Portugal has a rich history based on the exploits of its explorers that sailed to all corners of the world. That history manifests itself in some stunning landmarks and architecture. Its latitude means there are many weeks when the weather ensures that holidaymakers can sunbathe and swim on its Atlantic Coast, some facing west but even better, the Algarve facing south. Add the Mediterranean cuisine and Portugal’s fine wines, and you will immediately realise that Portugal deserves a place on your list of places to visit, whether alone, as a couple, with friends or family.
Lisbon is the capital of this country of around 10.5 million, with approaching three million living in the capital’s greater metropolitan area. Lisbon faces west to the Atlantic, with the second largest of Portugal’s population areas to the north, Porto. The third popular region of Portugal is the south-facing coast of the Algarve.
Each of these regions has plenty to offer and the small size of the land means that you may have time to tour the whole country or at least much of it. There are examples below as well as a range of tour alternatives, including ones that offer history, others the chance to enjoy Portugal’s lovely coastline as well as ones where you can enjoy the wine and food Portugal has to offer. Read on to find out the best tours in Portugal.
- Portugal Tours
- Top Tours
- Multiday Tours In Portugal
- Bike Tours
- Walking Tours
- Wine Tours
- Food Tours
If you don’t have the time to read on, here are three tours you’ll be happy to pick:
- From Lisbon: 5-Day Private Portugal Tour – a classic trip covering the iconic sights.
- Private 8-Day Tour of Portugal from Lisbon – a fantastic tour of Portugal’s lovely cities.
- Oporto: Three Days Private Tour – explore this beautiful city and the surrounding towns; Braga, Guimaraes, and the fantastic Douro Valley
Multiday Tours In Portugal
1- See Lisbon & The North
Five days exploring Lisbon and the north is very rewarding.
You can walk around many of Lisbon’s landmarks on your first day with a guide accompanying you to provide insights into their significance.
The next day, you travel just a short distance to see what Sintra, Estoril and Cascais have to offer, all places with a significant population and history.
There are beautiful examples of architecture, some from Moorish times, others built as Portugal prospered during the “Age of Discovery.”
On the third day, you head north to Coimbra, where there is Europe’s oldest university then on to Porto.
Portugal’s second city has plenty to enjoy before your final day takes you to the Douro Valley and its fine wines.
Recommended tour: From Lisbon: 5-Day Private Portugal Tour
2- See The Best Of Portugal
An 8-day option to learn more about Portugal begins in Lisbon and covers Porto in the north.
Lisbon is a historic city with plenty of famous landmarks to enjoy, and this tour reveals its many highlights before taking you north.
The fishing village of Nazaré is famous for the Monastery of Batalha, but it is now home to the largest surfing wave recorded anywhere in the world.
You will visit Coimbra’s old university before heading to Porto, the home of Portugal’s most famous product, port wine.
Highlights in the north include Braga, the “Rome of Portugal”, the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza and, of course, the chance to learn more about port and the country’s other fine wines.
There is plenty packed into the tour before you return to Lisbon.
Recommended tour: Private 8-Day Tour of Portugal from Lisbon
3- Enjoy The Northern Highlights
Pick one if you do not have time to enjoy Lisbon and Porto.
A tour of Porto should begin by acquainting yourself with the city’s streets and landmarks.
See the Lello Bookstore with its famous staircase, linked to Harry Potter, Sao Bento’s train station and the 12th-century Church of San Francisco.
At Gaia, you can see hundreds of cellars containing port.
The next day you will visit Portugal’s first capital, Guimaraes, with its castle, the São Miguel Church, as well as Paço dos Duques de Bragança.
Braga follows with its cathedral and the Bom Jesus Sanctuary.
The third day is the Douro Valley combining historical landmarks and fine wine.
A lovely three days in Portugal!
Recommended tour: Oporto: Three Days Private Tour
4- Head Out From The Algarve
Faro Airport is the gateway to the Algarve and the starting point to the most comprehensive tour of Portugal.
After just a short time in the Algarve, it is time to travel by road through the mountains en route to Lisbon.
Among the things you will see in Lisbon are the Jerónimos Monastery, the Belém Tower, and the Monument to the Discoveries.
Heading north, you will visit Nazaré, with its Monastery of Batalha, Fátima, a hugely important pilgrimage site and finish at Coimbra and its 13th-century university.
Day four is Porto and its landmarks before you continue on to Guimarães, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Douro Valley and its port is a real experience before you start back through Portugal’s inland regions, the province of Alentejo, Estremoz and the city of Évora.
Here you will see the Roman Temple of Diana, Praça do Giraldo, and the Church of St. Francis as you return to Faro.
Recommended tour: From Faro: 8-Day Tour of Portugal
5- Explore Madeira
The world-famous soccer player, Christian Ronaldo, was born in Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira.
The island is well worth a visit, with tours inevitably starting in Funchal.
There is plenty to see.
