SPEND AN AMAZING 5 DAYS IN PORTUGAL – ITINERARY

HOW TO PLAN YOUR 5-DAY PORTUGAL ITINERARY

Portugal is a beautiful country – from amazing beaches to charming villages and lively cities. And while the country is quite small, you cannot see all the stunning places with only 5 days in Portugal.

You could spend weeks and months in Portugal and discover lovely places every day but since most of us just have a limited time for our Portugal trip, we need to decide on the best places to visit in Portugal

The option of incredible places is endless – so, how can you ever plan a Portugal itinerary? I have been to Portugal several times, yet I have not seen “all of it”. But in this post, I share what I consider a perfect 5-day Portugal itinerary, places I liked the most.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

TRAVEL TIPS AND FAQ FOR PORTUGAL IN 5 DAYS

Before talking about the best places to visit in Portugal in 5 days, here are some quick travel tips for you.

HOW TO GET TO PORTUGAL

  • Portugal has several international airports, and it is easy to fly into Portugal. For this itinerary, I recommend flying into Lisbon and then flying out of Porto (or the other way around if you do the trip the other way around).

Lisbon Airport, officially known as Humberto Delgado Airport, is the main international gateway to Portugal. It’s located about 7 kilometers northeast of the city center of Lisbon,

Lisbon Airport is well-connected to the city by various modes of transport including the metro, buses, taxis, and car rentals. It takes about 30-40 to get to the city center by metro.

Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, commonly known as Porto Airport, is located near Porto. It’s the second busiest airport in the country, after Lisbon Airport.

The airport is located approximately 11 kilometers northwest of the Porto city center. It is well-connected by various forms of transport, including the metro, buses, and taxis. The metro line connects the airport to the city center and takes about 30 minutes.

HOW TO GET AROUND

Portugal has good public transportation in the main cities/ tourist spots – for this itinerary, you can just use public transportation. The only time you might need a car is for a trip to the vineyards. Alternatively, you can book a guided tour (this is what I did and what I do recommend for several reasons, more on this later).

From Lisbon to Porto, you can use trains – it takes between 3 – 4 hours by train (about the same by car). In all honesty, I have not used trains since I visited both cities on two different occasions, but I heard quite positive things about the train connection.

While you could rent a car – for this, I suggest using this site to compare rental prices and get the best deal – or just relax and enjoy the window views from a train.

Lisbon´s old tram @shutterstock
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@shutterstock

BEST TIME TO VISIT

If you want to avoid the crowds and the heat, then do not come in the summer months. Personally, I always visited in the shoulder season (October) and was surprised at how busy it still was. Cannot and do not want to imagine how busy it can be in the busy summer season (July and August).

Also, I must admit that I hate the heat and just do not like very warm or even hot temperatures, so thus I try to avoid warm countries in the summer 

Due to the location of Porto, you can expect mild and nice weather even in spring and fall. On the other hand, the fall in Lisbon was – when I visited – quite rainy. This can happen at any time of the year but of course, spring and fall might bring more rain – especially in the northern part of Portugal (Lisbon).

However, I still recommend visiting Portugal in spring or fall – this means in May, June, September, or early October.

MORE TRAVEL TIPS

When it comes to planning your trip to Portugal, there’s no shortage of things to do and see. From the stunning beaches of the Algarve to the cobbled streets of Lisbon, this country has something for everyone. Here are some travel tips for your Portugal itinerary:

  1. Pack light – Portugal is a land of discovery, so try to keep your baggage minimal so you can make the most of every day!
  2. Bring a map – With cities like Lisbon or Porto all within reach, you’ll want a map or GPS device handy so you don’t get lost exploring!
  3. Make time for day trips – Portugal has some amazing day-trip opportunities from its cities, including the stunning Douro Valley, Sintra, and Coimbra.
  4. Be prepared for rain – Portugal can be quite rainy on certain days, so bring an umbrella or waterproof jacket just in case!
  5. Learn some Portuguese – Most people in Portugal speak at least some English, but learning a few basic phrases will help you get around more easily!
  6. Visit during low season – If you’re looking to save money while traveling in Portugal, avoid peak tourist months and plan your trip during the low season.

Following these tips will help you make the most of your Portugal itinerary, and ensure you have an amazing time! Enjoy your stay!

WHERE TO STAY

I will have some suggestions on places to stay for Lisbon and Porto – the other places I recommend can be easily seen as day trips, so you will only need to accommodations.

HOW TO CREATE AN EPIC 5-DAY PORTUGAL ITINERARY 

PLACES TO VISIT IN PORTUGAL IN 5 DAYS

Okay, without any further ado, here is the 5-day Portugal itinerary.

LISBON – 1 – 1,5 DAYS

One day in Lisbon is not enough to see all the sights, but you´ll get a good idea about the vibrance of the city. Lisbon is a lively, dynamic city with a wide range of exciting things to do and interesting places to see. It features a Mediterranean climate thanks to its location in western Portugal by the estuary of the Tagus River.

