Exploring Portugal from North to South: the perfect blend between amazing cities and natural wonders – Road.Travel

Exploring Portugal from North to South: the perfect blend between amazing cities and natural wonders

Road Trip Route. History, Culture, Nature, Monuments, Local Cuisine, Beaches and Ocean.

Hello! I'm Martina and I will guide you into the wonderful country of Portugal! You will get to visit both its naturalistic and historic sides, to experience local food and to have one of the most amazing summers of your lives. You will drive all the way across the country, by discovering the most important Portuguese milestones. **۰ It's summer, always have a bottle of water and suscreen with you ۰ Make sure you book all the hotels in advance ۰ Pack at least 2 or 3 bathing suits ۰ Most important: have fun!**

💥 Try for Free, History and Culture, Uninhabited Nature, Adventures, Active Leisure. From: Porto

Martina Belfiore. Travel Expert.

Travel Itinerary and Road Trip Route

Day 1: First steps in Oporto, the city of Ribeira

Dear adventurers, let's get our journey started! Once you freshen yourself up at the *Oporto* (or Porto) airport, go pick up your car and drive to a very fascinating *"barrio"*, also the medieval district of the city.

Ribeira do Porto

Welcome to *Ribeira*! Look at the colorful houses, the red roofs and the *rabelo* boats on the *Douro* river... Fascinating, isn't it? You may want to find a spot where to park your car and take a walk around.

Fonte da Praça da Ribeira

This fountain is also known as *"São João Baptista* fountain", named after the patron of the city. Take a look around: all the little cafes and shops do paint a pretty picture!


You must be starting feeling hungry! *"Jimão"* is the right choice! You must know, Portuguese restaurants generally serve *petiscos*, i.e small portions which are supposed to allow you to try different dishes. Don't forget to try the *bacalhau* (codfish), the octopus and a good glass of *"Vinho do Porto"*, the fortified wine produced in the *Douro* valley.

Palácio da Bolsa

Few steps away from the restaurant there's [*Palácio da Bolsa*](https://palaciodabolsa.com/en/history/), built in the 18th century on the ruins of the *Convento de São Francisco*, destroyed by a fire. After the terrible incident, Queen Mary II decided to donate it to he merchants of the city, who started building the seat of the Commercial Association. Nowadays you can visit all the most important areas of the structure such as the ball room, the golden room and many others. You can choose which tour to join and it takes roughly half an hour to visit the stunning rooms of the palace. Enjoy it and don't forget to take pictures!

Ribeira do Porto

After visiting a bit of *Oporto*, you may want to pick up the car again and do the check-in: in this way, you can drop your luggage and park your car near the hotel.

Miradouro da Vitoria

*"Miradouro"* is the portuguese for "viewpoint" and portuguese cities are full of them. Every single *miradouro* gives a whole different perspective of *Oporto*. *"Miradouro da Vitoria"* is one of the most famous viewpoints of the city, due to its incredible position which allows you to look over the river. Here you can take amazing shots and videos!

Igreja de São Francisco (Igreja de S. Francisco)

Take a little walk and you'll find yourselves in front of the magnificent *Igreja de São Francisco*, that you can visit after paying a ticket. The exterior represents one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in Portugal, while the interior presents a baroque style. The gilted and pompous decorations, the sumptuous pillars are what your eyes will be glued on all the time! Surprises are not over, let's keep going!

Livraria Lello e Irmão

["*Livraria Lello e Irmão*"](https://www.livrarialello.pt/en-us/) is one of the most beautiful bookshops of Europe! Its interior design and colors are what makes it special. If you want to go in, you'll have to buy a ticket at the corner of the street, which can be used as a discount if you purchase a book. You may want to take a picture but there generally are lots of tourists who could appear in your shots, but it's totally worth it!

Estação de São Bento

You'll be wondering why a train station, but believe me, *Estação de São Bento* is worth the visit. The interior walls are decorated with *azulejos*, the typical blue tiles of Portugal. Look at the them closer, they all tell stories about this wonderful Nation.

Avenida dos Aliados

Now that you've visited some of the attractions of the city, you can enjoy a peaceful walk along *Avenida dos Aliados*, one of the main streets of *Oporto*. If you take a look around, you'll discover how amazing are the buildings of this area.