In the east, you will see Pico do Areeiro, the highest mountain on the island, before heading on to Ribeiro Frio, Roque do Faial, Cruzinhas, and Lombo Galego.
Before lunch in Santana, your jeep proceeds through Pico das Pedras in a natural park.
The afternoon includes a sugar-cane rum factory and a natural reserve, Ponta de São Lourenço.
This is just one of the options available to you, so if you intend to go to Madeira, you will find stunning natural scenery and you are certain to have an album full of interesting photos.
Recommended tour: Madeira 2 Full-Day & 1 Half-Day 4×4 Jeep Special Tour Combo
6- Take A Tour Of Madeira
This 2-day tour of Madeira picks out the best of what the island has to offer.
Highlights include Cabo Girão with its huge cliffs, Ribeira Brava and its 15th-century church, and the banana plantations of Madalena do Mar.
Madeira is known for its large volcanic natural pools and lovely waterfalls.
Historical places include Machico, which dates back to the 15th Century.
Porto da Cruz has an ancient rum distillery, while Faial was first settled in the 16th Century, mostly of Moorish and Galician origin.
The second day also involves going to Ribeiro Frio and Pico do Arieiro, a peak at 1818 metres (almost 6,000 feet).
Recommended tour: From Funchal: 2-Day Guided Tour of Madeira
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- 20 Things To Do In Porto
- 20 Day Trips From Porto
- 20 Things To Do In Portugal
- Christmas in Portugal
- 20 Best Cities in Portugal
- 20 Things To Do In Albufeira
- 20 Things To Do In Faro
- 20 Things To Do In Lagos
- 20 Things To Do In Sintra
- 20 Best Tours In Portugal
- 20 Things To Do In Braga
- Where To Stay in The Algarve
- 20 Things To Do In Aveiro
- 20 Things To Do In Coimbra
- Where To Stay In Lisbon
- 20 Things To Do In Portimao
- Where To Stay In Porto
- 20 Best Restaurants In Porto
- 20 Portuguese Food Dishes To Taste
7- See Lisbon Under Your Own Steam
If you want to explore Lisbon with a modicum of independence, an increasingly popular way to do that in many European cities is to hire an electric bike.
Such bikes are easy to ride and take the effort out of walking, which is a good idea on a hot day.
Lisbon is fairly hilly, so an electric bike is a great way to get around many neighbourhoods.
You can explore Mouraria, Alfama and Graça, for example, historic neighbourhoods.
You can also reach high points with minimal effort to get some of Lisbon’s lovely panoramas.
Recommended tour: Lisbon: 2.5-Hour Hills Tour by Electric Bike
8- Experience The Pleasures Of A National Park
Electric bikes are also a great way to explore the countryside with a degree of independence.
One alternative is to the mountains within Peneda Gerês National Park.
The Park is in the north, close to the border with Spain and has some impressive mountains, including Serra da Peneda, Serra Amarela and Serra do Gerês.
The setting is beautiful, with waterfalls, green landscapes, pools, and mountain villages along the way.
Such bikes have a good range without needing to recharge so you can easily cover a wide area.
Recommended tour: Portugal: Peneda Gerês National Park by Electric Bike
9- Walk Around Chiado
Chiado is a bohemian quarter within Lisbon and a guided walking tour of the neighbourhood has proved to be very popular with visitors to the capital.
You will pass book and antique shops, boutiques and cafes by day but remember Chiado for later because its nightlife is exciting.
There is an app that will allow you to walk without a guide and still get all the information you need as you walk along.
You can expect to see the Triumphal Arch on Rua Augusta, Commerce Square, the Town Hall and the oldest bookstore in the world.
Luis Camões Square, Bairro Alto, and the Church of Saint Roque are also on the defined route and a viewpoint of Saint Peter of Alcantara.
Recommended tour: Lisbon: Baixa Chiado Quarter Walking Tour
10- See Lisbon Street Art
If you are interested in art, there are galleries to visit but what about this as an alternative? A walking tour to see the street art of Lisbon.
It is an open-air gallery in many districts with graffiti and top-quality murals, some huge and covering the whole side of a building.
The subjects range from lizards and horses to political and social content.
Even down small alleyways, you might see small pieces that contrast sharply with the huge works in open areas.
Recommended tour: Lisbon: Street Art Tour
11- Learn From An Experienced Guide
One of the most popular Lisbon tours is one where clients walk with an experienced guide.
It starts in a historic neighbourhood that became popular after the earthquake in the city in the middle of the 18th Century.
Before visiting the Jesuit San Roque Church, you will pass the São Pedro de Alcântara garden with views of Baixa and the Tagus River.
There are many fine examples of historic architecture, much in Gothic style.
After walking, you board a tram to the Portas do Sol with its Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, the National Pantheon, and through Alfama to the River Tagus.
Alfama is an old neighbourhood famous for its fado houses.
The tour ends at the 12th Century Lisbon Cathedral, built just after the Moors were expelled.
