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10 Day Itinerary???

I’m having a hard time narrowing down the itinerary for an upcoming trip to Portugal in August. We only have 10 full days. I’ll be traveling with my adult daughter who just graduated from college. We like everything (except spending all day lying on the beach)...cities, countryside, castles, history, art, wine, taking in the culture, hiking, kayaking, biking, etc! Also can't decide if I should rent a car for part of the time, like from Porto - Coimbra ? - Salema - return to Lisbon?

Potential Itinerary

Aug 15 - arrive Lisbon early, train to Porto

Aug 16 - Porto

Aug 17 - Porto

Aug 18 - Coimbra, Nazare or Evora?

Aug 19 - Salema or Lagos?

Aug 20 - Salema or Lagos?

Aug 21 - Lisbon

Aug 22 - Lisbon

Aug 23 - Lisbon (day trip to Sintra)

Aug 24 - Lisbon

Aug 25 - depart from Lisbon

Maybe just three nights in Lisbon, but it sounds like there is so much to do. Is it worth spending two nights in Algarve? It sounds like it will be packed in August, and again, we are not huge fans of lying on the beach. Any thoughts?

Posted by
2110 posts

If you are not beach people, I guess you should skip the Algarve in August... no huge regrets.
Instead, you could explore a little bit more around Porto, for instance with a night or two in the Douro valley or in Guimarães.
Then, Coimbra would be a perfect stop between Porto and Lisbon.
4 nights in Lisbon is perfect if you want to go to Sintra.

Posted by
4687 posts

You are trying to cover too much ground, particularly in peak season. Drop the Algarve, which will be heaving with beach goers. Coimbra to the Algarve would take much of a day travelling and Lagos to Lisbon would be another half day +.

Salema has been ruined by over development, so Lagos would be my choice at the western end of the Algarve. It will be hot in August for hiking.

Either hire a car for the journey from Porto to Lisbon and spend a couple of nights exploring towns such as Coimbra, Tomar, Alcobaca, Batalha, Obidos etc or base yourself in Porto and Lisbon and take day trips.

Posted by
941 posts

Stephanie, neither am I a beach person but I loved Salema over Lagos. You can rent an umbrella and let your mental walls float away. I did not want to leave. I do not agree that Salema is over-developed. When I was there in 2018, there were just a few people on the beach. Lagos though is overrun by tourists but is still worth a day trip.

Posted by
55 posts

Hi Stephanie, my husband and I are also going to Portugal in August. I am opting to spending 6 nights in Lisbon and do day trips, then travel via train up to Porto and spend several nights there. From Porto we are doing a day trip into the Douro valley- having someone else drive us so we can simply enjoy. I have had good success finding day trips that would pick us up in Porto or Lisbon and take us out for the day. I am skipping the Algarve simply due to not having enough time.

For us, we are not renting a car, instead relying on day trips and guides for trips outside the cities. Hopefully it helps- I am happy to share details on how we are setting ours up!

Posted by
37 posts

Hi Amber...I would love to know the details of your trip. I haven't been able to decide if we should rent a car...it's pricey! Anything you can share would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.:)

Posted by
1 posts

My husband and I are going on a 12 day trip with a Rick Steve group to Lisbon and Porto at the end of Sept 2022, but want to visit the Algarve area for a week prior to our trip. Does anyone have recommendations on how they would spend that week south of Lisbon and is there enough to see in the Algarve area for a week or should we include some other areas in Portugul or Spain? Do you suggest we travel by car or are there other options? Thanks.

Posted by
2110 posts

Hello, and welcome!
I strongly recommend you not to use your email address as a username on a public forum: you are exposing yourself to spam, since spammers automatically "harvest" the web for email addresses.
And, even though your question is similar, it is better to start a new thread, because otherwise the original poster of this thread will get notified for answers to your question.

So, may I suggest you delete your post and start anew, with a new username? Then, we'll be glad to try to answer your questions!

Posted by
37 posts

Thank you so much to everyone for the great Portugal advice. Key take away: trying to do too much in a short time, especially with the uncertainty of COVID. Any additional thoughts on itinerary and/or fun unique day trips/not-to-be-missed sights are still more than welcome! Thanks!

Posted by
6 posts

I'm also planning a 10-day trip, but in January. I was thinking of spending 5 nights in the Algarve and 5 nights in Lisbon. I'm from Oregon, so we're used to cold, windy beaches :-) I've been told that Lagos would be best in winter, since lots of places in smaller towns tend to close down in the winter. I'll have a rental car, so I was hoping to take day trips both west and east of Lagos to explore more of the coast. Does this sound like a good plan? Can anyone recommend a good B&B or small local hotel in Lagos? Not too interested in big business-type tourist hotels. Thanks for any suggestions.

Posted by
6 posts

I'm sorry, what? I asked if 5 days in the Algarve and 5 days in Lisbon would be a good itinerary for a January trip. I hate rushing around, so I wanted to plan lots of time for exploring.

Posted by
6518 posts

Include nights in Coimbra and Evora. You can have lunch by the beach in Nazarre.
Skip the Algarve. Do not cut your time in Lisbon. We spent nine nights there and were busy every day. Two day trips,

Posted by
6 posts

Why should I skip the Algarve? I was thinking it would be pretty uncrowded in January and would be interesting to explore around?

Posted by
14267 posts

Hi Stephanie,

I went to Coimbra, Nazare and Evora. Coimbra was hands-down my favorite and It's on the train line between Porto and LIsbon, so very convenient. Take a taxi or uber to the Porto-Campanha station (don't waste time and energy taking the train from the city center and changing at Campanha) and again taxi/uber from Coimbra-B to the city center (same issue as Porto).

Consider spending 1-2 nights in Sintra. It was one of my faves (pretty town, nice views, very good restaurants and enough sights for 1.5-2 days) and much nicer as an overnight. It's about the same time and cost to taxi/uber from Sintra to the airport as from Lisbon.

Posted by
37 posts

Hi Chani...Thank you for the great advice re: Uber, etc. Our itinerary is shaping up (fingers crossed that Portugal doesn't go on lock down). We are spending 4 nights in Porto (includes possible day trip to Guimaraes or Braga), 2 nights in Coimbra (already purchased tickets for King Joao's Library, etc), 1 night in Sintra and 4 nights in Lisbon. We aren't renting a car...it was expensive and I don't feel like dealing with it. We are getting excited...I'll report back! Thanks again.

Stephanie