The Ultimate Itinerary for Portugal

the couple in lisbon

We recently visited Portugal in May and must say it was a captivating trip through history, culture, and natural beauty. We explored the charming streets of Lisbon, visited the majestic palaces of Sintra, roamed the winding alleys of Coimbra and tasted the famous pastel de nata (at least once a day :P) at Manteigaria.

Close-up of a freshly baked pastel de nata, a traditional Portuguese custard tart with a crispy, flaky crust and creamy filling

Savor the taste of Portugal with a delicious pastel de nata, the iconic custard tart that captures the essence of Lisbon’s sweet traditions

The breathtaking landscapes of Douro Valley, Nazare and the romantic ambiance of Porto’s riverside added to the experience. The warmth of the people, the richness of the food, and the timeless beauty of the architecture left an everlasting impression on us, making Portugal a destination we will always cherish

Planning the perfect itinerary can be overwhelming, at times but we had the help of Vipula along the way. Her detailed and insightful Portugal itinerary was very helpful in shaping our trip through this beautiful country. You can read more of her travels here

Panoramic view of the Douro Valley with terraced vineyards and the Douro River winding through the landscape in Portugal

Breathtaking views of the Douro Valley and Douro River, where rolling vineyards meet serene waters in Portugal’s famed wine region

Here’s an overview of the Portugal itinerary that we followed:

  • Day 1: Fly from Luxembourg to Lisbon
  • Day 2: Explore Lisbon
  • Day 3: Day trip to Sintra from Lisbon
  • Day 4: Explore Lisbon
  • Day 5: Drive from Lisbon to Coimbra. En route visit Obidos, Alcobaca, Fatime and Nazare
  • Day 6: Explore Coimbra. Drive to Douro Valley in the evening
  • Day 7: Explore Douro Valley
  • Day 8: Drive from Douro Valley to Porto. Explore Porto
  • Day 9: Explore Porto
  • Day 10: Fly from Porto to Luxembourg

Visa Process

Indian residents visiting Europe require a valid Schengen visa for short, temporary visits. As residents of Luxembourg, we held residence permits and did not need to apply for a Schengen visa.

Getting to Portugal 

Portugal has international airports in the cities of Lisbon and Porto. Many travelers opt to fly into one city and out of the other, or they do a round trip from either city. We flew with Ryanair from Luxembourg to Lisbon and with EasyJet from Porto to Luxembourg on our way back.

Day Wise Itinerary

Day 1: Arriving and settling in Lisbon

We arrived in Lisbon late in the evening and hailed a cab to our Airbnb located in the Chiado District. Our Airbnb had the perfect location with excellent connectivity via cabs and was very close to some popular pubs, cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets. Craving some good Indian food, which we hardly get in Luxembourg, we opted to have dinner at Sanskar Nepal Restaurant, near our Airbnb. To prepare for an early start next day, we bought some fruits and nuts for breakfast and went through the itinerary for the next day.

Day 2: Exploring Alfama and Baixa districts in Lisbon

Our day began with a visit to the Alfama neighborhood, renowned for its historical significance dating back to the Visigoth occupation. We explored the area’s tangled street plans, admiring the gorgeous views and the tiled buildings perched along steep cobbled streets stretching from Sao Jorge Castle all the way to the Tagus River.

Rohit and Shivani inside a historic Lisbon tram, smiling and enjoying the ride

Enjoying a ride on the historic Lisbon tram

Shivani walking down a set of stairs in the picturesque Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon

Exploring the charming streets of Alfama

The Alfama stroll, spanning about 1 km, took us through iconic landmarks like Sao Jorge Castle, Miradouro de Sao Jorge, Largo Santa Luzia, and the heart of Alfama

Rohit standing at Miradouro de santa luzia, overlooking the panoramic cityscape of Lisbon

Enjoying the stunning panoramic views from Miradouro de santa luzia in Lisbon

After a delightful lunch in Alfama, we visited Lisbon Cathedral before embarking on the Baixa stroll later in the day. This captivating walk covered Lisbon’s historic downtown, including landmarks like Praca do Comercio, Lisbon’s Riverfront, the Church of St. Nicholas, Rossio Square, and more.

A photo of Lisbon Cathedral, showcasing its intricate facade and towering spires against a blue sky backdrop

The magnificent Lisbon Cathedral stands as a symbol of the city’s rich history and architectural grandeur

Day 3: Day trip to Sintra 

Trip to Lisbon is incomplete without a visit to Sintra. It is a town in the foothills of the Sintra mountains, about an hour northwest of Lisbon. The region is hilly, tropical forested, and dotted with fairytale-like palaces and castles, making it a must-see for most visitors to Portugal. It was a summer escape for Portugal’s kings and aristocrats.

Image of the colorful Pena Palace nestled amidst trees and greenery in Sintra, Portugal

The majestic Pena Palace standing proudly amidst lush greenery in Sintra

We started the day early and were ready for a long day planned for Sintra. We caught the train from the Rossio train station and reached Pena Palace in Sintra for our scheduled entry at 10.00 AM.

