Portugal Roadtrip; The Best Places You Should Visit Right Now

It’s no secret we love to travel. Travel provides absolutely everything we crave out of our lives – endless adventure, love, excitement, happiness, connection and purpose. Travel helps us to focus our attention on beautiful and mighty things that surround us and travel taught us to cherish moments that we share with others and to look for magic everywhere.

It’s also no secret that we love travelling around Portugal, especially traversing along the beautiful coast scattered with little towns and villages.

The moments we’ve spent in this country so far will always have a special place in our hearts; a time full of lovely memories, both personal and shared.

Going on that very first road trip along Portugal’s beautiful coast was so much more than just having a great time. Our initial goal was to gain new perspectives and break out of our two-dimension vision.

We wanted to re-examine our daily habits, work on our values and figure out what we want our next chapters in life to be by leaving the familiar behind.

We didn’t fall off the map for days at a time, but the trip was more than a vacation – it was a trip towards a better mindset.

During our time in Portugal,  we had a chance to visit many cities in villages, all of which were remarkable in their own way. So impressive in fact I’ll be willing to go back again and again and again.

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Did you know that Lisbon wasn’t always the capital of Portugal? In fact, Guimarães, UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the first capital.

 

Portugal Roadtrip; The Best Places you should Visit Right Now

This road trip took us through some of the most incredible villages and towns in Portugal as we spent 8 full days travelling between Lisbon and Porto looking for meaningful experiences.

We had good and bad weather, we didn’t get to see places we wanted, but we stumbled upon sites that weren’t even on our itinerary.

The best thing we loved- driving along the Portugals coast was impossible to predict the next view.

If you are planning on visiting Portugal and can’t decide on what to see and where to go, then this blog post can give you a few ideas you can write down in your travel journal.

This is a pretty much straightforward example of one of the road trips we did in Portugal.  If you plan on travelling along the coast, you can pick and mix any of the places mentioned below, based on your desires.

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Coastal views in Baleal, Peniche

 

#1. Visit beautiful Lisbon

We started our road trip in Portugals straight out of fairy tail capital Lisbon, and although we were greeted with dark clouds and torrential downpour, we loved it right away.

Lisbon was the first city we visited in Portugal and on the first day, I remember being taken away by beautiful buildings and pretty flowers. Valters and I made a deal there and then, to return one day. And we did.

By now, I have lost count how many times we’ve been to Lisbon, but on every occasion, we consumed far too many pastries, sussed out local restaurants and hit the stunning beaches.

∗What not to miss in Lisbon: Skip some of the famous tourist attractions and explore its neighbours like Bairro Alto, Baixa, Alfama and Mouraria instead.

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Beautiful Lisbon, one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, is blessed with world-class museums and historical monuments.

 

#2. Wander around Cascais

After a day in Lisbon, instead of the highway we took the scenic route and found ourselves in a very charming seaside town where Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond Books. Due to its coastal scenery, sandy beaches and photogenic appearance, Cascais is very popular with daytrippers from Lisbon.

∗What not to miss in Cascais: Boca do Inferno, The Old town of Cascais and Marechal Carmona Park.

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Cascais, Portugal.

 

#3. Visit Guincho Beach

Located about 7 kilometres from Cascais, Guincho is one of the biggest and popular beaches. This is where James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ was filmed in 1969, and today it’s one of the top spots for surfing and windsurfing in Europe.

What you’ll find is a windswept golden beach with sea cliffs in the background and when not hiding behind a thick cloud – you can see Cabo da Roca lighthouse in a far distance.

Via series of walkways, you can also explore the unique ecosystem of The Cresmina Dunes and thanks to informational panels, observe and learn about flora and fauna, including rabbits, birds, and snakes.

*What not to miss in Guincho: Rent a bike in Cascais and cycle to Guincho beach where you can hire a surfboard to go surfing.

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In Guincho, you can go for a walk, hire a surfboard or just bask under the warm sun rays.

 

#4. See the lighthouse at Cabo da Roca

A stop in Cabo da Roca was never on our route along Portugal’s west coast, but I am so glad we made an effort to detour down the winding road, its such an iconic spot!

Situated at a latitude of 38º 47´ North and a longitude of 9º 30´ West, Cabo da Roca is the most westerly point of mainland Europe – only amenities on site is a beautiful lighthouse, coffee shop and a gift shop.

At the gift shop, you can get a handwritten certificate approving your visit(euro 5.60 for a basic or euro 11.50 for more elaborate one).

*What not to miss: Nearby Praia da Ursa situated just north of Cabo da Roca(that’s where the blog posts main picture was taken).

#5. Fall in love with Ericeira Town

Ever since our first visit, Ericeira is one of our favourite and happy places in Portugal. Spending the first night in this beautiful town felt like we were let in on a secret. You know, discovering the place that feels undiscovered.

We unpacked our bags and tried to slow down a little bit, drank some green tea, read a book and just enjoyed coastal views.

