Located in the south of Europe and benefiting from a pleasant climate all year round, Portugal is the ideal destination for a road-trip. From France or by rental car, you will discover a multitude of varied landscapes, from green valleys to arid lands, passing by paradisiacal beaches along wild coasts. A road-trip in Portugal is also an enriching experience thanks to the welcome of the locals, always ready to share their culture. Here are some ideas of cities and regions to visit to make your road trip a success!
On the banks of the Douro River, Porto is a must-see city to start your road-trip in Portugal. Walk along the river and admire the multicoloured facades of the Ribeira district or take a short cruise. Then go to the centre where you won’t miss the mythical Lello bookshop, the Palácio da Bolsa, the Bolhão market and the Clerks’ Tower.
As you travel up the Douro towards its source, you enter the land and discover the vineyards on either side of the river. There are many viewpoints, especially on the stretch between Peso da Régua and Pinhão, considered one of the most beautiful roads in the world. You will not remain indifferent when travelling through this UNESCO World Heritage site!
Coimbra and Tomar
Head south to Coimbra, Portugal’s ancient and historic capital. Discover its churches, gardens, lively streets and one of the oldest universities in Europe. Continue to Tomar, known as the city of the Templars. Learn the origin of its nickname by entering the magnificent Convent of Christ.
It’s impossible to take a road trip to Portugal without discovering Nazaré, the country’s legendary surfing spot. In addition to its impressive waves, the beach is ideal for lazing around. Climb on foot or by funicular to Sítio, a prime promontory to take in the full view of the coastline.
Listed as a UNESCO cultural heritage site, Sintra is a unique town and a must-see on a road trip to Portugal. This collection of palaces, castles, monasteries and parks scattered in the heart of lush vegetation never ceases to charm travellers.
To visit Portugal’s capital, leave your car behind for a while and hop on board the picturesque Tram 28. You’ll pass through the capital’s iconic neighbourhoods. Then head to Belém to pay tribute to the Portuguese explorers. Here you can taste the world-famous pastéis de nata, a delicious little pastry.
Continue your road-trip in Portugal by passing through one of the most beautiful regions of Portugal, the Alentejo. Comporta is the new chic and bohemian destination of Portugal, a perfect place to stay for a few days, in one of the houses of Alma da Comporta. With many activities such as horseback riding or surfing and between sea and rice fields, discover the slow-life spirit in one of the traditional villas, for a moment out of time.
This small town is unlike any other, for its wilderness and isolation. You will walk along the huge cliffs of Cabo de San Vincente, the most south-westerly point in Europe. You’ll marvel at the waves breaking on the rocks before setting down your towel on one of the white sand beaches.
Olhão et Tavira
Continuing your journey along the Algarve coast, you will arrive in Olhão, which will make you feel almost in Africa. Hundreds of whitewashed houses with terraces, a typical market and a pleasant walk by the sea will give you a complete change of scenery. Finish this road trip in Portugal with Tavira, one of the pearls of the Algarve. You will visit the old town and its historical monuments before meeting the pink flamingos on the island of Tavira.