LEAVING FOR LISBON HELP!!

Aug 28th, 2001, 05:18 PM
  #1  
LISA
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LEAVING FOR LISBON HELP!!

I will be on a voyage to Portugal shortly- will stay in Lisbon, Obidos, Porto, Guimaraes, Coimbra and
Santarem. We will be renting a car once we leave Lisbon so that we will be able to see many wonderful
cities along the way.... Nazare,Alcobaca, Batalha, Aviero, Bucaco & Vianna do Castelo to name a few.
Any comments/suggestions from anyone who has been there recently will be most appreciated. While in
Lisbon we will be using the metro,etc. Should we buy the Bilhete de assinatura tusitico or the Lisbon
card? Do these provide free transportation on the tram & funicular & electric train to Cascais or do we
have to pay for these modes of transportation in addition to the tourist card fees? We will be in Lisbon
for 4 days and are planning to go to Belem, Cascais, Estoril & Sintra as well as the museums.

Our hotels are Avenida Palace, Pousada do Castelo, Infante de Sagres, Pousada de Santa Marinha,
and Quinta das Lagimas. Any comments good or bad?

Thank you in advance for your help
 
Aug 28th, 2001, 10:48 PM
  #2  
Art
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Sorry, can't help you much as I only spent 2 days in Lisboa. Maybe topping this will help as there are a number of people here that have spent more time there.
Regards,
Art
 
Aug 28th, 2001, 11:07 PM
  #3  
Alex
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Dear Lisa
Your choice of places is quite good as well as hotels. Avenida Palace in Lisboa is quite central and from there you can visit the main tourist attractions. Is just next door to train station of Rossio which takes you to Sintra. To go to Cascais and Estoril take a train from Cais do Sodré (there is a metro station there). Tickets are unexpensive. If you buy a tourist ticket you cannot use the trains - only bus, tram and i think metro (other cards are too expensive except if you travel really a lot and price depends on far you go from city centre).
In Buçaco try to stay in the Hotel and have dinner in the lovely restaurant (unfortunately the food is not so good but they have a "nice" local wine cellar) & have a walk in the early morning along the park. The hotel is a good exemple of "neo-manuelino"... i leave the rest for you to discover. If you need more explanations, just leave a post here. Boa viagem! Alex
 
Aug 28th, 2001, 11:24 PM
  #4  
Marie
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You're not kidding! You are going to need help if you are going to such a racist country. Unless you are of portuguese origin. They only like their own. It's part of their inbreeding.
 
Aug 28th, 2001, 11:51 PM
  #5  
Adolf
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Maria,
didn't i met you in austria before? why you called now maria? Yours, adolf.
 
Aug 29th, 2001, 07:59 AM
  #6  
ilene
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Hi,
Have a great trip. I stayed at the Quinta des Lagrimas and the Infante des Sagres. they were both great. You are going to have a wonderful time. Portugal is great, full of surprises. To respond to you quickly (I'm at work) - don't miss Belem in Lisbon (you can take a trolley there), otherwise I walked everywhere in Lisbon so I can't speak for the public transportation. Cascais was a big disappointment - just a beach that was so windy we couldn't open the car doors. Sintra is wonderful- there is a lot to do and see, I wish I had stayed longer. try to see a performance at the outdoor theater set up at one of the villas (I can't remember the name). I wouldn't bother going to the other beach towns near cascais - nothing there that interested me. Obidos is nice - we stayed for two nights which was too long but nice for a day or two. Eat at the pousada there. Coimbra was great too. Very medieval. On the way into the city from the Quinta in Coimbra there is a park for kids called Portugal dos Pequenos (sp?), they have these amazing minatures of all the monuments and castles in portugal. I thought it was a lot of fun. As for Porto, if you get a chance to see the duoro valley I would try to. Due to logistical problems I didn't make it there but it looks wonderful. You will love the Infante des sagres. I think Porto may have been my favorite of my trip. Just enjoy yourself wandering around.
A couple of little tips - wear sneakers or comfortable shoes. Lisbon is extrememly hilly (and was also very hot last year at this time) and the other cities you mentioned all have streets of cobblestone. If you don't speak portugese buy a little berlitz dictionary that includes the section on food. The dictionary is arranged to list the names of dishes (v. just foods) so you can look up items on the menu. I found that invaluable. have fun and I'm happy to answer more questions if you'd like!
 
