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10 Days in Portugal: A Perfect Portugal Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

10 Days in Portugal: A Perfect Portugal Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

If you are searching for the ultimate travel guide to making the most of 10 days in Portugal, you’ve just found it! From the Algarve’s golden beaches to Porto’s vintage vibes, this 10-day itinerary for Portugal takes you on a journey through one of Europe’s most beautiful countries. It blends relaxation, adventure, culture, and exquisite wines – all the things we love about Portugal!

Read on to discover how Portugal’s traditional charm blends seamlessly with its modern sophistication, making it one of the most popular countries in Europe for first-time visitors. Find out how to plan a 10 day Portugal itinerary, including the best places to visit in Portugal, how to get around, where to stay and activities to try.

Visit bustling cities, historic towns, cute villages, vineyards, nature reserves and golden sandy beaches. This is the best itinerary for Portugal you’ll ever need!

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Is 10 Days in Portugal Enough?

Yes, ten days in Portugal is enough for a first visit. It will allow you to see many of Portugal’s best-loved places. After you’ve experienced some of what the country has to offer, you can always come back to discover new destinations or revisit some of the places on this itinerary on an extended Portugal trip.

Getting Around Portugal: Navigating from Region to Region

Portugal is a small country, making travelling from one region to another relatively easy. Here are some tips on how to get around during your 10 days in Portugal:

By Train

The extensive Portuguese train network offers a comfortable way to travel between major cities and regions. High-speed trains (Alfa Pendular) connect cities like Lisbon, Porto, and Faro. Intercity trains are a good option for medium distances.

Also, some regional trains offer stunning scenic routes, like the journey along the Douro Valley. These slower trains provide a charming and picturesque way to travel.

By Bus

Buses in Portugal are a reliable and often more economical alternative to trains, especially when travelling to areas not serviced by rail. Companies like Rede Expressos cover the entire country, including smaller towns and rural areas.

By Car

A rental car allows you to explore at your own pace, especially in regions like Alentejo or the Algarve, where public transport can be less frequent. If you enjoy road trips this one is going to be great.

While highways (autoestradas) are fast and efficient, they often have tolls. National and regional roads (estradas) are toll-free and offer more scenic routes. 

Portugal Map

Best Times to Visit Portugal: A Seasonal Guide

Portugal’s mild climate and diverse landscapes make it a year-round destination. However, the season you visit can significantly influence the type of holiday you’re looking for. Here’s a Portugal weather guide to help you decide when to plan your perfect trip:

Spring (March to May)

Spring is pleasantly warm, with temperatures ranging from 59°F to 68°F. It’s an ideal time for sightseeing and outdoor activities without the summer crowds.

During these months, you can explore city landmarks, enjoy countryside drives, or go hiking and cycling. Spring is also a great time for wine enthusiasts to visit the Douro Valley or Alentejo. Look out for Easter celebrations, especially in Braga and Óbidos, where traditional festivities occur.

Summer (June to August)

Summers are hot and sunny, with temperatures often soaring above 86°F, particularly in the inland regions. It’s the peak season for beach holidays. The Algarve, Alentejo’s coastline, and the northern beaches near Porto are famous. 

Fall (September to November)

Autumn brings cool, mild temperatures (around 59°F to 77°F) and fewer tourists. It’s the time for grape harvests, offering a unique experience in wine regions. Visit wineries for harvest festivals and tastings. 

The cooler weather is ideal for city tours and countryside excursions. It’s also a great time for surfing, with optimal conditions in spots like Nazaré and Peniche.

Winter (December to February)

In winter, the weather is generally mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below 50°F along the coast, though it can be colder inland. The north experiences more rain, while the south remains relatively dry.

It’s a great time for cultural trips to cities like Lisbon and Porto, with fewer crowds. Enjoy traditional cuisine and Christmas festivities. Christmas markets and New Year’s Eve celebrations, especially in Madeira with its fireworks display, are highlights of the season.

How To Spend 10 Days in Portugal

For this trip to Portugal, you will fly into Porto in the north and out of Faro in the south. The distance between the two cities is approximately 550 km as the crow flies.

