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14 days in Portugal with teens and Grandma


Dec 9th, 2017, 05:05 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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14 days in Portugal with teens and Grandma


I've been reading posts all morning and feel like many people have suggested similar itineraries, but I want to see if I'm on the right track. We are in our mid-40's and will be travelling with a 13 year old, 15 year old and 73 year old, who is pretty active.

We've traveled a bit, not extensively exactly, but we did an 8 week trip to France & Italy when the kids were 7 and 9, so we have a little bit of experience with driving abroad, how to balance moving around with relaxing, combining bigger cities with smaller towns and beach towns, etc. On that trip we had one 10 hour drive (which we were advised not to do, but did anyway) and we were all fine with it! So we do have a good sense of what we can handle.

My plan:
Day 0 - Arrive Lisbon midday - 1/2 day, walk around a bit - sleep in Lisbon
Day 1 - Full day Lisbon - guided walking tour - sleep in Lisbon
Day 2 - Day trip to Sintra - sleep in Lisbon
Day 3 - Belem (is this a half day? full day?) - sleep in Lisbon
Day 4 - Day trip to Cascais & Estoril - sleep in Lisbon
Day 5 - pick up rental car and drive to Nazare, stop in Obidos on the way - sleep in Nazare
Day 6 - morning trip to Fatima, afternoon in Nazare - sleep in Nazare
Day 7 - depart Nazare, drive to Porto, stop in Coimbra - sleep in Porto
Day 8 - full day Porto - sleep in Porto
Day 9 - depart Porto for Lagos/Algarve - stop in Evora (I know this is a long day - should we overnight in Evora?) - sleep in Lagos
Day 10 - beach day - sleep in Lagos
Day 11 - tour Algarve - sleep in Lagos
Day 12 - beach day - sleep in Lagos
Day 14 - drive back to Lisbon and depart

I think we would like to see Batalha Monastery and maybe Tomar (same day as Fatima?). I know *I* would like to see those sights, not sure about my kids! Do I have time to squeeze those in? Can I squeeze Conimbriga in too? Is Alcobaca a must do? I don't know how many monasteries this group can handle.

It might seem to some that we have a lot of time in Algarve, but I really do want to decompress at the end of our trip. I'm trying to avoid changing hotels/apartments too many times. The kids really don't like all the packing and unpacking. Is there any place you would add or subtract a night?

Thanks for advice!
cboris is offline  
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Dec 9th, 2017, 06:07 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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I realized I may have left out some details.

We are traveling late June/early July.

And what do we like to do? I always like to see the big, obvious tourist sights so if we see a movie or read a book or see a picture, we recognize things. So maybe monasteries, for instance, might not normally interest me, if it’s beautiful and typical of the area of course I want to see it. We don’t have any specific interests that would lead us to target certain sights.

My favorite way to tour Europe is to have an active morning, enjoy a leisurely lunch, maybe an easy afternoon activity. Down time at some point. Walk a bit before or after a leisurely but not fancy dinner. We can be aggressive but not every day. Anyway hope that helps!
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Dec 9th, 2017, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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We are doing a similar trip in April and a friend who has been before said he loved Evora, so we are spending the night there(actually 2 nights). I will post a report when we finish the trip in early May.

Our friends didn't love Lagos-found it too "touristy", so you might want to read more about it-I can't comment since we haven't been yet. But in general, you kind of see kind of negative comments about much of the Algarve-particularly in the summer. Our time is shorter than yours so we chose to stay in Monchique instead of Lagos, because we are staying at a spa hotel that looks pretty nice-could be a great place to decompress on your way back to catch your flight:

Villa Termal das Caldas de Monchique Spa Resort Caldas de Monchique Monchique Portugal

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Dec 9th, 2017, 12:07 PM
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Belem is a half day. I suggest spending a night in Evora mostly because I loved it! Wished we had another night. The whole area is very beautiful and I think your teens would enjoy the cork trees and all the products made with cork. Sounds like a great trip!
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Dec 9th, 2017, 03:30 PM
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Try to see Alcobaça. We preferred it a lot more than Batalha. It is stark and simple, beautiful. Belem may take a little more half day. Lots to see there.
In Coimbra, make sure to visit the historic University Library.
Nazare is wonderful especially with kids.
Yes, spend a night in Evora! We wish we had spent more time there. The Parador is excellent.
Why go all the way to the Algarve, rather find a beach resort on the coast nearer to Lisbon.
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Dec 10th, 2017, 10:38 AM
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Thanks for your replies!

jpie, I can't wait to read your report! I do have a feeling that we'll like Evora and wish we had more time there. The spa resort in the Algarve does look lovely and it's a great price. I'll do some more research on where to stay in the Algarve. I picked Lagos based on Rick Steve's description of it, but I've never used a Rick Steve's guide book so I don't even know if I will like his suggestions!

HappyTrvlr - Thanks for the info on Alcobaca vs Batalha. I won't book anything that is timed for our Belem day, so we won't feel rushed, but I'll allot about a 1/2 day for it. I'm glad to hear the kids will like Nazare, that is one of the places I was questioning. I will definitely keep it on the itinerary.

About Algarve, it's not just that I want to go to any beach, I really do want to see this area. Everyone I've known personally who went there loved it. But I do know that it's far out of the way. I'll have to think more about it!
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Dec 10th, 2017, 11:42 AM
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Nazare is great - great beach and IME fresh fish being grilled on streets for sale. An old town with character. But how far is Fatima from there - seems like a long way.

But you have a wonderful itinerary all in all.
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