If Portugal were a color, it would be the brightest, happiest shade of sunshine yellow. It’s one of those places that just leaves you feeling warm and energized, and after my recent road trip around Portugal, I totally fell in love.
This guide to spending 10 days in Portugal will cover some amazing things to see and do in one of my new favorite countries.
We decided to make the most of our time in Portugal by renting a car and taking a road trip. Having a car gave us more flexibility, and trust me, once you see all the amazing little villages and epic-looking castles, you’ll want all the freedom you can get.
This Portugal 10 day itinerary will guide you through some of the best places to visit in Portugal. If you’re looking for a Portugal road trip itinerary that covers a wide range of history, sea, surf, and city, you’ve come to the right place!
Best Time to Spend 10 days in Portugal
Because of its location and climate, there really isn’t a bad time to visit Portugal. The summer months from June to September are typically dry and can bring intense heat. November to March are usually milder and wetter, with winter temperatures in the 40s and 50s.
I visited Portugal in October and the weather each day was fantastic. It wasn’t so hot that exploring outside was uncomfortable, but it was warm enough to go out for the day in a tee-shirt and shorts.
I was comfortable spending a day on the beach – I even got a bit of sun – but remember that if you want to swim in the ocean you’ll likely need a wetsuit. Even in the hottest summer months, the water of the Atlantic is nice and chilly.
For me, this made October the best time to go to Portugal since it wasn’t as crowded as the summer months but still had great weather.
How Many Days Will The Road Trip Take?
The more time you have for your road trip, the better! There is so much to see and do in Portugal! I’d say make sure to give yourself at least 2 nights in each location you want to see.
Especially when you’re driving through Portugal, you don’t want to exhaust yourself by switching locations every day. You’ll end up losing time repacking, checking into and out of accommodations, and getting into and out of each city.
For us, 10 days was a good amount of time to visit three different cities without feeling rushed. We were able to take lots of little day trips too!
Renting a car for your 10 day trip to Portugal
We decided to road trip through Portugal so we would have more flexibility and freedom with our limited time. We weren’t 100% sure what to see in Portugal so we wanted to have the ability to change plans at short notice.
Portugal is a great country for road tripping because
- It is small enough to cover a lot of ground quickly
- With the exception of the quintessentially winding streets in the actual city centers, most roads are wide and well maintained.
- People drive on the right-hand side of the road just like in North America and the rest of mainland Europe.
- Renting a car was inexpensive and we were conveniently able to pick ours up and drop it off at the airport to save on additional transportation time.
We booked our rental car online with Sixt before arriving in Portugal. We were flying in and out of the Faro Airport so we made sure our car would be available for pick up there.
Our experience with Sixt was very smooth. The car was clean and ready to go as soon as we got to the airport pick-up location. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure you don’t get any unpleasant surprises.
- You’ll save money if you pick up and drop off your rental car at the same location. Choosing a different return location could almost double the price of your rental. For us, that meant the inconvenience of driving from Lisbon to Faro the morning before our flight, but it ended up saving us a ton of money.
- Consider getting a full coverage car rental insurance plan. There was one available through Sixt that was pretty pricy, but you can look into third-party coverage options as well.
- In Portugal, be prepared for lots of toll roads. This is part of the reason why the roads are so nice to drive on, but if you aren’t careful you could end up with a huge bill at the end of your trip. When you book your rental car, opt for the e-Toll service. This means that you can drive right through the tolls and they will be directly charged to your credit card.
If you don’t want to rent a car, no worries at all. In addition to an inexpensive bus system, there are trains available that will take you around most of Portugal. Train tickets are inexpensive and trains run often.
You can read more about the Portuguese train system here.
Days 1-3 Lagos, Algarve Portugal
Ahhh, Algarve. Known for its white-sand beaches and cliff views, the Algarve region is a great place to start your southern Portugal itinerary. And Lagos, Portugal is a charming small town in this region that you won’t want to miss.
In Lagos, you can enjoy meals among the mosaic tiles of the old town, endless fresh pasteis de nata, and hidden beaches with amazing views. Here are the best things to do in Lagos Portugal on your road trip.
For a more in-depth look at what to do in Lagos, head to this post!
Where to Stay in Lagos, Portugal
Lacus Town Guesthouse – We loved the Lacus Town Guesthouse for our stay in Lagos because it was affordable and in a quiet, but still central, location. The Lacus Town Guesthouse had the following convenient touches
- Easy any time entry
- A shared kitchen and shared bathrooms for each floor (note: our room didn’t have a private bathroom)
- Comfortable beds
- Quiet location walking distance to the city center
Carvi Beach Hotel – If you’re traveling during the warmer months and want a place with an awesome rooftop pool, Carvi Beach Hotel is your best bet! Pick this beautiful spot if you want
- Ocean views and a rooftop pool (click here to see the amazing pool!)
