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Roundtrip Portugal

from / to Lisbon

Holiday in Europe
12 rental companies in 73 cities

Roundtrip Portugal

from / to Lisbon

12 - 14 days / 1,400 km
Best time to travel: May to June or September to October

This motorhome trip will take you from the city of Lisbon to beautiful sandy beaches, bizarre cliffs, and towns surrounded by walls with medieval fortresses and dream castles. You will drive along seemingly endless fields, through wildly romantic valleys, and past hilly-mountainous landscape. Portugal is known for many contrasts, which are combined into one fantastic overall experience. Plan about two additional nights in order to explore Lisbon or Porto and the Douro Valley extensively.

Arrival in Lisbon and collection of the camper

Your trip begins in Lisbon, the biggest city in Portugal and the capital of the country. It has approximately 500,000 inhabitants. More than 2,000 years of history have left their mark on the right bank of the Tagus. Portugal's bright capital on the banks of the Tagus, near the Atlantic, has a lot to offer: the castle from which the town grew, large monuments that recall the Age of Discovery, picturesque houses with ornate facades, hills with yellow trams going up and down, melancholic songs – fado that can be heard at night by candlelight. Azulejos, mostly hand-painted tiles that, when assembled into large mirror tiles, often create some real art, can be found in the city at every turn.

Alfama is one of Lisbon's oldest and most typical quarters. Surrounded by the narrow streets and steep stairs, next to the remains of Roman and Arabic culture, you will be able to feel the archetypal life of Lisbon.

The Santa Justa Lift was built in 1902 and is one of the landmarks of the city. The 45-meter-high elevator is located in the centre of Lisbon, connecting the Baixa and the higher situated Chiado. This distinctive steel construction can carry up to 24 people in a cabin. On the busy route of line 28, old tramcars run from the centre at sea level, through the city, to São Jorge Castle, on the highest hill of Lisbon. During the trip, there is a magnificent view over Lisbon and the Tagus River. High on the mountain stands Castelo de São Jorge. Steep and romantic streets below the castle offer a unique atmosphere and great views.

One of the most recognizable landmarks in Lisbon is the Bélem Tower, a white stone tower from the early 16th century, which was originally built for the defence of the river. The 25 de Abril Bridge is a suspension bridge over the Tagus, which is very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Docas is the nightlife district of the city, located on the banks of the Tagus and offering many discos, pubs, restaurants, and bars.

Parque das Nações, Park of the Nations, is a former Expo site that has been transformed into a recreation area with a shopping centre, bars, and restaurants. There, you can also find many attractions: one of the largest oceanaria in the world, an observation deck at a dizzying height, and a cable car.

Highlights & Tips
Shopping in Lisbon
The offerings range from elegant shopping streets, to original flea markets, to modern shopping malls. Baixa - Rua Áurea is known for jewellery. In Chiado and Bairro Alto, there is an exclusive selection of clothing and fabrics, and in the side streets, you can find numerous ceramic shops and designer boutiques. The well-known brands of shoes and clothing, however, can be found mostly on Avenida da Liberdade. Among the most popular and large shopping malls, there are Colombo, Vasco da Gama, and Amoreiras.

Typical for Lisbon, typical for Portugal: azulejos
The art of manufacturing of tiles came to Portugal with the Arabs. Since then, small blue ornate tiles decorate churches, palaces, fountains, and houses - inside and out, in Lisbon and in whole Portugal. Even street signs are in fact azulejos.

Lisbon – Lagos

Stage distance: approx. 290 km

Suggested route: Lisbon – Sines – Lagos

From Lisbon, first we go to Lagos, in the Algarve. Sines may become a great stopover about midway. This medieval city on a cliff and with a castle is located directly on the rugged Atlantic coast. The old town is known for its white washed houses, typical for the southern Iberian Peninsula, and azure decorations, typical for Portugal.

Today's stage destination is Lagos, a city with a turbulent history, which is reflected by, among other things, its imposing fortress. Phoenicians, Celts, and Romans settled there, which is why there is now a lot to see in the city: old churches, streets with white houses, and an ancient Arab city wall, whose construction dates back to the 8th century. The ramparts, originally of Carthaginian or Roman origin, were first expanded by the Arabs and later on by the Portuguese, in the 14th and 16th centuries. Today, visitors can enjoy the scenic view of the Lagos Bay, which is lined with mountains.

