Portugal is a wonderful country in southern Europe, with an 1800-kilometer-long coastline, beautiful mountains, and interesting cities. It’s the country of lively Lisbon, pretty Porto, the celebrated UNESCO Alto Douro wine region, and much more.
Narrowing down a feasible 2 weeks in Portugal road trip itinerary is challenging, there is simply too much to see! However, this 2 week Portugal itinerary will help you make the most of your time in this amazing European country.
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Portugal road trip itinerary
2 weeks in Portugal: map
2 week Portugal itinerary
- Day 1-3: Lisbon
- Day 4: Sintra
- Day 5: Óbidos
- Day 6: Nazaré and Batalha
- Day 7: Coimbra
- Day 8-9: Serra da Estrela Natural Park
- Day 10-11: Alto Douro wine region
- Day 12: Guimaraes or Braga
- Day 13-14: Porto
This two weeks in Portugal itinerary starts in Lisbon and ends in Porto but of course, you could do it the other way around as well.
At the bottom of this post, I’ve added a couple of other beautiful places to visit in Portugal if you have more time available.
Road trip in Portugal
Portugal is an excellent road trip destination for several reasons. First, the country isn’t overly large (561 kilometers long and 218 kilometers wide). Therefore, you don’t have to drive huge distances between the different sights.
Of course, you won’t be able to see everything during your 2 week Portugal trip, but you can easily see many highlights in Portugal without spending hours a day in your car.
Furthermore, roads are generally well-maintained and well-signposted. There are fast (toll) roads as well as slower (but also more beautiful) backroads.
Last but not least, it’s easy and affordable to rent a car or a campervan. For those interested in renting a campervan in Portugal, also read this post. We loved our campervan road trip in Portugal with our two kids and can highly recommend this to anyone!
The perfect 2 week itinerary for Portugal
Day 1-3: Lisbon
If you plan to road trip Portugal, you will probably fly into Lisbon (or Porto) and pick up your rental vehicle. Before you do, spend a few days exploring Portugal’s beautiful capital city!
There is no point in driving a car around the city center of Lisbon, public transport is much more efficient as well as a fun part of your Lisbon sightseeing experience. The brightly colored yellow trams of Lisbon are iconic, especially tram #28.
Highlights in Lisbon you can’t miss are:
- The Alfama: the oldest and most photogenic neighborhood of Lisbon, a wonderful place to explore on foot. Join this walking tour by a local guide to learn more about the history of the Alfama.
- Torre de Belém: this iconic landmark is a UNESCO Heritage Site that should feature on any Lisbon itinerary. Buy your skip-the-line ticket here.
- Saint George’s Castle: also known as São Jorge Castle, this place has a history that dates back for millennia. The first fortifications built on the site date back to the 1st century BC(!) and Saint George’s Castle has played an important role in the history of Lisbon.
- National Tile Museum: azulejos (ceramic patterned tiles) can be seen everywhere in Portugal and are an important part of the culture. In this museum, you can learn more about this fascinating national treasure.
We stayed in a lovely apartment, which was spacious enough for our family of four (2 adults, 2 kids) and centrally located. A fancy option is the beautifully decorated Martinhal Chiado (with large apartments and a kids club!) in the heart of town.
Day 4: Sintra
Lisbon to Sintra: driving distance and time → 30km | 30 minutes
On day 4, pick up your car or campervan and head to Sintra where you can find the most colorful palace in Portugal (and possibly the world). While you can also visit Sintra as a day trip from Lisbon, having your own wheels gives you the flexibility to stay at the different sights as long as you like.
There are many things to see in Sintra, too much for just one day. However, the main sights you cannot miss are:
- Palácio da Pena (or Pena Palace): when you google Sintra, the first image that comes up is this colorful palace that looks like it came straight out of a fairytale. Click here to buy skip-the-line tickets.
- Castelo dos Mouros: not only is this the place where you’ll have the best view of the Palácio da Pena but Castelo dos Mouros is also a fascinating place in itself. You can hike up from Sintra Town in less than an hour. We did this hike with our 2-year-old son and 3-month-old daughter, both were in a baby carrier as you cannot get up with a stroller (not even a really awesome one like the Babyzen Yoyo). The views from the top are stunning and very much worth the effort! Click here to buy skip-the-line tickets.
- Quinta da Regaleira: don’t miss this beautiful estate (a castle with lovely gardens) during your trip to Sintra! Within the gardens, there is a 27-meter deep well (the Initiation Well), many caves and crevices, hidden passageways, and several tunnels. It’s a fun place to explore, both for families as well as other types of travelers.
Accommodation in Sintra can be expensive, but this apartment is great value for money. Alternatively, you can use the Park4Night app to find a budget (or even free) campsite.
