Portugal has a lot of everything. City, beach, wine, spa, exploring history and being surrounded by colour. All of it easily combined in just over a week of travel.
There are many reasons Portugal has become such a hot destination in recent years. Lisbon, the Douro Valley and Porto are high among them. But don’t follow the Instagram crowds to mass tourism places. Portugal still has its authenticity and surprises.
Our client wanted the ultimate week in Portugal. Here’s the itinerary we prepared, combining Lisbon, the Douro Valley and Porto.
Day 1 – Hotel Palacio Principe Real, Lisbon
TAP Air Portugal operates direct flights to Lisbon from Prague and many European cities. Our private consultant Tomas Safarik describes the city.
Lisbon’s main charm is its authenticity. What’s left of it, that is. Discerning travellers hope the tide of damaging tourism can be stemmed. But they also know that if there’s a good time to visit Lisbon, it’s right now.
Lisbon is a busy capital city but you can definitely find peace and relaxation as well. Like Palacio Principe Real in the trendy Principe Real district. A luxurious palace with a large garden, this five-star hotel reflects Libson of old, when life was lived at a slower pace.
It’s worth staying there just for afternoon tea in the garden. For stillness on a wild coastline try Areias do Seixo, 30 minutes outside the city. Also consider Four Seasons Ritz Lisbon, Tivoli Palacio de Seteais in Sintra, or the more central and bustling Bairro Alto Hotel.
Days 2 & 3 – Exploring Around Lisbon
Walk. Explore. Surround yourself in city life. Lisbon is very different from other European capital cities. So we recommend at least half a day on a walking tour. Combine walking with traditional food on a private petiscos tour. Immerse yourself in art and history on a private visit to Mosteiro dos Jeronimos.
Have dinner with a fado show in Lisbon, in the place where fado started. It’s soulful, melancholic music of love and loss, guitars exploiting gaps between notes, the atmosphere holding you captive.
With a second full day in Lisbon we suggest exploring the Atlantic Coast and Sintra. Take a helicopter flight for the best views, then do some horseback riding on the beach. And then did you know you can try the food of four Michelin-starred Portuguese chefs in one place?
Day 4 – Six Senses Douro Valley
There are some great places to stop on the three- to four-hour drive north to the Douro Valley. Like Coimbra, Obidos and the canals of Aveiro. Then check into the small and super popular Six Senses Douro Valley.
Want the Ultimate Holiday in Portugal?
Days 5 & 6 – Spa & Wine Time
Six Senses is our favourite global hotel brand for spas. So enjoy the views, rest in nature and relax.
Masterfully blending sustainability with luxury, this is a decidedly chilled out, peaceful kind of place, a 60-room converted wine estate, surrounded by terraced vineyards and private gardens.
We also love the multiple farm-to-table restaurants at the hotel. And the wine! Oh the wine – can we come on this holiday with you?
Then for exploring we can recommend a Douro Valley hot air balloon tour, a private cruise on the Douro River, and then a local tour through the valley’s best wineries. Three nights is great, a complete contrast to being in Lisbon.
Days 7 & 8 – Porto is Calling You
Porto is not just about port. Take your first steps in the old city. Steps descend steeply to the waterfront, leading you past azulejo tiled facades. Azulejo? Here’s your guide to Porto’s blue street art.
In Porto there’s an air of indulgence, an air of a city that takes things slowly. You can’t travel fast here. There are no roads by the river.
In the tightly-packed urban core there is only cobbles, cafes, wine bars and the sultry scent of the not-so-distant Atlantic. Explorers love it.
Stay at either The Yeatman or Infante Sagres. Of course there will be Porto highlights and wine tasting. How about a private cooking class and market visit? How about arriving in Porto by boat, on a slow cruise down the Douro River, so no need for roads at all.
Day 9 – Explore More of Portugal?
Every year Porto has more direct flight connections. Now there’s one summer route to Prague. All these new flight routes indicate Porto’s popularity, so get there soon. And if you want to travel further, we can recommend so much more to you in Portugal.