Aug 29th, 2001, 05:27 PM
  #7  
lisa
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Alex- Thanks for your advice glad to hear my choice of hotel in Lisbon is good location. Are you familiar with the Lisboa Card? I've been told that it is good for the public transportation as well as museums & sites and it is reasonably priced. I am definitely planning on seeing Bucaco Palace Hotel and the grounds. Unfortunately its a little to pricey to spend the night! As for Vianna do Castello - do you think I should drive there from Porto or from Guimaraes? Will be spending 2 nights in each city & want to see as much as possible of both cities as well as the surrounding areas- ie Braga & Bom de Jesus.
In regards to Porto- I will be there on the weekend however definitely want to have a tour of the wineries. Do you know if Sandeman (sp?) is open on the weekend? My tour boods did not know they said check with the local tourist office. Thanks again for your help> lisa
 
Aug 29th, 2001, 05:40 PM
  #8  
Lisa
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Ilene:
Yes I arrive very early Sunday am and Belem will be my first stop after dropping off my stuff at the hotel! I was planning on taking the train to Estoril/Cascais for the day as well as a separate day trip to Sintra. Do you think one full day will be enough in Sintra? From what I am reading the Palace and the Pena Palace are not open on the Same day so can only see one. Unfortunately I will only have 4 days for Lisbon/Cacais/Sintra/Quelez area and there is just sooo much to see! After I leave Lisbon will just be spending 2 nites each in Obidos/Porto/Guimaraes/Coimbra so was planning on seeing as much as possible in these cities & also taking the car to see sites in surrounding areas. Once again, so much to see so little time!
As or the weather trying to get a good/realistic idea of the temp for mid September. Last year I was in Spain last 2 weeks of September and the weather was a lot cooler than the guide books predicted and Yahoo weather site stated for the 5 day forecast. Any comments on this? Thank you for your time and help.
 
Aug 29th, 2001, 11:52 PM
  #9  
alex
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hi lisa! Bom dia!
unfortunately i cannot help you with the lisboa card (i have been a resident then i never used it) but there is a site explaining all - in fact all tourist i met they have done it and it seems that is quite convenient (a lot of museums are free)http://www.lisboa-online.pt/en/tourism/lisboacard.htm have also a look on the rest of this site which is quite well done. my preferred on lisboa is this : http://lisboa.kpnqwest.pt/i/lisboa.html
if you have the intention to go to a "fado house" i will give you some advice later (sorry but a negative one).
you can see palace hotel do bussaco from outside - i don't think they allow visitors - or if you have lunch there. i didn't suppose that the hotel is so expensive (comparing to other hotels you choose, like quinta das lágrimas which is a relais & châteaux since 1999). did you try to book directly from the hotel?
from porto or guimarães there is a good road to viana do castelo. bom jesus is very near braga in 2 hours is done. take more time to braga. there are some interesting churches. if i had the choice i will spend 3 nights in porto and just one in v. do castelo.
i know sandeman - everyone knows it - but my preferred is real companhia velha (http://www.realcompanhiavelha.pt/i_index.cfm). sandeman has also an website http://www.sandeman.com. from there i found that they are open on weekends (i copied & paste the info here
(*) Sandeman Visitor Centre in Vila Nova de Gaia opening hours:

November to March : 09H30-12H30 / 14H00-17H00, week.
April to October : 10H00-12H30 / 14H00-18H00, weekends / holidays included.

Visitor Centre:
Tel: +351-223 740 533
Fax: +351-223 740 594
All the best!
Alex
 
Aug 30th, 2001, 05:50 PM
  #10  
Lisa
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Hi Alex
I will check out the lisboa site thanks. As for Fado I think I will be in bed sleeping before they even begin! I try to pack as much into vacation as possible therefore must get up no later than 5 am to make the most of the day.
I did not book hotel directly let me tour guide do it. Just reading info in fodors book I thought it was more money than I thought we were spending. Oh well I will know better next time! Did you mean the drive from Porto to Viana do Costelo is 2 hours?? Wow maybe I'll skip that idea altogether as I have only 2 nights in Porto and 2 nights in Guimaraes and there is so much to see in these cities plus the surounding areas.
In regards to wineries thanks so much for the site info I will check into both and perhaps go to your suggestion.
Please help me out on 1 more thing the weather for mid-end September I am getting conflicting info from books and web sites. Dont want to pack too much clothes but then again do not want to be too hot or too cold. What temp c. should I expect for: Lisbon, Porto, Obidos, Coimbra, Guimaraes areas? Will it rain much . Thank you again for all of your help
 