Day 5: Óbidos
Sintra to Óbidos: driving distance and time → 90km | 60 minutes
Óbidos is a small medieval village about an hour’s drive north of Lisbon and Sintra. Visiting Óbidos was one of the highlights of our trip, it’s such a pretty little town!
One of the best things to do in Obidos is walking the old city walls that surround the center. While it was a bit scary to walk on these walls (without any rails on the side) with our toddler, it was definitely a cool experience for all of us.
My husband carried our son most of the time and our baby daughter was safely strapped into our baby carrier so this activity is possible with young children as long as you are very careful.
Other places to visit in Obidos are Obidos Castle, the Praça de Santa Maria, and the Óbidos Aqueduct. But don’t just check off the main sights and leave, Obidos is best explored by simply wandering the ancient cobblestoned streets. You will feel like you have stepped back in time!
If you are traveling Portugal by campervan, there is an excellent spot to park for the night just outside the city walls. For a mere €6 a night you can safely park your van. Plus, you can refill your water and dispose of grey and black water.
Alternatively, check out this lovely holiday home with garden.
Day 6: Nazaré and Batalha
Óbidos to Nazaré: driving distance and time → 40km | 35 minutes
Nazaré is a small fishing village that has become famous for the monstrous waves that frequently occur at its shores between October and March. The best surfers in the world come here to ride these 20+ meter giants, a spectacle you won’t ever forget.
That being said, conditions have to align perfectly for these types of waves to occur, so you’ll have to be very lucky to see them in real life. But don’t worry, there is a great exhibition about the giant waves of Nazaré within the Farol da Nazaré (the lighthouse) where you can see some amazing pictures of daredevil surfers conquering immense walls of water.
The exhibition also explains why these waves occur at Nazaré with an easy-to-understand animation and a maquette. The entrance fee into the lighthouse is just €1 and the view from the roof is beautiful.
Nazaré is divided into two areas: Sítio (on top of the hill) and downtown (along the beach). Both are worth visiting and you can easily do so in half a day.
Ride the funicular, visit the Mercado Municipal and stroll along the boulevard. If you like Indian food, Maharaja is a good place for lunch. There are plenty of nice restaurants offering Portuguese cuisine as well.
Nazaré to Batalha: driving distance and time → 30km | 30 minutes
After you’ve explored Nazaré, hop in your car/campervan and head to Batalha to visit Batalha Monastery.
Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, this impressive building dates back to the 14th century. Batalha Monastery is beautiful, both on the outside as well as the inside. I highly recommend visiting this marvelous construction during your 2-week Portugal itinerary.
Day 7: Coimbra
Batalha to Coimbra: driving distance and time → 90km | 60 minutes
Coimbra is known for its historic University, the oldest one in Portugal and one of the oldest universities in Europe. The most important sights on the University premises are the Paço das Escolas, Torre da Universidade and the colorful Capela de São Miguel.
For me (and for many other visitors) the highlight of the University of Coimbra was visiting the beautiful Biblioteca Joanina. In this magnificent library, thousands of ancient books are displayed on carefully carved wooden shelves.
To preserve the precious books kept in the Johannine Library, photography isn’t allowed. The library even houses a colony of bats that help protect the books from bugs and other insects!
If you have more time, consider spending two days in Coimbra, there are plenty of other things to see and do in this beautiful city.
Take a stroll through the lovely Botanical Gardens, visit the Science Museum, admire Sé Velha (old cathedral) and the Sé Nova (new cathedral), and buy a souvenir or two on the Rua Ferreira Borges.
Day 8-9: Serra da Estrela Natural Park
Coimbra to Serra da Estrela: driving distance and time → 120km | 120 minutes
It’s time to leave the cities behind and head to one of the most beautiful places in Portugal: Serra da Estrela Natural Park. Here you can find the highest point in continental Portugal, Torre, at 2000 meters.
The mountain itself is actually 1993 meters high but the government decided to build a 7-meter-tall tower to make it 2000 meters exactly.
What’s also a bit odd about Torre is the fact that you can drive up by car, instead of following a hiking trail as is most often the case when climbing a mountain.
That being said, the drive from São Romão to Torre and from Torre to Manteigas is absolutely spectacular! It wasn’t the best weather when we visited, but the ominous sky only added to the dramatic scenery of wild and rugged Serra da Estrela Natural Park.
Manteigas isn’t a particularly interesting village but it’s a convenient place to base yourself when exploring Serra da Estrela. There are some restaurants and grocery stores as well as a handful of accommodation, such as this family-friendly hotel.
Over 200km of hiking trails that are part of the Trilhos Verdes are accessible from Manteigas, ranging from easy strolls to challenging day hikes.
Enough to keep you occupied for at least two days, but you could easily spend a week in this splendid Natural Park to enjoy the mountain landscape.
