Ultimate 5 Days Portugal Itinerary
Planning a trip to Europe it better be 5 days in Portugal. This ultimate 5 days Portugal Itinerary is also a perfect road trip Itinerary, It is well balanced between touristic places, must do’s, places only a local would tell you & places that are hidden or less popular amongst the tourists. This complete guide will also give you an idea on the budget, distance travelled, accommodation, wine tours, etc. To be honest this flexible itinerary is also suitable for a week or 10 days it will still answer your questions. Just read through & you will know how?
Read 7 days Road Trip Itinerary and an updated post here Travel Stacks
Portugal is a beautiful country rich in history & culture. It has everything that one can look for to name a few, good food, great wine, lovely people, perfect coffee, amazing places to visit, considerably reasonable than the other EU countries, safe, still rooted & not very commercialized except major cities like Lisbon & Porto, like I mentioned earlier, ideal for road trips, family, solo or budget traveller.
Welcome, aboard & let’s begin our fun trip from Lisbon to Algarve to Porto & beyond.
This trip was with my Mom, Husband & me. Like always, as we landed in Portugal, we rented a car from Hertz. We rented a manual drive as the automatic drive is slightly expensive in Europe. I do have family in Portugal, in a place called Barreiro that’s where we headed straight. Well, I know what you are thinking. You do not have to go to Barreiro I have attached a link below for your reasonable stay, so just read through. The good part about Barreiro was that it is close to Lisbon city, by road it would be a maximum of 25 mins drive ( on the other side of the bridge). It is obviously cheaper as there are no tourists around only locals, there is a boat station that takes you straight to Lisbon city in 20 mins The boat is every 30 mins on weekdays & every hour on weekends. The boat ticket cost €2 one way.
Fun things to do in Lisbon:
Book Your Stay in Lisbon city & enjoy its history, culture or DIY walking tours. What we did & highly recommend you as well is the Lisbon Hop on Hop Off 15€/person. I personally think it was the best way to go around the city & to know the Portuguese history & culture, marvel at their houses, their lifestyle. The hop on hop off covers both old & new town, it also has an option to book It is definitely worth your time & money.
During your holiday do make sure to try their local dessert Pastel Da Natas (egg tarts), Local Beer Sarges. Seafood can’t go wrong what you order. Wines Definitely & Port Wine in particular.
Day 1: Sintra, Cascais & Boca Do Inferno & Cabo Da Roca (mouth of hell):
Sintra: What Is Sintra?
Sintra is a municipality of the Lisbon district. The Cultural Landscape of Sintra was classified by UNESCO in 1995 as a WORLD HERITAGE SITE. There are many parks & palaces in here. This place is highly popular among the tourist. The most prominent & let’s say AWARD WINNING Castle was THE MOORISH CASTLE. This Castle won 2 consecutive awards in 2013 & 2014 by the World’s Leading Conservation Company, in short, the winner of WORLD TRAVEL AWARD. Let me start by giving some of the KNOWN FACTS About MOORISH CASTLE;
The Moorish Castle is a military fort that was built around the 10th century by the Muslim Population that occupied the Iberian peninsula. It acted as a control tower for the Atlantic coast & land to the north, serving as an outpost for Lisbon City. It is strategically located to defend the local territory & the maritime access to the city of Lisbon. It is an easy 10 mins climb to reach the castle.
One of the other colourful Palace to look out for is the Pene Palace.
- Distance: 30 mins from Lisbon City.
- How to get there: There are numerous ways to get there. Public transport Like Bus OR train, you can obviously drive, driving it is simple too.
- Things to do: There are many parks & palaces to choose from. ( I visited the Moorish Castle). There are carriage tours horse riding tours, hop on hop off tours in Sintra & Cabo da Roca from Lisbon.
- Cost: 8€/person to enter the castle.
- Time Needed: Depending on your interest. But if you are like us who would prefer walking around & choose to pick one castle out of the many, then, I would say around Half a day to the max.
I would like to conclude that Sintra during the Summer & Falls can really get very colourful thanks to the beautiful landscape. This one should definitely be in one of your MUST DOs. After this colourful monument, we headed to our next stop Cascais.
Cascais: What is Cascais?
Cascais Is a coastal town. It lies west of Lisbon. This City is known for its sandy beaches, lots of restaurants & bars, beautiful marina. Perfect next touristy stop if you are in Lisbon or Sintra. Ideal place to have lunch & some wine or beer & soak in Portugal Summer. Cannot describe much about this place the city speaks for itself.
- Distance: From Sintra is 21Km/13Miles, 24 mins Drive. From Lisbon City 35Km/21Miles, 44 mins Drive.
- How to get there: There is a direct bus from Cascais – Sintra (route 417 I guess) please check the official website before you take any bus. The drive is easy as well.