Aug 30th, 2001, 10:58 PM
  #11  
Alex
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Dear Lisa,
Quite right about the fado: mostly of the houses are tourist traps, even to locals (including me!).
From Porto to Viana do Castelo you will spend abot 50 minutes and there is a direct motorway, as well to Braga. If you want to check these distances i know a french website (also in english) which calculate them all (pay attention to the spelling of city names) + expenses in gas http://www.mappy.com/direct/mappy/accueil
i have been using it quite a lot. Shell as also a road calculator to Europe i think the name is shellgeostar.
What I meant about 2 hours - and less of that! - is that time enought to visit Bom Jesus and back to Braga... only the church & the stair case are interesting.
Guimarães is a better choice than Viana do Castelo. There's where Portugal "started" & became independent in 1143. Portuguese call Guimarães the birthplace of Portuguese nationality.
About the weather i can't really help you. Lisbon have a quite mild weather because of Atlantic winds... weather is very instable at these period of the year. It can be a little windy. From Coimbra to the North the weather is more "atlantic" than "mediterranean" more cold, humid and windy. In Porto and Braga it rains quite often. I will take not an umbrella but a rain coat which is not heavy and you can take it everywhere with you. BBC has a 5 day forecast on Lisbon and the major cities.
If you may need more information just call back. I check the site about every morning. Boa viagem.
Alex
 
Aug 31st, 2001, 02:12 AM
  #12  
joao
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Hi Lisa

Many Fado Clubs are a trap, but I am a regular in "Parreirinha de Alfama", and I think it is quite good.

It it owned by Mrs. Argentina Santos, a top fado player in Portugal. When she is in the mood, she sings to the clients herself, but not always.

Parreirinha is in Alfama (as the name says). It's a good plan to spend the afternoon in Alfama, just discovering the narrow streets and the inner yards.

Usually, clients should arrive to the Fado club around 8 pm to have dinner. When the light is fading this means that the performance is about to start. When the 2 guitar players start to perform, no food is served and clients should refrain from talking. When the room is silent, the singer starts singing 2 or 3 songs in a row.

By the end of the performance, the artists thank the applause and the room resumes to the normal activity.

After about 20 minutes, there comes another singer and the routine comes again.

The guitar players are men. The singers may be either men or women.

By 10 pm, the dinner ends normally and the intervals between performances are shorter.

It's a shame that many foreigners leave by 10 pm, when the atmosphere begings to warm up. If you are going there, plan your time to be there at least up to midnight.

The price for dinner and performance is not to hight. I think that 20 USD per person is more than enough.

The room is not big. About 30 clients maximum. Make sure you do a reservation early during the day. The telephone is 218868209. It might be good to ask the hotel staff to do the reservation, because in Parreirinha, they have limited English skills.

Have fun and report to this forum, when you return back.

Please check these links.

http://home.ici.net/cust_pages/rufus/fadoGuitar/

http://www.melomusic.nl/i_guite.htm
 
Aug 31st, 2001, 06:30 AM
  #13  
bejeca
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everywere you go...always take the weather...with you... Here in mid September things are rather changeable, but, if you check accuweather.com they have a 10 day forecast that is... accurate.
 
Aug 31st, 2001, 05:51 PM
  #14  
LISA
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HI ALEX
OK PERHAPS I WILL DEFINITELY FORGET ABOUT VIANNA DO CASTELLO AND DRIVE FROM PORTO TO GUIMARAES. THEN ONCE I AM IN GUIMARAES I WILL DRIVE TO BRAGA AND BOM JESUS. IS IT WORTH DRIVING FROM GUIMARAES TO CITANIA DE BRITEIROS AND BARCELOS?
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INFO ON THE WEATHER
IN REGARDS TO PORTO, I WILL SEE THE CATHEDRAL, RIBEIRA, CORDOARIA AND BAIXA DISTRICTS AND OF COURSE VILA NOVA DE GUIA AND TAKE A RIVER CRUISE. WOULD YOU SUGGEST A DRIVE ALONG THE DOURO RIVER THROUGH THE PORT COUNTRY? THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR HELP.
 
