You might have heard of the explorers Vasco de Gama and Ferdinand Magellan, or the world-famous football players Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo. Do you know what these people have in common? All of them are from the wonderful country of Portugal.
Portugal is such a vast place, filled with UNESCO world heritage sites, scrumptious food, and vibrant nightlife, among others. And because of its relatively small size, spending 2 weeks in Portugal could go a long way. Prepared to be amazed as I present you with the various places or things that you could do in this country during your 14-day vacation.
Thinking of other destinations in Europe? We have a compilation of 6 itineraries for 2 weeks in Europe.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING PORTUGAL
Before we proceed with the actual itineraries, some things to keep in mind are the various modes of transportation that you could utilise, the best times to go, as well as their language and currency. These tips will help you plan and visualise your travel itinerary.
When is the best time to go to Portugal
The best time to travel to Portugal is from March to May then September to November. These are the months when the weather is great with fewer visitors roaming around.
The summer season is from June to mid-September while winter is from December to February. The rainy season can be quite a hassle, for those who want to avoid travelling during this season, heads up that Portugal’s rainy season is from November to December.
Like other countries in Europe, Portugal’s peak season is from July to August since it is the country’s holiday month.
You can use trains, trams, buses, taxis, funiculars, and car rentals when getting around Portugal. Cycling has always been a popular mode of transportation, especially within the city. Trains are generally faster than buses, cost less and you can even soak in the picturesque scenery while travelling.
You can also take domestic flights, especially if you want to go to Madeira, a Portuguese island west of Africa. In my opinion, the best way to travel around Portugal is with a rental car. It’s easier to go to top attractions and I had the freedom to go and leave when I want.
Language and currency
A lot of Portuguese speak English, in fact, English is the second most spoken language in Portugal. The Portuguese language is quite identical to Spanish, if you know Spanish, it could give you a great advantage in reading signs.
But if you want to be sure in terms of being understood in the country, here are some of their most commonly used phrases that travellers might find useful.
- por favor – please,
- obrigado – thank you,
- de nada – you’re welcome
- sim -yes
- ola – hello
- bom dia -means good morning,
- adeus – goodbye,
- como esta – how are you
- boa tarde -good evening
Their official currency is Euro. There are tons of facilities that accept cards nowadays but you must always be prepared and bring enough cash, especially in smaller towns where cash is still prefered.
Visa and COVID-19 policy
Portugal is part of the Schengen States, which means that visitors with passports from Europe don’t need a visa to enter and travel to the country. If your passport is from an EU country, you have freedom of movement, which means you can stay as long as you want in Portugal, non EU-member can only stay up to 90 days in a 180-day period.
Foreign travellers from most of the Americas, some of East Europe, some of Southeast Asia, and most of Oceania don’t need a visa as well and can stay for up to 90-days in a 180-day period.
Tourists with passports from countries who don’t have a visa-free agreement with the Schengen States will have to secure a visa at the nearest Portuguese embassy/consulate or embassy/consulate of another European country near you.
Portugal is now open to all visitors (both vaccinated and unvaccinated). Masks are required in public or closed areas, and most specifically in health care facilities.
PINNED MAP OF MUST-SEE PLACES IN PORTUGAL
Click the icon on the top right to enlarge the map. Credit: map data: Google
2 WEEKS IN PORTUGAL ITINERARY
Portugal is a country in southwestern Europe. With a temperate climate for most of the year, this is indeed a perfect holiday spot for locals and tourists alike. It has various landscapes and 850 km of an expanse of beaches. This is also perfect for people who have a love for golfing as it is among the top golf destinations in Europe.
Even with its amazing scenery, vibrant nightlife, and diverse food, staying for four days in each city is more than enough, so you could explore surrounding areas and even do day trips from the main city.
This 2 weeks in Portugal itinerary will cover the sights to enjoy and activities to do in the areas of Lisbon, Porto, Lagos and Madeira plus tips of other less popular places, perfect for those who want to get away from big crowds.
