in Lisbon but you won’t need to hire a car on the first day as Lisbon itself is very easy to explore using public transport.

Should I drive north to south or vice versa?

This Portugal 10 day itinerary just like any road trip could be driven either North or South and both will be a really enjoyable trip.

Which direction you should drive Portugal will largely depend on how you plan on actually getting there in the first place.

If you plan on flying in and out of Lisbon, you’ll need to do a loop and could really go in either direction first. Either way, at some point you will end up backtracking a little but just enjoy the experience!

Is a Portugal Road trip expensive?

As with most things, the cost of a road trip in Portugal is dependent on many different factors.

If you are travelling by motorhome and staying at cheap campsites or ASAs, the cost will be very minimal as food, fuel and other basics are pretty affordable in comparison to some other European countries.

However, if you really want to splash out, there are plenty of fantastic hotels and wonderful restaurants to cater to all budgets.

Wild Camping in Portugal: Explained

There used to be very few restrictions on wild camping in Portugal. Then at the beginning of 2021, there was a ban placed on wild camping all together and motorhomes had to be parked up on an “approved site” after 7pm.

The rules then changed slightly once again on 25th August 2021.

You can now wild camp in Portugal but with very strict rules around where and for how long.

The law now states:

“...the overnight stay and parking of motorhomes or similar are prohibited in areas of the Natura 2000 Network, protected areas and areas covered by the Coastal Plans, except in the places expressly authorised for this purpose...”

For the rest of the country the law states:

“...motorhomes approved by the IMT - Institute of Mobility and Transport are allowed to stay overnight for a maximum period of 48 hours in the same municipality…”

What this means is that, for most international visitors to Portugal, wild camping is now not allowed unless you get your motorhome approved by the IMT first.

Luckily there are a lot of ASAs (Service Areas for Motorhomes) that have facilities to fill water and dump waste. Many of these are very basic but they are also legal overnight stays and only cost a few euros per night.

So there we have it, I hope you've enjoyed this Portugal Road Trip Itinerary and hopefully it will help you plan your next Portugal road trip!

If you've got any questions, let me know below.

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