Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey with a Lisbon to porto drive! Picture yourself cursing from the sun-drenched, vibrant streets of downtown Lisbon to the historical center and riverside of Porto! This isn’t just any road trip, it’s a voyage through time, culture, and cuisine.
As you navigate through Portugal’s stunning landscapes, each bend in the road trip reveals another layer of Portugals rich history. From the captivating university town of Coimbra to the beautiful Pena Palace, the Lisbon to Porto drive connects two of Portugals most iconic cities with lesser known gems along the way! For a more in-depth look, check out the perfect 7 day Portugal itinerary.
Buckle, up and get ready to explore the beauty between Lisbon and Porto.
Lisbon to Porto Drive
How long is the drive from Lisbon to Porto?
The Lisbon to Porto drive typically takes about 3 hours, the time for a perfect road trip. However, this can vary depending on the route you take, traffic conditions, and whether you make any stops along the way. The distance between the two cities is approximately 320 kilometers, or 200 miles.
My favorite is “pitstop” is from Lisbon to Nazar, then nazare to Porto.
You can turn your road trip into one of the most memorable days, and knock out some of the best things to do on your Lisbon to Porto drive. Oh, and almost every road sign is in English.
Recommended Routes from Lisbon to Porto Drive
A1/E1 Highway: This is the most direct route and takes approximately 3 hours. The highway passes through several cities, including Fatima and Coimbra, and offers several rest areas and services along the way.
Coastal Route: If you have more time, consider taking the coastal route along the Atlantic Ocean. This route takes around 5-6 hours and passes through picturesque coastal towns and beaches, including Ericeira and Nazaré.
Inland Route: Another scenic option is the inland route, which takes you through the countryside and mountains of central Portugal. This route takes around 5-6 hours and offers stunning views of the landscape and historic towns, including Tomar and Viseu.
Combination of Routes: You may want to consider combining different routes to make the most of your trip. For example, you could take the N1 road on the way to Porto and the A1/E1 highway on the return journey.
FAQ About the Lisbon to Porto Drive
- Is it easy to drive from Lisbon to Porto?
- Is Porto to Lisbon a nice drive?
- Where do you stop between Lisbon and Porto?
- Is Porto worth a day trip from Lisbon?
Prepping for the drive from Lisbon to Porto
Stop at one city or multiple. Take a few days to explore, or just make one stop for a few hours, its up you!
Rental Car Trip: You will need to rent a car for the trip. Make sure to book in advance and choose a car that is comfortable for the journey. Read more about what you will need to rent a car.
Plan your route: Decide on the route you want to take and plan out any stops or detours you want to make along the way. Be sure to research driving distances, traffic conditions, and rest areas. You can pick the best route for you above.
Obtain necessary documents: You will need to have a valid driver’s license and passport, and international driving permit (if you are a foreign visitor) to rent a car and drive in Portugal. If you need any special documents, its best to obtain them from your home country. US citizens don’t need the international permit, but its always a good idea to get one from AAA anyway.
Check car insurance: Make sure the rental car is insured and check with your own insurance provider if you need additional coverage.
Check weather conditions: Check the weather forecast before you embark on the trip and pack accordingly. You can see more about this in the best time to visit Portugal.
Book accommodations: If you plan to stay overnight, book accommodations in advance to ensure availability. Again, I have covered this in full town below.
Car Rental in Portugal Driving in Portugal Practical Tips
The easiest way to rent a car in Lisbon, is to book it before you get there! Its not very expensive, and its a great way to get travel Portugal.
There are several toll roads that you will encounter on the way from Lisbon to Porto, including the A1 highway and the A28 highway. The tolls on these roads can add up quickly, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and budget for them if possible.
You can pay tolls using cash or electronic toll devices such as Via Verde or Easytoll. If you’re renting a car, you are able to get a Via Verde transponder from your rental company. This allows you to pay tolls electronically through the green lanes. They make you prepay around $100, and give back whatever you don’t spend.
If you don’t have an electronic toll device, you can pay tolls in cash at toll booths along the way. The tolls are calculated based on the distance you travel and the type of vehicle you’re driving, so be sure to have enough cash on hand to cover the tolls.
