Portugal on 2 wheels

You have been thinking about a trip to Portugal for a while… Maybe you came across a cheap flight deal or maybe it was our recent post Reasons to love Portugal that pushed you to finally say “YES” and make a first step towards it.

That is great, congrats! But now comes the more difficult part: where to go, especially on a limited time schedule? To help you get started, we have listed our picks for where to go during a two-week trip.

Our Portugal 2 week itinerary

We have started the road trip from where we were based at the time: Torres Novas and drove along the coastline towards the south of Portugal for around 14 days. This is a recommended duration for this road trip. If you have more time, stay in each place a little bit longer.

Kicking off the road trip.
Kicking off the road trip.

The idea of this itinerary is to explore the whole south west coast of Portugal. Here is where we suggest you to go and our best route to navigate your way down the coast.

Obidos: 1/2 day

Obidos is a charming medieval town, surrounded by the solid city walls. The small town center is filled with the cobbled streets and the traditional painted houses. Since it was owned by the queen of Portugal, every house and shop has been lovingly cared for and maintained.

Must Do:
  • walk around the town walls and enjoy the wonderful views over the tiled roofs
  • savor the famous cherry liqueur called Ginja de Obidos in one of the town’s small bars
  • visit the town during the festivals (more details here)
The beautiful view over Obidos from the city walls.

Peniche: 1 day

Peniche is a coastal town, perhaps best-known these days for its world-class beaches and waves, which attract thousands of the surfers every year. It is spectacularly set on a headland surrounded by the sea and used to be a busy fishing port of Portugal. The old, walled part of the town is dominated by an impressive sixteenth century fortress. The historic center and its many restaurants make for a pleasant stroll and a delicious meal of the fresh fish or the seafood.

Must Do:
  • go surfing or have a surfing lesson
  • cross the sand spit to the scenic island Baleal
  • watch an event in the World Surf Championship
The awesome scenery around Peniche.

Berlenga: 1 day

Berlenga Grande is situated 10 km west from Peniche and it is the largest of the three islands that belong to the Arquipélago das Berlengas. The whole island is a nature reserve and offers the scenic trails that allow you to discover its dramatic natural landscape. If you’re looking for the photo opportunities, the spectacular Forte de São João Baptista rising up from the turquoise sea waters will be definitely your highlight. During the summer season, which is in Portugal roughly from the end of May to mid-September, several boat companies offer a ferry service from Peniche marina to Berlenga. If you suffer from a seasickness, however, take some pills before you travel. It is a 50-minute bumpy ride, but totally worth it!

Must Do:
  • hit the trails around the island and watch the huge seagull population
  • go swimming, snorkeling or kayaking
  • take a glass-bottomed boat to explore the caves and the marine life
Forte de São João Baptista on the edge of Berlenga.
The picturesque Praia do Carreiro do Mosteiro.

Ericeira: 1 day

Ericeira is equally renowned for the spectacular ocean vistas and the excellent seafood restaurants as well as a year-round surf destination. It is a beautiful 12th-century fishing village with the newer development sprawling along. Ericeira as the ‘Mecca of the Surf’ is a lively and attractive town offering a truly staggering variety of the waves, crammed into just a few kilometers of the coast.

Must Do:
  • go surfing and/or hit the beach
Surf mecca.
The spectacular ocean vistas in Ericeira.

Mafra: 1/2 day

Mafra is a typical pretty little town of Portugal that is a home to Palácio Nacional de Mafra, an extravagant convent-palace with 1200 rooms. The monumental palace facade dominates the town. Opposite there is a pleasant square, Praça da República, with many cafes and restaurants.

Must Do:
  • visit the National Palace of Mafra
Impossible to overlook, the majestic National Palace of Mafra.

Sintra: 1 day

Sintra is a Portugal’s fairy-tale town of the flamboyant palaces. It is Europe’s greatest example of colorful Romanticism style of the architecture, situated within the beautiful natural scenery of the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed center, Sintra-Vila, is incredibly charming, with the pretty cobbled streets that are lined with the traditional houses, shops and cafes.

Must Do
  • tour the Pena Palace
  • hike around the Castle of the Moors
  • indulge your sweet tooth with one of the famous queijadas at the Casa Piriquita
Disney style Pena Palace.
A 155-year-old pastry shop known for its queijadas.

Cabo da Roca: 1 hour

Cabo da Roca is a wild and rugged headland that marks the westernmost point of the mainland Europe. Its windswept cliffs were believed to be the edge of the world up until the late 14th century. This is a beautiful spot to take the photos with nearly 360-degree views along the coast and the spectacular, desolate terrain with a 18th-century lighthouse adds even more attractiveness to the location.

The lighthouse at Cabo da Roca.

Cascais: 1/2 day

Cascais is a delightful fishing town as well as the richest and most expensive area to live in in Portugal. Historically the town was a favorite with the Portuguese nobility and today it is an elegant blend of the grand 19th century architecture and the traditional Portuguese charm. The pretty historic center has many family-owned restaurants, open-air cafes and stylish bars that are ideal for relaxing during the day and/or socializing late into the night.

Must Do:
  • hit the beach
  • spend the evening in the historic center
  • walk the promenade to Estoril
Sunset close to Cascais.

