12 Days in Portugal Itinerary
Our 12-day Portugal itinerary is packed with everything you need to get a full taste of what makes the country so magical. Each day we have sought to bring out another part of the culture and character of this wonderful country ranging from sites with rich cultural and religious heritage to blissful beaches and idyllic yacht experiences, and of course, the wonderful food and wine that make Portugal so appealing.
From Porto to the Douro Valley on to Lisbon and the Algarve, our 12-day tour of Portugal provides an enchanting experience that you will surely treasure forever. To ensure our guests have as special and unique a vacation as possible, our team of Iberia tour planning specialists would be delighted to customize this itinerary for you at no extra cost. Simply get in touch and we can get started crafting an itinerary that exceeds your every expectation.
Certified To Keep You Safe
We are extremely proud that the Institute for Spanish Tourism has granted our team the “Safe Tourism Certified” seal of approval. In addition to the security and peace of mind this provides to our clients, we have extended our cancellation policy to entitle guests to a full refund if they are forced to cancel their tour anywhere up to 7 days before the start date. Find out more here.
12 Days Portugal Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Porto
The Capital and gateway to the north of Portugal, Porto is both the city that provided a nation with a name and a fortified wine known worldwide: Port.
With its splendid geographical location at the mouth of the river Douro and architectural heritage of exceptional quality, the historic center of Porto was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.
Porto half-day walking tour
Your first evening in the city will be spent orienting yourself with a private guided walking tour of the center.
Explore the highlights of this beautiful city through its central quarters and historical areas, charming cobbled streets, and friendly locals; with the gentle language sounding like music in our ears and with the smell of delicious food and tasty wine filling the air.
Sites visited on your Porto walking tour include The Baixa neighborhood, the city center, the Cathedral; Rua das Flores; São Bento’s train station and its lovely “azulejo” façade; the impressive Torre de Los Clérigos & the Lello Irmão bookshop, famous for being a filming set in the Harry Potter movies.
Your accommodation for the evening will be in The Yeatman, a luxury wine hotel and spa in Porto with spectacular views over the UNESCO World Heritage city and the Douro River. Set amidst the Port wine lodges, The Yeatman Hotel is widely regarded as the best hotel in Porto and is a unique and distinctive landmark in the world of classic luxury hotels.
Day 2: Flavors of Porto
A route of discovery, from the Ribeira to the “Baixa”, as you discover the flavors of Porto with your private guide.
From venue to venue we’ll taste the city and some of the traditional Portuguese products that make its cuisine so delicious. We will walk along with the Rua das Flores, where traditional shops coexist with contemporary design, decoration, and local gastronomy. We will test different varieties of olive oil, the “liquid gold” of Mediterranean cuisine that is also produced in Portugal, as well as delicious traditional fish canned preserves, typical of the north both of Spain and Portugal. And for dessert, high-quality chocolate whose careful presentation has gained international recognition from those behind it.
As we stroll the historic center, we will stop at an old industrial space refurbished to house a design market where we will have the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Portuguese dessert. We will finish our day with a private tasting of small producers’ wines from nearby wine regions, creating a delicious experience to savor all things Portuguese!
“I urge everyone who values unforgettable vacations to contact Magical Spain and talk to Dan or Rachel.
Beyond the personalized planning and fine 24-7 tour support, we loved the quality and care of the licensed guides, the delicious tapas, the exotic ambiance of Seville and Granada, Madrid’s majesty and art, medieval Toledo, and meeting the olive oil estate owners, artist, chef & winemaker.”
Day 3: Transfer from Porto to Douro Valley
Your driver-guide will collect you from your accommodation in the morning as you make your way to your Douro Valley resort where you will spend the next 3 nights.
Located in the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage-listed Douro Valley, Six Senses Douro Valley is touched by the romance of 19th-century architecture wedded to contemporary interiors reflecting the inimitable Six Senses style.