Alternatively, you can purchase a prepaid toll card called a Toll Card at post offices, petrol stations, and some convenience stores. These cards allow you to pay for tolls in advance and can be topped up as needed.
What to Pack on Your Portuguese Road Trip
Pack snacks and drinks: Bring plenty of snacks and drinks for the journey, as well as a cooler to keep them fresh. One of the coolest things about a road trip in Portugal, is that the “rest stops” are on the highway. You don’t have to take a long exit to find a crappy fast food place, the restaurants serve good food and you can find them every couple of miles.
Bring entertainment: Bring books, music, or other forms of entertainment to keep you occupied during long stretches of driving. This would be a great time to practice your Portuguese. Bom Dia! I also like to play to the game of how many castles in portugal you can see! There are over 300, so the chances of seeing one is very high.
Bring a map or GPS: Make sure you have a reliable map or GPS system to help navigate you along the way. Keep in mind that some rural areas may not have good cell phone reception, so it’s always good to have a backup. You can also download maps.me of your entire trip before you leave, and it works with out wifi.
Bring emergency supplies: Bring a first aid kit, flashlight, extra water, phone charger, chocolate, and other emergency supplies in case of any unexpected situations on your road trip from Lisbon to Porto.
Best time to visit the areas around Lisbon and Porto
The best time to visit Portugal is during the slower seasons (spring and fall). This is from March to May and September to November, the weather is mild, with comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds. During these months, you can enjoy pleasant weather for outdoor activities like sightseeing, walking tours, and exploring the city’s many landmarks without the scorching heat of the summer.
Summer, from June to August, can be quite hot and crowded in both cities. This is the peak tourist season, and you can expect high temperatures, long lines, and higher prices. However, if you enjoy the beach and want to experience the vibrant nightlife of these cities, summer may be the perfect time to visit.
Winter in Portugal is from December to February, can be chilly and rainy, but it is still a good time to visit if you don’t mind the cooler temperatures and occasional rain showers. Winter is also a great time to experience the holiday festivities and see the cities decked out in festive lights and decorations. When I was in Portugal in December, I spent lots of time on the best beaches in the Algarve, with just a bathing suit on.
Stops and things to do on Lisbon to Porto drive or road trip
Tours to Take That Go from Lisbon to Porto
Taking tours through central portugal is one of the best ways to travel on lisbon to porto road trip. You will get to visit small towns, major cities, and famous landmarks,
Lisbon to Porto with stops in Aveiro and Fatima
This tour will take you from lisbon to Porto with stops in Aveiro and Fatima.
The first stop, Aveiro, often referred to as the ‘Venice of Portugal’, is a charming city with canals full of colorful boats. Walk along the cobblestone streets, you’ll discover an array of Art Nouveau buildings, and sample local delicacies like ovos moles, a sweet dessert made with egg yolk and sugar. Yum.
From Aveiro, your next stop is in Fatima, one of the most significant pilgrimage sites for Catholics worldwide. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, is where three children reported visions of the Virgin Mary in 1917. The peaceful vibe of the ancient basilica (church) complex is truly captivating.
Sintra National Palace Unesco World Heritage Site
Also known as Palácio Nacional de Sintra, it’s the best preserved royal palace in Portugal and offers a unique blend of architectural styles that reflect the cultural influences of various eras. this makes a great stop on your Lisbon to Porto drive!
As you arrive, the first thing you’ll notice are the two enormous white chimneys that tower above the building, remnants of the palace’s old kitchen. These have become an iconic symbol of Sintra.
Once inside, you’ll be guided through a series of grand halls and rooms. Each with unique features and decorations. One of the prettiest is the Swan Room. Named for the swans painted on its ceiling, and the Magpie Room, featuring magpies holding the royal coat of arms.
Keep your eyes peeled for beautiful examples of azulejos. (traditional Portuguese blue-and-white tile) that line the walls of many rooms. They are ceramic tiles and depict scenes from the Bible, mythology, and daily life, adding a layer of storytelling to the palace’s aesthetic vibes.
