Itinerary - Need answers quickly

Old Aug 11th, 2002, 03:51 PM
Maxine Somers
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Itinerary - Need answers quickly

Our travel agent has booked us as follows:
4 nights in Lisbon with no car to explore Lisbon and surrounding areas (Sintra, Caiscais, etc.)
2 nights in Obidos
1 night in Oporto
2 nights in Braga (need to know why)
1 night in Guarda (to see Jewish community)
1 night in Combra
back to Lisbon

Please let me know if there is a better plan than this or is this acceptable for a 2 week stay.

Have to let Travel Agent know within a day.

Thanks so much for your cooperation.

Old Aug 11th, 2002, 04:14 PM
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maxine, If you need answers quickly you should start a new thread with Portugal in the title.
Old Aug 11th, 2002, 05:17 PM
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She actually did use an appropriate header about a week ago, and didn't get much in the way of answers then.

I'll top that one for her.

Is the travel agents unable to provide answers as to the "why" for Braga?

Elvira has an itinerary for Portugal planned for this fall. You might try writing to her directly if she doesn't see this soon.

Best wishes,

Old Aug 11th, 2002, 05:41 PM
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I am curious. What was your travel agent's role in this?

I am fairly interested in a trip to Portugal to myself.

I know that Bob the Nav has made a number of suggestions about itineraries in Portugal. He "lists" Braga on several of his suggestions, but does not elaborate on why.
Old Aug 11th, 2002, 07:12 PM
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Well, what can I say. Your agent has booked you for 2 weeks in Portugal and you will see about 40% of the best of Portugal. Is the agent a Portugal specialist? I cannot imagine not including Evora/Estromoz, Viano do Castelo, or the Algarve in this trip. And, 3 one niters--perhaps 4. I think you may need a new agent, unless you asked for this. I hate to get in the middle, but you can do better than this.
Old Aug 11th, 2002, 07:52 PM
Maxine Somers
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Well, guys, my travel agent is a Portugal specialist and booking through an agent in Toronto Canada is cheaper than doing it yourself. We do not want to go to the Algarve this trip so that's our decision but if this itinerary is not good, please give me suggestions. I am not sure that I can drive around Portugal as I have been told they are crazy drivers. I am experienced but older and the signs are not in English so I am kind of scared. The travel agent (who is Portugese) says that hundreds of people drive there from Canada each year and everything is fine. Taking tours instead of renting a car is out because we are on a budget and the tours seem to be very expensive. My husband wants to stay in and around Lisbon for a week but we are not sure how to drive around and not drive for too long before stoping for the night. That's my dilemma so I guess the travel agent is trying to do the best he can. Any suggestions of a better itinerary, please.



P.S. No sarcasm please.
Old Aug 11th, 2002, 10:41 PM
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No way to see Portugal in 10 days, so something gets sacrificed. We wanted to see the northern part, so the Algarve got sacrificed along with a dozen other places. We're sticking with public transportation on this trip, trains and buses go everywhere we want to go.

Your itinerary is similar to ours, though we're in Lisbon for about 2 1/2 days so we can loll on the beach near Porto, and we are going to Belmonte i/o Guarda.

Braga has many churches and buildings from the 14th and 15th century; it's also close to the Santuario do Bom Jesus do Monte, climb the stairs or take the funicular, penitents climb the stairs, some on their knees.

Old Aug 12th, 2002, 06:47 AM
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We spent 8 of 10 weeks driving around PT. Don't worry. Signs are in International Symbols. The round-abouts in towns take a bit of getting used too. Parking is a chore. PT Drivers are aggressive "passers:. otherwise you will do fine. The A and IP class roads are better than anything you'll find in the US or Western Canada (certainly better than Saskatchewan!!)

Your itinerary sounds "Good Enough". Porto deserves a bit more time. Braga is a bore after 6 hours, and you can see Obidos in 3 hours, but all these places make good bases for the surronding countryside. Really... don't miss Batalha!

I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip!

There are photos and a journal of our trip on our webpage.

We ate at some fantastic restaurants in Coimbra, Obidos, and Guarda, and Lisbon. Let me know if yoy want recommendations.
Old Aug 12th, 2002, 09:16 AM
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Maxine, Driving is easy and the best way to see Portugal. Here is what I would do. Get your car as you arrive.

Stay in Cascais--daytrip into Lisbon via the local commuter train- 3 nites
See Sintra, Colares, Guincho from here.

Drive to Obidos--2 nites--see Nazare, Batahla, etc--stay at Est. Do Covento

Drive north--stop in Porto for 3 hours enroute to Viano do Castelo--your base for all of the Minho area--3 nites. Stay at the Pousada Santa Luiza--a must!

Explore Braga, Ponte di Lima, etc. from here--try to hit the Thurs. market in Barcelos--a real experience

A choice now. Either drive to Coimbra for a one niter, or drive all the way to the Pousada in Estromoz for 2 nites and use it to explore Marvao, Elvas and the uppper Alentejo region.

I am not sure of your time now--or your time of departure from Lisbon. But, I would try to include 2 nites in Evora and drive to the airport from there. If not, then spend last nite at the Pousada in Palmela--south of Lisbon.

Sorry for the curve balls, but I just did not like the old itinerary. You will like Portugal regardless.

Old Aug 12th, 2002, 12:46 PM
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I was there in May for 12 days. I would give the following comments... I personally would not stay in either Lisbon or Porto again. They are filthy dirty cities. Most of the attractions in Porto can be seen in one day. For Lisbon, stay in Cascais or Belem and take the train into town for the day to see the few things that are in Lisbon proper. Don't miss Sintra.

I also think Evora and Estremoz and the marble villages and the Douro valley were exremely over rated. It depends on where else you have travelled.

As for the other people who suggested itineraries, Maxine has selectively chosen part of Portugal to see. If she has two weeks, she has two weeks, no matter how long you think she should stay there.

Elvira... where are there beaches near Porto? We asked and was told it was strictly commercial for a hundred kilometers.
Old Aug 12th, 2002, 01:03 PM
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I disagree with Carol about Lisbon. It's one of my favorite cities in Europe; I really enjoy the trams scooting up and down the hills; kind of like San Francisco.

It's not a bad idea to use public transport in Portugal. They have a good system of buses, and they're very economical. Portugal has by far the most dangerous roads in Western Europe, so why not leave the driving to the professionals?
Old Aug 12th, 2002, 01:13 PM
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You will get lots of different opinions when you ask people what they think!

I would drive in Portugal since its public transportation is not nearly as good as many other European countries, but their highways are quite good except in remoter areas such as mountains. We leave the car in an underground parkade in cities. However, I drive back home, and am not afraid of aggressive driving. If you do not drive often, then maybe the bus is better. But it is much slower, and no real flexibility due to schedules.
Old Aug 13th, 2002, 01:13 PM
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Braga - check something on my URL, it might help
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