My first trip was a cycle tour that took us from Lisbon into the interior part of the country and my second trip was a hike along the coast, from Lisbon to Sagres, in the Southern Algarve.
A few recommendations:
- The towns of Cascais and Sintra are both less than 30 minutes from Lisbon and are a must-see. You also don't want to miss the Sintra-Cascais Nature Park and the Pena National Palace, both located nearby.
- The Rota Vinentina or Fisherman's Trail is absolutely stunning. True to it's name, it's the trail that local fishermen take to find the best spots but also used by hikers to access some amazing terrain. I'd also highly recommend exploring some of the small fishing villages along the trail.
- The town of Evora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is incredibly well preserved, giving you a glimpse back in time. Make sure to check out the Capela dos Ossos, one of the best known monuments in town.
Lastly, make sure to save some time and spend a couple of days in Lisbon, which is, by far, my favorite city is Europe. It is a beautiful city with so many things to see. I'd highly recommend starting with one of the bus tours, it really helped me to get a sense of the city and it's history. Plus, I was able to make a list of what I wanted to go back to see.
Have wonderful trip! I hope that you enjoy Portugal as much as I did.
That's a great question! I have not ever rented a car myself, since I was part of a tour during both visits.
Public transportation in Lisbon was great, as you might expect with any big city, and Portugal has a network of trains that connects the different cities.
However, if you are looking to visit some of the more remote areas (Sintra-Cascais Natural Park or the Fisherman's Trail) or smaller towns, you might want to explore the option of renting a car. From what I have heard, it is relatively easy.
I hope this helps!