Are you planning a trip to Portugal and wondering how to spend a perfect week in this beautiful country? Look no further! In this article, we will guide you through the best places to visit, the most delicious food to try, and the most exciting activities to do during your stay.
Day 1: Lisbon
Start your trip in the vibrant capital of Portugal, Lisbon. You can spend the first day exploring the city’s historic neighborhoods, such as Alfama and Baixa. Take a tram ride to see the beautiful cityscape and visit the iconic São Jorge Castle. In the evening, indulge in the delicious local cuisine, such as grilled sardines or codfish, at one of the many traditional restaurants.
Discover the Historical Heart of Lisbon
Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is a charming and historic city that has much to offer visitors. It is a city that is steeped in history, with its winding streets, pastel-colored buildings, and ancient churches. Start your day with a visit to the historical heart of Lisbon, the Alfama district, which is one of the oldest and most picturesque parts of the city. Here you will find narrow streets lined with traditional shops, colorful tiled buildings, and quaint cafes. Be sure to visit the iconic Lisbon Cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, and take a stroll through the Castle of Sao Jorge, which offers stunning panoramic views of the city.
Experience the Local Flavors of Lisbon
One of the best ways to experience the local culture of Lisbon is by trying the delicious food and drink on offer. Portuguese cuisine is famous for its fresh seafood, hearty stews, and sweet pastries, and Lisbon is no exception. In the afternoon, head to the Mercado da Ribeira, a bustling food market that offers an array of delicious treats, from freshly baked bread to local cheese and cured meats. Be sure to try the famous pastel de nata, a sweet custard pastry that is a Lisbon specialty. In the evening, head to one of the many atmospheric bars in the Bairro Alto district, where you can enjoy a glass of local wine or a refreshing ginjinha, a traditional cherry liqueur.
Day 2: Sintra
On day two, take a day trip to Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, located just outside of Lisbon. Visit the colorful Pena Palace, the majestic Castle of the Moors, and the beautiful gardens of Quinta da Regaleira. Don’t forget to try the famous local pastry, travesseiros, while you’re there.
Explore the Fairytale Palaces of Sintra
Just a short train ride from Lisbon, the town of Sintra is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Portugal. Sintra is known for its magical atmosphere, with its lush greenery, winding paths, and fairytale palaces. Spend the day exploring the historic town and visit the incredible Palacio da Pena, which is perched on a hilltop and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. You can also visit the romantic Quinta da Regaleira, a unique palace that is surrounded by lush gardens and mystical grottoes.
Take a Hike in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park
For those who love the great outdoors, the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is a paradise for hiking and nature lovers. The park covers over 145 square kilometers of diverse landscapes, from rugged coastline to dense forests, and offers a range of hiking trails for all abilities. One of the most popular hikes is the Pena trail, which takes you from the historic center of Sintra to the Pena Palace. The trail is around 4 km long and takes you through lush forests and stunning viewpoints.
Day 3-4: Algarve
The next stop on your trip is the Algarve, known for its stunning beaches and clear blue waters. Spend two days exploring the region, visiting the charming towns of Lagos and Faro, and relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Praia da Rocha and Praia do Vau. If you’re feeling adventurous, try surfing, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding.
Soak Up the Sun on Algarve’s Beaches
The Algarve is known for its stunning beaches, and there is no better way to spend a day in this region than by soaking up the sun on one of its sandy shores. Some of the best beaches include Praia do Vau, Praia do Ancao, and Praia da Rocha. You can also try your hand at some water sports, such as surfing, paddleboarding, or kayaking. After a day of fun in the sun, head to one of the beachside restaurants for some delicious seafood and a refreshing drink.
Explore the Traditional Villages of Algarve
Once you’ve explored the university, head to the Old Cathedral of Coimbra, a Romanesque structure dating back to the 12th century. It was built on the site of an old mosque and has undergone several renovations since then. Take note of the beautiful Gothic cloister, which was added in the 14th century, and the Baroque altarpiece inside the cathedral.
