A Portugal vacation is probably one of the most beautiful trips you can make in Southern Europe. Portugal is really beautiful and has many highlights to offer. There is the spectacular, but also very touristy Algarve in the south of Portugal. The rugged west coast with the cliffs and of course the beautiful hinterland to discover
Portugal has much more to offer than Algarve and Lisbon. On our Portugal road trip you will visit the most beautiful sights of Portugal, but also discover insider tips and get to know this wonderful country on an interesting Portugal itinerary. Let us enchant you!
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
Portugal Vacation | 14 – 21 Days Round Trip
Our Portugal itinerary starts in the north and then passes all important Portugal sights up to the Algarve. Of course, you can also start the round trip through Portugal the other way around or skip some stops.
Portugal Itinerary 2 Weeks – Overview
We first give you a short overview of the route and then detailed information about the individual daily stages.
Day 1-2 | Peneda Geres National Park
In the far north of Portugal, Peneda Geres National Park is not only the only national park in Portugal, but also a real insider tip on your Portugal vacation. Because it is not on the list of too many travelers. Yet the park is a must for all those who want to experience the untouched nature of Portugal up close. Here you will find breathtaking landscapes with high mountains and crystal clear lakes.
There are wonderful hiking trails along deep gorges, thundering waterfalls and pristine nature. You should spend at least 1-2 days here to really enjoy the nature.
More about the national park you can read here: Peneda Geres National Park | 5 Best Things To Do
Day 3 | Porto
Porto is for us one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal and should not be missed on any Portugal vacation. The city on the banks of the Douro River with its historic old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and enchants visitors with narrow streets, lively squares and colorfully decorated buildings. The sights of Porto are all really close together, so you can explore the highlights of this wonderful city on foot.
The biggest sight (literally and figuratively) and also the landmark of Porto is the large arch bridge Ponte Luís I, which spans almost 400 meters over the Duoro River. The bridge has two levels, with only streetcars and pedestrians on the upper level and pedestrians and cars allowed on the lower level.
We actually liked Porto better than Lisbon, because it’s much less lively and touristy here and you can almost stroll through the narrow streets in peace.
If you only want to see the best sights, a few hours are certainly enough. We would recommend to plan at least one whole day in Porto.
Day 4 | Serra da Estrela Nature Park
About 2.5 hours drive inland – near the Spanish border – lies a wonderful nature park. Here you can expect not only the highest mountain in Portugal (the Torre with 1993 meters), but also a breathtaking mountain landscape with serpentines that take you high up to the peaks. There are glacial lakes like Lagoa Comprida, traditional villages like Belmonte or Piódão and of course hiking trails of all levels.
The most beautiful hike through the Serra da Estrela is the Rota da Caniça in the west of the park. On this 7km long and very well signposted circular trail you hike through wonderful nature along small waterfalls and have partly a spectacular view into the valley.
Another special feature here are the Covão dos Conchos. Here you hike in about an hour to a lake that seems to be swallowed by a hole.
If you only want to do one big hike here, then one day in the Serra da Erstrela Nature Park is enough. If you want to do more hiking, then you should spend 2 days or more here.
Day 5 | Monsanto
A little further east and almost on the border with Spain is the small rock village of Monsanto, which is characterized by huge boulders
When you see photos of Monsanto, you probably first think: Can this be real? And yes, it is real and not a movie set. You can walk among the granite boulders, houses and fortress walls here.
The most beautiful thing about Monsanto is strolling through the many small streets and discovering the many stone houses built under or right next to the huge granite rocks. Even without the rocks, Monsanto would already be beautiful, but the large granite boulders make the village truly spectacular.
Even though it looks like a movie set (which of course it already was) the village is super authentic and real residents live here.
Day 6 | Surfing Capital Nazare
Today, on your Portugal itinerary, you’ll head off again towards the coast to the surfing capital of Nazare. The small town on Portugal’s west coast is world famous for its waves of up to 30 meters high, which pile up here in winter and want to be conquered by surfers. Since 2013, the best surfers in the world gather here and are marveled at by thousands of onlookers.
In the summer, however, the place belongs entirely to the bathers, because in the summer months there are only normal high waves here. Of course, you can still learn to surf here. But also for swimming and strolling Nazare with its kilometer-long beach and the cozy alleys is very well suited
Day 7 | Ursa Beach
Praia da Ursa is probably one of the most spectacular beaches on the west coast of Portugal and should not be missed on your Portugal road trip. The descent from the gravel parking lot is adventurous enough, but what awaits you at the beach is beyond description. The sand here is super fine and the water of course crystal clear and turquoise blue.
On the beach and in the water there are several 20-40 meter high rocks, which come in different colors. Already from above you can see the whole panorama, but down on the beach it is even more impressive.
Although the parking lot is hard to reach, the descent is very difficult and there is no service at the beach, Praia da Ursa is always very well visited.
The parking lot is located here (Google Maps), but beware, the last stretch to the parking lot is very arduous to drive. For the narrow and steep path down to the beach you will need about 20 minutes.
Day 8 | Sintra
You haven’t seen a city like Sintra before, because here you can find buildings that seem to have come out of a storybook.
In the past, the city was the summer residence of the Portuguese royal family, because Sintra is located at an altitude of over 300 meters above sea level and is therefore always a bit cooler in the summer than the often hot Lisbon.
In Sintra you can expect spectacular palaces, castles and mansions. And unfortunately also very crowded streets, because the extraordinary scenery naturally attracts a lot of tourists.