  • One: Porto
  • Two: Duoro Valley
  • Three: Aveiro
  • Four: Coimbra
  • Five: Lisbon
  • Six: Lisbon
  • Seven: Sintra
  • Eight: Algarve (Faro)
  • Nine: Algarve
  • Ten: Algarve

Days 1 and 3 – Porto

Places to stay in Porto for three nights:

Budget: 2-star Hotel Porto Interface. Scores 8.2 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £80.

Mid-Range: 3-star Soho Porto. Scores 9.4 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £115.

Luxury: 5-star GA Palace Hotel and Spa. Scores 9.5 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £375.

Day 1 – Exploring Porto

Porto is one of the country’s most charming cities and is absolutely worth visiting during your 10 days in Portugal!

Upon arriving at Porto, book a welcome pickup to take you to your hotel. Once you have unpacked and freshened up, head to the Ribeira district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Palácio da Bolsa and the Church of São Francisco and see how many buildings you can spot covered in blue and white azulejo tiles.

Have lunch at one of the riverside restaurants, enjoying traditional dishes like francesinha (cheese and meat toasted sandwich covered with beer and tomato sauce) or sardinhas assadas (grilled sardines).

In the late afternoon/evening, why not join a sunset walking tour of Porto with wine?

Day 2: Wine Tasting and Douro Valley

Dedicate your second day to the world of Portuguese wine. Start with a visit to one of Porto’s famous wine cellars, where you can learn about and taste Port wine. Then, take a river cruise to the Douro Valley, a stunning region of terraced vineyards. 

Visit a couple of quintas for wine tastings and a traditional vineyard lunch. You can see why this is one of Porto’s most popular day trips; the landscapes make this experience unforgettable.

Check pricing and availability for a Douro Valley River Cruise with lunch and wine.

Duoro River running through the landscape in Portugal.

Day 3: Colorful Aveiro

Aveiro is a perfect day trip by train from Porto. Leave Sao Bento Railway Station and be in Aveiro in one hour. Once there, start with a moliceiro boat tour along the city’s canals.

Check availability and pricing for a Traditional Moliceiro Boat Tour in Aveiro.

Afterwards, visit the Art Nouveau Museum and the Aveiro Cathedral with its adjacent cloisters. Explore the fish market and try local seafood delicacies for lunch. Visit the nearby Costa Nova to see the striped houses and enjoy the beach. Sample some ovos moles, a sweet treat unique to Aveiro made with egg yokes, sugar and sometimes chocolate.

Traditional colourful boats on the canal in Aveiro.
Traditional Aveiro boats.

Back in Porto, visit the Clérigos Church and its towering bell tower for panoramic city views and step inside the enchanting world of the Livraria Lello bookstore. Spend your evening exploring the Galerias Paris street, known for its bars and nightlife.

Harry Potter fans will know the connection to the Livraria Lello bookshop and may enjoy a Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour in Porto.

ornate interior of a bookstore with carved wood panelling and a red set of stairs going upstairs.
Livrario Lello.

Day 4: Historical Coimbra

Places to stay in Coimbra for one night:

Budget: 2-star Hotel Residencial Alentejana. Scores 8.1 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £75.

Mid-Range: 3-star Hotel Oslo. Scores 8.3 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £100.

Luxury: 5-star Hotel Quinta das Lagrimas. Scores 9.0 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £155.

Things to do in Coimbra

Spend a full day in Coimbra, seeing all the sights. Visit the University of Coimbra to marvel at its historic buildings and the Joanina Library.

Explore the botanical garden, one of the oldest in Europe. Wander through the old city’s narrow streets, visiting the Machado de Castro National Museum and the Old Cathedral.

In the evening, enjoy a traditional Coimbra-style Fado performance.

pastel coloured houses with terracotta roofs in Portugal.

Day 5-7: Lisbon

Places to stay in Lisbon for three nights:

Budget: 2-star Hotel Ibis Lisboa Jose Malhoa. Scores 8.0 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £85.

Mid-Range: Maxime Hotel Lisbon. Scores 8.9 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £135.

Luxury: 5-star Torel Palace Lisbon. Scores 9.2 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £300.

Day 5: Exploring Lisbon’s History

Begin your Lisbon adventure in Alfama, the city’s oldest district. Start with breakfast at a local pastelaria before heading to São Jorge Castle.

Portuguese people usually have a light breakfast; this is your first chance to taste traditional pastries and delicious coffee. Spend your morning exploring the castle and enjoying panoramic views of the city before wandering around the streets, searching for Lisbon’s hidden gems.