After walking around the charming town, we went to the beach to relax and watch the light change across the sky. The fantastic colours lasted for few hours constantly shifting from yellow to orange across the blankets of calm waters.

∗What not to miss in Ericeira: Beautiful sunsets, surf and traditional pastries.

» Read more: 7 Amazing Things To Do When Visiting Ericeira, Portugal For The First Time

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In Ericeira, you can find beautifully tiled buildings, cute squares and quiet streets.

 

#6. Be amazed by Azenhas Do Mar

While most of the people end up in bigger cities to explore Lisbon or Porto over a long weekend, there are few places worth leaving them behind. Sintra and Cascais get its fair share of exposure, but a little town like Azenhas do Mar is less famous for a day trip. We have been fortunate to visit this place a couple of times and strongly feel its one of the best in Portugal.

Azenhas do Mar is situated on the Atlantic coast in Sintra municipality. After a day in Ericeira, we jumped in the car and travelled for 30 minutes via N247 to reach the little village. If you are travelling from Lisbon, it’s only 40 km away when driving via A37.

∗What not to miss in Azenhas Do Mar: Relaxing beach walks, colourful sunsets and fresh seafood.

#7. Go surfing in Peniche

We love visiting places that aren’t capitals as they portray more authenticity, and there is less tourist traffic. That’s why I could hardly contain my excitement as we approached Peniche,  one of the largest traditional fishing ports in Portugal, for the first time because venturing somewhere new is so exciting!

We loved walking around its historical centre and once we were finished exploring Peniche Fort, Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Sanctuary, went surfing, tasted the charcoal-grilled sardines and took in the coastal views around Baleal.

Praia dos Supetubos is one of Peniches main attractions as every year in autumn it hosts World Surf Championship, one that we were fortunate enough to attend last year.

∗What not to miss in Peniche: Cabo Carvoeiro lighthouse, boat trip to Berlengas Archipelago and walking across the sand spit to Baleal.

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Wander around the harbour and wait for the ships return with fresh catch.

 

#8. Marvel at Óbidos Town

When in 1282 Portuguese king Dinis married Isabel of Aragon, he was generous enough to represent Óbidos as one of the weddings presents for her. If you wanna be treated like royalty, you can stay a night or two in Pousada Castelo de Óbidos.

Castle has been repaired and made into a hotel by a Portuguese government. Rooms have four-poster beds, chandeliers and magnificent views of the surrounding landscape, allowing travellers to spice up their journey.

Little streets in Óbidos village are lined with shops selling local arts, crafts and delicatessen. One thing worth bringing home with you is tipple Ginginha, which is sweet brandy liquor made with local cherries.

You can also walk on the castle walls – something everyone must do when visiting Óbidos. Because there are no handrails and a path is very narrow, you have to watch your every step.

*What not to miss in Óbidos: Take part in annual Medieval Fair, where you can step back in time, dress up as a knight and enjoy the shows and markets.

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Óbidos is a very charming Portuguese town.

 

#9. Explore Nazaré

We all have a favourite place we like to return.  And there is nothing wrong with that. One of our main reasons for the trip was visiting all the little towns scattered along the coast, including Nazaré village.

To discover the real beauty of Nazaré, we stayed the night and hung around after sunset. As the hoarded of group tours dispersed and the light started to change, we were treated with yet another colourful burst of colours.

∗What not to miss in Nazaré: Lighthouse museum and The Big Wave season(between October and March when the waves up to 100ft start rolling in).

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Nazaré is a popular seaside resort in the Silver Coast.

 

#10. Go on a boat trip in Aveiro

You may not have been to Aveiro yet, but we are sure that by now, you have seen it numerous times on social media. Rainbow striped fishermen cottages, located in Costa Nova, is a sought out place for tourists providing a unique background for photos.

Located south of Porto and nicknamed the Venice of Portugal, Aveiro is characterised by a maze of canals and Art Nouveau architecture.

One thing we didn’t expect to find was one of the most colourful train stations and incredible traditional boats.

∗What not to miss in Aveiro: Boat trip along the canal, picturesque Railway station with its blue tiles and local sweets made with sugar and eggs known as ovos moles.

#11. Visit Porto

Not every morning is as magical as when you are waking up to colourful sunsets by the ocean. Of course, we would have enjoyed more sunshine while on this trip but seeing Porto wrapped up in a dense fog and jumping over fresh rain puddles was something I’ll carry with me forever.

When it comes to Porto, attractiveness and beauty was on a new level. Portugals second-largest city was one of the most unexpected places we’ve visited. Two full days was enough time to visit all the top attractions, yet wasn’t enough to tour the Douro River.

∗What not to miss in Porto: The wonderful Lello Bookstore, Dom Luis Bridge and Palácio da Bolsa.

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Porto is best known for its port wine production and stately bridges.

 

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Now, over to you!