If you have time, make your way to the Portugal dos Pequenitos, a miniature park that showcases replicas of Portuguese buildings, monuments, and traditional villages. It’s a fun and educational experience that will transport you to different regions of the country in just a few hours.
To end your day in Coimbra, take a leisurely stroll through the Jardim da Sereia, a park with lush greenery and beautiful fountains. Take a seat on one of the benches and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
Day 5-6: Porto
On day five, head north to Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto. Stroll through the charming Ribeira district, visit the historic port wine cellars, and cross the iconic Dom Luis I Bridge for breathtaking views of the city. On the sixth day, take a day trip to the nearby Douro Valley, known for its stunning vineyards and delicious wines.
Exploring the Historic Center
The historic center of Porto is one of the most charming areas of the city. It is a maze of narrow streets, colorful houses, and beautiful squares that are perfect for exploring on foot. The main square is Praça da Ribeira, which is a lively place with restaurants, cafes, and street performers. From there, you can walk along the riverfront and cross the Dom Luis I Bridge to get a great view of the city. Another must-see is the Sao Bento Train Station, which has beautiful tile murals that depict the history of Portugal.
Wine Tasting in Porto
A trip to Porto is not complete without tasting some of the city’s famous port wine. The best way to do this is to visit one of the many port wine cellars that are located along the Douro River. The cellars offer tours and tastings, and you can learn about the history and production of port wine. Some of the most famous port wine cellars are Taylor’s, Graham’s, and Sandeman.
Visiting the Casa da Musica
The Casa da Musica is a modern concert hall that is worth a visit even if you are not a fan of classical music. It was designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and is a stunning example of modern architecture. The building has two concert halls, a restaurant, and a rooftop terrace that offers a great view of the city. If you are lucky, you might be able to catch a concert or an exhibition while you are there.
Day 7: Coimbra
For the last day of your trip, visit the historic university city of Coimbra. Take a tour of the famous Coimbra University, founded in 1290, and stroll through the picturesque Old Town. Don’t miss out on trying the local delicacy, leitão à bairrada, a roasted suckling pig that is considered one of the country’s culinary treasures.
Visiting the University of Coimbra
The University of Coimbra is one of the most important landmarks in the town. It is located on a hill and offers a great view of the surrounding area. The university is home to many historic buildings, including the Joanina Library, which is a beautiful baroque building that is decorated with gold leaf and has a collection of over 300,000 books. You can also visit the university’s botanical garden, which is home to many rare plants and flowers.
Exploring the Old Town
The old town of Coimbra is a charming area that is perfect for walking and exploring. It is a maze of narrow streets, colorful houses, and small squares that are full of life and energy. Some of the must-see places in the old town include the Se Velha, which is a beautiful cathedral that dates back to the 12th century, and the Santa Clara-a-Nova Monastery, which is a stunning example of baroque architecture.
Q: What is the best time of year to visit Portugal? A: The best time to visit Portugal is in the spring (March to May) or the fall (September to November), when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.
Q: How many days do I need to explore Portugal? A: Ideally, you should spend at least a week in Portugal to be able to visit the main attractions and get a taste of the local culture.
Q: Is it safe to travel to Portugal? A: Portugal is considered a safe country for tourists, with a low crime rate and friendly locals.
Q: What is the currency used in Portugal? A: The currency used in Portugal is the Euro (EUR).
Q: What are some traditional Portuguese dishes I should try? A: Some traditional Portuguese dishes include bacalhau (salted codfish), cozido (meat and vegetable stew), and pastel de nata (custard tart).
In conclusion, Portugal is a beautiful and diverse country with something for every traveler. Whether you’re looking for historic cities, stunning beaches, or delicious food and wine, Portugal has it all. Follow our itinerary to spend the perfect week in this charming country and make memories that will last a lifetime.