Portugal Road Trip Itinerary – Porto to Faro by Car!

Portugal is a beautiful country full of welcoming and passionate people. There are many places that are on the cannot miss list, but if you want to soak in the true spirit of this beautiful country, there is no better way than with a Portugal Road Trip Itinerary.

Traveling by car gives you the opportunity to be in control of your own destiny and go where you choose to. Spontaneity is great, but having some idea and direction to go in will help as well, therefore we go from Porto to Faro by car. The perfect route for you and all of your friends.

Are you ready? Let’s go!

(Related: Road Trip in Spain Itinerary)

Portugal Coast Road Trip – What Route to Take?

A good map is a must-have for any Portugal Road Trip Itinerary. Without it you will miss all the hotspots, fun things to see and do, and of course not to mention the endless hours on Google trying to gether all in the information by yourself.



This road map of Portugal has a distance of 810 km and starts in Porto. From there you will make your first stop in Figueira da Foz, before checking the beaches and surf scene at Ericeira.

You will visit the capital of Portugal: Lisbon, before heading towards the south and explore the Algarve region.

Time on the road: 8-9 hours
Distance : 810 km
Start :
Porto (or reverse – Faro)

Portugal Road Trip Itinerary
Road Map of Portugal

Portugal by Car – The Rules

Driving in Portugal is not that different from other European countries, but the local Portuguese drivers do not seem to take the rules very seriously. Therefore, it is important to always double-check the traffic and other drivers as most of them like to speed and do unpredictable maneuvers.

Toll Roads in Portugal

Portugal can be a bit confusing when it comes to the toll roads. A part of them is electronic and a part of them is with a toll booth. Almost all of them accept creditcard, but just a few accept cash. I know, that does not make any sense, but unfortunate that’s the way it is.

The following roads of “Brisa” accept creditcards: A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A9, A10, A12, A13 and A14.

If you missed a payment you can still make the payment within 5 days on pagamentodeportagens.pt to avoid a fine. Another option is buying a pre-paid card. This card includes a deposit of € 5, €10, € 20 or € 40. It can be bought online at : http://www.tollcard.pt

Things to do in Porto

The journey begins in the town of Porto. This route will take your directly along the west coast of Portugal and gives you a chance to simply slow down and take in the scenery.

Portugal Road Trip Itinerary
Things to do in Porto! – Portugal Road Trip Itinerary

Porto is one the most famous tourist destinations in Portugal and is the second-largest city of the country after Lisbon. The historical city center has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. The city is well-known for its export business, including the famous Port wine, which was named after the city

Ribeira Square

The Ribeira Square is a historical square in Porto, Portugal. It is included in the historical centre of the city, designated World Heritage by UNESCO. Here you will find the city market that sells local products including fish, bread, meat and other goods.

In the evening you can go visit one of the many cozy restaurants in the area that serve traditional Portuguese cuisine. Try the fish and seafood dishes as they are the most popular and of course in combination with a good bottle of Port wine. Bon Appétit!

Livraria Lello

Livraria Lello is a unique cultural icon that has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in Porto. This bookshop comes to live and brings you back in time with its traditional design and layout. Take a beautiful picture at its traditional curved stairways and make sure you do no forget to buy your new book.

Tip: Go as early as possible as it gets really busy during the day. It was so busy that there was a line of people standing outside!

Therefore, if you are looking for that perfect selfie (all alone) you should consider visiting the library very early in the morning and if possible in the low-season.

Price: 4 Euro per ticket. Can be used as a discount when you book something in the store.

Don’t miss this one!

Tours in Porto: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, River Cruise, & Port Cellar Tour

Discover the historic city of Porto with a combo ticket that provides 2 days’ access to 2 hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tours, 1 Douro river cruise and 1 tour of the Calém Port Wine cellars.

