Get Our Newsletter
Deals. News. Tips!

Driving the Heart of Portugal: 9 Days, 8 Nights

From $972

Looking for a journey to the soul of Portuguese history and culture?’s Driving the Heart of Portugal self-drive package routes you through the the sunny plains of the Alentejo, the mountains of the Beiras, the vineyard-terraced slopes of the Douro River Valley, the tradition-rich Minho, and the beaches of the Costa du Prata. You’ll visit clifftop castles, Roman ruins, medieval churches, quaint villages, Catholic monasteries and sample the best of local cuisine and wine along the way. Whether you choose a superior room, a traditional pousada or something in between, these are eight nights you will spend dreaming of the most naturally beautiful, historic, spiritual and delicious experiences Portugal has to offer.

Lisbon Towns and Villages tourItinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Portugal

Pick up your car and drive from the airport to your hotel in Lisbon. Get a good night’s rest before beginning your road trip.

Day 2 – Explore the Alentejo Countryside:

Evora to Estremoz & Marvao [247 km; 155 miles]

Collect your rental car and begin your journey. Head east across the Vasco de Gama Bridge into the Alentejo region, accounting for one-third of Portugal’s land but less than one-tenth of its people. You’ll cruise past wheat fields, olive groves, orchards, vineyards and cork oaks. The whitewashed towns of the southern plains will give way to walled hilltop villages nestled in rocky terrain. Ancient stone circles, dolmens, and menhirs in the area provide evidence of the depth of Portugal’s neolithic history. Your first stop will be the walled city of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage site perhaps most famous for its chapel of bones. As you walk Évora’s narrow streets, Roman, Moorish, Medieval and Renaissance architecture are testament to the city’s long and fascinating history – dating back to the pre-Christian era. Continue to Estremoz, a hilltop town overlooking groves of olive trees. Area quarries produce the second largest quantity of fine marble in the world and have supplied European artists and architects since Roman times. You’ll continue up to the Spanish border and overnight in the 8th-century castle town of Marvao, perched on a cliff affording epic views.

Day 3 - Climb to Serra da Estrela Mountain Villages: 

Marvao to Castelo de Vide, Sortelha, Belmonte & Guarda [223 km; 140 miles]

Guarda castle in portugal. Photo by Sebastiao Fonseca - Turismo de Portugal

Guarda Castle, Photo: S. Fonseca, Turismo de Portugal

Navigate winding beauty of Portugal’s highest mountains, the Serra da Estrela, as you drive north and visit charming villages along the way. Don’t miss the Roman spa town of Castelo de Vide and its mazelike old Jewish Quarter with whitewashed houses and pots of bright flowers. Up next is the gem-like 12th century village of Sortelha with fortifications offering panoramic views of the wild countryside. The largest community of Portuguese Jews – marranos – lives in nearby Belmonte but Pedro Álvares Cabral is this town’s favorite son. He discovered Brazil in 1500 and was the first explorer to reach four continents. Therefore much of Belmonte displays the subject of his family crest: goats. Continue to Guarda where you will spend the night.

Day 4 – Walk the Medieval Towns of the Foothills

Guarda to Viseu, Lamego, Vila Real & Amarante [270 km; 170 miles]

Amarante. Photo by Paulo Magalhaes. Turismo de Portugal

Amarante. Photo: Paulo Magalhaes, Turismo de Portugal

Wake in the ancient city of Guarda (meaning “protector”) in the Beira Alta region of the Serra da Estrela, home to many castles and walled cities crowning the hills overlooking the border with Spain. Continue to Viseu, a crossroads since the Roman occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, and home to the Dão wine-growing region. Drive to the Catholic pilgrimage town of Lamego to see Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. Cross the Douro River at Peso da Regua to Vila Real for a visit to Casa de Mateus, an exquisite 18th century Baroque manor house. Head west to the Romanesque town of Amarante on the Tâmega River where St. Gonçalo arrived in the 12th century and the locals battled Napoleon’s army in 1763. Overnight here (Package A) or continue to Guimarães (Package B).