Pro Tip:

  1. Purchase train tickets from the station the day before, if feasible, to avoid long queues on the next day. 
  2. For a smoother experience in Sintra, aim to catch an early train before 9 AM to beat the crowds as Sintra gets busy no matter what time of the year you are visiting. 
The ornate entrance door of Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal, a masterpiece of romantic architecture

Step into a fairytale: The majestic entrance of Pena Palace awaits in Sintra

Shivani posing in front of the colorful Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal, wearing a white and yellow outfit against the red and yellow palace

Blending in with the majestic backdrop of Pena Palace in Sintra

Pena Palace

Once we reached, we took bus #434 to reach the Pena Palace. The vibrantly colored Pena Palace stands out as one of Europe’s top attractions, making it the must-visit destination in Portugal. We explored the gorgeous Pena Palace, including its interior, courtyard, and gardens.

Many say that Pena palace has been inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. And we know that Neuschwanstein heavily influenced Disney’s ‘Cinderella Castle’

Our visit to the palace was followed by a walk and a delicious picnic lunch that we had packed and brought from Lisbon, enjoyed in the palace park.

A picnic spread with pies and fruits enjoyed at Pena Palace park, surrounded by lush greenery and scenic views

Indulging in a delightful picnic lunch amidst nature at Pena Palace park

After lunch, we visited the Moorish Castle, taking in the panoramic views and the beautiful sight of Pena Palace in the distance

Moorish Castle

Perched atop a hill in Sintra, the Moorish Castle stands as a testament to centuries of history. Built during the 8th and 9th centuries by the Moors, it served as a strategic fortress during the Reconquista. Today, its ruins offer visitors panoramic views and a glimpse into Portugal’s past

A panoramic view of the Moorish Castle in Lisbon, Portugal, surrounded by lush greenery and overlooking the city below

Marveling at the ancient walls of the Moorish Castle, a testament to Lisbon’s rich history

Quinta da Regaleira

Afterward, we returned to Sintra town and took bus #435 to spend the evening at Quinta da Regaleira. This spot felt like saving the best for last, allowing us to enjoy the gorgeous estate and gardens for the evening. In fact, we loved Quinta da Regaleira as much as we loved Pena Palace

A scenic view of Quinta da Regaleira, showcasing its intricate architecture and lush gardens in Sintra, Portugal

Exploring the enchanting Quinta da Regaleira estate in Sintra, Portugal, where magic meets architecture

Shivani standing inside the initiation well at Quinta da Regaleira, surrounded by enchanting architecture and intricate symbolism

Exploring the mystical depths of Quinta da Regaleira’s initiation well

Day 4: Exploring Lisbon

We spent the first half of the day by exploring the Belem district. We visited the Belem Tower, the Monastery of Jeronimos, and the Monument to the Discoveries. After the sight seeing, we spent the evening visiting LX Factory to enjoy some retail therapy and unique restaurants

The iconic Belém Tower as a stunning backdrop

The iconic Belém Tower as a stunning backdrop

ohit smiling as he enjoys a glass of Ginjinha, a traditional cherry liqueur, in Lisbon

Savoring a taste of Lisbon with a refreshing glass of Ginjinha

The Jerónimos Monastery is an architectural masterpiece in Lisbon and boasts intricate Manueline style dating back to the 16th century. Commissioned by King Manuel I, it stands as a symbol of Portugal’s Age of Discovery. Its grandeur and significance make it a must-visit destination, offering insight into Portugal’s rich history

Day 5: Driving from Lisbon to Coimbra. En route cover Obidos, Alcobaca, Fathima and Nazare

For us, any trip is not truly complete without a road trip. So we decided to drive a bit in the Portuguese countryside and cover the beautiful old towns of Portugal along the way. The highways in Portugal are well-maintained with proper signboards. Our car had a toll transponder, so we could pay the tolls electronically. We started the day early and picked the rental car from SixT, Lisbon downtown and hit the road around 8:30 AM.


Our first pit stop was Fatima where we visited the Sanctuary of Fatima. The church, known for its connection to the Marian apparitions, was a place of reflection and spiritual significance. We admired the intricate details of the basilica and spent around half an hour here


Our Next stop was Alcobaca, where we visited the famous Cistercian Monastery of Santa Maria. This UNESCO World Heritage Site monastery was founded in the year 1153. We were awed with this beautiful site of architecture and would strongly recommend to add in your itinerary.

Shivani sits in front of the Monastery of Santa Maria in Alcobaça, marveling at its stunning architecture and historical significance

Captivated by the grandeur of the Monastery of Santa Maria in Alcobaça

Image of Pedro's tomb: A king seated on a throne at the top, while below, the king lies in the tomb, symbolizing the circle of life

The Circle of Life depicted on Pedro’s tomb: A king reigning on his throne above, and below, his eternal rest


Following the visit, we drove to the town of Obidos, known as Portugal’s “wedding city.” After parking outside the main gate, we embarked on a self-guided tour of the town, appreciating its charming streets and landmarks

View of Obidos skyline featuring traditional houses and the historic boundary wall, encapsulating the town's charm and heritage

Obidos skyline showcasing quaint houses and the ancient boundary wall

Shivani enjoying the sunshine while exploring the quaint streets of Óbidos, Portugal.

