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HelpPORTUGAL Itinerary Lisbon plus what other 2 places going in March

HelpPORTUGAL Itinerary Lisbon plus what other 2 places going in March

Old Jan 8th, 2010, 01:44 PM
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HelpPORTUGAL Itinerary Lisbon plus what other 2 places going in March

Hello all we have just found out that we have enough air miles to take a quick trip down to Portugal this March. We will have approx 10 days. (could add a couple more if needed)
We have 2 small children as well. We were thinking 4 -5 days to see Lisbon and Sintra.
That leaves us with approx 5-6 days to visit 2 other places.
Which 2 other places would you recommend. We are deciding on leaving out the Algraves because of the time of the year. Also is Porto a must!
Thanks for all your help!
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Old Jan 8th, 2010, 01:51 PM
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Well, if Porto is a must, that leaves one place, right? Since you're headed north I'd recommend Coimbra, which is an atmospheric old university town. If you do go there, don't miss the Roman ruins at Conimbriga just outside - you can take a train to Coimbra and on to Porto, and a bus to Conimbriga.
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Old Jan 8th, 2010, 03:36 PM
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We love the coast that extends North of Lisbon to Porto. Plenty to see even if it is March. Obidos, Nazare, etc.
But Coimbra is a nice town.
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Old Jan 9th, 2010, 04:46 AM
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My son fell in love with Sintra's Moorish Castle (we hiked up through the forest) and Óbidos when he was 4 years old; he liked to walk their extensive castle walls searching for dragons in the countryside.

Some children (and adults like myself) also enjoy the deserted island-castle of Almourol, as well as the 3 minute rowboat ride from the "mainland": http://www.guide-to-castles-of-europ...ol-castle.html

Also, Coimbra and Conímbriga are "musts" in my book.

Kid Note: In Coimbra, there was a place called something like "Portugal dos Pequeninos" which had all the main Portuguese monuments re-created in minature (in painted cement) for the children to run around. Someone cleverly gave my son a colorful brochure so off we went. It did provide a good space for him to run off excess energy and he seemed to connect, briefly, with the idea that these were miniatures of places throughout Portugal... but, selfishly, I would have preferred to run off his steam at Coimbra's lovely riverfront park. More green, less concrete.

Finally, this is only my opinion and likely quite controversial, but I wouldn't include Porto as a must, unless you are a Port fan. (In which case it definitely is!) There are, however, lots of interesting towns in and around Porto: Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima, Guimarães, Barcelos...
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Old Jan 9th, 2010, 05:39 AM
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I, too, wasn't over impressed with Porto, but the port was great! I'd add Braga to the places to visit nearby, plus maybe a boat trip up the Douro. I went by train, but I'm not sure whether the mountain railways are still running. If you click on my name you'll find my TR for Lisbon - for Porto and the Douro see http://www.wilhelmswords.com/rtw2004/index.htmlo
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Old Jan 9th, 2010, 01:26 PM
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Thanks everyone. I myself am not sure about Porto. It seems like there are plenty other places to see. How about Elvora (sorry about spelling). I guess you all agree that we should leave out the Algraves at that time of year.
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 08:39 AM
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Here's one vote for Porto. It is certainly not as well preserved or maintained as Lisbon, the adjective "gritty" is appropriate here. But I think many tourists like the "ungentrified" aspect of the city. There are some beautiful churches, some very nice museums, some good restaurants, an old very lively shopping district. And the views from the other side of the river (in Vila Nova de Gaia where the port lodges are), particularly on the top rather than below on riverside, have to be one of the most beautiful views in the world. Just another opinion. And I also agree with another poster that the towns of Guimaraes, Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima are all great destinations. I would also add at least one night in the Douro Valley, the scenery and walks are wonderful.

I'm not much of a beach person, but I love the Algarve in off season. Lots of very beautiful scenery, spectacular cliffs for walking, some very nice towns. And it's all well connected with a divided highway (one of the few in Portugal with no tolls).

As for Evora, it's not my favorite place in Portugal, but I know that many others love it.
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 09:15 AM
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thursdaysd: Would love to see your report on Porto and Douro, but I receive a message that the page isn't available.
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 10:37 AM
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Clousie - sorry, looks like the URL acquired an extra "o" - try this: www.wilhelmswords.com/rtw2004
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 11:36 AM
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Thanks. Enjoyed reading report and seeing photos.
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Old Jan 16th, 2010, 12:18 AM
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Thursdaysd - your photos are exceptional. You are really living your dream. Wish I had the funds and time to do this too.
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Old Jan 16th, 2010, 05:29 AM
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Why thanks, munich_madl. I have the time because I took early retirement, but since I'm on a fixed pension, I'm definitely practicing budget travel!
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