Itinerary Q's - Madeira, Lisbon & Porto?

Old Jan 10th, 2006, 08:13 PM
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Itinerary Q's - Madeira, Lisbon & Porto?

We'll be travelling 3/25 - 4/6. Haven't booked air but can get a decent fare on TAP leaving Newark to Lisbon. 5 days in Lisbon.
Fly to Madeira - 5 days. Then fly to Porto
and spend 4 days there and then back to Newark.
We're a family with a 14 yr old and 16 yr old - they both enjoy travel. But they do like to be busy with a variety of touring and fun activities.
We like the beach - that's why Madeira. Will it be nice beach weather at that time? And are there fun activities in the spring? Any possiblity of snorkeling there?
Not sure if Porto would be a good fit - is is mostly about the wine tasting?
We became interested in Portugal from an article on Azores but after reading further it seems that the islands might be a little too quiet in the spring for my group.
Would these 3 places be a good fit for my family or would you recommend different towns?
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 08:27 PM
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Hi, i agree the Azores are quiet, they are beautiful but after a couple of days you have done it all. My family is from there and i've been a few times. Another beach option in Portugal is the Algarve, which is the south of Portugal. Great towns, look into Faro. Enjoy your trip.

dmelo
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 09:01 PM
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Sounds nice, just don't confuse Madeira with a tropical island. Early April is not that warm- mostly you'll find the temperatures to be in the high 60's, and the Atlantic waters to be a little cooler than that. There are no real beaches unless you go to Porto Santo, which is a separate island. The snorkeling, though, is quite good. Will you be renting a car on the mainland? Not counting your return, you'll have 11 days in portugal. How about 3 days in Lisbon, 3 in Madeira, 3 in Oporto, and 2 days in the Algarve just to get in the beach?
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Old Jan 11th, 2006, 12:02 AM
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I think that late March/early April is not warm enough to go to the water in the Algarve.

What about Evora and surrounding?
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Old Jan 11th, 2006, 12:40 AM
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Kacey. I wrote some notes about Madeira for another thread. I re-post them for your convenience.
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The main open air activity in Madeira are Levada walks (google "levada walks" for lots of info). Levadas are man made irrigation channels in the mountains, most of which date more then 400 years old. They have been used by the locals to move between villages are now used as a touristic asset, allowing for incredible sightseen spots and photo opportunities. Some Levadas walks may be dangerous and the choice requires professional advice according with the experience, age and skills and personal interests of the walkers.

http://www.madeira-island.com/featur...oduction2.html

Ride in carros de cesto:
http://www.saga.co.uk/travel/resorts...8BAEC55C&sel=4

Madeira is an Island of ashtonishing beauty, but their beaches are of black sand and rocks. Alternatively the locals and people from the continent have choosen Porto Santo (the golden Island) as a favourite spot of leisure and active holidays.
Porto Santo is a very tiny Island, with less to see but superior to Madeira as far as leisure and relax is concerned.
Porto Santo is connected to American history because Colombus maried the daughter of the local governor and lived there for a while.

http://www.ucp-tours.co.uk/portosanto/portosanto.shtml

Interesting link, map and photos:
http://www.gajos.org/travel/Madeira2004/index.shtml.en

photos:
http://portugal-hotels.com/com/fotos.php?id=648&lg=pt

If you are considering Madeira and Porto Santo, I believe this is worthwhile reading: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/088...books&v=glance
From the previews online I think it it interesting and the girl in the coverfront is lovely.

Further to the previous considerations, if you are interested in Flemish art, I think that Madeira has the biggest collection of Flemish art outside Flemish countries, spread over Churches and Museums.
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On the other hand the Azores have the whale watching activities that could be interesting to your kids and afaik don't exist in Madeira

