A Day by Day Itinerary: One Week in Portugal
Day 1 - Lisbon
Camo Convent Ruins
Lunch: Time Out Market
Afternoon in Alfama
Our first day in Lisbon we hit the ground running post breakfast at our boutique hotel. Centrally located in downtown Lisbon provided us with walking access to pretty much everywhere we wanted to go. We began our day with a walking tour. As you already know I’m a huge fan of walking tours upon arrival to get a nice feel for the city and get our bearings.
Our walking tour ended on the water where we could overlook a large bridge that looks identical to the Golden Gate Bridge. Our tour ended close to Time Out Market, where we ate lunch. If you are traveling with people who want to try various foods for lunch this the place to go! Time Out Market features several food stalls within a large food hall. The majority of the people within the expansive food hall were dining on an octopus dish, very popular within Lisbon. We opted for a fantastic meat and cheese board!
It was time to head to Alfama. Our guide had informed us of an elevator that would take us up to the top of Alfama. We decided to save our legs and ride the elevator up and I’m glad we did. Just because you are at the top doesn’t mean there aren’t more hills to climb!
We took our time wandering the streets of Alfama in the afternoon while enjoying a yummy ice cream. You should also know we love our desserts but especially our ice cream.
We discovered a few miradores along the our walks providing expansive views of the city. Grab a drink or snack and enjoy the live music and views.
Pro Tip: Looking to take a day trip out of the city or have a day of rest? Do so on Monday since many things are closed.
To get back to downtown from Alfama we caught the famous tram 28. Standing room only in this crowded tram but still a fun ride down the twisty and narrow Lisbon streets.
That evening we stopped by another mirador, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, that provided expansive sunset views before our pizza place opened at 7.
Day 2 - Day Trip to Sintra
Time to get out of town and head to Sintra for the day. Our trip to Sintra was excellent! Our tour guide could not have been better. He was enthusiastic, loved working with our group, and full of knowledge and humor. Our small group tour departed at 8 am for Sintra. Our first stop was at the National Palace. We did not go inside but wandered through the surrounding town and had an opportunity to grab a coffee before we headed to Quinta de Regaleria.
Quinta de Regaleria was spectacular. Prior the trip we read about it in Atlas Obscura. Based on the pictures we knew we had to go. The lush vegetation, trees, and babbling water was so tranquil. Did you know Quinta Regaleria was home to a large part of the Free Masons history and their initiation? Walking through the hilly property brought us to the top of the aqueduct where we walked down the spiraling stone well like structure. We entered into dark tunnels where we then walked on rocks across a lush green moss filled pond. It was unlike anything I have ever seen before. Pictures seriously do not do this place justice. From there we headed to the coast and drove along to Cascais. Our route along the water took us in on the same road the original James Bond movie was filmed. We stopped and had an hour for lunch and to walk through town.
Pro Tip don't eat at one of the first places you see in town. Walk towards the water and sit at a cafe with a water view, the perfect stop for lunch.
The final stop of the day was at Pena Palace. This large palace amongst many things we saw in Sintra are a combination and melting of many influences. The tiles on the outside were some of my favorites. Beware there are a lot of steep hills but a bus transfer is available for an extra 3 euros.
Upon our return to the city we grabbed chocolate cake with our tour guide, Louis at Landeau Chocolate. This scrumptious blend of mousse and cake is a must for any chocolate lover.
Our Dinner at Local is by far the most unique dinner I have ever had. Dinner consisted of 5 courses - we started with bread and burnt butter. Some of the best butter I have ever tasted followed by fried cod almost like a pork rind, fish, shrimp, lamb, and ended with coffee and banana purée dessert. This quaint restaurant only has one communal table for a maximum of 10 people. We dined with other people from all over the world. I wish I could go back and do it again.
The final stop before crashing at our hotel was a drink at a bar our cab driver pointed out, Pavilhão Chinês. Thankfully a young man was standing outside when we went because we couldn’t figure out how to get in. We had to ring a bell! Once we entered we were in an expansive bar with 6 different rooms filled to the brim with various collections ranging from toys to hats. It was truly a unique experience and I highly recommend!