Day 5 – Experience the Unique Region of Minho

Guimarães to Braga, Viana do Castelo & Porto [160 km; 100 miles]

Viana do Castelo - Santuario de Santa Luzia

Viana do Castelo - Photo: Asta D'Eca, Turismo de Portugal

Begin a remarkable day in Guimarães, also known as Cidade Berço (“The Cradle City”) because it played a critical role in the formation of today’s Portugal: Henry of Burgundy named the town the administrative seat of the County of Portugal in the 1000s, the nation’s first proclaimed king was born here in 1109, and the area’s Battle of São Mamede in 1128 led to the establishment of the Kingdom of Portugal. In fact, Guimarães’ Castelo de Sao Miguel (St. Michael’s Castle) church appears on the Portuguese national coat of arms. Continue your historic expedition of the Minho region in Braga, visiting the Archbishop’s Palace and the chapel where Henry of Burgundy is buried. Just to the east of Braga, is Bom Jesus do Monte, a spectacular Christian pilgrimage site with an extraordinary Baroque staircase cascading 381 feet down a hillside. Another option is to visit Ponte de Lima and continue to coastal Viana do Castelo, where you can park and explore the winding streets on foot. Drive on to Porto where you’ll stay the night. (A superior hotel package is available at the Pestana Porto Vintage’s Superior Plaza room for the 2 nights.)

Day 6 – Enjoy a Full Day in Porto

Take a break from the car to explore the colorful streets of Porto. Situated on the north bank of the Douro River and close to the ocean, Porto has a storied history with tales of Romans, Moors, crusaders, overseas colonies and gastronomical achievements. On the south bank of the river is Vila Nova de Gaia, home to the Port Wine Lodges where the town’s namesake Port wines are aged and bottled. Many of them are open for touring and tasting. Don’t miss a meal here: Porto is renown for its unique and mouth-watering food and drink.

Day 7 – Cruise the Central Coast to Coimbra

Porto to Aveiro, Buçaco Forest & Coimbra [160 km; 100 miles]

Canal das Piramides, Aveiro. Photo by Jose Manuel. Turismo de Portugal

Canal das Piramides, Aveiro. Photo: Jose Manuel, Turismo de Portugal

Hug the coast as you drive south, making your first stop in Aveiro. Known as the “Venice of Portugal,” Aveiro is a city of canals, seaweed-collecting boats and the famous Vista Alegre china factory. Move on to the Buçaco Forest for an amble along the arboretum’s trails that were laid out by monks centuries ago. In the middle of the forest, you will come upon a unique hotel, The Buçaco Palace, once a convent and then a royal hunting lodge. Continue to Coimbra, home to one of Europe’s oldest universities founded in 1290. Its historic buildings – including a Baroque clock tower, a tile-covered chapel and the beautiful Joanine Library - dominate the town’s hilltop. The ancient city center is home to Roman ruins, Romanesque cathedrals and the old maze-like streets of the Moorish quarter. Stay the night in this historical center. (A superior hotel package is available at the Quinta das Lagrimas hotel’s to Palacio/Spa room.)

Day 8 – Follow the Faithful near Fatima

Coimbra to Conimbriga, Fatima, Batalha, Alcobaca, Nazare, Obidos & Lisbon [279 km; 175 miles]

Pope statue in Fatima - Portugal

Fatima, Portugal

Depart Coimbra for your last day on the road as you head for the Lisbon area. You’ll head south on the A1 motorway and stop at Conímbriga to see the excavation of a large and prosperous Roman town – one of Portugal’s largest and most complete archeological sites. Continue to Fatima, one of the Catholic world’s greatest pilgrimage sites, drawing hundreds of thousands of followers each year. Nearby is an exquisite 15th century masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic “Manueline” architecture, the Monastery of Batalha. It has been certified a UNESCO World Heritage site, as has the Monastery of Alcobaça, which you will visit next. This monastery is Portugal’s largest and its architecture is completely different from that of Batalha. Drive along the Costa de Prata (“Silver Coast”) to Nazaré to walk the wide golden beaches, catch a glimpse of the massive waves, and sample some of Portugal’s best seafood in this coastal resort and fishing town. Your last stop before Lisbon should be Obidos, the charming walled village with classic whitewashed houses and cobblestone streets. It will be another hour’s drive on the A8 motorway from Obidos to Lisbon before you return your car rental and overnight in Lisbon.

