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For those who have been to Portugal - 2 or three weeks?

For those who have been to Portugal - 2 or three weeks?

Old Feb 21st, 2020, 11:01 AM
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For those who have been to Portugal - 2 or three weeks?

Considering a trip to Portugal in May - we have a line on a good airfare and would like to book asap, but are unsure how much time we need as we've not had a chance to do a whole lot of research yet.

We can go for either two or three weeks - we tend to be slow travelers and never run out of things to do, but just aren't sure about this one. We're not really interested in spending a lot of time on beaches...we'd like to see them, but lazing on beaches is not our thing.

This may be our only trip to Portugal, so if it were you, would you spend two or three weeks?
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 01:31 PM
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Melnq8,
Since you have the luxury of time (lucky, lucky you! ), I'd spend 3 weeks.

When we took our friends to introduce them to most of Portugal, except for the northern Minho that they had already visited, we had an 18-day itinerary.
It included Lisbon, Sintra (day trip), Alentejo (using Evora as a base and day tripping to Estremoz and the hill towns of Monsaraz and Marvão), Tomar, Coimbra, Porto and Douro Valley.
It didn't include the Algarve because our trip was in October, and it didn't include Guimarães or Braga, which they didn't have the time to visit.
(They had already been to Viana do Castelo)

I think a 21-day trip could be wonderful, and I would encourage you to include the Minho: Guimarães and Braga, Viano do Castelo, and maybe Ponte de Lima or Barcelos for one of their market days.

I probably wouldn't include the Algarve if it were my trip (but it isn't!), but I'm not a beach lover.

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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 01:58 PM
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Melnq8,
Since you enjoy hiking, you might want to include the Peneda-Gerês National Park in your itinerary.

https://juliedawnfox.com/exploring-p...national-park/
Discovering the National Park of Peneda-Gerês

Market day in Barcelos is Thursday.
The Ponte De Lima market day takes place every fortnight on Monday. In May it's schedule this year for the 11th and 25th.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 02:04 PM
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Thank you Maribel! I was leaning towards three weeks and you've convinced me we'll not run out of things to see and do.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 02:12 PM
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Definitely three weeks, you can easily spend a week in Lisbon/Belem alone. I've been to Portugal several times and never gone to the Algarve, but I'm not a beach person. Did visit a couple of the Atlantic beaches long, long ago....
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 02:39 PM
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Yeah! And as Thursdays notes, there's so much to do and see in Lisbon and Belém alone!
We hope to spend a week there after Christmas so as to be in Lisbon for the NYE celebrations.

Portugal is just a great destination. You won't run out of wonderful things to do and see, I promise!
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 04:12 PM
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Okay, we're booked! Three weeks in Portugal...gotta make hay while the sun shines.

We'll start with six nights in Lisbon and then....who knows, lots of work to do yet.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 04:43 PM
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Sounds great, especially the 6 nights in Lisbon! You can fill those easily with all the great museums (Gulbenkian is phenomenal!), the Belém monuments (but not on Monday) and a possible day trip to Sintra.

Have fun planning!
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Maribel View Post
Sounds great, especially the 6 nights in Lisbon! You can fill those easily with all the great museums (Gulbenkian is phenomenal!), the Belém monuments (but not on Monday) and a possible day trip to Sintra.

Have fun planning!

I'd actually encourage an overnight (or two) in Sintra.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 06:28 PM
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Yep, me too, actually, given the huge crowds these days!
Next post-Christmas we're planning 2 nights in Sintra, avoiding the crush on Mondays, when many people goe because many of the Belém monuments re closed.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 07:58 PM
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Another vote for Peneda Geres NP (a long time ago but enjoyed it). And one day - if time doesn't over take me - I'd like to walk a section of the Rota Vicentina. You might enjoy that too, Mel.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 08:01 PM
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You'll have no problem filling up three weeks. Have a look at Maureen Ferguson's pages for expert local touring. I booked a market shopping and lunch preparation half day and an all day Alentejo winery tour with her and was delighted.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 08:09 PM
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If you do want to visit Sintra and hit the major sites, do please purchase your tickets online, since lines to purchase tickets at each site can be excruciatingly, frustratingly long.

For the Moorish Castle, Pena Palace, National Palace and Monserrate Palace, you can purchase all tickets online in one web site, including the necessary (for me) green electric shuttle bus that takes you from the Pena Park entrance up the very steep hill to the entrance to Pena Palace. Online this shuttle bus can be purchase by choosing "TRANSFER PALÁCIO DA PENA" for an extra 3 euros.
https://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/co...cket-office-2/.

The Quinta da Regaleira, privately run and not part of the Parque de Sintra system, has, as of January this year, instituted online ticket sales.
https://regaleira.byblueticket.pt/Evento?idEvento=2848#.

Having tickets in hand makes the monument visits to Sintra so much easier!
But because of the huge crowds, it's really only feasible, comfortably, to do 3 in one day any more.

We also walked a portion of the fishermen's trail of the Costa Vicentina, which runs from the western Algarve in Lagos and along the Alentejo coast. We were based for 2 nights between Zambujeira do Mar and Vila Nova de Milfontes. The area between Arrifana and Carrapenteira is gorgeous.
Into here:
https://rotavicentina.com/en/walking/fishermens-trail/.

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 21st, 2020 at 08:32 PM.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 08:12 PM
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We stayed in Lisbon fir close to a week and then several nights in Cascais. For our limited time it was perfect. You will not regret 3 weeks at all! When my grandparents went they stayed for 3 months.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 09:56 PM
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My goodness, how things have changed. I remember going to the castle at Sintra, Pena Palace, etc and there was hardly anyone there except us. I'm not THAT old! It hadn't occurred to me that you'd need to book in advance.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 06:09 AM
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So many great suggestions! Thank you! I have much work to do getting this organized. We do plan on at least two nights in Sintra.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 06:49 AM
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Maribel - Can you suggest a route that includes the places you've mentioned? What town would one stay in to visit Peneda-Geres National Park?

Our only constraint is arriving and departing from Lisbon, so we'll need a night in Lisbon before departure. We'll be traveling by train/bus.

We'll arrive in Lisbon on May 1 and depart on May 22.

My head is spinning.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 06:59 AM
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Depending on what time your flight home is, you may not need to stay in Lisbon. We were in Cascais and left that morning for the airport.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 07:02 AM
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maribel, thank you! I've just booked tickets for the Quinta da Regaleira! This is helpful and, because there's no date, we can be flexible.

We will be doing a day trip from Lisbon only, so what would you recommend seeing in addition to the above? We don't feel compelled to see everything and would prefer to go at a relaxed pace, so no need to see more than 1 or 2, if that much.

Melnq8, I hope you don't mind me jumping on your thread, with the hopes that others who aren't staying over might benefit from the information.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 10:32 AM
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No worries progol, the more the merrier.

I've booked a hotel in the Avenidas Novas District of Lisbon - didn't have time to do much research before booking, but it appears to be centrally located.

I have just a few hours to change my mind, as within a 24 hour booking window, so if I've screwed up, please let me know asap!
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