Commerce Square in Lisbon, Portugal @shutterstock
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Lisbon 5 days in Portugal what to do, Arzo Travels
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The Portuguese capital boasts stunning pastel-colored buildings, beautiful beach fronts, cobblestoned streets, and white-domed cathedrals. It is also well known for its vibrant nightlife and offers various bars, discos, and fine dining establishments.

If you want to fully immerse yourself in Lisbon’s rich history and culture, visit the center of the city. The historic district of Baixa is a fantastic area to start your Portuguese adventure.

  • The main square, Terreiro do Paço, features museums, fountains, iconic statues, and bustling traditional and trendy markets.
  • The magnificent Castelo de São Jorge is one of the most iconic and enchanting landmarks in Lisbon. Located on the top of Lisbon’s highest hill, it features an enchanting garden offering panoramic viewpoints of the city. This medieval castle dates back to the 11th century and features ancient ruins, a museum, and exhibitions showcasing its heritage.
  • Close to the city center of Lisbon is Belem with the famous Belém Tower (officially the Tower of Saint Vincent) and its 16th-century fortification. This is one of the main places to see in Lisbon, and the above-mentioned places can be seen in a day.

WHERE TO STAY IN LISBON

LUXURY: All the lofts at Raw Culture Art & Lofts Bairro offer accommodation with free WiFi, soundproofing, and a flat-screen cable TV and come with a fully equipped kitchenette and city views.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT RAW CULTURE ART & LOFTS BAIRRO HERE

MID-RANGE: Browns Downtown Hotel is a trendy and colorful accommodation close to many main attractions in the city. All are individually decorated, including a coffee station and flat-screen TVs. All rooms are fitted with wooden floors and contemporary furniture.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT BROWNS DOWNTOWN HOTEL HERE

BUDGET/HOSTEL: A great budget choice is Home Lisbon Hostel located in Baixa/Chiado area and its’ metro station. There is an on-site bar and free WiFi available throughout the property.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT HOME LISBON HOTEL HERE

SINTRA – 1 DAY

TRAVEL TIME LISBON – SINTRA – Sintra is about 30 km (19 miles) northwest of Lisbon. Public transportation takes about 1 hour, book guided tours or get there by car (about 30 minutes). Check out this guided tour for more info.

Known as the Crown Jewel of the Portuguese Riviera, Sintra boasts several extravagant palaces, lavish villas, lush pine forests, and fascinating historic structures.

Palacio da Pena in Sintra @shutterstock_387794470
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Sintra place to see in 5 days in Portugal, Arzo TravelsSintra place to see in 5 days in Portugal, Arzo Travels
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This colorful city is widely considered one of the top tourist destinations in the country due to its cultural and natural beauty. Situated in the foothills of the western Serra de Sintra mountain range, this picture-perfect city is full of outdoor activities.

  • Sintra is home to five magical castles, with the vibrant red and yellow Palácio da Pena being the biggest and most noteworthy. This 19th-century Romanticist structure sits on a hilltop surrounded by an exotic botanical sanctuary, Pena Park.
  • The park has designated viewpoints where you can enjoy the sweeping panoramas of the city, its historic buildings, and lush natural landscapes. The town and its surrounding mountain slopes are a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • You can hike across the stunning mountain trails, stroll along the untamed coastline, or explore the lush green countryside on a bike.

CASCAIS & ESTORIL – 0,5-1 DAY 

TRAVEL TIME LISBON – CASCAIS – Cascais is about 30 km (19 miles) west of Lisbon. It takes about 30 minutes by car and between 60 and 90 minutes by public transportation.

While I personally adored these two cute seaside towns, I only recommend visiting if you do not mind very busy itineraries. You can also spend another few more hours in Lisbon before continuing your journey on day 3 to Porto.

Cascais and Estoril lie on the northern coast of Lisbon. A two-mile-long beachfront boardwalk, boasting beautiful beach scenery, connects these two popular resort towns.

Cascais 5 days in Portugal what to do, Arzo Travels
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During the late 19th century, King Luís I and an array of noblemen chose to take summer residence on the shores of these two towns. Since then, Cascais and Estoril have grown to be among the most sophisticated and stylish cities in Portugal.

Cascais has a laid-back and welcoming character. Its streets are teeming with extravagant villas, ornate 19th-century mansions, historical monuments, and museums. Also, visit the Praia da Rainha Beach where golden sand meets crystalline waters.

Estoril in Portugal @shutterstock
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Estoril in Portugal @shutterstock Pic: S-F, Shutterstock.com

While Estoril has fewer sightseeing and historic spots than Cascais, it is home to the distinguished Grand Estoril Casino. The first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, takes inspiration from the intrigue and mysterious incidents that played out in this historic establishment.

PORTO – 1 DAY

TRAVEL TIME – LISBON – PORTO:

It takes about 3,5 hours to get from Lisbon to Port by train. By car, it might take a few minutes less.

