~ 3 Week Portugal itinerary feedback

Old Feb 25th, 2022, 09:32 PM
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~ 3 Week Portugal itinerary feedback

Hi, all,

I am planning a third trip to Portugal. As context, in previous trips I have been to Lisbon/Sintra/Estoril, Fatima, Coimbra and Porto, as well as Vilamoura in the Algarve. So, this draft itinerary skips Porto and limits time in the Lisbon area. Any feedback on the itinerary (cities, sequencing of cities, nights in a place or hotel recommendations) are greatly appreciated.

Nights 1-4 (4 nights): Fly into Faro; stay in Vilamoura area (beach time)
Nights 5-6 (2 nights): Western Algarve (Lagos?) as a base
Nights 7-9 (3 nights): Evora (base for Evora, Monsaraz
Night 10 (1 night): Marvao or Castelo de Vide (stopping at Estremoz en route)
Nights 11-12 (2 nights): Viseu or Lemago (or elsewhere near/in the Duoro Valley)
Nights 13-14 (2 nights): Guimaraes
[any recommendation to stay somewhere for a night or two between Guimaraes and Tomar/Obidos?]
Nights 15-16 (2 nights): staying in one of these cities: Tomar, Obidos or Batalha
Nights 16-19 or 20 (3-4 nights): Lisbon or Estoril

Again, any thoughts on cities/locations I have chosen, duration of stay, sequencing of travel, and any favorite lodging in these cities are all appreciated.

Thanks.
John H

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Old Feb 28th, 2022, 08:00 PM
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Topping -- any thoughts or reactions welcomed. Thanks.

John H
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Old Feb 28th, 2022, 08:22 PM
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I would definitely stay in Lisbon instead of Estoril. Lisbon is such a wonderful city with interesting neighborhoods for exploring and wandering. Many great sites including some wonderful museums such as the Gulbenkian Museum. And many, many wonderful restaurants to choose from. If you like seafood, I highly recommend Cerveceria Ramiro, recommended by Anthony Bourdain. I would spend at least 4 nights in Lisbon. Are you interested in Sintra? Close to Lisbon and has some interesting and lovely castles, gardens, etc. About 5 major sites.

I haven't been anywhere else yet in Portugal.
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Old Mar 1st, 2022, 04:58 AM
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Just a couple of thoughts. We loved Guimaraes. We were there three nights and used it to visit Braga (one day) and Bom Jesus do Monte & Mosteiro de Tibaes (another day) as well as spend time in Guimaraes. We had a car & stayed in a great AirBnB that included parking- https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3243801...sts=1&adults=1 . Dinner at Duho was a highlight of the trip.

We visited Lamego & Amarante on our way from Guimaraes to Viseu. I unfortunately fell on the steps in Lamego & broke my foot so we ended up staying much longer in Viseu to visit the doctor (and having to skip the Evora part of our trip to go home early). But we did enjoy Viseu. The least touristy place we visited. Lots of street art which we loved. We stayed at a BnB called Bemyguest. Great location and the owner was so helpful with reservations and offering to translate at the hospital. We enjoyed dinner at 100 Papas na língua (a steakhouse a very short hobble from the BnB) and lunch at Taberna D. Maria.

We stayed just one night in Tomar (our arrival night) and visited Batalha Monastery on our way out of town on the way to Coimbra.

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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 04:27 PM
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Thanks for the responses.

KarenWoo, I visited Lisbon, Estoril and Sintra on a previous trip. I like a particular hotel in Estoril (Palacio de Estoril) and its location, so just want to revisit that for a final few relaxing days. Thanks for the museum and restaurant recommendation.

valgalchi, thanks for your thoughts. I especially appreciate the comments on Guimaraes and Viseu, as I was debating whether I should stay in both places or whether I should stay in Lemago, Pinhao or Pesa de Regua (which I perceived to be perhaps the heart of the Douro Valley). If I can visit those places relatively easily from Viseu (Looks like 60-90 minutes away) in nice countryside, then staying put in those locations will work very well for me. I am thinking I can use Tomar or Obidos as a base to visit those two places plus Obidos.