Day 9 – Depart for Home or Extend Your Adventure

Wake in Lisbon and take a last drive to the airport for your return home. Alternatively, contact to extend your holiday with more time in Lisbon, a trip to the Algarve, or a longer jaunt elsewhere in the region.

Prices per person in US Dollars
Double = 2 persons per room
Triple = 3 persons per room
4 P (2 Room) = 4 persons in two rooms

Rental Car:
4 Person (2 rooms) will be sharing a minvan
3 People (1 room) will be sharing a compact station wagon
2 People (1 Room) will be sharing an economy car

Comfort and Superior price
Refer to Hotel level. Please click on hotel tab above to see hotels

Departure DateSingle ComfortSingle SuperiorDouble ComfortDouble SuperiorTriple ComfortTriple Superior4 P (2 Room) Comfort4 P (2 Room) Superior
6/21/2018 - 6/22/2018$1991$2479$1187$1387$1035$1310$1173$1585
6/23/2018 - 7/6/2018$1734$2479$1059$1387$1035$1310$1257$1585
7/7/2018 - 8/18/2018$1893$2637$1138$1466$1194$1469$1423$1751
8/19/2018 - 8/22/2018$1734$2479$1059$1387$1035$1310$1257$1585
8/24/2018 - 9/15/2018$1818$2546$1101$1448$1063$1351$1299$1646
9/16/2018 - 10/31/2018$1631$2358$1008$1354$972$1259$1173$1520

Included in this Package:

  • 8 nights accommodations in selected hotel groups (Comfort or Superior, see price table)
  • 8 buffet breakfasts
  • 8 days car rental (pick up and drop off at airport)
  • 1/2 day tour of Porto or Lisbon (you choose)
  • Fado show and dinner in Lisbon

Superior Package Upgrades:

  • Stay at Quinta das Lagrimas in Coimbra in Palacio/Spa room

Included in Car Hire:

  • 2 People - Economy: Seat Ibiza or similar. Manual transmission, AC
  • 3 People - Compact: Station Wagon: Renault Megane or similar. Manual transmission, AC
  • 4 People - Minivan:  Seat Alhambra, VW Transporter or similar. Manual transmission, A/C
  • Upgrades available upon request
  • Unlimited miles/kilometers
  • Basic LDW (CDW Collision Damage Waiver + TW Theft Waiver), ASC (Airport Service Charge) and LAF (Vehicle Licensee Fee)
  • Vehicles are manual transmission. Please contact for automatic rental car rates.

Not Included in Car Hire: 

  • Child, toddler or infant/booster seat - Available at an additional charge.
  • GPS - Available at the rental counter for 7 Euros per day for a maximum rental cost of 105 Euros.
  • Toll Device - It can be rented for 1.5 Euros per day for a maximum of 15 Euros per rental
  • Gasoline or Diesel Fuel
  • Super CDW Coverage - This waives responsibility for paying excess charges in case of accident or car theft. This coverage can be purchased directly at car rental desk.

Car Hire Upgrades:

  • Upgrades to a different group/class available upon request
  • Automatic transmission available upon request
Evora square -
Coimbra's street - Coimbra Portugal
Alcobaca Monastery
Portugal travel and tours - Lisbon bridge 25 de Abril |
buildings - Porto - Portugal
Note: Hotels shown are for reference only. We reserve the right to change hotels based on availability, group size or other factors. Should alternate hotel be required, it will be of same or better rating .

Comfort Hotels

Marvao - Boutique Hotel Poejo

Situated only 5 km from the medieval village of Marvao, this boutique hotel in Alentejo features elegant rooms decorated with local crafts and paintings. An extensive breakfast buffet is served daily and an indoor pool is located 250 meters from the hotel.

The hotel’s units are individually decorated and include modern furnishings. The air-conditioned rooms and suites have a minibar, safe, seating area, cable or satellite TV, free WiFi and a wardrobe. The full bathroom includes a hairdryer, bathrobe, slippers and free toiletries.

Natural fruit juices and locally produced honey are part of O Poejo’s breakfast buffet.

Guests can relax under an umbrella at the terrace or play a board game. The hotel also features a lounge with internet access, books, DVD’s and Playstation games. Sporty guests can take long walks in the neighboring Serra S. Mamede Natural Park.