With the River Douro winding its lazy way through the oldest wine-producing region in the world, the resort’s estate covers 19 acres (8 hectares) with 60 guest accommodations, the Vale de Abraao restaurant with three different atmospheres: Open Kitchen, Terrace, and Dining Room; a Wine Library featuring vintages from the valley and a stunning Six Senses Spa.
Day 4: Classy Douro Valley Winery Tour
Start your tour with a walk on a pedestrian bridge over the river Douro, visit a producer of DOC wines of the region, and get to know the train station of Pinhão and its majestic tiled mosaics.
Travel by train for 10 minutes to be welcomed in one of the most emblematic wine estates in the region for a vinous lunch experience.
In order to fully appreciate the splendor of your surroundings, we have built a private boat tour experience into our 12-day itinerary to allow you to lay back and appreciate the breathtaking view of this World Heritage Site as you glide smoothly down the river.
Of course, no trip to the Valley would be complete without a complete Vintage Port wine tasting ceremony in one of the best and biggest producers.
Day 5: Hiking Excursion and Picnic in the Douro Valley
This morning, go beyond the surface of the Douro Valley and get to know it from the inside out during a scenic guided hike.
Meet your private guide and driver, then head towards the top of the Valley for what will be just the beginning of a day filled with stunning views.
You’ll start by visiting a small olive-oil mill before heading down through a local vineyard, where only a few are allowed. Through our local contacts, you’ll have insider’s access, walking through the vineyard where other tourists are not allowed to go.
As you make your way down the valley, you’ll learn about what makes this wine region so unique. Finally, upon arrival at the wine estate, we’ll arrange for a picnic lunch accompanied by local Douro Valley wines.
After lunch, your guide and driver will accompany you back to your hotel.
Day 6: Transfer Douro Valley - Coimbra - Lisbon
As you make your way to Lisbon from the valley, your driver-guide will take you to explore the Essence of the Portuguese Soul in Coimbra, the Medieval capital city of Portugal for over a century, and the location of the country’s main university for over five hundred years.
Coimbra has a central and dignified role in Portuguese history. Beautiful and historic, Coimbra is located at the foothills of a valley, with the Mondego river as a mind-blowing backdrop of the eastern side of the city. Enjoy views of the multicolored collage of buildings whose history goes back over a thousand years.
Its top site is, undoubtedly, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe. Founded in the late 13th century and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the university moved between Lisbon and Coimbra before being established here in the mid-16th century (the Age of Discovery, as it is known). It has occupied the same site and building ever since.
Its location, atop the hill, also provides spectacular views of the city and the Mondego River, and its Library (“Biblioteca Joanina”) is one of the city’s and of course Portugal’s top attractions, an invaluable marvel of architecture and preservation of Knowledge.
Welcome to Lisbon
Lisbon is a city that makes you want to go exploring, with so much to see and do here in a short time, your tour planner will consult with you on how to best plan your guided tours of Lisbon.
There is such a wide range of topics to discover here: Roman Lisbon, Manueline, Baroque or Romantic Lisbon, literary Lisbon, the Lisbon of Bohemian nightlife, and the city of Fado.
However, there are some essential sites that simply cannot be missed, such as the historic Alfama and Castelo districts and Belém, the neighborhood of the Discoveries, with the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery.
Taste of Lisbon - Petiscos tour
Chiado is one of the main centers of life in Lisbon. Its many interesting historical highlights (Café A Brasileira, where the statue of Fernando Pessoa greets visitors from around the world; Rua Garrett, with its historical book stores and luxury shops; Praça Luís de Camões…), are within walking distance from Terreiro do Paço, the city’s main square, facing the Tagus, evoking the many stories and legends of sailors, pirates, kings, earthquakes, and wars Lisbon has endured, and which make up its incredible history.
Of course, we know that the way to make the most of a city is to walk among locals, discover the flavors they enjoy on a regular basis, hang out at the same taverns they frequent, or explore their favorite sites in town. Focusing on the gastronomic and enological aspects, this walking tour gives the perfect balance between the discovery of local culture, sightseeing, and tasting wonderful flavors.
