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Porto and surrounding area

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We are two mid-60's couples, been travelling together for many years, and will be in Portugal and NW Spain (Galicia only), the last 2 weeks of September. We will have a total of 15 nights, and the general plan is, after landing in Lisbon, go directly to Porto, or to an area nearby, for 4 nights, then move on to Santiago de Compostela for 4 nights, and finish with a full week in Lisbon.

We are uncertain on the best way to visit Porto. We are debating whether to stay in the city, with no car, or stay in a smaller town nearby and have a car. We'd probably want to take at least one day and visit some wineries in the Douro Valley, but that could be done from either location, and I suppose we could rent a car for the day if we were in the city and did not already have one.

My question is, would Porto be a good base with enough to keep us busy for 2 full days within the city, and then have the third day for the Douro Valley? Or is one full day in Porto enough to see most things of interest? Are there any interesting towns with 20 - 30 minutes of the city where it would be nice to stay, with decent restaurants, etc?

We will be doing a lot of research on line and via guidebooks, but was interested to know the opinions of any Fodorites experienced in this area.

Thanks!

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