Also Sintra is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Filled to the brim with exotic plants brought back from overseas during Portugal’s Age of Discoveries.
Obidos and Nazare Stops from Lisbon to Porto
This private tour will make stops at Castelo de Óbidos, Nazare, and Porto.
The two ciites of Nazare and Obidos are often combined together on a Lisbon road trip. The Obidos Portugal Castle, is a medieval town with castle city walls with a warm small town vibe. You can explore the narrow streets in just few hours before heading out to Nazare.
There are endless things to do in Nazare, and if you take this tour, you will get to experience a few of the best.
National Palace of Queluz
The National Palace of Queluz (Portuguese: Palácio Nacional de Queluz) is an 18th-century palace located in the town of Queluz, near Lisbon, Portugal. The palace was originally built as a summer residence for the royal family and later served as the official residence of Queen Maria I. Today, it is open to the public as a museum and is a popular tourist destination.
It is a perfect blend of Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical architecture with decorations, sculptures, and paintings. The palace’s gardens are also worth a stroll, with fountains, ponds, and more statues. Other highlights of the palace include the Throne Room, the Music Room, and the Ambassadors’ Room, all of which are exquisitely decorated and furnished. Grab a ticket with an audio guide to beat the crowds.
Visit Coimbra and its Famous University
Coimbra is a historic city located in central Portugal, known for its rich culture, ancient architecture, and impressive university, the oldest in Europe.
You can explore the narrow streets and alleys with historic buildings, churches, and monasteries. Book one of the guided walking tours through the grounds this epic Uni. My favorite part of the tour is the beautiful university library.
And its not surprise as a university town that the nightlife is amazing. This would be a great pit stop along your trip from Lisbon to Porto for a night to party!
Sintra and Óbidos
For all the castle lovers, this next route makes pit stops at both the Pena Palace and the Obidos medieval castle. You can grab tickets for Sintra before hand, but if you are traveling by your own car, Obidos is free to enter!
Coimbra and Aveiro
Aveiro has beautiful art nouveau buildings and canals, where you can book a boat ride down the lovely canals. Combine that with a tour of the historic center and University of Coimbra, and you have the perfect day of knowledge and beauty on the west coast! Don’t forget about the botanical gardens in Coimbra as well.
Castle of Santa Maria da Feira
The Castle of Santa Maria da Feira is a medieval castle located in the town of Santa Maria da Feira, in the district of Aveiro, Portugal. It was built in the 11th century and expanded in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Explore the castle’s towers, walls, and courtyards, as well as its museum, which houses exhibits on the castle’s history and the region’s culture. The castle is located in the center of Santa Maria da Feira and is easily accessible by car or public transportation. It is open to the public daily, with hours varying depending on the season.
Convent of Christ
The Convent of Christ (Portuguese: Convento de Cristo) is a historic complex located in the city of Tomar, central Portugal. Originally built as a castle by the Knights Templar in the 12th century, it later became the headquarters of the Order of Christ in the 15th century.
The complex includes a castle, church, cloisters, and other buildings, many of which were added during the Renaissance period. The castle is surrounded by towering walls and features several towers and courtyards.
Book a guided tour of the Convert of Christ along your Lisbon to Porto drive!
Monasteries of Alcobaca and Batalha
The monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha are two impressive Gothic-style monasteries located in central Portugal. Both have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites for their cultural and historical significance.
The Monastery of Alcobaça (Portuguese: Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Alcobaça) was founded in 1153 by King Afonso Henriques and is one of the earliest examples of Gothic architecture in Portugal. The monastery is known for its grandiose size, intricate carvings and decorations, and the tombs of Pedro and Inês, a famous Portuguese love story. The church is the largest Gothic church in Portugal and features beautiful stained-glass windows.
The Monastery of Batalha (Portuguese: Mosteiro Santa Maria da Vitória) was built to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese over the Castilians at the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. Construction began in 1386 and took over a century to complete. The monastery is known for its magnificent vaulted ceilings, elaborate stone carvings, and stained glass windows. Its most impressive feature is the Unfinished Chapels, with intricate stonework that seems to defy gravity and create a sense of awe and wonder.
