Living in Europe since 2017, if there’s one country that I have visited year after year, it is Portugal. Over the last few years, I have done many kinds of trips in Portugal – solo travels, backpacking, road trips, a girl’s trip, and a music festival trip.
I live in Germany and for me, it is cheaper to fly to Portugal for a long weekend trip than to take a train within Germany and go somewhere. If you live in the UK, or the EU, then that will be true for you too.
So how to spend 4 days in Portugal? It depends on the season and the itinerary will be different for summer versus the rest of the year. So, just for that purpose, I will share two alternate itinerary endings, one for summer and one for winter.
Portugal 4 Days Itinerary
Table of Contents
Day 1 Arrival in Lisbon, Famous Landmarks
Today is the first day of your 4-day Portugal trip and most likely you will land in Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport. Download Uber on your phone from before because it is way cheaper than getting on a normal taxi from Lisbon airport to the city.
Alternatively, you can rent a car at Lisbon airport and drop it off at Porto airport or at Faro airport before you leave. It is cheaper to rent a car in Portugal than many other nearby countries, and you can enjoy an amazing road trip.
Get to your hotel, check-in, and clean up before you get ready to see the beauty of Lisbon, the sunniest and happiest city in Western Europe. Below are the hotels that I recommend you consider booking in Porto:
Because you have limited time in Portugal, we won’t go to each and every single attraction, but just do the basics and focus more on having a good time with views. So places like Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower, which are a bit further away aren’t in this Lisbon itinerary.
Rossio Square & Santa Justa Lift
Rossio Square or Praça Dom Pedro IV is one of the most famous squares of Lisbon. This is where tourists start queuing up for tram 28 but I suggest you don’t waste your time in this because it is almost impossible to get in considering the long lines and super small tram size.
Walk around Rossio, and get a feel of the Portuguese capital city. Spot the historical structures, the fountain, and the interesting tile work on the floor.
You will also find a Ginjinha stand here where you can experience a shot of this traditional berry liqueur for just one euro.
Santa Justa Lift is a historical elevator that was built to help people reach Chaiado from Baixa and back. It is right next to Rossio Square. Considering how long the queues can be, don’t try to get on the lift but just walk on the street where the neo-gothic-style elevator tower is situated in order to admire this architectural beauty.
Arco da Rua Augusta
Arco da Rua Augusta is a pedestrian street, is one of Lisbon’s most famous streets. If you walk on it, you will see a 30-meter-high historical arc where this street ends and the water of River Tagus beyond it. On each side of the road are restaurants and arched walking boulevards.
Fábrica da Nata, the famous pastry shop for Pastel de Nata is right on this street. And so is Impresena – one of the best cocktail bars in Lisbon.
Walk a bit further to cross the arch, and you will arrive at Praça do Comércio. From here you will see the Tagus River, and walk to the river.
Walk along the Tagus River
Rio Tejo, or River Tagus is iconic and when you’re in Lisbon, you should experience a walk along the riverbank. When you walk from Rua Augusta to the direction of the river, you will reach a spot that’s marked on Google Maps as “Miradouro do Rio Tejo”, which is right after Praça do Comércio.
Walk around here, and sit on the marble blocks and seats that are next to the river water. There is a super tiny river beach but please don’t stand on it because the water washes over it frequently.
In 2023, I saw carts of people selling Mohito and Caipirinha cocktails here for Euro 5. I fell in love with Lisbon in 2016 when I walked along the Tagus River and you will too. I last visited Lisbon in 2023.
Pink Street is exactly like its name, it is pink and there are colorful umbrellas on top.
If you walk on the pink street in the evening, it won’t look so colorful so the best time to walk on it is right before the sunset. Pink Street is more of a party street, but I still want you to look at it when it isn’t yet dark.
When you see Pink Street, don’t stop here right now, because I want you to see another street that’s nearby and is super stunning. Then I will suggest a famous place for dinner near Pink Street then you can come back here and end your night here.
Plus it is close to the previous stop on today’s itinerary and you have to cross it anyway to reach the next one.
Rua da Bica
Lisbon is extremely pretty, but Bica Street is the prettiest in not just Lisbon but was voted as the prettiest street in the world. That’s why it is a very popular photo spot in Lisbon.
This street is just for trams and pedestrians. Walk away from the tram line and climb till the end to reach the top. From there, you will see the view of Tagus River right behind this narrow street with pastel houses, and even better when there’s the yellow tram 28 in the view.
Mercado da Ribeira / Time Out Lisboa
Time Out Lisboa is a food court, but in reality, it is much more than that. It is a market that’s curated for culinary lovers in Lisbon with Michelin Star-rated chefs.
