8 days/ 7 nights. Self-Drive Tour begins in Lisbon and ends in the Lisbon area. Because of Portugal's compact size, it's easy to visit its highlights in 8 days. In order to optimize your time, your overnight stay uses only 3 hotels, avoiding constant packing and unpacking and time looking for the way to the next hotel, which if done too often, takes precious time needed to discover Portugal. This itinerary uses Lisbon as the base for three nights, giving you time to explore the city center and its beautiful surroundings. The next three nights are based in Porto, capital of the north, where you'll discover the beautiful northern part of the country. The last night's accommodating in Cascais or Santa Cruz, selected to be unforgettable, will make you wish to return some day.
Day 1 - Arrive Lisbon
Visit Lisbon and stay for 3 nights.
Day 2 - Lisbon
Day to explore the city of Lisbon (if you wish a guided tour, please let us know)
Day 3 - Lisbon
Car rental pick-up in the city for day to explore Sintra and Estoril Coast on your own.
Day 4 - Lisbon - Porto
Depart for Porto, visiting Fátima (if you have interest for a religious visit) and Coimbra. Accommodation in Porto for 3 nights.
Day 5 - Porto
Day to explore Porto (if you wish a guided tour, please let us know).
Day 6: Porto
Day to explore the Minho region: Guimarães, Braga and Ponte de Lima.
Day 7 - Santa Cruz or Cascais
Return south to the Lisbon airport passing by Alcobaça and Óbidos. Last night in Portugal in a very special place (Santa Cruz or Cascais), 40 minutes driving distance to Lisbon Airport.
Day 8: End of Tour
Hotel check-out and departure to Lisbon Airport. Car drop-off at airport rental desk.
Places you will visit
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, located at the mouth of the Tagus River and from where the Portuguese boats set sail overseas in the 15th and 16th centuries towards East. At that time, the Maritime Discoveries period, the city became the centre of a large empire, still visible in the monuments of Belém section. Well known for its historic traditional neighborhoods you'll be charmed with the Chiado, Bairro Alto and Alfama as well as the Castle of Saint George and the gorgeous views you will enjoy from the top of its hill
Sintra and Estoril Coast
Among the sites you should not miss in Portugal is Sintra, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for the great beauty of its natural setting, architecture, fairy tale palaces and lush vegetation. The Cascais and Estoril Coast are places of charm and aristocratic traditions that you'll see along the Atlantic Ocean. The wild coastline includes white sandy beaches and magnificent fortresses from the 17th century.
Fatima is one of the most important shrines in the Catholic world since the apparitions of Our Lady to three little shepherds in this small town in the year of 1917. Since then, many thousands of pilgrims have been coming to Fátima every year to visit the sacred sites of the apparitions and to attend the religious ceremonies, chiefly between May and October, in whose months the visions of the Virgin Mary occurred.
Coimbra is the city of the students because it was here that the first university in Portugal was created in the 13th century. Today, it's the oldest and one of the most important in the country and in all of Europe. Be sure to visit the Baroque Library from the 18th century, one of the highlights of a visit to Coimbra. In its city center you'll wander among Romanesque and Manueline churches while strolling across its busy commercial area.
Porto is both the name of a city and a fortified wine (Porto in Portuguese, Port in English), one of the most famous in the world. Port wine is aged at the wine cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia on the south bank of the Douro River. Porto's historical center has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and preserves many beautiful monuments, mostly from the Baroque period when wealth accumulated with the Port wine trade. You should not miss a visit to the Cathedral (Sé), the Church of Saint Francis (Sao Francisco) and the Clérigos Tower.
Braga is known for its religious past due to the importance and power of the church,. It's still visible in the numerous churches and other religious buildings near the Cathedral (the oldest of Portugal) and the monumental Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Braga with it's cascading ornate staircase.
Ponte de Lima
Ponte de Lima is located on the banks of the Lima River. It's considered the most ancient village in Portugal, having been given a charter in 1125 by the mother of our first king. It's beautiful historic center includes a large number of manor houses and palaces. In Ponte de Lima you can enjoy its local cuisine and delightful Vinho Verde (green wine).
Famous for the majestic Cistercian monastery from the 12th century, Alcobaca is the oldest Gothic church in Portugal. Within the monastery are the artistic tombs of King Pedro and his beloved Inês, 14th century characters of the most famous Portuguese love story.
One of the loveliest medieval villages in Portugal, still surrounded by walls and whose traditional whitewashed houses are decorated with blue and yellow trims around doors and windows. The multicolored flowerbeds decorating the houses prove the female touch in this village that used to be the wedding gift of our kings to their queens.