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Matt and Lobo (and everyone else as well) - Help! Still trying to finalize trip plans to Portugal. I promise this is will settle it!

Matt and Lobo (and everyone else as well) - Help! Still trying to finalize trip plans to Portugal. I promise this is will settle it!

Old Mar 4th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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Matt and Lobo (and everyone else as well) - Help! Still trying to finalize trip plans to Portugal. I promise this is will settle it!

I am back to this forum and while I thought I had finally worked out my itinerary, but once again I am not sure. My husband and I leave for Portugal in 3.5 weeks, so this is it – I have to decide! We will only have a short time in Portugal and we will not have a car. We travel a lot and we love to wander new places, eat and drink well and visit museums and historical sights. We want to spend some time in Lisbon but I have been reading up (Fodors, Frommers, and Rick Steve’s) and have decided that both Evora and Obidos look like places we would like to visit. My husband would also like to visit a fishing village so I thought of Nazare. Here are my two final itineraries. I think that they both work – which would you choose?

Arrive Lisbon Thursday morning. Stay in Lisbon (Bairro Alto Hotel
Friday – day trip to Sintra, sleep in Lisbon
Saturday – Lisbon, late afternoon check out of hotel and take bus to Evora. Sleep in Evora (Hotel da Cartuxa)
Sunday – Evora, sleep in Evora
Monday – early morning bus to Obidos (through Lisbon). Tour Obidos and sleep Obidos (Casa das Senhoras Rainhas)
Tuesday – early morning take bus to Nazare. Mid afternoon head back through Obidos to Lisbon
Wednesday – early morning, flight home

Or

Arrive Lisbon Thursday morning. Stay in Lisbon (Bairro Alto Hotel
Friday – day trip to Sintra, sleep in Lisbon
Saturday – Lisbon.
Sunday – early morning bus/train to Obidos, sleep in Obidos (Casa das Senhoras Rainhas)
Monday – day trip by bus to Nazare and Alcobaca. Sleep Obidos
Tuesday – morning back to Lisbon, see more of Lisbon
Wednesday – early morning flight home.

I have promised myself that I am finalizing this by Tuesday of this week. Then no looking back as it is time to decide what I want to see – especially in Lisbon - and where we might want to eat! So please, comment on my planned itinerary (and the hotels) and help me out here – I have to finalize this already.

Susan
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Old Mar 5th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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Hi Susan

having been to these places last June, I say don't stress about the day trips until you are there. Your sleeping plans look good and it depends on the bus/train schedules what you can fit in.

We had a car so I can not help on that. We stayed near Nazare and loved it but there may be other small villages closer to Obidos.

We did not get to Evora but every one the threads seems to love it so I would do that rather than try to get to Alcobaca.

Again all this travel depends on your bus/train connections.

Have a great trip and too bad you will miss an LDC ( we will all be in NYC maybe!) but as I figure it - have to leave something for the next trip. You will fall in love with Portugal - we all have!

Barb
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Old Mar 5th, 2007, 09:43 AM
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Hi Barb,
Well I guess I am just not such a laid back traveler. I like having my hotels and travel arrangements set before we go. If we don't then I don't think we will get the hotels we would like. AS it is I just now got an email from the hotel in Evora telling me that they are fully booked on one of the nights I was thinking of. So if I still want two nights in Evora I will have to re-arrange things. So it may be that if I want to see both Obidos and Evora I will have to switch those around in my plan. I don't want to end up with too much traveling and no down time at all. Still not sure what to do!
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Old Mar 5th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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I was in all those places last July. We did have a car though. The only one that disappointed us was Nazare - not exactly a fishing village, at least in July it was just a beach town. The upper town was nicer but I would probably leave it out given your amount of time. I really did like Evora, but you have such a short time that even that might not be worth the trouble to get there. I guess if the bus connection is quick and straight forward. It was a lovely town.