Check rates and availability for skip-the-line tickets and a short guided tour of Sao Jorge Castle.

Since this 10-day trip is your introduction to Portuguese culture, take everything in and be bold: ask for meal recommendations from locals and taste different dishes; they will be happy to help you. Why not join a food lovers walking tour around the city to find some of Lisbon’s best cuisine? 

In the afternoon, visit Lisbon Cathedral, and if it’s a market day, wander through the Feira da Ladra, Lisbon’s famous flea market. Indulge in traditional Portuguese cuisine at a local restaurant in the Baixa or Chiado district for dinner, followed by a night of Fado music in Alfama.

Check rates and availability for a walking tour of Alfama with dinner followed by a traditional Fado show.

Aerial view of Lisbon rooftops with river and castle.
Sao Jorge Castle on the hill in Alfama.

Find Your Perfect Lisbon Tour

Click on the link below:

Day 6: Belém and TimeOut Market

Start your day with a visit to the Jerónimos Monastery, marvelling at its architectural history. Then, stroll to the nearby Tower of Belém and the Monument to the Discoveries. After lunch, enjoy the iconic Pastéis de Belém at the historic factory, one of the most famous places to eat this traditional Portuguese delicacy. 

Spend your afternoon visiting the Berardo Collection Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Explore the TimeOut Market in the evening, where you can try a range of curated Portuguese dishes – all under one roof! 

Day 7: Day Trip to Sintra

On day seven, take a train to Sintra or join a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra, Pena Palace, Cabo da Roca, and Cascais.

First, visit the Pena Palace, which has unmissable colours and spectacular city views. Next, explore the Quinta da Regaleira gardens, caves, and the Initiation Well. Have lunch in the historic centre of Sintra, trying local pastries like ‘travesseiros’ with their rich almond and egg yolk cream fillings. 

In the afternoon, visit the Moorish Castle for a hike with scenic views. Return to Lisbon for dinner, possibly enjoying a seafood feast at a renowned restaurant in the Bairro Alto neighbourhood.

Day 8-10: The Algarve

Places to stay in Faro for two nights

Budget: 2-star Hotel Sol Algarve by Kavia. Scores 8.1 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £90.

Mid-Range: 3-star Lemon Tree Stay. Scores 9.0 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £110.

Luxury: 5-star 3HB Faro Hotel. Scores 9.5 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £260.

Places to stay in Lagos for two nights

Budget: 2-star Hotel Mar Azul. Scores 8.1 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £70.

Mid-Range: 3-star Hotel Marina Rio. Scores 9.1 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £140.

Luxury: 5-star Palmares Signature Apartments. Scores 8.8 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £330.

Things to do in the Algarve

Travel to the Algarve and decide between Faro’s historic charm and Lagos’s lively atmosphere. Both towns have a unique charm, and it can be hard to pick just one. You can also try visiting both if you are okay with packing a lot into this part of your itinerary. However, moving around too much might not be ideal for those who truly want to relax.

Beach with sea cliff in Portugal.

Day 8: Choosing The Right Beach Town

In Faro, explore the medieval old town, the Faro Cathedral, and the Municipal Museum. These are some of the best things to do in Faro and should feature high on your itinerary during your time in the Algarve! Enjoy a relaxing afternoon at one of the quieter beaches, like Praia de Faro. 

Yellow and white Church in Faro.
Carmo Church in Faro.

Alternatively, visit the historic Forte da Ponta da Bandeira and the Church of Santo António in Lagos. Afterwards, spend the afternoon at the Praia Dona Ana Beach or book a boat trip to the famous Benagil caves. Hikers might enjoy the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, which passes along the coast by Benagil Cave.

Lagos sea cave with hole in roof letting light in.

Day 9: Enjoying the Algarve’s Natural Gems

In Faro, consider a day trip to the Ria Formosa Natural Park, ideal for bird watchers and nature lovers. In Lagos, enjoy water activities like kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.

For more suggestions, take a look at these curated Algarve activities.

From Faro:

Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour.

From Lagos:

Private Guided Hike On The Vincentina Coast.

Kayaking and Boat Cave Explorer Tour.

Ria Formosa sandy beach within the natural park in Portugal.
Rio Formosa.

