March in Portugal

Old Jan 11th, 2018, 04:50 PM
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March in Portugal

Hello, we are visiting Portugal for almost 3 weeks mid-March to early April (over Easter weekend). We are 3 in our early 60s, who like to tour, visit castles, museums and monuments, a few easy hikes, beach combing and enjoying a combination of city life and rural towns... We don't want to rush. We will have a car. Generally want to avoid too many single-night stays. Based on my research I have come up with the following general itinerary:

Arrive Lisbon, pick up rental car and drive to Comporta for an overnight (and recover from jet lag)
Leisurely Drive to Lagos area. Spend 5 nights exploring beaches, hiking, towns, etc.
Drive to Evora. Spend 4 nights. There seems to be enough to see in the region, visit wineries, various day trips and the old town.
Drive to Obidos. One overnight.
Drive to Sintra. Spend 2 nights.
Drive to Lisbon. drop car. spend 5 nights

My specific questions are:

Is this about the right amount of time in the specific locations for a leisurely pace?
We are avoiding the North (Porto region) believing the weather might be poor and the time of year not overly suitable for winery visits. Is this a good assumption? If it is recommended to visit this region, I would have to shave some days off the southern portion and perhaps Evora and one from Lisbon...
It won't be sunny beach weather in the south around Lagos. Is 5 days too much or is there enough to see along the southern coast to keep us busy?
We would have a car in Sintra, but I thought by staying there it would allow us to see the castle early before crowds, and allow us to drive to Cascais for a half day.

Looking forward to advice and insights.

Jodi
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Old Jan 12th, 2018, 03:14 AM
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Hi, I'm from Lisbon,
I need to inform you that in early April the weather is not summer, definitely not cold, but it can rain a lot, not good to bath in the ocean, thought.

"Is this about the right amount of time in the specific locations for a leisurely pace?"

Arrive Lisbon, pick up rental car and drive to Comporta for an overnight - Comporta is an amazing beach and a natural reserve, it definitely deserves a visit. Next to comporta it will be the Pego beach and Troia peninsula that also deserves a visit. It all depends of the flight arrival time. From the airport to Comporta is a 1,5 hour drive. I like this place for beach leisure and in April, as i said, only good to take some photos, but You can get lucky with the weather.
Drive to Lagos area. Spend 5 nights exploring beaches, hiking, towns, etc. - From Comporta to Lagos is 3 hour drive. I advice to fallow the cost line, not the highway. You will find the most amazing scenery, the Costa Vicentina natural park with it's amazing beaches and cliffs. Actually, i do advice you to stay one or 2 nights in the park, maybe in Sines or Vila Nova de Milfontes, to explore the region before ending in Lagos. Several highlights, Porto Covo, Vila Nova de Milfontes, Melides lagoon, Malhăo beach, Zambujeira do mar, Odeceixe. I think it's even better then the Algarve. You'll not regret. From Lagos you can explore the last part of Costa Vicentina natural park and the tip, Sagres. 5 days for all of these i think is ok. The distance is not that big.
Drive to Evora. Spend 4 nights. There seems to be enough to see in the region, visit wineries, various day trips and the old town. - From Lagos to Évora is 3 hour drive (Highway. You should stop in Silves and see the Moorish castle and old city, a must. Definitely lots to see in Évora region, the city itself, the Monsaraz medieval village (must, must see) 50 km away, Portel castle, the city of Estremoz, the city of Vila Viçosa, Évora Monte castle, Arraiolos castle and tapestry, the most famous in Portugal, Montemor o Novo castle, and more...
Drive to Obidos. One overnight.
Drive to Sintra. Spend 2 nights.
Drive to Lisbon. drop car. spend 5 nights
- Sintra and Óbidos can be done as a day trip from Lisbon. Sintra is only 30 minutes away from LIsbon and Óbidos 1 hour away.
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Old Jan 12th, 2018, 03:22 AM
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Hi,

