Amazing Lisbon to Porto Road Trip

Are you traveling from Lisbon and Porto? The journey between the two Portuguese cities takes around three hours. But it’s an even better idea to stop at several places along the way and make it into a road trip from Lisbon to Porto.

This road trip can be done in a day or you can even stretch the journey over a few days if you have time. How lovely would adding some beaches and towns to your Portugal itinerary be? 

Let’s take a look at some incredible places where you could make a sightseeing stops on a Lisbon to Porto road trip!

Table of Contents

Photo by Matt Roskovec on Unsplash

How to get from Lisbon to Porto

Whether you travel by public transport, a rental car, or a tour, there are several options for stopping in cities and towns between Lisbon and Porto. Driving between these towns is pretty straightforward. Flixbus and the trains (Comboios de Portugal) have great services between most cities, too.

For those with less time, the quickest way is to book a private one-way excursion with several stops in between. Many guides offer three stops along the way, and you can make your own selection of towns. Instead of 3 hours, you’ll be traveling 7 to 8 hours, but you’ll see a lot in one day!

This trip from Lisbon to Porto can also be extended over multiple days. This post provides suggestions for how long to spend in each place and the driving distance between them.

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Renting a Car in Portugal

Like many other places in Europe, renting a car in Portugal is fairly simple. Below are some tips and things to prepare!

  1. Many vehicles in Portugal, even brand-new models, have a manual transmission. Check before renting if you can’t drive manual and prepare to pay a premium if you want an automatic.
  2. Short-term visitors staying less than six months in the country can drive their rental with a valid US license, and Europeans can drive with their local licenses as well.
  3. Americans are not required by law to obtain an international driving permit to drive a rental car in Portugal. Although Portugal does not require that foreign drivers carry this permit, it is a requirement if you are driving to a neighboring country, such as Spain.
  4. To drive a car in Portugal, whether it’s your own or a rental, you must be over 18 years of age. To rent a car, you must be over 21.
  5. Check that your rental car comes with the required yellow or orange high-visibility safety jacket, reflective warning triangle, and approved child seat for children under 12
  6. Drive on the right and overtake on the left. It’s forbidden to pass on the right on a straight road other than a motorway with several lanes.
  7. Seatbelts are mandatory for the driver and front-seat passengers. Additionally, headphones and mobile phones are banned unless used in hands-free mode.
  8. While hopefully you won’t need it, the emergency number in Portugal is 112.

Find car rental options here.


One hour from Lisbon

After only an hour’s drive, you’ll see the first fantastic village between Lisbon and Porto! Óbidos is also a popular day trip from Lisbon, and for good reason. The medieval town has a stunning castle where you can stay the night! Another highlight is to walk around the castle walls that surround the town. 

Óbidos is small, and you can see most highlights within a couple of hours. The main street, Rua Direita, has many shops and some restaurants, too. And did you know the small village has 14 bookstores? It comes as no surprise there is an annual book fair in Óbidos. They like a good festival anyway as the Christmas Village, the Chocolate Festival and the Medieval Festival are other highlights! 

Once you’ve walked along Rua Direita and around the castle walls, getting lost in the narrow cobblestone streets is recommended. Óbidos is very colorful and has many cute houses as well as flowers. So bring a camera! Before you travel to the next destination, try a Ginjinha de Óbidos. This cherry-like liquor tastes terrific and is often served in a chocolate cup!

Top things to do in Óbidos:

  • Walk the medieval town and the wall for a panoramic view
  • Explore the Óbidos Castle, dating back to the 12th century, which is now a luxury hotel.
  • Visit the Church of Santa Maria, featuring stunning azulejos (Portuguese ceramic tiles) and intricate Baroque architecture.
  • Visit the Josefa d’Óbidos Museum dedicated to the life and work of Josefa de Óbidos, one of Portugal’s most renowned Baroque painters. 

Consider staying in one of Óbidos’ historic pousadas. These converted castles, monasteries, and palaces offer upscale accommodations with a touch of old-world charm.


35 minutes from Óbidos to Nazaré

From Óbidos, you can make your way to the famous coastal town of Nazaré. Nazaré is so well-known due to the enormous waves that surf here every winter! Between October and March, professional surfers surfeeze record waves. German surfer Sebastian Steudtner is the current record holder as he surfed a nearly 30-meter tall wave!

If you’re in Nazaré in summer, the swell is less volatile. But there is still a lot to see! Nazare Beach offers the local vibes of the fishermen’s town, and there are plenty of restaurants along the waterfront. Take a look at the colorful boats and the dried fish, for example. You can also take the funicular uphill to visit some incredible viewpoints. 

Top things to do in Nazaré

  • Enjoy the beaches. Nazaré boasts beautiful beaches suitable for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. 
  • Ride the funicular, which connects the lower part of the town to the Sitio neighborhood perched on the cliffs above for fantastic views.
  • Explore the Nazaré Lighthouse, which sits atop the cliffs of Sitio. 
  • Eat fresh seafood and don’t miss the local specialty, “caldeirada,” a delicious fish stew.
  • Take a boat tour to explore the coastline and sea caves of Nazaré.


