Help with Portugal trip in the fall

Mar 1st, 2010, 07:09 AM
  #1  
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Help with Portugal trip in the fall

I'm thinking of a 1 week Portugal vacation this fall. I can book non-stop flight to Lisbon with my FF miles. My travel timeframe is late September through early November. I was wondering how is the weather during that timeframe (I'm mostly concerned about rain). Is there much difference between late September and early November?

Also, we would spend a 7 nights there (could maybe squeeze in 1 more if it makes more sense). How should we plan that itinerary as far as nights in Lisbon, and possibly renting a car to see other parts of the country? What would make the most sense given the time of year and the length of our visit? Is there a possible open-jaw scenario that would work better then RT to Lisbon (from NYC)?

We are city people (live in NYC, also loved Barcelona, Rome, etc) but do enjoy scenic trips as well (like California or Almalfi coast, also Tuscany) and smaller towns (like Orvieto, Toledo) .

Thanks.
MFNYC is offline  
Mar 1st, 2010, 08:22 AM
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Here is a plan for one week:

Lisbon---3 nites
Get car--to Obidos with stop in Sintra--2 nites
see Nazare, Batahla, Alcobaca

Drive to Evora--2 nites[or one if last nite near airport]

That is a compact itinerary that will optimize a week in Portugal.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Mar 1st, 2010, 08:26 AM
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Lisbon - 3 full days
including day trip to Sintra and its fairy-tale castles

drive up north via Obidos - one of europe's finest walled towns and also venue of a much lauded Pousada - gov't run, i think, hotel in historic edifices - this one is built right into the walls

Next head to Nazare - a really neat old fishing town where locals still grill the day's catch outside in the town's narrow lanes - this is a great base for some super fine sights - the Batalha Monastery - Alcobaca and its monastery

then to Porto - an old-world city famous for its Port Houses, where Port wine is made and aged - Porto to me is much more the dreamy old-world place etched in our minds' eye than is Lisbon, which has some vest-pocket dreamy old sections such as the fantastic Alfama (sp)

anyway that is one doable thing for a week based on what i did by train once.
Palenque is offline  
Mar 1st, 2010, 08:45 AM
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Wow, you both just saved me a lot of homework! Now I have to get myself a good map and guidebook.

What's the weather like in the fall? From what I can tell, winter is rainy season. How's the month of October rain-wise?
MFNYC is offline  
Mar 1st, 2010, 08:47 AM
  #5  
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Also, based on thes sugegsted itineraries, I think I should squeeze in another night.
MFNYC is offline  
Mar 1st, 2010, 09:01 AM
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MFNYC,

We were in Portugal last October for 10 nights and had no real weather problems. The temperatures were warm, and we had one rainy day in Porto.

We spent 5 nights in Porto and 5 in Lisbon, with day trips from both cities.

The two cities so different, and found both to be excellent locations for the day trips.

We loved Portugal!

Byrd
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Mar 1st, 2010, 09:28 AM
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You should be fine. I had great weather over Thanksgiving. Highly recommend the Sofitel Liberdade in Lisbon.

I think you will love Portugal!
Weekender is offline  
Mar 1st, 2010, 12:30 PM
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I did my trip in late October and the weather was in the 70s and in all wonderful.
Palenque is offline  
Mar 1st, 2010, 01:29 PM
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If we were to do something like Byrd suggests, is a car necessary? Can day trips be by train? What's the best way to get from Lisbon to Porto?

The reward tickets are only available RT to/from Lisbon, so whatever we do, we'll have to circle ourselves back to Lisbon.
MFNYC is offline  
Mar 1st, 2010, 02:00 PM
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MFNYC,

I have no idea whether our trip was planned the best way, but it worked for us!

We were a group of four couples, all old friends, who have traveled together many times. We, too, used Sky Miles for our tickets, flying from Atlanta to Lisbon via CDG.

Since we were to fly home from Lisbon, we rented a van upon arrival at the Lisbon airport and drove to Porto. The highway was excellent, and it was an easy trip. We also rented an English-speaking GPS.

We turned in the van the next day at a location not far from our hotel (Our Alabama accents caused us a little trouble there when the woman in the rental office asked our friend who was handling the return transaction "Do you speak English?").