Time Out Lisboa is in a massive rectangular form with restaurants along the perimeter and a bar in the middle. Between the restaurants and the bars are many long tables where you can grab a seat and eat.
If you have ever seen the Netflix show – “Somebody Feed Phill”, then most likely you have already seen Time Out Factory in the Lisbon episode.
End Your Evening in Bairo Alto (Optional)
Bairro Alto is the most popular area for nightlife in Lisbon, and this is why this point is optional. This street kind of reminds me of Bangkok’s Khao San Street because it is lined up with pubs of all kinds that are filled with tourists and locals.
Keep your belongings safe in your bag and enjoy a wild party night if you are up for it.
Day 2: Explore Alfama in Lisbon
For your second day in Lisbon for your 4 days in Portugal itinerary, you will spend most of your time in the city’s oldest district. This is Alfama, my favorite part of Lisbon. Actually, you will also explore a bit of Graça, which is right next to Alfama. Graça is the highest district in Lisbon.
Because you are in Lisbon for a short duration, I wouldn’t suggest a day trip to Sintra to see Pena Palace because it only makes sense to do this if you have at least one more day here.
Eat Pastel de Nata for Breakfast
I mention Pastel de Nata in all of my posts about Lisbon because it is an iconic pastry that was invented by monks in Lisbon. Today it is the most popular breakfast coupled with coffee.
I normally don’t eat sweet breakfasts but considering how one has to climb Lisbon’s steep hills, a sweet and high-protein breakfast like this helps. Yes, it is high protein because it is an egg tart. Go to any bakery near your hotel or on the way to your first destination for today to eat Pastel de Nata.
Pastel de Nata costs just 1.20 Euros and adds an additional 1.5 euros for the coffee, so you have yourself a lovely breakfast that’s affordable.
Miradouro da Graça
Start your Lisbon sightseeing by climbing steps to reach a lovely viewpoint in Graça. This is when you will thank me for suggesting a solid breakfast of pastel de nata because these climbs aren’t breezy.
The good thing is that you will see street art on your way up and you can take breaks to photograph or admire the artwork.
When you reach the top, you will see a view of Alfama’s houses, the Tagus River, the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, and also the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge that looks like it was plucked out of San Fransisco. There is also a cafe/drinks stand here so you can grab a seat and sip something.
São Jorge Castle Bell Tower
So what’s the most famous landmark of Lisbon? It is Castelo de São Jorge. I suggest you don’t even try visiting it and walk past it to “Torre da Igreja do Castelo de São Jorge”, its bell tower.
Since you are in Portugal for a super short trip, don’t make the mistake of standing in long queues to visit busy attractions. São Jorge is always busy and the queues are super long. So, skip Castello de São Jorge, but see its bell tower instead.
In order to enter the Bell Tower of São Jorge Castle, you will need to pay EUR 5, which includes the entry plus a drink of your choice (red wine, white wine, champagne, port wine, juice, and sodas). Climb up the winding stairs and admire the view.
LX Factory for Lunch
From Alfama, get on an Uber to see LX Factory, Lisbon’s arty hotspot. Don’t try to walk to the LX factory yourself, it isn’t so close. While here, admire the art installations, cool stores, and super amazing restaurants with bars. A famous bookstore Ler Devagar is also here.
I ate prawns in a restaurant called A Praça in LX Factory and drank a glass of Sangria. After lunch, we spent around half an hour in Ler Devagar which not only has books but also records.
Overall it was a fun experience and we felt like we could have stayed in LX Factory for at least half a day.
Miradouro de Santa Luzia & Portas do Sol
After LX Factory, get on a taxi to the most famous viewpoints of Lisbon for cocktails and sunset, they are in Alfama, the city’s oldest neighborhood where we started our morning. These two viewpoints are next to each other so you really won’t have to make an effort.
On the lower level is Miradouro de Santa Luzia, which is an excellent spot for seeing the sunset. On the higher level is Miradouro das Portas do Sol where you can enjoy a few drinks with a view because there’s an open-air bar right next to the viewpoint.
There is a belvedere next to Miradouro das Portas do Sol where you can walk and click some of the most stunning photos.
The cocktail stand there sells the cocktails for EUR 5 – 7 and they are pretty good. My friend and I had Caipirinhas and we saw the view change as the sky turned dark and all the buildings around were light up with warm lights.
Dinner with Fado Show
After sunset and cocktails, walk a little further into Alfama and find a nice traditional restaurant for dinner with the Fado show. I recommend Santo Andre (pictured above) which also has decent traditional food and drinks.