In the Age of Discovery, the port in Lagos became a centre of Portuguese seafaring. Engaging in trade of goods from Africa, it brought wealth and prosperity to the region. With the exploration of the coast of Africa, the slave trade began as well. Mercado de Escravos (Slave Market) is today a reminder of those events. Many houses in the old town present, despite the consequences of the earthquake in 1755, traditional style and typical shaded courtyards. The entire centre creates a very nice cityscape. The Castle of Lagos (Castelo dos Governadores), a castle-like governor's palace, was built in the 14th and 16th centuries on the remains of an Arab castle. Also museum-goers can visit Lagos and they should come back fully satisfied. Museu Municipal Dr. José Formosinho,next to the Church of St. Anthony, exhibits religious art, archaeological findings, and paintings dedicated to the history of Lagos.

A beautiful marina and waterfront make the maritime flair of Lagos simply perfect. Many shops, cafes, and restaurants are also welcoming. The numerous beaches in the area, with the largest called Meia Praia, make a delightful addition to the urban bustle of Lagos.

Highlights & Tips
Boat trip to the caves of the Algarve
The Algarve coast is particularly beautiful near Lagos and can be explored during organized boat excursions. In calm sea, small boats that offer tours head off from the port. The prominent rocks were given names from the animal world by the locals. By boat, it is also possible to get through cave entrances.

Lagos – Évora

Stage distance: approx. 240 km

Suggested route: Lagos – Beja – Évora

Today, we will travel through the Alentejo, surrounded by the picturesque landscape of the same name, which is characterized by seemingly endless cornfields, olive groves, fields of sunflowers, and vineyards. As a stopover, we choose Beja, a modern, yet tranquil, provincial town with a beautiful old part.

Further on, we will go to Évora. The ”capital“ of the Alentejo has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wonderfully preserved monasteries, churches, winding streets, squares, and archways bring the past to the present. The place is ideal for long walks and cultural sightseeing - it is basically a "museum" in the open air. Celts and Romans laid the foundations of the town and later eras gave it its present appearance. The Roman Temple of Évora (Temple of Diana) is the most famous monument of the city and one of the most important architectural examples of the Roman occupation of Portugal. It is said to have been built in honour of the Roman goddess of the hunt, Diana.

Highlights & Tips
Worthwhile destinations near Évora
Not far from the town, there are many significant attractions. On the way to Montemor-o-Novo, in the direction of Lisbon, you can visit the Escoural Cave with its Palaeolithic paintings dating to about 25.000 BC. In the area around Évora, there are several megalithic monuments from the Celtic period.

Évora – Coimbra

Stage distance: approx. 260 km

Suggested route: Évora – Leiria – Coimbra

As a stopover en route to Coimbra, the old town of Leiria, with its distinctive castle hill and the Castle of Leiria is very rewarding.

Coimbra, with nearly 150,000 inhabitants, is the seat of the oldest university in the country, founded in 1290. Today, it has about 22.000 students. The former capital of Portugal lies picturesquely by the Mondego River and is dominated by the old town set on a hill with its dominant university ensemble, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the old cathedral (Sé Velha) from the 11th century. Other monuments include the new cathedral (Sé Nova) from the end of the 16th century. The central square in the city, Praça do Comércio, is just a starting point to Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal's biggest botanical garden with greenhouses and shaded walks.

In the upper town with the university, you will find the main entrance to the univesrity, Porta Férrea, from the 17th century, the clock tower in the Baroque style, and the Palace of Schools (Paço das Escolas). The Biblioteca Joanina isone of the most important and most beautiful historic libraries in the world and is definitely worth seeing for those interested. A tour is possible every 20 minutes. An entry fee is mandatory.

Highlights & Tips
Lunchtime in Coimbra
Restaurante Jardim da Manga on Rua Olímpio Nicolau Rui Fernandes, right in the area of the Jardim da Manga, is a self-service restaurant offering Portuguese home cooking at reasonable prices.

Roman ruins in Conimbriga
In Conimbriga, 16 km from Coimbra, you can find the remains of walls and mosaic floors of a Roman villa. The town was surrounded by a wall and had a residential area with magnificent mosaic floors and heating ducts, and another area with simpler houses.

