For a Portuguese, this is the most difficult script to do. What to see in Portugal in a week? We know it’s not possible! Despite being a small country, Portugal has a huge geographical diversity, including a huge coastline, snow-capped mountains, natural parks, some of the best beaches in the world and a very rich gastronomy.
In a week of sightseeing in Portugal, what to choose to visit? This will always depend on your tastes: do you like more beach, river, mountains or mountains ?; cultural, religious and historical tourism ?; interior, coast or islands? try the local cuisine? Or all this together, in a week? Yes, it is possible! Here are some suggestions, which can always be changed with other destinations of your choice.
We could start the trip elsewhere, but starting in the country’s capital seems to be what most people want to embark on a trip around Portugal. Because one week you will have to choose well what you are going to visit, save at least two days for Lisbon.
Once you have this overview on everything, you can choose the ones you want to get to know better, visiting the interior on the second day.
On the first day in Lisbon you can dedicate yourself to Baixa da cidade, Chiado, Rua Augusta, Terreiro do Paço and up to Castelo de S. Jorge. You can also stroll through the Belém area, past the Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, Padrão dos Descobrimentos and Centro Cultural de Belém. Here you can also try the famous Belém pastels – and take some along the way! If you can take a trip on one of the boats that circulate in the Tagus River, you can enjoy the beauty of the city from the river. Enjoy to see live the new life of the Markets such as the Ribeira Market or the Campo de Ourique Market. There are countless gastronomic choices to sample.
On the third day venture out by train. Our suggestion goes to a very beautiful trip, not to be missed, by the seaside: make the Cascais line and visit this beautiful locality. With its picturesque streets, its seafront and its fish restaurants. Another option is to spend a day in Sintra. It has many places to visit and all very beautiful and historical, such as the Park and the National Palace of Sintra. To prove? The queillas of Sintra, of course.
What’s the next destination? If you are a fan of the beach and nature, you can head to the Alentejo coast or even to the Algarve. But if you prefer to go north and are interested in religious tourism – and one of the largest Marian shrines in the world – you will want to go to Fatima. Every year the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is visited by thousands of faithful, who pass through the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity and the historic Chapel of the Apparitions, where Our Lady appeared to the three Little Shepherds five times in 1917.
We continued our journey through central Portugal to spend one of the most important university cities in the country. In addition to being historic, Coimbra is a city full of young people who choose this University, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to take their courses. Here, you have to visit the 18th century Joanina Library, which is located in the School of the University of Coimbra. Enjoy to get to know the Sé Velha, the Quinta das Lágrimas (where D. Pedro and Inês de Castro fell in love and where the tragic history of this couple occurred). Still nearby you can get to know the Museum and the Ruins of Conímbriga, which has vestiges of dwellings and a city that was inhabited between the 9th century BC and VI and VIII AD.
On the way to Porto you can also stop in Aveiro – the so-called Portuguese Venice, because of its canals and Moliceiro boats – and taste the sweet soft eggs.
Arriving in Porto, the first suggestion is to stay in the center of the city. The Baixa has had numerous changes in recent years and is full of new bars and restaurants for all tastes. What should you visit first? Climb up to the Clérigos Tower to have a view over the whole city up to the Douro River. Begin the tour of one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Yes, the Lello Bookstore where the author of Harry Potter was inspired by the Hogwarts environment. The city of Porto still retains much of its history in the Cathedral, the Fernandina Wall and also in the beautiful São Bento Station. Then follow the path to Ribeira, crossing the bridge over the river Douro and you can visit the Port Wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. Gastronomy? While there is something to prove – and there is everything, national and international – you can not fail to try two typical dishes of the city: the Francesinha and the Guts to Porto Fashion.
Still talking about Port Wine … it is curious that many tourists come to the city of Porto thinking that here they will be able to see the production of one of the most famous nectars in the world. The Port wine grapes are still born far away … in the oldest Demarcated Wine Region in the Douro region. And one of the suggested trips is made by train, departing from Porto to Régua. A very beautiful walk, done in part by the river Douro. Arriving in the Douro region – look for reservations in advance – visit the wine estates, knowing locally how the produce is processed and you can also taste the wines and gastronomy of Douro. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. There are also many places where you can stay overnight, such as in rural tourism houses, where you can enjoy the surrounding nature. It is beautiful to visit at any time of the year, but in spring, when it begins to flower, and in September / October, at the time of harvest, are undoubtedly the best seasons.
We continue our trip towards the North of Portugal … and here we divided ourselves to visit Trás-os-Montes or to go to Minho. Difficult choice, because we like both regions, but usually win the second proposal because of the proximity and lack of time … It is true, the proposed week of travel in Portugal is almost over …
We then proceed to know the cities of Braga and Guimarães. The first, known as the city of the Archbishops, invites you to stroll through the center and then to visit two religious sites: Bom Jesus do Monte (try walking in the elevator, which has been working since 1882, and saves your legs by climbing hundreds of steps reach the top) and the Sanctuary of Sameiro.
Where to end this week on the road? In Guimarães! Even because here, tells the story, was born Portugal. Known as a “crib-city”, it is essential to set foot on the path and discover the beautiful historic center of the city of Vimaranense and, of course, the Castle of Guimarães. Good trip!