7 is a magical number. Funny enough, 7 is also the minimum number of days required to visit Portugal and get an idea of the country.
7 is a magical number. From religion to science, Sports, branding or even Software, the number seven seems to hold something that binds everything together: God created the Universe in 6 days, resting on the seventh; it’s the atomic number of nitrogen; in handball each team has 7 players; and it’s the name of the popular soft drink 7-up! Portugal is no stranger to the numerology of 7: King Afonso III conquered 7 castles to the moors in the 13th century, 7 are the historical tragedies of Portugal and lastly, it’s the jersey number worn by two of the best football players the history has ever seen: Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Funny enough, 7 is also the minimum number of days required to visit Portugal and get an idea of the country. Less than that, you will seriously get a wrong idea of what this wonderful country is all about! The reason for this is, is related to the country’s diverse touristic offering. One cannot help but feel surprised with the amazing diversity that exists in Portugal, a country with little more than 10 million inhabitants.
So we had this idea for the next blog post: Designing a 7-day itinerary in Portugal! So we did! Please bear in mind this is just a 7-day general itinerary. We haven’t focus on anything in particular, rather tried to create something that touched a bit of everything (heritage, gastronomy, nature, etc..). So, without further ado here’s our 7-day itinerary:
Day 1 Lisbon – Historic district (Chiado, Baixa, Alfama, Mouraria)
A visit to the city center is the best way to get a grasp on what Lisbon is all about. You should navigate through the city’s hustle & bustle and its historic district in order to understand the personality of Lisbon, its inhabitants, get familiar with our iconic city views, know our history and comprehend the nature of our heritage.
Main attractions: Chiado architecture (Art nouveau), S.Roque church, Baixa district, Lisbon Cathedral, St.Jorge Castle, various viewpoints (Santa Luzia, Graça, Senhora do Monte and S.Pedro de Alcântara). Also, be sure to attend a fado event in the night. Also, avoid the over touristic places and some of the most common touristic pitfalls.
Day 2 Lisbon – Belém
Understanding Portugal and Lisbon without experiencing the Sea and the Tagus river is impossible. The river was the initial factor that led to Lisbon becoming an important Roman port. Later on, it became the departure place for some of the most iconic sea voyages during the discoveries period, including the voyage to India by Vasco da Gama.
Main attractions: Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, Discoveries monument, Carriage museum. Another great thing you can do that’s not directly linked to the Belém district is a trip to the Southbank for lunch (and to visit Christ the King statue) or to Alcântara’s Lx Factory district.
Day 3 Sintra
Portugal is full of unique places. However, in the midst of so many amazing things, sometimes we get confused and can’t tell one thing from another. This being said, if there’s a place whose appeal is unmistakable is Sintra. It’s truly a remarkable place and one wonders how this charming village attracted so much and created the sort of micro-city with a touch of fairytales and a sprinkle of outstanding heritage.
Main attractions: Moor castle, Royal Palace, Pena Palace, Regaleira estate, Monserrate Palace, Convent of the Capuchos. Nature is also a big part of Sintra’s Mystic so we strongly advise taking a walking tour inside Sintra’s forest, you will surely be amazed at the diversity of things you’ll encounter. Lastly, be sure to try one of Piriquita’s famous travesseiros (egg pastry).
Day 4 Porto
If there’s a city in Portugal that rivals Lisbon’s rich heritage, that city is Porto. The second most populated city of Portugal is a true European gem and much like Lisbon holds some of the best landmarks, attractions, and gastronomy the country has to offer. While the city’s football club is a fierce rival of the capital’s Benfica and Sporting, the city itself is a good complement to Lisbon.
Main attractions: Santa Catarina Street, Bolhão Market, S.Bento train Station, Igreja do Carmo, Torres dos Clérigos, Stock-exchange Palace, Ribeira pier. Regarding food, there are 3 things you can’t skip in Porto: Eat a “Francesinha” sandwich, Porto tripes with beans and of course, taste some Port.
Day 5 Douro Valley
You could easily spend another day in Porto. However, given the exaggerated number of Palaces, churches, and castles you’ve seen so far, we sincerely believe you should spend this day in the countryside by the Douro River. After all, this is Portugal’s most prestigious wine region.
It doesn’t really matter if you like wine or not. The Douro wine region has simply one of the best landscapes in Europe. Wine production began with the Roman Empire by 300 AD, but it was in the 17th century that the region’s vineyards expanded, and the earliest known mention of “Port wine” came about. For this expansion, much is due to the English and their love of Port Wine “Vinho do Porto” (a fortified wine).
Main attractions: landscapes, Douro Historical train, wine tasting, local gastronomy, Douro river cruise from Régua to Pinhão.
Day 6 Serra da Estrela and around
A trip to Portugal couldn’t be complete without a dip into Nature. For that, we strongly advise a visit to Serra da Estrela mountain range in the Northeastern part of Portugal. You can easily spend a day in the National Park trekking and getting truly amazing footage. Even if you don’t want to spend a full day in Nature, you can easily take a short trip towards the nearby historic villages circuit.
Main attractions: Serra da Estrela plateau, Serra da Estrela Cheese, historic villages circuit, local cuisine.
Day 7 Évora and the Alentejo
One cannot leave Portugal without experiencing its rich and diverse countryside. It’s amazing how a country so small as Portugal can boast many different cultures depending on its region. Therefore, during your seventh day, we invite you to make a road trip through Alentejo’s dry, golden plains and its traditional whitewashed villages. Get in touch with its charismatic people, its rich crafts and taste some of the best wines Portugal has to offer in Évora district.
Main attractions: Évora, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Marvão, Arraiolos, Estremoz, among other villages. Be sure to try a true genuine local cuisine, taste an Alentejo wine and get familiar with the local crafts (for which the Arraiolos tapestry is a good example).
Authentic tours for authentic travelers