Pretty Portugal is the ideal destination for a self drive tour. It’s the perfect size for scenic drives that take you from one spectacular location to another. There are so many picturesque small towns to discover along the way! In addition, the warm hospitality of the Portuguese is unforgettable. A road trip is the perfect way to explore this beautiful country. Some of Portugal’s most beautiful cities and the untouched Alentejo are the perfect setting!
Clients looking for flexibility and freedom in Portugal will love the idea of a self drive trip. This means that you will have your own vehicle for the duration of your stay. With Bella Vita, however, you are never alone. We will organize each day so that you have the freedom to choose where to go and what to experience. With our detailed destination kits and expert advice, you’ll have all the information you need to hit the road! We will work with you to pick the perfect accommodations each evening.
This month, we are sharing some special itinerary ideas for a self drive trip. Portugal is a an excellent choice. As always, all of our holidays are custom made to your travel wishes. If this itinerary piques your travel interest, contact us to learn about all we can arrange for you here!
Day 1: Welcome to Portugal
On arrival at the Lisbon airport, your private driver will greet you outside of the baggage claim and accompany you to your hotel in the city center.
Our portfolio of accommodations in Portugal offers something for every type of client. From small, charming guesthouses to old elegance hotels in the center. We will work with you to pick the perfect accommodation for your travel style!
You will spend the first night in Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. Here you’ll be able to rest up for your road trip! If you are feeling ready to get going, we can also arrange some great experiences for you in Lisbon. We can start your evening with a private Lisbon city tour. Or, if you want to start experiencing the foods of Portugal, a private food tour on your first evening.
DAY 2: Road trip to the Alentejo
Your rental car is delivered right to your hotel this morning. After checkout, you will take the short, scenic drive to one of Portugal’s most special regions. The Alentejo is one of the last truly untouched areas of Europe. The rolling plains produce wine, cork, wheat, among other valuable things. The inhabitants have a saying: “I plant a cork tree for my grandchildren, an olive tree for my children and a vine for myself.”
On the way to your next destination, we can recommend some fun stops along the way. Seaside Setubal is a very “real” city. It has a gritty feel but its a vibrant and interesting stop. It is a not yet fully discovered destination, keeping it authentic and untouched.
From here, you’ll take the scenic ride to the Alentejo. Your accommodations are in gorgeous Evora. Evora is living history. It was one of the most influential cities of medieval Portugal. This is because it was an important religious centre and situated on the main trading route to Spain. One of our favorite hotels here is a 5-star boutique hotel in the historic center. The location is unbeatable – right in the heart of the area classified by UNESCO as World Heritage! This hotel is an adaptation of the XV century Palace whose magnificent chapel and vaulted ceilings were preserved. Overlooking the aqueducts of Évora, it has an extensive spa with an outdoor pool.
DAY 3: Exploring Alentejo
The beauty and fun of a road trip means that the day is yours to decide. We can arrange as many or as few activities as you’d like!
First, perhaps a trip the village of Arraiolos, to learn about the genuine “Arraiolos Tapestry”? A unique secular textile art, handmade by local embroiderers handicrafters and recognized worldwide. The local authorities on cultural heritage have already submitted to UNESCO the application for this art to also be classified as “World Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.
Alternatively, a visit to a handicraft shop in Évora? Here you can learn and observe the work of a master, producing some cork handicraft: the cork jewelry, pieces such as necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Even a stroll through the city is a great way to spend the day. There are some incredible ruins of a Roman temple here that is thought to have been built between the second and third centuries.
Finally, another idea is to head to the village of Azaruja. Here, visit a cork processing factory and understand how it is prepared to later be worked for different uses.
Or, perhaps today you want to go even further. Exploring the natural beauty pf Portugal. We can advise you on a day trip to Marvao. Located in the Serra de Sao Mamede Natural Park, it has a dramatic, breathatking location. It’s famous for the magnificent Castelo de Marvao. However, the village of Marvao is also incredibly beautiful. It merits a visit to anyone with the curiosity and wanderlust to go see it.
With your rental car, the day is up to you to decide!
DAY 4: The border of Portugal
This part of Portugal is very close to the Spanish border. Today we can recommend some unforgettable trips to the far east of Portugal. Perhaps a drive to the the graceful medieval village of Monsaraz? This perfectly preserved piece of Portugal maintains the magic from ancient times like few others in the world.
Or a day trip through the Border Castles of Portugal? Here you’ll find a world of stone that makes history come alive.
Discover the great fortress of Almeida that can even be seen as a 12-pointed star from the sky. Gaze at Berrões Door in Castelo Mendo. Drive the mountain trail which winds to the Vilar Maior Castle. This magical, memorable destination is dotted with special places like this. They served their purpose of defending the oldest border in Europe. These castles are the true keepers of Portuguese history. We will work with you to design the perfect day exploring them on your own!
Whatever day you choose, you can head back to Evora at your leisure – with your rental car, your road trip is true travel freedom!
DAY 5: Coimbra
This morning at your leisure, you’ll take the drive northwest to the city of Coimbra. We can recommend our favorite accommodations in this spectacular city located in the heart of “Alta Coimbra”. Very close to the University of Coimbra, this property is the only one that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the afternoon, we can arrange a Half-day Tour of the mystical city of Coimbra.
Meet with our local guide in the hotel lobby for a private tour of Coimbra. Coimbra was the capital of Portugal during the Middle Ages. It was the Renaissance that transformed the city into a place of knowledge. After, you can enjoy a traditional music show at the fado center!
DAY 6: Portugal’s gem – Porto
You’ll continue your road trip to one of Portugal’s most special cities. Porto is truly a gem! This riverside beauty has a wealth of accommodation choices for every type of traveler. Once you get in to the city, we can arrange so many special experiences.
Our favorite way to start any trip to Porto is with our Private Half-Day Walking Tour of the city. Porto was made for exploring on foot and today, you’ll do just that. Begin with the neighborhood of Praça da Ribeira with winding, cobbled streets. Then, Porto’s main thoroughfare, the architecturally impressive Avenida dos Aliados. Next, the beautiful São Bento railway station, whose walls tell the history of Portugal through more than 20,000 tiles. Afterward, São Francisco church, a fine example of Baroque ornamentation. Lastly, the historic Livraria Lello bookstore is said to have inspired JK Rowling!
Or perhaps a Private Port Lodges of Porto Tour and Tasting. These Port wine lodges are two of the most iconic producers in Douro Valley. The trip is yours to tailor to your interests!
DAY 7: Adeus, Portugal
This morning, you’ll check out of your accommodations and drive to the airport where you will drop off your rental car. Perhaps your vacation doesn’t end here! We can happily arrange a few days for you in any other parts of Portugal or the Mediterranean after your road trip. Or perhaps another few days in Porto and the Douro Valley? We are eager and ready to help make your travel dreams come true!