The coastal city of Porto sits in northern Portugal along the Douro River. It is the second-largest city in Portugal and is home to many historic buildings, beautiful natural scenery, and internationally acclaimed wine cellars.

The famous destination also has gorgeous cobblestone streets, riverside attractions, and a laid-back beachfront that make it one of the best places to visit in Portugal.

Porto bridge to see on Portogual itinerary
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Porto attractions in 5 days
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  • The Douro River flows through central Porto and has six magnificent bridges crossing over it. The best way to see the impressive architecture and beauty of the bridges is by taking one of the many boat cruises down the river.
  • If you’d rather see the structures on foot, then head to the Luís I Bridge which rises to around 148 feet.
  • The spectacular Church of São Francisco is a significant landmark located in the city center. This Gothic structure dates back to the 13th century and its distinguished architecture and Baroque-style interior are absolutely gorgeous.
  • Within walking distance, you can also experience the splendor of the Porto Cathedral, one of the city’s oldest monuments dating back to the 12th century.
  • For more recent sights, head to the Casa da Música. This is a concert hall worth visiting even when there’s no concert thanks to its structural beauty. The 1300-seater features a shoe-box shape, with two walls entirely made of glass. While visiting, you may hear the orchestra rehearsing during the day or you can fully immerse yourself in the performance during certain evenings.
  • TIP: I know the Livraria Lello & Irmão bookstore is extremely popular as it is often called the most beautiful bookstore in the world – and it is gorgeous. BUT after buying the ticket online, I had to wait in line for a long time, and then the store was crowded which made moving very difficult. Seriously crowded. With one day in Porto, I would NOT visit it.

WHERE TO STAY IN PORTO

LUXURY: Stay in the heart of Porto and enjoy all the luxury of a 5-star property at PortoBay Flores – this includes the Hamman and many more amenities and facilities.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT PORTOBAY FLORES HERE

MID-RANGE: You can enjoy Douro River views and free Wi-Fi, Oporto Street Fonte Taurina – Riverfront Suites – Adults Only is in the heart of Porto’s Ribeira district.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT OPERTO STREET FONTE TAVERINA HERE

BUDGET/HOSTEL: Close to main sights like Clerigos Tower, Palacio da Bolsa, and Ferreira Borges Market, Rosalma Hostel features air-conditioned rooms, a garden, free WiFi, and a shared lounge.

➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT ROSALMA HOSTEL

DOURO VALLEY – 1 DAY

The Douro Valley is internationally acclaimed for being the oldest demarcated wine-producing region in the world. With its incredible landscapes, rolling hills, terraced vineyards, outstanding wines, and rich agricultural history, it is definitely worth a visit. You can find it in northern Portugal, 60 miles east of Porto.

Doumo Valley for 5-day Portugal itinerary.
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Wine tasting in Portugal itinerary.
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The Douro Valley extends from the city of Porto, where the river flows into the Atlantic Ocean, to the border with Spain. The river is the defining feature of the region, winding its way through the landscape and creating a microclimate ideal for viticulture. 

While I admire Tuscany in Italy for its vineyards, this was something different. Its sheer size is mind-blowing. 

If you want to learn more about the region’s culture and specialty wines, you must visit the Douro Museum. It is an informative and interesting experience that wine lovers will love. Set in a former warehouse, it showcases the history of wine-making and antique artifacts used in the process during the late 19th century.

Wine tasting is a must-do for many. But believe me, even if you are not into it – like me – you can still enjoy the beauty of Douro Valley.

A cruise on Duoro River helps after all the food and drinks – this is what tranquility indeed looks like.

Boat cruise in Douro Valley
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Another must-see destination in the valley is Pinhão, a small riverside town known for its breathtaking scenery and delightfully charming train station. The station’s walls feature traditional tiled imagery. There’s an antique steam train that takes you on a scenic ride through the valley.

Pinhão - Train station in Doumo Valley
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If you book a guided tour, the above-mentioned activities will most likely be included – they were at the tour I did which you can check out here. It also included a delicious lunch (though vegetarian options were limited) and a lot of wine tasting!

If you come here independently you could also add other activities to your itinerary. Its dreamy landscape and climate offer the perfect setting for outdoor activities, including scenic hikes and watersports such as canoeing, kayaking, and waterskiing.

It is also a paradise for nature enthusiasts and offers great spots for birdwatching and wildlife observation. 

➡️ BOOK YOUR DOURO VALLEY TOUR HERE

FINAL THOUGHTS ON WHERE  TO GO FOR 5 DAYS IN PORTUGAL

5 days in Portugal while visiting Porto and Lisbon offers something for everyone. From stunning architecture to beautiful scenery and vibrant nightlife, you will not be disappointed. Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach holiday or an action-packed city break, Portugal has it all.

With its unique culture and rich history, it is the perfect destination for a short but sweet holiday.  

This 5-day Portugal itinerary gives you the option to discover some of the best places in a short amount of time.

Enjoy and stay safe!

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