Portugal is as it has always been. Interesting, fun and friendly. From North to South, East to West there is a never ending stream of activities and sights to keep your wanderlust fulfilled.
This 1 week itinerary I have put together is based on the time we spent exploring the western edge of Portugal. This itinerary is a no nonsense GET IT DONE itinerary with room for the smallest amount of chill time.
You can easily switch the plan around, ending where we started or, starting where we ended. If you do think that you will need more “chill time” then extend your trip by a few more days where recommended.
Side accommodation note: Whilst staying in Lisbon I highly recommend staying at Sunset Destination Hostel. They have 3 hostels and you can enter any of them whenever you fancy a nap or a new chill out spot.
(One even has a cute little swimming pool and a funky dome /bar tent space)
Portugal, West Coast Wonders: 1 week Itinerary
DAY 1: Start by arriving in Lisbon. Settle into your accommodation (quickly! There is much to do!). Put your walking boots on and head for Rossio square. Spend the day here eating, drinking and sight seeing. There’s a lot to do and see here for all ages.
DAY 2: Belém – Today is a day for exploring. Spend a good half hour looking at Belém Tower, grabbing an ice cream and, wishing your house looked this good. Take a stroll around and see if you can find the huge raccoon painting. If you fancy a museum trip, walk over to the navy museum. Don’t leave Belém before you’ve spent a while walking around the family friendly gardens (Jardim de Belém and Jardim da Praça do Imperio) and visiting Jerónimos Monastery. This gothic monastery is enormous and architecturally brilliant. If you like panoramic views then walk up to Padrão dos Descobrimentos before it gets dark. Head back to Rossio Square for the evening to experience the friendly atmosphere at night.
DAY 3: Beach Day – You can’t go to Portugal and not see the beach.
The morning: If you’re looking for a great beach near Lisbon to relax and soak up the sun then Cascais is just one of the bigger sandy beaches you can head to. If you like to surf or just want to give it a try then contact Gota De Agua Surf School. These guys are brilliant teachers and will look after you ( especially if you break your toe like I did!) For lunch why not stay by the beach and sample the delights of the yummy restaurants near by.
The afternoon: The afternoon can be well spent in Almada. Take a short ride over to Almada to see the enormous statue of Christ (Santuário Nacional de Cristo Rei) – when we went surfing with Gota de Agua this mini trip to Almada was included in our lessons so ask them and you may get the same trip!(if you love the beach then perhaps add another day here)
DAY 4: Sintra – Wake up early, Travel light, wear comfortable shoes and, pack water and snacks! Sintra is an incredible place to spend the day. If you have an extra day in Portugal then Sintra is worth another day. If you’re up for a climb then scale the pathway up to the Castle of the Moors, reward yourself by going inside and admiring the picturesque views and ruins. Trek back down to ground level and explore the area. Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira and so much more are waiting for you!
DAY 5: Coimbra – Pack up your bags, it’s time to change base. Jump on the train to Coimbra, the home of Fado music, to spend the next day and a half roaming around the UNESCO World Heritage Site Coimbra University. Entry is cheap and you can either take an organised tour or a self guided one for a small cost. Use the rest of your day for shopping and indulging in sweet treats and souvenirs on the Main Street. Spend the night near the Main Street at a Fado House listening to incredible traditional music. Stay near the Main Street to allow for more adventure and less commuting.
DAY 6: Coimbra to Porto – Rise early and continue your exploration of Coimbra. Check out the Convent of Christ for some more gothic architecture. Stroll down the river where you’ll be greeted by an enormous Astro turf bear (Mondego Bear). Give him a hug, take a selfie and then it’s lunch.At lunch time get on the train from Coimbra City to Porto via Coimbra-B station . Your final stop.
DAY 7: Porto – Make today count. It’s your last day so do whatever will make you say “WOW”. Walk across the Dom Luis Bridge (whether it’s sunny or not) to see the river in its full glory. Then go buy a book from the Harry Potter-esque library Livraria Lello. Stare at the fine detailing on the walls of Church São Fransisco, or tour around the ever so grand Pálacio da Bolsa.
Leave Portugal feeling cultured, well informed, walked half to death and inspired to see more of the wonderful country. If you aren’t ready to go home stay another day.
I wish you a wonderful trip!