Brasão Cervejaria

You must be tired and hungry now. Near *Avenida dos Aliados* you will find *Brãsao Cervejaria*, a brewery where you can taste a beer and also eat typical dishes! It's time to try "*Francesinha*", a typical recipe of *Oporto* made with a tasty beer sauce. You might also find the local *vinho verde* (green wine, but it's not actually green!) which you should try!

Day 2: A closer look at the fascinating Coimbra

Rise and shine! Today is going to be great. After visiting the last attractions of *Oporto* you will head to *Coimbra*, the city with the oldest university of Portugal. You'll love it!

Sé Catedral do Porto

Ten minutes away from the hotel, there is the *Sé do Porto* cathedral. It was built in the XIIth century and its façade still presents its elements as church-fortress. Inside the cathedral you will find baroque elements and also a gothic cloister full of *azulejos*, the most fascinating part of the structure.

Torre dos Clérigos

You can't go away from *Oporto* without seeing the *Torre dos Clérigos*! This baroque tower allows you to enjoy a 360-degree panorama of the city! Stunning, isn't it? Please remember, you will have to pay a ticket to go up the tower stairs.

Morro da Sé

It's almost time to go but let's walk up to the last *miradouro* of *Oporto* and enjoy this magic atmoshpere!


Welcome to [*Coimbra*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coimbra)! Did you know the University of Coimbra is the oldest academic institution of Portugal? You may want to have lunch in a lovely restaurant now!


Your lunch will be at *"Primvs"*, a typical Portuguese restaurant. Don't forget to try the local dishes: *"sardinha assada"*, *"bacalhau à bras"*, and many more!

Sé Velha

Nearby the hotel you will find the *Sé Velha de Coimbra*, the [Old Cathedral](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Cathedral_of_Coimbra)! Unlike the other cathedrals built during the *Reconquista* time, its style has remained intact over the centuries. Look how fascinating is the romanesque façade! Next stop, *Largo da Portagem* square!

Largo da Portagem

Enjoy the sun and the fascinating view of the *Largo da Portagem* square!

Parque Dr. Manuel Braga

After a walk around the square, you can go to [*Parque Dr. Manuel Braga*](https://www.cm-coimbra.pt/en/areas/visit/ver-e-fazer/parques-e-jardins/parque-dr-manuel-braga), where you will be able to find several monuments, homage to different famous personalities of the city!

Galeria Bar Santa Clara

Welcome to this wonderful bar! *Galeria Bar Santa Clara* is a literary cafe where you can enjoy a book, a glass of wine and have a nice light dinner!

Day 3: Tomar and the breath-taking "Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros"

Good morning adventurers! You can leave your hotel and go to a very nice *crêperie* where to have breakfast! Let's start this day on the right foot!


In *Chocogelataria Novalis* you can taste delicious crêpes and homemade ice cream. Enjoy your breakfast, I'm sure you will!

Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha

You can't miss to visit the [*Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monastery_of_Santa_Clara-a-Velha)! After being abandoned for more than 300 years by the nuns because of the floods, the gothic ruins of the monastery were restored and opened to public in the late 20th century.


Say goodbye to Coimbra and hello to [*Tomar*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomar)! You will love this city, considered one of the most important historical centres of Portugal, since it was the last Templar town to be commissioned!

Convento de Cristo

Tomar's *Convento de Cristo* was built in the 12th century as a Templar stronghold, then turned into the *Knights of the Order of Christ* in the 14th. You can notice a wonderful mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance architectural styles.

Doce Sabor

On the way to *Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros* you can make a quick stop at this cute little café where you can get something to go. Remember to buy extra water, you're going to walk a lot and you could get thirsty!

Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros

Welcome to the mind-blowing [*Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serras_de_Aire_e_Candeeiros_Natural_Park)! This amazing park presents lots of underground galleries, caves, waterfalls...I'm sure you will fall in love with this place! Enjoy Mother Nature, the fresh air and all the splendid orchids varieties!

Praça da República

*Praça da República* is an apparently simple square which hides lots of symbols of the Templar influence. Have a walk around or just enjoy the view on one of the benches!

