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Need Help with Itinerary – First Time in Portugal (2 Weeks)

Need Help with Itinerary – First Time in Portugal (2 Weeks)

Old Aug 16th, 2016, 09:00 AM
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Need Help with Itinerary – First Time in Portugal (2 Weeks)

Hi! We really need your help with our itinerary!!! Should we include Salmanca, Spain in our itinerary at the cost of turning Evora into a day trip?

My husband are 60 years old and have a trip planned in Portugal next May and are trying to decide between two itineraries. We fly in and out of Lisbon, arriving bright and early at 5:50 AM the first day. We enjoy city tours, food and wine events,hearing about the politics,absorbing the culture and seeing the architecture. My husband does not want to drive too far the first day because we tend to get very sleepy, so that's why I picked Obidos for day #1. I am wondering if we would just be better off to have two days in either Obidos or Coimbra (but that's not my biggest question)!

We are coordinating the trip with two friends, that we will meet up in Pinhao for two nights, Porto for three nights and Lisbon for four nights. Our friends are okay with either itinerary, as they are staying longer than us and will head down to Morocco.

Option A includes Salamanca, and turns Evora into a day trip. FYI, we have seen just about everything in Spain, but have never made it to Salmanca, so this might be our last time to have the opportunity to see this city.

Option B does not include Salamanca, and turns Evora into a two night stay, and we return to Cascais for one night before flying home.

OPTION A:
Sun 14 Obidos
Mon 15 Coimbra
Tue 16 Salamanca
Wed 17 Salamanca
Thu18 Pinhao
Fri 19 Pinhao
Sat 20 Porto
Sun 21 Porto
Mon 22 Porto
Tue 23 Lisbon
Wed 24 Lisbon - day trip Sintra
Thu 25 Lisbon
Fri 26 Lisbon - day trip Evora
Sat 27 Lisbon

OPTION B:
Sun 14 Obidos
Mon 15 Coimbra
Tue 16 Pinhao
Wed 17 Pinhao
Thu18 Porto
Fri 19 Porto
Sat 20 Porto
Sun 21 Lisbon
Mon 22 Lisbon
Tue 23 Lisbon
Wed 24 Lisbon - day trip Sintra
Thu 25 Evora
Fri 26 Evora
Sat 27 Cascais

What should we do? Thanks in advance for your help!!!
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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 09:20 AM
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We traveled through northern Portugal a few years ago. You might be interested in my trip report; click on my name to find it.
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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 09:24 AM
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Caiscais is a very easy day trip from Lisbon.
We preferred Evora to Obidos and stayed in wonderful Pousadas in both places.
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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 09:27 AM
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We wished we had day tripped to Obidos and
not spent the night. Pretty little town that exists for tourism, worth a couple of hours.
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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 09:46 AM
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Wow, thanks for your quick responses, Michael and Happy Trvlr! I will check out your trip report, Michael. Sounds like we should just make Obidos a day trip. Is Coimbra worth two nights? We too, plan to stay in lots of Pousadas, so it's good to know that the ones in Evora and Cascais are wonderful!
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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 10:50 AM
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Don't shortchange Lisbon. It's a fabulous city. We loved the Hotel Avenida Palace. Great location, historic palace, awesome customer service. We arrived at the hotel at 10am, and they had our room ready because I'd notified them in advance. Their breakfast buffet is best, in the more gorgeous setting I've ever seen.

Cascais is an easy day-trip by train from Lisbon.
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Old Aug 21st, 2016, 10:33 AM
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I personally do not think that Evora is a particularly great stop. And if you put the question as being a choice between Salamanca and Evora, it becomes a no-brainer IMO. Salamanca has probably the most beautiful plaza mayor in Spain, the cathedral, university, churches, are well worth a visit. Evora has the Roman temple and a church with skulls in it. I don't mean to be dismissive or disrespectful but I personally don't see why so many people find Evora to be a do-not-miss stop in Portugal. In fact, I made a point of going back again a few years ago (for my third visit) just to see if I had been missing something, but I wasn't convinced! If you want Roman ruins, it would be much more fun and rewarding to stop in Merida on your way to Lisbon from Salamanca (oh, but I see that's not the order of your itinerary, though it is worth a thought perhaps). I have stayed in the pousada in Evora and it's nice, not stunning -- another choice would be the convent pousada in Arraiolos -- beautiful place, close to Evora.

I would also vote, though you didn't ask, for eliminating Cascais. It is a hugely crowded Lisbon suburb. The beaches near Nazare would be a better beach stop, but again this is just my opinion.

This post may sound very negative and that's not how I mean it. I go to Portugal every year for 2-3 weeks for work plus a little jaunt and I love it. IT's just that I greatly prefer places other than Cascais and Evora.
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Old Aug 26th, 2016, 10:46 AM
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Thank you, lreynold1, I appreciate your advice. We are going with Option A. I am really excited to see Salamanca! Do you think we are making a mistake eliminating the Algarve? My husband will not lay out on the beach or go swimming, and we live right by the beach in southern California, so I figure it's okay to skip the Algarve. But on the other hand, I have read that most tourists go to the Algarve.
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Old Aug 30th, 2016, 06:39 PM
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I'm not really a beach person, so I'm not one to evaluate the pluses and minuses evenhandedly. The Algarve definitely has some nice spots, IMO. Some of the cliff walks, for instance near Burgau, are quite nice. The towns of Lagos and FAro (its old part) are nice on the west coast. The Praia da Rocha near Portimao is an incredibly beautiful beach with crazy rock formations. The east coast has Tavira, which is pretty. But all in all, I wouldn't rate it at the top of my list of things to see in Portugal. The water's cold, too, since it's the Atlantic and not the Mediterranean. I think it's a good decision, but others may disagree.
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Old Nov 12th, 2016, 05:10 PM
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Hello! My husband and I are planning on going to Portugal in September 2017. Are you traveling by train or renting a car? Did you decide on option A? And what side trips from Lisbon did you decide to do?

Thank you so much!
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Old Nov 17th, 2016, 11:00 AM
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If you leave early 7:00 am, you can see Sintra one morning and spend the rest of the afternoon in Lisbon.
Going from Lisbon to Évora and back I do not advise, should spend at least one night there. The city is small. It is worth for the gastronomy and the contact with the people. If you need help or have any questions about any location contact me I'll help.
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Old Dec 26th, 2016, 06:22 PM
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That's because Évora is nothing about a church with a skull and the Roman temple...
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