Portugal is a country that has been on my bucket list for years. Lisbon and the neighboring cities are filled with unreal palaces, beautiful castles and beaches galore!
Getting there: The Lisbon Airport is very cheap to fly to from almost any city in Europe especially London, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris. Summer (June – August) is usually the most expensive time of year to visit Portugal, but you can still find round trip flights around $100 from any of these airports. The best time of the year to visit is either September or May – the weather is still warm, but flights are cheaper as it is the slower season. If you are traveling from the US, check out Norwegian Air for very cheap flights to Madrid.
Suggested Portugal Itinerary:
Day 1: Fly into Lisbon Airport, Spend day in Lisbon.
Day 2: Tour Lisbon.
Day 3: Travel to Sintra, Spend night in Sintra.
Day 4: Visit Praia Adraga, Travel back to Lisbon.
Day 5: Tour Lisbon, Travel to Costa de Caparica.
Day 6: Spend day/night in Costa de Caparica.
Day 7: Travel back to Lisbon, Fly to Porto.
Day 8: Tour Porto.
Day 9: Tour Porto, Fly home.
Day 1: Lisbon
Stay: Lisbon Calling Hostel aka the cutest boutique hostel! We rented a double ensuite room for around $70 a night. The private rooms are in a different part of the building, but in addition to the ensuite bathroom there is a hallway bathroom, kitchen and laundry area.
The decor in this hostel is delightful – our ensuite bathroom had a disco ball and we were loving the vibes. The other part of the hostel with the dorm rooms was across the hall and just as wonderful and also had a community kitchen, bathroom and laundry area. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. The dorms ranging from 4 beds to 10 beds are priced around $20-$25 per person. The kitchens have some free breakfast items (cereal, coffee, tea, yogurt, granola) and each morning bread is hung on your doorknob (and it’s delicious!)
After you are settled in your room, put your walking shoes on and get ready to see some great sights in Lisbon. The staff at the hostel can give you a map of where to catch the number 15 tram towards Baixa. Pictured above is the Triumphal Arch which leads to Rua Augusta, a pedestrian avenue that leads to most of the famous sights in Baixa.
We were able to find everything very quickly after heading through the arch. Some important places to check out – Municipal Square (Pictured above), Santa Justa Elevator, and Rossio Square (pictured below).
After checking out these sights, grab a Pastel de Nata (traditional Portuguese custard pastry) and head UP to St. George’s Castle.
We did not ask for directions to get to the Castle we simply just continued walking up for what felt like hours and eventually we began to see signs and tourists. The cost to enter the castle is 8.50 euro for an adult. São Jorge Castle is a Moorish Castle with beautiful views of the city below. Above is the view from St. George’s Castle (looks a lot like San Francisco, doesn’t it?)Eat: After a long day of walking, reward yourself with some amazing “Mexican Food” and Tequila at Pistola y Corazon (Located near the hostel). For 10 euros you get 2 mini quesadillas, 3 tacos of your choice and a juice of the day!
Day 2: Lisbon
On your second day in Lisbon, you will be visiting the area known as Belem. You will take the number 15 tram again but in the opposite direction. You can visit Belem Tower, Belem National Palace (Pictured above), Afonso de Albuquerque Square Garden (pictured below) and the Navy Museum.
Eat: After a day of wandering around Belem return on the number 15 tram and when you are near your stop for the hostel look for the Time Out Market.
This was honestly one of my favorite parts of Lisbon – the market is full of different restaurant booths with beer, desserts, pizza, Chinese food, Portuguese food and the list goes on and on. Seat yourself and dine and drink for hours. My suggestion would be to share foods with your friends and try as many places as possible.
I was able to eat at Asian Lab (pictured above), Pizza A Pezzi, Beer Experience Super Buck and L’Eclair and they were all delicious! I would eat here every night if I had known about it earlier in my trip. Go here as much as possible!!
Day 3: Sintra
Getting There: The best way to get to Sintra is to head to the Rossio train station and take the train to Sintra station. There are usually trains every 30 minutes and the journey is about 40 minutes. A round trip ticket will cost 4.30 euros. When you arrive to Sintra train station, purchase entry tickets to Pena Palace and Moors Castle at the information booth – entry to both is around 30 euros per person total. You have the option to wait in line for the 434 bus right outside the station and purchase tickets on the bus for 5 euros (full loop trip). However, during my visit the buses were very packed and few and far between. I would suggest hiring a taxi on the street and suggesting 5 euros per person one way to Pena Palace.
First stop would be the Pena Palace, as it is further up the hill. This is my favorite palace that I have ever visited!
The architecture of the palace is so colorful and unique and the view (pictured below) from the palace is equally amazing! After you have toured Pena Palace, walk 10 minutes downhill to The Moors Castle.
Day 4: Praia da Adraga
Hire a private taxi to take you to Praia da Adraga (about a 20 minute drive from Sintra). Be sure to arrange for the driver to come back in the late afternoon for pickup. This beach is considered to be one of the best beaches in Portugal. Unfortunately, I was unable to visit it but I definitely will be on my next trip to Portugal.
Day 5: Return to Lisbon, Travel to Costa de Caparica
This beach resort town located 30 minutes from Lisbon is well known by the Portuguese but unknown to foreigners.
Getting There: After arriving to Rossio Train station, you have a few different options of how to get to this quaint beach town. You can walk 40 minutes to the bus station (Praca do Areeiro), you can take a taxi to the bus station and take the bus or you can take a taxi to Costa De Caparica (about 40-60 euros). The bus is the 161 and it costs 3.20 euro each way and you can purchase the ticket on the bus. The bus usually comes every 30 minutes (on the 15 and 45 minute of the hour) – the journey takes 30-40 minutes. The bus station in Costa de Caparica is very central and it you should be able to walk easily to your accommodations.
Stay: We stayed in an Airbnb right across from the beach and I suggest that you do the same. We paid $43 a night for an apartment that slept 5 people.
All we did in this town was lay on the beach and drink Vinho Verde (well-known white wine from Portugal) – and I suggest you do exactly the same! Every single sunset while we were in this town was breathtaking, don’t miss them!
You can get back to Lisbon the same way as you came. I would suggest getting a taxi from the bus station in Lisbon to the airport.
Getting There: One way flights from Lisbon to Porto are around $10 -$20, so cheap!
Stay: Porto Alive Hostel – best located hostel in Porto, dorms are priced around $30 per person.
Day 7: Tour Porto
I couldn’t visit Porto on this trip, but here is a suggest itinerary.
Day 8: Tour Porto, Fly Home.
If any of my fellow travelers’ head to Porto before me, please send over some recommendations!
Please let me know if any of you need any guidance when booking your trip to Portugal, it is a beautiful country that I highly suggest you visit!