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Explore Portugal from north to south

Portugal is a fascinating and beautiful country that offers sun-soaked beaches, impressive architecture, and mouth-watering cuisine. Its small size and excellent train connections make it perfect for an Interrail adventure. Follow this itinerary to see all the highlights, from Porto in the north to the Algarve in the south.

 

Click here or on the map to view this route in our Trip Planner

Destinations visited on this trip:

 

1. Porto

2. Pinhão

3. Coimbra

4. Lisbon

5. Sintra

6. Faro

7. Lagos

 

For this itinerary we recommend:

A bird's eye view of Porto and the Douro River

1. Porto, Portugal

Start your adventure in Portugal's second-biggest city, a historic port of call for maritime voyages over the centuries.

  • Stroll along the quayside between the colourful buildings of the Cais da Ribeira and boats docked on the Douro River.
  • Linger at the Ribeira Square afterwards and take in your surroundings. You’ll realise why UNESCO recognized the Historic Centre of Porto as an official Cultural Heritage site.
  • A handful of free walking tours start at different landmarks around the city and provide an inside look into Porto’s history and culture. 

Travel from Porto to Pinhão on a direct train. Travel time: 2.5 hours. No reservations required. 

A landscape view of the vineyards of Pinhao, Portugal

2. Pinhão, Portugal

Save yourself a day to take the train along the Douro Line from Porto to Pinhão.

  • Start at São-Bento Train Station, which alone is worth visiting for its breathtaking tiled walls. Return later in the day to the Porto Campanhã train station.
  • The Douro Line whisks travellers through 26 tunnels and across 30 bridges into the Douro Valley. 
  • Stop to take in the sight of Pinhão's terraced vineyards, which produce the region's world-famous Port wine.

After your day trip to Pinhão, take a direct train from Porto to Coimbra. Travel time: 1 hour and 15 minutes. Seat reservations required.

The University of Coimbra, illuminated at night

3. Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra, home to Portugal's oldest university, is rich in culture and history for travellers to discover. 

Take a direct train from Coimbra to Lisbon. Travel time: 1 hour and 45 minutes. Seat reservations required.

A yellow tram running up a street in Lisbon

4. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, one of Europe’s oldest cities, is bursting with historic charm, mixed with a modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere.

  • Take a classic yellow tram to the Castle of São Jorge for a hilltop view of the city. 
  • Descend on foot through the narrow alleyways of the Alfama district to experience Lisbon's oldest neighbourhood.
  • Don't leave Lisbon without trying pastéis de nata. These delicious custard tarts are available at countless bakeries and pastry shops across the city. 

Take a direct train from Lisbon to Sintra. Travel time: 45 minutes. No reservations required.

Colourful Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

5. Sintra, Portugal

Be sure to add a day trip to Sintra to your stay in Lisbon. Natural and man-made beauty combine in this fairytale town.

  • Climb the lush wooded hills to the vibrant National Palace of Pena, with its yellow and red turrets and arches. 
  • You can also hike through the Sintra Hills to a 10th century fortification, with a stunning view of the ocean and surrounding greenery.
  • Back in Sintra, take time to pop into the many independently-owned shops and cafés that sit along the town's narrow, steep lanes.

After your day trip to Sintra, take a direct train from Lisbon to Faro. Travel time: 3 hours. Seat reservations required.

A quiet, white-washed street in Faro, Portugal

6. Faro, Portugal

Welcome to Faro, the administrative capital of the Algarve, in the southernmost part of Portugal. Here, you can enjoy plenty of time in the sun and waves — or let time slip away as you relax at one of the city's many waterfront cafes.

  • Begin with a stroll around the harbor and Old Town, where you’ll find plenty of historic delights. 
  • Visit a few of the city's architecturally striking churchs, including the Church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo and the Church of São Pedro.
  • A short bus ride will take you to the city's popular beach, Praia de Faro, where you'll find soft sand, a laidback vibe and beautiful sunsets.

Take a direct train from Faro to Lagos. Travel time: 1 hour and 45 minutes. No reservations required.

Sun-drenched cliffs, sand and water in Lagos, Portugal

7. Lagos, Portugal

Wrap up your Interrail adventure in Lagos, a beach destination perfect for kicking back and relaxing after a satisfying trip. 

  • Meia Praia, one of Lagos' best-known beaches, boasts a five-kilometre stretch of golden sand. To swim with a backdrop of dramatic rock formations and hidden alcoves, try the Praia do Camilo.
  • For some of the region's best surfing, take a bus to Sagres at the southwestern tip of Portugal (Note: this bus is not included as part of the Pass). 
  • Don't leave Lagos without walking out to Ponta da Piedade, a headland known for its spectacular grottoes and rock formations.

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