Lisbon to Porto Roadtrip Route
With the Atlantic Ocean as its stage, the wide swept coast of the Iberian Peninsula dotted with beaches and surfing villages; there’s plenty of fun to be had in Portugal. That being said, take advantage of the coastal route and go on a day trip from Lisbon to Porto, which entails renting a car and hitting the road. You’ll start in Lisbon, one of the oldest capitals in Europe, and venture towards the architectural ground of Porto, weaving through the scenic coastal drive, visiting fishing villages and monasteries along your route.
- Route name: Lisbon to Porto Roadtrip Route
- Distance: 390 KM
- Start point: Lisabon
- End point: Porto
- Duration: 9 hours or 1-2 days
- Best by car
- Best time to visit: All year round. However, Spring and Autumn is the best time to go. Summers are hot, attracting many local and international tourists
- Highlights: Lisbon, Mafra, Ericeira, Santa Cruz, Lourinhã, Peniche, óbidos, Nazares, Porto
Lisbon to Porto Roadtrip Route
LISBON – MAFRA (40KM)
It’s no surprise that Lisbon is on every list of ‘Best Cities to Visit in Europe.’ Lisbon is small, but intimate, making it easy to explore by foot. From its roots in the Roman Empire, crafted and shaped by history and the panoramic hillside landscape, the Portuguese integrity and traditions are complemented by the upcoming districts that bring an urban flair. Seek refuge in the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, UNESCO listed site, or climb up the view point to Basílica da Estrela to catch the breathtaking view of Dona Maria I’s final resting place. Or take a side step and follow the local walking route through the neighborhoods of Estrela, Campo de Ourique, and Príncipe Real. Discover what lies between the terracotta-roofed buildings, the authentic Portuguese tapas and local markets that brings together the community.
Rent your car and begin your route towards Porto, leaving the intimate capital behind. Take the A8, then onto the A21, and visit the beautifully decorated city of Sinta in the heart of Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais, where you can visit the Moorish- and Manueline-style Sintra National Palace and the Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira. Then onwards to Mafra!
MAFRA – ERICEIRA (10KM)
Just shy of 40 KM north of Lisbon is the city of Mafra. The city is known for its colossal palace-monastery called the Palace of Mafra, a baroque and Italian Neoclassical structure that houses 1200 rooms of the fullest extravagance. Stopping to visit the palace, you can walk through some of the main highlights such as the giant monastery, the ancient library, and two towering bell towers. You’ll be happy to know that the library of the palace has its very own protectors guarding the 36,000 books and text. These guardians are actually a bat colony that keeps the insects from destroying the books.
Continue up the western coast of Portugal, you’ll soon arrive at Ericeira, a fishing community with a great place to catch some waves and sunbathing session.
ERICEIRA- PENICHE (97KM)
Upon arriving at Ericeira, you’ll notice the town sitting on a dramatic cliff of sandstones, above the open-ended, sandy beach. Portugal has many sleepy fishing towns turned surfing towns. The town has a long-standing fishing tradition, which has sustained its economy for centuries, however, the locale has transformed it into a surfing town and draws many wave-catchers. With such pristine conditions for surfing, it regularly hosts surfing competitions and is known as one of the World Surfing Reserves. Walk along the cobbled stone center with whitewashed buildings, and sample some of the best seafood that Portugal has to offer in the various restaurants.
Hit the highway again and head towards Peniche, driving through some of the best surfing towns of Santa Cruz and Lourinhã.
PENICHE- ÓBIDOS (25KM)
Another surf haven, Peniche is known for its European Pipeline, after the superb wave breaks that are great for surfing, windsurfing, bodyboarding, and kite surfing. The long beaches will call your name, as you enjoy a laid-back beach day at either Consolação and Baleal bays. For the adventurous thrill seekers, head over to Medão Grande Beach or Lagido Beach to catch some wave breaks. Aside from the beach, you can visit the 15th century Fort of São João, which was important to the Portuguese defense back in the day and once held political prisoners.
Heading away from the beautiful and rugged coast, and take the road inland to Óbidos, a small town that is home to the fortified castle.
ÓBIDOS- NAZARES (40KM)
Óbidos has roots dating back to the Roman Empire, and after several conquests and recaptures, it has finally winded down into a quiet little town, with many historical features. For those history lovers, you can spend the night at the Óbidos Castle, a high walled and fortified structure dating back to the 12th century and is now a converted luxury hotel. The rest of the town is defined by the wall, which encircles the entirety of the perimeter. Sample the local alcoholic drink known as ‘Ginja de Óbidos,’ a cherry liquor that is only produced in the region.
Continue on your scenic route towards Nazares, a seaside resort destination, flowing with surfing vibes.
NAZARES- PORTO (214KM)
You’ll find many fishing communities turned surfing towns along the route, and Nazares is one of them. The half-moon shape beach is a popular tourist destination and attracts many vacationers during the summer. The custom of the town has roots in its fishing community, where fishermen and their wives used to proudly wear traditional clothing such as headscarves and seven flannel skirts in various colors. While Nazare is a popular beach destination, you need to take caution as this particular place has recorded mega waves in the past (scaling over 23 meters). Many surfers have spotted these mega waves and tried to conquer them, but it may not be the best place to go for a leisurely swim.
Leaving the roaring waves behind, you’ll make your way towards your final destination, Porto. A vibrant coastal city that is a traveler favorite. There are many different sides to this city that boasts an amazing experience from its history, architecture, culinary scene and the local community. Be mesmerized by the Dom Luis I Bridge overlooking the River Duoro. Visit the enchanting Lello’s Bookshop, which inspired author J.K. Rowling to include this beautiful bookstore in her Harry Potter series. Walk through the concert hall of Casa De Musica and enjoy the natural acoustics of the building. Join a pub crawl to experience the colorful nightlife of the city, but not before you taste some local cuisine at outstanding restaurants such as DOP, 17 Degree Panoramic Bar, and Cantina 32.
This route was based off two of our Portuguese guides ‘Lisbon Like a Local’ by Flavia Motta (ENG) and ‘Stedentrip Porto,’ by Laura Weenink, featuring complete walking routes. Download the travel guides to get the interactive spots, maps, pictures, offline usage and local tips.
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