Planning on spending two weeks in Portugal? Here is the perfect two week Portugal itinerary for first-timers.
When I first started planning my trip to Portugal I was totally overwhelmed by all of the places there were to go. Not only were there all of the obvious choices like Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve, but just a quick flip through my Lonely Planet guidebook let me know that there was a lot more of Portugal to uncover.
From beautiful beaches to wineries to amazing hikes, it seemed like Portugal really did have it all. In the end, I ended up choosing four places that I was really drawn in by (Aveiro, Obidos, Lisbon, and Lagos) and 1 for convenience (Porto, where I was flying into). This turned out to be the perfect mix of small towns, cities, and nature. It was truly one of my greatest itinerary planning achievements, and looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.
Here is the 2 week Portugal itinerary that I followed (well, 16 days if you count flying days) which I couldn’t recommend more if you’re thinking about traveling to Portugal.
PORTUGAL TRAVEL TIPS
HOW TO GET TO PORTUGAL
For this itinerary, I recommend flying into Porto and out of Faro. Porto and Faro are both big hubs for budget airlines, so finding cheap flights shouldn’t be too hard. I always like to find a flight I like and then track the price using Google Flights.
The other major airport in Portugal is Lisbon.
TRAIN FROM SPAIN
If you’re coming from Spain, there’s an overnight train from Madrid to Lisbon and lots of buses and trains from the south of Spain to the Algarve. If you arrive in Lisbon, then you’ll need to play around with this itinerary a bit. If you arrive in the Algarve, then just do it backward! You can find train tickets on The Trainline’s website.
WHAT TO PACK FOR PORTUGAL
Since this itinerary has a huge mix of types of activities, it might be hard to know what to pack. Here are a few things you should definitely bring along.
- Lightweight jacket – Portugal is pretty warm year-round, but it isn’t necessarily always shorts and tank top weather. Bring a lightweight jacket or sweatshirt with you for colder days and evenings.
- Hiking boots – For hiking in Lagos or any other random hikes you might decide to go on. I love my Ahnu Sugarpine boots!
- Reusable water bottle – reusable water bottles aren’t just eco-friendly–they save you some money!
- Daypack – I found myself carrying around quite a bit of stuff with me when I was in Portugal, so I was glad to have a small backpack for use day-to-day.
- Shoes with traction for Lisbon – The combination of cobblestones and hills in Lisbon doesn’t exactly cater to shoes with no traction. Be sure to bring along a comfortable pair of walking shoes with traction for this purpose!
- Swimsuit – for Lagos
- Sunscreen – for day-to-day use and especially for lying on the beach in Lagos!
- Plug adaptors – if you’re not from Europe then you’ll want to bring along some plug adaptors for your electronics.
- Camera – Portugal is drop-dead gorgeous. You’ll want more than your phone camera to capture your trip. (P.S. If you don’t own a camera yet, I own the Sony Alpha A6300 and it’s perfect for travel as it’s both lightweight and powerful.)
2 WEEK PORTUGAL ITINERARY
2 weeks in Portugal is the perfect amount of time to slow down and see a few different really beautiful cities and towns. Here’s my 2 week Portugal itinerary.
PORTO | 2 DAYS
Porto is a great place to start of your Portugal itinerary mostly because of the plethora of cheap flights that serve its airport. As the second largest city in Portugal, it is also a popular tourist destination, with highlights like medieval cobblestone streets and port wine tastings.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t too excited about Porto and found that 2 days there was more than enough. But if you’re more of a big city person then feel free to add more time in Porto!
HOW TO GET TO PORTO
Porto is well-served by budget airlines such as Ryanair. There are also several train stations in Porto if you are coming to Portugal as part of a longer rail trip around Europe.
THINGS TO DO IN PORTO
There’s no shortage of things to do in Porto, but here are a few ideas:
- Wander along the riverfront – Porto’s medieval riverfront is one of the prettiest spots in the city. Be sure not to miss it!
- Sample port wine – Porto is known as the gateway to the Duoro region, home to the famous Port Wine. There are several different wineries in Porto where you can take a tour and sample some port wine.
