Over 800 km driven through different landscapes, exploring places in the south, west and centre of the country, passing golden sand beaches, cork trees forests, orange plantations, colourful tiled buildings and historic towns. Portugal road trip is an amazing experience! What can you see in 4 days in Portugal? Here is the example Portugal itinerary for your next trip.
Portugal road trip itinerary – where can you go in 4 days in Portugal?
NOTE: This Portugal itinerary is for people arriving from/to Faro or focusing on visiting the southern part of the country in a short time.
*We made the trip in March 2017, out of high season – turned out to be a perfect time for a visit*
4 days in Portugal or any other country, doesn’t seem like much. It’s like two weekends, but not even with Friday nights. However, if you look at it from another side – it’s almost the whole week of work. And you can see a lot in a week in Portugal! 96 hours that you can use for anything you want. We did have limited time in Portugal, but we decided to use it in the best way we could. And we managed to do it on a wonderful road trip.
I highly recommend renting a car when you plan your trip to Portugal. The rentals are quite cheap, we paid €20 for the whole time and give you a lot of flexibility. I usually use car broker websites like Rentalcars to find the cheapest car rental prices.
We arrived in Faro on Saturday evening and we had our return flight on Wednesday afternoon. It’s always good to be prepared for your trip, especially if you travel in a limited time. Renting a car for the duration of our stay gave us a lot of flexibility. Using a Portugal travel guide to plan the route and knowing what to pack for Portugal, can also be a massive help. I did my research before (I am definitely a planner!), but we still had some questions.
Is it worth to drive further north to Lisbon? Should we just stay in the south and only visit Algarve?
We didn’t want to spend too much time in the car, but we also didn’t want to miss out – you never know if you would be able to come back to the country.
After the first full day in Algarve, visiting and chilling on the beaches, we decided, that we want more. We planned to head to Lisbon the next day, exploring the places on the way.
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Traditional Portuguese tiles
Our Portugal road trip itinerary
And so we did. It was really worth it! You can see our road trip route below with the places, that we saw on the way.
We haven’t managed to see all of the ones, that we wanted to – some were dependent on the weather (Benagil cave – too high waves every single day), or after all we didn’t have enough time (Sintra), but we tried to see as much as we could, and also still enjoy and get to know every visited place.
Here is the map covering our Portugal itinerary – zoom in for a better view!
Arrival – Faro
We arrived in Faro in the late evening. We picked up the car at the airport (rented from Guerin) and we headed to town to check-in to our Airbnb.
The night went quickly on trying new local dishes in small bars, admiring the reflection of the boats in the smooth water surface in the harbour, getting lost in the narrow streets and drinking wine on the rooftop. It was Saturday, so the city was one big party with young people drinking on the streets and laughing in the bars. The warm spring air was gently touching our faces, Portuguese wine was flowing in our veins and local delicacies filled our stomachs – what else do you want for the perfect holiday start?
Where to stay in Faro?
There are many options from Airbnb (receive £30 for your next stay) or hotels:
$ Budget: Hostellicious for a very cheap price, great central accommodation, well-equipped kitchen.
$$ Mid-range: Backyard Hotel with an amazing rooftop! Very reasonably priced, great location and this rooftop (did I mention there is a cool rooftop? ;-)). Check the availability and the best prices here.
$$$ Luxury: Casa Beco Sao Luis – luxurious apartments in the centre of Faro.
#Day 1 – Algarve
After breakfast, consisting of pastel de nata, cinnamon bun and coffee while watching the sunrise on the rooftop, we moved in the direction of golden beaches and towns of Algarve
Initially we wanted to do a boat tour to Benagil cave (if you have a chance it’s a must!), unfortunately for the whole length of our stay, the sea was too rough for the boats to come to the caves and all the tours were cancelled. We have a reason to come back, though.
Instead, we visited other stunning places (“Praia” means beach in Portuguese):
- Golden sand stunning beaches surrounded by limestone rocks:
- Praia da Rocha
- Praia dos Tres Irmaos
- Lagos town with Praia Dona Ana, Praia do Camilo, and Ponta de Piedade (even though they are the most popular and located close to town, they are worth visiting – so pretty! When we were there it was quite quiet, so we could enjoy them by ourselves)
- Cape Saint Vincent – the most southwestern corner of Europe, where the famous expeditions were leaving from. Now, it has one of the most powerful lighthouses in Europe
- Sagres – small surfers town with chic cafes and fresh seafood restaurants
Where to stay close to Algarve beaches?
#Day 2 – west coast and on the way to Lisbon
- Wide beaches on the west coast:
- Praia Castelejo
- Praia da Cordoama (there are many more, but we couldn’t stop on all of them. Some other ones worth considering a visit are Arrifana and Praia de Odeceixe).
- Porto Covo – one of the cutest towns, that I’ve seen. Tiny white houses with blue and red elements, contrasting with bright blue sky – so pretty! And the food was amazing (but the standards were high everywhere)
- Lisbon – we arrived there in the late afternoon but managed to walk in Alfama and Baixa districts in the city centre, having dinner listening to traditional live Fado music.
Where to stay in Lisbon?
$$+ Casas da Baixa Lighthouse Apartments – beautiful apartments in Baixa, located directly in the city center, great for old town walks and strolling by the Tagus river – check latest prices and availability.
#Day 3 – Lisbon, cork trees, Monchique hills and back to Algarve
- Lisbon – we walked in the Alfama district with its narrows streets and steep stairs, stopping for a coffee and pastel de nata overlooking orange roofs, and watching the famous tram 28 passing by
- Drive through the cork trees and oranges plantations
- Visiting Monchique hills, where the road was very windy and the views were brilliant
- Coming back to Lagos and touring the town little streets with bars and seaside in the night
#Day 4 – Lagos, Silves and departure from Faro
- We visited a few more places in Lagos, coming back to our favourite beaches that we’ve seen a few days before
- Silves – a small old town with a beautiful castle and great views from it
- Faro – we came back there for the departure flight
What to add to the Portugal road trip itinerary if the weather/time allows:
- Benagil cave
- Sintra– famous town on the north from Lisbon with a beautiful castle
- More beaches on the west coast – Arrifana and Praia de Odeceixe
- Comporta – town on the west coast close to Lisbon
- Praia da Faresia – beach with red cliffs, close to Faro
Would that itinerary help you to plan your Portugal road trip? Do you have any other ideas on what to do in 4 days in Portugal? Let me know in the comments!
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