Located at the very tip of the Iberian Peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal reigns over the peninsula's westernnmost part like a hidden gem with incredible history, breathtaking views, and only a tenth of the population of its neighbour Spain! Discover Portugal during a road trip through the rolling hills around the capital Lisbon and experience the charm of this beautiful country.
Once inhabited by the Romans and Moors, Lisbon shows its visitors the vestiges of its ancient past on every corner. The many narrow streets that meander through the Alfama district are just one example of it. During your road trip to Lisbon you should definitely take a ride in one of the colourful trams through the streets lit with lanterns.
Once you have seen enough of this wonderful city, take a car hire in Portugal with Auto Europe and set off on a unique road trip adventure through the land. Our Road Trip Lisbon Overview leads you through the perfect route from Lisbon to Sintra, straight through the central region of Extremadura and along the stunning coastal cliffs. Travel with your car hire in Lisbon towards the north to historic Óbidos and discover the medieval walls of the city. Continue to the seaside town of Nazaré and enjoy the fresh fish and delicious seafood, particularly cod, Portugal's most famous fish. Finish your tour in the storybook town of Sintra, a mountain village at the entrance of a beautiful national park. Do not limit yourself during your trip to Portugal only to the urban delights! Explore the whole beautiful region around Lisbon and enjoy the privacy and flexibility with a car hire in Portugal.
Portugal has a population of about seven million tourists a year and most of them choose Lisbon as the destination of their journey. This is certainly not without reason! The capital of Portugal enchants its visitors with the charm of the Old World, from the impressive historical landmarks and melancholic fado music clubs to the traditional restaurants. Learn all about the old working classes in the Museu do Fado in Alfama district or choose from one of the most entertaining nightlife offers in A Baiuca or Clube de Fado.
The nearby Gothic Castle of Sao Jorge and the Largo das Portas do Sol have breathtaking views points for amateur photographers, as does the neighbouring historic Belém, where you will find the UNESCO World Heritage Jerónimos Monastery and Torre de Belém. If you want to explore the different neighbourhoods in another way, we recommend the bike hire Bike Iberia near Cais do Sodre. For over 15 years, these play an important role in tours in and around Lisbon. Immerse yourself literally in the Roman history of the city - with a free guided tour of the underground tunnels at Núcleo Arqueológico. Art lovers are not forgotten. Take a look at some of the masterpieces of Portuguese art in Centro de Arte Moderna, take opportunity of free entrance to a surrealist, abstract pop art collection in the Berardo and a fantastic assortment of Eastern and Western masterpieces and antiques in Museu Calouste Gulbenkian. Make the most of your road trip in Lisbon with the Lisbon Card. This pass allows you free or discounted admission to all major museums and attractions of the city.
If you have some spare time, be sure to visit the nearby town of Evora and its famous palace where Vasco da Gama used to reside during his glorious days.
The Portuguese cuisine relies heavily on seafood. Particularly delicious dishes are served in "Rosa dos Mares", named after the legend in which sailors and oceanographers found roses in the water, which announced their return to the country. For more traditional and inexpensive food, pay a visit to "Santo António de Alfama", "Antigo Primeiro de Maio" and the "Zé Varunca". Most traditional Portuguese restaurants offer inexpensive but exquisite wine lists to match the dishes offered. For particularly demanding gourmets, we recommend "Tavares Rico" or the highly acclaimed "bel canto". For desserts such as biscuits and custard tarts, go to the Belem district. We particularly recommend "Antiga Confeitaria de Belém".
Crown your busy, eventful day in Lisbon with a good dose of sleep in a comfortable hotel bed. Get the best service for your money in modern, centrally located "Radisson Blu". For a wonderful view of the Aqueduct and Montesanto Park, book a room at the sleek and elegantly furnished "Corinthia Hotel". If touring the city with a car hire in Lisbon has exhausted you and you are in need pampering, go to the luxurious "Dom Pedro Palace" and "Avenida Palace", the perfect places to relax. Open-minded and sociable travellers will feel at home in the "Alfama Patio Hostel", where barbecues, pub crawls and many other activities are organised for the guests.
Travellers should be aware that the busy metropolis of Naples often experiences congestion and slow-moving traffic. Due to the large number of cars, finding parking spaces can be difficult. Therefore we would recommend that you pick up your car hire at the airport. Grand Hotel Vanvitelli offers four-star rooms, beautiful design and a large car park for your vehicle. Impress your family with a stay at The Plaza Hotel, which offers an atrium with fountains and gardens, a cocktail bar and a wonderful restaurant. The family-friendly Hotel Leonessa is situated right at the foot of the Vesuvius volcano, and is perfect for trips to the national park and the historical part of Naples.
During a tour of Lisbon you will get a great overview of the city's sights and by the comfort of a car you will have the opportunity to see much more of this wonderful country! Continue your Portuguese adventure towards the medieval Óbidos and its ancient but well-preserved buildings. Stretch your legs after the one-hour drive from Lisbon during a small walk through the walled city centre and discover the pristine white houses, the wonderful castle skyline and the majestic stone walls with a car hire in Óbidos. Do not forget to stop by at the Igreja de Santa Maria, where the future Alfonso V married his bride Isabel in the 15th century. But the charming Renaissance church is not the only place with regal importance - the whole town was a wedding gift from Dom Dinis to Isabel of Aragon in 1282. A road trip to Óbidos will enchant art lovers - the town is home to many artists such as Josefa of Óbidos, whose works can be found among others in the Santa Maria and the Museu Municipal. Outside the city centre, built in Baroque style, you will find the venerable Santuário do Senhor da Pedra. The city of Caldas da Rainha is worth a day trip - it is only 15 minutes away from Óbidos.