Day 10: Departure Day

Spend your final day in Faro, revisiting your favourite spots or finding a few new ones. 

Enjoy a final Portuguese meal, perhaps at a restaurant offering sea views, and reflect on your journey through Portugal with a glass of wine and some fresh fish. Shop, too, and bring home a Portuguese souvenir as a memento of this fantastic trip.

Variations to the 10-Day Portugal Itinerary

This detailed first-timer’s itinerary offers a blend of cultural exploration, historical discovery, and relaxation, making up the perfect Portugal experience. However, you can easily tailor this Portugal itinerary to fit your travel style, as not everyone wants to drink wine or spend all day on the beach.

For these reasons, I have highlighted some variations to the original itinerary to make 10 days in Portugal more suitable for different kinds of travellers. 

For Wine Lovers: Swap the Algarve for Alentejo

Not a beach lover? Then, head to the Alentejo region, known for its rolling vineyards and robust wines. Start in Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its well-preserved old town and historic sites like the Roman Temple. Visit a local winery in the afternoon for a tasting and vineyard tour.

The following day, visit towns like Reguengos de Monsaraz and Borba, each with unique wineries and distinct wine varieties. Enjoy a wine-paired lunch at one of the vineyard estates.

Evora Temple Portugal.
Roman Temple in Evora.

For Surf Enthusiasts: Head out of the city and visit Ericeira and Nazaré

Travel to Ericeira, a charming fishing village and a world-renowned surfing destination, only a 30-minute ride from the Lisbon Airport. Spend your day at beaches like Ribeira d’Ilhas, known for its consistent surf. Explore the town’s narrow streets and enjoy fresh seafood in the evening while watching the sunset.

The following day, head to Nazaré, famous for its giant waves and surf culture. Watch surfers tackle some of the world’s largest waves (especially in winter) or take a surf lesson at one of the smaller beaches. Visit the Nazaré lighthouse for spectacular ocean views.

Why not visit 3 of Portugal’s top attractions on a private day trip from Lisbon? See Óbidos, Nazaré & Alcobaça.

Surf hitting the beach in Ericeira, Portugal.
Surf hitting the beach in Ericeira.

For History and Culture Buffs: Add Guimarães and Óbidos

Instead of spending time in the Algarve, you may like to add a few days to your Porto itinerary.

Travel north from Porto to Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal. Explore the medieval Guimarães Castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, and stroll through its historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Or add another night to your Coimbra stay and take a one day trip to Óbidos, a medieval town surrounded by fortified walls. You can wander through its cobbled streets, explore its historic castle, and try the local cherry liqueur, ginjinha, served in edible chocolate cups.

Fortress with turrets and stone walls in Obidos Portugal.
Obidos Castle.

For Nature and Hiking Enthusiasts: Explore Madeira or the Azores

Instead of the Algarve, choose a few nights on the Portuguese islands Madeira or the Azores for a nature-filled retreat; they are two of the most beautiful places in Portugal.

Spend these days hiking, enjoying whale watching, exploring volcanic landscapes, and relaxing in natural hot springs. Or add these places as an extension to your 10 days in Portugal; believe me, it will be worth it!

Places to stay in Funchal, Madeira

Mid-Range: 3-star Hotel Madeira. Scores 8.2 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £115.

Luxury: 5-star Reid’s Palace Belmond Hotel. Scores 9.5 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £700.

Places to stay in the Azores – São Miguel

Budget: 2-star Hotel Vale Verde. Scores 8.3 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £80.

Mid-Range: 3-star Hotel Ponta Delgada. Scores 8.2 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £115.

Luxury: 5-star Pedras do Mar Resort & Spa. Scores 8.7 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £250.

Conclusion: 10 Days in Portugal Trip Itinerary

Visiting Portugal presents many different experiences, each shaped by its diverse regions and the changing seasons. Trace the cobblestone streets of historic cities, lounge on sunny beaches, immerse in a vibrant wine culture, or ride the waves on its scenic coasts – Portugal offers possibilities for all kinds of travellers. 

With efficient travel options connecting its towns and cities and a climate accommodating year-round exploration, Portugal perfectly blends tradition and modernity, relaxation and adventure, history and natural beauty.

So, pack your bags and set off on this 10-day Portugal trip, where every day promises discoveries and unforgettable memories in the making. 

Please PIN for Future Travel to Portugal

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