- Hotel Rooms with private bathrooms
- Breakfast included
- Walking distance to Praia Dona Ana
Best Places to Eat in Lagos, Portugal
- Pastelaria Gomba – No trip to Portugal is complete without trying the famous pastel de nata, a buttery, creamy pastry that melts in your mouth and fills you with bliss. Of the
fewdozens of pasteis de nata I tried in Lagos, the one from Pastelaria Gomba was my favorite.
- Beats and Burritos – If you need a Mexican fix, this quirky lunch spot will fit the bill. I loved their “build your own” burrito and bowl options for a tasty mid-day pick-me-up.
- Goji Lounge Cafe – This colorful spot will make any brunch-fan swoon. You might have to wait for a table since this cafe is very popular, but it’s in a nice part of town and I thought the food was definitely worth it.
- Casa do Prego – Our favorite dinner spot in Lagos with a stylish space and varied menu. If we found out about this place sooner we would have eaten here every night!
What to do in Lagos, Portugal
Lagos, Portugal has beautiful things to do during your stay.
Explore some of the best beaches in Lagos, Portugal: Lagos is located right along a spectacularly beautiful coastline featuring some of the best beaches in Algarve and it’s easy to explore on foot. You can walk from the Old Town to the sea in a matter of minutes, then head toward Praia da Batata to get started.
Starting at Praia de Batata, you can walk along the beach if it’s low tide or along the maintained paths on the cliffs. If you continue around the coastline, you’ll pass
- Praia dos Estudantes
- The Lagos Roman Bridge
- Praia do Pinhao
- Praia Dona Ana
And honestly, you could probably keep going all day. The beaches, lookout points, and trails continue down around the coastline, so bring some water, good walking shoes, and your camera because each place is more beautiful than the next.
Water Sports to Explore the Sea: If you walk to the beaches along the coast, you’ll probably see dozens of people on the water kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and participating in other watersports.
You can sign up for these activities in advance or rent equipment at the stands beside the Fort and at Praia de Batata. This is a great way to see some hidden spots and take in the Lagos scenery from a new perspective.
Visit the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira: Located just outside of the old town next to Praia de Batata, this looming fort used to be used to protect the town of Lagos from pirates and invaders.
Now, the fort houses a little maritime museum and chapel and you can visit for a small fee. Check their schedule here before you go since the museum is closed mid-day and on Mondays.
Watch the Sunset at Mar: I love a good sunset spot. There’s a restaurant up on the cliffs between Praia de Batata and Praia dos Estudantes called Mar that offers great sea views. The food and drinks are a bit pricy so this is a good option for a fancier night out with a view.
Swing by the Bon Vivant Rooftop Bar: If you’re looking for a bit of nightlife, the Bon Vivant Bar downtown is a great place to start. The bar itself is five levels tall but I’d recommend heading straight for the rooftop terrace overlooking the city.
Day trip to Sagres, Portugal
The coastal town of Sagres is just a 30 – 45-minute drive from Lagos. Sagres is known for surfing and for being the westernmost tip of mainland Europe.
Stop by the historical fortress (called the Fortaleza de Sagres), drive out to the Cabo de Sao Vicente lighthouse to see the “end of the world,” or relax on the beach and watch the surfers brave the chilly Atlantic waters.
If you enjoy surfing, it’s worth spending some time in Sagres on your 10-day Portugal road trip. Here are some of the best places to stay.
Day 4 – 7 Ericeira, Portugal
The drive from Lagos to Ericeira takes about 3 hours. I enjoyed seeing the scenery change from the arid south to the warm and temperate coast.
Ericeira is a fishing and resort town just outside of Lisbon known for world famous-surf. The surf is so famous here, in fact, that the coast of Ericeira has been designated a World Surfing Reserve.
This means two things. First, the waves and coastline here can’t be altered or destroyed since they’re protected.
Second, when you visit, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take surf lessons or, if you’re like me, watch in awe as surfers from around the world perform impossible tricks on very scary-looking waves.
Ericeira, in general, is a very laid-back town. The days slip by here, filled with delicious food and long afternoons by the beach.
The chilled-out vibes and beautiful surroundings make Ericeira one of my top Portugal places to visit.
Where to stay in Ericeira
Surfers Den Ericeira – This clean, popular hostel is a great option for budget travelers or solo travelers looking to find friends. We spent a night here in a private room when we first arrived in Ericeira and the central location is tough to beat. The owner is extremely helpful and surf lessons are also available.