Through the heart of traditional Chiado and Bica areas, you will try local delicacies such as petiscos, and Portuguese tapas, enjoying beautiful and special sights of the city along the way. Let’s be immersed in Portuguese culture in a fun, leisurely, and delicious way.
Day 7: Half-day Highlights of Lisbon
Lisbon is bathed in light. The almost constant presence of the sun reflected in the Tajo River transforms the Portuguese capital into a mirror of a thousand colors, highlighting the city’s unique architecture and beauty. The city’s beauty extends beyond its famed monuments to be experienced in the streets, stimulating all the senses. The sun, the river, the tiles, the gentle language, the colors, and the stories of this old yet modern city, are all revealed to the attentive visitor.
In this private tour, the city will emerge around us, proudly revealing its character, which fully preserves the flavor of very distant times. With our expert guides, who know all things Lisbon, you will stroll around Rossio, one of Lisbon’s main squares, or across the Alfama, one of the city’s oldest quarters, discovering the most important historical sites of a charming city you’ll want to return to over and over again, as the emblematic Praça do Comércio, the Sé Cathedral, the city’s oldest church, or the ultimate viewpoint that is the medieval fortress of Castelo de São Jorge will seduce all its visitors. A city filled with legend, history, and charm, as seen with the knowledgeable guidance of our experts.
Living Fado in its Birthplace
In the very heart of old Lisbon, around the labyrinthine Mouraria district, the enchantment of Fado was born in the 19th century. Hidden in the corners of a small restaurant or tavern, you may still hear the echoes of Maria Severa or Amália Rodrigues, legends of this local yet universal sound.
If you are sitting in a casa de fados you might suddenly see a small troupe getting ready to share their melodies and lyrics filled with melancholy!
Through the intricate streets and corners of Mouraria, you will learn about this authentic quarter and the history of Fado. Afterward, experience quintessential Portugal through music, poetry, and Saudade in a local “casa de fados”, restaurants that host live shows, enjoying some vinho and delicious “petiscos” to pair with it. Discover where it all began on a memorable evening out in Lisbon.
Day 8: Half-day Excursion to Sintra and the Pena Palace
40 minutes away from Lisbon, lies the magical town of Sintra, often considered by our guests to be the perfect day trip from the city.
Sintra is a beautiful town at the foot of the mountain range of the same name, its unique characteristics have led UNESCO to classify it as a World Heritage site. It was even necessary to create a special category for the purpose – that of “cultural landscape” – taking into account its natural riches as well as the historic buildings in the town and mountains. Endowed with luxuriant vegetation, the mountains are part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.
The palaces, too, are outstanding, such as the Pena Palace, built in the Romantic period on one of the mountain peaks, the 18th century Palace of Seteais, now converted into an elegant hotel, and the Palace of Monserrate, famous for its beautiful gardens with their exotic species that are unique in the country.
Near Sintra are the beaches (das Maças, Praia Grande, Praia da Adraga), Cabo da Roca (the westernmost point of mainland Europe), Colares (after which a demarcated wine-growing region is named), and the picturesque village of Azenhas do Mar, inset in a cliff.
Lisbon Sunset Sail
Say a proper farewell to Lisbon with a 2-hour sunset sailing excursion where you will be awed by the magnificent views of majestic Lisbon seen from the Tagus River. Enjoy a glass of champagne and some fruit and cheese and delight in the beauty of Lisbon.
“Thanks for the great work during our Spanish Food and Wine Adventure…. you guys really know your stuff and are great guides & hosts! We’ll be back for northern Spain in the future!”
Day 9: Transfer · Lisbon - Algarve
Welcome to the Algarve, golden cliffs, white sandy beaches, crystal clear blue water and virtually deserted islands marking the boundary between Ria Formosa and the sea, and small coves sheltered by the rocks.
The ocean, in every shade of blue and mostly calm and warm, invites you for long swims and to indulge in water sports. And there are also the mountains, where people live in harmony with nature and maintain traditions that they love to share.