Definitly keep Obidos, that was our favorite, we also loved Sintra which we did as a day trip from Lisbon. And Lisbon itself was the highlight so don't short change it.

Photos of all those places are at:www.pbase.com/annforcier/root
There's one gallery for Lisbon and one for the rest of the trip.

And if you can manage a Lisbon Dining Club experience with Matt and Lobo definitly do that.
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Old Mar 5th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Isabel,
You hit on my problem - a short trip and both Evora and Obidos look like places we want to see along with Lisbon/Sintra. And both Evora and Obidos look to warrant at least an overnight - especially at the nice hotels that I have located! So I am frantically trying to fit this all in. I may be coming to the decision that I cannot do all of this - so what to cut? Maybe make Obidos just a day trip and still stay overnight in Evora? Or two nights in Evora so we don't have to rush?
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Old Mar 5th, 2007, 10:12 AM
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Hi Susan. I'd opt for Plan B (without Evora).
Evora is the capital city of Alentejo region, my very favourite destination in Portugal. Bit IMHO squeezing everything into such a short period of time, doesn't do justice to anything.
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Old Mar 5th, 2007, 12:58 PM
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Lobo - I am coming to the same conclusion! So, another question for you then - would you skip Obidos/Nazare/Alcobaca and instead spend two nights in Evora? But remember we won't have a car. (and my husband loves to see fishing towns/villages)Susan
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Old Mar 5th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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Hi Susan. Lucky you to be going to Portugal.

As Barb says, it will depend on the bus situation waiting for schedules, etc.

Both plans look good but I didn't get to see Evora on our first trip. We decided to skip it and concentrate on the coast and Lisbon. I am not sorry.
Well, sort of.

I don't know what to tell you to do. I think I would skip Evora and just do the coast. If your husband likes the sea, it is spectacular.

Hey Barb. Looking forward to seeing you in NY.

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Old Mar 5th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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Sher - buses are frequent but the trip from Evora to Obidos (or vice versa) is long and I think too long figuring how short our time in Portugal is) I am leaning towards my Obidos/Nazare/Alcobaca plan as well and we might just skip Alcobaca and spend the day in Nazare. How about my idea of Obidos as the base for two nights - I though it would be pretty, the hotel looks lovely, and I thought we would find nice resatuarants as well. But I am wary of the fact that many people complain that it is too touristy. What do you think? I probably should just finalize this and be done with it! The problem is I want to see everything in my 6 days and I just can't decide what to jettison! Susan
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Old Mar 5th, 2007, 02:29 PM
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Susan. I am in the minority with my opinion on Obidos.

I liked it, but a day trip was enough for me. Others could spend a lot more time there. Maybe because some places are much better after a certain time of the day when the tour buses leave. And this may be one of them.

If you go to Nazare and have read Rick Steve, there is a restaurant in Sitio which he used to like. I had the best clams there that I ever had. I could have licked the plate. I cannot remember the name, sorry.

Have a wonderful trip.
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Old Mar 5th, 2007, 02:43 PM
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I absolutely loved Obidos - but I happened to be there during their medieval fair in July. It added so much atmosphere to the town. I suppose without the fair it would have just been a beautiful little walled town. The wall was fun to walk around, there were some interesting shops, it was quite photogenic. You could also do day trips from there to Nazare (which I was totally unimpressed with, but you said you want coast) and the monastery at Alcobaca. That's all assuming the transportation connections are in your favor. We had a car, but with buses you are dependant on their schedules.

On the other hand, Evora was much larger, had more shopping, a nice cathedral with great cloister, the ruins of the Roman temple, etc. From Evora we did a great day trip to Monsaraz, but I doubt you could do that without a car.

I think given your limited amount of time I'd go with whichever one meant less time on buses/waiting for buses. You'll enjoy either of them. But I agree with the others that you shouldn't try to do both plus Lisbon in only 6 days.
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Old Mar 6th, 2007, 04:00 AM
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Okay, today is the day I finalize my plans! However, last night I might have convinced my husband that we should rent a car! I was set to go with plan B and not see Evora on this trip. But now...