Fado is a Portuguese style of Blues music that is emotional and soulful. There are two fado styles – Fado from Lisbon and Fado from Coimbra. When in Lisbon, experiencing Fado is a must-do experience. It is played on the Portuguese guitar.
Eat a nice traditional Portuguese meal, enjoy the melodious Fado music, and sleep early so that you can wake up on time to head to your next destination – Porto.
Day 3: Arrival in Porto, Sunset Spot, and Riberia
Your third day in Portugal and today’s the day when you will arrive in Porto. Porto is smaller than Lisbon but is darker and has an academic vibe that reminded me of Harry Potter books. I even got a small Harry Potter tattoo done from Porto.
Considering you will reach at mid-day, today’s itinerary is light. In case you arrive the night before or super early, then you can just switch the day 3 with day 4.
Lisbon to Porto
The easiest way to reach Porto from Lisbon is by getting on a bus from “Santa Apolónia” in Lisbon to “Campanha” in Porto, a journey that will take just 3 hours by Comboios de Portugal. You can also get on an ALSA bus from “Sete Rios” in Lisbon to Oporto Campanha.
Alternatively, there’s also Flixbus and that’s the service I normally take because I’m so comfortable with it. All these journeys will take you 3 or 3.5 hours.
Check-in at your Hotel
Reach your hotel by metro or taxi and then slow down for some time. After 3-4 hours on the road, I’m sure you need a bit of rest before you get ready to start your Porto itinerary.
Below are the hotels for different budgets that I recommend you consider booking in Porto:
São Bento Train Station
If you are wondering why a train station is in your itinerary for this quick Portugal trip, it is because São Bento train station is absolutely stunning. This historical station is a must-see spot in Lisbon because of the stunning interiors and it is free!
São Bento is also called Saint Benedict station and it is amazing tile work not just on the walls but also on the floor. There are arches inside and the ceiling is highly ornate.
Dom Luís I Bridge
From São Bento train station, walk to Dom Luís I Bridge that goes over the Douro River. The views are absolutely stunning from this bridge because you will see the buildings of the historical center along the curve of the Douro River.
Make sure you carry an extra jacket before you walk on Dom Luís I Bridge because it gets windy up there and as a result, super cold even in summer. Keep an eye out for the metro because there are two metro stops on this bridge and the metro line is unfenced and runs parallel to the walking path.
Sunset from Jardim do Morro
Whether you are in Porto for 2 days or just one day, you have to make sure you do this to see the most amazing sunset ever.
When you walk on Dom Luís I Bridge from Porto’s old town to the other side, you will arrive at a spot called Jardim do Morro, which is a garden with a viewing deck.
This place is actually always full but you don’t have to sit, you can just stand and enjoy the most stunning sunset view of Porto, which clarifies why Porto is called the Golden City.
To head back, if you don’t want to walk on the bridge again, you can just get on the metro from Jardim Do Morro metro station to reach the city.
Eat Francesinha Sandwich
Ready to eat the most famous sandwich of Porto? It is called Francesinha and it is legendary.
Francesinha sandwich has layers of cheese, meat, more cheese, and egg and is topped with Francesinha sauce. It is a bit too much but is an experience to be had in Porto. Of course, there are vegan versions of the Francesinha sandwich in many places in Porto.
My friend and I ate the Francesinha sandwich at Café Santiago, which is an award-winning place. It was a long walk from Jardim do Morro, so if you don’t want to walk as much as we did then you can get on bus 905 from Jardim do Morro to Duque Loulé, and from there walk for 260 meters to reach Cafe Santiago.
Day 4: Explore Porto’s Old Town
On your last day in Portugal, you will explore Porto’s Old Town which is a UNESCO world heritage site. You don’t have to go inside every single attraction, I didn’t and I still had an amazing experience.
Expect to see a lot of azulejos (painted Portuguese ceramic tiles), and narrow streets in old buildings in Porto’s historic neighborhood where the main attractions are within walking distance from each other.
Igreja do Carmo
Start your day at Igreja do Carmo, one of the most photographed churches in Porto. It is famous for its blue-tiled wall that faces the street. As you approach this church, you will see people standing and posing next to the wall for a photo.
If you decide to go inside, the fee is EUR 2 or 3. The area around Igreja do Carmo is massive and next to it is a fountain – Fonte dos Leões. The University of Porto is also nearby, so you can walk around and look at all these structures.
Livraria Lello is a small bookstore with lush red interiors and stained glass windows. Visit it only if the queue is small because otherwise it isn’t worth the time. And no, unlike what social media says, this place wasn’t J. K. Rowling’s inspiration for Harry Potter’s Gryffindor common room.