Best Local Restaurants For Pit Stop On your Way from Lisbon to Porto
You’ve got to eat on your trip from Lisbon to Porto! Here are some of the best local restaurants to stop at before reaching your final destination. You may also like this list of the best restaurants in Lisbon with a view.
Restaurante O Laranjinha – Located in the town of Leiria, this restaurant is known for its fresh seafood dishes, including grilled octopus and seafood rice.
Solar do Bacalhau – This cozy restaurant in Aveiro specializes in traditional Portuguese cuisine, with a focus on salt cod (bacalhau) dishes.
Bem-Haja – This vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Coimbra serves up delicious homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches. As well as pastries and desserts you could bring along with you.
Antunes – This family-run restaurant in Viseu has been serving up classic Portuguese dishes for over 50 years. They are best known for their roasted lamb and grilled beef plates.
Casa de Pasto Churraqueira do Campo – Located in the town of Amares, this restaurant is known for its succulent roasted chicken and grilled meats, as well as hearty stews and soups.
Restaurante Toca da Raposa – This rustic restaurant in Amarante serves up traditional Portuguese dishes, including grilled meats, seafood, and hearty stews.
Nau dos Corvos – This seafood restaurant is the best place to stop for lunch in Peniche. Located right on the beach and serves up fresh, locally caught fish and shellfish, as well as traditional Portuguese dishes like grilled sardines and octopus rice. The restaurant also has a great selection of wine and craft beer to pair with your meal.
For the Vegans, and healthy eaters, you will love these Vegan restaurants in Lisbon!
Exploring Portugal’s Natural Beauty
Nature Spots on your Road Trip Not to Miss
Portugal really is a natural wonder of the world. Stop at one, two, or all of these places along your lisbon to porto drive to stretch your legs and look at the beautiful landscapes.
Sado Estuary Nature Reserve: A wetland area that is home to an array of bird species, including flamingos and storks.
Berlengas Islands: This archipelago off the coast of Peniche offers stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and opportunities for snorkeling and diving. This stop may take you all day as you have to catch a ferry, so be prepared for that. You can read more about this one on my day trips from Lisbon.
Peneda-Gerês National Park: A pristine wilderness area that is home to waterfalls, wildlife, and hiking trails.
Aveiro Lagoon: A natural lagoon that is home to a variety of bird species, including herons, ducks, and waders.
Vasco da Gama Bridge– is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the Tagus River in Lisbon, Portugal. The bridge connects the northern and southern regions of Portugal and is an important transportation link for the country.
Douro International Natural Park: A protected area that follows the Douro River and offers stunning views, hiking trails, and wildlife.
Passadiços do Paiva: A wooden walkway that winds through the stunning landscapes of the Paiva River gorge.
Buçaco Forest: A lush forest that is home to a variety of tree and plant species, as well as a historic palace and chapel.
Alvão Nature Park: A mountainous area that offers scenic views, waterfalls, and hiking trails.
Foz do Douro: The mouth of the Douro River, where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. This area offers stunning views and gorgeous beaches
Bacalhôa Buddha Eden: is a large oriental lovely garden located near the town of Bombarral in central Portugal, approximately 70 km north of Lisbon.
You can read more about most cities on this list on our post about day trips from Lisbon.
Finding Accommodation Along Lisbon to Porto Road Trip
Before you book any other accommodation, you will need to check out the best hotels in lisbon! Once you have that under control, check out these cities in between Lisbon and Porto for a fun road trip.
Cascais: A picturesque town on the coast, Cascais offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to affordable guesthouses with free wifi.
Coimbra: This historic university town has plenty of accommodation options, including cozy bed and breakfasts and budget-friendly hostels.
Nazaré: A charming fishing village with stunning beaches, Nazaré has several hotels and guesthouses. Taking a day trip to Nazare is always a good idea.
Óbidos: This medieval town is a popular tourist destination known for its historic architecture and charming streets. There are several hotels and guesthouses in and around Óbidos.
Aveiro: Known as the “Venice of Portugal,” Aveiro is famous for its canals, colorful boats, and Art Nouveau architecture. There are plenty of hotels and guesthouses in the area.
