Extended trip to Portugal

Old Dec 29th, 2022, 04:50 AM
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Extended trip to Portugal

Hi
Trip report on extended trip to Portugal.
A mixture of practical, logistical “stuff”, everyday living in Portugal and some tourist “stuff”.
We have previously traveled extensively in Portugal and have seen most tourist attractions, this time we are focused on being “snowbirds”.

Airport arrival – Lisbon airport
Airplane was left on the tarmac and buses took us into the terminal building – that’s normal.
The electronic passport readers didn’t work (that’s also normal) so an official manually checked our documents.
It took about 15 minutes to go thru, passport, luggage and customs, faster than we expected.

Getting the phone - Vodafone
Still inside the airport but in the public area we obtained a SIM card (chip card) for the phone from the Vodafone store.
The one we got is called Vodafone Travellers valid for 30 days, it has 10GB data, 500 minutes talk in Portugal, 30 minutes talk internationally, all for 20 euros.
With this we got a local phone number but more important was the data to make video calls on WhatsApp.
The store salesperson physically installed the card and activated it so we didn’t have to do anything; it was simple, convenient and quick.

We later learned that this plan is NOT renewable and had to switch to a different plan – Vodafone You – which is similar but doesn’t have the international minutes. Again the Vodafone salesperson was very helpful.

Tip: Vodafone and some stores in Portugal have a ticket dispenser near the entrance and customers are served in the order of the tickets - look for the display for the customers (some tickets have both numbers and letters).

Tip: have a backup plan; don’t fully rely on electronics, sometimes they just don’t work. My phone still assumes that I’m in my home country (even with location turned on) and the result is that some apps don’t work properly and others can’t be downloaded because of geographical restrictions.

Car Rental
Car rental is also on the public area of arrivals but to the side and a bit awkward to get to (to the right of the Vodafone store –follow the signs).
If you rent a car get the Via Verde transponder for the highway which can also be set up to pay for parking at some locations.
I also get the car rental ( not a third party ) extended CDW (Collision, Damage Waiver) insurance that covers everything including the tires – yes , that’s a new way for rental companies to get more money ( damage / wear on tires).

Familiarize yourself with driving in Portugal, items that stand out for me:
-entering and exiting a multi-lane roundabout – not as simple as it looks
-pedestrian crossings that aren’t controlled by lights – scary how pedestrians just cross in front of cars traveling at full speed
-disrespect of stop signs – more of a suggestion for Portuguese drivers
-bikes between cars
-driving a manual transmission car on the hills and NOT rolling back into car the behind me
-very slippery cobble stone roads when wet
-very narrow spaces to drive in some areas
-can’t find parking
-know the words for fuel – Gasoleo is Diesel – Gasolina is Gasoline

Tip: If you make your trip itinerary for locations that have good public transit you can avoid the expense and stress that comes with driving in Portugal and have that extra glass of wine – no worries.

Taxis
Taxis
are immediately outside the arrivals building – if you turn south (to the right) you will see the bus stop and the red M that stands for Metro (subway), the red line services the airport.

The subway – Lisbon
The subway has 4 lines, red, blue, green and yellow.
The subway lines interfaced with each other and also the buses and trains (including the intercity national trains and buses) at specific locations, consult the map diagram.
We found the subway; quick, clean, safe and overall convenient inside Lisbon once we understood how to change between the different lines and modes of transport.

Tip: we used the subway and other public transit outside of rush hours for more pleasant less hectic trips.

Tip: when we exit the subway car we would wait by the opposing wall until the majority of the people had gone by ( rushing to their hectic life’s), that way we could walk and figure directions, etc. at our own pace without impeding anyone else.

Subway ticket
We decided to purchase a Navegante reloadable ticket.
An $ amount is loaded into the card and every time the card is used (by tapping the card at the card reader machine) the amount of the trip is deducted from the card.
When the card is tapped the balance left on the card is very briefly shown.
The card is valid on the Lisbon subway, the Lisbon Carris (yellow) buses/trams and the CP urban train lines in Lisbon (Lisbon to Cascais and Lisbon to Sintra).
The card is NOT valid on any other trains or subway but is valid on some other urban buses surrounding Lisbon but not all and not the intercity buses (rede expressos).

VERY IMPORTANT: all subway stations and some train stations are gated to both enter and exit.
THE TICKET IS NEEDED TO ENTER AND EXIT.


Urban train Lisbon to Cascais
Used this line a lot. Total run time from end to end is about 45 minutes.
There are 2 types of trains: stops in all stops (para todas) and semi express/express (semi rapido (smra)).
On the front or on the side of the train it can display:
Cascais todas – that means it will stop at all stops from Lisbon to Cascais
Oeiras todas – that means it will stop at all stops from Lisbon to Oeiras.
Oeiras smra means that the train is an express until Oeiras and then becomes a stop at all stations until Cascais.

The stations of Alges, Oeiras, Sao Pedro Estoril have 3 train lines – if your train stops in the middle line you have to transfer to next train on the south line if going from Lisbon to Cascais or the north line if going from Cascais to Lisbon.
The train in the middle line will return to Lisbon but their schedule is different and some trains overnight on the middle line.

Sometimes the displays aren’t correct (it happened to us) or a mistake is made and we end up on an express train that doesn’t stop at our intended station.
With a single destination trip ticket this is a problem because we would be travelling past the stop we paid for and besides the inconvenience we could get a fine from the ticket inspector.
With the ticket we had (Navegante reloadable) has long as we had $ balance on the ticket there’s no issues with the ticket inspector.

Just like the subway these trains can get very busy at rush hour so we used of peak.
On this line we encountered both street performers (quite good) and beggars, they were respectful and a simple NO head nod was sufficient to keep the beggars away ( my wife says I have permanent mad face that keeps people away – and she still married me – go figure, love is truly blind).