Belém (Lisbon): 1/2 day

The picturesque Lisbon suburb of Belém lies on the banks of the River Tagus on the western edge of the city. Belém to most visitors, is synonymous with the Portuguese egg tarts that started right here, where they were put on sale by the monks and nuns. The most popular cafe to try them is Café Pastéis de Belém. This area is also associated with the era of discoveries. It was from here, in 1497, that Vasco da Gama embarked on his historic expedition that led to the opening of a sea route to India. Many of the distinctive buildings in Portugal and the landmarks are located in this area, including Mosteiro dos JeronimosTorre de Belém and Padrão dos Descobrimentos.

Must Do:
  • have a breakfast at Pastéis de Belém
  • visit Jerónimos Monastery
  • chill by the side of Belém Tower and Padrão dos Descobrimentos
The view on Belém.
The view on Belém.

Sesimbra: 1 day

Sesimbra combines the glorious beaches, the stunning natural scenery and the traditional heritage of Portugal. There is so much to love about this small fishing town, from the pristine beaches that are protected by Arrabida Natural Park through to the delicious sea food that is served in the numerous excellent restaurants.

Must Do:
  • hit the beach
  • go for a dinner in one of many sea food restaurants
Camping in Sesimbra.

Zambujeira do Mar: 1 day

Zambujeira do Mar is a small fishing village where it is still possible to enjoy a feeling of the great peace and the tranquility. The beautiful beaches and the good waves are the main attractions for the backpacker, surfy crowd that comes here in the summer. In August the town becomes a party place and hosts the massive music fest, Festa do Sudoeste.

Must Do:
  • go surfing and/or hit the beach
  • come to the festival in August
  • stop for the delicious lunch on the way to Aljezur at Restaurante A Azenha do Mar
Welcome to Zambujeira do Mar.
Welcome to Zambujeira do Mar.
The beautiful coast around Zambujeira do Mar.
The beautiful coast around Zambujeira do Mar.

Aljezur: 1/2 day

Aljezur is a small town of the whitewashed houses and the cobbled streets located near the border between Algarve and Alentejo in the south west Portugal. It is dominated by the ruins of a 10th century Moorish castle, which sits at the top of a narrow and very steep cobbled hill and the view from there is really nice.

Must Do:
  • visit the remains of the 10th century Moorish Castle, Castelo de Aljezur
  • hit the spectacular nearby Arrifana Beach
The whitewashed houses of Aljezur.
The whitewashed houses of Aljezur.

Sagres: 1 day

Sagres is a small town situated at the western tip of the Algarve in the region of the dramatic natural scenery, offering its visitors the beautiful beaches, a unique fort and some of the best surfing spots of Portugal. This popular with a surfing crowd town has a laid-back vibe and simple, cheery cafes and bars to chill in.

Must Do:
  • go surfing and/or hit the beach
Sagres – surfing, beaches and fort.

Lagos: 1-2 days

Lagos is a historic and lively city on the beautiful Western Algarve coastline. It has everything to be a perfect holiday destination: the glorious beaches, a charming historic center and a buzzing nightlife.

Must Do:
  • visit Lagos´ no.1 rated tourist attraction – Ponta da Piedade
  • chill on the white sandy beaches like: Praia do PinhãoPraia Dona Ana or Praia do Camilo
  • spend the evening in the historic center
The magnificent coves and grottos of Lagos.
The magnificent coves and grottoes of Lagos.
The view of a picturesque beach Praia Dona Ana.
The view of a picturesque Praia Dona Ana.

Portimão: 1 day

Portimão is the largest city in the western Algarve and was traditionally a center for the sardine fishing and the processing in Portugal. Today, most of that industry has been replaced by the tourism, the leisure and the retail.

Must Do:
  • eat at one of the seafood restaurants in Alvor, a fishing village inside the Portimão municipality
  • hit the less popular Praia do Alemão
According to the locals, the best beach of Portimão - Praia do Alemão.
According to the locals, the best beach of Portimão – Praia do Alemão.

Beja: 1/2 day

Beja is an easy-going, welcoming and untouristed town with a walled center and some charming sights, all of which are within an easy walk of each other. Its inexpensive lodging, picturesque squares and good eateries make for a relaxing stop and a very genuine experience of Portugal.

Must Do:
  • visit a medieval Castle of Beja
View from the castle.

Évora: 1 day

Évora is a beautiful medieval town. Inside its 14th-century walls, the narrow lanes lead to the striking architectural works: an elaborate medieval cathedral, the columns of Templo de Diana and a picturesque town square. It is also a lively university town (second oldest university in Portugal) and its many attractive restaurants serve up the hearty Alentejan cuisine. Outside of the town, the Neolithic monuments are also worth to see.

Must Do:
  • see the Diana Temple and enter the Bone Chapel
  • walk inside the University grounds
  • visit the prehistoric standing stones of Cromeleque dos Almendres
Diana Temple in Évora.

Almeirim: 2 hours

End the road trip by fueling your stomach at a family-owned Resturante O Toucinho. Totally recommended!

No.1 place for Sopa da Pedra dish in Almeirim.
No.1 place for Sopa da Pedra dish in Almeirim.

The road trip by the numbers:

14

days to spend on the road

1000

approximate number of kilometers to drive

5 

regions to visit

numerous

surf spots and beautiful beaches to hit

and countless amounts of

Vinho Verde and fish & seafood to enjoy

Home sweet home.

THE END.

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