Aug 31st, 2001, 05:58 PM
  #15  
LISA
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HI JOAO

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE DETAILS ON THE FADO CLUB PERHAPS I WILL GO TO PARREIRINHA DE ALFAMA. WE ARE STAYING AT THE AVENIDA PALACE- HOW LONG OF A TAXI RIDE AND HOW MANY ESCUDOS SHOULD THIS REQUIRE? UNFORTUNATELY IN ORDER TO GET THE MOST OF THE DAY & SEE AS MANY SITES AS POSSIBLE, ONE MUST GO TO BED EARLY AND RISE EARLY!
 
Aug 31st, 2001, 06:01 PM
  #16  
LISA
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HI BEJECA
THANKS FOR THE WEATHER TIP
 
Sep 1st, 2001, 03:14 AM
  #17  
joao
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Hi Lisa

Avenida Palace and Parreirinha de Alfama are quite close (10 minutes and less than 1000 escudos).

It´s possible to walk between if you know the way.

If you leave a Fado House by 10 pm, you'll lost most of fun. If you can't afford to stay there up to 12pm, I think that 11pm is a good time to leave.

Check in your to do list if you included:

Belém area:
- Jerónimos
- Tower
- Pasteis (custard pies) - factory and shop close early, by 7 pm.
- Museu dos Coches

Former Expo98
- Oceanário
- Vasco da Gama shopping center
- Oriente train station
- Vasco da Gama tower with a restaurant on the top (over 100 meters hight). It's possible to go there just to see the views, or to have dinner. Having dinner it's a litlle expensive (aprox 10,000 escudos).
- [email protected] Cafe, with access to Internet, to check news in Fodors (Pavillion of Science)

Tipycal districts
- Alfama
- Castle
- Bairro Alto

From Avenida Palace there is a funicular leading just to the heart of Bairro Alto. In the upper end of funicular there's Port Wine Institute, where you may sample 1 or 2 out of a few hundred of samples. (cost aprox 1 $USD for a small glass).

Downtown Lisbon, Cathedral, Castle and Alfama are all close to each other.

The stations in the Metro system are beautiful. In particular, the line going to the Expo area is great (line Oriente and Oriente station).

The ride in the tram line 28 is a must. Bairro Alto, downtown, Cathedral and Alfama are all crossed by this line.

Good news at the end. The Rossio Square seen by Palace Hotel has been in improvement works since 2 years with statues, fontains, etc, covered. Finally the covers were removed this weekend, showing the Square in all it's beauty. Maybe that when you come there are still some finishing works in progress (side walks, etc), but must of the Square is visible.

Most of this information was posted in another thread. But unfortunatelly, that thread was flooded by so many nasty posts, that it become eventually useless. That's why I decided to post my Lisbon favourites here again.

Joao
 
Sep 1st, 2001, 08:29 AM
  #18  
gab
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I posted quite extensive info on Lisbon, Porto, etc. not too long ago. Try searching for it.

In addition to this, I'll tell you that if you can afford to stay in a suite in Obidos, it is well worth it. Our room there was an amazing experience that was not topped by any other place we stayed in Portugal (and we stayed at some unique and interesting places).

Also, we were also there last September. We had a couple of days that were shorts and tank top weather, but most days started with longs and longs, paring down to tees and shorts as the day heated up. Evenings were definitely cool--not warm enough to eat outside for sure.

In Porto, we went to three caves and liked Taylor's the best. And a great restaurant was Don Tonho. It's right on the river, across from Vila Nova de Gaia.
 
Sep 2nd, 2001, 06:26 PM
  #19  
LISA
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joao
thank you for your info on the fado and sightseeing musts. I have read many books and everything that is on your list is on mine! Is it safe to walk to Fado at night?
 
Sep 2nd, 2001, 06:31 PM
  #20  
lisa
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gab- not sure if we are staying in a suite in the pousada @obidos must check with my travel agent. In regards to the weather noted & thanks.

regarding your post- is there an easy way to find the post- I am new to this site and running short on time b/4 my trip. Thanks
 

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