My family of 4 (teenage children) are going to Portugal for 10 days. We fly into Lisbon and back from Porto. We are booked for a couple nights in Lisbon, drive down to Lago for 3 nights and then make our way north to 2 nights in Porto. What is our best path from Lagos to Porto? We have two nights between Lago and Porto. We are thinking one night in Coimbra followed by one night in Douro valley and driving along the river to Porto. Any suggestions?
I think that trying to see northern (Porto), central (Lisbon) and sourthern (Lagos) Portugal, all in 10 days, is too much. I'd pick two of the three; if you're locked into flying into Lisbon and out of Porto, just see those two regions. Particularly with a car, there's plenty to keep you busy in that time.
I agree with Harold. If you are flying into Lisbon from the US or Canada, you're really only giving yourself one usable day there, since some or all of you are likely to be sleep-deprived and jetlagged on your arrival day. Lisbon's worth much more time than that.
I wonder whether you could find a nice beach on the Atlantic coast that wouldn't take you so far out of the way. Timing could be important, though. If you're traveling early in the summer, the Algarve beaches might be a good bit warmer. (I'm not sure since I'm not a beach person.) Cascais is a former fishing village (now touristy beach destination) not far from Lisbon itself.
Sorry, but another vote for dropping Lagos. Driving on the rather uninteresting toll road, Lagos to Porto would be 6+ hours plus whatever stops you wanted to make. The non-motorway route would be over 10 hours driving excluding stops.
Lisbon itself deserves two full days, particularly if you are jet lagged, plus you could do day trips to Cascais and Sintra and also possibly Evora from here.
I would have to agree with everyone that you are cutting Lisbon short, and that this is a bit more driving than I would want to do in ten days. However if you do go down to Lagos, one suggestion I might have for a more scenic drive is to drive along the south toll road almost to the Spanish border, then drive up through the Alentejo on IC 27 ( at least that is the highway on google maps) to Evora. Then have 2 nights in Evora and drive on to Porto.
We drove that section through the Alentejo in April and it was very lovely and scenic. The toll roads are faster, but as mentioned a bit dull. We stopped in Mertola which was very pretty as well. However we didn't go on to Porto. From Evora you would have about a 4 hour drive to Porto, I think. As I said this is more driving than I would do, but it is a scenic option.