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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 05:10 PM
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jh600,
I've traveled often to the Douro Valley and know all three--Lamego, which is not on the Douro River but just a bit inland, and south of (Peso da) Régua, the largest town on the river, but I prefer much smaller Pinhão for its scenery in the most prestigious area, the Cima Corgo, for the short river cruise options and its accessibility to wine estates and nice dining and lodging choices. I'm a proponent of staying in the Douro or if you can't, take the easier day trip from Porto.

I do know and like Viseu and want to return to stay in its lovely Pousada, but for me it would be a one night visit.
I've also stayed in Tomar for 2 nights, at the Hotel dos Templarios (only because my BFF traveling companion wanted a pool) and the nice Hotel Thomar Boutique is another option.

But my favorite city of all and the cradle of Portuguese nationality is Guimarães in the Minho, for its history. The very pretty historic quarter, mostly pedestrianized, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it's monument and museum filled--the Sampaio religious art museum is excellent, there's the castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, there's a cable car to reach the Penha hilltop and a wonderfully historic 12th century monastery-turned-Pousada.
From Guimarães there are multiple touring options: to the Citânia de Briteiros celtic settlement ruins, to the religious capital of Braga, Portugal's 3rd largest city, to Ponte de Lima for its enormous market taking over the town every fortnight on Mondays, the Thursday market at Barcelos, the pretty town of Viana do Castelo....so much to do and see in the Minho.

For the western Algarve, I've used Lagos as a base to explore the beautiful and mostly deserted beaches of the protected Costa Vicentina, the Ponte de Piedade and cliff walks and the lighthouse at Cabo de São Vicente. Lagos has plenty of services, including boat trips and good restaurants. We stayed at the Quinta Bonita estate just west of town but in town there are several 4-star hotel options, including the Vivenda Miranda overlooking the cliffs and the beach at Praia de Porto Mos.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 07:56 PM
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Hi, Maribel,

Thanks so much for all of your wonderful thoughts/input. A few follow-up questions:
  • If you were to stay in the Douro Valley (I assume rather than staying in Viseu), would you have any lodging recommendations?
  • Is 2 nights in Guimaraes sufficient, or should I add a third?
  • Looks like a couple nights in Tomar makes sense to visit Batalha, Obidos and Tomar. Is that correct?
Thanks for the Lagos recommendations as well. I have tentatively booked the Cascade Wellness Lagos,but am definitely open to other options.

John H
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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 08:10 PM
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JH6000, When you were in Lisbon previously, did you eat at the Time Out Market? If not, that's another place I recommend for meals. There are tons of food stalls and small restaurants. We ate at Monte Mar, one of the best meals of our trip. Delicious fresh fish and shellfish!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 09:19 PM
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OP JH,
My info is now 34 yrs old, but we enjoyed remote Marvao, the Bucacao forest/hotel (a must for wine lovers) and also the beach village Salema. Some folks are now claiming that the latter has become over-commercialized---dunno.
Have you considered Madeira?
Hope that it all goes well. Be sure to visit an authentic fado club. Maybe catch a Benfica match too!

*Suggested listening: any CD by the young guitar duo 'Dead Combo'. Think noir spaghetti-western instrumentals.

I am done. The Amalia.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2022, 12:02 PM
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jh600,
1. Your lodging choice in the Douro would really depend on your budget and if you're going during the harvest season. I might have missed for what month you plan your trip. During the low season we've stayed at The Vintage House in Pinhão, when rates there are much lower. Each room there has a Juliette balcony facing the river.
For something less expensive there's Quinta de la Rosa, just outside of the town but within walking distance. Not all rooms there have river views, but some buildings do have a terrace. With a car, I would choose the Mark, Tim, Alex and Jack superior rooms, as each has its own parking space.

We've also stayed happily at the Quinta do Pégo, a 10-15 min. drive from Pinhão, where all the rooms have sit out terraces with extraordinary views.

2. Whether to spend 2 or 3 nights in Guimarães would depend on how much of the northern Minho you would want to see. With 2 nights, on your first full day you can visit the monuments/museums in town and the morning of departure drive out to the Citânia de Briteiros, if that appeals. With an extra day you could tour Braga or other points mentioned above.

3. Yes, you can use your time in Tomar to visit the Convento de Cristo, the Templars' castle, and other sights and make a day trip to Batalha & Alcobaça (an hour's drive to the furthest point). For me Obidos merits about 2 hours, as it gets very, very crowded with day trippers. To do all 3 in the same driving loop would be too much for me, as I wouldn't give justice to Batalha and Alcobaça. That driving loop without the stops to visit the monuments, just straight driving alone, would take 3 hours.

