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6 days in Portugal - Itinerary help needed!

6 days in Portugal - Itinerary help needed!

Jun 1st, 2010, 03:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 7
6 days in Portugal - Itinerary help needed!

We will fly from Barcelona to Lisbon on July 19 and have to leave on July 25. Questions: What is the easiest way to get around -- train or car?
We plan 2 days in Lisbon and then are interested in several other cities, including Sintra, Porto, Cascais, Obidos, Estoril, Braga, Faro, Alto Alentejo. I know this is too much, so any help narrowing down to the top 3 (other than Lisbon) or so will be appreciated. We are on a budget and suggestions on places to stay will also be appreciated. Thank you!
skill is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2010, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 146
Was in portugal july '09! Lisbon was our base, and we went to obidos, sintra and tomar. Lisbon has excellent transportation options ( subway, trams, trolleys, bus, etc.). It is the city of 7 hills and 7 trillion cobblestones so, wear comfortable shoes. You can get day passes at subway stations for unlimited travel in lisbon. Cabs are of course available but watch out for "crooked" cabbies. Keep your eye on the meter, especially as your ride is about to end.

To be sure, sintra is an outstanding destination!!!!!!! You can get there by subway & transfer to rail. Sintra is the last stop and buses next to train station take you up into the mountains to see village, national palace, castle of the moors and the fairytale-like 19th century palace of the port royal family. The moors castle in more like ramparts, like a mini Great Wall of china. Requires much stamina, care and balance to walk ramparts especially if high winds. If eating in the village of sintra, try asking the locals where they eat, i think the restaurants on the main streets are a bit touristy.

Obidos is a beautiful town whose center is walled in. Very picturesque (ie. bring your camera). You can walk entirely around the town center on the wall's ramparts. It's the kind of place that takes you to another place & time. Has a pub with a dark-interior and loads of portugese wines etc. If based in lisbon, you can get to obidos by subway and the bus. Take the bus!!!! The rail drops you off & then there's a real walk. The bus will take you to Caldas da Rainha & you transfer there to the bus to obidos which drops you off right in front of the portal into the walled part of town. Caution: find out bus return times first as service decreases dramatically later in the day! On the first bus, sit on the left side as you will see obidos as you near caldas da rainha.

I forget the exact subway stations to make these transfers to sintra & obidos, but you can ask (there's a tourist office at subway station "Santa Applonia). Lisbon is a fascinating city with so much to offer. If going to a fado club you have many choices. We went into the somewhat seedy neighborhood biarro alto to listen to fado. it was a real adventure!

Enjoy your trip & try to eat pasteis at the famous place in belem. they are the best availble. Many english speakers in lisbon but fewer in other places. Oh, i think you can get to cascais by getting the subway to station "Cais de Sodre." It's a major transportation hub with rail service to cascais! ENJOY!!!
utrechtman is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2010, 07:04 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 64
Echoing utrechtman's comments, Lisbon has excellent public transit - subway and trams. We also had a wonderful visit to Sintra - again, I'd follow utrechtman's suggestions.

In total, my wife and I spent a 2 weeks in Portugal last year. After six days in Lisbon and surrounds, we took the train to Porto for three days. We used public transit, taxis and hop-on hop-off buses in Porto - the street pattern is very confusing if you're a tourist - too confusing to drive and park. After Porto, we rented a car and spent two days touring the Duoro Valley - the wine country is beautiful. We then drove to Evora for three days - try to visit Evora if you can - it's a wonderful, quiet, medieval town.

On our final day, we left Evora after breakfast, returned our rental car at the Lisbon airport, and checked in for our afternoon flight with plenty of time to spare. A really nice visit.
mobilemc is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2010, 09:34 AM
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Join Date: May 2010
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Thank you so much for your detailed suggestions. I am getting excited and have a feeling that a return trip will be required!
skill is offline  
Jun 4th, 2010, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 146
I'm a photographer. If you go to my website [atenprophoto.com] and click on the "Travel" gallery, you can see some of my portugal photos:
#1 - Lisbon: trolley to biarro alto (high neighborhood)
#5 - Lisbon: street scene
#6 - Obidos: white-washed building
#8 - Lisbon: night scene in biarro alto
#11 - Sintra: Port. National palace (twin kitchen chimneys)
#12 - Lisbon: front window biarro alto trolley
#17 - Lisbon: famous elavator to biarro alto
#18 - Obidos: walls & buildings
#22 - Tomar: town square
#34 - Lisbon: street scene
utrechtman is offline  
Jun 4th, 2010, 08:17 PM
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utrechtman -- thank you so much for sharing the photos. I really enjoyed that.
skill is offline  
Jun 5th, 2010, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 146
skill - okay, and once again... enjoy your trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!
utrechtman is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
You're right that you can't do all these places in 6 days. We spent 6 days in and around Porto several years back, and it was great just going slow. So slow that we in fact missed Braga, even. Only drive a couple of hundred miles total.

Of course, northern Portugal is not as hot as Lisbon and environs, but given that you're flying to Lisbon, I would suggest skipping Porto and Braga and sticking to the south/central area.
WWanderer is offline  
Jun 27th, 2010, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 8
Talking about sticking to the south / central area , do find someone to take you hiking in the Sintra - Cascais Natural Park. I've just finished hiking a season here (April-June) and it was the most exciting thing I've done in the last 10 years!
patcarmo is offline  
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