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Azores v. north coastal Portugal-Best use of time between Lisbon and Porto


Sep 17th, 2017, 08:30 PM
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Azores v. north coastal Portugal-Best use of time between Lisbon and Porto

We are a travel adventurous family of 4. We will be in Portugal for 2.5 weeks in late June 2018, flying into Lisbon and leaving out of Porto. We will spend 4-5 nights in both Lisbon and Porto. For the rest of our time, should we fly to the Azores (so intriguing!) or should we spend that time exploring the rural areas between Lisbon and Porto? We enjoy big cities but are most happy in beautiful and less touristed natural areas, and our kids particularly love swimming holes, uncrowded beaches and rocks to jump off. If anyone is familiar, for comparison, one of my kids favorite places is Lavertezzo, Switzerland in the Verzasca Valley - they loved the crystal clear water, the jumping rocks and bridge and the stone villages. Any thoughts on the best use of our time? Is it worth going to the Azores or are there just as amazing things to see along the coast? We are not on a tight budget, but budget is a consideration. It looks like tickets to Azores will run the four of us at least $500 USD. We are very comfortable renting a car and driving. Best use of time is a big consideration.
wendyofthewest is offline  
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Sep 25th, 2017, 01:43 PM
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Hi, a portuguese lady born in Leiria (center of Portugal) and living in Lisbon for a while now.

4 to 5 days in Lisbon and Porto should give you plenty of time to take the most of both cities. If you have the time, Sintra, Estoril and Cascais should also be amazing.

As for the remaining days, it all depends on your expectations. I have travelled to some places in the past years, and I can tell you that the Azores is just completely different from everything you have seen (and I've only been to 2 islands - sao miguel and terceira). It's not that the centre isn't pretty awesome as well but the Azores... It's just a paralel universe. If you only go to one island, I'd recommend s. Miguel as there is plenty to see. Check these places: ilheu de vila franca (where the red bull jumps happen each year and only 200 people per day are allowed in the volcano), ferraria (where you get the experience to swim in hot sea water), lagoa das sete cidades (a huge lagoon with green water on the one side and blue water on the other side), furnas (where steam from the earth pops up everywhere), not to mention the amazing natural swimming pools and the fact that june is probably the best month to go whale watching (I Went to terceira island and got to see blue whales with babies).
In the centre of Portugal, it's not that you won't find beautiful places as well, but they simply aren't as different as the Azores. And water in the Azores is warmer too, although the weather is not as stable in June (lower temperatures). Flight passages are usually cheap if you book the flights for before school end ( return until june 15th I'd say - this year I got a trip to and from terceira in June for euro 50 per person).
As for the centre of Portugal, I always recommend renting a car as public transports aren't very good (azores is the same, in fact).
But check places such as s. Pedro de moel, nazare, s. Martinho do porto, foz do arelho, obidos, coimbra, river beaches (search for river beaches in Portugal on google, you might be surprised). Passadicos do paiva are also wonderful...
Suricata is offline  
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Sep 25th, 2017, 02:22 PM
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Very interesting, thank you, Portuguese lady!
ekscrunchy is offline  
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Sep 25th, 2017, 10:21 PM
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Absolutely go to the Azores if you can, so very different, more like going to New Zealand than anywhere else though perhaps with a bit of Orkney thrown in.
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