Free private parking is available on site. Castelo de Vide is 15 km away, while Portalegre is 25 km away from the hotel.

Porto - Grande Hotel do Porto

grande hotel de porto guestroom

In Porto's central pedestrian zone, this hotel is a 5-minute walk from the São Bento Train Station. It has a rooftop terrace and a restaurant serving Portuguese cuisine from a varied dining menu.

The elegant rooms at the Grande Hotel do Porto include a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a minibar and a private bathroom with a bathtub tub and shower.

With a romantic atmosphere, D. Pedro II Restaurant is in a restored ballroom. It serves authentic Portuguese cuisine prepared with local ingredients. Drinks can be enjoyed at the Windsor Bar.

Guests can admire panoramic Porto views from the terrace, train in the fitness room or relax with a massage.

Convenient facilities at the Grande Hotel do Porto include laundry services, babysitting services and currency exchange.

Grande Hotel do Porto is steps from Bolhão Bus and Metro Station and 10 minutes from the Serra do Pilar Monastery by foot. The Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport is 9 miles from the hotel. 

União de Freguesias do Centro is a great choice for travelers interested in architecturewine and city walks.

grande hotel de porto 2grande hotel de porto common areagrande hotel de porto rooftop patio

Guimaraes - Hotel Guimaraes

Located in the heart of historical Guimarães, Hotel de Guimarães features a spacious indoor pool and offers rooms with cable TV. Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, the city walls and the Salado Monument are within a 15-minute walk.

The air-conditioned accommodation at Hotel de Guimarães feature contemporary furnishings and a LCD TV. They come equipped with a safety deposit box and a minibar.

The restaurant D. Maria is decorated in warm colors and offers panoramic city views. It serves a buffet breakfast and seasonal Mediterranean cuisine. The Piano Bar serves a selection of beers, wines and refreshments.

Guests of the Hotel de Guimarães can relax in the sauna, and enjoy a massage or body treatment. The hotel also a boasts a large fitness center.

Hotel de Guimarães offers free on-site public parking.

Guarda - Hotel Lusitania Congress & Spa

Lusitania Hotel offers rooms with private balconies, just 10 minutes by car from Guarda’s historic city center. It offers indoor and outdoor swimming pools and an extensive spa area.

All rooms at Hotel Lusitania have modern furnishings which include air conditioning and satellite TV. Free wired internet is available in all rooms.

Lusitania’s spa is fully equipped with dry and wet sauna, a hot tub and massage and aesthetics cabinets. The Health Club offers a gym and water sports, as well as a tennis court and football pitch.

Being Portugal’s first bio friendly hotel, the Lusitania has an on-site organic farm and a flower garden. The vegetables from the farm are prepared at the hotel’s restaurant.

Lusitania Hotel is 1.6 km away from Guarda Railway Station. The hotel is located next to the Serra Da Estrela National Park.

Lisbon - Marques de Pombal Hotel

Hotel Marques de Pombal view Lisbon |

Hotel Marques de Pombal is a superior four star hotel featuring individually decorated rooms with floor-to-ceiling paintings and free internet, this 4-star hotel is located on the Avenida da Liberdade. Marques de Pombal Metro Station is 50 feet away.

A well-equipped gym with professional trainers is featured at Hotel Marques De Pombal. Guests can relax in the Finnish sauna and in the hammam, or request treatments at the beauty salon.

Lisbon-themed black-and-white pictures decorate the rooms of Marques De Pombal Hotel. Flat-screen TVs and iPod docks can be found in each room, and some rooms offer a view over the boulevard.

Restaurant Blu serves a range of international dishes, and guests can enjoy an after-dinner drink at the adjacent bar. An extensive breakfast, including rolls, fresh fruits and hot dishes, is served daily.

Santo Antonio is a great choice for travelers interested in monuments, history and architecture.

Hotel Marques de Pombal restaurant Lisbon |

Coimbra - Tivoli Coimbra

Hotel Tivoli Coimbra front|

The Hotel Tivoli Coimbra is a  modern 4-star hotel is located near the Mondego River in historic Coimbra. Its modern rooms feature a flat-screen TV with satellite and paid movie channels.

All bright rooms at Tivoli Coimbra feature large windows, a sitting area and a minibar.