Day 10-11: Alto Douro wine region
Serra da Estrela to Alto Douro region: driving distance and time → 150km | 140 minutes
From one glorious landscape to the next: from the mountains of Serra de Estrella to the vineyard-covered hills of the Alto Douro wine region. This is a UNESCO Heritage Area and rightly so: people have been making wine here for more than 2000 years!
We visited Portugal in October, the grapes had already been harvested and the leaves were dressed in their vivid autumn colors. A spectacular sight and one of the highlights of our Portugal two week itinerary.
There are many things to do in the Alto Douro region and two days actually isn’t enough. Take the train from picturesque Pinhão to Pocinho, for one of the most scenic train rides in the world. Do a wine tasting at one of the many quintas or take a cruise on the Douro River.
If you have more time, explore Peso da Régua and visit the Museu do Douro to learn more about the area. Or simply drive around and marvel at the view at one of the many Miradouros.
If you are looking to stay somewhere special, check out this spacious Casa with a private pool near Pinhão. If you are traveling in a campervan, we stayed at Quinta do Monte Travesso and can highly recommend this beautiful vineyard. You can park for the night in exchange for a bottle of wine or a wine tasting (not a bad deal right!).
Day 12: Guimarães or Braga
Alto Douro region to Guimarães: driving distance and time → 120km | 90 minutes
Alto Douro region to Braga: driving distance and time → 140km | 100 minutes
I just couldn’t choose between Guimarães or Braga, so I included both on this road trip to Portugal. It’s up to you to decide which city you add to your Portugal 2 week itinerary…
Though if you have time, or decide to skip one of the destinations mentioned above, visit Guimaraes and Braga as both cities are equally beautiful!
I didn’t know much about Guimarães before visiting, but we soon discovered it’s a very attractive and fun city. Guimarães has a beautiful historic core, with narrow cobblestone alleys where you can easily ‘get lost’.
The Palace of the Dukes is a must-visit, as is Guimarães Castle. Take the cable car to Penha mountain for stunning views over the city and the surrounding area. The mossy boulders and forested paths on this 600-meter high mountain are a lovely place for an afternoon stroll before heading back to downtown.
This apartment in Guimarães city center is a great place to base yourself when exploring the birthplace of Portugal. A nice place to eat is Cor de Tangerina, conveniently located across from the Palace of the Dukes.
Braga is the third-largest city in Portugal and one of the oldest cities in the country. A significant part of the city center is a pedestrian-only area, making it easy to explore the historic core of Braga on foot.
One of the highlights in Braga is Sé de Braga. This ancient cathedral was built in the 11th century and still stands proudly until this day. Buy a skip-the-line ticket here to take a peek inside this remarkable building.
Located a few kilometers outside of Braga is Bom Jesus do Monte. Climb the 577 steps (or take the cable car) to reach this beautiful sanctuary on top of a 116-meters high hill.
Fun fact: pilgrims used to climb the seemingly endless staircases on their knees as penitence for their sins.
When you have more time in Braga, also explore the Castle of Braga, admire the Arco da Porta Nova and the Palácio do Raio with its bright blue azulejos.
We stayed at this spacious apartment with two bedrooms in the heart of town, a highly recommended place to stay for families.
Day 13-14: Porto
Guimarães/Braga to Porto: driving distance and time → 60km | 40 minutes
Many people actually prefer Porto over Lisbon and Porto sure has a lot going for it. It has an enviable location on the Douro river and the imposing Luís I Bridge is a Porto icon.
Porto also has the colorful Ribeira district and a very walkable downtown packed with must-see sights. Highlights are the Church of Saint Francis, Palácio da Bolsa, and Porto Cathedral, but there is much more to do in Porto!
Hop on an electric bike to explore the city center, visit the oldest port wine cellar in Porto or enjoy a Fado show. Things to eat in Porto are a francesinha, a bifana pork sandwich, and bacalhau (dried and salted cod).
This apartment in Porto is the perfect spot to explore the Old Town and only a 5-minute walk from Sao Bento train station.
If you have more time in Portugal
If you are lucky enough to have more time available to explore Portugal, consider adding these locations to your Portugal trip itinerary:
- Serra do Buçaco: a lovely forested area with hidden treasures like the Fonte Fria and the not so hidden and opulent Buçaco Palace.
- Parque Natural do Alvão: a beautiful natural park, highlights are the Fisgas de Ermelo waterfalls and the nearby Senhora da Graça de Mondim de Basto.
- Costa Nova: the most colorful town in Portugal with its brightly colored striped houses.
Portugal in 2 weeks: in conclusion
I hope this post will help your Portugal trip planning process. This 14 day Portugal itinerary only covers the main highlights between Lisbon and Porto.
If you have any questions about this Portugal travel itinerary, leave a comment below or send me a message. Happy travels!