- Things to do: Walk around the city, Have Lunch, get lost in the beauty of its beaches & marina & definitely drive to BOCA DO INFERNO & CABO DA ROCA (mouth of hell) more about it below.
- Time needed: Lunch, walk around & drive to BOCA DO INFERNO & CABO DA ROCA maybe another Half a day.
Natural Wonder Boca Do Inferno & Cabo Da Roca: What Is Boca Do Inferno & Cabo Da Roca?
It is a seaside cliff located close to the city of Cascais. The sea water vigorously hits the deep bottom of the rocks making it a cave. The wake breaks to the mouth of the cave & hence, it is popularly known as the mouth of hell. It is a beautiful coastal drive. Cabo the Roca is the westernmost point of Europe. A tourist visiting Cascais make sure they Visit these natural wonders.
- Distance From Cascais: 5 mins drive. 1.8km/1.1Mile.
- Things to do: there is a lighthouse, coffee shops, souvenirs shops.
- Cost & Parking: Free.
- Time Needed: 30mins – 1hour.
Day 2: Arrabida & Sesimbra. Lisbon Weekend Itinerary.
Arrabida, if I remember well, Uncle Prashant, mentioning it as a small village which is a part of Setubal district. This beach is very popular amongst the locals as a weekend gateway, perfect place for sun tanning & it is also perfect for fishing & apparently scuba diving too. Arrabida is now gaining popularity amongst the tourist, as it is still quite untouched & there are plenty of beach facing restaurants. The beach showcase crystal clear water with temperatures of 17 degrees or more during summers.
- Distance: from Lisbon city, it is 47km/29Miles, 1-hour drive. The drive to Arrabida is windy with beautiful views between the lush green trees.
- Things to Do: sunbathing, scuba diving, fishing, a good place to meet the locals, plenty of seafood restaurants & bar, there is a forest walk around the beach. (not clearly marked).
- Cost & Parking: It is a public beach so obviously there are no entry charges, plus there is plenty of free parking around the area.
- Time Needed: As much as one needs.
While you are in the Setubal District & Setubal is also a good wine region if you like, book a WINE TOUR
Sesimbra, like Arrabida, is a part of Setubal District. Like Cascais, Sesimbra is a coastal city. The seafood from this city is very popular amongst the local Portuguese. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, shopping area & souvenir shops. This city is still quite rooted. You will find your self in the narrow cobbled stone roads giving you the feel of an old Europe town. It is hard to miss the Portuguese culture when you are in Sesimbra.
- Distance: From Arrabita 18km/11Miles, 34mins Drive. The Drive here is similar to Arrabida, windy but beautiful.
- Things to do: There are beach beds during the season. Good place for sunbathing. Great place for lunch or Dinner.
- Cost & Parking: It is a public beach so it is free with plenty of free parking around the area.
- Time Needed: As much as you need.
You could plan your day in such a way that probably you could relax, soak in the sun & have lunch in Arrabida, gaze at the sunset & its beautiful evening in Sesimbra with some seafood Dinner or vice a versa. We personally just enjoyed Drinks in both these places as Uncle Prashant had a restaurant at that time. We enjoyed some home cooked Portuguese food at his restaurant then.
Day 3: Places to visit between Lisbon to Algarve: Faro & Albufeira
Algarve is the southernmost state of Portugal. But nothing goes south in regards to what Algarve has to offer. Faro is the capital which also a port city which also houses major maritime trading & of course plenty of local eateries, bars & a cosmopolitan cuisine. We chose to stay in Almancil, 1 because we wanted a 2 bedroom apartment which would be cheaper to rent for 2 days. 2 Because Almancil was very well situated for our travels for the next 2 days.
- Distance: From Lisbon to Almancil 278Km/172Miles, 2hr.30mins. Distance from ALMANCIL TO FARO 13Km/8miles, 18mins. Almancil to Albufeira 35km/18Miles, 30 mins.
- Things to do: Walk around the marina, go to old town faro, many local tours around.
- Stay: We took a 2-bedroom apartment in Almancil in Vale De lobo.
- Cost: 180€ for a 2-night stay in a 2 bedroom apartment breakfast inclusive.
Note: If you happen to choose Almancil like us, then, look out for Almancil with a ‘C’ & not with a ‘S’. As there are 2 of them, AlmanCil & AlmanSil. we want the one with a ‘C’.
Nightlife in Portugal:
Albufeira is a small coastal town. This too like Cascais will give you a feeling of being In one of the old towns of Europe, where the roads are stone paved & the Portuguese culture is in the air. You will see the old Portuguese style houses. Albufeira is extremely happening & happy in the evenings, where the restaurants & bars are set up on the streets, there are so many bars that would confuse you on which one to choose from, music on the streets, bars, cocktails & it is a favourite tourist spot. Plenty of food options, from fine, dine to casual dining or takeaways.