- Take a boat ride along the Duoro River – If you love seeing cities from the water like I do, Porto is a good place to do this. You can take a simple sightseeing cruise of Porto or go all the way and take a day trip down the Duoro River!
- Enact your Harry Potter dreams – Not a lot of people know that the inspiration for the Hogwarts library is actually in Porto. Livraria Lello, though a huge tourist spot, is worth the look inside if you’re a huge Harry Potter fan.
- Go tile spotting – the blue azulejo tiles that Portugal is known for are all over the place in Porto. One of the most famous spots in the São Bento train station. If you’re really interested in the tiles, you could even go on a tile tour!
WHERE TO STAY IN PORTO
The one big highlight of my time in Porto was my stay at the Porto Spot Hostel. Though a little bit far away from the main tourist drag, it was comfy and cozy and the breakfast was really delicious!
AVEIRO | 2 DAYS
After Porto, the next stop on your Portugal itinerary is Aveiro. Aveiro is best known as “The Venice of Portugal” because of its small canal system that is dotted by moliceiros – old colorfully painted seaweed harvesting boats that are now mostly used for tourist boat trips. While often a day trip from Porto, I found plenty of things to do there over 2 days and thought that it was really pleasant to have the place to myself in the evenings.
HOW TO GET FROM PORTO TO AVEIRO
The train is the fastest and easiest way to get from Porto to Aveiro. The ride takes 45 minutes at tickets start at just €3.50. Book your tickets through Comboios de Portugal.
THINGS TO DO IN AVEIRO
- Take a ride on a moliceiro – by far the most popular thing to do in Aveiro is to take a boat tour of the canals on a moliceiro. Head to the grand canal and hop on whichever one is leaving next–they all cost €10.
- Sample the Ovos Moles – Aveiro’s local sweet are ovos moles: egg yolk and sugar mixed together and enclosed in a small rice paper casing. They might just be some of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.
- Visit the Museums – there are several small but good museums in Aveiro that you can visit. My favorite was the Museu de Aveiro/Santa Joana, which houses a huge religious art collection and is set in the old Aveiro convent.
- Take an Art Nouveau Walking Tour – While you might not think of Portugal when you think of Art Nouveau, Aveiro is actually a pretty big hotspot! The Art Nouveau Museum in Aveiro has a pamphlet with a self-guided Art Nouveau walking tour that I could definitely recommend!
- Head out to Costa Nova – If you get bored with things to do in Aveiro, then hop on a bus and head to Costa Nova to check out the beautiful candy-striped fisherman’s houses that are all over Instagram.
WHERE TO STAY IN AVEIRO
There are plenty of places to stay in Aveiro, but the Aveiro Rossio Hostel is definitely my recommendation. Not only might it be the cutest hostel I’ve ever stayed in, but it’s not a huge party hostel (in fact there was a baby there when I was) and there are plenty of private rooms which makes it almost like a hotel, just way cheaper.
OBIDOS | 2 DAYS
I had never heard of Obidos before I started planning my trip to Portugal, but the second I saw a picture of it I knew I HAD to add it to my Porugal itinerary. This medieval walled town is like something out of Game of Thrones. It truly is the most otherworldly gorgeous place I have ever been to. And the cherry on top? It’s also a UNESCO City of Literature. Casual.
HOW TO GET FROM AVEIRO TO OBIDOS
Since they’re both relatively small towns that are both generally done as day trips from their respective nearby cities (Porto for Aveiro, Lisbon for Obidos), getting from Porto to Aveiro is a bit more complicated than you might think.
The train is your best option for getting from Aveiro to Obidos. The journey lasts 3 hours with changes in Coimbra and Caldas da Rainha. Tickets start at €14,20 when you book more than 5 days in advance from Comboios de Portugal’s website.
THINGS TO DO IN OBIDOS
- Walk the city walls – Those gorgeous walls surrounding the town of Obidos? Yup, you can walk on them. I suggest going during golden hour. Just head up one of the staircases dotted around the edge. Watch out though as there’s no railing.
- Wander – Obidos is really the perfect place to wander. It’s small enough that you can’t really get lost and pretty much every time you turn a corner you’ll be greeted by another adorable sight.
