The coastal country of Portugal is known for its azure blue waters, luxury hotels, and the freshness of the ingredients used in cooking. When you are looking for the best but for a fraction of the usual prices, there is no better place for you to travel to than the beaches of Portugal. This jewel of the Iberian peninsula is luckily not as well known as many other holiday destinations, and is therefore not overrun by tourist masses. So get ready to explore Portugal?s beaches and the capital, Lisbon!
Portugal's roots go back to the Middle Ages and, much like neighbouring Spain, the country has a history coloured by Roman and Moorish influences. The capital and largest city Lisbon is located in the south of Portugal, where the river Tagus meets the Atlantic Ocean. When you are planning a trip to Portugal, a package holiday may seem tempting, but sticking to one place will make you miss so much of the natural beauty the country has to offer! With a car hire in Portugal, you can get off the beaten path and away from the crowded tourist sites. A road trip through Portugal opens up the possibility for you to see the most breathtaking beaches, which may have been the reason you wanted to travel to Portugal in the first place.
Our journey begins in Lisbon, a capital city so full of cultural heritage that it simply cannot be ignored. Once you have explored all the major sights along Lisbon's typical cobbled roads, it is time to head to a nearby beach with a car hire from Auto Europe. At the Costa da Caparica beach on Portugal's western coast, you can simply enjoy the sunshine or try out wind surfing. In the popular holiday spot Estoril, you can discover Europe's largest casino, before continuing your trip towards sunny Cascais. On the relaxed drive through Alentejo, you will find opportunities to play a round of golf, unwind at a spa or sunbathe to your heart's content. Thanks to the convenience provided by having your own rental car, you can freely discover Portugal according to your own schedule.
Lisbon events and tourist attractions: The capital Lisbon attracts millions of visitors each year, and for good reason. The city radiates with a unique charm, and the visible traces of Portugal's turbulent history mix together with the melancholic melodies flowing from traditional restaurants and Fado clubs. Begin your road trip from Lisbon and you're off to a flying start!
Delve into the history of Portugal's famous working class musical genre at Museu do Fado in the Alfama quarter. For an authentic Lisbon experience, visit either Clube de Fado or A Baiuca and let yourself get carried away by the local melodies. If you purchase the Lisbon-Card, you can make use of numerous benefits, such as discounted public transportation and museum entry, and many other reductions. An impressive amount of museums either offer reduced entry fees or free entry to Lisbon-Card holders.
The Centro de Arte Moderna museum focuses on works of art from the 20th century by local and regional artists, while Museu Calouste Gulbenkian has a very eclectic collection of pieces from both the East and the West. If you enjoy Pop Art, you are sure to find Museu Berardo Colecção with its collection of surrealist and abstract paintings worth a visit. History buffs should head to Núcleo Arqueológico, where one can take a free guided tour of the city's Roman ruins. Photography enthusiasts, on the other hand, should not miss the amazing views over the city from the Gothic Castelo de São Jorge and Largo das Portas do Sol.
If you are looking to stay active on your holiday, you can switch out your car hire from Lisbon for a bicycle for a few days. You can rent bikes from Bike Iberia, located close to Cais do Sodré. And no matter what, you should not miss the chance to visit the Belém quarter. The historic area is home to various UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and Torre de Belém.
Lisbon restaurants, bars and night life: The north of Portugal is famous for its wine production, and Lisbon is equally known as a great place to enjoy delicious Portuguese wine varieties. During your stay, you should not forgo the chance to try out some of the best wines the country has to offer. While you are choosing your dishes from the tapas menu, the staff at Bairro Alto are happy to serve you a glass of Vinho Verde, Touriga Nacional or a port wine of your choice. For an even more intimate tapas experience with wine tasting, reserve a table at the cosy Porto Alfama. Whether you would like to sample prawns, octopus or sea bass, the best seafood dishes await you at Frade dos Mares. Or if you would rather opt for meat, we recommend Frangasqueira Nacional, where you can choose your dish from a selection of spare ribs, chicken and every kind of sausage you can imagine.
Lisbon hotels and accommodation: The modern, centrally situated Radisson Blu is a great deal for every traveller. The best view over Monsanto Park will be offered by Corinthia Hotel. Those looking for a luxury stay should opt for Dom Pedro Palace or Avenida Palace, both of which offer grand lodgings for well-heeled travellers. If you are travelling alone, it may be a good idea to book a room at Alfama Patio Hostel. This establishment organises different activities for its guests from bar tours to grill evenings. Take part in the events and get to know your fellow travellers!
Plan ahead of time: Travel information for your road trip to Lisbon
Costa da Caparica events and tourist attractions: While the capital offers many interesting places to see, there are myriad beaches around the city that can be reached quickly with a rental car. Our road trip to Costa da Caparica takes us just a stone's throw away from Lisbon over the Tagus. On the south bank of the river you can also stop by the town of Almada. This idyllic town is great for any visitor, whether you are looking for some peace and quiet or adrenaline-filled activities. In the centre of the town, around Praça da Liberdade, you will find plenty of shops and cafes. Costa da Caparica is especially popular with families and a wonderful place to learn to surf. Sign up for a class at a surfing school such as Duckdive or Gota d'Agua, and soon you will be able to give Garrett McNamara or Robby Naish a run for their money! A short drive away with your car hire from Costa da Caparica is the town of Setubal, which offers interesting historic buildings and religious sites well worth a visit.