- Private and Dorm rooms
- Community activities and socializing
- Surf lessons and surfboard storage
- Good location next to the bus station, walking distance to downtown and the beach
Beachouse Surf, Bed & Breakfast – This Bed and Breakfast was an amazing pick for an upscale Ericeira Portugal accommodation. Located a little out of town in a quiet valley, we felt like kings in this luxury villa with a sweet pool and homey touches.
- Delicious full breakfast included
- Pool and plenty of outdoor spaces with views of the valley and ocean (click here to see the dreamy pool and terrace!)
- 10-minute walk to Praia de Ribeira d’Ilhas and a 5-minute drive to down
- Highlights include luxurious rooms, a welcome bottle of wine, housekeeping, and an attentive host
Best Ericeira, Portugal Restaurants and Bars
- Pao da Vila – This cafe was one of our favorite spots for a quick, inexpensive meal. Unlike many of the restaurants in town, this spot was open all day and it was hard to beat those prices.
- Calavera – I mean, I had to include a Mexican food recommendation right? This spot was delicious for dinner and drinks. The queso was top notch and we were sad we didn’t have more nights to come here a second time.
- Brunch Me – For a tasty and affordable brunch downtown, look no farther than Brunch me. This was another top recommendation from our B&B host and with a cute atmosphere and high-quality dishes, Brunch me will help you start your day of surfing or beach-chilling off right.
- Green is Good – Vegans and veggies, Green is Good is the place for you. With drool-worthy set menus and a la cart choices, everyone will leave this healthy spot happy.
- Tik Tak – Another top dinner spot in downtown Ericeira, Tik Tak has a cozy, family-style ambiance. The traditional cuisine served here is popular so if you want to go for dinner, stop by early and make a reservation, then go have an appetizer or drink somewhere else until it’s time to dine.
Things to do in Ericeira
In Ericeira, it’s all about the surf! Ericeira is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal and the perfect place for a relaxing surf-filled getaway on the Atlantic ocean.
Watch the surfers at Ribeira d’Ilhas: Known for good surf and cliff views, Ribeira d’Ilhas is a great place to spend the day while visiting Ericeira. You can watch the advanced surfers from the outdoor bar and restaurant, sunbathe on the sandy beach, or take a hike around the surrounding hills for unique lookout points.
Beach day at Foz do Lizandro: This was one of my favorite beaches for relaxing and one of the top Ericeira Portugal things to do. Since Foz do Lizandro is a beach break, the surfing here is usually good for beginners.
There is also a boardwalk where you can rent surfboards, beach gear, or enjoy a restaurant with a view. Like Ribeira d’Ilhas, there were trails on the surrounding cliffs for those who enjoy a scenic hike.
Sunbathe at Pescadores Beach: This little sheltered beach in central Ericeira usually doesn’t have good surfing waves, but it’s still a great spot to soak up the sun just a few steps from downtown.
Shop and Socialize at Boardriders: In the evenings, Boardriders Quiksilver comes to life. This huge surf and clothing shop has an outdoor patio overlooking the famous Praia do Matadouro surf break and it’s a popular evening chill spot.
With affordable drinks and views for days, there’s a good reason everyone flocks to Boardriders for sunset and hanging out.
Stop by Adegabar for drinks: Adegabar was our favorite spot for drinks in Ericeira. This cozy pub often had live music, a welcoming atmosphere, and it was a great place to grab a quick drink before a later dinner reservation.
(Check out this guide for more fun things to do in Ericeira, Portugal.)
Day trips from Ericeira Portugal
The following day trips are easy and quick to get to from Ericeira.
Day Trip to Mafra: Mafra is a 15-minute drive from Ericeira. Here, you can visit the Palacio national de Mafra, one of the largest palaces in Europe with a basilica, monastery, and library.
Day Trip to Sintra: Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s about 30 minutes away from Ericeira. There are several palaces and castles in Sintra, the most famous of which is the Palácio Nacional da Pena, a colorful mansion you have to see to believe.
You can also check out the Palácio Nacional de Sintra, a Gothic-style palace with elaborate paintings inside, and Quinta da Regaleira, a Gothic mansion and gardens.
Day 8 – 10 Lisbon, Portugal
Now that you’re sunkissed from the beaches of Ericeira, it’s time to do some city exploring. Lisbon is the place to do it, and luckily Lisbon is only a 45-minute drive from Ericeira.
Lisbon was one of my favorite cities to visit in Portugal. It’s a foodie city. It’s a livable city for history buffs. Nightlife-seekers, outdoor enthusiasts, and mosaic-tile-fanatics will all take one look at Lisbon and say, “yep, I’m home.”