Some influencers posted about this bookstore as being the world’s most beautiful one and the queues outside got insanely longer. Yes, I wasted my time but I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
Livraria Lello is definitely lovely and is worth a visit if you don’t end up wasting your time outside to get in. No, it isn’t the most beautiful bookstore in the world, I think Carturesti Carusel in Bucharest is definitely a thousand times better, and more spacious.
Move over to the next point in case you notice long queues.
Porto’s Historical Centre
Walk through Porto’s historical center which is near Livraria Lello. Below are the landmarks and important that you will notice.
Clerigos Church and Tower
Clerigos Church has a 75-meter-high bell tower which you will see from many places within Porto’s historical center. It is called Clerigos Tower.
The baroque church itself is interesting but the main attraction is the tower and to go up it will cost you EUR 6. In order to go up, the staircase is narrow and winding so if you you see a queue of people then you can just skip it.
Rua das Flores
Rua das Flores is a pretty street that’s just for pedestrians. We walked on many times while we were exploring Porto’s historical district. There are stunning house facades, cute balconies, and azulejos.
If you like this street then remember to come back here for nightlife because it is lively here. This street also has a few Fado restaurants.
Sé do Porto – Porto Cathedral
When we arrived at Sé do Porto, I didn’t think it was a cathedral because it looked like a castle. You can stand on the ramp right next to Sé do Porto and catch a stunning view.
If there’s one place where I suggest you go inside, then it is this. This Romanesque cathedral is perched on top of a hill and because of that the views are truly spectacular.
Porto Cathedral, or Sé do Porto also has a tower and you can go up on it for a fee of EUR 3. This fee also includes the entry for the Bishop’s palace that’s next door. Yes, there are queues here but they move fast.
The interiors of Sé do Porto are intricate and stunning. The altar, ceilings, and the entire chapel are covered with ornate carvings that will take your breath away.
I love seafood and for that, I love visiting Portugal because I always eat a good meal here. Just for that purpose, I found a local restaurant called Adega Bebe-Se Mal where we had the most memorable seafood dinner of our trip.
We actually spent a long time researching to find a restaurant that was famous for seafood, also traditional, and not expensive. This place was just perfect.
From Sé do Porto or your restaurant, walk to Ribeira do Porto, a beautiful waterfront area with bars and restaurants. Sit on a bench next to the water and see the beauty of sparkling lights as they get reflected on the Douro River’s water.
Here we also saw the world’s most beautiful MacDonald’s restaurant but we obviously didn’t go in after all that seafood. I have lately seen this particular McDonald’s restaurant a lot on Instagram reels.
Carry a few drinks and sit by the river to enjoy your evening. It sure is a romantic place so make the most of it.
Nightlife in Porto
Some of the spots for lively nightlife in Lisbon are situated on these streets – Rua da Galeria de Paris and Rua das Flores. Rua da Galeria de Paris is near Lello Bookstore and you probably saw it already. Rua das Flores is the one that you walked on in Porto’s historical district.
Out of these two, Rua da Galeria de Paris is a more popular choice for nightlife because it is lined up with clubs and bars so it is perfect for pub crawl. So you can get a drink from one pub and then move on to the next one for the next round.
Alternate ending for Itinerary for 4 Days in Portugal in Spring and Summer
Day 3: Arrival in Lagos, Algarve: Beaches and Sunsets
If you are visiting Portugal for 4 days in late spring (April, May) and the entire summer (June, July, August, and September), then you don’t need to visit Porto, instead visit the Algarve, which is my favorite place in Portugal.
Portugal is famous for its beaches and Algarve is like the icing on the cake with beaches that have a backdrop of the most amazing rock formations. For a longer trip here, check out my Algarve road trip itinerary too.
For the purpose of a short trip to the Algarve, we will pick Lagos, which has the best of everything – beaches, sunset hikes, traditional food, and an easygoing vibe. I really like Carvoeiro in Algarve with the Benagil Cave nearby but that has no direct buses or trains and Lagos is easier to reach for a short trip and it really has it all.
Lisbon to Lagos
The journey from Lisbon to Lagos will take almost the same amount of time as Lisbon to Porto – 3.5 to 4 hours by FlixBus bus. FlixBus runs daily at 7:30 am and 11 am from Lisbon (Oriente) to Lagos, make sure you book a ticket in advance so avail cheaper seats.
Another option would be ReDe Express 92 and 67. These buses leave throughout the day but in high season I’d suggest you plan in advance.
Arrive in Lagos, Check in to your hotel
Lagos has loads of nice places to stay but I recommend you don’t stay in the city center but a bit away. Below are the places that I suggest:
- B22 – Rising Sun 2 Bed Flat – Ideally suited for families and couples who are looking for an apartment with a view. I’d book this in a heartbeat if I was visiting with my husband and my little girl.