Day 9-11 | Lisbon
Lisbon is not only the capital of Portugal, but also the most visited city in the country on the edge of Europe. And not without reason, because Lisbon is a beautiful city that is full of sights. You should definitely not skip Lisbon on your Portugal road trip, because there is just too much to see here.
Lisbon is famous for the very picturesque streetcar line 28E, the authentic neighborhoods of Alfama and Bairro Alto and, of course, the numerous viewpoints from which you can marvel at the hilly city area and the river Tagus flowing by.
Actually, the whole old town is a huge open-air museum, because it is simply fun to stroll through the narrow and sometimes very steep streets and not to come out of the amazement.
Day 12 | Evora
Evora is almost a little insider tip in the south of Portugal and is less than 2 hours away from the capital Lisbon. The city has only 57,000 inhabitants, but many times that number of visitors annually. This is not surprising, because the old town of Evora was already in 1986 a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Therefore, most of the sights are located in the old town of Evora. However, one highlight in particular attracted us to Evora, and that was the Evora Cathedral. The highlight of the cathedral is that you can walk around on top of the roof and thus have a great view of the city
Apart from the cathedral, Evora has of course many other highlights to offer: Which ones are exactly, you can read here
It is enough if you spend a whole day in Evora.
Day 13-20 | Algarve
Probably the most famous region of Portugal is the Algarve in the very south. The Algarve is by far the most visited region in Portugal and therefore extremely touristy. But this is understandable, because the Algarve is really incredibly impressive.
The region in southern Portugal is perfect for an extensive beach vacation. But apart from powdered sugar sand beaches, there are other incredible highlights to discover here. Spectacular cliffs, cute towns, great landscapes and much more.
If you have the time we would recommend you to spend at least one week here. But also 2 weeks are no problem. The most famous highlights of the Algarve are the Benagil Cave, the Praia da Marinha or the Ponta da Piedade.
Since the Algarve is not a very large region and everything is quite close together, in our opinion, a maximum of 2 different accommodations are enough to be able to reach everything well.
Return or Continue?
After you have explored the Algarve extensively, you can either take the fastest way back to the north. Or – if you have more time available – you can make a detour to nearby Spain. Not far from the Spanish border is the wonderful region of Andalusia. There is a lot to discover here and an extension of your Portugal road trip is definitely worth it.More info: Southern Spain road trip | itinerary for 1-2 weeks Andalusia
Portugal Travel Tips
Tolls in Portugal
There are tolls on almost all highways in Portugal. The individual toll costs often don’t seem high, but in total they can add up to a considerable amount. We give you a few tips so that you know what you have to pay in Portugal in terms of freeway tolls.
How much does the toll cost in Portugal?
On the Portuguese freeways there are large signs that indicate the toll costs for the upcoming section. The tolls are divided between motorcycles, cars, campers and trucks. The bigger the more expensive.
The cost of a highway section is usually only 30 cents to a few Euro, depending on the length. But the problem is that every few kilometers there is a new sign, where you pay again only about one Euro. So you see, it adds up.
How do I pay the toll?
You have two possibilities to pay the toll as a foreigner
Registration when crossing the border
Coming from Spain there is a big toll station at the border where you have to register separately as a foreigner. There are usually separate areas at the border toll booths for this purpose. Here you register your license plate and deposit your credit card. The fees will be deducted from your card. You can also register online from home: https: //www.portugaltolls.com/en
Automatic payment with Bip&Go
You can also buy an electronic toll system for your car. We recommend Bip&Go from France. With this small device you can drive automatically through all toll stations in France, Portugal, Spain and Italy without manual payment and it costs only a few Euro per month.
All information at: https: //www.bipandgo.com/
Can I avoid the toll in Portugal?
Yes, most of the time a country road runs almost parallel to the highway and can therefore be used as an alternative. For short distances this makes sense, because you can save a few Euro on the toll and usually only have to plan a few minutes more time. For long distances, however, this often makes no sense. Because on the country roads there are many traffic circles that slow down the traffic and you drive through many towns.
The comparison between both route alternatives can be easily seen on Google Maps by selecting the option “without toll”.
Best Time to Travel to Portugal
The main travel season for Portugal is, as for many other southern European countries, the high summer with the months of July and August. During this time you are almost guaranteed the best weather, but also high prices and many other tourists. Also the temperatures easily rise to over 30 degrees.
We would therefore recommend to move to the low season. The months of May/June and September/October usually offer good weather, but also much fewer tourists and lower prices.
Portugal by Camper or Campervan
Portugal is a paradise for motorhome vacationers and campervan lovers. The number of campers driving through Portugal increases year after year, which of course also leads to problems. Especially in the Algarve, wild camping is strictly regulated and also controlled. Even if the laws on the subject of free standing in recent years have become somewhat more camper-friendly again.
But also for the other needs with a camper or motorhome is thought in Portugal. There are many and mostly free supply and disposal stations throughout the country.
What you have to pay attention to when wild camping and generally on a motorhome trip in Portugal, we have written together for you.
More travel reports about Portugal
- Portugal Sights I The 13 most beautiful highlights from Algarve to Porto
- Peneda Geres National Park | 5 Highlights of the only National Park in Portugal
- Portugal West Coast Highlights | TOP 11 most beautiful places & beaches (with map)
- Evora Portugal I 5 Highlights you must see
- Wildcamping Portugal | 8 important camping tips legal situation
- Sintra Sightseeing | 5 great highlights you must see
- Monsanto Portugal I Highlights of the rock village & parking tips
- Algarve Most Beautiful Places I The 6 most spectacular highlights
- Algarve Coast I The 8 most beautiful beaches & highlights