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8-10 days in Portugal

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Mar 30th, 2014, 06:58 PM
  #1
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8-10 days in Portugal

My husband and I are looking to visit Portugal in Sept '15. We want to see as much of the country as possible in this short time. Is it better to rent a car or use the train/bus system? We thought we would land in Lisbon, spend 1 night, (we don't usually suffer much from jet lag) then 2 nights in each of Porto, Evora, Faro and back to Lisbon for the last night. We enjoy light hiking, driving thru the country side, architecture, smaller communities. Does this all sound doable? Does anyone have any better suggestions on destinations to say at? I have read that Sintra and the National Park there is a must see. Should we substitute and stay there? Any suggestions would be appreciated!
colleenbee08 is offline  
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Mar 31st, 2014, 06:14 AM
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Don't forget Coimbra and Batalha. A 1 day Douro cruise from Porto might be nice too.
It's easy to go by bus from Evora to Faro, but what should it be good for?
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Mar 31st, 2014, 07:43 AM
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If you want to cover that much ground, you might consider flying in and out of both Lisboa and Porto to save some backtracking. For September 2015 you still have plenty of time to research and decide on your itinerary by watching youtube travelogues, viewing photos and reading guides. I personally think that you're not giving enough time to Lisboa. But I might be biased
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Mar 31st, 2014, 07:56 AM
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All the cities you list have good train service so if only going to them take the train - if wanting to explore more rural areas drive. For lots on Portugal's train system

http://www.cp.pt/cp/displayPage.do?v...c0RCRD&lang=en and for general info these informative sites - www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.seat61.com.

with 8-10 days I would concentrate on Lisbon and Sintra (day trip - not much there besides two famous castles) and either Porto area or Algarve - Faro is just a big city - to savor the Algarve go to old seaside towns like Lagos or Tavira - but beaches are beaches I think Porto is one of the most old-world of towns in Europe - ancient cities with also famous Port wine houses to tour right in the town.

Great day trips from Porto go to Braga and Guimares, the latter a Portugeuse national holy land due to its history of being the center for kings and I believe former capital of it all.
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Mar 31st, 2014, 10:49 AM
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Sintra is a short day trip by commuter train - it is practically in Lisbon so I would not base there if wanting to see Lisbon but vice versa.
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Mar 31st, 2014, 02:17 PM
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Cut Faro perhaps and add those two days to Lisbon where you basically have about one full day.

3 days in Lisbon including one day trip by train to Sintra.
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Mar 31st, 2014, 07:33 PM
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Thankyou all for your ideas and info….perhaps renting a car would suit us as we would like to tour the rural areas, Neckervd maybe using Lisbon as a base for day trips, and then relocate to Porto for another base, then down to the Algarve….you had us at "old seaside town", PalenQ! And, yes BomDiaLisbon, with over a year to plan we have lots of time to familiarize ourselves with the geography and sights we would like to see. It looks as though we would be able to drive between these destinations easily. Or do you think that is too long of a stretch…Lisbon 2 nights/Porto 2/maybe castle Branco area2/Algarve3
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Apr 1st, 2014, 06:53 AM
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with that limited time I'd still say skip the Algarve - a modern beach resort area for the most part - a few towns like Lagos are old-worldish - but I'd spend more time in the Porto area - nice day trips there.

I based once in Nazarre, an old fishing town that makes a good base from which to hop to the famous Batalha monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alcobaca monastery - easy to do by bus or to Coimbra, to me one of the neatest Portuguese towns I've seen - especially the classical-like upper town with the university.

I enjoyed this coastal area more than the Algarve with all the foreign tourists staying in high-rise hotels.

A couple of days there gives you a nice seaside town and two amazing UNESCO sites that are short bus rides away.

Not far from Porto.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazar%C3%A9,_Portugal

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/264 (Batalha)

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/505 (Alcobaca)
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Apr 1st, 2014, 07:21 AM
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I am wondering why you are going to Lisbon at all other than for its airport. I actually quite like the city and have enjoyed being there for a full week (I'd be happy to live there!), but it seems pretty obvious that you are not attracted to Lisbon or perhaps cities in general. No need to satisfy anybody else on this trip and if you typically don't suffer from jet lag, then you could pick up a car at the Lisbon airport and drive to the kind of place that suits you. Right now I think your itinerary is really too many short stops without getting the flavor of any one place.