- Lemon Tree Relaxing Guest House – Peaceful Place with a garden and a shared kitchen.
- Safari Beach Guest House – Affordable private rooms and dorm beds in a quiet residential area.
Dona Ana Beach
For your first day in Lagos, head to the lovely Dona Ana beach. It is massive and has amazing rock formations and as a result plenty of shaded areas. Due to its size, it never feels too full.
We jokingly called Dona Ana Beach “the main beach of Lagos” because it is super easy to reach, is big, has rock formations, and pretty much everything. There is a beach bar and a restaurant here, toilets and the bus stop is right outside.
Ponta da Piedade
Ponta da Piedade is a spot in Lagos to which you can hike or go on a taxi to catch the most amazing sunset. I loved it so much that I went back here every day.
Walk around the Ponta da Piedade lighthouse and see the views. There isn’t just one viewpoint but many of them and they all offer interesting views because you are on top of a rock with a sudden drop and hidden beaches under you.
The Ponta da Piedade hike is on a boardwalk and it is easy to do but still, I would suggest you wear decent shoes. It somehow gets super cold up here in the evenings so wear a jacket.
Dinner at Aqui Há Gato
I recommend this family-run Portuguese restaurant in all of my posts about Lagos because it is really good. If you enjoy seafood, then don’t miss the garlic prawns here. The portion was big and it was super delicious.
Not just the food but this place actually has an amazing vibe with mostly locals and hardly any tourists. The prawns were not on the menu but you can ask for them since they are a part of “the specials”.
Day 4: More Beaches & Depart from Faro
Today’s your last day in Lagos. Wake up early to see the most beautiful beach in Lagos and the only time to enjoy it is early morning before the crowds arrive. This is actually exactly how I had spent my last day in Lagos.
Praia do Camilo is small but is super beautiful and I think it is the most beautiful beach in Lagos. The sand and water quality here is unbelievable. I arrived on this beach at around 9:30 am or 10 am and it was empty.
You have to climb down around 500 steps to arrive here but trust me it is worth it. This beach is divided into two sections and there is a cave that connects them both – how fun.
There are arches and you can walk around them or stand under them for a lovely photo. When I arrived here in the morning, the water was very cold but I ended up swimming for around 30 minutes and it was a very good experience.
If you were in Lagos for 3 days or more, I would have recommended you hike from Praia do Camilo to Ponta da Piedade and then to Praia do Canavial.
Train to Faro
After spending an hour or two on Camilo Beach, get on a train from Lagos station to Faro, and from there take a taxi to the airport to fly out of Portugal. You can do this journey by bus too but the train is around 45 minutes faster than the bus.
There’s a train at 11:10 AM that reached Faro at 12:57 PM and another one at 1:23 PM that reached Faro at 3:08 PM. You don’t need to stand in the queue to purchase the train tickets, you can get them on the train directly. Hopefully, you booked an evening flight to make the most of your 4 days in Portugal trip.
Depart from Faro Airport
Faro airport is tiny and my check-in and security were done in no time. There is also a small food court here where you can eat seafood, and pastel de nata and drink your last Sagres beer before you leave Portugal to go back to your country.
What to Pack for 4 Days in Portugal
Portugal is warm but it can shockingly get cold as the sun sets. I still remember how my friend and I were freezing in peak summer in Nazare after the sunset and I ended up buying a sweatshirt there.
Yes, it is always a good idea to carry comfortable hiking shoes but is even more so in Portugal’s cities because even if you think you’re going for a short walk, the steep streets will make it hard work.
Below are the things I recommend you carry apart from your basics:
- Comfortable sneakers or hiking shoes
- 4 or 5 pairs of socks
- Sandals for warm afternoons (for summer)
- 2 pairs of pants or leggings
- 3 basic tee shirts or tops
- Sweatshirt or light jacket (winter and summer)
- Thick Sweatshirt or Sweater (winter)
- Shorts (for summer)
- One or two dresses (for summer)
Tip: Shopping in Portugal is so affordable and you can just buy what you need instead of stressing over packing every single thing right.
Closing Thoughts on 4 days in Portugal
4 days in a new country isn’t a long duration especially if it is your first time there. Please don’t fall for other itineraries on the internet and do day trips within your short trip.
Take things slow and explore two of the main cities of Portugal, or one city and one beach town at a relaxed pace so that it feels like vacation and not hard work.
Portugal has a lot of historical monuments but you don’t have to go inside each one of them. Some are better admired from the outside.
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