Viseu: This historic city is located in the heart of Portugal and offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels and apartments.
Douro Valley: If you’re looking for a unique accommodation experience, consider staying in a vineyard or wine estate in the Douro Valley. Several luxury hotel options offer stunning views and wine tastings. Find where to stay in Porto here!
Guimarães: Known as the birthplace of Portugal, Guimarães is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with plenty of accommodation options, from boutique hotels to budget-friendly hostels.
Other Ways to Travel from Lisbon to Porto
If you aren’t comfortable driving in a foreign country, you can rest easy, because Portugal has great public transport. (When they aren’t striking). Down below I listed all the different ways you get from Lisbon to Porto without driving.
Train: One of the easiest and most convenient ways to travel from Lisbon to Porto is by train. Both cities are served by the high speed trains (Alfa Pendular) that takes around 2.5 hours. There are also slower (Intercidades) trains that take around 3.5 hours.
Trains depart frequently throughout the day from both cities and the famous Sao Bento Train Station is worth the trip along. Buy train tickets at the ticket offer at the train stations or purchase Porto Train tickets now and be extra prepared.
Bus: Another affordable option is taking a bus between from Lisbon to Porto. Several bus companies offer frequent departures throughout the day, with prices starting at around €15. The bus journey takes around 3.5-4 hours and offers scenic views of the Portuguese countryside.
Flight: If you’re short on time or want to avoid a long journey, you can fly between Lisbon and Porto. The lisbon airport has several airlines offer direct flights between the two cities, with flight times ranging from 50 minutes to 1 hour. Prices vary depending on the airline and time of year, but can be very affordable if booked in advance.
Car rental with driver: If you prefer not to drive yourself, you can hire a car rental with driver. This service can be arranged in advance and offers the convenience of door-to-door transportation without the stress of driving. You can even arrange from them to make extra stops along the road trip, for additional fees of course.
Private transfer: If you don’t want to mess with public transport, another convenient option is a private transfer. Which can be always arranged in advance. This service offers door-to-door transportation in a private vehicle, with the added benefit of a professional driver who knows the route well and will give you a nice day trip.
Top Sights and Activities to Check Out in Porto
Once you make it Porto, you will have so many things to do! Check out the best porto wine tours, this includes both port wine cellars and port wine tasting in the Douro valley.
Hiking in Porto is one of the best ways to see the real beauty of Portugal. Set aside at least one morning for a hike. You will love the rolling hills and fresh air out in Northern Portugal.
You will also need to know where to stay in porto after your long road trip! There are quiet a few different districts throughout Porto read and find out which one works best for you!
Porto museums is another great way to spend your day. Travel through time with the World of Discoveries Museum, or check out the fun FC Porto set up!
Where to Find Porto Nightlife
Porto nightlife is like most Portuguese cities, fun, late, and full of fun in the city center.
Is it easy to drive from Lisbon to Porto?
Yes! it is easy to drive from Lisbon to Porto Portugal. The drive will take you 3 hours if you do it non stop. The highways in portugal are fairly new, and was just ranked as the #1 road trip country in all of Europe! The road signs on the lisbon to porto drive are very easy to follow, and most signs will be in both Portuguese and English. Lucky us!
Is Porto to Lisbon a nice drive?
Yes! The porto to Lisbon drive is very nice. All the major highways are very well maintained, and easy to navigate. There are plenty of road stops along the way as well. You can make it there in about 3 hours, but it is always recommended to stop by some nearby towns to explore a bit.
Where do you stop between Lisbon and Porto?
There are plenty of places to stop between Lisbon and Porto. You can check out the medieval castle town of Obidos, or stop by the resort town with big waves of Nazare. You can also check out Portugal’s Venice town, Aveiro. The options are endless on where to stop in between Lisbon and Porto!
Is Porto worth a day trip from Lisbon?
Porto is always worth the trip, but you will want to spend more than a few hours in Porto. Portugals second biggest city deserves more of your time than a rushed day trip. If you cannot stay in Porto for longer than a day, it might not even be worth going. Plan better and stay for a least two nights.