Use my Portugal itinerary to plan an epic 7 day trip to Porto, Lisbon and Lagos!
Portugal is easily one of my favorite European countries to visit because it has a mix of everything- city life, beaches, and wine country- what more could you ask for? Also, it’s super affordable compared to most European destinations. Keep reading for tips to help plan your week in Portugal!
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Portugal Trip Info:
- PTO/Vacation Days Needed: 5-7
- Nights: 7
- Cost: $$
- Exchange Rate: 1 Euro = $1.02 USD
- Flights: I recommend flying into Porto (OPO) and out of Faro (FAO)
7-Day Portugal Itinerary Overview
- Days 1-2: Porto
- Days 3-4: Lisbon
- Days 5-7: Lagos
SEE ALSO: The Ultimate 7-Day Croatia Itinerary
When is the Best Time to Visit Portugal?
The best time of year to go to Portugal is March-May, or September-October to get warm weather without the summer crowds. We went in early April and the weather was great (besides some rain in Porto). The water was chilly in Lagos, but the beaches were not crowded.
Portugal Itinerary Days 1-2: Porto
How to Get to Porto
Once you land in the Porto airport, keep an eye out for signs for the metro station. You can buy a ticket at one of the kiosks for about 2.60€, and the metro runs every 20-30 minutes. It takes 30 minutes to get from the airport to the city center.
Best Place to Stay in Porto
VRBO: We stayed at Manor House Porto which was centrally located, and had a great view! (third picture below is the view from our window)
Hotel: I’ve heard great things about Pestana Porto. It’s centrally-located and right above an iconic coffee shop!
Day 1: Explore Porto
Explore: Assuming you have about a half day based on airport arrival and getting checked into wherever you are staying, don’t make any ambitious plans for your first day in Porto. Instead, spend your time meandering around the beautifully tiled streets, stopping along Cais da Ribeira (River Street) to try the local Vinho Verde wine, and soaking in the city views.
Climb the flight of stairs at the Torre dos Clerigo (bell tower) for the best view of the city!
Portugal Itinerary Day 2: Porto/Douro Valley
Visiting the Douro Valley should definitely be on your Portugal itinerary. This scenic wine-country region is known for their Port wine production alongside beautiful landscapes. Book a Douro Valley wine country tour ahead of time- you can find the one I booked here.
This wine tour was great! They pick you up in the morning at your hotel or Airbnb, and you join about 6 others in a van for a 1.5 hour scenic ride to the Douro Valley. The tour takes you to two wineries, where you learn about the history and production of the wine, along with wine tasting. The tour also includes a delicious lunch of authentic Portugese food. You can upgrade your tour (definitely recommend) to include a boat cruise along the Douro River.
When you get back to Porto, venture across the bridge pictured below to the town of Gaia, known for their wine cellars and restaurants with a view. You can either walk there (depending how close your place is to the bridge) or taxi/Uber. We opted to splurge for a nice dinner and drinks at The Yeatman, which has the one of the best views of the city!
Portugal Itinerary Day 3-4: Lisbon
After Porto, head to the iconic & historic capital of Portugal – Lisbon. Filled with rich history, lively nightlife, and beautiful views, you’re bound to have an epic time!
How to Get from Porto to Lisbon
Best Place to Stay in Lisbon
Hotel: I’ve heard great things about the boutique Santiago de Alfama in the unique and historic Alfama District
Hostel: If you’re on a budget (or are social and looking to make new friends!) I highly recommend staying at Goodnight Hostel. Not only is it clean, cute, and centrally-located, but the staff are very friendly and recommended a ton of local restaurants and bars that we otherwise wouldn’t have found on our own. They also have a happy hour with free Sangria- always a plus!
Portugal Itinerary Day 3: Lisbon
To get a good feel for Lisbon, my recommendation is to just start walking. Wander around the cobblestone streets, admire the colorful tiles of each building, head down towards the water at the Cais das Colunas.
You’ll encounter tram stops along the streets of Lisbon for Tram 28. Although touristy, this iconic tram is a great way to get a quick tour around the city for only a few Euros- a similar concept to the cable cars in San Francisco. This vintage yellow tram weaves in and out of tiny cobblestone streets through the most historic parts of the city. You might have to wait in line at the stop, as the tram is often full, but it is worth the wait!
After your afternoon exploring, head to Bar Topo to enjoy a rooftop cocktail among locals. For dinner, check out local spot As Zebras do Combro for an authentic Portugese meal (a spot recommended to us by our hostel staff).
For a night out, head to the Bairro Alto or Alfama district and check out one of the many bars that feature live Fado music. Fado is like Lisbon’s style of the blues- an emotional ballad with an accompanying 12 string guitar. If you enjoy live music, this is a cultural experience that you can’t miss!
