Portugal is one of Europe’s most magical and enchanting countries. Even though it is small, there is a lot of diversity within its borders. This itinerary for one week in Portugal covers many of the stunning sights and attractions the country has to offer.
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Depending on your travel style you can alter this Portugal itinerary. If you are a slow traveler you may prefer to spend more time in cities to fully immerse yourself. Those who value seeing more places in a limited amount of time will find there is plenty to do.
If you are considering Porto versus Lisbon, know that there is no right answer, both of the cities are fabulous. This itinerary allows for you to see both, but if you would rather spend time in one instead of the other, that works too.
No matter which travel style describes you, use this Portugal itinerary as a baseline to guide your adventures. Prepare to fall in love with the culture, history, and beauty of this unique country.
One week itinerary for Portugal
Day 1: Algarve: Albufeira
The best place to start your journey in Portugal is the stunning Algarve region. Known for its plethora of beaches, mesmerizing landscapes, and coastal vibes, the Algarve is perfect for relaxation.
Albufeira is a former fishing village that has become popular with European tourists. It offers everything you think of when you think of Portugal: sun, sand, and amazing adventures.
To reach Albufeira you will need to fly into Faro. From the airport in Faro, hire a driver to drive you 45 minutes to this small coastal town or rent a car. One day is just enough time to explore the charming old town streets, walk the beach, and soak up the warm sun and relaxed vibes. There are a ton of amazing things to do in Albufiera so budgeting your time to fit it all in is essential.
Be sure to stroll through the old town, visit Praia da Sao Rafael (the best beach in Albufeira), and/or take a boat tour of the local area. Several vendors will arrange for you to see the local sea caves, go on a dolphin safari, or even a sunset cruise.
Another good option to use for a home base in the Algarve is Portimão. This is the second largest city in the Algarve, and it’s centrally located. There are also plenty of things to do in Portimão for families, including awesome beaches and hiking.
Day 2: Lagos
A one hour drive from Albufeira is the most famous and visited spot in the Algarve: Lagos! Lagos is a stunning coastal town known for its beaches and amazing rock landscapes. The town is a bit larger than Albufeira and spending two days here provides the time needed to fully explore and soak it all in. Lagos is the ideal location to stay for a night to fully delve into the beauty and magic of this region.
On your first day in Lagos, spend time exploring and discovering the beauty of the old town and some of the local beaches. The old town is full of stunning buildings, quaint cafes, and beautiful streets. There are some Bali inspired restaurants like Coffee and Waves that serve smoothie bowls and vegan food which only amplify the tropical nature of the town.
After admiring the old town you can walk and explore some of the close beaches and even layout for a bit to soak up some sun. When you’re done relaxing, don’t miss these other fun things to do in Lagos.
Day 3: Lagos
On your second day in Lagos visit the famous Ponta da Piedade. This is one of Portugal’s most famous viewpoints where you can admire the stunning orange rock formations rising from the Atlantic Ocean. It is truly a sight to see and something you won’t want to miss in Lagos.
If time permits, head out on the water for a tour along the coast of Lagos. There are boat tours, kayak tours, paddle boarding tours and more! This is a great way to explore the coast and learn about the area’s history.
Day 4: Lisbon
After spending three days in the Algarve head north to explore the capital city of Portugal, Lisbon. Travel from Lagos to Lisbon by car, bus or train. A car takes 2 hours, and the bus or train takes between 3-4 hours. Give yourself at least two days in Lisbon or 3 days in Lisbon to see and explore the city and all it has to offer.
Lisbon is famous for its hilly terrain, colorful buildings, and old cable cars. A visit here will have you in love with the charming atmosphere and laidback vibes. During your first day in Lisbon visit some of the famous view points like Miradoura da Graca to see the pastel colored buildings stretching in all directions.
Or take the Elevador de Santa Justa from the Baixa neighborhood to the Bairro Alto district. While there, be sure to take a tour of the remains of the Carmo Convent. It’s fascinating to walk around this UNESCO World Heritage Site that was almost completely ruined in a major earthquake in 1755.
When wandering around Lisbon you will surely see and discover plenty of charming shops and local restaurants. The best area for walking around and exploring is the Alfama District.
Day 5: Lisbon
On your second day in Lisbon take public transportation to the Belém district where you will find the breathtaking Jerónimos Monastery. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, is worthy of this title. It was built in the 1500s in the Gothic architecture style and wandering through its hallways and courtyards will take you to another time. If you plan a visit be sure to arrive early because the lines get very long!
While you’re in Belém, be sure to visit the Torre de Belém (a 16th century tower that was used to defend the city) and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos which was built to celebrate 15th and 16th century Portuguese explorers. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the famous pastry shop, Pastéis de Belém, and try their famous Portuguese custard tarts.
If you have time, be sure to visit the Pink Street in Lisbon. This is a famous Instagrammable street in Lisbon that is full of bars and restaurants. It is the perfect place to see any time of day.
Should you have an extra day in Lisbon, be sure to take a day trip to Sintra to visit the Pena Palace. This colorful palace looks straight out of a fairy tale and offers some of the best views of the Sintra-Cascais Nature Park and the surrounding mountains.
Day 6: Porto
The final stop during your whirlwind one week in Portugal adventure is Porto. Porto is a small town full of beauty and excitement. The train ride from Lisbon to Porto takes about an hour and is super scenic and beautiful. Upon arrival you will be welcomed by the huge metal bridge – The Luis I Bridge. This bridge was designed by a student of Gustav Eiffel, and you can see this very clearly in the design and materials used. Admiring this and walking over it offers stunning views of Porto.
While exploring the streets be sure to head towards Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso, the beautiful 18th century church. Be sure to visit the Sao Bento Train Station to see the azulejo tiles that are famous in Portugal. The train station has over 20,000 tiles to admire and photograph. The best way to see and discover Porto is simply by walking around and finding hidden streets and alleyways to explore.
Day 7: Porto
On your last day in Porto, finish your Portugal adventures with a day of culture and touring. This involves a Douro River cruise, where you will sail down the Douro River that divides the city and see the beauty of the city from below. If you have more time, be sure to head into the Douro Valley of Portugal by car to see the country’s beautiful vineyards.
Other fun things to do in Porto include: riding the Teleférico de Gaia cable car, taking an azulejo tile making class, and visiting the Harry Potter bookstore, Livraria Lello.
And if you’re looking to get off the beaten path, might we recommend a trip to Alentejo? This region to the east of Lisbon has rolling hills, castles, and outdoor adventures in spades. It’s one of our favorite places to explore!
No matter where you choose to visit on your trip to Portugal we are sure you will find plenty to do for all ages!
About the author: Samantha Karen is the founder of the travel blog Sam Sees World. She is a twenty something traveler on a mission to explore the world and document her experiences, inspiring others to do the same. Check out Sam Sees World for valuable information on the best things to do, see, eat, and experience while traveling and making memories along the way.