CHECK-OUT: 3 travel itineraries for 2 weeks in France
Lisbon, Porto, Lagos (Algarve), and Madeira
Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal. It is home to Fado music and vibrant cobbled streets. It is home to one of the world’s smallest bookstores, with only 4 square meters in space and housing 4,000 books, this bookshop could only accommodate one person at a time.
Porto is famous for its colourful buildings and ceramic walls, as well as bridges that show off Porto’s architectural prowess.
Lagos is an ancient maritime town with over 2000 years of history. It is among the most visited cities in Portugal because of its beaches, rock formations, hotels, bars, and restaurants.
While Madeira is home to Europe’s tallest sea cliff. It also has more than 25 miles of tunnels and 1,300 miles of hiking trails which is perfect for those who crave an adventure.
Lisbon for 4 days
Let’s start this holiday in the capital city, Lisbon. Did you know that Lisbon is famous for its seven hills, but there are actually eight? The seven hills were referenced from a 17th-century book, but the author Sao Nicolau de Oliveira forgot Graca, which was hidden behind Saint-George’s Castle. This is a joyous moment however because it just means that there are more places to explore.
Aside from the hills, Portugal is also famous for its food. From ginjinha to pastel de Belem, you could never go wrong with trying out local delicacies in Lisbon. There are bars and themed restaurants that are all, so Instagram-worthy as well.
Porto for 3 days
Say goodbye to Lisbon for now and head to our next destination, Porto. This city in the north of Portugal has stately neoclassical buildings and extravagant baroque churches punctuating the skyline, as well as modern art scenes and music venues that are futuristic.
Knowing this, it’s safe to say that Porto depicts all of the timelines, past, present, and future.
The easiest way to travel to Porto if you’re from Lisbon is by train which could last more or less 3 hours. You could also travel via bus, plane, driving, bike, or walking (yes, this is a thing).
There’s a pilgrimage route called Camino de Santiago and its southern route is from Lisbon going to Porto). You can also choose a private transfer with an English-speaking driver.
Lagos for 3 days
2 weeks in Portugal is not incomplete without visiting its best coastal region – Algarve. Lagos is located in Algarve, in the south of Portugal. One of the most popular activities in Lagos is sea and whale watching, which not many places can offer.
There are also tons of watersports to try. You could kayak through beautiful cliffs and incredible caves. They have an old town where you could see quirky shops and dine at cosy eateries.
Apart from Lagos, other popular places in Algarve include Sagres, Faro Albufeira, and Portimao. All these places offer fantastic activities suitable for solo travellers, young families, and couples on a romantic trip. You can base yourself in Porto and make a day trip from there.
To get to Lagos if you’re coming from Porto, you can take the train, bus, night bus, or fly. The most recommended option is to board the train and then ride a bus, with a travel duration of more or less 7 hours, and the fastest is to take a domestic flight.
Madeira for 3 days
Madeira is a small island east of Morroco, sitting on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the hometown of one of football living legends Cristiano Ronaldo, the devotion the people have for Ronaldo is astounding. He even has a museum and statue at the centre of Funchal, and their airport is named after him. You can find tons of tropical fruits here, such as bananas and passionfruit.
In terms of weather, it is almost always sunny in Madeira. It still rains here, but it quickly comes and goes and their carnival is on par with the one being held in Rio de Janeiro. The island also conducts one of the biggest pyrotechnic shows in the world.
For those who want to go to Madeira from Lagos, there are only limited options. You can take a bus from Lagos to Albufeira to Lisbon, then take a flight from Lisbon directly to Maderia
The other option would be to take a flight from Lagos (LOS) to Lisbon, and then another flight from Lisbon to Madeira.
Even if the transportation is kind of hard, it would be worth it. Going to an island to relax on the beach is one of the best ways to finish off your vacation.
BONUS DESTINATIONS TO VISIT IN PORTUGAL
If you’re staying for 14 days in Portugal, it’s very understandable that there are days wherein you prefer to travel to less crowded destinations. Don’t worry because we also got you covered in this aspect.