Costa da Caparica restaurants, bars and night life: A visit to Costa da Caparica would not be complete without enjoying a delicious seafood dish. Pelicano & Kikiriki offers contemporary Portuguese cuisine sourced directly from the ocean. The beach restaurant Unik Lounge prepares clearly popular seafood tapas and grilled tiger prawns in an idyllic setting. A vast choice of dishes awaits you at the family-run restaurant O Mercado. Or if you would like to spend a peaceful afternoon relaxing after a long day of sightseeing, the beach locale Borda d'Agua is the perfect choice.
Costa da Caparica hotels and accommodation: You will find a large range of lodgings on offer in Costa da Caparica. Residencial Mar e Sol offers clean, even if a little small, rooms and a varied breakfast menu. Hotel Residencial Colibri is ideal for travellers looking for peace and quiet, but still wanting to stay in a central location. A beautiful view of the sea is offered by Hotel Real as well as Ever Caparica Beach & Conference Hotel.
Estoril events and tourist attractions: Even though the town loses in popularity to Cascais, a road trip to Estoril is particularly worth it for those who enjoy the thrill of gambling every now and then, as the town is home to Europe's largest casino. Even if you usually shy away from the roulette table, you should still try your luck at Estoril's grand casino. If bikinis and shorts are more your thing than pearls and dinner jackets, we recommend Tamariz beach. Avid golfers are sure to enjoy golf clubs such as Golfe do Estoril and Academia de Golfe Daniel Grimm. You can also visit Casa Verdades de Faria, a music museum where you can learn more about Portugal's cultural heritage. After your long day of activities, get a relaxing massage at Banyan Tree Spa in an atmosphere of absolute luxury.
Estoril restaurants, bars and night life: The décor at Cozinha do Mar is quite pared down, but the fresh seafood dishes are definitely worth a visit. More delicious treasures from the sea await you at Baiuka, a restaurant with friendly service and a great view. After a long day, Azimut Restaurante Bar is a great place to put your feet up - figuratively speaking of course! The restaurant's location at the beach is as unbeatable as their grilled fish and the impressive drinks menu. And if you are craving a sweet dessert afterwards, you can find the best pastries at Pastelaria Garrett.
Estoril hotels and accommodation: For an experience of true extravagance, we recommend the grand Palacio Estoril Hotel Golf & Spa. The relaxing, romantic atmosphere is especially well suited for couples who are looking for luxury and elegance. If you are on the lookout for a great deal, on the other hand, you should book a room in the lovely and modern Saboia Estoril Hotel. Or make the most of your car hire in Estoril by booking at Clube do Lago, located far from the beach crowds on top of Monte Estoril. For an absolutely central location, choose Vila Gale Estoril.
Plan ahead of time: Travel information for your road trip to Estoril
Cascais events and tourist attractions: Cascais may be the best known destination on Portugal's coast. A road trip to Cascais is worth the drive, as the town offers three different beaches you should not miss - Praia da Conceição, Praia da Rainha and Praia da Ribeira. The Cresmina beach is also known for its romantic sunsets. Take a cooling dip in the water or work on your tan before you head off to explore the many sights of the city. Start in the Centro Historico and wander through the wonderful old town. Art and architecture lovers are naturally going to be drawn in the direction of Casa das Histórias Paula Rego, where you will find beautiful pieces by Portuguese artists. The fascinating Museu Condes de Castro is located in the Parque Marechal Carmona garden. More Portuguese cultural delights can be found in Museu do Mar, which is like an ode to the country's history as a seafaring world power. To get some postcard-like photos, rent a bicycle at Largo da Estação and ride to Boca do Inferno. This ravine offers an amazing cliff-side view of the waves of the Atlantic and is a great place for a picnic. If you want to escape the sun for a while, or simply wish to spend some time indoors, look for some souvenirs at the Cascais shopping centre.
Cascais restaurants and night life: Delectable fish dishes are a must in Cascais, just as they are in the surrounding region. Restaurante Marisco Na Praca is the hidden jewel among Cascais's restaurants, serving everything from grilled octopus to barnacles. Gourmands will get a real kick out of the Conceito Food Store. Or simply enjoy the local cuisine and the simplicity of its authentic Portuguese flavours in a magical atmosphere at Fortaleza do Guincho (also a hotel). The best tapas can be found at Dom Diniz.
Cascais hotels and accommodation: With a car hire in Cascais, you can reach every hotel quickly and with ease. If sustainability is close to your heart, you will be satisfied with your stay at the impressively luxurious Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel & Spa or in the famous Hotel Cascais Miragem, located right by the beach. A beautiful view over the ocean is offered by the romantic Fortaleza do Guincho. Onyria Marinha Edition Hotel & Thalasso is especially popular with couples thanks to its comfortable and spacious rooms, as well as the interesting gardens.