Portugal, a small country located on the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula, is often overlooked as a travel destination. However, this beautiful country is filled with history, culture, delicious food, and breath-taking landscapes. Whether you’re interested in exploring charming cities, relaxing on stunning beaches, or indulging in delicious seafood, Portugal has something for everyone. In this blog post, we will provide a suggested two-week itinerary for a road trip through Portugal, highlighting the best places to visit and why you should make Portugal your next travel destination.
About Portugal and History of the Country
Portugal has a rich and fascinating history that spans over 900 years. The country was founded in 1143 and was one of the first global empires, with colonies and trading posts in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal was at the forefront of European exploration and discovery, with famous explorers such as Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan leading expeditions around the world. The country has also endured many hardships, including the devastating Lisbon earthquake in 1755 and years of dictatorship under António de Oliveira Salazar. However, Portugal emerged from these experiences as a resilient and vibrant country, full of cultural and historical treasures.
Why You Should Visit Portugal
Portugal is an amazing travel destination for many reasons. Firstly, the country has a rich history and culture that is evident in its architecture, food, and traditions. From the stunning Manueline-style buildings in Lisbon to the historic city of Coimbra, Portugal is a treasure trove of cultural landmarks. Additionally, Portugal is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, including the Algarve region in the south, which boasts crystal clear waters and stunning cliff formations. The country is also known for its delicious seafood, including grilled sardines, fresh octopus, and delicious prawns.
Proposed 2 Week Portugal Itinerary:
Stop 1: Porto – 2-4 days
Start your Portugal road trip in the charming city of Porto. This city is famous for its wine, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. Spend a few days wandering through the narrow streets of the Ribeira district, taking in the stunning views of the Douro River, and sampling the delicious Port wine that the city is famous for.
Stop 2: Coimbra – 1 day
Coimbra is a historic city located in central Portugal, famous for its stunning university buildings, including the Biblioteca Joanina, one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Spend a day exploring the winding streets of this charming city, taking in the stunning architecture, and enjoying a traditional Portuguese lunch at one of the many local restaurants. See some top picks for Coimbra here!
Stop 3: Lisbon: 3-5 days
No visit to Portugal is complete without a stop in its capital city, Lisbon. This vibrant city is full of culture, history, and stunning architecture. Spend a few days exploring the city’s historic neighborhoods, such as Alfama and Baixa, and visiting landmarks like the Tower of Belem and Jerónimos Monastery. Take a day trip to the nearby town of Sintra, home to stunning palaces and castles, and indulge in a traditional Portuguese pastry at the famous Pastéis de Belém. See more about the beautiful Lisbon here!
Stop 4: Cascais: 1-2 days
Cascais is a charming coastal town located just outside of Lisbon. This town is known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and historic buildings. Spend a day relaxing on the beach, exploring the town’s many restaurants and cafes, and taking in the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Stop 5: Lagos: 3-5 days
End your Portugal road trip in the stunning Algarve region, specifically in the beautiful town of Lagos. This town is famous for its picturesque beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning rock formations. Spend a few days lounging on the beach, taking a boat tour of the nearby caves and grottoes, and indulging in delicious seafood at one of the many local restaurants.
If you have additional time during your trip, there are a few other towns and cities in Portugal that are worth visiting. Aveiro, known as the “Venice of Portugal,” is a charming town famous for its canals and colourful boats. Nazare, a coastal town north of Lisbon, is known for its big waves and impressive surfing scene. Additionally, there are many other small towns and villages along the Algarve coast that are worth exploring.
Why Should You Drive a Car Versus Public Transport?
While public transportation in Portugal is relatively cheap and efficient, driving a car is the best way to see all that this beautiful country has to offer. By driving, you have the flexibility to stop and explore small towns and villages along the way, and you can easily access some of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches and landscapes. Additionally, renting a car in Portugal is relatively affordable, and the roads are well-maintained and easy to navigate.
Portugal is a beautiful and underrated travel destination that is filled with culture, history, and stunning natural landscapes. Whether you’re interested in exploring charming cities, relaxing on beautiful beaches, or indulging in delicious seafood, Portugal has something for everyone. With this suggested two-week itinerary, you can experience the best that Portugal has to offer, from the historic city of Porto to the stunning beaches of Lagos. So pack your bags, rent a car, and get ready for an unforgettable Portugal road trip adventure!