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So, you’re off to Portugal and hoping to find the perfect 9-day luxury adventure itinerary. Well, you’ve landed at the right spot.
While no longer the hidden gem it once was, Portugal remains a stunning, welcoming, and relatively affordable European destination. Located on the Iberian Peninsula, it boasts spectacular sandy beaches, romantic rocky shores, beautiful mountains, and endless vineyards. It is also one of the best destinations for naturalists, foodies, and adventure lovers. Read and learn how to plan the perfect itinerary to Portugal with plenty of adventure.
How to Plan the Perfect Itinerary to Portugal
When you get to planning the perfect itinerary, there are some things you will have to consider before purchasing those first-class tickets and setting off on your adventure.
When Should You Visit Portugal?
Most people think that Portugal is an ideal place to go when the weather is warm. After all, a day out on the beach and playing in the sand is an idyllic picture for summer. However, while Portugal has its fair share of beaches and summer resorts, don’t restrict your plans to the warmer months. Portugal is an excellent place to visit no matter when you go.
Best Time to Visit Portugal: Weather and Tourism
Portugal enjoys a mild climate year-round. But certain months attract larger crowds, higher prices, and fewer options. So, here’s a short breakdown of when you should visit Portugal, depending on your preferences, personal interests, and budget.
Luxury for less. Travelers looking to take advantage of Portugal’s incredible hotels, resorts, and historical sights should avoid the peak tourist months of June through August. During the summer, prices surge, hotels and resorts sell out, and cultural attractions become incredibly crowded. Be sure you look at our suggested top 10 most unique and luxurious experiences you can have in portugal and book before they sell out.
For a more relaxing and affordable experience, consider traveling in April and May or September and October. Although Portugal is a popular destination year-round, during these shoulder months, the prices come down, availability improves, and the crowds disperse (ever so slightly).
How Do I Get Around in Portugal?
If you’re willing to drive, the easiest way around Portugal is to rent a car. Although you can find plenty of rentals around Portugal, most of them are located near the international airports and primarily stock manual transmission vehicles. If you are accustomed to driving an automatic, book your car a few months in advance and specify your preference.
You can always rely on outstanding private drivers and guides if you don’t want to drive.
One Week Portugal Itinerary for Luxury Adventure Trip
Portugal has tons of things to do for a luxury adventure trip. But here’s how you make the best of the trip and turn your vacation into the sweetest memory you will have:
Day 1: Porto
Many international travelers flying into Portugal will arrive in the capital city of Lisbon, but to maximize your time, we recommend flying into Porto. Our excellent and professional guides will be waiting at the airport to whisk you away to your luxury hotel in the city.
This coastal city comes with a breath-taking view of vibrantly colored buildings, beautiful restaurants, and romantic boats peacefully harbored along the coast. Porto is also the producer of world-class wine, and most restaurants carry local vintages not found outside the country.
After a long day of travel, drop off your bags at the hotel, change your clothes and head out to discover the city in the best way possible. How, you ask? By taking a luxurious, private cruise along the Douro River. The cruise provides a fun, scenic, and relaxing overview of the city while giving you a chance to grace your social media with a few gorgeous photos as a bonus. If wanting to book a private cruise, be sure you are working with the best luxury travel agency to secure your spot.
The Yeatman, InterContinental Porto-Palacio das Cardosas, Vidago Palace Hotel
Day 2: Douro Valley
The Douro Valley is one of the most renowned wine regions globally. It has been famous for producing the sweetly delicious port since the 18th century. Making it a must when planning the perfect itinerary to Portugal. Although visitors could easily spend several days exploring the Douro valley, we have condensed your introduction to this incredible region into one fantastic experience.
The morning starts with a relaxing and scenic drive to the Douro Valley. On arrival, you will meet your experienced guide and receive instructions for operating your new ride. Then, choose between a hybrid bike, road bike, or E-bike and embark on a cycling adventure along car-free roads or trails. Admire the lovely villages of the Douro valley until you reach the town of Pinhão, by the Douro River.
Visit two of the best wineries in the Douro Valley and taste exquisite premium wines. Then meet with the winemakers and owners and enjoy a private lunch on a gorgeous estate.