- Grab Dinner at Book and Cook – Book and Cook is one restaurant where you’ll want to splurge a little bit. Located in the Literary Man Hotel, Book and Cook (and the hotel) is basically just one giant library and it is truly perfect for a UNESCO Literary City.
WHERE TO STAY IN OBIDOS
There are two hostels in Obidos: Stone Obidos Hostel and Guesthouse Argonauta. I stayed in the Stone Obidos Hostel and even though it was a short walk from the actual walled part of Obidos, it was a great place to stay!
LISBON | 4 DAYS
Lisbon really needs no introduction. This city of trams and hills is one of the trendiest places to visit right now–and for good reason. Whether you like historical walking tours or chilling out at hipster bars and cafes, Lisbon has something for everyone. It was pretty much required that I had 4 days in Lisbon on this Portugal itinerary.
HOW TO GET FROM OBIDOS TO LISBON
It is super duper easy to get from Obidos to Lisbon and doesn’t take very long at all. The Rapida Verde bus line operated by Rodotejo goes directly from Obidos to Lisbon in just one hour. Tickets cost €7,70 as of March 2018 and you can buy them on the bus.
THINGS TO DO IN LISBON
- Wander Alfama – Alfama is definitely one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Lisbon, and it’s the perfect place to go for a wander and find some beautiful views over the city. I also went on a free walking tour of Alfama with Take Lisboa which was fantastic and offered a lot of insight into the history of Lisbon.
- Go on an open top jeep tour with We Hate Tourism Tours – While I didn’t actually get to go in an open top jeep (thanks rain), my King of the Hills tour with We Hate Tourism Tours was a major highlight of my time in Lisbon
- Sample the pastel de natas – this tiny little custard tart is all the rage in Lisbon, and for good reason: they’re delicious. There’s an ongoing debate about where the best ones can be found, so you clearly need to try all of them.
- Visit LX Factory – this hipster shopping center in an old warehouse is a fun place to visit that’s just a little bit outside of Lisbon’s main tourist areas.
- Day trip to Sintra – I was sick on my planned day to visit Sintra, so I don’t have any personal experience with this, but day tripping to Sintra is definitely a must-do while you’re in Lisbon!
WHERE TO STAY IN LISBON
The Lisbon Lounge Hostel is a fantastic, cozy hostel that is super centrally located (it’s just a 4-minute walk to the Praça do Comercio). They also have loads of different things going on, from family-style dinners to pub crawls!
LAGOS | 5 DAYS
Next up on your Portugal itinerary is Lagos. Home to amazing red rocky cliffs and stunning white sand beaches, Lagos is the perfect place for a few days of adventure or just relaxing on the beach. While the town itself is a bit touristy, it’s the perfect place to base yourself as a gateway to the absolutely stunning natural beauty of the Algarve.
HOW TO GET FROM LISBON TO LAGOS
The train from Lisbon to Lagos takes 3 hours and 30 minutes, with tickets starting from €10,70 when you book more than 5 days in advance from Comboios de Portugal’s website.
THINGS TO DO IN LAGOS
- Take a kayak tour – taking a kayak tour is by far the best way to see the cliffs of Lagos from before. Not only is it a fun activity, but you get to go into caves and through tiny archways that the large boat tours aren’t able to!
- Hike the cliffs – hiking the cliffs of Lagos is an absolute must while you’re there. This relatively easy hike takes about 3 hours but will leave you with a lifetime of stunning views.
- Learn to surf – Lagos is a world class surf destination and there are loads of opportunities to learn to surf while you’re there. We went with The Surf Experience for a day-long surf lesson and had a great time!
- Laze on the beach – it’s pretty much mandatory to have at least one day just lazing around on the beach when you’re in a place like Lagos.
WHERE TO STAY IN LAGOS
I could not reccommend the Bura Surfhouse more as a place to stay in Lagos. This hostel/surfer retreat is beautifully designed, has delicious pancake breakfasts, and their staff are the friendliest people of all time. Seriously. Don’t think twice about booking a stay at Bura Surhouse.
And there you have it! The ultimate 2 week Portugal itinerary for first-timers. Once you’re done in Lagos, I suggest flying out of Faro or continuing your adventure onwards to other parts of Europe (Seville is just a hop, skip, and a jump away).
Where do you think your favorite spot on this list would be?