Highlights 

  • Explore the city at your own pace with a 2-day pass
  • See all of Porto’s major attractions from a hop-on hop-off open-top bus
  • Cruise along the Douro River
  • Taste a sample of port wine at the historical Caves Calém cellars
  • Try local cuisine in quaint neighborhoods

Click here for more information or book directly at:

Hotels & Appartments in Porto with free or private parking

HF Ipanema Park​​ – Rating: 8,2
Peninsular​ – Rating 7,4
Porto Lounge Hostel & Guesthouse​​ – Rating 9,1

​​Click here to check out the cheapest hotel prices in Porto today!​ 

Paintshop Hostel – Figueira da Fez

Head south from Porto and slowly make your way down to Figueira da Fez. In this town, you can find many attractions to take up some of your time, but if you find yourself in need of rest, just check into Paintshop Hostel.

It may worry some people to stay in a hostel, but this one does have an option to purchase a private room, so there is little to worry about. It is also the perfect place as it is easy to park your car there.

An important aspect for when you travel with your car. Always make sure you double check if your accommodation provides either free parking or parking nearby.

Portugal Road Trip Itinerary
The beautiful evening skyline of Porto. Here is where your road trip in Portugal will start! – Portugal Road Trip Itinerary

Ericeira Beach

Once you feel well rested and ready for a new day, continue south toward Ericeira beach. This city is known for hosting the ASP World Tour Championship and being a mecca for those looking to ride the waves.

Take some time here to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the waves yourself. There is nothing more satisfying than owning the ocean from your surfboard and it is the perfect way to spend an afternoon or even most of the day.

If you have not caught all the waves you want or if you simply want a change of scenery, just down the road is Cascais. Another town known for surfing, Cascais is a quaint area to soak up the sun and enjoy a bit of shopping.

Portugal Road Trip Itinerary
Your first stop will be at Ericeira. Time to relax and enjoy the beautiful coast. If you have time go catch some waves as Ericeira is a real surfers town! – Portugal Road Trip Itinerary

How to take surf-lessons in Ericeira?

Look no further. You have found the best surf school for group surf lessons. All you have to do is bring a towel and a swimsuit. Have the rest taken care of for you so you enjoy the waves of sunny Ericeira.

With this student to instructor ratio, you can feel confident that you will receive a safe, high quality lesson. Time and energy have been dedicated to finding the best surf instructors in Ericeira.

A staff of professional lifeguards and CPR certified instructors will educate you on the proper techniques. The lesson is 90 minutes to 120 minutes – depending on the sea conditions.

What Will You Learn?

– Standing up
– Paddling
– Wave timing and placement
– Wave selection
– Surfboard and wetsuit education
– Wave physics
– Surf etiquette and safety

*Pricing includes wetsuit and surfboard, return transfer from the store to the beach and insurance for accidents.

Click here for more information or book directly at:

Hotels & Appartments in Ericeira with free or private parking

Blue Buddha Beach House​​ – Rating: 8,7
Blue Buddha Surf Hostel​ – Rating 7,6
Quatro Sóis Guesthouse – Rating 9,3

​​Click here to book the most affordable hotel prices in Ericeira!

Things to do in Lisbon

By this time, you will definitely be in need of some rest and just a short jaunt from Cascais is Lisbon. Lisbon is the beautiful capital of Portugal and they have many accommodations and activities for the weary traveler to choose from.

Time-out Food Market

But first things first: Let’s eat! When you arrive in Lisbon you will face your first challenge, which is finding a parking spot! Thankfully, I did some research and found a perfect underground parking garage right next to the Time-Out food market!

It is located on the left-side of the food market with the entrance being on the right-side of Jardim Dom Luis.

The food-market is truly an amazing place for people who want to try the Portuguese cuisine and experience the local culture. Once you go inside you will see dozens of little shops offering a very broad selection of Portugal’s finest.

It does not matter if you like deserts, grill, bread or even if you are vegan, there is something for everybody!

Portugal Road Trip Itinerary
Time-Out Food Market in Lisbon – Portugal Road Trip Itinerary

Meals are on average between 3-12 Euro’s depending on the size. There is also a selection of local wines. These start at 5 Euro per glass. Keep in mind that during lunch-time it will get very busy, therefore I advice you to go before 12, or after 3.

Elevador de Santa Justa

The Elevador de Santa Justa is one of Lisbon’s most iconic monuments. The 19th century lift that transports passengers up the steep hill  to the Largo do Carmo and the Carmo church ruins.