Have you ever been on a road trip around Portugal? Let us know in the comments below!

Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Portugal and have travel-related questions!

 

 

 

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Our Crossings follows the daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

40 thoughts on “Portugal Roadtrip; The Best Places You Should Visit Right Now

  1. Going on a road trip around Portugal is probably on the Top 5 of my bucket list, and this post makes me want to go even more!! Thanks a lot for sharing, it sure sounds like a dreamy destination! Can’t wait to experience it one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading! We are still very new to Portugal, it wasn’t until just a couple of years ago that we decided to visit Lisbon and Porto for the first time and it took us one trip to fell under its spell. I don’t think we’ve met anyone who doesn’t love this beautiful European country, hope you get to see it in person one day. Have a good day and safe travels.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I bet you had a fantastic time and I hope you are going to write about everything you had a chance to see. I was always intrigued by the Douro Valley and beautiful mountains yet we never got that far North while exploring Portugal, there were way too many places to visit between Porto and Lisbon. We should just fly into Porto next time

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeahhhh, Guimarães it is just a 1 hour trai trip from Oporto… U cannot miss it next time. If u fokwmy 2 travel blogs, I will certainly fi d many shoots I took in Guimarães too. Cheers from OPORTO city, Portugal. 😊🇵🇹❤️🌍🎵

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      2. I guess I confused u, I wanted to mean that if u follow/check my 2 travelling blogs, there you will also find photos I took in Guimarães and all over the world, during my travels. Cheers from Oporto city,

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    1. I hope you get to visit Portugal one day, it’s just one of those magically beautiful European countries that is full of warm people and stunning coastal views. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Travelling by car is one of our favourite ways to explore Portugal – being in control of where to go and where to stay, having the flexibility to change your itinerary – what’s not to love about a road trip? Hope you get to visit Portugal, you’ll absolutely love it. Thanks for reading and have a good day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome and thanks for reading. Portugal is amazing, you can surf in Ericeira, party in Porto, hike in the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela and explore many of its amazing castles! Have a good day

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    1. That’s a very hard decision 🙈 if this is your first time in Portugal then Lisbon is nothing short of perfect as an introduction to this beautiful country. There’s loads of free sights to see and neighbourhoods to explore 😀

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    1. Thanks so much, Portugal is one of our favourite places on Earth not because of great surf and beautiful scenery but more because of warm welcome and friendly locals. Have a good day and thanks for stopping by 😀

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  2. Hi,
    As you might have guessed by the name, I’m Portuguese. Your list is quite nice, and I’m sure you had lot of fun in doing all this. Also I’m flattered by your comments (although I’m not responsible for all the good looks in my country :o).
    A few things: The capital in Guimarães. In medieval times the there was not such concept as capital city. The capital was where the king stayed. So yes, Guimarães was a capital but also Coimbra and Évora, for example.
    Another thing, You visited the Atlantic part of Portugal. In such a small country, in only a few kilometers landscape can change dramatically
    Alternative to your’s, next time you can do more or less the parallel route in the interior. From Lisbon, drive up the Tejo River, stop at Santarém (the gothic capital), Almourol castle, (an island in the river,) Tomar templar convent, Coimbra, (see the University Library and the roman ruins), go up the Mondego River, get to Viseu, then to Lamego and Peso da Régua in the Douro Valley… You will be surprised every 20Km.
    Well, thank you anyway
    warm regards

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi and thanks so much for your comment, we had lots and lots of fun exploring Portugal, meeting locals and wandering around the quiet villages over the last few years. My favourite part was following and meeting up with world class surfers during the Surfing Championship in Peniche and catching my first wave in Baleal. Also, thanks so much for your suggestions, looking forward to plan our next trip around Portugal keeping your mentioned places in mind. Have a really good day and warm regards from Ireland

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    1. Hi, there! Well, it depends on what you wish to do and see along the way to Spain! What we love about the route from Portugal- you get to choose your starting point, which is either from Lisbon, Porto or even Coimbra. But the French way is even more beautiful because it starts in the Basque region and takes you all the way across Pyrenees

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The French Camino de Santiago (or French Way) begins in the French city of St Jean Pied de Port in the French Basque Country and continues through the Pyrenees until reaching Pamplona. The Camino de Santiago from Saint Jean Pied de Port is very popular among the French and the full length of it is 791km.

        I do not have any personal experience with the Portuguese Camino. So I can not provide a piece of accurate information. But I know that
        the distance is roughly 1/3 of the French Camino, 270kms.

        The Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) from Coimbra to Porto is part of the Camino Portugués (The Portuguese Way): The third section of the Portuguese Way, from Coimbra to Porto, begins in the city of Coimbra, famous for its University that has been classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that would be around 2,710 km! And, in my humble opinion, that would be one hell of a road trip! We love living in Ireland but there’s certain magic when you live in mainland Europe where you can catch a train or bus to nearby countries! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day

      Like

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