How To Spend 10 Days Sightseeing In Portugal

Porto seen from Luis I Bridge

Tucked away on the western edge of Europe, beautiful beaches and gorgeous weather attract people to Portugal. Add to that the stunning architecture, tons of history, delicious food and plenty to see and do, it’s easy to spend 10 days sightseeing in Portugal.

This 10 day Portugal itinerary takes in the big city hits while also fitting in some lesser known spots. Starting with a couple of days in the country’s capital, Lisbon, before heading north to check out Porto and Braga. After the compulsory sampling of francesinha and port, it’s time to head back south to Sintra, with a stop in at Coimbra on the way.

Days 1 & 2: Lisbon

Arrive in the city and jump on the metro to your accommodation. If you want to be nice and central, somewhere near Baixo-Chando is an excellent idea. Make the most of your first day and explore the city on foot. Close by to Baixo-Chando you’ll find Carmo Convent, Santa Justa lift and Rossio Square. There are plenty of places to grab dinner in the area, and if you can time it for sunset, a walk down towards the river from Rossio Square is perfect. It’s quite touristy, but once you pass under Arco da Rua Augusta, walk across the square and take a seat by Cais das Colunas. If the weather allows, people will gather here for drinks as the sun sets, music playing in the background, the gentle splash of the water on the rocks. It’s a great way to end your first day in Lisbon.

Sunset at Cais das Colunas, Lisbon

A day of crisscrossing the city is always fun, so start bright and early with a castle visit at Castelo de S. Jorge. A bit of history and stunning panoramic views of the city, what’s not to love? From there, it’s time to get an authentic tram experience with a ride on tram 28. You can pick it up from Martim Moniz for the best chance of getting a seat, or find a stop closer to the castle, but be prepared to squished in like sardines either way. It’s part of the experience, honestly. Taking you through the city, it’s easiest to jump off a few stops after Baixo-Chando, but if you want the full experience then stay on until the end of the line and either grab the tram back to the city centre or enjoy the walk.

Iconic yellow Lisbon tram 28

With plenty of charming cafes and restaurants in the city, lunch is an easy pick. However, for a bustling food market experience where you’ll have more choice than you can wave a fork at, head for Time Out Market. It’s big, it’s busy and it’s best enjoyed with a hungry stomach.

A walk along the riverside after lunch to Praça do Comércio let’s you take in yet more sights of the city, before heading through the square and up to Lisbon Cathedral. If you’ve got the energy, enjoy a wander through the nearby neighbourhood of Alfama. Charming streets and plenty of viewing platforms to check out the city views again. If you can’t decide which to go to, Miradouro de Santa Luzia has great views and seating so you can stay and soak up the atmosphere too.

Come evening, enjoy a relaxing dinner before heading to Pink Street for a few drinks to celebrate your trip. Remember, things happen later in Portugal, so it might not be lively until later in the evening.

Day 3: Belem

Belém is easily reached from Lisbon. Less than 10 minutes on a train or bus, and you’re in walking distance of the sights. Discoveries Monument sits on the riverside, and a short walk further along the riverbank leads to Belém Tower. Close by is Jerónimos Monastery, and while in Belém it’s an unwritten rule to join the queue for Pastéis de Belém and pick up a pastel de nata or two. They’re said to be the best!

Belem Tower, Lisbon

Come evening, jump on a train and head north for Porto! It’s about a 3 hour ride, but your legs will be glad for the rest.

Day 4: Braga

Start your time in Porto nice and early and…head out to Braga. About an hour from Porto by bus or train, Braga is a city well worth a day trip. It can be done It’s well known for being home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bom Jesus do Monte and is a gorgeous city to just wander round and explore. It’s best to start the day at Bom Jesus, and you can catch a bus there from outside the train station.

The city’s cathedral is the oldest in Portugal, and has a stunning organ set among an impressive ceiling. Plus, there are a number of other religious monuments to check out, both big and small. The colourful buildings and tiled facades that fill the streets keep the walk interesting as you move between markets, castle ruins and museums.

Check out what Braga has to offer here.

Days 5 & 6: Porto

Two days and nights in Porto is just about right to get a feel for the city. Arriving from Lisbon in the evening should leave you enough time to enjoy a bite to eat and a gentle stroll around the city. Keep to the north of Sao Bento station if your legs are tired – less hills!

After spending a day in Braga, it’s up early the next day to get your Porto fix! Starting north of the river, Livraria Lello is a famous bookshop that is not only stunning but claims to have inspired part of Harry Potter. You can buy a ticket for entry just round the corner and get the fee back if you buy a book there. If it’s a nice day, the nearby Base bar is a great garden bar to rest your feet and enjoy a drink stop. Nearby, Igreja dos Clérigos is a pretty church with a museum upstairs and a great view of the Porto rooftops. Continue on past Sao Bento train station – stop in if you didn’t notice the blue tiles in the vestibule when you arrived – and on to Porto Cathedral. Even more blue tiles cover the walls here, and the courtyard is worth a visit if you don’t want to see the whole church.