The construction consists of an artistic wrought-iron and gothic styled arches. The inside is decorated with polished wood, therefore expect to go up in style!

At the top there is a new viewing platform which provides wonderful panoramic views over the beautiful city centre of Lisbon.

The Elevador de Santa Justa is open every day between 7:30 and 23:00h (7:30-21:00 winter)

The ride cost €6.00 per person. The viewing platform is an additional  €1.50 per person.

Hop on the tram 28

Traveling by tram is very popular in Lisbon. These old-timers were first introduced to the public in the early 1930s and are till this day still par of the public transport network. It connects Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique, and passes through the popular tourist districts of Graca, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela.

If you want to explore Lisbon by tram, this is the way to do it!

Some tips by Lisbon Guides:

• Ride the tram early (or late) in the day, to avoid the crowds.
• Board at Martim Moniz (or Campo Ourique) as there is a better chance of getting a seat.
• Always be wary of pickpockets (please see section later on).
• Get the 24-hour public transport ticket from any metro station.
• Ride the entire route as there is so much to see. (please see later section)
• If standing, hang on very tight as the brakes are very sharp!

The number E28 tram follows a two-directional linear route:

Martim Moniz – Graca – Portas de Sol – Se Cathedral – Rua Conceição (southern Baixa) – Chiado – Sao Bento – Estrela – Campo Ourique

Great Tours in Lisbon

Algarve

Surfing in Sagres

It is always a good idea to take in a little history on any road trip and the place to find history on your Portugal road trip is Sagres.

The road to Sagres will seem to take you away from your drive as you will have to turn back toward the coast to find it, but the side trip is well worth it. Here you will find more amazing views of the coast along with some more primo surfing spots.

Aways check the latest reports as you do not want to travel all the way to Portugal to find out the swell is going to be zero for the next week!

Renting a surfboard can be done at one of the many surfshops. It cost about  € 20 to € 30 per hour for a board and a suitable wetsuit.

Read more about Surfing in Sagres, Algarve!

Cobo de Sao Vintente

Another notable historic area in Sagres is Cobo de Sao Vintente. This Cliffside attraction maximizes the history of the area al while encompassing that remarkable coastal view that Portugal is famous for.

You don’t pay any entrance and there is a small souvenir market before the entrance.

Portugal Road Trip Itinerary
The beautiful cliffs and the lighthouse gives you a stunning view of the Atlantic ocean- Portugal Road Trip Itinerary

Walk with the Donkeys at Happy Donkey Sanctuary

Walking With Donkeys is an animal sanctuary that is located in the mountains of the Algarve, nearby Monchique. It is run by Robert, a biologist from germany who has a big passion for animal welfare and of course.. Donkeys!

All the profits go directly into making the sanctuary a better place, therefore if you want to support a small and local business, this is the place!

Enjoy a unique donkey walk in the most beautiful area of the Serra de Monchique in the Algarve, Portugal. For adults and young nature lovers alike!

Walk with a herd of five donkeys: Two adults, Cameron & Lucia, one youngster, Josefina and two babies, Frederico & Luisa.

All of them are very friendly, well-trained and kind to children and adults.

Experience the mountains of Monchique at the pace of a donkey, strolling the paths and walking along beautiful rivers or ascending to the top of Picota mountain, where you will be rewarded by a magnificent view over the Algarve.

Listen to the sounds of nature and catch a glimpse of bees, deers, wild boars, turtles and other wild animals.

Lagos

Lagos is located on the west-side of the Algarve and is one of the most vibrant and popular cities of the region. The charming city center and active nightlife make Lagos one of the top tourist destinations and once you have visited the area it is easy to see why.

road trip portugal

From Lagos there are several day trips available, including the Lagos Zoo, Zoomarine and many boat trips that explore its beautiful coastlines and provide romantic sunset cruises.

In the south of Lagos, the famous Ponta da Piedade can be found. This beautiful sight consists of a series of highly weathered cliffs that are lined with spectacular grottos, arches, sea caves, and are regarded as the finest natural feature of the Algarve.

Tours at Lagos & Faro

Faro

Your final stop on your epic road trip in Portugal is the city of Faro. Within this city, you will find an airport should you require a flight back home, but you will also find some attractions that should not be missed.