Day 3- Lisbon
Pasteis de Belem
Fly Lisbon to Faro
Our third and final day in Lisbon was quick but sufficient. We took a cab out to the monastery. This ornate building was beautiful on the inside but I will say the cost was a tad steep for what you see. After our tour we were a quick walk from the famous pastel de nata stop, Pasteis de Belem. Worth the wait! We sat in a nearby park and ate our delicious egg custard snack before walking over to the water. We saw a massive carving, breathtaking water views, the castle, and the lighthouse.
Before we knew it it was time to head to the airport for our flight to Faro. Faro in the off season is a sleepy marina town. It is almost eerily how quiet it is. After checking into our hotel we made it to the roof top bar we had read about just in time for the end of sunset. Then we meandered through the quaint cobblestone streets to a fabulous dinner - burgers, tacos, beer, and doughnuts with ice cream!
Day 4 - Algarve
Faro - Lagos Train
1hr walk from town to Beaches
Praia da Batata
Praia do Camilo
Farol da Ponta da Piedade
Faro - Porto Flight
We woke bright and early to catch our train to Lagos. We caught the sunrise over the marina complete with the full moon shining bright on our peaceful morning walk to the train station.
We arrived early enough to buy our tickets and grab a latte prior to our train departure. We arrived in Lagos just after 9a and we felt like we were in a whole new world with a new found energy. This seaside town was bustling with life.
Our first stop was a few blocks away at the original slave trade market, church, and fort. You can buy a ticket for all three for 5 Euro. We chose to only go in the church and fort for 3 Euro. We were not allowed to take photos inside the church. The unassuming white exterior was nothing compared to the dark brown wood carvings throughout the walls and ceilings. These brown carvings had a gold tint to them. They were beautiful.
Now it was time to hike the cliffs, what we really came for! We started near the fort where we were able to do majority of our cliff hiking. Hiking along the coast overlooking the waves crashing into the large rocks and cliffs was breathtakingly beautiful. Part of the walk was closed so we had to walk along the road to get to the very tip of the cliffs. We hiked a little more and were able to go down into the grotto area where the boats normally pick up for tours. It was a surreal experience being so close to the waves crashing into the rock walls. After our walk out we took a cab back into the town area.
We sat outside at a cafe Harvey’s, and had the most delicious salads while listening to live music. Before our train back to Lagos so that we could catch our plane to Porto we squeezed in some shopping and ice cream, did you expect anything less?
Day 5 - Porto
Port Cave / Calem
Dinner on The River
We set of first thing to the palace gardens that overlook Porto because they were away from everything else we had on our list. Next up on the list were the convent churches and hidden house. The hidden house is the narrowest house in all of Porto but surprisingly felt much wider inside. A few steps away was Livraria Lello. This beautiful bookstore is where J.K Rowling wrote and found inspiration for Harry Potter. After buying our tickets we hopped in line to visit the store. It is by far one of the prettiest bookstores I had ever been in. Rich wood banisters and bookshelf’s filled with colorful books and a beautiful stained glass skylight. I wanted to purchase a Harry Potter book for the boys but they unfortunately did not have them in English.
Day 6- Porto
Majestic Cafe - Breakfast
Chapel of Souls
McDonalds Sao Bento
Fly Porto to Lisbon Evening
We took our last morning slow and began with a delicious breakfast at the beautiful Majestic Cafe. It is rated one of the most beautiful cafes in the world and it truly is that! The food is fabulous too! The only must see sight we had left on our list for the day was Chapel of Souls. The exterior of the chapel is made of ornate blue and white tiles. It is stunning. From there we meandered over to the Imperial McDonalds, known as the prettiest McDonalds in the world. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dine on fries and McFlurries! We popped into the beautiful Sao Bento train station to see its gorgeous tile work on the inside. Be sure to walk by Se Cathedral and enjoy panoramic city views of the streets below. We clearly saved the most beautiful places for last.
Day 7 - Fly Home