Taverna Antiqua

You must be starving! Right in the square you find the picturesque [*"Taverna Antiqua"*](http://tavernaantiqua.com/), a medieval-themed restaurant which will bring you back through history! You will have many options, ask for the daily special...you won't be disappointed.

Day 4: Lisboa: a city you can't easily forget

It's finally time to go to Lisbon, one of the greatest cities of Portugal and Europe! Have breakfast at the hotel and then back to our road trip!


Welcome to [*Lisboa*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisbon)! As you will now, it's the capital and the biggest city of Portugal. Did you know that it's also the second oldest european capital after Athens?

Praça do Comércio (Terreiro do Paço)

Once in *Lisboa*, let's go to [*Praça do Comércio*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pra%C3%A7a_do_Com%C3%A9rcio), the stunning square facing the *Tejo* river! Take a deep breath of fresh air, a look closer at [*Arco da Rua Augusta*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rua_Augusta_Arch), and amazing pictures! The atmosphere here is almost magical.

Castelo de São Jorge

Another beautiful attraction of *Lisboa*, the [*Castelo de São Jorge*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A3o_Jorge_Castle), castle that has changed many functions over the years: royal palace, military barracks, home of the *Torre do Tombo* National Archive, and now as a national monument and museum.

Casa do Leão

Lunch time! Nearby the castle there's this picturesque restaurant called "*Casa do Leão"*, where you can experience the taste of several delicious *petiscos*. Besides the location, the view from the restaurant will leave you speechless.

Rossio Square (Rossio)

*Lisboa* is full of important squares. *Rossio* square, also known as [*Praça de D. Pedro IV*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rossio), has been one of the most important ones since the medieval times. Take a walk around, it's totally worth it!

Convento do Carmo

Few steps away from *Rossio* square, there is one of the most fascinating attractions of the city: [*Convento do Carmo*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmo_Convent) was a Catholic convent destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. Due to the influence of the Romantic Age, they didn't want to restore the damaged part and left the convent roofless. Remember you have to buy a ticket in order to enter.

Confeitaria Nacional

Portuguese pastries are delicious and you can't have enough! Thats why we'll make a stop at [*Confeitaria Nacional*](https://confeitarianacional.com/#), one of the most ancient cafés of the city where you will find tons of specialties like [*Pastéis de Belém*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastel_de_nata) (or *de Nata*) and typical sweets from other cities as well! Let yourself be amazed by the sweet notes of this tasting experience, and then let's keep walking!

Largo de São Cristovão

In *Lisboa* you can often find artistic and unusual spots, different from the rest of the city. That's why you should take a look at *Largo de São Cristovão*!

Miradouro de Santa Luzia

*Miradouro de Santa Luzia* is one of the most know *miradouros* of *Lisboa*. You can watch the sunset from here, it'll be incredible!

Rooftop / Terrace Memmo Alfama

Have you ever eaten on a rooftop? [*Memmo Alfama*](https://www.memmohotels.com/alfama/the-terrace) terrace is the perfect spot where to have some tapas, a nice drink, and be delighted by the scenery around.

Day 5: Second day in Lisboa, the city of navigators

Good morning! Today is gonna be great! Have a nice breakfast and take your car, we have to drive to go to the *Belém* municipality of *Lisboa*! **Later this day you'll go to the beach, please remember to bring your bathing suit**

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

[*Mosteiro dos Jerónimos*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jer%C3%B3nimos_Monastery) is maybe the most impressive structure of the area and one of the most prominent examples of the portuguese *Manueline style*. Park the car, buy your tickets and get prepared to visit one of the most beautiful monasteries of all times.

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Few steps away, on the *Tejo* river, you will find [*Padrão dos Descobrimentos*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padr%C3%A3o_dos_Descobrimentos), a huge homage to the Portuguese Age of Discovery.

Belém Tower (Torre de Belém)

If you walk along the sidewalk, you will reach [*Torre de Belém*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bel%C3%A9m_Tower), a 16th-century tower where explorers used to embark and disembark. You can decide to visit the interior or just to take pictures from outside.