So one more question - if we picked up a car on Sunday morning, could we drive to Evora, sleep there and then on Monday drive to Obidos (how long a drive would it be?) spend the afternoon and night and the next day we could check out Nazare if we wanted to, or just head back to Lisbon. What do you think?
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Old Mar 6th, 2007, 04:19 AM
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From Lisbon to Evora is about 1:30 hours and Evora to Obidos is 2:00.

So you can plan accordingly.

www.mappy.com gives decent directions.

Driving in Portugal is not difficult. The other cars will go very fast, so be prepared but the roads are very good.
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Old Mar 6th, 2007, 04:23 AM
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So Sher, I am still trying to squeeze too much in, or do you think my new plan works? Or just stick with my original Obidos/Nazare/Alcobaca plan? Today is the day I finalize this.
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Old Mar 6th, 2007, 05:06 AM
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I say go for it especially if you rent a car. The area you are planning to cover is just not that huge.

I am not the one to ask about travel primarily by bus as we almost always rent a car except if we are spending days in a city like Lisbon or Paris.
Although people posting here have rented a car while in Lisbon and garaged it.

You can have the car delivered to your hotel in Lisbon, take off touring and return it when you return from the Nazare area.

I have to tell you that some of the coast line between Obidos is wonderful.

This is my humble opinion for what it is worth.






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Old Mar 6th, 2007, 08:09 AM
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Sher - I have been looking quickly into rentals and getting huge price tags for a three day rental of an automatic (a necessity). Suggestions? autoeurope.com was high as were the individual companies. I will try carjet and economycarrentals and wee what I get.
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Old Mar 6th, 2007, 08:34 AM
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You will find out the automatics are more expensive. If you feel comfortable with a manual, they are a lot more reasonable.

We used Carjet and were pleased but Economy has better prices and the reports here are good.

Check it out. Lately, we have not been able to use Auto Europe. But we like them and I always check their prices.
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Old Mar 6th, 2007, 07:11 PM
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Susan

Today was your decision day and I have not been on to comment but I think your decision to rent a car will make a big difference in your enjoyment of the gorgeous Portuguese countryside. Having a car for less than a week is unfortunately usually more expensive. Having it in Lisbon is unnecessary and could be expensive parking. You could do the day trip to Sintra by car though - the drive along the coast is very nice.

There are many coastal villages and the countryside around Obidos is beautiful. I think it is a good overnight spot although a day was enough for us. You can cover a lot of the local area the other day you are there.

Be sure to report to us how it all worked out when you return.

Barb

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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 05:37 AM
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Well, I feel as though I have disappointed everyone on this forum but my husband really does not want to have the hassle of a car - parking, driving in a foreign country, and the expense of the car rental for such a short period of time. So our decision is to go with the following itinerary:

Thurs early morning - arrive Lisbon

Friday - day trip (train) to Sintra

Saturday - Lisbon/Belem

Sunday early morning - bus to Evora and stay overnight in Evora

Monday early morning - hire taxi/car to take us to Obidos - avoiding 4 hour bus trip through Lisbon. Stay overnight in Obidos

Tuesday - back to Lisbon (bus/train)

Wednesday - home

And for our next Portugal trip we WILL stay longer and rent a car!

So, now I need to go back to my books and research what we need to see in our limited time in Lisbon and Sintra and I will welcome advice. Also - restaurants for lunches and dinners - suggestions are welcome! Susan
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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Okay, I reconsidered and decided to talk my husband into a ONE day car rental. I just checked it out and it does not look that bad. We can pick up the car on Monday morning in Evora and then return it by 5 at Caldas Rainha - same day and then take a taxi to Obidos, and spend evening and next day in Obidos before heading back to Lisbon. That way we can drive from Evora to coast on our own. And cost of one day car is the same as hiring a car to drive us to Obidos.

Better?
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