Planning Your Road Trip In Portugal Dec 15, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

Taking a road trip in Portugal is perhaps the best way to explore the region. You can visit hard-to-reach locations that you wouldn’t get to with public transportation and experience the country’s culture in addition to its natural beauty. Portugal has varied landscapes, scenic roads, amazing food, and cheap accommodations that make it perfect for an exciting road trip.

General Driving Tips

When you decide to go on a road trip in a foreign country, you need to make sure you are aware of local laws and driving tips. Keep in mind that Portugal has a few small, narrow roads and impatient drivers. Just be careful, pay attention, and prepare for drivers not to use their indicators and stop suddenly. There will be tolls to pay when traveling via the motorways, and you should also make sure you have travel insurance.

Coastal Road Trip

One of the most picturesque road trips in the world can be found on the coast of Portugal. You can cover about 550 miles driving along the west coast and hitting multiple surfing destinations and amazing beaches. Consider starting in Porto, where you will drive south towards Faro. As you drive along the N109 toward the ocean, you can check out the dirt tracks along the way and find uncrowded beaches. Surfers will love Figueira da Foz, which is about halfway from Porto to Lisbon. It has two main breaks and a wide beach, along with bars. Further along the coast, Peniche is a famous surf town, and even further south, you will find Ericeira, a World Surfing Reserve. Next, you can go to Cascais before heading to Lisbon and Sagres. The last of these is a historic port town with stunning views of the ocean. You can end your trip in Faro and fly out of that city. While surfers, in particular, will love this route, it can appeal to anyone who appreciates great views, secluded beaches, and coastal roads.

Northern Portugal

This option also starts in Porto but will take you inland through numerous wine regions and the famous Douro Valley. While in Porto, be sure to visit port wine lounges and visit the beach by Foz do Douro on a vintage tram. From there, go east to Penafiel to visit Quinta da Aveleda before continuing to Amarante with its 18th-century bridge spanning the Tamega in a dramatic gorge. While in Amarante dine at Largo do Paco for a Michelin-star meal. When you are back on the road, continue east to Peso Regua to visit the Museu do Douro and Solar do Vinho do Porto, the latter of which gives you a history of wine. Visit the baroque mansion Casa de Mateus to sample the famous rosé and gardens before heading to Vila Real and visiting the Parque Natural do Alvao. Now you can go to Pinhao in the heart of the Douro before continuing to the Coa Valley. Take a loop back towards Porto heading southwest through the medieval towns of Ucanha, Tarouca, and Lamego. You can return home from Porto—or take a drive down the coast.

Portugal is a stunning country full of amazing food, wine, and driving experiences.


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