Breakfast can be delivered to the rooms or enjoyed in the dining room. Tivoli Caffè Lounge Bar serves lunches and dinners inspired by the traditional Portuguese kitchen.

Tivoli Coimbra's multilingual staff offers a 24-hour service and can arrange rental cars or offer travel or sightseeing advice. Nearby Rua da Sofia offers public transportation options connecting to other parts of Coimbra.

Hotel Tivoli Coimbra bedroom | Portugal.comHotel Tivoli Coimbra restaurant | Portugal.comHotel Tivoli Coimbra massage |

Superior Hotels

Amarante - Casa da Calcada

Casa da Calcada is a Relais & Chateaux boutique hotel set in a 16th century manor and located in central Amarante with views over the Tamega River. It offers an outdoor pool, nearby golf facilities and free parking. 

Casa da Calacada's chic guestrooms feature antique furnishings and features. Renovated in 2001, the rooms combine old decor with modern amenities such as satellite TV and air-conditioning.

At Casa da Calcada guests can enjoy local specialties with an international touch at the restaurant. The hotel's bar serves a selection of wines produced in the nearby Douro Valley and champagne produced in-house.

Other facilities of the Casa da Calcada Relais & Chateaux include a solarium and a bike rental.

The hotel is located less than one hour from both Porto and the Douro Valley. Francisco de Sa Carneiro airport is also less than one hour away and the hotel provides a private shuttle service.

Guarda - Hotel Lusitania Congress & Spa

Lusitania Hotel offers rooms with private balconies, just 10 minutes by car from Guarda’s historic city center. It offers indoor and outdoor swimming pools and an extensive spa area.

All rooms at Hotel Lusitania have modern furnishings which include air conditioning and satellite TV. Free wired internet is available in all rooms.

Lusitania’s spa is fully equipped with dry and wet sauna, a hot tub and massage and aesthetics cabinets. The Health Club offers a gym and water sports, as well as a tennis court and football pitch.

Being Portugal’s first bio friendly hotel, the Lusitania has an on-site organic farm and a flower garden. The vegetables from the farm are prepared at the hotel’s restaurant.

Lusitania Hotel is 1.6 km away from Guarda Railway Station. The hotel is located next to the Serra Da Estrela National Park.

Porto - Porto Palacio Congress Hotel & Spa

Featuring a rooftop lounge with panoramic Porto and Douro River views, 5-star Porto Palacio has a luxurious spa with massage rooms, squash court, fitness centre and an indoor pool. The Casa da Musica is 8 minutes’ walk away.

Decorated in a modern style, the spacious, soundproofed rooms have a 26-inch, flat-screen satellite TV, seating area and minibar. The marble private bathrooms include underfloor heating. All rooms feature free WiFi access.

Breakfast is served each morning at the VIP Lounge, which also serves drinks and light snacks. It has rooftop views over the Douro River and over Porto. Nautilus Bar & Bistrô offers a nice setting for a meal, while Porto Beer offers a range of tasty typical dishes.Guests can try quality Japanese cuisine at the Gosho restaurant.

Located on Avenida da Boavista, Porto Palácio Congress Hotel & Spa is a 7-minute walk from Estadio do Bessa. Casa da Musica and Francos metro stations are both less than a 15-minute walk from the hotel. The city centre is around 15 minutes’ drive away. Porto International Airport is 8.3 miles from the hotel.

Lordelo do Ouro e Massarelos is a great choice for travelers interested in city trips, food and riverside walks.

Porto Palacio Hotel bedroom - PortugalPorto Palacio Hotel rooftop - PortugalPorto Palacio Hotel swimming pool - Portugal

Marvao - Pousada de Marvao

The Pousada de Marvao is housed in two 13th century buildings. All rooms have private bathrooms, have cable TV and air conditioning. The restaurant has panoramic views of the town.

All Pousada de Marvao's rooms are equipped with a telephone and minibar for guests' convenience.

There are many activities to enjoy when staying at Pousada de Marvao, including fishing, hiking and exploring the medieval town.

Guests can dine in at Pousada de Marvão’s restaurant and admire the view, or dine out at one of the local taverns.

Coimbra - Quinta das Lagrimas

Quinta das Lagrimas, a small luxury hotel is located in a historic medieval setting. The Quinta features botanical gardens and a state-of-the-art spa with views across Coimbra.