Enjoy delicious and stylishly presented seafood dishes in a storybook atmosphere in "Castelo". "O Alcaide" boasts a similar royal-like venue and offers rustic Portuguese dishes like fried cod with Serra cheese, chestnuts and baked apples. You get great service and delicious dishes in"O Caldeirao" as well . In "Cantina Criativa" you are in for a great variety of simple but innovative dishes. For a dinner with a pleasant, intimate atmosphere, we recommend eating at "Petrarum Dormus" with its traditional dishes or sharing different tapas in the midst of medieval interiors of the bar "Arco da Cadeia".
Most tours in Óbidos are easy one-day trips from Lisbon. With a rental car in Óbidos, you can stay in this beautiful small medieval town a little longer. For a romantic stay, consider "Rainha Santa Isabel" that lies within the castle walls. The wood-paneled rooms with traditional azulejo tiles and a wonderful view has a truly special charm. If you are rather interested in the religious aspect, we recommend "Estalagem do Convento" with its monastic establishment from the 19th century. For literature lovers, there is a very special place to stay: "Pousada do Castelo", a former palace from the 15th century with artful architecture, once upon a time a favorite retreat of the famous novel-writer Graham Greene. A bit more affordable accommodation during your road trip in Óbidos can be found at the cozy "Obido Sol" townhouse or the botique hotel "Casas das Senhoras Rainhas".
Enjoy your next part of the road trip to Nazaré! Nazaré offers everything you would want from a seaside town. There are numerous tourist attractions along the cobblestone streets of Nazaré and the whole Extramadura region. The neighbouring Alcobaça is home to the Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Alcobaça, a beautiful church from the 12th century. The Manueline masterpiece Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Vitória offers visitors a majestic sight. Another beautiful sight is, of course, the numerous beaches as a real tourist attraction. Show your skills at surfing and enjoy the sun, but be careful when swimming - the water beneath the awe-inspiring cliffs of Nazaré has dangerous currents!
Another highlight - in the truest sense of the word - can be found high up in Sitio: a breathtaking, postcard-worthy views of the fishing huts lying closely together on the coast of Nazaré. While you are there on the cliffs, make sure you visit the Ermida da Memória, where according to a legend, Virgin Mary rescued a resident from certain death. This miracle is depicted in the nearby church of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, where you will also find the splendid baroque bell towers and tile-works of art from the 18th century.
For bathing fun for the whole family, you should head to Sao Martinho do Porto a few miles to the south with your car hire in Nazaré, where the golden sand and safe, sheltered bay will provide you with a wonderful beach experience. The city of Coimbra is just an hour's drive while in only two hours you can reach Porto and spend a wonderful day there.
Situated at the Atlantic Ocean, it is hardly a surprise that the gastronomy in Nazaré mostly consists of seafood. The popular dish Arroz de Marisco, made of crabs, clams, shrimp and rice, is highly praised in the family tavern "A Tasquinha". In "Rosa dos Ventos", order fish, grilled and served still in a traditional style. For families there are delicious tapas menu to share and taste in "Sitiado". For a quirky flavour mix and something unusual, book a table at "Tosca Gastro Bar" and try goat cheese balls with pumpkin jam.
Stay in the middle of everything with a room in "Hotel Mare" or relax in the picturesque hotel "Vila Conde Fidalgo Turistica". In the modern hotel "Praia", you will get simple, inexpensive but good rooms. Enjoy the view from one of the rooms of the hostel "Albergaria Mar Bravo" or treat yourself to restful sleep in the comfortable hotel "Miramar Sul".
Your road trip through Portugal ends in the paradise-like mountain village of Sintra. Many will certainly feel like Alice in Wonderland upon the sight of the "Quinta da Regaleira", a neo-Manueline mansion with labyrinthine gardens and art décor. The "Palacio Nacional de Sintra" also resembles a fairy tale - its clear Moorish influences amid traditional Renaissance ceramic tiles give the house a very special flair. Another insight into the Moorish history of Portugal is the "Castle of the Moors".
Get a dash of fresh air in the exotic "Parque de Pena" that stretches over 30 hectares of forest. Similar in size is the "Monserrate Park" whose romantic gardens were built in the English style of the 18th century and are home to subtropical trees, a small waterfall and a dilapidated chapel. Test your skills behind the wheel of your car hire in Sintra at the hairpin bends in the mountain scenery and take a break to enjoy the stunning views of the coast and far-flung locations and attractions. The Franciscan Convent dos Capuchos, the spectacular tiled chapel Peninha, and the lonely lighthouse Cabo da Roca are certainly worth a visit!
At the end of your road trip to Sintra, relax after an eventful day in the old-fashioned "Tulhas", designed as an old granary. The restaurant is famous for its Bacalhau com Natas. The "Nau Palatina" serves Portuguese cuisine in several small portions. The huge steak portions in "Moinho Iberico" will be particularly suitable for large groups. Or, if your cravings have not been satisfied for seafood in Nazaré, you can enjoy grilled fish and octopus in the restaurant "Da Adraga".
At the end of your trip, treat yourself to the absolutely luxurious stay at "Penha Longa". If you want to avoid further car journeys, why not book a room in the centrally located accommodation in the modern Tivoli in Sintra? For more peace and quiet you should take a room in the "Residential Sintra", a quiet, family-run hotel with a magnificent view of the Castelo dos Mouros (see above). For history buffs, we recommend "Tivoli Palácio de Seteais". Dating back to the 18th century it is said to be the oldest hotel in Portugal.
Road trip tips in Portugal
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