Perhaps you decided to skip Madeira or when you get to Lagos, it’s not the kind of beach you want to spend 3 days of your holiday. You might also find Lisbon too big of a city for you. In that case, you can check the following destinations below as “substitute” places to go.
Albufeira is a coastal city well-known for its restaurants, beach bars, and club culture near Lagos. However, that’s not all there is to this city. You could also visit their old town which is surely filled with history and interesting artefacts as Arabs and Romans once occupied it.
Visit The Strip and if you like ancient towns, go to a traditional village called Paderne.
Praia do Ancão
Praia do Ancao is a small coastal town between Albufeira and Faro. It is a maritime beach that is a local and international favourite because of the perfect balance of sand and dunes, as well as restaurants and bars.
They even have nautical sports equipment and facilities for football and aerobics. This is an awesome spot if you want to be in a place where there are not many tourists but still have cool places to discover and restaurants to check out.
Praia de Afife
Praia de Afife is a beautiful and clean beach with good parking. This is a great location for surfing. Then you can eat at local cafes and shops after catching some waves.
For those who are interested in beach hopping in less crowded areas, as well as road trips, it would take you more than 5 hours to reach this place if you’re coming from Praia do Ancao.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN PORTUGAL (per city)
- Castelo de Sao Jorge
- Mosteiro dos Geronimos
- Museu Calouste Gulbenkian
- Oceanario de Lisboa
- Museu Nacional do Azulejo
- Elevador de Santa Justa
- Carmo Convent
- Lisboa Story Center
- Day trip to Cascais
- Save money by getting a Lisbon card that allows you to enter top attractions and the public transport system
- Go sightseeing – either on a walking tour or a tuk-tuk tour or an electric bike
- Belem Tower
- Pena Palace – you can do a combo tour that includes Sintra, Cabo da Roca, and Cascais
- Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge
- Sintra – day trip from Lisbon, including Quinta da Regaleria
- Padrão dos Descobrimentos
- Cabo da Roca
- Justa Lift
- Lisbon Cathedral
- Learn about Portuguese cuisine – food and wine tour or half-day food tour or wine-tasting tour
- Miradouro das Portas do Sol
- Day trip to Fatima, Nazare, and Obidos – check the tour price
- Quinta da Regaleira
- Tagus River – go on a Catamaran sunset tour or a cruise on a traditional boat
- Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
- Jardim do Torel
- Explore Porto – by electric bike or street art tour or tuk-tuk tour or walking tour
- Luís I Bridge
- Duoro Valley – boat tour with wine tasting and lunch or wine tasting, lunch, and optional cruise
- Clerigos Church and Tower
- Livraria Lello
- Vila Nova de Gaia – board a sunset sailboat along Duoro River or 6 Bridges Cruise
- Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
- Day trip to Braga and Guimaraes – check the itinerary and cost
- Porto Cathedral
- Day trip to Aveiro, Paiva Walkways, and Arouca 516 Footbridge – read tour reviews
- Palácio da Bolsa
- Peneda-Gerês National Park – visit waterfalls, lagoons, and old villages
- Casa da Música
- Food tours – 3-hour food and wine tour or 10-dish food tour or pastel de nata cooking class
- Parque Natural do Alvão
- Wine and drinks tours – 7 port wine lodges or pub crawl
- Serra do Pilar
- Go Off-Road Buggy – join an adventure
- Porto bridge climb
- Cais de Ribeira
- Ponte dom Luis
- Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis
- World of Discoveries
- Igreja de Carmo
- Cafe Majestic
- Contemporary Art Museum
- Igreja do Carmo
- Day trip to Sagres
- Day trip to the fishing village of Burgau
- Guided Kayak tours
- Igreja de Santo Antonio
- Parque Aventura Lagos
