Trip report of our April/May trip to Portugal on http://rebeccasnyder.com/19-days-in-portugal.htm. Plenty of pictures there and too many probably on my flickr photostream. We joked that we were "eating our way through Portugal" we had so much fun with ALL the terrific food.
10 nights in Lisbon with excursions to Sintra and Belem and 2 days driving north and south.
2 nights in Evora
2 nights in Coimbra
2 nights in Pinhao
(then 18 days in northwest Spain before back to Portugal)
3 nights in Porto
For anyone planning a similar trip, I'd say that this trip would have been better with 3 night stays instead of the 2-2-2 we had for Evora, Coimbra & Pinhao.
Portugal was a friendly, easy country to visit. We loved it. Strangers on the street volunteer to help out if you look like you're looking for something. A bonus - English channels on TV! Portugal doesn't have the resources to dub over all the movies and TV programming. Another bonus - because they have American English language TV, most of the young people speak exactly the same as you do. Slang and all.
Driving: We had our little VW Polo rental car for 28 days and a total of 4,250 kilometers (2,264 miles). Picked up the car in Lisbon, dropped off in Porto. The Via Verde transponder was terrific, no worries about tolls. The roads outside of the cities were practically empty and the infamous Portuguese drivers non-existent. Tip: When you pass a car do your best to ensure you don't have any cars coming up behind you. YOU are probably going the speed limit, and the locals are NOT. If you pull out to pass and get in someone's way of course they are going to be right on your tail. Driving is far, far worse in California - we see crazy every day in SoCal, people weaving in and out of traffic - nothing like that in Portugal. It was a breeze.
Best things about the trip:
Portugese pastries and coffee
Outside of the cities and towns, no traffic
Excellent empty roads
Worst things about the trip:
Excruciatingly crowded Trolley 15E to Belem
Crowded and short ride on Tram 28
Would I change anything?:
Portinho da Arrabida isn't worth the hassle on a holiday if you're only stopping for a look
I'd skip the Gulbenkian Centro de Arte Moderna, next door to the Gulbenkian
Drive to Tomar first, then Fátima, Batalha, and Alcobaça
Our travel style - we plan all our own trips and use award miles for travel, so we HAVE to have a general idea of where we want to go FAR in advance. After getting our airline award tickets I have plenty of time to put together an itinerary. Resources like Fodor's and the forums - especially other people's trip reports - are a huge help! When back, I like to write up the trip on my site for my own amusement - I don't run ads or have any monetary motivation - it's just fun!
Happy planning and thanks everyone who has contributed
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