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pichulita430 Oct 6th, 2017 02:33 PM

Help with Portugal Itinerary Please
We are planning on a 2 week Portugal trip next September (since we're using FF miles and hotel points I have to book later on this month) and would like suggestions and/or advice on the rough draft of our itinerary:

Land in Porto and spend 3 full days, including a day trip to Douro Valley

Pick up AutoEurope car as we leave Porto and either drive to Nazare and base ourselves for 3 nights, seeing Obidos, Alcobaca, Fatima and Batalha or drive to Evora (monoliths, Elvas, Arraiolos and possibly Estremoz) and spend 3 nights there.

Drive to Lisbon, dropping car off and spend at least 6 nights, including trips to Sintra and Casais (sp?) Fly home from Lisbon.

We enjoy old churches and cathedrals and castles, but don't want to O.D. on them. We also like to immerse ourselves in the culture, enjoying the architecture and going to different kinds of museums. We are not "beach" people at all, so a city and small towns/villages appeal to us.

I appreciate any info you may have to share with me,

Sberg Oct 6th, 2017 03:06 PM

Spend at least one night in the Douro. It is spectacular and will be the highlight of your trip!

Robert2016 Oct 7th, 2017 10:33 AM

Yes, at least one night in the Douro would be better. Unless there is some pressing reason, I'd skip Fátima simply because of the crowd that swarm the place.

If using Nazaré as a base, you can then head to Evora through Santarém. Evora makes a base for a few days. You might also want to consider spending at least one night in Arraiolos.

The Pousada Convento de Arraiolos, Pousada da Nossa Senhora da Assunção, is an excellent place to spend some time. But book ahead as there are only 15 rooms (

lindygirl Oct 7th, 2017 07:35 PM

I can only speak to Lisbon as we spent 4 days there which included a day trip to Sintra. Here's a blog post I wrote with our itinerary, recommendations, and pictures. I hope it helps you with planning!

Elisabeth54 Oct 8th, 2017 12:27 AM

My suggestion: have a look at the trip report by mkienstra on this forum. Very helpful too!

PaoloCast2 Oct 10th, 2017 05:55 AM

Hi, I just posted my 11 day trip report. We did stay in Nazare for one night (arriving in mid-afternoon and leaving the next morning.) I don't think Nazare is a good base for exploring the venues you mention. For us, it was a one afternoon "beach" experience -- which was enough. It's a difficult city to get in and out of and fortunately our hotel (Magic) had its own parking garage. Otherwise, parking down near the beach could be a big problem. I suggest perhaps one day/night in Nazare and then Tomar as a base for exploring the other places.

efarr99 Oct 15th, 2017 06:19 AM

We did a similar trip two years ago. Don't miss Evora! The city and surrounding countryside are spectacular. I also recommend at least one night in the Douro - Two is better. So beautiful. Casa do Visconde de Chanceleiros in Pinhao was one of the highlights of our trip. We spent two nights in Nazare and took a daytrip to Obidos. I think our limited time was better spent in Evora and Douro Valley. I would cut a day from Lisbon to allow more time in Evora and Douro Valley. Have fun!

pichulita430 Oct 19th, 2017 03:36 PM

Thank you all for your suggestions. My Honey now doesn't want to rent a car so Evora is out. And we don't want to spend the night in Douro because we've travelled to a lot of different places and from the pics I see of Douro, it reminds me a lot of Beilstein and other places we've gone to, so we plan to do just an all day cruise to Douro.

This is what our itinerary now looks like:

2 full days in Porto with 1 full day in Douro and 1 day in Guimaraes

Train to Lisbon

3 full days in Lisbon, 1 full day in Belem, 1-2 full days in Sintra and a day trip to Obidos.

Please go ahead and give me any advice, input or suggestions. Thanks!