After lunch, board your luxurious yacht, where your knowledgeable skippers and hostess await your arrival. Sip chilled white port as you cruise along the beautiful Douro River, admiring the terraced vineyards and charming wineries. If this is something you enjoy, consider retuning to Portugal on a Douro River Cruise. This yacht will allow for a relaxing afternoon here before heading back to Porto.
Day 3: Porto to Lisbon
With a few nights of restorative sleep, delicious food, and sea air, you should be feeling fantastic. Today your driver will meet you at your hotel bright and early to start the beautiful drive from Porto to Lisbon. You have the chance to stop at two beautiful towns along the way.
OPTION 1: Obidos and Nazare
Obidos is a beautiful storybook village and one of the finest examples of a Portuguese walled town. Walk along the narrow cobbled streets, stroll the fortified town walls, admire traditional painted houses, and explore the imposing medieval castle.
Halfway between Lisbon and Porto lies the stunning town of Nazare, home of the 100-foot waves. The city has numerous surfing hotspots that attract surfers of all abilities worldwide.
The lighthouse on Praia do Norte is where you can see the monster waves crash into the cliffs. The lighthouse is also home to a small surf museum with surfboards and stories of famous surfers. Care to show off your skills? Make sure you don’t miss out on Baleal and Peniche; legend says they never disappoint.
Nicknamed the “Venice of Portugal” due to its colorfully painted boats and winding canals, the lovely town of Aveiro is a great spot to stop for lunch.
The charming riverfront city of Coimbra served as the country’s medieval capital for over a century. Today, it is a vibrant city that perfectly blends past and present. Coimbra attracts visitors to explore its preserved medieval old town and Portugal’s oldest and most prestigious University.
After leaving behind central Portugal, you will arrive at your hotel in Lisbon.
Have a few extra days to spend in Porto? Consider hiking through the thick forests and beautiful rivers of Peneda-Geres National Park. Then take a stroll along the Crystal Palace Gardens and the Porto Botanic Garden.
Take it up a notch again by booking a surfing lesson at Porto’s great beaches. Then, scale the Arrabida Bridge on the infamous Porto Bridge Climb for an even more thrilling and adrenaline-filled activity.
Accommodations: Bairro Alto Hotel, Corinthia Lisbon, Tivoli Avenida Liberdade
Day 4: Lisbon
One of our favorite activities is a walking foodie adventure to acclimate yourself to the city. So drop off your bags, change your clothes and meet your friendly guide in the lobby. This tour takes your tastebuds on a culinary journey through Lisbon’s most beautiful neighborhoods and hidden gems.
You start in the Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara viewpoint, taking in the gorgeous sights and learning about the city’s destruction (and subsequent rebirth) after the 1755 earthquake. Next, wander through the Bica area and one of the most photographed streets of Lisbon. Next, explore the Alfama neighborhood and stroll Camoes Square. In a few short hours, not only will you understand the flow and character of the city but also its culinary traditions.
Not in the mood for walking? Have a delicious lunch at Tágide, a top-notch Portuguese restaurant nestled in an 18th-century building. In the afternoon, stroll back to your hotel for a siesta.
*Have a few extra days to spend in Lisbon and want to get your heart rate up? Consider mountain biking along Lisbon’s rugged routes or taking a day trip to Alentejo. When planning for these types of adventures, be sure to look at our suggested packing items for adventure travel. You don’t want to leave behind anything important!
Day 5: Luxury Adventure Tour of Sintra
Sintra is one of the most beautiful and popular destinations in Portugal. It is an essential stop when planning the perfect itinerary to Portugal. The city bestows visitors with glorious views and a serene environment. Plan on at least one full day to explore Sintra, take in the romantic sights, and get your heart rate pumping with a scenic hike.
For an authentic outdoor adventure experience, your driver will pick you up early in the morning and head to the Santa Maria Trail. Your experienced guide will regale you with stories as you begin your ascent. This hiking trail takes you to two of the most remarkable monuments of Sintra, the Moorish Castle and the Park and Palace of Pena, offering spectacular panoramic views, well worth the effort. Not in the mood for a strenuous hike? Don’t worry. You can get plenty of steps by simply meandering through the ancient city.