We only spent a little time here on our 10 days in Portugal and I think we both wished we had stayed longer in this special place. Here are some of the top things to do in Lisbon, Portugal.
Best Accommodations in Lisbon Portugal
- About a 30-minute walk to the city center
- Breakfast included
- Dorms and Private Rooms included
- Beautiful outdoor spaces and terrace
Lux Lisboa Park – For those looking for a more high-end experience, the Lux Lisboa Park hotel was an amazing spot to enjoy the city.
We chose to stay here for two nights to celebrate a special occasion. My favorite part of this top accommodation in Portugal was the massive breakfast and the rooftop bar area. Click here to see why I never wanted to leave the rooftop terrace!
- Luxurious rooms
- Walking distance to downtown
- Breakfast buffet included
- Rooftop terrace, bar, live music, and pool amenities
Best Places to Eat in Lisbon
With so many great places to eat in Lisbon, it would take a lifetime to try them all. Here are a few of my favorite Lisbon restaurants to try.
- Time Out Market – I love a good market, and this one in Lisbon was top-notch. This fully indoor market in the heart of the city will make any food-lover drool. With cuisines from around the world as well as local favorites, everyone will find something they love here.
- Manteigaria – Come here to try the best pastel de nata in Lisbon! They also have a location in the Time Out Market
- Vicente Restaurant – After a long day of exploring, we wandered around the old town looking for a place to eat. We passed this spot and poked our heads in and immediately decided we needed to eat here. There was a waiting list, but we happily put our names down and came back later. This place was worth it. The stone cave-like ambiance was romantic and we still look back on that meal as one of the highlights of our trip.
- The Bairro Alto Area – If you end up stumped on where to go for dinner, head to the Barrio Alto neighborhood and start walking. Walk up and down the small streets, and take a look at every menu you pass. Put your name on a list, grab a drink somewhere with good music (there will be many options), and enjoy the carefree vibes of downtown Lisbon after dark.
What to do in Lisbon
Visit the Miradouro da Graça Viewpoint: This outdoor terrace viewpoint high on the hill was one of my favorite places to visit in Lisbon Portugal. You’ll have to walk through what feels like miles of narrow, steep cobblestone streets to get here, but when you do you’ll see why this spot is definitely a Portugal must-see.
Explore the Castle of Sao Jorge: From all around the city, you can see this impressive castle which dates back to 200 BC. For ten euros, you’ll get even more amazing city views and a solid dose of history when you visit this top tourist attraction.
Take a stroll through Terreido do Paco: This plaza is known for being the site of The Ribeira Palace before it was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1700s. Make sure to pass through this bright historical square, preferably while eating a pastel de nata.
Ride the Funicular: Lisbon is a hilly city, and as a result, the city has a cool system of historical funiculars. Catch a ride on the popular Ascensor da Glória or on the less known oldest funicular in Lisbon, the Ascensor do Lavra.
Visit the Santa Justa Lift: Located in the Lisbon historic center, the Santa Justa Lift is an elevator that opened in 1902. It has stunning wrought iron and visitors can still ride the lift to this day. There’s also a lookout tower offering amazing views of the city.
If you have more time, this 3 day Lisbon Itinerary has some great suggestions for other things to do!
Day trips from Lisbon
If you have more time in Lisbon, do a half-day trip from the city to the lively beach town of Cascais. Cascais has nightlife, surfing beaches, restaurants, museums, and swimming beaches where you can relax by the sea.
Cascais is just a 20-30 minute drive from Lisbon but you can also get there by taking the train from the city center train station.
Sintra is also an excellent day trip from Lisbon. Get ideas for your one day in Sintra itinerary here.
If you have more time, head to Porto
If you have more days in your Portugal travel itinerary, that’s awesome! Consider heading to the north to explore Porto. Porto is the second-largest Portuguese city after Lisbon and the region is known for producing Port wine.
You can wander the charming narrow streets, enjoy lively evening entertainment, experience authentic port wine tastings throughout the city, and even take a boat tour on the Douro River.
If you’re planning a longer trip, say two weeks in Portugal, I’d definitely recommend adding this vibrant northern city and the nearby Douro Valley to your itinerary.
Portugal 10 day Itinerary Conclusions
This 10 day Portugal itinerary will take you from the southern Algarve region to the busy capital city with lots of special places in between.
For us, touring Portugal by car gave us the flexibility to do more day trips and go exactly where we wanted, when we wanted.
While ten days in Portugal definitely wasn’t enough to see all of this amazing country, it was enough to give a very satisfying taste.
Have you been to Portugal? What do you think are the best places to see in Portugal? Let me know in the comments below!
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