Day 4: Portimao Cabo de St. Vincent, Sagres.
After a relaxing day in Faro & Albufeira, I had planned an organized boat trip to Paria De Rocha, caves in Portimao, which are accessible only by boats.
What is Portimao?
Another coastal town located on the southern coast of Portugal over-looking the Atlantic Ocean & a gateway to a network of limestone caves. These caves are carved out by rough seas, which make you gets lost in its beauty. Portimao like any other towns was a happy town with lots to offer. There were people on the streets showcasing their talents like playing the Accordion, juggling, street performance, a lot of restaurants & ice-cream stalls. All in all a perfect day you would look for in Portugal.
- Distance: From Almancil to Portimao; 60km/37.5Miles, 45 mins drive.
- Tour Company: Algarve Coastline Tour From Portimao.
- Tour Cost: 50€person.
- Tour Includes: Hour and a half Boat trip from Portimao, Followed by a jeep tour of Portimao Town. (including the caves, that we saw by the boat now we saw them from the top)
- Time Needed: Completely Depends on what one plans to do in Portimao. We needed half a day with the boat tour, jeep city tour & lunch.
Cabo De St. Vincent, Sagres.
What is Cabo De St Vincent Sarges?
Cabo De St Vincent is the southwesternmost point of Portugal & Mainland Europe. Here stands the Cape Vincent Lighthouse which is a landmark for ships travelling to & from the Mediterranean Sea. The lighthouse literally is situated in a way which grants you views of the North & South Coast of Portugal by standing at one point. Stunningly beautiful photo point. Lost all our pictures for Sarge’s lighthouse. Chose 1 from Google.
- Distance: From PORTIMAO 61km/38Miles, 1hour Drive.
- Cost & Parking: There was a minimal charge to enter Cabo de St Vincent. Parking was free.
- Things to do: Marvel at the beauty of the lighthouse & the southwestern point. Take plenty of pictures of the blue ocean.
- Time Needed: Max one hour.
After Checking out from the Hotel In Almancil we headed back to Barreiro. Now we are headed to the North of Portugal.
Day 5: Fatima & Porto. Distance between Lisbon to Porto.
Fatima is a Catholic pilgrimage site. Very famous amongst tourist. It lies on the way to Porto. However, a tourist visiting Portugal ensure they pay a visit to this holy site. Photography was prohibited at this holy site. Attaching pictures from google.
- Distance: From Lisbon 126Km/78Miles, 1.5 hours.
- Cost & Parking: Free.
- Things to do: Hmmm!!! pray probably;)
- Time Needed: Depends on your spirituality. We too 30 mins.
After this holy site, we drove to our next spot Porto. Before I tell you anything about Porto, Our only reason for us to drive up to Porto was to reach Duoro Valley, Portugal’s Wine Country. There is a lot to write about Douro Valley, hence I have decided to write a separate blog on Douro Valley, However, the trip to Portugal & Duoro Valley was done in 1 holiday. And that answers you earlier question on a week or 10 days trip to portugal by clubing the 2 like we did.
Porto & its Must Do Day trips:
Back in the days, wines from Douro Valley were transported down the Douro river, to the coastal city of Porto, from where it was supplied to the rest of the world. The world-famous Portuguese Port Wine is also named after Porto. Since my husband & I are true wine lovers we headed to Douro Valley on the next day leaving Mom & Aunt Madhu to explore Porto.
- Distance: From Fatima 196Km/ 122Miles, 2hours.
- Things to do: Booked the Porto Cruise Hop-on-Hop-Off Cruise & Wine cellar Tour.
- Cost: 45€/person Lunch inclusive.
- Time Needed: Half a day.
- Stay: Plenty of apartments around. We chose Alfredo De Cunha.
- Cost: Loved the 1 bedroom Apartment with a balcony & fully equipped kitchen. Centrally located in Porto city centre. 10min walk to the beach. 80€/night good for 4 persons.
Our Next 3 days were spent in Douro Valley. I am going to leave you with some pictures (above) as a teaser so you know what to expect. You can also book for a Full Day Wine Tour if you are short of time. Till then I hope you have enjoyed this 5 days ultimate road trip itinerary to Portugal. You can also read Sicily in 7 days if you are still figuring out where in Europe you want to travel. I hope I have given you an insight of this Country & what to expect where to stay & the cost involved in planning your trip. I am going to give you in rough how much I spend on per person for 5 days since my trip involved 3 people for 10 days & no stay included for 3 nights as I stayed at my uncle’s.
- Cost for Car: 5 days 115€ fuel excluded.
- Stay/food /activities: Approximately 400€/person for 5 days.
Look out for my next blog on Douro valley. Please do share your pictures with me as I would like to be a part of your experience through pictures. Feel free to share your experience & this post through any of the below social media networks. Enjoy your trip & Safe Travels.
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