And the cities: Silves preserves traces of its Arab past and Lagos from the time of the Discoveries. More cosmopolitan Portimão and Albufeira are bustling towns by night and day. Tavira is a showcase for traditional architecture and Faro, the gateway to the region deserves a long stop to discover its beautiful historic center.
Day 10: Full-day Algarve Catamaran Excursion inc lunch
Head to Portimao to meet your captain. Board a beautiful catamaran and spend the day exploring the gorgeous cliff coastline of the Algarve.
You will see Portimão, Ferragudo, Carvoeiro, Benagil, Praia da Marinha, Praia da Rocha, Praia do Vau, Praia do Alemão, Ponta João D’Arens, Alvor, Lagos, Ponta da Piedade cliffs.
Lunch on board included: personalized catering which starts with fruit and a meat and cheese board, a prawn appetizer, includes a roast chicken main, and ends with traditional Portuguese dessert. Catering also includes beer, a selection of Portuguese wines, and other refreshments.
Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, beach towel, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, windbreaker jacket or sweater, sandals, or white-soled sneakers.
“Outstanding, seamless planning with a very personalized itinerary executed perfectly…..
In Spain, we felt like VIPs as we met the winemakers in La Rioja and Ribera del Duero, the chefs, the village mayor and flamenco dancer in Sevilla! The unique experiences and memories beat that of 4 or 5 cruises. We will be back to do Andalucia or Portugal in a few years”
Day 11: Half-day Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys of the Algarve
Of the hiking routes in the Algarve, the poetically named Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos (path of the Seven Hanging Valleys) is one of the most spectacular.
Following the strikingly beautiful coastline that unfolds between the west-side Centianes Valley (Carvoeiro) and the Praia da Marinha to the east, this imposing coastline is made up of colossal limestone cliffs. Throughout the centuries, the ferocious sea has devoured the stone and eroded it into sea caves, sinkholes, and impressive arches, creating a unique, breathtaking, and sometimes moon-like landscape.
Within these golden cliffs, the gelid ocean streams of winter have carved out the “hanging valleys”. The path follows this coastline and it is definitely worth the effort to discover the view, the caves, and the secret beaches that have found shelter from the fauces of the ocean.
Some of the highlights along the seven valleys are the Praia da Marinha, the Natural Arch (Arco Natural), a boat trip to the Benagil Caves, and the massive sinkhole near the Farol de Alfanzina.
Day 12: Seafood Market and Foodie Tour of Lagos
Meet your guide at the Lagos Fish Market, where you will see an abundance of sardines, mackerel, tuna, octopus, and much more, freshly caught from the sea, to the traditional seafood “açorda”, a local seafood delicacy you cannot miss out on.
“So many fish as ever seen” is part of a legend known in the Algarve, but it might as well have been written for this gastronomic experience! Together you will explore Lagos off the beaten tracks and discover the restaurants and taverns where locals usually go to eat and experience the best seafood dishes from Algarve’s cuisine.
It’s not all about food, we will also show you the highlights of the culture and history of Lagos while you stroll through the colorful streets of downtown.
Take back home with you the most flavorful memories! Before your final transfer, our 12-day Portugal itinerary delivers you to either Lisbon or Faro Airport for your journey back home!
Meet Your Personal Tour Planner
I’m Dan O’Beirne, founder of Magical Spain.
Originally from America, I worked in the Health and Wellness sector until my desire to travel resulted in my settling in Spain. Having fallen instantly in love with the country, cultures, and people here, I have made it my mission for the last twenty years to share this passion with our clients.
Contact Us About The 12-Day Portugal Itinerary
Every step of the above itinerary can be customized and amended to suit you and your private groups’ tastes and requirements.
We pride ourselves on going above and beyond to ensure our guests enjoy a simply magnificent tour and return home feeling that they have formed a bond with Portugal that will last a lifetime.
To find out how we can do that for you simply complete our online contact form and we will get started working on your complimentary custom itinerary.
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