HappyTrvlr Oct 19th, 2017 06:26 PM

Not renting a car will limit and hinder your trip to Portugal.

mnag Oct 20th, 2017 03:52 AM

Agree w/Happytrvlr. Small towns/villages (your post) are best reached by car.

pichulita430 Oct 20th, 2017 02:27 PM

Thanks again, everyone, for your suggestions and advice. I enjoyed reading through the reports that you included.

As for not renting a car, I researched that and all the day trips we're doing are accessible by either train or bus and are within an hour or so from each base city....or did I miss something? Once we get to Guimaraes, Obidos, Belem, Sintra, we will just stay in that village for the day and go back to the base city.

As for the day trip to Douro Valley....yikes....there are tons and tons of companies that do a day trip and I've checked some of the reviews on a couple of them, but it's so hard to really know which ones are good choices. If I'm reading their descriptions correctly, it's a sllllllooooooowwwwww boat that may take about 5-6 hours to get from Porto to Pinhao....not sure I want to be on a boat for so long.

Has anyone out there done a day trip to Douro?

thursdaysd Oct 20th, 2017 02:39 PM

Note that you can also day trip to Evora from Lisbon, either by bus (better) or train. But when I finally made it to Evora I was a bit disappointed. Unless you are Catholic I would skip Fatima, but Alcobaca and Batalha are worth seeing. However, so is Coimbra, for the town, the magnificent university library, and the Roman ruins at Conimbriga. You could stop off between Porto and Lisbon for at least one night, it's on the train route.

Diamantina Oct 21st, 2017 12:58 AM

My husband and I did a day cruise on the Douro River from Porto, only as far as Régua, catching the train back to Porto. We left from the Porto waterfront at 9 a.m. and departed from the Régua train station at 5 p.m., arriving at Porto's beautiful São Bento Railway Station at 7 p.m. (we transfered at Campanhã Railway Station, where we had to wait around 15 minutes). São Bento Railway Station is known for its stunning pictorial tiles ("azulejos").

We spent three nights in Porto, catching the train up from Lisbon. My husband loves port wine, so this was the major reason for our visit. The port houses are in Vila Nova de Gaia, a short distance across the river from Porto. The quintas, where the grapes are grown, are up the Douro Valley. We only began to see these quintas as we got closer to Régua.

I would have preferred to go to Pinhão, but on this particular day, the cruise only sailed as far as Régua. If we'd had an extra day for this region, I would preferred spending a night in the Douro Valley, rather than just making a day trip. However, I still had a lovely time.

We were staying at the Pestana Vintage Porto, which is on the riverfront (ribeira) and didn't book a cruise until we got there. There were a few operators on the riverfront and we only had to walk a minute to get to them. This was in October 2014 and we booked our cruise on the preceding afternoon. The weather was perfect, sunny, but not uncomfortably warm.

The cruise offered pretty scenery, included breakfast, lunch and a post-lunch sweet drink served outside on the deck. It was interesting going through the locks. We were on boat full of friendly folks, so the time flew by. It was a relaxing time. The good thing about catching the train back to São Bento Railway Station, is that it was then just an easy downhill walk to our hotel on the riverfront (Porto is hilly). Though we did make a slight detour to Lello & Irmão Bookstore. When we visited this bookstore, admission was free, but I think they now charge a fee.
The bookstore is close to the Baroque-style Clérigos Church (Igreja dos Clérigos) and its 75-metre-high tower.

While in Porto, you might want to take the "Electrico", the #1 antique tram that goes from Porto along the Douro River, toward the sea, to Foz do Douro (mouth of the Douro).

If you get around to touring the port houses, I recommend Graham's. The have a restaurant ("Vinum") with good food and fab views.

thursdaysd Oct 21st, 2017 04:11 AM

I also recommend Taylor's port house in Porto, although Graham's port is good too. Taylors has a hotel, restaurant and charming grounds.

In Lisbon, if you are interested in port, do not miss the Solar do Vinho do Porto where you can buy a number of ports by the glass. It is near one the miradouros.

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