Driving holiday in Portugal: Day plans for a 10-day road trip

Planning a driving holiday can take a lot of time. Sights must be checked out, cozy hotels must be booked and rental cars must be ordered. Imagine if someone made a plan for you, so you can easily modify it according to your own interests? You know what? Here comes my entire itinerary for our driving holiday in northern Portugal that we did in August (2018). Start and end in Lisbon and in between visits to some of Portugal's coolest places: Porto, Douro Valley, Óbidos, Costa Nova, Sintra, Nazaré and Monsanto.

In fact I have to say this is one of the best driving holidays we have ever done. Partly because we had exciting things to discover every day, but also because we booked both good hotels and good restaurants before we left. Because everything was pre-booked and dinner was served at 20pm every evening, we had wonderfully long days to discover Portugal without having to stress.

I have listed all the hotels we stayed at, although I recommend reading my posts before booking. What I appreciate in a hotel, may not be what you are looking for at all - or vice versa. But it's a plan with reasonably long day stages and it's easy to find other hotels near my suggestions.

Basically all the restaurants that I pre-booked, I booked through the app the fork. The Fork is much more widespread in Portugal than, for example, Book-a-table, and there are often offers of between 30-50% on the a la carte menu at good restaurants if you book via the app. Very Nice!

Do you want general tips for what you need to consider when driving in Portugal? You will find my best tips here!


Day 1-2: Arrival Lisbon

Start the trip with a day in Portugal's capital among trams, sights and good restaurants. If you arrive late at night (and stay at the Intercontinental), their restaurant Akla is recommended.

accommodation: Intercontinental Lisbon
Restaurant (dinner): Akla

Sintra - Portugal

Day 3: Sintra

Distance: 12 miles
Early start from Lisbon to go to Sintra. Wonderful Sintra has an abundance of attractions and it is difficult to fit them all in one day. We were amazed by Pena Palace, wandered by Cabo da Roca and visited the abandoned monastery Convento Dos Capuchos. Stop by Azenhas Do Mar on the way to the night's accommodation outside Óbidos.

accommodation: Evolutee Royal Óbidos
Restaurant (dinner): Maria Batata

Nazare - Portugal

Day 4: Obidós, Nazaré and Conimbriga

Distance: 16 miles
We start the day early, with a visit to the beautiful city Obidos before we go to them the big waves in Nazareth for lunch. On the way to today's accommodation, we visit them Roman ruins in Conimbriga.

accommodation: Curia Palace (not recommended - but please read about our experience!)
Restaurant (lunch): Taverna d'Adelia

Costa Nova - Portugal

Day 5: Bussaco forest and Costa Nova

Distance: 13 miles
Soon in Porto! Today's lunch and afternoon are spent among the striped houses of the coastal town Costa Nova. On the way there you stop for a walk in Bussaco forest green fairytale forest. On the way to Porto, stop in Ovar to try their special sponge cake Pão-de-Ló.

accommodation: Eurostars Heroismo (Port)

Porto - Portugal

Day 6: Porto

Wander around in Portos centrum and marvel at the charming worn-out old town. Try port wine and visit the central station with its blue and white tiles.

accommodation: Eurostars Heroismo (Port)
Restaurant: Caffeine

Douro Valley - Portugal

Day 7-8: Douro Valley

Distance: 12-20 miles (depending on route)
Drive from Porto after breakfast and have a delicious lunch at one of the many wineries in Douro Valley. Spend the days along the valley's beautiful roads and enjoy the views.

accommodation: Quinta de Casaldronho 


Day 9: Monsanto & Serra da Estrela

Distance: 35 miles 
Today we turn south, and take a long day's drive through the hinterland and the national park Serra da Estrela. Take a long lunch in one of the mountain villages, here you get real Portuguese food for cheap! You stop in the unique rock city Monsanto before settling into the night's accommodation at the historic luxury hotel Pousada Monastery of Crato.

accommodation: Pousada Monastery of Crato (upcoming post)

Lisbon shopping

Day 10: Lisbon

Distance: 18 miles 
Time to head back to Lisbon for the journey home after an amazing 10 day driving holiday! If you have a flight in the afternoon, take the opportunity to find designer clothes on the way to the airport in the big way Freeport Lisboa Fashion Outlet


Do you want to read more about Portugal? Look into my Portugal page!

Want to read more of my travel tips? do not forget to like Rucksack on Facebook!

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About the blogger

Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.


  • Madeleine Wreath
    March 8, 2019 at 17:15 pm

    But what a lovely trip, it might have to be copied straight away when it's time for Portugal. And you got curious about that plugin. Awesome!

    • Eve on rucksack.see
      March 8, 2019 at 17:18 pm

      I'm so glad you liked the layout! ??? Was a little unsure if it would be too mushy in the plugin with all the dots, but it was the only plugin I found that could draw lines between places and still have links to my posts.

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