Quinta das Lagrimas has three room types: Palace Rooms, that once accommodated the Duke of Wellington, and Garden Rooms overlooking the botanical garden. Spa Rooms include a hydrotherapy bath tub and boast stunning views of the Quinta das Lagrimas outdoor surroundings.

The two restaurants at Hotel Quinta das Lagrima serve seasonal dishes prepared with fresh local ingredients grown on the estate. Dine al fresco whilst enjoying selected local wines from the cellar.

Bamboo Garden Spa provides a range of luxury treatments and beauty therapies, and there is a library filled with thousands of ancient books. Quinta das Lágrima has a golf driving range and a 9-hole course.

Hotel Quinta das Lagrimas is 80 minutes’ drive from Porto Airport. Free on-site car parking is available.

Lisbon - Tivoli Lisboa

Hotel Tivoli Lisboa entry |

The Tivoli Lisboa hotel is located in a 1930s building on Avenida da Liberdade. This 5-star luxury hotel features a rooftop bar with panoramic Lisbon views. It includes an outdoor round pool and 2 restaurants.

The Tivoli Lisboa’s pool area includes a spacious terrace framed by a green garden. Guests can enjoy a massage.

The top-floor restaurant prepares international cuisine, and features a wine list with over 300 selections and panoramic views. The restaurant Brasserie Flo Lisbon on ground floor serves French meals and the hotel provides valet parking service.

The carefully furnished rooms have flat-screen TVs with satellite channels and a sitting area with velvet seats. Some rooms overlook the courtyard or Avenida da Liberdade.

Avenida Metro Station is 500 ft away. Guests can reach the Baixa-Chiado station with a 2-stop ride on the Blue Metro Line.

Coracao de Jesus is a great choice for travelers interested in cathedral, beach walks and cleanliness.

Hotel Tivoli Lisboa swimming pool | Portugal.comHotel Tivoli Lisboa restaurant |

Booking your land only vacation

  • A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit of $100 per person is required to confirm and hold your reservation
  • Vacation departures, itineraries and prices are subject to change until confirmed
  • Full payment due 45 days from departure

Booking your Vacation with Air

  • This vacation does not have an airfare option. We can hold your land reservation while you book air. Once you confirm your air itinerary we can then proceed with collecting a deposit and confirming your land portion

Cancellation Policy

  • Deposit is non-refundable
  • Cancellation 45 to 22 days prior to departure: 20% of total price minus deposit
  • Cancellation 21 to 8 days prior to departure: 30% of total price
  • Cancellation 7 to 2 days prior to departure: 50% of total price
  • Less than 48 hours, "no shows" and unused services - No refund

I want to book. What do I do next?

  • Click on the "Book Now" button to send your reservation request
  • No payment will be collected at this time
  • Our travel Associate will contact you via email to answer any questions and book your Package
  • If you don't plan to book at this time please click here to contact us with any questions or concerns about your trip or your holiday

Booking Changes

  • A fee of $35 per person, per transaction, will be charged for any revision or alteration made to a reservation after the booking is confirmed. 

Travel Insurance

  • We strongly recommend you purchase travel/cancellation insurance

Similar Packages

Best Seller

The Grand Driving Tour of Portugal: 12 Days, 11 Nights

From $1151 per Person
Availability Departure Any Day

12 Days/ 11 Nights. Drive all of Portugal's most amazing destinations - from bottom to top! A best seller for top value!

pico azores vineyard


Azores 3 Island Self-Drive Getaway

From $511 per Person
Availability Departure Any Day

7 Days/ 6 Nights. See the best the Azores have to offer. Visit the 3 picturesque islands of Faial, Pico, and São Miguel. Includes automatic transmission car.



Azores 4 Island Self-Drive Getaway

From $775 per Person
Availability Departure Any Day

10 Days/ 9 Nights. Visit four of the Azores Islands with the most to offer: Terceira, Faial, Pico, and São Miguel. Includes automatic transmission car.

faial typical old windmill 1200 x 400


Azores 5 Island Self-Drive Getaway

From $1094 per Person
Availability Departure Any Day

14 Days/ 13 Nights. See the 5 mystical islands of Faial, Pico, Terceira, Flores and São Miguel. Includes automatic transmission rental car.