During the rest of the trip, we used the train for day trips from Porto to Coimbra, the Duoro Valley, and Barcelos, as well as back to Lisbon for our last five days.

From Lisbon, we took the trains to Sintra, Belem, Cascais, and Estoril. One of our couples took a bus to Fatima.

The trains were all comfortable and clean, and we enjoyed our rides.

We have rented cars on other trips, but this time the trains worked for us.

I know you will have a wonderful time in Portugal!

Byrd



We really enjoyed
Byrd is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 05:13 AM
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all the places Byrd mentions i have done by public transports - easily done by trains and buses.
Palenque is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 08:40 AM
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Let me just say that renting cars in Portugal is fairly inexpensive and the roads are good and well marked.

There is really nothing like driving from Lisbon up the coast.

Do you drive in NYC? If you do, Portugal would be a snap. I would not drive in Lisbon but in other areas it is good.

The trains are clean and comfortable and inexpensive. But you do not have the pick up and go ability like with a car.

You will love Portugal.
Sher is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 09:03 AM
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I also had great weather at Thanksgiving in 2007. Could be an anomaly, but, there were still flowers in a few places, too. Lots of sun.

Two thumbs up to Obidos.
flygirl is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 09:04 AM
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Porto, Coimbra and Sintra are great destinations to add to your trip. We arranged a private tour of Grahams in Porto through our wine merchant, but they also do public tours and tastings. The university library in Coimbra is amazing, the university dates to the middle ages, and the town is very picturesque. Sintra is wonderful with 5 palaces to tour. We had no problems driving in Portugal.

Have a wonderful time in Portugal!
saige is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 09:25 AM
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Agree on Coimbra - that happened to be the one day of rain I had on the late-November trip, which was a bummer.

There are Roman ruins nearby (Conimbriga) as well as the Convento do Cristo (sp?) which relates to the Knights Templar - it's a UNESCO site, too.
flygirl is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 04:43 PM
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Well I just got my tickets!!! I went for an extra night so now I have 8 nights. Arriving on Friday morning 10/8 and leaving Saturday afternoon 10/16.

I'm thinking the first 3 nights and the last night will be in Lisbon. I guess we'd head up to Porto after the 3 nights and then back down toward Lisbon for a couple of nights in Sintra maybe.

Any suggestions on optimizing my 8 nights/days. Our flight arrives very early on the 8th. We'll most likely rent a car after Lisbon.

How should I split my nights in between?
MFNYC is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 09:45 PM
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Please please please - do not shortchange Porto!

The Porto Pestana is stellar, request a river view, location is great.
http://www.pestana.com/hotels/en/hot...stanaPorto.htm
cherrybomb is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 09:55 PM
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BTW, I found Obidos not worth much more than an overnight stop unless you are using it as a base, it is a TINY town. Others love Evora, note, it is a college town and the cobblestones are treacherous, unless you are food-focused (acorn-pork) or dying to see the skulls, skip for coastal drive. Others will disagree and it is all close anyhow. Just my opinion FWIW.
cherrybomb is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 05:24 AM
  #19  
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Ok, suggestions please...I have 8 nights and fly in and out of Lisbon...what's the best approach here without having to relocate every other night???

Maybe start with 2 nights Lisbon and move on from there. What towns make most sense as 'bases' for other areas assuming we have a car? I'm thinking Porto and ?? How many nights in Porto? I don't want to shortchange anything but I only have 8 nights so I guess I need to prioritize.
MFNYC is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 06:45 AM
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I stayed 4 nights in Lisbon and didn't run out of things to do. Not to suggest you should do the same. I did spend an afternoon with a driver who took me to Sintra and Cabo da Roca. I could have spent more time there.

Obidos - I spent just two hours there on the drive to Coimbra. I didn't feel I shortchanged myself with that short visit. It's a beautiful village and an overnight would be nice but I didn't feel it was necessary. There were towns not far from there which I did want to visit but I ran out of time. It may make a nice base for the other small towns nearby.

I wrote a trip report recently so if you click on my handle and go to the trip reports, you will see the report and my photos.
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