One week in Portugal is not a long time, but it´s enough to get an idea of where you´ll want to live for the rest of your life. The story about this post is that some (foreign) friends are coming to Portugal for one week and asked for an itinerary. Since they are coming in the summer and wanted to see some beaches, I´ve planned their trip with the sun in mind.
Here is the itinerary:
- Day 1,2: Stay in Lisbon; head south by the end of day 2
- Day 3,4: Wake up in Herdade da Matinha. Leave early next day.
- Day 5(6?): Explore nature/beaches in Sagres and surrounding areas!
- Day 6: Enjoy quaint fishing village of Tavira.
- Day 7: Back to Lisbon
Where to stay in Lisbon? If budget is no problem, then I recommend you stay in the São Jorge Castle, at the Palácio Belmonte. If you are budget conscious, then try My Story Hotels Ouro in Baixa. If this is still too pricey, then you should check out my favourite hostels post. If you have a car don´t forget to ask for parking, these areas are difficult to park on your own.
There are so many things to do in Lisbon, that it would be hard to name just a few here. If you´re into tours then I suggest you check this post: a hybrid car/boat tour around Lisbon with great tour guides. If you´re into walking, then from you can walk around. Here are some highlights:
- walk around São Jorge Castle and then walk down to the river through Alfama.
- From Alfama walk towards Terreiro do Paço and up towards Baixa.
- From Baixa walk through Chiado and towards Bairro Alto. Have dinner in Bairro Alto. Check out my favourite restaurants post here.
No one should come to Lisbon and miss out on a Fado night, but since most are catering exclusively to tourists, please, please check out my Fado Houses post here.
Get your car and head south! Don´t forget to ask the receptionist of the hotel about which bridge to take across the Tejo river: one is closer but may have a LOT of traffic, the other is further away but has no traffic. Head to Herdade da Matinha!
Herdade da Matinha is a rural hotel about 15 minutes from some great beaches. You deserve the rest after walking yourself out in Lisbon, so enjoy a hearty breakfast, the pool, the nature and take a horseback ride around the area.
Although this rural hotel has a great chef (the owner) there isn´t much choice (only one choice of dinner). If you like the atmosphere (and the dinner menu), then you should stay here for dinner. If not, or if you’d rather get to know the area, head towards Porto Covo. When you get to the main square, just choose any of the restaurants (there aren´t that many). If you get there early, you can enjoy an afternoon at the beach.
On day 4, have breakfast, relax and then head south again towards Sagres.
Day 5 (and 6?)
There are all kinds of options for hotels in Sagres, from luxury to budget. The luxury options are the trendy Memmo Baleeira and the restful Martinhal Beach Resort . If you´re just looking for a place to sleep, then you can also opt for the budget Sagres Time Apartments.
If you feel like getting to know the Algarve head to Lagos, a quaint fishing village which will be a little crowded but with some very good beaches and restaurants.
I´ve given you enough for two days, but if you like driving more than seeing, then don´t miss out on Tavira.
Tavira is the most beautiful city in the Algarve. Having escaped from the criminal over development common to the area, it still retains the old town feel. Having said this, Tavira is 140 km from Sagres – don´t be fooled by the map!
The best place to stay in Tavira is the Pousada de Tavira. The Pousadas de Portugal is a hotel group that has restored many old castles, convents and monastery. They are expensive but not too expensive and you can find a place to stay in many places in Portugal (including some mentioned here).
In Tavira the best you can do is just walk around the old city. For dinner, I highly recommend going to Cacela Velha. This old little town boasts a few restaurants that are always full during the summer. Walk around and stand in line where your heart (and stomach) leads you.
You´ll probably want to stay in Portugal for the rest of your life, but if you´re one of the few that actually make it back home, then take the highway straight to Lisbon in under 3 hours. The airport is near the Ponte Vasco da Gama (the bridge with no traffic) which you should use to cross the river into Lisbon.