I forgot to mention that in the other side of the Lisbon River you'll find 20 km of continuous, unspoiled Atlantic beaches and the Arrabida natural park with beaches considered the most beautiful of all Portugal. This should be in you r top list to visit when is Lisbon and for that you need a car.
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Old Jan 15th, 2018, 06:53 AM
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Driving to Sintra: confirm with your hotel if they provide parking for you. Most of the times, car will be an hassle at Sintra, not a plus.
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Old Jan 28th, 2018, 04:50 PM
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Thanks for all of the comments. I have made some adjustments based on further research and what I have learned here. Would appreciate one more round of input based on the new itin, and suggestions in particular if I had one extra day, where I would spend it??? Due to the time of year, I am thinking I would forgo more northern destinations and save them for another trip...

Day 1 - arrive Portugal, tired, rent car and drive to Comporta (or area)...somewhere heading south, but not too far cos we'll be tired. Suggestions welcome here.
Day 2 - drive to Lagos, for 3 nights
Day 5 - drive to Tavira, for 2 nights
Day 7 - drive to Evora, for 3 nights
Day 10 - drive to Obidos, for 1 night
Day 11 - drive to Sintra, for 2 nights
Day 13 - drive to Lisbon, for 5 nights
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Old Jan 28th, 2018, 06:32 PM
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The itinerary seems good. We were there in April and didn't visit the Lagos area but spent 3 nights in/near Evora (1 in Evora, 2 in Estremoz which we loved). We also spent 3 nights in the Douro wine area which turned out to be our favorite place. So gorgeous and the weather was fine. We were in Porto for 2 or 3 nights with a lot of rain and 5 nights in Lisbon, which seemed right.
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Old Jan 28th, 2018, 06:46 PM
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Please do not drive on arrival. Driving with jet lag is as dangerous as driving drunk. Look up micro sleeps.

I would not bother with an overnight in Obidos.

I haven't visit the Algarve, preferring Coimbra and Porto, so cannot help with that area. I am not sure I understand the reasoning behind staying in both Sintra and Lisbon.
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Old Jan 29th, 2018, 03:59 AM
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HI,
Day 1 - Sleep at Sesimbra or Setubal
Day 2 - OK, you're skeeping the Costa Vicentina, you'll regret it
Day 5 - OK
Day 7 - Only OK with the day trips
Day 10 - Why are going to sleep in Óbidos? It's only an 1 hour drive from Lisbon and it takes 1/2 a day to visit it....Do want to visit another town?
Day - 11 Why are you going to sleep in Sintra, only 30 min away from Lisbon?
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Old Jan 30th, 2018, 02:55 PM
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Thanks everyone for the comments. My thinking about Sintra was to actually stay there to be able to enjoy and visit all of its sites and the town itself; it seems there is lots to see and it will be more enjoyable than having a cursory visit on a day trip from Lisbon. I am open to views on this idea. I am deliberating trying to slow down a bit on this vacation, visiting fewer towns and enjoying a more leisurely pace. I am rethinking the Obidos visit, perhaps leaving that for when we return to do the Northern area, Porto and the Duoro (which I want to combine with a trip to Western Spain).

In terms of Evora, we were thinking this would be a base from which we could also do day trips to Monsaraz and Estremoz.

I am open to suggestions as to what to do or where to spend 2 extra days!
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Old Jan 31st, 2018, 02:05 AM
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HI,

Ok, i understand the idea of sleeping in Sintra, if you want to see all the top attractions then 2 days is recommended, don't forget to check out the westernmost point of Europe, Cabo da Roca, and the amazing beaches close by like Ursa Beach, Macăs beach, Foz do Lisandro, Azenhas do Mar and Adraga beach.
You can visit Obidos using that 2 extras days and exploring the Fátima/Leiria region where you can find 3 important attractions, Tomar and the Knights Templar castle, the monastery of Batalha and Alcobaça monastery, all world heritage sites.
From Óbidos to Batalha are 50 km and Alcobaça is in the middle. From Batalha to Tomar are 40km. Very easy to be done in 2 days.
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