Monumento aos Combatentes do Ultramar

In *Belém* you can also take a look at the [*Monumento aos Combatentes do Ultramar*](https://www.travel-in-portugal.com/attractions/monumento-aos-combatentes-do-ultramar.htm), a homage to over 9000 soldiers who died during a controversial campaign in Africa. You'll get to reflect about the importance of life and how cruel war can be.


Want to have lunch? Let's go to [Ânfora](https://www.palaciogovernador.com/en/restaurant-and-bar.html), a restaurant in *Palácio do Governador*. It has a wonderful terrace faced on the *Tejo* river and on the *Torre de Belém*.

Praia de Algés

Once you finish having lunch, let's take the car again and finally go to the beach! *Praia de Algés* is the example of the beautiful beaches of Portugal, where you can enjoy the beauty of the river meeting the ocean.

A Nossa Casa

*A Nossa Casa* is a fascinating little restaurant in *Bairro Alto* where *Antonio* will guide you to your table and will explain you the menu. Let yourself be amazed by the authentic taste of their dishes, you'll never forget them!

Pink Street

You can't leave *Lisboa* without experiencing a little bit of night life! The *Pink Street* is the symbol of the city's *movida*. Along the street you can find multiple cocktail bars where to enjoy a drink, such as *Espumantaria Do Cais*.

Day 6: Algarve: fabulous beaches and magic atmosphere

You have a wonderful day ahead! Let's drive to *Faro*, the administrative centre of [*Algarve*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algarve), the southernmost region of Portugal. *Algarve* is one of the most touristic area of the country, famous for its the amazing beaches. Get prepared to live this adventure!


You reached [*Faro*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faro,_Portugal)! This wonderful municipality has been under the domain of Romans, Byzantines, Visigoths, and Moors, and lots of monuments still witness these dominations.

Ilha do Farol

After you park your car, you can take a ferry which will get you to [*Ilha do Farol*](https://www.algarvetips.com/beaches/faro/ilha-do-farol/#restaurants), the amazing island near *Faro*, where you can take a walk on the breathtaking beaches and enjoy the famous view of the lighthouse.


You may start being hungry, let's walk to the restaurant *À-do-João*, maybe the most famous of the area. Guess what? You're going to have amazing fish!

Praia da Bandeira Azul

After lunch you can take a walk to the beach of *Farol*, you will love it! After a while, go take the ferry back to *Faro* and pick up your car!


Welcome to [*Lagos*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagos,_Portugal)! Let yourself be amazed by one of the most attractive cities of *Algarve*, which once was frequent home of *Henry the Navigator*.

Forte da Ponta da Bandeira

You will now discover one of the treasures hidden in *Lagos*, [*Forte da Ponta da Bandeira*](https://www.visitportugal.com/en/NR/exeres/C411AAEA-06C3-48DE-AF94-F497E49D39D5). This fortress, built in the 17th century, is one of the best preserved defensive strongholds of the area. From here you can delight in a panoramic view over the city and the sea.

Casa do Prego

Time for dinner! *Casa do Prego* will delight you with typical dishes like *Ameijoas* and *Zanhahorias Alinadas*. You may also want to try the local desserts such as *Morgadinho de amendoa*, and don't forget to try the *Lagos* wine.

Day 7: Sintra and its extravagant Palacio da Pena

Today we start heading north again, you will visit the picturesque and bizarre [*Sintra*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sintra) but first, you'll make the last stops in *Lagos*. Have a nice breakfast and let's go!

Ponta da Piedade

You can't obviously miss [*Ponta da Piedade*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponta_da_Piedade)! This group of rock formations is considered one of the most beautiful natural attractions of Portugal! Park your car and climb the stairs: the view is going to be magnificent.

Praia da Azenha do Mar

Driving up the coast, you will bump into [*Praia da Azenha do Mar*](https://www.playocean.net/en/portugal/odemira/beaches/praia-da-azenha-do-mar-beach), a rocky beach on the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy the fresh air and fall in love with it!


Once you leave *Praia da Azenha do Mar*, dive up to [*Sintra*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sintra), a very scenic city full of castles. You'll adore it!