As to Lisbon restaurants, we like very much--
Taberna Rua das Flores, Cantinho de Avillez and Bairro de Avillez in the Chiado neighborhood,
Prado near the cathedral (the gastronomic blog Mesa Marcada's number 2 restaurant in Portugal),
Tasca da Esquina in the Campo de Ourique neighborhood,
Tapisco and A Cevicheria in Principe Real,
Sr. Lisboa, tucked away on an eastern side street just off the Avenida da Liberdade,
Ibo with delicious cuisine from Goa and Mozambique and with lovely water views near the Cais de Sodré,
Ramiro's in Intendente for seafood (email them for a reservation at 7:30 or before--they do take reservations then so you don't have to stand in line)
and for great seafood in Belém there's Nunes Real Marisqueira, and of course, the irresistible pastéis de Belém.

As far as the Time Out Market is concerned, when we've hit it at the wrong times, when it's extremely crowded and hard to find a table, we go upstairs in the same building to the more restful Pap'Açórda, with well spaced tables and views.
https://www.timeoutmarket.com/lisboa...k/papa-acorda/

For fado I've only been to Clube de Fado in the Alfama and Senhor Vinho in the Lapa district.




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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 09:00 PM
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Thanks to all of you for the very helpful input. I am close to finalizing my itinerary. Here is the updated version:

Nights 1-4 (4 nights): Fly into Faro; stay in Quarteira (beach time) - (Dom Jose Beach Hotel)
Nights 5-6 (2 nights): Faro (Palacio Estoi)
Nights 7-9 (3 nights): Evora (base for Evora, Monsaraz) (Albergaria De Calvario)
Night 10 (1 night): Marvao (Dom Dinis Hotel)
Nights 11-12 (2 nights): Viseu (Pousada Viseu)
Nights 13-14 (2 nights): Pinho (Casa do Visconde de Chanceleiros)
Nights 15-16 (2 nights) Guimaraes (Pousada Mosterio de Guimaraes)

Nights 16-18 (2 nights): staying in or near one of these cities: Tomar, Obidos, Nazare, Batalha (lodging recommendations welcome!)
Nights 18-20 (2 nights): Lisbon (TBD -- probably a Marriott brand - suggestions welcome!) or Estoril (Palacio Estoril)

Any final thoughts are welcome, whether related to lodging or memorable restaurants or sights in or near these places.

Thanks again!
John H
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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 10:57 PM
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John,
Is there a particular reason for the switch of hotels in the Algarve?

I like all your other choices very much. I know them all.

For Tomar, I recommend the Thomar Boutique Hotel. You can make just a day trip to small Obidos, as it doesn't take much time to see but I would get an early start before the tour buses arrive. Tourism is roaring back in Portugal!

For a Marriott branded hotel in Lisbon, fI recommend the new THE IVENS, a beautifully decorated property on a quiet and very central and nice street in Chiado. I got a tour of it yesterday and was very impressed. It has a cozy feel, attentive service and a stunningly decorated restaurant getting solid reviews. I like it much more than the rather cold and dark Fontecruz, just down the street from where I'm staying on the Avenida da Liberdade. THE IVENS is a winner!



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Old Mar 15th, 2022, 10:54 AM
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Hi, Maribel,

Thanks, as always, for your insights and input.

While I would prefer staying in Lagos versus Estoi, But I have two Hyatt free night certificates I need to use. I'll look for alternate uses for my Europe trip, but for now Palacio Estoi had availability and looked like a good place to use my free stays. (I could not use at Guimaraes -- maybe that will open up as things get closer).

Thanks for the Tomar and Lisbon recommendations. Will definitely check them out!

John H
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Old Mar 15th, 2022, 10:57 PM
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Hi jh6000,
I knew there must be a very good reason to switch to Estoi.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2022, 11:00 AM
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I'm curious about any suggestions any of you may have for day trips, especially from the following bases:
  • Vilamoura/Faro - what places along the Algarve would your prioritize?
  • Evora (how much time exploring the city itself versus day trips (and where to for those day trips)
If any of you have additional tips for Viseu/Guimaraes or Tomar -- beyond what has already been suggested or to reinforce what has been suggested -- that would be welcome as well.

