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13 days in Portugal... nature and good food?


We are a couple planing a trip to Portugal from October 11-24. We are in our early thirties, are very active, love exploring/walking/hiking, don't like massive tourism and what it entails and also like enjoying local food and drinks. I've been working hard to come up with an itinerary that doesn't feel too rushed, but still allows us to see a bit of the country. Our main interests? Seeing and exploring Lisbon, visiting small quaint towns and getting in touch with nature.

We would both like to spend a couple of nights somewhere close to a rugged beach where we could surf and maybe take hikes (Western Algarve?). So... does this make sense? Anyway we can add some more nature/rugged scenery/hiking opportunities to the mix? Is it too much?Should we maybe skip something? Any pretty out of the beaten path town on our route?

Day 1 - Lisbon
Day 2 - Lisbon/Belem
Day 3 - Lisbon / day trip to Sintra
Day 4 - Train to Porto. Sleep in Porto
Day 5 - Porto
Day 6 - Rent car in Porto. Either a day trip to Douro or spending the night in the Douro Valley and sleeping in a town there or just forgetting about the Douro Valley and spending another day in Porto. What would you recommend?
Day 7 - Early morning. Drive to Coimbra for lunch and exploring a bit. Drive to Évora. Sleep in Évora.
Day 8 - Évora
Day 9 - Évora, maybe Megaliths or maybe day trip to Monsaraz?
Day 10 - Drive to Odeceixe. Anywhere we should stop on the way to explore? (Does making a lovely inn near Odeceixe our base camp for surfing and exploring rugged beaches? Should we go somewhere else? What do you think?)
Day 11 - Odeceixe. Spend day exploring the western coast and hopefully surfing?
Day 12 - Odeceixe morning at the beach and drive in the afternoon back to Lisbon (should we stop somewhere in particular for lunch?). Return car in Lisbon. Sleep in Lisbon.
Day 13 - Lisbon.
Day 14 - Fly back to Madrid and sadly to Peru afterwards.

Thanks in advance!!

Posted by
2356 posts

We spent two weeks in Portugal this summer, some on our own, some on the RS tour. We don't surf. We did enjoy Evora, the Douro Valley (one overnight) Lisbon, Porto. Looking at your itinerary you are going way north (Porto) then way south (Odeeceixe) so that does not make sense to me. Consider driving from Lisbon, visiting Evora, then go north west, stopping at Nazare. Look that up if you like to surf, although the waves there would scare me to death. We enjoyed our visit but stayed clear of the water. Then Coimbra and then you can end in Porto with a day trip to the Douro Valley, and fly from Porto to Madrid or to Lisbon.

Posted by
921 posts

I agree with the previous poster about going all the way to the Algarve. Nazaré as mentioned is a great surfing area but closer to Lisbon, Guincho beach close to Cascais is also known for surfing. And, the Sintra hills close to Guincho are great for hiking.

If you skip the Algarve, you would have more time for Lisbon (which it deserves) and you could spend another night in Evora. The megalith tour I did was the highlight of my first Evora trip. The megalith tour led by the archeologist is amazing.
I would keep the Douro on your itinerary. They have day tours that are quite good if you don't want to spend the night.
In only two weeks, you will enjoy and experience more (IMO) if you slow down a bit. One of the best things to do in Lisbon is enjoy a long leisurely lunch on a miradouro with great views of the city.

Posted by
4041 posts

I agree that you are trying to cover too much ground in your time.

I too would drop the Algarve - October may not be beach weather. I would consider Peniche - more of a surfing location than Nazarre.

You wouldn't be bored if you added another night in Lisbon.