Plan to visit the infamous Pena Palace. From its intricate architecture to its impressive history, Pena Palace is one of the many gems of Portugal. Then, make your way to Quinta da Regaleira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the early afternoon, head to Cascais and take a break for lunch in the beautiful coastal city. After spending a few hours meandering through the town center and doing a bit of shopping, head to the pier where your luxury boat and experience captain awaits.
Instead of driving back to Lisbon, sit back with a glass of champagne and take in the stunning coastline of the Portuguese Riviera. Pass by Praia do Tamariz, Torre de Belem, the 25 de Abril Bridge, and many more magnificent sights.
Day 6: Sesimbra
Have you fallen in love with this magical country yet? Well, prepare yourself for a bit more exercise and excitement.
Today’s first stop is Sesimbra, a small fishing town known for its beautiful landscapes and panoramic views. Grab a quick coffee and pastry, then head to Arrabida Natural Park. While considered a hidden gem for most international tourists, the area is beloved by locals.
Now, you have two options when planning the perfect itinerary to Portugal:
Option 1: Coasteering adventure
Endowed with rocky cliffs and a light turquoise ocean, it is the ideal spot to try your hand at an extreme adventure activity: coasteering. It’s easy to see why this activity has become so popular. Channel your inner child and explore the rocky coastline where you can climb, swim, and jump into the crystalline water below.
While there are several coasteering companies to choose from, our guides will pare you with the best guides and safest equipment. Once your quest for adventure has been satiated, head to the Sesimbra Castle for a more leisurely experience. Top off the day with a visit to Sesimbra’s Maritime Museum and an oceanfront meal at Portofino Restaurant.
Option 2: Private dolphin and whale watching boat tour
Day 7: Algarve
Enjoy a beautiful drive from Porto to the Algarve, stopping in Alentejo.
Algarve is a beautiful region famous for Atlantic beaches, quaint towns, and exceptional golf resorts. However, since this itinerary is all about authentic, luxury adventures, your introduction to the Algarve begins with an afternoon Sea Kayaking experience. This is a great way to explore the incredible coastline, lined with mesmerizing rock formations, limestone caves, and gorgeous coves.
Kayak along the shoreline before capping off your tour exploring the Benagil Caves. These majestic rock formations extend with a magnificent opening in the roof, letting in precisely the right amount of sunlight to capture the surreal images on the camera.
Accommodations: Bela Vista Hotel & Spa,
, VILA VITA Parc Resort & Spa
Day 8: Algarve
When planning the perfect itinerary to Portugal, Algarve is a must! Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and spend your morning at your leisure. The athletically inclined may want to take a stroll or run on the beach or play a round of golf. At the same time, bird-watching enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Salgados Lagoon. This fantastic area is home to many migratory and native birds such as bee-eaters, red-crested pochards, and storks.
Consider a relaxing siesta after lunch because you’re back on the water this afternoon. However, it’s for a whole different type of adventure this time – a culinary one. Enjoy a unique cruise on a traditional, wooden fishing boat along the Ria Formosa channels to Culatra Villages. Learn the ancient secrets of clam picking and visit a working oyster farm where the island president will welcome you personally.
It is a beautiful destination, but it is also a pioneer in sustainability. Your visit will support the Culatra 2030 – Sustainable Energy Community project. One of six pilots in Europe selected by the European Secretariat for Clean Energy on Islands. The goal is to make Culatra a self-sufficient community.
Learn about the stories of this region with ancient history while experiencing unforgettable flavors and pairings of wine and oysters.
While we recommend spending at least 2 days enjoying the area, you could easily extend your time here.
Day 9: Departure
Although this incredible adventure may be coming to a close, we hope you have discovered for yourself why Portugal is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world. We hope this articles helped you learn more about how to plan the perfect itinerary to Portugal. While this blog focused primarily on those who love adventure travel, be sure to look at our Portugal 10 day family vacation itinerary if you plan on traveling as a family!
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Boutique Travel Advisors is a full-service, luxury travel agency. We specialize in creating bespoke itineraries for discerning clients around the world. Please visit our website or call 480-787-1477 to speak with a dedicated travel expert.
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