Basking in the warm sunlight amidst the charming streets of Óbidos


Our last stop of the day was Nazare, the beach town famous for biggest waves in the world. Upon arrival, we strolled along the picturesque seafront, taking in the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. We took a funicular to the famous Sitio district, where we enjoyed panoramic vistas from the cliffside. We had dinner at a Vegan Chinese restaurant and absolutely loved it. Will shortly share more details on our blog post on ‘Vegetarian places to eat in Portugal’

Breathtaking Nazare

Post dinner we drove to Coimbra, checked into our hotel and called it a day.

Day 6: Exploring Coimbra

We started our day with a lovely morning walk around the Mondego River. After breakfast, we embarked on the Coimbra Old Town Walk, starting at the Church of Santa Cruz, admiring its grand façade. We passed the City Hall, visited Jardim da Manga, and explored the Mercado Municipal.

A ride on the Elevador do Mercado brought us up the steep hill to the University of Coimbra.

At the university, we toured the old core, including the Palace section, Iron Gate, courtyard, ceremonial halls, science labs and chapel

Discovering the centuries-old corridors of Coimbra University

On our way back, we crossed the Arco de Almedina and Praca de Commercio before returning to the hotel to collect our luggage. Finally, we drove to the Douro Valley, reaching our Airbnb which had the most amazing river and valley views.

Day 7: Exploring Douro Valley

Most tourists visit the Douro Valley as a day trip from Porto, but this charming wine region deserves more than just a quick visit. We highly recommend staying in the Douro Valley to fully enjoy its vineyards, river cruises, and amazing food without the hustle and bustle of big touristy towns. It’s an absolute delight!

A special mention of our Airbnb for enhancing our Douro experience. With luxurious amenities like complimentary breakfast, infinity pools, jacuzzi, and stunning Douro River views, it exceeded all expectations

Rohit relaxing in the infinity pool of a picturesque Airbnb villa with panoramic views of the Douro Valley

Unwinding in the infinity pool of a luxurious Airbnb overlooking the scenic Douro Valley

Indulging in the luxurious jacuzzi at our Douro Valley Airbnb

Hiking in Douro Valley

The Douro Valley is all about spending time in the picturesque vineyards, and what better way to do so than on a Port Wine hike trail?

We started the day early, waking up to a beautiful sunrise at our Airbnb. After an early breakfast, we drove to the trail’s starting point and began our hike around 10 AM. The sun was shining, the lemon and cherry trees were loaded with fruits, and we were just super happy to be in nature.

The trail is about 9 km long, with the last 2 kilometers having a 350-meter elevation gain. So, wear comfortable hiking shoes, and carry water, some nuts, fruits, and caps. The entire route winds through scenic vineyards and partly along the Douro River.

Day 8: Driving from Douro Valley and exploring Porto

We kicked off the day with a session of yoga followed by a refreshing dip in the infinity pool. Our Airbnb provided a delightful continental breakfast spread that we savored throughout our stay. Following breakfast, we checked out and headed for Porto.

Upon arriving in Porto, we checked into our Airbnb, returned the car, and embarked on the Upper Porto walk starting from Avenida dos Aliados. We explored several landmarks, including Praca da Liberdade, the Imperial McDonald’s, Rua da Fabrica, Praca Guilherme Gomes Fernandes, Praca de Gomes Teixeira, Praca de Lisboa Park, and the Sao Bento train station, renowned for its hand-painted tiles.

Next, we visited the Clerigos Church and Tower, admiring its architecture and beautiful blue tiles. We then headed to the Lello & Irmao Bookstore, famously associated with Harry Potter. However, we found it not worth the price (8 Euros per person) and wait, hence suggest skipping it. After the bookstore, we returned to our Airbnb to freshen up before heading out for dinner.

Day 9: Exploring Porto

We began the day by visiting the Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto), a short walk from our accommodation. Following this, we embarked on the Lower Porto walk along Rua das Flores. This included optional stops at the Misericórdia Church and Museum, a guided tour of the Stock Exchange Palace, and a visit to the São Francisco Church. We also explored Henry the Navigator Square and the nearby House of Henry the Navigator.

In the evening, we explored the Ribeira, Porto’s picturesque waterfront district. We strolled along the riverfront, taking in sights like the Ponte Dom Luís I bridge

Day 10: Flying from Porto to Luxembourg

The trip was coming to an end. With happy hearts, we packed our bags and were ready to head back home. With few morning hours in hand, we walked around Porto Cathedral, enjoying breakfast, and indulging in one last pastel de nata. We hope you enjoyed reading our blog and will have some helpful information to plan your Portugal itinerary

Various souvenirs from Portugal, including ceramics, cork products, and traditional crafts

Treasured souvenirs from Portugal, capturing the essence of its culture and heritage

We hope you enjoyed our journey through Portugal. Share your thoughts in the comments and stay tuned for more travel tips. Subscribe via email or follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates and inspiration.

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