Portuguese Road Trip

Portugal is one of Europe’s hidden gems.

Tucked into the Western edge of Spain, it is a country that shares a magnificent coastline with the Atlantic Ocean, with rock cliffs that were once thought by Europeans to be the end of the world.

It also has a lush wine region and the snow capped mountain Serra da Estrela. Because of this, Portugal is an incredible destination for a road trip in Europe.

Consistently ranked by sites like Travel and Leisure, The Auto Channel, and Yahoo Travel as one of the ten best destinations for scenic drives in Europe, Portugal has a number of different road trips that are perfect for any vacation.

Finding beautiful vistas in Portugal is easy, but if you are looking for a bit more guidance as to where you would want to start your road trip, consider some of these top destinations.

Estoril Coast

The Estoril Coast. Photo: http://2009.dsn.org/

The Estoril Coast. Photo: http://2009.dsn.org/

Estoril is a resort community on the Atlantic Ocean located not very far from the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. This beautiful seaside spot has been the destination for the rich, famous and royal for centuries in Portugal, which just goes to show how truly beautiful the region is.

After spending a few hours or a few days relaxing among the crashing waves, jump back in the car and head to Cabo da Roca, which has the distinction of being the Westernmost point on the European Mainland.

From there, continue on to some of the nearby little fishing villages of Cascais and enjoy some of the freshest seafood you could find anywhere in the world.

Sintra

The castles of Sintra. Photo: http://www.beachcomberpete.com/

The castles of Sintra. Photo: http://www.beachcomberpete.com/

An perfect day trip for those who are looking for a car rental in order to get out of Lisbon for a few hours would have to be to Sintra. This place is very special in the hearts of the Portuguese, as the region is actually classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Located only about 25 or so miles from Lisbon, it heads up into the cooler mountain breezes and was another place that was often inhabited by royals on holiday.

The town of Sintra is filled with historic and incredible castles, including the Castelo dos Mouros, Pena National Palace and Sintra National Palace, which have stood in these spots for centuries.

Douro Valley

The beautiful Douro Valley. Photo: http://www.cntraveller.com/

The beautiful Douro Valley. Photo: http://www.cntraveller.com/

For wine lovers, Portugal is a fantastic and off the beaten path place to explore new wineries and vineyards.

Named for the river that flows down into Portugal from Spain and out to the Atlantic at the town of Porto. Because of this fertile river valley, this region is blessed with just the right micro-climate to produce and abundance of grapes, olives and almonds.

Now, the region is home to Port wine, and produces some of the very best in the world. There are many quintas, or small vineyards, that dot the region and have been family owned for generations, who are quite welcoming to visitors looking to taste more of their special blends.

These three trips are only a few of the opportunities that are available to any visitor to Portugal who is looking to explore a bit of the country.

As Portugal is much smaller in size and scope than some of their other European neighbors, it makes for the perfect destination to spend just a few hours exploring.

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