Palácio da Pena

[*Palácio da Pena*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pena_Palace), as they call it in Portuguese, is a castle on the top of a hill. Its colorful exterior and its decorations constitute one of the major expressions of Romanticism in the world. You will walk a lot, please be prepared and wear comfortable shoes, a hat and bring water.

Miradouro da Villa

Once you visit *Palácio da Pena*, take the bus back to *Sintra*, where you will go the *Miradouro da Villa*. *Miradouros* are integral part of every Portuguese journey!


*Casa Piriquita* is a delicious pastry shop near the *miradouro*: here you can savor *Queijada* and *Travesseiros*, typical pastries of *Sintra*. I know they are exquisite, but don't spoil your appetite, you still have to eat!


The nearby *Tascantiga* is the right one if you are craving genuine and local food. You will find the stuff delightful, likely the *cuisine*. Enjoy your dinner!

Day 8: The beautiful city of Aveiro

Today you will visit the stunning city of Aveiro. Have a proper breakfast, a two-hour trip awaits!


[*Aveiro*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aveiro,_Portugal) is the capital city of the *Aveiro* District. Because of its canals, it is also known as the *"Venice of Portugal"*. Let's visit the beauties of the city!

Parque Canal de São Roque

You obviously have to visit one of the canals of *Aveiro*. You often find *moliceiros*, typical boats of *Ria de Aveiro*, which were once used by fishers. Here you can take amazing pictures!

Porta 36

It's lunch time! Try the amazing [*Porta 36*](https://www.aorigemdasportas.pt/?lang=en) restaurant, their dishes will steal your heart!

Praça do Peixe

*Praça* or *Mercado do Peixe* is a lovely square where the fish market takes place in the morning, you will adore the location!

Parque Infante D. Pedro

*Parque Infante D.Pedro* is the beloved city park of *Aveiro*: there are ponds with ducks, bridges, little lakes...Everything you need for a relaxing hour!

Museu Arte Nova - Casa de Chá

*Casa de Chá* is a charming art déco building where you can sit and have tea, but also sandwiches and sweets. The atmosphere is magic here, it's totally worth it!

Cais Do Pescado

Walk to the restaurant *Cais do Pescado* and have a nice and healthy dinner, they're famous for their km-0 fish!

Day 9: Ovar and Praia do Furadouro: let's experience the real Portuguese art and summer

Today it's the last day of activities and you will be visiting wonderful localities! Let's take the car and hit the road! Roll down the window and enjoy the route while listening to nice music, you're driving to the ocean!


Welcome to [*Ovar*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ovar), another city of the *Aveiro* District! *Ovar* is the perfect combination between art and nature, the aim of the whole trip!

Parque Urbano de Ovar

Once in *Ovar* you might want to take a walk into *Parque Urbano*. Enjoy this relaxing and peaceful moment, and take some nice pictures!

Igreja Matriz de Ovar (São Cristóvão)

You can visit the *Igreja Matriz de Ovar*. This church appears simple and not so decorated but wait until you reach the entrance of the cemetery: you will find a wonderful gate with *azulejos* and some huge wooden sculptures representing the hands of God.

Museu de Ovar

Your next stop will be at *Museu de Ovar*, where you will find a mix of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photographs and African art... Dive into the diversified cultural scene this museum has to offer!

A Toca

*A Toca* is the perfect place where to find different kinds of dishes: you can have *tapas*, hamburgers, the famous *"Francesinha"*, salads, etc... Enjoy your delicious meal...Next you will have a relaxing entire afternoon at the beach!

Praia do Furadouro

Drive to *Praia do Furadouro*, once you park your car go lie on the warm beach and swim in the ocean. Don't forget your sunscreen!

Café Amadeu

After several hours swimming and sunbathing, a fresh drink is what it takes. You may want to have a snack with it but don't spoil your appetite!

O Tasco

This is your last dinner in Portugal and I want it to be special for you! *O Tasco* is a lovely typical restaurant where you can try the local specialty *polvo e lulas*.

Day 10: Back to the airport in Oporto

After breakfast drive back to *Oporto*, the first city you visited during this trip. Drop off the car and go to your gate. I hope you had fun, have a nice flight!