If you travel from Madrid to Lisbon by car, whether for work or leisure, don't just do the non-stop route, follow All About Portugal route suggestion and surprise yourself. Between castles, medieval towns that enchant, unmissable monuments and snacks to eat and die for, this itinerary, adaptable to several days depending on your availability, will amaze you. The kids are not forgotten, as we've included an Animal Reserve that will keep them excited throughout their trip from Madrid to Lisbon. We start in Elvas, very close to Spain, following the wonderful deep Alentejo, and end, for a well-deserved rest, at the best viewpoint overlooking Lisbon and the Tagus River.
Elvas Historic Centre
Very close to Spain, we find Elvas, the largest fortified city in Europe, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Its privileged location, close to the border, made it the stage of decisive battles, being delimited by bastioned fortifications, in the shape of a star. Start at the Castle and discover the enchanting Historic Centre, ending at the Amoreira Aqueduct.
Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa
The journey from Madrid to Lisbon is not complete without a visit to the charming Vila Viçosa, where the House of the Dukes of Bragança was established, which deserves a stop to discover its historical heritage. Be sure to visit the Ducal Palace, with a surprising marble façade, a noble material that is very important in the region's economy, as well as its Castle and the Bento de Jesus Caraças Museum. It is also an ideal destination for lunch.
Winery of Borba
On the way to Estremoz, make a stop in Borba, more specifically at its Winery, where you can visit or have a wine tasting. Founded in 1955, this was the first of a series of wineries established in the Alentejo, currently bringing together 300 winegrowers, who cultivate around 2,000 hectares of vines. We recommend a wine tasting accompanied by a selection of other regional products.
Known as Alentejo’s “white city”, Estremoz stands out in the landscape for its white houses on a hill, surrounded by the walled precincts of the old citadel. In addition to the Castle, be sure to visit the superb Keep, which stands imposingly in the centre, in white marble from the region, 27 metres high.
Medieval Village of Évora Monte
Medieval village with seven centuries of history, the name Évora Monte results from its location, on a hill 500 metres above sea level. Going up the alleys, through the white houses, you reach the centre of the fortified city, where the Castle and the Ducal Palace stand. The panoramic views from this location, right at the highest point of the hill, are breathtaking and promise to be the highlights of your trip from Madrid to Lisbon.
Temple of Diana, Évora
In Évora, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, there are so many monuments and places of interest that it is difficult to point out its crown jewel, but if it exists, it is the Roman Temple of Diana, built in the 1st century and destroyed during the 5th century. Let yourself be carried away by its narrow streets, which sooner or later lead to the famous Praça do Giraldo. Be sure to visit the Cathedral, the Capela dos Ossos (Bones Chapel) and the Church of São Francisco.
Monte Selvagem, Montemor-o-Novo
For those who are making this trip with children, we have added to this itinerary a tourist attraction that will delight the youngest. We are talking about Monte Selvagem, an Animal Reserve located in Montemor-o-Novo. In its approximately 20 hectares, there are about 300 animals, distributed among 70 wild and domestic species. After this stop, we are sure that the trip with the kids will continue more smoothly.
Café Boavista – Bifanas de Vendas Novas
We couldn't go through Vendas Novas without tasting the famous Bifanas of Vendas Novas. Café Boavista is the oldest space in the Capital of the Bifana (a type of pork sandwich) to make this famous delicacy. A great place to rest from the trip and comfort your stomach.
Arrábida Natural Park
The next stop is at the magnificent Arrábida Natural Park, a biogenetic reserve located by the sea, covering the municipalities of Setúbal, Palmela and Sesimbra. It extends for 35 kilometres, with its highest point being 501 metres above sea level, at Pico do Formosinho. You can simply drive, walk along the trails, relax on its wonderful beaches, or visit its monuments, such as the Arrábida Convent, the Sesimbra Castle and the Palmela Castle.
National Shrine of Christ the King, Almada
We finish our tour in Almada, at the National Shrine of Christ the King, with one of the best views over the municipalities of Lisbon and Almada. On sunny days, you can still glimpse part of Sintra and Sesimbra. Here, with open arms 133 metres above the level of the Tagus River, stands a 28-metre-high statue of the Holy Redeemer, the work of sculptor Francisco Franco de Sousa. A blessed end to the journey.