In the fall I went to Portugal for a week. We went to a few towns and cities throughout the trip. Each place we went was so different and unique in its own way. I’d love to go back to Portugal some day and explore some of the towns we didn’t get to go to on this trip! If you are looking for a southern Portugal itinerary, places to visit in southern Portugal, or things to do in Evora, Lisbon, Sintra, and Algarve, check out my recommendations below.
Day 1-2: Evora
We flew into Lisbon and immediately got our rental car and drove to Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient walled city – created in the 14th century – was such an amazing start to the trip. It was so quaint. We stayed at the Evora Olive Hotel.
Things to do in Evora
Tour Chapel of the Bones
Walk around or have a drink in the main square, Praca de Giraldo.
Visit the Roman Temple.
See the aqueduct.
Days 3-6: Algarve
This area is known for its beaches. Unlike Evora, the architecture is not overly European-looking. It’s much more modern, however, the beaches are stunning. We stayed at the Pestana Viking Beach Resort – it was in the perfect location. Just a short walk down to the beach and near a delicious restaurant, Belmondo.
Things to do in Algarve
Spend a full day at the beach – we hung at Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha.
Drive to Lagos and walk the boardwalk, Ponta da Piedade. From here there are numerous lookout points with beautiful views of the cliffs.
Do a cave boat tour. I recommend going on a smaller fishing boat – our captain was able to get us into tiny coves and caves that the bigger boats couldn’t get anywhere close to, including the famous Benagil Cave! It was such a unique and stunning experience. It was my favorite thing we did in the region.
Do a wine tasting at Quinta Dos Vales winery.
If you are in the mood for some history, take a half day trip to Silves. It’s only a short drive away and you can take a walking tour of the castle there (which had great views of the city!), eat and drink at cafes, and just see the old town.
Day 6-8: Lisbon & Sintra
We only got half a day in Lisbon due to our drive from Algarve, so we just went to the Chaido neighborhood and walked around. It was very busy. We got a beer at a local bar.
What to do in Sintra
In my opinion, I think it’s absolutely worth a full day trip to Sintra from Lisbon. It’s only a 30 minute drive and I fell in love with this small city. It’s beautiful and has so much history. It’s filled with castles, beautiful homes, and cafes. We split the day touring two different castles: Quinta da Regaleira and Palace of Pena. Both of those require tickets. I recommend getting them ahead of time. There are 3 other castles you can tour too – we just didn’t have the time.
At Quinta da Regaleria, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is a beautiful Gothic palace, Chapel, and the grounds are very expansive, with gardens, lakes, grottos, and their famous Initiation Well – which is a circular staircase that brings you underground. There’s also a cafe on the grounds so we had lunch there.
Palace of Pena sits at the highest point of the city. It was built in the 16th century and is a great example of European Romanticism. It’s incredibly colorful and you can take a tour of the interior and walk around the perimeter on the “Wall Walk”. You can see other castles nestled in the hills below and you can even see the ocean!