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Help with 8-Day Northern Portugal Itinerary!

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Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:52 PM
  #1
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Help with 8-Day Northern Portugal Itinerary!

Family of 3 adults planning a tour of northern Portugal in late June. Have toured southern Portugal extensively (Lisbon, Sintra, Obidos, Coimbra, Foz, Marvao, Evora, Monserrat), so planning to fly into Porto. Is it possible to design an 8-day itinerary that ends with departure from Porto back to the US? Enjoy history, culture, nature. What would be the main cities to see, and for how many days for each? Would like to see Douro region. Would a self-drive tour work? Any input appreciated!
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Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:05 PM
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Click on my name and you will find a 2006 trip report that starts in Porto. You might find it of interest.
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Mar 23rd, 2010, 10:26 PM
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Thank you! Wondering if a car is advised for seeing Porto?
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Mar 23rd, 2010, 11:10 PM
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Not for Porto itself. Driving in Porto is a pain.
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Mar 23rd, 2010, 11:20 PM
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If you travel outside of Oporto you can visit Braga, Coimbra and very pretty town called Amarante. Since you will be there in June, you might consider visiting what we called the Penis Festival there in Amarante. It is actually a Feast Day where single men and women give each other breads in the shape of a phallus. Some are huge and they have been doing for over 400 years. It is like walking into a bad SNL skit.

I am not kidding. We happened it upon one year.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&i...ad&btnG=Search
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Mar 24th, 2010, 05:51 AM
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Northern Portugal is beautiful. The Douro Valley is a "must see" IMO. I would spend at least one full day in the area, taking the train from either Regua or Pinhao east to the end of the line and back is a great way to spend a half a day, the scenery is incredible. Casa das Canilhas in Mesao Frio is a great place to stay for touring the area, and the views over the river are great -- all rooms have a private patio with killer view -- we had some very relaxing bread, cheese and wine evenings there.

Towns in the north that I like a lot include Guimaraes, and the pousada out of town in the convent is one of my favorites (if you like prehistoric ruins, the Citania dos Breteiros nearby is very interesting). And also Ponte de Lima, and Viana do Castelo. Valença do Minho has a bazillion shops selling linen goods, which attract bus loads of Spaniards. Vila Nova da Cerveira is a pleasant place for a stop, but not much to see -- the pousada there is right in the castle walls and is very comfortable.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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I posted a Porto/Douro Valley trip report in 2007 (click on my name and show all my threads), and just added some information to the current thread "Does anyone visit Porto?" Our trips to Portugal have been exclusively Port wine oriented.

If you are interested in natural history, a fascinating--though somewhat out of the way--visit is to the Parco Archeologio do Foz Coa (sp?). Some petroglyphs were discovered during preparations for building a dam, which eventually resulted in the dam not being built and the park being created. You must reserve in advance as they limit the number of visits per day. It was a day trip for us from Pinhao, although we were back by late afternoon so not an 18-hour exhausting one. The drive from Pinhao to V.N. da Foz Coa on the N222 was seriously jaw-droppingly beautiful. We stayed in the Douro Valley for four nights, and it was a nice break (for some of us) from the various quinta visits!
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Mar 24th, 2010, 01:04 PM
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I agree with ireynold on th choice of good towns to visit. Try to include the fabulous market on Thursdays at Barcelos--a unique cultural experience for me, and I do not like markets.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 01:23 PM
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I second the recommendation for Citinia dos Breteiros - I just wish it hadn't been so wet when we were there (too drizzly for photos, and our pants were soaked up to the knees!) But a truly fascinating place.

If you want to make your way east, another place we found very interesting is the little town of Piodao. (We stayed in Seia, at Casa das Tilias, and this was one of the suggested day trip routes provided by the host.) The drive was a little hairy - narrow twisting roads but with little traffic.

We wanted to go to V N da Foz Coa, but didn't have time.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 01:47 PM
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Valença and some of the small towns and villages along the Minho are great.
The market every Wednesday in Valença is also worth the trip, then go onto see the older and fortified town.
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Apr 13th, 2010, 07:56 PM
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Here is a small photo essay we took while on the train from Penhao down the Douro river. hope it is of some help, as to sights and expectations.


http://picasaweb.google.com/clarason...y=Lz64FQelrxw#
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Jan 29th, 2014, 09:42 AM
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bookmarking
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Feb 10th, 2014, 07:05 PM
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how lovely Clarasong: were the town/restaurant in Pinhao? Thank you for helping me get excited about our trip this June
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Feb 10th, 2014, 08:08 PM
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Clara must be back by now.
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