45 minutes from Nazaré to Fátima

If you prefer adding a religious sight to your journey to Porto, Fátima is the place to be! It’s visited annually by millions of pilgrims, and even if you’re not religious, it’s an incredible place to visit. According to the stories, three shepherd children witnessed the appearance of Our Lady of Fátima for several consecutive months in 1914. The last apparition in October of the same year was seen by 70,000 people! 

Several religious buildings were built around the site throughout the years. For example, you can visit the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary or witness a mass at the chapel Capelinha das Aparições. The Basílica of the Holy Trinity was constructed in the 1990s, so even more people can attend religious services in Fátima!

Top Things to Do in Fátima

  • Visit The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima is the heart of the pilgrimage site. It includes the Chapel of the Apparitions, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to three shepherd children, as well as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Basilica of the Holy Trinity. 
  • Experience the spiritual atmosphere of Fátima by attending one of the many masses held throughout the day. 
  • Learn about the lives of the three shepherd children—Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta—who witnessed the Marian apparitions. 
  • If visiting from March to October, join the nightly candlelight procession.


One hour from Fátima to Coimbra

Coimbra is just over an hour from Porto, and it used to be the Portuguese capital! With so much history, it comes as no surprise that Coimbra has many old sights to see. Visit the old and “new” monastery, for example, where you discover more about the life of Queen Elizabeth of Aragon and the fights against the floods from the river Mondego. Nearby you can also find Portugal dos Pequenitos, a theme park that’s great to visit when travelling with kids!

However, Coimbra is famous primarily because of the university! Coimbra University is the oldest in Portugal and one of the oldest in the world! It’s still in use, but there are certain sections you can visit on your own or with a guide. The library is magnificent, and the Royal Palace is a must-see for history lovers. You’ll need a ticket for this part, but the Coimbra University Botanical Garden is entirely free to visit. 

The old town of Coimbra contains many more sights, such as the old and new cathedral, an ancient aqueduct, and former city walls. There are plenty of gardens to see, and a boat tour on the Mondego River allows you to see the city from the water. It’s an incredible city to visit when on a Lisbon to Porto road trip, but if you have time, two days in Coimbra is recommended to see most sights.

Hotel options in Coimbra can be found here.

Top Things to Do in Coimbra

  • Visit the University of Coimbra, with its magnificent Baroque architecture and the University Tower, offering panoramic views of the city.
  •  Wander through the Largo da Sé and Praça do Comércio, where you’ll find cafes, shops, and street performers.
  • Visit Portugal dos Pequenitos a miniature village or theme park, created in 1940 with reproductions of the country’s main landmarks
  • Take a peaceful stroll through the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra, established in the 18th century.  
  • Visit the Machado de Castro National Museum, housed in the former Episcopal Palace.

Photo by Ricardo Resende on Unsplash


One hour from Coimbra to Aveiro, One hour from Porto

Another stunning town near Porto is Aveiro. The coastal village is known as the Venice of Portugal, and a boat trip on the colorful boats is a must! The traditional boats sail from the center to the lagoon known as Ria de Aveiro. Especially in summer, the lagoon is a great spot for some fresh air! Even the Atlantic Ocean is around the corner, and you can visit beaches such as Praia da Costa Nova and Praia de São Jacinto. 

If you prefer to stay in town, Infante Dom Pedro Park is a beautiful area to spend some time in. You can find ponds and even an art nouveau bandstand. Is the weather not ideal? Or do you like museum visits? Museu de Arte Nova should then be on your itinerary! From Aveiro, it’s less than an hour to reach Porto. Here, you can continue discovering beautiful sights!

Top Things to Do in Aveiro

  • Take a Moliceiro Boat Tour to explore Aveiro’s scenic canals aboard a traditional moliceiro boat. 
  • Wander through Aveiro’s charming historic center, characterized by colorful Art Nouveau buildings, cobblestone streets, and lively squares. 
  • Try Ovos Moles made from egg yolks and sugar and often shaped into decorative forms.
  • Visit the Museu de Arte Nova to explore art, nouveau architecture, and wonderful art galleries. 
  • Head to the nearby beaches to soak up the sun, swim in the Atlantic Ocean, or take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront. 
  • Dine at one of the restaurants along Aveiro’s canals and savor fresh seafood dishes.
  • Explore the nearby Ria de Aveiro, a coastal lagoon known for its rich birdlife. Take a guided birdwatching tour here to explore.
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Take a scenic road trip from Lisbon to Porto and explore the incredible places. Discover charming towns, beautiful beaches, and more.
Take a scenic road trip from Lisbon to Porto and explore the incredible places. Discover charming towns, beautiful beaches, and more.

About the Author: Meet Marga, a travel writer, and photographer who was a flight attendant and has traveled extensively for many years. After settling in Portugal, she started the Discover Portugal blog with insightful and engaging travel stories.




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