Lisbon Road Trip: A Local’s Whirlwind Weekend in Portugal

Difficulty

150 km

Distance

5 - 6

Recom. Days

Culture

Trip type

Jenn Zajac

Ice coffee-addicted, pun-loving, Oxford comma-embracing writer. Currently based in beautiful Bali after too many winters in Boston and London. Specializes in crafting content for hotels and travel.

Lisbon Road Trip Itinerary: Lisbon Round-Trip

With only a long weekend to spare, there is plenty to see and do on a 5-day road trip from Lisbon. This short-but-sweet road trip itinerary explores Portugal’s Atlantic Coast like the locals do.

Start with the coolest clubs and corners of vibrant Lisbon, before heading to the Lisboetas’ favourite beaches in Cascais. Winding through a lush mountain range, the colourful castles and spooky history of Sintra will capture your imagination. Finally, catch a break in the popular surf town of Ericeira with a side trip to nearby Mafra.

Now you’re practically a local yourself!

Pick-up in
Lisbon depot
1

Clubs, cafés, and castles captivate in Lisbon

Portugal’s coastal capital is one of the oldest cities in Europe, predating even Paris and Rome by a few centuries. Thankfully, 48 hours in Lisbon is more than enough to captivate the imagination and inspire a return trip.

The city centre is compact and cobblestoned, so it’s best to park your campervan on the outskirts and use any of the old-fashioned trams to explore the sights.

Ascensor da Bica, a yellow elevator going up, to your Lisbon Road Trip

Perched atop the city’s highest hill, the imposing São Jorge Castle has stood guard over Lisboa since the 11th century. Visit the castle for sweeping, pastel-hued views of the old Alfama district and beyond.

Head next to the waterfront to view the landmark, medieval Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery.

When the sun sets, Bairro Alto is the place to be. Slip into a bohemian wine bar, catch the traditional fado singers at a local club, then see where the evening takes you.

Visiting

Lisbon

2

Recom. Days

Main route

20 km

from depot

30 min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Castelo de S. Jorge

Moorish castle and ruins from 11th century

Torre de Belém

Landmark medieval tower with incredible views

LX Factory

Industrial site turned creative hub with shops and restaurants

Eat at

Estrela da Bica

€€

Bohemian Atmosphere, surprising cuisine

Café de São Bento

€€€

Rustic, authentic Portuguese steakhouse

Indie Campers has a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Av. do Restelo 24 Parking

€€

Parking lot by Belém Tower, overnight allowed

Stay at

Lisboa Camping & Bungalows

€€€

Full facilities near the city

2

Beaches and boutiques in Cascais

The seaside resort towns of Cascais and Estoril make for one of the best Lisbon road trips. Lisboetas flock to Cascais for its sandy beaches, fantastic seafood, and boutique shopping.

Park your campervan on the outskirts of town; the compact city centre and coastline are easy to explore on foot. You’ll want to snap a few Insta-worthy shots at Boca do Inferno, where the waves crash noisily beneath dramatic cliffs.

Praia do Tamariz , in Cascais, is one of your destinations on the Lisbon Road Trip

Next, wander through the old town and marina, where you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to fresh seafood to eat and boutiques to browse.

Finally, a leisurely walk along the beach (or a 3-minute train ride east) leads you into neighbouring Estoril.

The town’s main attraction is a large casino, but the powdery-soft sands of Tamariz Beach are a better bet. The spot is popular with locals and Lisboetas, as it lies at the foot of a medieval fortress, Forte da Cruz.

Visiting

Cascais

1

Recom. Days

Main route

35 km

from Lisbon

35 min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Boca do Inferno

Scenic, seaside cliffs with natural rock archway

Praia do Tamariz

Beautiful, sandy beach & medieval castle. Stroll the boulevard

Eat at

Café Galeria House of Wonders

€€

Vegetarian-friendly, Mediterranean mezze, rooftop

Indie Campers has a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Estacionamento do Mercado

€€

Simple lot, walk to centre

Stay at

Orbitur Guincho

€€€

Park and campground close to stunning beach

3

Sintra‘s sweets and picture-perfect palaces

Another easy day trip from Lisbon is Sintra, a must-see on any Portugal road trip itinerary. Plan to make an early start, as there is much to explore!

Nestled into the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, this enchanting region is dotted with pastel palaces like something out of a fairytale. The most famous (at least on Instagram) is the whimsical, multicoloured Pena Palace.

The best photo opps can be found on any of the palace grounds’ winding walkways.

The Moorish Castele, in Sintra, from the top, a main attraction on your Lisbon Road Trip

Another worthwhile stop is the Gothic masterpiece Quinta da Regaleira, with its many underground passageways, mysterious Masonic history, and spooky Initiation Well.

Back in the centre of Sintra town are many exceptional restaurants and cafés to tempt you. Be sure to try a few local sweets, like travesseiro (a flaky, almond-flavoured cake) and queijadas (sweet, flour-crusted cakes filled with cheese and cinnamon).

Visiting

Sintra

1 - 2

Recom. Days

Main route

20 km

from Cascais

30 min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Parque e Palácio Nacional da Pena

Colourful palace you know from Instagram

Quinta da Regaleira

Mystical palace with underground passages

Azenhas do Mar

Incredibly cute seaside town near Sintra

Praia da Adraga

Scenic beach along Sintra's coast

Eat at

Incomum

€€

Fusion fare by esteemed chef Luís Santos

Refúgio do Ciclista

Classic Portuguese grill, hidden in nearby village

Piriquita

Dessert shop for local sweets

Indie Campers has a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Estacionamento Calçada da Pena

€€

Simple lot near Pena palace

Stay at

Area Camper Sintra

Very basic but close to town

4

Surf’s up in Ericeira, with a side trip to Mafra

The final stop on this short-but-sweet road trip from Lisbon is the surf town of Ericeira and its neighbour, Mafra.

Another early start is in order, to join the morning wave of surfers who flock to its sandy coastline. If you’re a novice, head to the southern beach Foz do Lizandro for a lesson among beginner-friendly breaks.

When you’ve had your fill of sun and surf, join the locals for a lazy breakfast or brunch back in town.

Beautiful beach with a hotel in backgroud and seaweed on the sand is a destination of your Lisbon Road Trip

Day trips from Lisbon often pair Ericeira with a few hours in nearby Mafra.

The main attraction here is the sprawling National Palace, an opulent monument to Baroque period architecture. In addition to its sumptuous palace, the complex is home to a magnificent monastery, church, and library.

Visiting

Ericeira and Mafra

1

Recom. Days

Main route

25 km

from Sintra

35 min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Foz do Lizandro

Southern beach at rivermouth, good for a first surf

Praia da Empa

Small beach hidden below towering cliff, expert surf too

Eat at

GiG - Green is Good

€€

Perfect for a late breakfast post-surf

PEARL

€€€

Oyster & wine bar, hip crowd, hipper menu

Stay at

Ericeira Camping

Close to beaches and centre, park and spend the night

Drop-off in
Lisbon depot

45 km

from Ericeira

45 min

drive