Portugal Itinerary Day 4: Lisbon
Head to the Castelo de Sao Jorge to explore the history of the castle and admire the sweeping views of the city. Admission costs about 8.50€. Pro tip: buy a glass of wine from the street vendor in the castle to sip while you stroll!
Next, head to Portas do Sol in the Alfama district of Lisbon for lunch/drinks with a view. 10/10 recommend the brie and honey sandwich. After your lunch, keep meandering through the streets of the Alfama district- there are a few cathedrals, shops, and bars in the area!
On your way back, you HAVE to try the Pastel de Nata- Portugese Egg Tart. These little desserts were so good, I had them twice per day. Two great places to get them are Manteigaria and Pastel de Belem. We took ours to-go and ate them at Park Bar with our happy hour cocktails. This rooftop bar is like a secret garden terrace located on top of a parking garage.
If you want to experience the nightlife, there is a pub crawl you can join that picks up at each of the hostels in the area called Wild Walkers. It’s a great way to meet other travelers and have a fun night at some local bars/clubs! For about $20, you get free drinks and cover at a few bars in the area.
Portugal Itinerary Days 5-7: Lagos
After your time spent in the hustle and bustle of the Lisbon city life, it’s time to relax and enjoy the beach town of Lagos! The views here are incredible and there is so much to explore.
How to Get to Lagos from Lisbon
You can get to Lagos by bus or train. I recommend the bus, because it is direct, vs the train which requires a connection. It takes 3 hr 45 min to get there, and costs about19€. You can book your ticket in advance here.
Learn from my mistake, and make sure to give yourself EXTRA time to get to the Sete Rio bus station. You likely cannot walk there, and will need to take the metro from the Jardim Zoologico station. We realized this too late, missed our pre-booked bus, and had to book the next one!
Another option to get to Lagos from Lisbon (or vice versa) is through Heaps of Tours (check out their Instagram page here). Fabio is from Lagos, but lives and works in Lisbon, so has the best recommendations for both places. He recently started Heaps of Tours to bring travelers between Lagos and Lisbon, taking a few scenic stops along the way!
Best Place to Stay in Lagos, Portugal
We stayed at Carvi Beach Hotel. Although this hotel isn’t directly in town, it is only a short walk away, and is located right on the beautiful Praia (beach) Dona Ana! This beach cove is surrounded by cliffs and clear water, and there are hiking trails connected which can guide you to the other surrounding coves and beaches in the area.
Portugal Itinerary Day 5: Explore Lagos
Spend the day exploring the coastline on the aforementioned trail. Follow the trail north to stop by Praia do Pinhao, Praia dos Estudantes and Praia da Batata.
For dinner, I highly recommend going to Retiro Da Trindade. This hole in the wall local spot was recommended to us from the staff at our hostel in Lisbon (thanks again, Fabio!) and was hands down the best meal we had in Lagos. So good that we went there for dinner two nights in a row!
Order the steak on a stone- for about $11 USD, you get a huge filet cooked on a hot stone in front of you. You can see our excitement in the below picture:
Portugal Itinerary Day 6: Lagos
Kick off your day with a scenic stroll along Ponta da Piedade. Here you can explore the rocky cliff formations and sea coves via hiking trails that take you along the cliff coastline, as well as all the way down to the water’s edge:
After your morning spent exploring this amazing coastline, head into town of Lagos. Stroll through the cute streets, colorful buildings and alleyways, and pop in the shops and restaurants to get a feel for the town. There’s plenty of great spots for happy hour as well!
Portugal Itinerary: Day 7 – Lagos
One of the most popular things to do in Lagos is the boat ride through the famous Benagil Caves, which are the most photographed caves in Lagos. You can either pre-book tour here, or take a taxi down there and book a boat once you are in the area.
However, If you want to see the Benagil Caves, learn from our mistake: make sure you check the weather and/or call ahead BEFORE paying 50 Euros for a taxi all the way down there. We got there and the waves were too strong to take the boat inside the cave that day.
Benagil Caves Alternative
If you find yourself in a similar situation with bad marine weather, don’t worry! I’ve got an alternative for you. Just head into town in Lagos and catch one of the boat tours (you’ll see them being offered all over the streets). This tour takes you on a small rowboat through several caves across the shoreline. The boat driver is very skilled at moving with the tides to get into low-clearance, narrow caves, which was quite the adventure!
After your boat tour, grab some lunch in the town (I recommend Restaurant Alkibir for super fresh tuna) and then continue on to the train station to head to the Faro airport for your flight home.
Have More Than One Week in Portugal?
If you have more than a week in Portugal, I would spend at least 3 days in Lisbon (or more), including a day trip to Sintra, and an extra day in Lagos to take a day trip to Sagres.