Finally, any favorite dining spots (any budget) in the places I will be visiting?

Thanks, as always, for the great community input!

John H
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Old Mar 24th, 2022, 04:44 AM
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We had a great dinner at Duho in Guimarães. Definitely recommeneded.
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Old Mar 25th, 2022, 08:58 AM
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For Evora,
You can actually see most of the sights, Temple of Diana, Cathedral, Chapel of Bones, Museum in a day. But we have used Evora several times as a base for excursions;
1. to see the dolmens and the megaliths in the surrounding area. Evora Megalitica gives an excellent guided tour of the ones near Guadalupe, the Cromeleque dos Almendres.
https://www.visitevora.net/en/.


2. to the lovely Castelo de Vide with tiny synagogue and castle in ruins up in the Serra São Mamede and neighboring Marvão, the spectacular eagle's nest, the fortress town sitting next to the Spain border. Truly impressive views!

3. to the stud farm of Alter Real to see the Lusitano horses
https://alterreal.pt/en/tourism-e-visitation

4. to do wine touring at the various Quintas (wine estates) nearby, our favorite being Herdade de Esporão, although Adega Cartuxa is right outside of Evora.
https://www.esporao.com/en/winetourism/.

5. To the marble towns of Estremoz and Vila Viçosa. We've stayed in the historic Posadas in each town. Estremoz holds its handicrafts market on Saturdays. One can tour the Dukes of Bragança palace in Vila Viçosa
https://visitestremoz.com/2020/04/20...alentejo-town/.
https://www.fcbraganca.pt/en/visit-us/.

6. to take a tour of a cork farm (this is cork country and its largest producer is Amorim)
https://www.corktrekking.com.

7. If you want to buy an exquisite hand woven tapestry/rug (tapete), the town of Arrailos is the place (a 3 x 5 will set you back about 500 euros!)
Casa dos Tapetes de Arraiolos – Tapetes de Arraiolos.
The town also has a castle and nearby wineries (Ravasqueira) and a Pousada, where one can drop in and visit its beautiful blue & white tile-covered chapel.

8. The village of Montemor-o-Novo also has an interesting castle

For more things to do in Evora here's info from Julie Dawn Fox-
https://juliedawnfox.com/things-to-do-evora-portugal/.

For dining in Estremoz, we like Gadanha.

For dining in Portalegre up in the Serra São Mamede, we really enjoyed the Solar do Forçado for great grilled meats (the skewers are terrific), owned by a former bull fighter (well, sort of a bull wrestler). Very atmospheric and a Bib Gourmand for value in the Michelin guide.
https://www.viamichelin.es/web/Busca...rcado-t2n8csro

For Evora dining, we always enjoy the Enoteca Cartuxa for its excellent wines and small plates, near the Cathedral
For gourmet dining in a tiny space with one of the city's best chefs there's Origens (must reserve because the high end biking touring companies, like Backroads, take their guests there).

Also for wines and small plates,
Dona Laura Vinhos & Petiscos
Tábua & Barro do Naldo

For very traditional cuisine
Taberna Típica Quarta-Feira

Hope this helps.



Last edited by Maribel; Mar 25th, 2022 at 09:07 AM.
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Old Mar 27th, 2022, 04:11 AM
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Oh, Maribel, this last post is so very helpful! I’ve been thinking about how to organize our 3 nights in Evora and our night in Marvao, and now you’ve given some great options. I’ll need to come back and ask more questions when it’s time to fine tune.
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Old Mar 27th, 2022, 10:06 AM
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Yo Progol,
When in Marvao, maybe check out its cistern. The echoes inside there are strong. If your phone has any kind of audio-recording capability, you'd be able to 'tape' some sounds then that'd serve as a unique audio souvenir of your visit.
I am done. The end.
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Old Mar 28th, 2022, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by zebec View Post
Yo Progol,
When in Marvao, maybe check out its cistern. The echoes inside there are strong. If your phone has any kind of audio-recording capability, you'd be able to 'tape' some sounds then that'd serve as a unique audio souvenir of your visit.
I am done. The end.
Thanks! “Sounds” very intriguing. We’ll make sure to check this out.
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