Coimbra – Braga

Stage distance: approx. 170 km

Suggested route: Coimbra – Porto – Braga

Today, we travel from Coimbra to Braga. The route leads through Porto, but it is the first stop on the program on your way back south on the next day.

Braga, in the heart of the fertile Minho Province in the north-west of Portugal, has been a religious centre of the country since the 12th century. Due to the presence of many churches, Braga is also called ”the Portuguese Rome.” Magnificent houses from the 18th century and beautiful parks and gardens make the city well worth seeing. In the historic centre of Braga, there stands the oldest cathedral in Portugal, namely Sé, built in 1070. It houses numerous pieces of sacral art. The cathedral presents stylistic elements of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. Today, you will also see the ruins of Bracara Augusta, the city that was founded between 300 BC and 400 AD by Emperor Augustus.

Highlights & Tips
Church overlooking Braga
Just off the city, surrounded by large park-like grounds, there is a pilgrimage site with the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, from where you can enjoy panoramic views over Braga and the surrounding area.

Celtic fortress
At the archaeological site of Citânia de Briteiros, there are ruins of a Celtiberian settlement dating back to 300 BC with the foundation, which is made of more than 150 round stone huts, paved roads, cowsheds, and aqueducts. There are two reconstructed huts on site. Exhibits from this period are housed in the Museu de Martins Sarmento in Guimarães.

Braga – Porto

Stage distance: approx. 50 km

Suggested route: Braga – Porto

Today, Porto is on the program. It is the second largest city in the country with some 210.000 inhabitants. It is also the former "European Capital of Culture" and the centre of the port wine trade located on the Douro. Porto impresses with its magnificent cityscape and the historic centre, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include the impressive cathedral (Sé do Porto) with a wealth of sacred art and blue azulejo tiles in the cloister. The historic centre is also marked by Torre dos Clérigos, the tallest tower in Portugal. Those who are willing to climb its 225 steps will be rewarded with a sensational panorama. An equally impressive building is the Palácio da Bolsa, the former Stock Exchange of Porto. The building is reminiscent of a royal palace, with ornate hall and facade.

Other attractions include the famous port wine lodges on the hillside opposite the city centre, on the south bank of the Douro, in Vila Nova de Gaia. The district is connected to the centre with the steel arch, Dom Luís I Bridge, which impressively dominates the cityscape. The bridge, built between 1881 and 1886, was designed by Gustav Eiffel's disciples, Teofilo Seyrig and Arthur Maurey.

Highlights & Tips
In the Port Wine Cellar of Vila Nova de Gaia
In Vila Nova de Gaia, you can visit the cavernous wine cellars situated by the riverside. While in there, you can also taste various port wines. The sweet enriched wine made of grapes from the Douro region is blended and then left to mature in the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia.

Porto – Óbidos

Stage distance: approx. 240 km

Suggested route: Porto – Coimbra – Óbidos

The route to the destination of the day leads again through Coimbra, before we reach Óbidos, one of the most visited and most beautiful towns in Portugal. A historic city wall surrounds the Castelo Óbidos and invites for a tour with panoramic views of the vineyards and windmills in the area. From the ramparts, you can marvel at the old town. Brightly white houses, decorated with blue and yellow edges, idyllic courtyards, winding alleys, and ancient archways give Óbidos a uniquely romantic and historic atmosphere.

Highlights & Tips
Treat made from cherries
Ginjinha or Ginja, is a Portuguese liqueur with 17-20% alcohol, which is produced from sour cherries and gets its characteristic flavour after a year of fermentation. In Óbidos, you can buy typical Ginjinha from the cherries gathered in the region.

Óbidos – Lisbon

Stage distance: approx. 120 km

Suggested route: Óbidos – Sintra – Lisbon

From Óbidos, the trip goes back to Lisbon today. The last, yet a very worthwhile stopover, is Sintra. The cultural landscape of Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the buildings bear witness to the turbulent history of the city. Once the destination of summer holidays of the Portuguese royal family, the city has retained its charm. The Pena Palace is the most important monument of Portuguese Romanticism and is often compared to Neuschwanstein Castle. The impressive Town Palace is called Palacio Nacional, Palacio da Villa, or Paco Real.

Then, the journey continues to the starting point of the trip, Lisbon, located nearby.