Recommended tour: Lisbon: History, Stories and Lifestyle Walking Tour
12- Sample The Best Of The Douro Valley
The Douro Valley is Portugal’s wine country close to Porto and you can tour the valley, visit vineyards and sample their wines.
It combines road travel and a short cruise on the Douro River.
As well as tasting the region’s port and wine, you will enjoy traditional local cuisine.
There is also plenty of opportunity to capture the lovely settings on your camera.
Recommended tour: From Porto: Douro Valley w/ Boat Tour, Wine Tasting & Lunch
13- Learn All About Port
Port and the Douro Valley are inextricably linked.
If you want to learn everything there is to know about the origins of port and the processes involved in its production, this is the tour for you.
There is a museum with several exhibits as part of the “process” of teaching you about port.
Visiting the cellars where port is stored is included is an important part of the tour, and you will see the rows of barrels that are slowly aging this iconic drink.
Sample tawny port and white port, and of course, you can buy some to take home.
Recommended tour: Porto: Cálem Cellar Tour, Interactive Museum & Wine Tasting
14- Relax In The Douro Valley
Another option of touring the Douro starts with being collected from your hotel for a scenic trip, including some time on the river.
You will learn how communities have produced ports and wines over the centuries with expert observations as you sample the products.
A traditional lunch breaks the day up before the cruise, where there are many chances to take memorable photos.
There is also a local cocktail to try as you look across the river and take in the whole setting.
Recommended tour: Douro Valley: Premium Full-Day Tour Experience
15- Get An Appreciation Of Vinho Verde
Vinho Verde translates into “Green Wine”, not something you may have heard before.
It is made in the north of the country, and this tour, whether you are based in Porto, Braga, or Guimaraes, will teach you more about its production.
You will visit Amarante before heading along the Romanesque Route, rich in history, with castles, memorials, ruins and churches.
Now it is time to go to a traditional Vinho Verde producer to learn how this famous green wine is produced.
There is a second producer to visit during the tour and the chance to taste and buy this refreshing drink.
Recommended tour: Vinho Verde Full-Day Premium Wine Tour
16- Head To Quinta de Santa Cristina
Quinta de Santa Cristina is one of the most famous Vinho Verde producers, and it welcomes visitors who want to learn more about this crispy wine produced in Basto.
This is a half-day tour, morning or afternoon and so it is up to you whether you want to taste alcohol in the morning.
Visiting the vineyards, you will learn about the winemaking process, then taste five different wines.
The wine is best drunk with typical local snacks, which will be there as you sip.
Recommended tour: Premium Tasting | Quinta de Santa Cristina Vinho Verde
17- Experience History & Wine
While the north is the most famous wine region in Portugal, there is a tour out of Lisbon that involves the history and beauty of the countryside, but also the chance to sample lovely wine.
You will make your way through the plains of Alentejo, filled with olive trees, vineyards and cork oak.
The first stop is Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a beautifully preserved medieval town with a Roman Temple.
See the Chapel of Bones and the Cathedral of Évora before reaching the medieval village of Monsaraz within old castle walls.
You will then relax with the wine before finally returning to Lisbon.
Recommended tour: From Lisbon: Évora and Monsaraz Day Tour with Wine Tasting
18- Enjoy The Flavours Of Lisbon While You Walk
Portuguese cuisine and Lisbon’s lovely traditions make a great tour combination.
Food, drink, and the importance of coffee are central parts of the national culture, with the tour visiting places such as the 18th-century café Nicola where you will eat tertúlias.
Codfish cake and refreshing green wine are also on the day’s menu, as are dried, salted Bacalhau, sausages, hams, cheeses and port.
You will hear about Ginjinha, a liqueur regarded as the drink of Lisbon, first produced in the mid-19th Century.
It’s not all food and drink.
You will head up to some of the city’s best viewpoints to get photos across the city.
Recommended tour: Lisbon: Food and Wine Walking Tour
19- Learn To Cook A Favourite
You can learn to prepare national favourites in cookery classes available at some restaurants and, even more interestingly, in a local home.
While one of the options is just preparing the famous local custard, which is ideal for visitors on a tight schedule.
Pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) follows a traditional recipe.
Your time in the kitchen is a real experience and great fun.
Not surprisingly, the lesson ends with you all sitting down with coffee, tea, orange juice, and the lovely custards you have prepared.
Recommended tour: Porto: Pastel de Nata Cooking Class with Grandma’s Recipe
20- Savour A Gourmet Tour In Lisbon
This guided food and wine tour of Lisbon in a small group involves some wonderful flavours.
Cheeses, pastries, and yes, Port.
The wine tasting uses wine from the Alentejo and you will learn all about the quality of wine from the region.
This tour will never have more than 15 people, ensuring a personalised experience.
The tour is suitable for vegetarians, but organisers need to know about vegetarians attending in advance.
Recommended tour: Lisbon Small-Group Portuguese Food and Wine Tour