The square in front of Porto Cathedral is pretty and gives great views of the city. Take one of the narrow streets nearby and follow it downhill to Mercado Ferreira Borges and Ribeira do Porto. The hilly side streets have some gorgeous little cafes, but if you’d rather enjoy a rest by the river there are plenty of options along the Ribeira. On a nice day it’s a hive of activity, and the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by for a bit. When you’ve spent enough time by the river, head back up to the higher ground on the funicular. You’ll find the entrance by the base of Luís I Bridge, unless you fancy the trek uphill…

If there are two things every visitor should try in Porto, it’s a francesinha – a meaty, cheesy sandwich drenched in a delicious sauce and served with chips, mega yum – and port. There are plenty of places offering both, so enjoy the evening scouting out your favourite!

Another hilly day in Portugal, so it’s off to the Bolhão neighbourhood to start. There’s a 2-storey market here, and what’s a visit to a city if you don’t go to at least one market? The Chapel of Souls and Church Santo Ildefonso are nearby, both with gorgeous facades.

After a wander round Bolhão, head to Luís I Bridge. It’s an impressive bridge with two levels, the lower primarily for cars and the upper level for pedestrians and trams. The views of Porto from here are Instagram-worthy, and once you’ve snapped enough photos it’s time to explore the south side of the river. Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar is an old monastery taking pride of place high on the hill, or you can head straight for the riverside to check out the shops and food market, and to see the old port boats floating just off the walkway. There are a number of port cellars in this area if you’re interested in taking a tour, learning about the history of port and, of course, sampling some of the local produce.

Come evening, jump on a train and head south to Coimbra. If you can time your train for sunset, you won’t be disappointed, as the view is just gorgeous as you pass by the coastline.

Sunset view, train from Porto to Coimbra

Day 7: Coimbra

Coimbra is a compact city, and although there’s plenty to see, you can get a good coverage of the city in a day. Some highlights include the Igreja de Santa Cruz, a church with royal remains in a quiet, eery room that you’re not 100% sure you should be in, a New Cathedral and Old Cathedral as well as a host of other churches to explore. Other than that, there’s the Manga Cloister, and historical Coimbra University. It dates back to 1290, and walking through the grounds will make you wish you’d gone to a university with such an impressive campus.

As with all cities, half the joy of Coimbra is just wandering the streets and getting lost in the maze of cobble stone streets. Most of the sights are on the same side of the river, but venture to the other and you’ll be rewarded with pretty gardens at Fuente de los Amores and a fun model city experience at Portugal dos Pequenitos.

Day 8: Lisbon

Take a morning train back to Lisbon, drop your bags off and head straight for any parts you missed on your previous time in the city. If you covered it pretty well, head a little north in the city and explore the Bairro Alto and Principe Real areas. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara has panoramic views of the city, and there are a number of impressive churches to pop in to as you head to Jardim do Príncipe Real. There’s often a market on Mondays or Saturdays, full of interesting stalls.

Nearby is the Botanical Garden of Lisbon, a calm and relaxing place to enjoy a short walk. If that’s not really your cup of head, head back to the charming neighbourhood of Alfama and enjoy the afternoon exploring and sampling the local coffee shops and bars. You’ll likely want an easy day and earlier night in anticipation of a lot of walking the next day.

Day 9: Sintra

A popular day trip from Lisbon, Sintra is just half an hour by bus or 40 minutes by train. If you get there early, you can easily fit in a visit to a few different sights. It’s easiest to jump on the bus between them as Sintra is typically Portuguese: hilly! Pena Palace and the Moorish castle are close to each other, and both well worth a visit. Pena Palace has a national park within the gates, which you’re free to wander round, and you’ll even get a map to try and keep you on course. The colourful palace is one of the highlights here, and the views are amazing.

Walk a little way down the hill and you’ll find the Moorish castle. Not so much a castle these days, but a walk up the old walls is worth the breathtaking view from the top. If your legs can handle another sight, Quinta da Regaleira has the insta-famous winding staircase in the rock, or Sintra National Palace is also close by.

Day 10: Homeward bound/beach

If you have time left at the end of your trip, Cascais beach is a popular choice for some relaxation. Just a short train ride and you’ll be relaxing on the beach in no time. Adding a few days to soak up the sun is the perfect addition to make this Portugal itinerary 2 weeks long, and after 10 days exploring you’ll be glad of some down time.

If you just had 10 days for the tour of Portugal, today is the day to head to the airport, jump on a flight home and start planning your next adventure!

How To Get Around Portugal

The easiest way to get between these stops is by train. It’s quick, affordable and a comfortable way to travel in Portugal. The scenery is spectacular, but can just as easily be enjoyed if you choose to drive.

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