Intercity Bus - Rede Expressos
Rede Expressos is the national intercity bus carrier.
Used their bus between Braga and Viseu (more trips to come).
Bus was clean and comfortable comfort, only drawback was the lack of an onboard washroom.
The Rede Expressos app was good for finding routes and schedules but not successful for booking trips, we booked trips in person.
Specific seats can be reserved at time of booking.
Luggage is loaded and offloaded by the passengers not the driver – there’s no luggage control.

Tip: if you’re travelling a route that has in between stops, get out of the bus at the in between stops to see that nobody takes your luggage by mistake (it happened to a lady on our bus – similar looking luggage) just make sure the driver knows so he doesn’t drive away without you.

Last edited by aulop; Dec 29th, 2022 at 05:20 AM.
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 06:53 AM
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Bus from plane to terminal

Vodafone store at Lisbon airport

Car rental at Lisbon airport
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 07:00 AM
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Added Trip Report and Portugal tags
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 07:42 AM
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Vodafone SIM card. €20 for 30 days

Navegante reloable card for bus, subway and train in Lisbon. We loaded €40 to start.
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 11:08 PM
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Subway ticket vending machines and ticket booth in the background


Subway car, notice the cork seat inserts.


Subway car and platform, notice the multiple levels


Subway entry / exit gates
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 03:11 AM
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on for the ride
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 05:46 AM
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You give a lot of practical and helpful information. What was your itinerary? How many nights in each place? We have visited Lisbon and Sintra but I would love to return to visit the rest of Portugal.
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 10:49 PM
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Karen woo
We are staying for 3 months.
2 months in the Algarve and 1 month for travel time and visit/stay with friends from previous trips.
Because we are trying the "snowbird" approach we are going to be fairly sedentary so that we can compare with Florida - our usual snowbird destination.
That's the reason we are focusing more on the practical stuff.
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Old Jan 1st, 2023, 11:10 PM
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Taxi colors, black with green roof and also a rare cream color taxi.


We used the Taxi-Link app to help calculate trip prices. Real world prices within €5 for most trips.
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Old Jan 1st, 2023, 11:25 PM
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Lisbon to Cascais train



Lisbon to Cascais train raised platform for anyone with mobility issues (wheelchairs, walkers, canes). The first door of the first train car will stop at the access platform



Lisbon to Cascais train ticket validating machines



Lisbon to Cascais train car



Lisbon to Cascais info board at Cais do Sodré. Train platform number, destination, time of departure. Underneath each static info line is a moving line of the train stops ( blurry words)



Lisbon to Cascais train typical underground tunnel to access platforms and street
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Old Jan 2nd, 2023, 01:20 AM
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Morning tea in the Algarve, sure beats shoveling snow
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Old Jan 2nd, 2023, 10:23 AM
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Love that photo. That's the way to ring in the new year.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2023, 01:02 PM
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aulop,
What a nice start to 2023---sun and the beach!
Where are you staying in the Algarve? Western, eastern or in the middle?
We met several Canadian snowbirds in Cabanas, near Tavira.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2023, 10:55 PM
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Maitaitom
I agree with you, it's a great way to start the year, hopefully many more to come.

Maribel
Our base is around Vilamoura, which is very touristy but it's ok with us because we are tourists and it has lots of restaurants and apartments.
We hear English but also many other languages so this is definitely a tourist spot.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2023, 10:57 PM
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Intercity train –Alfa Pendular (AP)
The Alfa train is the fastest train in Portugal; the train rarely travels at top speed so travel takes longer than its top speed implies (240kmh).
We used it for several trips so far – it’s our favorite.
It has a first and second class, washrooms, luggage storage (lockable $fee) reclining seats with tray table and snack car.
All seats are reserved at time of booking.
Each train car has half the seats facing one way and the other half the opposite way, where both seat directions meet – four seats face each other with a table in between, perfect for families or couples socializing.

Tip: buy the first class ticket if you can afford it, the seats are bigger.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2023, 11:16 PM
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Alfa train is easy to spot it's the only one with the aerodynamic front, all other trains have a flat square front



Alfa train 2 class has 2 seats on each side



Alfa train 1 class has 2 seats on one side and 1 seat on opposite side



Alfa train luggage rack at beginning of car


Alfa train washroom


Alfa train snack car


Alfa train ticket
Carr is short for carruagem which means car
Lug is short for lugar which means seat



Last edited by aulop; Jan 2nd, 2023 at 11:18 PM.
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Old Jan 4th, 2023, 02:21 AM
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Money / ATM/ credit card


Euro bank notes



Euro coins



ATM with high fees



ATM with high fees



ATM with lower fees. This ATM belongs to a bank (BPI).
Notice the MB sign, the initials for Multibanco. Multibanco is an ATM network of Portuguese banks.
Multibanco is what most stores use. Multibanco has lower fees.




Purchased a prepaid card from Montepio bank for use in Multibanco.

Notice the MB on the back of the card

In some stores the staff does not accept payments - the payments are made to a machine, it's real and not a scam.
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Old Jan 4th, 2023, 05:59 PM
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aulop,
Thank you very, very much for post 17, showing the ATM Euronet machines that one should avoid at all costs, and the multibancos that travelers should use!
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Old Jan 5th, 2023, 05:55 AM
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Maribel
Thanks, I'm trying to post info that it's useful to all, before I start posting the more touristy photos.
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Old Jan 5th, 2023, 06:00 AM
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The cash payment machine I mentioned before.
Lower left in photo, almost like an ATM.
Staff would not handle payments. Payments have to be made to the machine.

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