- Forte Ponta de Bandeira
- Parque Zoologico de Lagos
- Punta de la Piedad – boat cruise from Lagos
- The Strip/Rua da Oura
- Benagil Caves – go kayaking or a speedboat or from Vilamoura or from Portimao via a pirate ship
- Praia do Camilo
- Faro District / Ilha do Farol
- Golden Coast – cruise from Lagos
- Praia da Falésia
- Albufeira District – book a beach, bbq, and cruise
- Lagos District
- Ria Formosa – catamaran tour from Faro
- Praia de Dona Ana
- Family Golf Park
- Adventure activities – Off-Road Quad Tour from Albufeira or Jeep Safari
- Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina
- Algar Seco
- Dolphin watching – join a dolphin tour with caves from Albufeira or from Portimao
- Old Town Walking Tour
- Explore Madeira Island – join west tour or east tour or a west tour on a jeep or book a 2-day guided tour to save time or get a hop-on, hop-off bus pass
- Hike Punta de Sao Lourencio
- Madeira Botanical Garden
- Ride the Cable Car at Funchal – check the price with Monte Toboggan and the botanical garden tour
- Swim at the Lava Pools / Doca do Cavacas Natural Pools – book a combo tour with Skywalk and Fana
- Hike Pivo Areiero to Pico Ruivo – do a sunrise tour with a transport service or a guided hike with a transport
- Day trip to the Nuns Valley, Monte, and a Sleigh ride – read the tour reviews
- Hike from Baloes (PR11) to Ribeiro Frio (PR10) to Portela or the other way around
- Dolphin and whale-watching – via an eco catamaran
- Porto Moniz – join a 4×4 tour
- Hike PR13 Verada do Fanal
- Go Scuba Diving – check dive price
- Santa Catarina Park
- Join a food and cultural tour
- CR7 Cristiano Ronaldo Museum
- Rancho Cable Car
- Levada Rbacal – tour with 25 fountains
- Nova and Moinho Waterfall
- Adventurous Activities – off-road buggy ride or go canyoning or level 2 canyoning
- San Vicente Caves
- Monte Palace Tropical Garden
- Porto Santo
- Levada Walks
- Cabo Girao
- Northwest coast Safari day tour
MUST-TRY PORTUGUESE DISHES, DRINKS, AND SNACKS
For foodie lovers, make sure to try these local dishes, snacks, and unique drinks from Portugal during your visit. My personal favourites are pasteis de nata, pica pau, and bola de Berlim:
- Pasteis de Nata
- Pica Pau
- Pao com Chourico
- Pastel de Feijao
- Bola de Berlim
- Caldo Verde soup
- Bolo Rei
- Licor Beirao
- Affordable: Be Lisbon Hostel or Living Lounge Lisbon
- Mid-range: Lisbon 5 Hotel or Garden Boutique Guest House
- Luxury: Turim Boulevard Hotel or Epic Sana Marques Hotel
- Affordable: Supernova Hostel or Change The World Hostel or Portuense Alojamento Local
- Mid-range: Zero Box Lodge or Yotel Porto or Ribeira do Porto Hotel or
- Luxury: PortoBay Flores or Turim Oporto Hotel
- Affordable: LC’s Guesthouse or Dona Ana Garden
- Mid-range: Apartamentos Turisticos Marsol or Dom Pedro Lagos or Charming Residence (adults only)
- Luxury: Hotel Marina Rio or Lagos Avenida Hotel or Boavista Golf & Spa
- Affordable: Pensao Residencial Vila Terensinha or FX Pena or 29 Madeira Hostel
- Mid-range: Villas Quinta da Lapa/Analodges or Aqua Natura Bay or Guesthouse Vila Lusitania
- Luxury: Sentido Galomar (adults only) or Calheta Beach/Savoy Signature (all-inclusive) or Saccharum/Hedonist Design Resort
SUMMARY OF 2 WEEKS IN PORTUGAL ITINERARY
Still unsure if you should spend two weeks in Portugal? You’re in luck because there are still plenty of reasons to go here. Portugal is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. In fact, it came in 4th place last 2021 according to World Population Review. It is home to the world’s largest cork forest (located in Alentejo Region) and Europe’s westernmost point (Cabo da Roca) is also located here.
You can find Europe’s longest bridge in Lisbon (Vasco da Gama Bridge) which is among the best places to retire, with low cost of living and tax incentives. And there you have it, your very own 2 weeks in Portugal itinerary.