Perhaps you could end your trip in Porto and fly out of there. You don't want to drive in Porto center, but it is actually not difficult to stay in the periphery of Porto and access the center using public transportation if you want to keep the car and drive yourselves to the airport. A great many people feel that the food outside of the center of Porto is better anyway. But you could also give up the car before reaching Porto and take a train into the center. Even if you ended up flying out of Lisbon, it is a short train ride down from Porto to Lisbon and you could just do with one night there as originally planned before flying home.
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Apr 1st, 2014, 11:23 AM
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Lisbon to me is one of Europe's most interesting cities - check out Behlem - along the river - neat walking esplanades old palaces the famous Behlem Tower.

http://www.golisbon.com/sight-seeing/belem.html

And check out the Alfama and its famous hill-climbing antique trams!

https://www.google.com/search?q=alfa...=1568&bih=1040
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Apr 1st, 2014, 12:51 PM
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I think it is one of the world's most interesting cities too but it appears the travelers will be there for less than 2 full days, one of the arriving transatlantic and checking into a hotel and the other arriving as a finish to their tour, dropping off a rental car, checking into a hotel and leaving the next morning. For people who "enjoy light hiking, driving thru the country side, architecture, smaller communities", seems to me that the time might be better spent elsewhere (there are hill climbing trams in Porto). The Belim monastery is marvelous, but that could be seen on a final day before leaving Portugal.

I realize the desire to see as much of Portugal as possible in 8 days but even though it looks like a tiny place on the map, it does take some time in a large capital city like Lisbon to actually see things and in other places too.

But they trip isn't until weil into next year so they can think about what would be important to them.
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Apr 1st, 2014, 07:59 PM
  #12
 
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I also agree that if you don't like big cities much, and want to drive around small towns and villages, better to skip Lisbon completely (although it's a great city and could warrant your whole attention). Fly in and out of Porto. Spend a day or two there, rent a car and drive around the wonderful small towns in the Minho (north of Porto), and/or the Douro Valley. We spent 4 days doing just this a few years ago, saw some lovely small towns and villages, beautiful scenery and beaches, and barely scratched the surface. Save the Algarve for next time.
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Apr 2nd, 2014, 05:10 AM
  #13
 
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Porto is also a big city and Faro is kind of too.
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Apr 2nd, 2014, 05:19 AM
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Porto is nowhere near as big as Lisbon, even if you include areas across the river and near the modnrn art museum and the Atlantic. The touristic core of Porto can be grasped very easily in a day or so. That is about 1/6th the size of Lisbon, which is much more spread out and busy, and has infinitely many more art and history attractions. Lisbon was the capital of one of the world's most far flung and long lasting empires, and has a rather complex internal culture.

There is a case for saying that even just an afternoon in Lisbon seeing one of its great monuments or a day that includes some kind of cultural tour might be worth it despite how inadequate it would be to understanding Lisbon. There isn't any case for saying it really isn't any different than visiting Porto or Faro in terms of physical size or outstanding attractions.
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Apr 6th, 2014, 05:38 PM
  #15
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Yes, Sandralist, we were thinking Lisbon because of the airport, never thought of flying into Porto, only another hour. We are going to give serious thought to limiting our travelling and not trying to see the whole country. Nazarre looks very nice, PalenQ, and the size is more appealing than Lisbon. Perhaps I will look at 3 nights somewhere in the Douro Valley and 3 in Nazarre, using those two as bases for day trips. Where did yo stay in DV, WWanderer? That leaves 1 night each for arrival and departure from Porto. Thankyou all for your input and opinions!
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Apr 9th, 2014, 07:52 AM
  #16
 
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Hi!
The best way to see portugal it's, without a doubt, renting a car. I usually visit Evora on the way to Algarve for a few hours. Have you ever been to Lisbon before? I would give one more day to Lisbon and would take it from Evora.
Faro it's not a good city. Even though it's the biggest on Algarve it doesn't have anything interesting neither has a beach. I would stay in Alvor, Lagos or Albufeira. If you want something more authentic and if you do decide to rent a car, you can do Costa Vicentina instead of Algarve. check out places like aljezur, arrifana, monte clerigo, odeceixe... You could do that in a few days, and you don't have to overnight in everyone but you can see them all. Porto it's a great city, if you spend a bit in Lisbon + Porto + Algarve or costa vicentina it will give you a lot of different sights. With your time this will be more of a road trip and you won't be able to stay a lot of time in each of this places. In the end, it's up to you.
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Apr 14th, 2014, 04:00 PM
  #17
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Maianacardoso…thankyou for all your suggestions. Yes, this will be a road trip, which is what my husband and I like to do. I think we will rent a car as it just gives you that much more flexibility. I will have a look at Costa Vicentina.
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