The area is dotted with ancient cathedrals that date back centuries. One of the most notable is Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo.

The church is spectacularly well-preserved despite being originally built-in 1719, but scars are still visible from the 1755 earthquake that rocked the town.

This baroque style church was rebuilt and since has been lovingly maintained as a tourist attraction for those seeking historical attractions.

Before you leave Faro and head home from your road trip in Portugal, you may also want to see the Museu Municipal.

The Renaissance style structure was at one time a Jewish Quarter House and has since been converted into a museum that houses works of art as well as artifacts found in the area. History comes alive in this city and there is no place better than Faro.

Final Words

Your road trip in Portugal will take you to many places, but there is so much more to see in this vast country. Before considering hopping on a flight home or heading back the way you came, consider finding another route. There is so much to see and do, it would simply be a shame to not see it all.

If you liked this Portugal Road Trip Itinerary, please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

19 COMMENTS

  1. I am seriously considering doing a road trip around Portugal and Spain very soon and can’t wait to do it. I have already been to porto, Lisboa and the Algarve but I want to get to the little known places and enjoy it! 🙂 Love this post and great tips here.

  2. I love Portugal and I’ve travelled around most of the country – though strangely not the Algarve, which is most popular with Brits. I’d recommend inland Portugal too – such as it is – I particularly like Estramoz. And, the last time I was actually self driving there my partner was a rally driver…can you imagine! I suspect he was behaving more like a local !

  3. We’ve been to a few of these places but separately, not on a single road trip. We have driven in Portugal and you’re right, the local driving isn’t the best. The one place we haven’t been to which you mention is Porto, wouldn’t mind going there next time.

  4. This looks like a great route! I have wanted to do a coastal road trip from Galicia to Portugal – but this is a great itinerary for the Portugal part of the trip. I’ve been to both Lisbon & Porto but didn’t knkw about the Livreria Lello when I was in Porto- such a shame!

  5. This sounds so fun! A little bit of city time, a little bit of beach time. I’ve always wanted to learn to surf so Ericeira would be a highlight for me. I’d just be a little nervous about driving, especially if the drivers don’t follow the rules super closely!

  6. I really want to go to Portugal this year, and was thinking about hiring a camper van to explore – this is a great road trip itinerary! The Livraria Lello looks amazing, and those cute donkeys!

  7. Great article! I’ve done the road trip from Lagos to Ericeira but not all the way up to Porto. We loved the lighthouse at Sagres and the beaches & dramatic cliffs of Lagos. Sintra was amazing too with the utterly beautiful and boldly coloured palace – did you go? I would have LOVED to visit that amazing bookshop wow! And the Walking with Donkeys – my kids would have adored that. They still talk about their visit to Zoomarine – it’s one of the only things they can remember (!) – I took them as they’d all had chickenpox (in the van!) and then my other half got it in Portugal – he was so ill, and yet they were all recovered – we went back for a second day I remember!! 🙂 Thanks for this – some great places to note for another road trip there sometime.

    • Thank you very much! Unfortunate did not visit Sintra, but will def. check it out next time! Yes, the bookstore was even the inspiration for the harry potter books as the writer was staying in Porto when she was writing the first books. Zoomarine is great and glad the kids enjoyed it very much! 🙂

  8. I love road-tripping! I would love to visit Portugal, so this is a very handy itinerary indeed. It would be great to do this in a camper, and wake up to views over Ericeira Beach – I’ll skip the surfing lesson and just walk my dog 😉 It’s your Walk with the Donkeys that really captures me – I used to have pet donkeys as a youngster, and they are just a joy – so funny and gentle. I MUST do this activity when in the Algarve!

    • Go for it Hannah. It really is a wonderful experience walking with these amazing animals through the mountains of the Algarve region.

  9. I have a friend, who s a big road trip guy like you, and he was planning to do this route last year but he fell sick. He might do it this year. I am going to share this post with him. I had never been to Porto but i would love to explore this route. The Livraria Lello & Port wine are great reasons for me to think 😛

  10. Planning a trip this September, but we’re thinking of staying in a campervan and driving that throughout the city. Def going to use your itinerary as it’s so damn detailed! Thanks!

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