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Old Jan 11th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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I really appreciate all your insights and information!
I will check out Porto Santo and Evora.
Will it be too cold to snorkel on Porto Santo without a wetsuit?
Also - if I had to cut out one flight and one town - which would your recommend? Or conversely, which two would you keep in the itinerary?
Many thanks : )
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Old Jan 11th, 2006, 04:20 PM
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Excellent advice about the 'beach' situation in Madeira. It's a beautiful island, but don't confuse it with, say, Hawaii, if you're looking to hit the beach. That said, why not fly into Lisbon from Newark, then directly onto Madeira-that connection is quite easy to do. Stay on Madeira, then fly back to Lisbon to continue your trip, then onto your next destination from Lisbon. You would wind up with less flights that way and more time at your chosen destinations. If you were planning to visit Madeira for the beaches, you may wish to rethink this and skip it altogether and spend more time on the mainland.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 02:37 AM
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I am affraid that after 1 or 2 days in Porto Santo, your kids may get frustrated by lack of activity. If you really choose Madeira and Porto Santo Islands, I think you should split your time between both. Between Madeira and Porto Santo, in addiction to flights, there is a ferry (about 1 hour or so).
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Evora is the center of the most interesting region of Portugal (and less discovered by visitors). I add some suggestions of destinations which are tipically less then half an hour driving. Based on that you may google them to check if they fit what you are looking for.
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- Évora (Unesco heritage - to see the whole town itself, Diana roman temple, Cathedral, Bones Chapel, etc)
- Monsaraz (walled town, this town is at the same time untouched since centuries alive nevertheless) - to see: Jesus bearing the cross - author unknown - statue made of wood and the wall painting of the good and bad judge in the Inquisition Court)
- S. Pedro do Corval - this is a village completed devoted handicraft, mostly hand decorated plates. S. Pedro do Corval has more than 20 family run industries).
- Vila Viçosa - The palace of Dukes of Braganza. There are guided tours. I'm afraid the tours are in Portuguese Only. There are descriptive books in English. From this House, Catherine of Braganza left for England to marry Charles II and become Queen of England. Side by side there is a former convent, converted into Pousada.
Since 17th century up to 1910, Queens of Portugal, didn't use crowns in official cerimonies, because the crown is in the head of Our Lady of Conception of Vila Viçosa.
- Redondo - Nothing special, but a lovely place
- Estremoz - To see: street market, the Castle (Pousada) and Adega do Isaias - Adega do Isaias is very unexpensive and low profile restaurant where the owner barbecue for you whatever you like.
- Marvão - magic and beauty without limits
- Alandroal - Restaurant "a Maria" - the highest point of any travel - check in advance for availability
- Arraiolos - Hand made tapistry - The biggest and those of complex patterns require 2 months of hardwork. They are quite expensive. but beautiful to see.
Arraiolos has a beautiful Pousada. The church associated with the Pousada is completely covered with azulejos (hand painted tiles) with stories of their favourite saints and historical events, like a giant cartoon.
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I prepared this in 2001, and I've just copied and past. You chose wisely, this is the most interesting part of Portugal. In addiction to the scenario in 2001, there is the new Alqueva Dam, giving the area a new water mirror. Most of the man made lake may be seen from Monsaraz castle.
Take care
enjoy
Joao
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PS: www.discoverportugal2day.com has pictures and descriptions of all the destinations above
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:54 AM
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Lobo Mau has again provided excellent suggestions. We loved the Alentejo. Although we were not able to get to all the places he lists, I heartily recommend: Marvao, Monsaraz, Vila Vicosa, Evora, and Estremoz. Marvao was a highlight of our trip. You may also find the ancient monoliths in the area to be interesting.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 05:21 PM
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Lobo_Mau - Your posts are enticing me to cancel our trip to Dubrovnik and rediscover beautiful Portugal! Well, perhaps next year anyway!!
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Old Jan 13th, 2006, 12:51 AM
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I'd love to go to Dubrovnik.
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Old Jan 14th, 2006, 05:24 AM
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I am going to Madeira for a wedding, so I will be there April 12 through April 17. I was planning on doing a lot of walking tours, except of course, on the day of the wedding. I'm arriving on the evening of the 12th, so this will give me 3 full days for sightseeing and one full day to devote to the ceremony. Has anyone done the walking tours, and if so, which ones were your favorites? Thanks.
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 05:34 AM
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Hi there Kacey,

I've posted a to do list for Lisbon, just search on "What to do in and around Lisbon" - as the days pass so will I add to it, but your two will love EXPO with the Oceanarium, Columbo Shopping Centre, and possibly Benfica stadium if they like sport. Home matches are usually on Sunday evening. But midweek there is a small museum and you can sit in the stands to get an impression. Across the road from Columbo as well.

I usually fly Lisbon to Newark via TAP when visiting NYC.

Have fun, take care,

Matt
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